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Contract Bridge
Optional Bids for the Defence

  1. Standard Cue bidding the Enemy suit
  2. Natural Cue bid over the Minors
  3. Michaels Cue bid over the Majors
  4. The Unusual 2NT Overcall
  5. Takeout Double over 1NT Opening
  6. Defence against Weak 2 Opening bids
  7. Defence against Preemptive Opening bids
  8. Deals 77 to 80
  9. Quiz - Answers - Review

    Bidding Guide : advBG-18

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BR 22.1 - Cue bidding the Enemy Suit

This lesson contains material you may wish to add to your arsenal of defensive bidding after you have played for a while and are really comfortable with the basic bidding principles. I suggest that you consider incorporating some of the items below in your bidding arsenal when you have a regular playing Partner with compatible playing skills to your own.

"Cue bidding the enemy suit" is bidding the enemy suit at the next higher level.
In standard bidding cue bidding the enemy suit shows a very strong hand, the same as for the artificial strong 2 Clubs opening bid.

For example : (1H) - 2H shows 22+ points or "Game in hand" and is forcing to Game.
All following bids by both players are natural, and when one of the Defenders bids NT it promises a stopper in the enemy suit.

This situation occurs of course very rarely in bridge. I therefore suggest that when you hold such hand you first double for takeout and at your next turn to bid cue bid the enemy suit.

For example : (1H) - DBL - (Pass) - 1S - (Pass) - 2H

Adopting this approach leaves the cue bid of the enemy suit available for other more common situations, as outline in the following two Chapters.

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BR 22.2 - Natural Cue bids over the Minor suits

In standard bidding with 5-card majors opening with a short Club (1C) as used in this course or with the better minor (1C or 1D) are often based on 2 or 3 cards in the minor suit. In the Precision system the 1 Club and 1 Diamond opening bids are artificial and do not reflect any length in those suits. It occurs therefore quite regularly, that an Opponent opens with a minor in which you have a quality 5+ card holding.

Therefore in such cases use the cue bid of the enemy suit as a natural overcall showing a quality 5+card suit and 11+ points.
For example :

(1C) - 2C : shows a quality 5+card Club suit and 11+ points

(1D) - 2D : shows a quality 5+card Diamond suit and 11+ points
When you hold :

Bid : (1C) - 1D = normal overcall     and : (1D) - 2D = cue bid enemy suit

Responses to the Cue bid are the same as for a normal overcall at the 2 level.


Remember that you will need 29 points to reach Game in a minor suite.

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BR 22.3 - Michaels Cue bid over the Major suits

When the Opponents open the bidding with a major suit it is highly unlikely that your side will aim for a contract in that suite. Using a cue bid in their major suite with a natural meaning makes therefore little sense. Use Michaels Cue bid instead (I am not the Michael referred to in this convention).

Michaels Cue bid of the enemy suite shows a hand with

  1. 8-12 High Card Points
  2. 5-5 or longer distribution in the unbid major plus one minor suit.
  3. both suits must contain at least 2 Honour cards.
With a 6-5 distribution you may have less points and only need 1 honour in the 6 card suit.
Hand 2 below is a typical example.

  1. After (1C) - bid 1S

  2. After (1D) - bid 1S

  3. After (1H) - bid 2H = Michael's Cue bid, showing 5-5 or better in the Spades and a minor suit
Responses by Partner are natural.
If Partner does not have a fit in the major suit he can ask for the minor suite by bidding 2NT. The Michaels Cue bidder will respond with the correct suit at the 3 level.
In above example the bidding would be :
c. (1H) - 2H - (Pass) - 2NT - (Pass) - 3D

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BR 22.4 - The Unusual 2NT Overcall

The Unusual 2NT overcall fits in nicely with the strategy of Michaels Cue bid.


A jump overcall of 2NT over Opponent's opening bid of 1 in a major shows

  1. 8-12 High Card Points
  2. 5-5 or longer distribution in the both minor suits
  3. both suites must contain at least 2 Honour cards.
The primary objective of this overcall is to present Partner with a clear choice for a sacrifice in case the Opponents reach a Game contract in their major suit.
Therefore with a stronger hand prefer to make a takeout double or a simple suit overcall.
With Hand 3 below :
  1. After (1H) - bid 2NT

  2. After (1S) - bid 2NT
Partner's response :
  • (1H) - 2NT - (Pass) - bid 3C
    Unless strong in the major suits Partner should not pass the 2NT overcall, but bid his longest minor suit at the 3 level. With no preference bid 3 Clubs

  • (1H) - 2NT - (Pass) - bid 4C
    With a strong hand Partner may jump to 4 or 5 as required.

  • (1H) - 2NT - (4H) - bid 5C
    If the Opponents do reach a Game contract in their major suit, Partner can sacrifice, bidding 5 with a weak hand

The combined approach of Michael's Cue bid and the unusual 2NT covers all 5-5 suit combinations except the one where you hold both majors.
In such case it is best to either overcall the Spade suit, and perhaps the Heart suit next round if required, or to make a takeout double and be guided for your next bid by Partner's response.

Alternatively you can make an other arrangement with Partner for the Unusual 2NT overcall over the minor suits.

  1. showing the two cheapest unbid suits (Hearts plus the unbid minor)

  2. or showing both major suits

  3. or showing the two suits in the unbid colour
    (Hearts and Diamonds after 1 Club and Spades and Clubs after 1 Diamond)
This is something to discuss and agree upon with your Partner. I have included an alternative page 15 for the bidding guide in which you can fill in your own choice of above options.

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BR 22.5 - Takeout Double over 1 NT Opening

The point range of the 1 NT opening bid differs considerably for the various bidding system. Common ranges (other than the 16-18 points used in standard bidding) are 15-17, 13-15, or 12-14. Some players use the 15-17 points for their 1NT range when vulnerable and 12-14 points when not vulnerable.
The lower point ranges are very aggressive and aim to obstruct the bidding by the opposition, blocking any suit overcall at the 1 level.

A simple but very effective defence against this practice is to double the Opponent's 1NT opening bid.

  • (1NT) - DBL : shows a balanced hand with exactly the same point range as the Opponent's 1NT
If the Opponent's 1NT shows 12-14 points, your double also shows 12-14 points, if the 1NT shows a 13-15 points range, so does your double, etc.

Hand 4
You have 14 points and a balanced hand
  1. (1NT = 12-14 pts) - bid DBL
  2. (1NT = 13-15 pts) - bid DBL
  3. (1NT = 15-17 pts) - bid Pass
  4. (1NT = 16-18 pts) - bid Pass

This puts your Partner in a strong position.

  • If he considers your side has more points than the Opponents he can pass and by doing so converts the takeout double into a penalty double.

  • With a weak hand he can bid a suit at the 2 level

  • With a a good supporting hand he can bid a 5+ card suit at the 3 level.
When playing duplicate bridge each player has a bidding system card on the table which lists the meaning of all their system's opening bids. Alternatively, when it is your turn to bid, you may ask the Partner of the 1NT opening bidder, what the bid's points range is.

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BR 22.6 - Defence against Weak Two Opening bids

To enter the bidding after an Opponent's weak two opening bid you should hold a hand with opening bid values. Subject to this requirement bid naturally as if Opponent had opened at the 1 level.

  1. Double for takeout with a 12+ points and 4 cards in the unbid major
    With stronger hands the shape becomes less important

  2. Bid your 5+ card suit with 12+ points

  3. Bid 2NT with 16-18 points and a stopper in the enemy suit

  4. Cue bid the enemy suit with 22+ points or "Game in hand"
    This is a Game force, similar to the strong 2C opening bid
Partner should respond naturally to your bid, and has the added option of a pass converting the takeout double into a penalty double if he considers this is the most profitable course of action.
Here are a few typical examples.

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Hand 5
You have 13½ HCP + 1LP = 14½ points and 5 Spades.
  • (2H) - bid 2S

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Hand 6
You have 13½ points and 4 Spades.
  • (2H) - bid DBL

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Hand 7
You have 23½ points.
  • (2H) - 3H (cue bid the enemy suit)

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BR 22.7 - Defence against Preemptive Opening bids

There are many different approaches to defence against preemptive opening bids.
A sensible way is to approach it in the same way as defence against weak twos. However to enter the bidding you need to be stronger with at least 15+ points. As 4th player you may drop that a point or so with an interesting distribution. In general.

  • Double for Takeout with 15+ points and no good 5 card suit
    Partner may convert this into a penalty double (by passing) if he has strength in the enemy suit

  • Bid a good 5+card suit at the 3 level with 15+ points or at the 4 level with 17+ points

  • bid 3NT with 18+ points and a good stopper in the enemy suit

  • Cue bid the enemy suit with 22+ points, a bid forcing to Game

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BR 22.8 - Deals 77 to 80

Deals 77 to 80 are examples of bidding as outlined in this lesson.

BR 22.9 - Quiz 22 - Answers - Review

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