The Rules of Bidding


1. You must make an opening bid with 12 or more points (4441 might be an exception).

2. You must rebid if partner responds with a new suit.

3. You must respond with 6 or more points (unless opposition intervenes). Majors are the priority.


4. Do not respond at 2 level with fewer than 10 points (except rule of 14).

5. You must find a game contract if partner jump bids in a new suit.

6. Do not respond in NT if you have a biddable 4 card major.

7. Do not rebid after a 1NT or weak 2 opening unless asked by partner.

8. Do not rebid at 3 level or reverse unless you have at least 16 points.

9. Do not overcall with fewer than 5 cards in that suit, 8 points and honours (or 6 cards if you have < 10 points).

10. Do not change partners overcalled suit unless you are strong and long.

11. Do not overcall in NTs unless you have at least 16 points and 2 stops.

12. Do not open a Weak 2 when vulnerable or if you don’t have 6 cards in suit with 2 honours.

13. If partner responds to an overcall with 1NT, it is natural.

14. If you have extreme hand, say 29 points, open 2C.

15. If everyone is bidding, you probably don’t have a game contract.

16. Describe your hand using ACOL not telepathy.

17. Don’t fall in love with your hand.

18. Rule of 20 is to get things started. Don’t overbid.

19. A single raise is weak, a jump raise is strong.

20. Use takeout and negative doubles to describe your hand.

21. Count losers AFTER agreeing a fit.

22. 25 points is usually needed for game. Be competitive not stupid.

23. Play for points not contracts.

24. To double 1NT, have at least 16 points.