# Difference between revisions of "User:Brian/Bridge/Responding to a weak opening"

A general rule is that the more unbalanced you and your partner's hands are, the less you can rely on counting points as a method of estimating trick-taking potential. Therefore, when partner makes a weak preemptive opening, instead of counting points, you should exercise judgement. For a weak two bid, usually partner will be able to provide at least four tricks in the trump suit but none in the other three suits. Use this information in conjunction with your own distribution and values to determine how to respond, if at all.

As a general rule, you still want to end up in a major suit game if it has a good chance of making; and if not, you want to end up in 3NT if it has a good chance of making; and if not, you want to consider extending partner's preempt to make it even harder for the opponents to overcall. Observe how the below response charts are ordered according to these priorities.

Responding to 2♦
If... then...
I have support for ♦ with slam interest Ask for keycards with 4NT, bid 5NT Grand Slam Force, or raise to slam directly.
I have a very good hand with an excellent major suit where I think we can make game Bid 4M; partner must pass.
I have a strong hand with stoppers in the other three suits and I think we can make 3NT Bid 3NT; partner must pass. (Note: you usually shouldn't do this without asking for a feature first, because if you are relying on partner's suit to supply some of the tricks, you need to be confident that you have an entry into partner's hand.)
I have a strong hand (15+ HCP) and I need to know more about where partner's strength lies in order to determine whether game is viable Bid 2NT, which is one-round forcing and asks for a "feature".
• A 3♦ response by partner shows a minimum.
• A 3NT response is to play and shows a non-minimum with solid ♦.
• A new suit is one-round forcing; it shows a non-minimum and a feature in that suit—ideally A(x) or Kx(x) but sometimes Qxx(x). You can now bid game in notrump or (more rarely) an excellent major suit, or sign off by returning to ♦.
I have a good hand with a good suit where I think we might have a better fit Bid your suit. A raise by partner shows support, while a return to 3♦ is a sign-off. Be sure you and your partner agree on:
• Whether the new suit bid is forcing. (Non-forcing new suits must be alerted.)
• What constitutes a "good" enough suit for responder to show, and hence how much opener needs to show "support".
• Whether a raise shows both support and a non-minimum, or simply support.
None of the above are true but I have 4+ card support for ♦ Raise to 4♦; opener must pass.
None of the above are true but I have 3 card support for ♦ Raise to 3♦; opener must pass.
Otherwise Pass.
Responding to 2M
If... then...
I have 4+ card support for partner's major Raise to 4M; partner must pass.
I have support for partner's major and enough playing strength to make game likely Raise to 4M; partner must pass.
• Some players use the Rule of 17, which says that you can raise to game if your HCP plus the number of cards you have in opponent's suit is at least 17. So 15+ HCP with 2-card support or 14+ HCP with 3-card support should be enough.
I have a strong hand with stoppers in the other three suits and I think we can make 3NT Bid 3NT; partner should pass. (Note: you usually shouldn't do this without asking for a feature first, because if you are relying on partner's suit to supply some of the tricks, you need to be confident that you have an entry into partner's hand.)
I have a strong hand (15+ HCP) and I need to know more about where partner's strength lies in order to determine whether game is viable See the forcing 2NT bid described in the previous section. Note that this can be useful either with or without support for partner's major.
I have a good hand with a good side suit where I think we might have a better fit See notes in the previous section about showing a new suit.
None of the above are true but I have 3 card support for partner's major Raise to 3M; opener must pass.
Otherwise Pass.

Responding to a weak three opening follows the same principles as responding to a weak two opening but with less bidding space available. Generally, you can assume partner's suit will provide at least five tricks as trumps. The 2NT feature asking bid is not available, so possible responses include:

• With slam interest, asking for keycards with 4NT, bidding 5NT Grand Slam Force, or raising to slam directly.
• Raising partner's suit with 3+-card support
• Raising partner's major with some support and a good hand
• Bidding 3NT with a strong hand and stoppers in the other three suits
• Bidding a new suit—make sure you and your partner agree on what this means. (For example, is a 4♥ response to 3♠ meant to be forcing, or does it just mean you think the heart game makes?)

Responding to a weak four opening follows the same general principles as responding to a weak two or three, but the available responses are even more limited. It's also going to be more difficult to judge what response is appropriate. Some partnerships mitigate these difficulties by avoiding opening 4 of a minor, preferring to open at the 3 level instead. Possible responses include:

• With slam interest, asking for keycards with 4NT, bidding 5NT Grand Slam Force, or raising to slam directly
• Raising partner's suit
• Bidding a new suit