STRONG BALANCED OPENINGS

BIDRESPONSES TO 1NTRESPONSES TO AN OPENING 2NTRESPONSES TO AN OPENING 2D
PassTo play. If the opponents compete in a suit, a next-round double from this hand is competitive and for takeout.to playto play, weak with diamonds
DoubleTake-out if below 4S. Uniquely, to double and then keep bidding when/if partner takes it out is game-forcing (and shows at least a five-card suit), which isn't what the sequence shows after other opening bids. The reason is that an immediate bid (instead of double) would have been non-forcing and to play, so by corollary making a takeout double and then bidding on must be strong and forcing. This will still be true even if partner subsequently doubles (penalties) the opponents after they've kept up their intervention... if responder had a weak hand that couldn't stand to hear opener make a penalty double, then it shouldn't have made a takeout double in the first place and should have either passed or bid a suit.Take-out if below 4S. To make a takeout double and then keep bidding even when partner pulls it is game-forcing and natural (showing only a four-card suit) up to 3NT or else above that a slam try, agreeing partner's suit. If you want to play in a part-score, all you can do is pass and hope partner finds a reopening double, then make your non-forcing bid.
Pass after doubleOstensibly promising a non-horrible four-card suit, willing to play in diamonds if partner has some too. Opener is expected to redouble if holding four-card trump support or a very good three, e.g. AKx. However the fact that partner isn't allowed to pass out the double means that there's a second option: it might also be a waiting bid on a hand with a diamond void! There's unlikely to be ambiguity because even if the opponents pre-empt in diamonds, the assumed hand type will be doubling for penalties, while the second hand type (void) will probably keep bidding.
RedoubleWants to double the opponents for penalties.To play, with a strong five-card suit. The 2D opener isn't allowed to pull the redouble. If the opponents try to run, all doubles are for penalties and no one is allowed to play the hand in an undoubled part-score.
2CStayman, promising either (a) a four-card major, or (b) a long minor suit and slam interest.
2Dtransfer to 2H
2Htransfer to 2S(a) transfer to no-trumps, either weak or slam-going or (b) with spades (including a hand that's 5-4 in the majors)
2Stransfer to the minorstransfer to clubs
2NT, but different responses if doubledtransfer to diamonds, game-forcing. (A hand that wanted to make a weak take-out in diamonds would simply pass the opening bid.)
2NTquantitative with 9 points or a good 8, inviting 3NT
2NT after doubleCan't be a transfer to diamonds because such a hand would pass or redouble. Instead shows a game-forcing 4441 hand with a singleton diamond.
2NT after overcallto play, not invitational. There's no longer any invitational sequence available after the opposition have intervened over our 1NT opening. You'll have to take a view and either bid 2NT or 3NT for yourself, either of which partner will pass.
3C after an intervening Unusual 2NT for the minorsStaymanic with game-going values, denying a five-card major.
3Cgame-forcing splinter, promising a four-card major and opening hand strength. Unlocks Blackwood. A hand that wants to splinter if 3-1 in the majors should go via 1NT-2S.Stayman (ordinary four-card)Five-Card Stayman, game-forcing and promising a four-card major
3Dgame-forcing splinter, promising a four-card major and opening hand strength. Unlocks Blackwood. A hand that wants to splinter if 3-1 in the majors should go via 1NT-2S.transfer to hearts
3Hgame-forcing splinter, promising a four-card major and opening hand strength. Unlocks Blackwood. A hand that wants to splinter if 3-1 in the majors should go via 1NT-2S.transfer to spadestransfer to 3NT
3Sgame-forcing splinter, promising a four-card major and opening hand strength. Unlocks Blackwood. A hand that wants to splinter if 3-1 in the majors should go via 1NT-2S.transfer to clubstransfer to 3NT
New suit after interventionNatural and non-forcing, to play, all conventions off. Opener is expected usually to pass. If instead they bid again after 1NT (2H) 2S, for instance, this is similar to breaking a transfer or raising partner's weak takeout. It's a gamble, obviously, but sometimes it strikes gold because partner will have been holding invitational values and the overcall deprived your side of an invitational sequence. It shows an encouraging maximum and if it's a new suit, promises a good five-card suit.
New suit after overcallNatural, at least a five-card suit, game-forcing. Makes no promise as to suit quality.
Jump shift after overcallIf four of a minor or 4NT, it's ace-asking. Otherwise it's to play and possibly pre-emptive.
Jump shift after interventionnatural, game-forcing
3NTto playmassive two-suiter in the minors
Cue-bid after overcallasking for a stop for 3NTTake-out, game-forcing, likely to have slam interest.
4CTransfer to next suit. Super-accepts are banned at the four level.massive two-suiter in the majors
4D, 4H, 4STransfer to next suit. Super-accepts are banned at the four level.
4D, 4H, 4S, 4NTtransfer to 4H, 4S, 5C and 5D respectively.
4NTquantitative invitation to 6NT
5 of a minorto play
5 of a major"pick a slam", 5440 shape with a void in the bid suit.
5 of a suitSolid eight-card suit, which has to be at least AKQxxxxx, and nothing of significance in the other three suits. AKxxxxxx isn't enough because if missing three cards including the queen, there's a 22% chance of a 3-0 trump break. Partner's response is to play, even if it's in a different suit.
5NTquantitative invitation to 7NTQuantitative invitation to 7NT, wanting to play the hand. Unlikely to have a five-card suit, because such a hand has the option of transferring and then jumping to 5NT.
any slamTo play, showing a no-loser trump suit at the six level. Not a transfer.To play and not a transfer, possibly holding extreme shape and concerned about an opposition sacrifice. The vulnerability will obviously make a big difference. Opener should be more cautious about an unexpected raise to seven than if responder had gone via a 3M 3NT relay sequence.
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Copyright 2015 Finn Clark.