Extra Help for Beginners

If you like to do additional quizzes to test and challenge yourself on your knowledge and understanding of the bidding rules, go to “A Teacher First” Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ateacherfirst. The answers to the quizzes are posted on this website under “Quizzes/Answers from Facebook Page” (sidebar on the right).

Here are some more topics to help beginners:

(1) Forcing and Non-Forcing Bids

When can you pass your partner’s bid and when must you bid something? This is often a dilemma for beginners. There are certain standard rules regarding forcing and non-forcing bids. It’s extremely important to be “in sync” with your partner so you both understand when a bid can or cannot be passed. Communication is so important in order to reach the best possible contract at the optimum level.

Forcing and Non-Forcing Opening Bids

Forcing and Non-Forcing Bids – Rules and Samples

Quiz – Forcing and Non-Forcing Bids

Quiz Answers


(2) There are times when players will “cue bid” the opponent’s suit. That means, they will bid the same suit as opponent. This does not show strength in opponent’s suit; in fact, it shows something quite different. Sometimes you can give a very accurate description of your hand to your partner by cue bidding your opponent’s suit. There are many different kinds and meanings of cue bids. Here is some information on simple cue bids and Michaels cue bid, if you wish to add these to your bidding strategies.

Simple Cue Bid

Michaels Cue Bid

When should you use a double, Michaels cue bid, a simple overcall or pass?
Here’s a quiz to test you and the answers to guide you.


Quiz Answers


(3) What strategy will you use when your partner opens 1NT and your right-hand opponent interferes with a bid? What should you do if you have 5 cards in one major and 4 in the other? Here are some advanced level bids to respond to a 1NT opening:

1 NT Advanced Responses


(4) Reverse Bids — Be careful when opening the bidding with 5 cards in one suit and 4 cards in a higher-ranking suit (e.g. 5 diamonds and 4 hearts). If you bid 1♦, Partner responds 1♠ (skipping the 1♥ bid), you must not bid 2♥ unless you have 16+ pts. On the other hand, if you have 16+ pts, you can bid 2♥ and Partner will know that you have 16+ pts, 5 diamonds and 4 hearts.

Here is a lesson on reverse bids:

Reverse Bids

Quiz on Reverse Bids

Quiz Answers


(5) Assessing Strength — How high should you bid? Do you have game level?
When you bid, you should be looking for an 8-card fit in a major suit, a NT contract, or as a fall-back, a minor-suit contract. Knowing when a bid is forcing or non-forcing is essential to assess how high to bid (see above lesson on that topic). In the first round, try to find a suit. Responder does not need to jump in the first round — a change of suit is forcing. However, in the second round, opener needs to jump to show a medium or maximum hand. If opener’s rebid is not a jump or a reverse (thereby showing just a minimum hand), then responder needs to jump to show a medium or maximum hand. In other words, in the first round, try to find a fit in a suit or NT. In the second round, you must show point count or you could miss out on game. Here is a chart to help you assess when you have game level points or not. And keep in mind that sometimes it is difficult. For example, if opener has 14 pts and responder is showing a medium hand, game could be there if responder has 11 pts, but probably not if responder has 10 pts. Of course, there are other factors that affect the outcome — the lead card, the position of key cards, and the strategy of playing the hand so sometimes game in a major or NT is makeable, even with fewer than 25 pts. These are some of the challenges of bridge that make it such an interesting game!

Bidding Sequences for Opener

Here is a chart that can help you assess the strength of your partnership. It also shows and emphasizes the differences in responding to a 1-of-a-suit opening and a NT opening bid.

Assessing Strength