It’s always a pleasure to find you’re holding a big one. But what to do with it? Should you handle it gently or grab the moment? As you’re aware, I’m no shrinking violet so my advice is that if you’ve got something worth showing – get it out there!
In most systems the biggest opening bid you can make is 2 Clubs. In Acol, 2C is a game force. Only the sequence:
2C PASS 2D PASS
can be passed out below game when the 2D bidder has nil points. Otherwise game must be bid.
If you hold a balanced hand with any of these distributions: 4333, 4432 or 5332, then you need to have 23+ HCP. However if you have more distribution, 6322, 5521 then, as a result of your presumed extra playing strength, you can have a few points less than 23, but certainly a minimum would be 20 HCP.
For balanced hands in the 20 - 22 HCP range the opening bid is 2NT. You need to tell partner very clearly that a) the hand belongs to your side and that b) you are the proud possessor of half or more of the available total HCP (40).
Most of the time when you overcall you’ll have about 9 - 16 HCP and partner will respond accordingly. So how to tell partner when you have a hand better than that? The answer is to start with a Double and then bid again – assuming the opponents have left you the space
to do so!
Whatever is opened on your right, your hand is too strong to overcall 1NT (15 - 17) so the strategy is to Double and then bid NT’s (at the lowest available level) and partner will know you are 18+ and take appropriate action.
is far too good for a simple 1S overcall, so again, Double first and then introduce the spades, making it clear to partner that you have a 17+ hand with spades.
It follows that when you do Double you cannot make another bid UNLESS you have 17+ HCP as partner will assume you hold one of the big hands. This is why when you respond to a Double
you must always make a jump bid with 9+ HCP. Of course, never assume partner does have one of the big hands. Wait to be told.
We Open And They Double
Partner opens 1S and opponent on your right Doubles. What’s your strategy? Most of the time you can either ignore the double and bid naturally OR – with a fit for partner – make some appropriate pre-emptive raise. But there is another weapon you can use when you do NOT have a fit for partner but you do have 9+ HCP. It’s the very little used blue one with the two XX’s on it: RE-DOUBLE!
Now, partner knows that as a partnership you hold at least half the points between you and will know what to do.
Oh yes they will…