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Opening Hand Valuation (No trump uses only high card points)
High Card Points (40 total): Ace = 4 King = 3 Queen = 2 Jack =1
Distribution Points:
Opening hand: Doubleton = 1 Singleton = 2 void = 3
Responders hand: Doubleton = 1 Singleton = 3 void = 5
Normally a partnership needs 26 points between both hands to make game at 3 no-trump, or 4 hearts, or
4 spades. A partnership needs 28 points for a game at 5 clubs or 5 diamonds. One should have 32 points
for a small slam. A grand slam needs 36 points and all four aces, and is really rare.

Opening Bids
0-12 points Pass
8-12 high card points With a 7 card suit, bid 3 of the suit.
13-19 points unbalanced hand
Bid the stronger 5 card major suit. If no 5 card major suit, bid the better (convenient) minor.
16-18 high card points Bid 1 No trump with a balanced distribution (4-3-3-3,or 4-4-3-2) and with a
stopper in at least 3 suits.
19-22 high card points Bid 2 clubs. This is a convention. See conventions below.
22-24 high card points Bid 2 No trump if a balanced hand with a stopper in all suits otherwise bid
the two club convention.
25-27 high card points Bid 3 No trump if a balanced hand with a stopper in all suits otherwise bid
the two club convention.

Responses trump support means 4 trump or 3 trump with at least one being a high card.
To bids of 1 in a suit
0-5 points Pass, unless a convention requires a response.
6-8 points with trump support Raise by one in trump suit, or bid a new suit at the 1 level.
8-12 points with trump support, bid your best suit first, then raise your partner in his/her suit.
6-10 points and balanced distribution bid NT at the 1 level.
8 -12 points bid a new lower ranking suit at the 2 level.
11-13 points with trump support Raise by two if trump is clubs and diamonds, take right to
game in hearts and spades.
13-15 points without trump support, change suit your first bid, and then jump (presumably to
game) your next bid.
14-18 points and balanced distribution bid 2NT.
>19 points and support in trump Go to either 4 NT (convention) or directly to small slam in
>19 points without trump support, jump shift into a new suit and see in what suit you can make
your slam.
To 1 NT
0-6 points Pass, if no long (5 or more card) suit.
0-7 points 2 of suit when long suit is available the Drop Dead bid. (The original bidder
should know to pass this bid.)
8-10 points 3 of suit with a 5 card long suit. Go directly to 4 hearts or 4spades with 6 or more in
your suit.
6-8 points and no long suit bid 2 NT.
8-10 points with a balanced hand see Stayman convention.
10-12 points with a five card spade or heart suit, go directly to 4 hearts of 4 spades.
9-14 points with a balanced hand 3 NT
> 15 points 4 NT see Blackwood convention

Written by Father David Geib and Jay Farrell

Blackwood. An artificial bid of 4 NT is asking the responder to respond according to the number of
aces. Bid: 5C for 0 Aces, 5D for 1 Ace, 5H for 2 Aces, 5S for 3 Aces. If partner bids 5 NT, after
the responder indicates the number of aces, then partner is asking responder to indicate the
number of Kings. The responses are the same as for indicating Aces, but at the 6 level. Note that
aces must be requested prior to asking for Kings. This convention is the oldest because of the
extreme need to know whether you and your partner have all four aces between you. It is
normally impossible to make a small slam without an absolute stopper (aces or a blank suit) in all
four suits.
Convenient minor. With at least 13 points and no 5 card major suit, the opener bids the better of
his/her minor suits (clubs or diamonds.) This a real bid if the bidder has five or more cards in
the minor suit, but an artificial bid if he or she does not. The responder must be aware that
his/her partner could have as low as three cards in the bid suit. They should respond normally
using their point count and distribution, but should be cautious about raising the bid suit without 5
of their own in that suit, or without the original bidder re-biding that suit.
2 club opener. This bid tells your partner that you have 19 or more points, and gives you away of
finding out both what his/her point count is, and what is his/her best suit. The responder bids: 2
diamond for 0- 5 points, 2 hearts for 6-10 points, 2 spades for > 10 points. The opener always
responds with 2 NT. The responder then indicates their best suit at the three level. The opener is
responsible for choosing between game, slam, stopping or negotiating further. The responder
needs to keep the bidding open to game if he/she bid 2 hearts (6-10 points.) A 2 spade response
normally indicates that a slam is possible.
Stayman. When the opening bid is 1 NT, the responder has a good understanding of the openers point count
and distribution. The responder is responsible for setting the contract. To obtain additional
information, the responder with >8 HCPs bids 2 clubs. If the opener has at least four cards in a
major suit, the opener will bid that suit; otherwise, the opener will artificially bid 2 diamonds.
The 2 diamond bid cannot be passed. With the knowledge of the openers best major suit (or lack
thereof) responder sets game with >10 points, invites game with 8-9 points. With <8 HCPs,
Stayman is not an option. The responder should sign-off with 2 Diamonds, 2 Hearts, or 2 Spades
the Drop Dead bids. This convention is based on the belief that a four heart or four spade bid
where each of the partners has four trump is a safer bid to make than a three No Trump bid.
Takeout double. When an opponent bids a suit at the one level and you have the point count of an
opening hand but no 5 card suit (save, perchance, the oppositions), you should double that one
bid to tell your partner about your opening hand. You partner is obligated to give you his/her best
suit (including no trump) no matter what his/her point count is. The partner is free of that
obligation if the opponent next to him/her bids again and takes you out of your double. As the
fourth bidder, your partner should only bid if he/she has 8 points or more.

Written by Father David Geib and Jay Farrell