Eddie Kantar


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This section is for advanced players. I kid you not.

However, there is one story I think you will like. It is under the the title:  Drawing Trumps Immediately- An Idea Worth Some Thought.  It is about a third of the way down this file. 

I plan to use parts of this section to reprise articles I have previously written, many for Popular Bridge, a now defunct magazine. In addition, I threw in some bidding ideas I have had over the years. One always thinks one's ideas are original, but you never know. On the other hand, some of these ideas are so far out, I'm sure nobody would want to claim them!



South      West (you)     North       East 
1C            Pass               1NT           Pass 
Pass        2C (natural)   

                2D  (majors-weak) 

The rationale is that you are unlikely to have diamonds since you didn't overcall 1D.

Also, the 2D reopening bid must be weak because you didn't bid 2C originally, Michaels, to show the majors.

South       West  (you)      North      East
1D             Pass                 1NT        Pass 
Pass         2C (majors)  

                2D (natural) 

The rationale is that North usually has clubs for a 1NT response to a one DIAMOND opening so you probably wouldn't be a happy camper if you repened with a natural 2C bid. Besides, they never let you play 2C.

After a minor suit opening bid by partner and a 1NT overcall. 

1C    1NT    2C (you)   Majors    J10xxx  A10xxx  x   xx  

1D    1NT    2D  (you)  Majors    (same as above)

You get more mileage by showing both majors with a single raise than you do with a natural raise of partner's minor. Without this convention, you have to guess which major to bid.
The range is approximately 5-8 HCP.  Not a totally hopeless hand. 


1S              1NT 
2NT            3C  (transfer to 3D)
                  3D  (transfer to 3H)  
                  3H   (minors)  
                  3S   (weak raise to 2S with a side suit small doubleton)   

Sorry, no clubs!   This set of responses gets the hand played from the right side, plus allowing the responder to show a two-suiter.

1H                 1NT 
2NT               3C   (natural, not forcing)                 

                     3D   (natural, not forcing)

                     3H    (weak raise to 2H with a side suit small doubleton)
                     3S    (both minors, at least 5-5)



North            East           South (you)
1NT               2H              ? 

2S= Natural, not forcing. 
Dbl= Stayman with a heart stopper
2NT= Transfer to  3C  
3C = Transfer to  3D 
3D = Transfer to 3S  
3H =  Minors, game force

3S  = Forcing, natural

3NT=  Natural with a heart stopper   
4C  =  Gerber (for aces only-3014 responses) 
4H  =  Transfer to 4S  (If followed by 4NT, Keycard Blackwood)
4NT = Natural 

After a 2NT transfer to 3C, you can:     

(1) Pass  
(2)  bid 3D or 3S, natural, showing 6-4 with 6 clubs, forcing.
(3) bid 3H.  Delayed cuebid-cancels club message-Stayman, no heart stopper.
(4) bid 3NT. Delayed 3NT bid-cancels club message- natural, no heart stopper.

After a 3C transfer to 3D, you can: 

(1)  Pass 
(2)  Bid 3S or 4C  to show 6 diamonds and 4 cards in the next bid suit.
(3)  Bid 3NT, a balanced slam try in diamonds.

After a 3D transfer to 3S, you can

(1) Bid 3NT and give partner a choice of game contracts.
(2) Raise to 4S, a slam try 
(3)  Bid a new suit, natural, probably 5-5.
(4)  Bid 4NT, natural, with five spades

North     East           South (you)

1NT        2S              ?   (similar to previous list)

Double=  Stayman with a spade stop.
2NT = transfer to 3C  
3C = transfer to  3D 
3D=  tranfer to hearts

3H  = Forcing hearts
3S =  Minors, game force.

3NT=  Natural, with a spade stop. 
4C  = Gerber  (3014 responses) 
4D=   Transfer to 4H (if followed by 4NT, Keycard Blackwood)

4H  = To play
4NT = Natural


The downside of this method is that you cannot double 2H or 2S for penalties.    However, if you have length and strength in their suit but not enough to guarantee game, pass. If partner is short in their suit and has a maximum or near maximum, he is supposed to reopen with a takeout double which you will pass.


Opener          Partner                     Responder        You
2D (weak)      2NT (15-18)               Pass                    ?

3C= Stayman
3D= Transfer to 3H  (Partner should jump to 4H with a max)
3H = Transfer to 3S (Partner  should jump to 4S with a max)
3S = Clubs, slammish
3NT, 4NT =  Natural
4C = Gerber
4D = Transfer to 4H   (followed by 4NT=Keycard Blackwood)
4H = Transfer to 4S   (followed by 4NT=Keycard Blackwood)

Opener                    Partner        Responder        You 
2H (weak)                2NT              Pass                   ?

3C= Transfer to 3D.  After the transfer you can pass, bid 3H to show a diamond slam try with a singleton heart, bid 3S to show 6 diamonds and 4 spades, bid 3NT or 4NT to show balanced slam tries in diamonds or bid 4C to show a minor two-suiter.  

3D=  Transfer to 3S   (partner should bid 4S with a max)

3H=  Stayman- if followed by 4C, clubs plus spades, slammish.
3S=  Clubs-slammish
3NT, 4NT =Natural
4C= Gerber
4H = Transfer to 4S   (If followed by 4NT=Keycard Blackwood)

Opener                  Partner        Responder        You

2S (weak)              2NT             Pass                   ?

3C= Transfer to diamonds (if followed by 4C= minor two suiter, )

3D=  Transfer to hearts. If followed by 4NT, natural.   
3H=  Clubs-slammish

3S=   Stayman

4C=   Gerber

4D=   Transfer to 4H. If followed by 4NT, keycard for hearts.  


After a 3C transfer to diamonds you can:

(1) pass.

(2) bid 3H to show 6 diamonds and 4 hearts.

(3) bid 3S to show a singleton spade, slammish in diamonds.

(4) bid 3NT or 4NT, natural, with long diamonds.  

(5) bid 4C to show the minors, slammish.  

(6) bid 4D  Keycard in diamonds.

After a  3D transfer to hearts, you can:

(1)  Pass

(2)  cuebid 3S, a slam try in hearts

(3)  bid 3NT to give partner a choice between hearts and notrump.

(3)  bid 4C or 4D to show a two-suited hand with hearts and the bid minor
(4)  bid 4H, a balanced slam try in hearts.    



Opener       Responder

1S               1NT

2C               3D?

What does 3D mean in this sequence?  If you play that an original 2D response followed by 3D is forcing, you could use 3D as an invitational bid in diamonds. However, if you play that 2D followed by 3D is invitational, you don't need 3D to be invitational.

My idea is that shows something like: S. 4  H. A9432  D. A86432  C. 10

A diamond-heart two suiter with 5-5 or 5-6 in the reds (6 diamonds, not 6 hearts) and not quite enough to respond at the two level originally.


If you play that the sequence 1C-2NT or 1D-2NT by responder shows 13-15 balanced, this might work for you. It sure has for me. 

1C- 2NT     13-15  allowed to have a four card major lacking three honor cards.

3C               Stayman, balanced, no singleton   

3D,3H,3S    Singleton  (could have a four card major)

4C                Gerber, clubs agreed. 


3D                Stayman, balanced, no singletons
3H, 3S         Singleton (could have other major)

3C                Shows one of three hand types:  (1)  Singleton club  (2)  5-5  diamonds and clubs)  (3)  2-2-5-4  with slam possibities  (17-18 HCP)

                     Responder relays to 3D (forced) to find out which hand type opener has. 



3H                Singleton club

3S                5-5 minors

3NT              Strong, balanced with a 2-2-5-4  hand pattern.


Opener       Responder

S. Kxx        S. Axxx

H. x            H. Axx

D. AJxxx    D. Kx

C. A109x   C. Qxxx 

1D             2NT
3H (1)       3S (2)

4C (3)       4H (4)

5C   (5)     Pass

(1) Singleton

(2) 4 card suit 

(3) Natural, not interested in 3NT.  

(4) Slam try for clubs.

(5) 5C  Turning down the slam try.  

3NT is shaky; 4S is playable, 5C is reasonable.

2C (strong and artificial    2NT  (response)  showing both minors; perhaps:  x   xx  Q10xxx  KQJxx

Hands like this are hard to describe after a strong, artificial, 2C opening bid. ​



Responding to a Flannery 2D opening bid.

If you play Flannery, you might want to try these responses to a 2D opening bid. 

2D- 2H, 2S, 3NT, 4H, 4S        To play

2D- 3C, 3D                            Forcing

2D- 3H, 3S                            Game forcing, slammish

2D- 4C                                  Transfer to 4H    If followed by 4NT, RKB with 1430 responses.

2D - 4D                                 Transfer to 4S    If followed bv 4NT, RKB with 1430 responses

2D-  2NT (not a game force)   Responses: 3C, 3D = three card suits. 3H=4-5-2-2 minimum. 3S=4-5-2-2 maximum with most of the strength in the majors.  3NT=4-5-2-2 maximum with strength in both minors.  

4C,4D-Four card suits. Need a maximum to do this.
4H- 4-6 in the majors with strong spades and weakish hearts.  S. AK109  H. Q86543  D. A7  C. 6  




The 5NT response to a 4NT ask (let's say that spades is the agreed suit), shows some void with '2' keycards. (Too dangerous to use the bid to show a void with '0' keycards.) The 4NT bidder usually will know where that void is, but just in case, a bid of 6C asks the 5NT bidder to name his void: 

6D= diamond void

6H = heart void

6S= club void 

If the 4NT is more interested in a queen-ask, a grand slam try, instead of bidding 6C, 6D can be used as the queen-ask. 

If hearts is the agreed suit and the response is 5NT, 6D is the queen-ask and hope the 4NT bidder has an inkling where the void is.

With 1' or '3' keycards and a void, responder jumps to the six level of the void suit, so there is no need to ask for the void.

The next step, if not the agreed suit, is the queen-ask, a grand slam try.
6D directly after the 5NT response is the queen-ask.


Opener         Responder

1NT               2C

2S                 ?

How does responder make a slam try?  How about this?

Opener       Responder

1NT            2C

2S              3H  Unknown singleton. Opener bids 3S to find out where the singleton is. Responder bids the singleton suit. 

                  4C   Keycard Blackwood for spades

                  4D   Balanced slam try with four spades: (15-16 HCP) S. AQxx   H. Kx   D. AJxx   C. Jxx

                  4H   Six hearts and four spades, slammish. 

Opener       Responder

1NT             2C

2H               3S   Unknown singleton, slammish. 3NT asks.  4C =singleton club , 4D =singleton diamond, and 4H =singleton spade.

                   4C   Keycard Blackwood for hearts (3140)

                   4D   Balanced slam try 



After major suit agreement, a jump above the game level by the stronger hand is Exclusion Keycard Blackwood (EKB). There are four keycards in play the three aces outside of the ask suit (the asker's void suit) plus the king of the agreed suit. Responses are by steps and the first step is '0', the second step is '1' the third step is '2 without' and the fourth step is '2 with'.

The next step after a '1' response is the queen-ask. If the asker's next bid is 5NT and it is not a next step queen-ask, it is a specific king ask and the king of the asker's void suit is not counted.

The major exception to a king ask response occurs when the responder has only one king, it is the king of the asker's void suit, it is lower ranking than the agreed suit AND THE RESPONDER ALSO HAS THE ACE OF THE SUIT, a card that the asker doesn't know about. Knowing the responder has the AK of the void suit might allow the asker to play 6NT or perhaps a grand slam.  The bid costs nothing as it is beneath the six level of the agreed suit.


Essays started 1/28/03

Let's begin  with an article I wrote for the ACBL Bulletin back in June of 1979, entitled:


To be a good bridge player you must be technically sound-but you must be psychologically sound as well. The latter is known as "reading the position" or knowing something the cards don't actually tell you. Knowing what's going on is another way to put it.

Along with others, I like to think that I can read my opponents- their mannerisms as well as their telltale hesitations.    Once diagnosed they can be put to good use during the play.

Not long ago my good friend John Szeps and I were looking for some tough competition so we decided to play in the mighty side game at a Torrance Sectional. I told John to fill out the convention card. Whatever he put down would be our system for the evening.

He returned his scratch marks to me and I noted we were playing strong two bids! Strong two bids? Oh well, I thought, they never come up, so what if I don't remember the responses.

As luck would have it, one came up and we survived it. However, the experience was so unnerving that John suggested we go back to Weak Twos and Flannery.   "Fine" I said, feeling a little more comfortable. But I did hear John muttering: "I hate Flannery."

Things were going along smoothly (no revokes) until the next to last round when I picked up vul. vs not, this motley collection:  
S. Q8   H. 87   D. AJ4  C. Q97632

I heard John open 2D in the North seat. I immediately alerted. My RHO, PhyLLis* Cook asked about the bid, received an explanation that it showed five hearts and four spades with about 12-15 HCP and passed.

*PhyLLis with two l's and one s. I was married to a Phyllis and misspelled it once. Not good.

Anyway, I tried 2H which ended the auction. I did notice that PhyLLis passed slowly and John once again muttered: "I hate Flannery."

My LHO, Audrey Ellis of Manhattan Beach, led the CK at which time John asked if he was allowed to bid over 2H.  I said it would be unusual, but would he please put down the dummy so I could see what was bothering him so much.    Finally he produced: 
S. A632  H. AJ1032   D. KQ6  C. 4

I told him he had done just fine... that his hand wasn't worth another bid. He nodded, but I knew  he wanted to bid again. And now on to the play-the memorable play.

North ( Disgruntled John)

S. A632
H. AJ1032
D. KQ6
C. 4

South (Reasonably contented Eddie) 
S. Q8
H. 87
D. AJ4
C. Q97632

At trick two Audrey shifted to the D10.    I decided to win this in dummy and lead a low spade-a play which met with universal approval from the players (two) I dared to show the hand afterwards.

What followed can hardly be described. PhyLLis won the SK and Audrey discarded a club. Very well, I thought, if they want to revoke, let them.

A spade came back and Audrey ruffed and returned a diamond which PhyLLis ruffed and returned another spade. I decided to discard my now blank DA, a big play in a side game and Audrey ruffed. Unhesitatingly she played a third diamond which PhyLLis ruffed with the nine, of course. A fourth spade was returned ruffed by Audrey with the king. She then played a 4th diamond allowing East (I won't write her name again) to make her now blank HQ.

At this point both opponents cheerfully conceded ("I don't have any more trumps!" "Neither do I.")  Dummy had all trump and nothing else.

It was time to assess the debacle, but it was difficult because everybody (except South) was laughing hilariously.  I mentally noted the following:

(1)  I had taken five tricks.

(2)  Trumps were 3-3, the honors divided and I had managed to lose 6 trump tricks

(3)  Had I ruffed the third spade with the H7 I would have saved two tricks. 

(4)  I had probably set a record which I should submit to the Guiness Book of Records for most trump tricks lost in a part score contract.

(5) Drawing  trumps immediately is a technique I will consider more carefully in the future.


The following is an amended article I wrote for Popular Bridge


The purpose of this article is to review some of the common sequences dealing with the redouble and finally to present ideas on the subject from experts around the world.

Let's start with the one we are all familiar with:

South    West    North   East

1H          Dbl.       Rdbl.    ?

*North is announcing a hand of upwards of 10 HCP (usually 11+) and does NOT promise a heart fit.   In fact, the redouble usually denies four or more hearts.    In addition, North promises another bid.   " The bottom line is that either North-South declare or East-West play the hand.... doubled!

* An idea worth considering sitting North with 9-10 support points in the above sequence:  S. A87   H.  J105   D. KJ32  C. J54  is to pass and then bid hearts at your next opportunity to show this strength hand. This assumes partner passes at his next opportunity. If partner bids, jump in hearts. It works like a charm and allows you to raise to 2H directly with 6-8 support points and redouble with 11+ support points. Don't forget to mention this to your partner, by the way. . 

What do East's actions mean over the redouble?   Keep in mind that it is  unlikely that East has very much.   There just isn't room for all four players to have to have good hands and three have already announced as much.   Assume South, North are ALL bidding on minimums.   Let's say South and West each have 12 HCP and North has only 10.   This leaves East with an unlikely 6 HCP.   In real life it is more like 2 to 4!

One option East has is to pass which denies a five card side suit or a strongish four card minor.   (East should bid 1S with any four spades).   A pass suggests that West should rescue himself.   A 1NT response indicates strength in the opponent's suit and little else.   It will probably be doubled, but still may be the best place to play.    Finally, a jump in a new suit is preemptive and should be taken with a grain of salt.   When the bid to your right is strong (redouble), a jump by you is weak.

How would you handle these East hands on the above sequence, neither vul.                                     ...

a.  S. 84            H. KJ106       D. 7643       C. 943
b.  S. 93            H.  J876        D.  J4           C. J10543
c.   S. QJ843      H.  1084       D.  8            C. 10654
d.  S. 94            H. 10532      D. KJ9432    C. 9
e.  S. 943          H. Q843        D. J3            C. 9532 
f.   S.82             H.  107532    D. 86           C. KJ93

a.   Pass. If partner bids 1S and they double, run to 1NT. Basically you are trying to get out alive (undoubled). You could bid 1NT immediately, but that is sure to be doubled.    

b. 2C.  Be thankful you have a five card suit.

c.  2S   Preemptive. Partner usually has 4 spades, so nothing terrible is going to happen. Besides, you may uncover a good save.  

d.  3D   Preemptive. This one is a stand out with a six card suit.

e.  Pass. With nowhere to go- go nowhere. Let partner bid his best suit.

f.  2C    A strong 4 card suit can be shown at the two level particularly without spade length. 

Let's go back to the redoubler. All hands with 11+ HCP do not have to redouble. A new suit at the ONE level is forcing and unlimited as is a follow up jump in a new suit.   

South     West     North (you)    East

1C          Dbl.         1H (1)           Pass
2C          Pass       3D (1)

(1) Forcing

Experience has shown that it seldom pays to redouble with a two-suited hand. Before you can show both suits you may be in the stratosphere particularly if they bid, or heaven forbid, they preempt.   North might have:  S.  97   H. AK865   D. AQ1094   C. 8 

Even though a one level response after a takeout double is forcing, a two level response is NOT. Therefore, you almost have to redouble with 10+ HCP- when you have a suit that has to be shown at the two level.   

For example:

South       West     North (you)    East
1H            Dbl.       ?

a.   S.  A87  H. 43   D. 87   C. QJ10743    (Bid 2C, not forcing) 

b.   S.  AK9  H. 43   D. 107   C. QJ10743    (Rdbl and then bid clubs (forcing)

Hand (b) is a bit too strong to make a non-forcing response. Fortunately pure 10 point hands with suits that require a 2 level response don't up come up all that often.

Another idea which has taken hold is this:
If you pass over the double and later double the opponents after they run out, you are telling partner in no uncertain terms to shut up!    You have them nailed.

South    West    North (you)     East
1H         Dbl.      ?

You are looking at:  S. AQ108      H. 2      D. KQ94       C. QJ93

Clearly the opponents are in BIG trouble and you are definitely looking at a juicy penalty even at the one level- so why not redouble?

The reason is subtle.    If you redouble, partner with a weak hand and a long suit is allowed to bid in front of you to warn you of that weak hand.    However, If you pass, partner will fear bidding again with a weak distributional hand thinking you may have nothing.    Since you do not want partner to bid with a weak hand and a long suit, pass to shut him up!   Later when either East or West runs, you lash them with a double. 

Finally if you have four or more cards in partner's major suit opening bid which means you have at least a nine card fit (and also means they have at least an 8 card fit), it is a waste of time to redouble.    What you can do is respond 2NT, artificial, to show a limit raise in partner's suit, or 3NT, also artificial, to show an opening bid, balanced, with at least 4 card support. With a natural 2NT or 3NT response, redouble first.  Given the previous sequence: 

With:  S. K4   H. QJ86    D. K432   C. 654     Respond 2NT

With   S  AJ8  H. A10874   D. K5   C. 976     Respond  3NT.  

Finally, put yourself in the South position, the opening bidder, and assume that East, 4th hand, has either bid or passed.  What should you do?   Usually nothing!  Your partner has PROMISED another bid and you should not cross his intentions by making a noise unless you have a "weak freak".   Most strong hands and all balanced hands pass and give partner a chance to clarify the redouble and perhaps double the opponents.    

Given the model sequence, these are South's options assuming RHO has bid 1S.

a.  Pass   The most common action. The "pass" denies a weakish or freakish distributional hand.

b.  Rebid your orginal suit. A simple rebid indicates a minimum opening bid with a 6 or 7 card suit and not much defense.

c. Jump in your suit. Not all that strong a rebid. It shows a trick-taking hand, a little too good to preempt originally, but limited in HCP- usually 12-14.  The jump is forcing. 

d.  Bid a new suit. Normally a weak 5-5 hand. 

e.  Jump in a new suit. This is similar to jumping in your own suit. You have a trick-taking two-suiter, but limited in high card strength, usually 12-14 HCP. The jump is forcing. 

 Keep in mind these jump bids are nothing to write home about.

Assume the bidding has proceeded with neither side vulnerable:

South (you)    West    North    East

1H                   Dbl.     Rdbl.    2C   ==

What would you do with each of the following hands? 

a.  S. A87  H. AKJ85  D. 976  C. 82

b.  S. 864  H. KQJ865   D. KQ8   C. 4

c.  S. A4    H. AK875     D. KQ107  C. 97

d.  S. 86    H. KQJ9764  D. KQJ  C. 2

e.  S.  A9   H. KQ987     D. Q8   C. Q1076

f.   S.  94    H. KQ865    D. KQJ85   c. 2

g.  S. 4       H.  AQ9764  H. KQJ96   C. 3

H.  S. A8    H. AQJ87    D. AQ1095   C. 8

a.  Pass   You have a balanced hand. End of discussion. 

b.  2H       Showing a minimum opening with at least 6 good hearts    

c.   Pass   Give partner a chance to double- he promised another bid.

d.  3H       Strictly a trick taking bid-notice the 12 HCP.

e  Dbl.    With four reasonable cards in their suit, you are expected to dbl.

f.  2D       A weak 5-5 because you didn't give partner a chance to dbl. 2C.

g.  3D      Not strong (13-14 HCP) but distributional- more distributional than  

                a rebid of 2D.  

h. Pass    A jump would not show this strong of a hand. You will catch up later.
               Alternatively, you might cuebid 3C and then bid diamonds to show a 

               serious red two-suiter with slam on the brain.  





 A redouble can be, and frequently is, used as a request for partner to bid another suit. These S.O.S  rescue redoubles are relatively common. 

It goes without saying that misunderstandings over the possible meanings of "redouble" have cost many a partnership, friendship, marriage (pick three). 

Let's get this common sequence out of the way:  

South (you)    West     North     East 
1D                  Pass     Pass        Dbl. 

This is NOT an S.O.S  redouble.  This is a strength-showing redouble, typically upwards of 18 HCP. It announces to partner that this may still be "our hand" if he can cough up something.  Your hand should be stronger than a strong notrump opening bid. It should also show at least five diamonds.

Assuming the opponents bid, partner should mention any five card suit or give belated support if he has it. 

Before leaving this sequence, assume for the moment that you are West sitting in back of the redoubler.    Without the redouble, you would be forced to bid (unless you had length and strength in diamonds).   With the redouble are you off the hook? 

Not really. A PASS WHEN SITTING IN BACK OF A SUIT THAT HAS BEEN REDOUBLED IN THIS SEQUENCE IS CONSIDERED A PENALTY PASS. Unless you have great diamonds, you have to come up with some bid. 

Now put yourself in the East seat in this sequence: 

South     West     North    East (you) 
1D          Dbl.      Rdbl.     ? 

This time you are sitting in front of the diamonds (the diamonds are to your left as opposed to being to your right). In such sequences a pass is non-committal perhaps:  
S. Q84  H. J43  D. 10874 C. 1098.
Your pass tells partner to rescue himself; you don't have a decent suit to bid.      

Now it is time to look at a sequence where a takeout double has been followed by a penalty pass. 

South (you)   West        North        East 
1D                  Dbl.         Pass        Pass  (penalty pass-presumably long, strong, diamonds. 
Rdbl  ? 

This is a new ball game.   East's pass indicates long and strong diamonds.   You might be in big trouble if your diamonds are relatively weak.  


Say you are gazing at: 

S. A54  H. AQ4  D. 10876  C. QJ4 

Clearly you don't relish playing 1D doubled against a known stack.  " Redouble" asks partner to bid her longest suit. If partner has something like: 
S. 10765       H. K732      D. 52      C. 1076  

Partner bids 1H, even if they double, you are surely in a better contract than 1D doubled!  

 Here are some other S.O.S. sequences you should be familiar with.  This one comes up after a 1S opening specifically.  

East     South (you)   West    North 
1S        Dbl.               Rdbl     Pass 
Pass      ? 

Partner's pass is non-committal denying a five card side suit. Indeed on a bad day partner might have something truly beautiful that looks like this:

S 10764      H. J42          D. 8742      C. 1087  

You, on the other hand, may have doubled with something like this:
S.  4           H.  AQ53       D. A965      C. QJ32

What should you do keeping in mind partner has no five card suit (other than perhaps, spades)? With these two hands you belong in diamonds, but how to get there?  

Bid 1NT!   This will surely be doubled and now you  can redouble for rescue.    Partner bids 2D, they may double, but at least you are in your best spot, and even better you don't have to play it, partner does! 

One of the beauty of S.O.S. redoubles is that it is a great way of avoiding being declarer on hands where you are about to go for a number. Don't get too carried away. You are still going for a number, but it is partner who is going for it, not you. 

Then there are the those times when partner's overcall  has been doubled for takeout and converted by a penalty pass:  

West    North   East    South (you) 
1S       2H         Pass   Pass 
Dbl.     Pass      Pass   ? 

Say you hold: 
S. 873      H. --       D. QJ943       C. K10932 

East has announced heart length and strength by passing.  It is likely that partner has six hearts and East five or partner has five hearts and East six! In any case, if you decide to run, run with an S.O.S. redouble telling partner you have SERIOUS length in the unbid suits. On a good day partner will have three cards in one of your minor suits and a tragedy may be averted. Notice that you shouldn't run just because you are short in partner's suit, you must have one or two reasonable suits of your own.  

A few more principles: ---


South         West        North (you)     East  
1S               Pass        2S                   Dbl. 
Rdbl.          Pass         Pass                3C 
Pass          Pass         ? 

Partner's pass is forcing as the redouble has committed your side to playing in at least three spades or doubling the opponents.    


South (you)     West         North            East 
1S                     Pass         2S                Pass 
Pass                  Dbl.          Rdbl.             3C 
Pass                 Pass           ?   

Your final pass is not forcing.  North is the "weak hand" and has shown a maximum raise with good defense. Your final pass shows a minimum with the inability to double 3C. The final decision is up to North, but he is allowed to pass. 

And finally dealing with an  obvious  cuebid  partner makes in a slammish auction.     

South (you)      West        North        East 
1S                     Pass        3S (1)       Pass 
4C (2)                Pass       4D (2)      Dbl. 

(1)  Limit raise  
(2)  Cuebid 

Good partnerships have agreements on the meaning of your various possible bids at this point. The following is a possibility:  

Pass — Denies 1st or 2nd round diamond control.  

Bidding anything  including 4S — Shows 1st rd diamond control, ace or void. You don't figure to have either of these. A return to the agreed suit, besides showing first round control in the doubled suit also denies anything else to cuebid.

Redouble — Shows 2nd round diamond control.  (king or singleton)  

Let's say you are looking at each of these three hands in this sequence: 

(a)   S. AKJ53  H. KQJ3  D. 875  C. A 

(b)   S. AKJ53  H. AQ104  D. 7  C. A94 

(c)   S. AK8743   H. AQ4  D. -   C. KQ52 

With (a) pass denying 1st or 2nd round diamond control.  

With (b) redouble showing 2nd rd. control (either the king or a singleton). 

With (c)  bid 4H showing 1st round diamond control and 1st round heart control.  



1D- 2C
2H   ?

Does the 2H bid show extras?  Can opener have three diamonds? Does opener promise more diamonds than hearts? This sequence is troublesome.

My take: I think 2H shows extras, typically with five or six diamonds and four hearts. I also think that 2S by responder in this sequence can, by agreement, serve as a relay asking opener to clarify distribution and strength.  Note:  Not everyone plays this way.     2S   (Tell me more)

Opener rebids as follows:

2NT     (4-4-4-1 - 12- to a bad 15)  
3C       (1-4-5-3 - 15+ HCP)
3D       (2-4-5-2  - 15+ HCP)
3H       (-  4-6-      15+ HCP)
3S       (3-4-5-1     15+ HCP)
3NT    (4-4-4-1       15-18 HCP)  
4H      (   5-6          (14-16 HCP)
4NT    (4-4-4-1 -     (19-20 HCP)



If you use this scheme, rebid 2NT over 2C with: S. Kxx  H. KQxx  D. AJxx  C. xx .    Do not rebid 2H, you are not strong enough. If you have 15-17 with this distribution, open 1NT; with 18-19, open 1D and rebid 3NT over 2C. It is basically responder's duty to show majors after a minor suit opening. The 2C response doesn't deny a four card major, but if responder has one, he should be strong enough to show it later.   

Also, rebid 2D with hands like this:  S. Kx  H. Axxx D. KQxxxx C. xx  You are not quite strong enough to rebid 2H even with this promising distribution.

Responder uses the 2S relay only when he wants information.    If responder wants to give information, he dismisses the 2S relay and makes a natural rebid.

What should opener (you) do with the following hands after partner makes a 2S relay ask?

Opener (you)     Responder
1D                       2C
2H                       2S

(a) S. 2   H. AKJ4  D. KQJ874  C. 93

(b)  S. A876  H. KJ98  D. KJ97  C. 5

(c)   S. 5   H. AKJ4  D. KQ874  C. A54

(d)   S .K1076   H. KQ94  D. AKJ9  C. 6

(e)   S. 43  H. AKQ8  D. AK984  C. 108

 (f)   S. AJ8  H. AK54  D. KJ1087  C. 3

(g)   S. 4   H. AKJ94  D. AQJ876  C. 2

(h)   S. AKJ4  H. AQ109  D. AJ54  C. 9 


(a)  3D  4 hearts and 6 diamonds - 14+ HCP. 

(b)  2NT  A 4-4-4-1 - 12-14 HCP. 

(c)  3C    Showing this exact distribution - 15+ HCP) 

(d)  3NT  A 4-4-4-1 hand - 15-17 HCP.  

(e)   3D   2-4-5-2  with 15+ HCP

(f)  3S     This exact distribution - 15+ HCP.

(g) 4H     5 hearts and 6 diamonds - 14-16 HCP

(h)  4NT   4-4-4-1  - 18-20 HCP

The Bottom Line: 

Opener cannot have three diamonds in this sequence. 

Opener cannot have four hearts and five diamonds and a minimum opening. 

Opener cannot have 4-4 in the reds with 3-2 in the blacks. With this distribution, opener rebids 2NT or 3NT or opens 1NT. 

If you try this,  let me know how it works.



In response to a 4C opening bid, it is not a bad idea to play a response of 4D asks opener for any singleton.   Responses are as follows:    A response of 4H or 4S shows a singleton in that suit, a response of 4NT shows a singleton diamond and a return to 5C denies a singleton.

Opener                              Responder
S. 52                                   S. AKQ76
H. Q3                                  H. A87
D. 5                                     D. 1083
C. AQJ107432                     C. K5

Opener                              Responder
4C                                      4D (1)
4NT (2)                               6C  (3)

(1)  Asks for singleton
(2) Singleton diamond
(3)  Voila!

This method does not work after an opening bid of 4D unless you are prepared to use 4H to ask for a singleton.

After opening bids of 4H or 4S it is reasonable to play that a response in a new suit is an asking bid in that suit, NOT natural.

Opener                             Responder 
S. 5                                   S. AKJ54
H. KQJ107643                    H. A92 
D. 65                                 D. AK4
C. 108                               C. J5

Opener                             Responder
4H                                      5C (1)

(1) What do you have in clubs? 

Responses are by steps, but a return opener's suit (5H) is the weakest response. It shows two or more quick losers and does not count as a step. In this sequence, 5D is the first step:

1st step-5D= a singleton.

2nd step: 5S= the ace
5NT=   guarded king (does not count as a step)

3rd step= Void

Nearest notrump shows the guarded king and takes precedence over all other steps.

In the example opener rebids 5H showing 2 or more quick club losers and responder passes.


This article was inspired by an idea that I always thought was playable, but was afraid to mention it in print, namely responding to 1NT with a jump to the three level to show a singleton in the bid suit. More about that later. Well, when I read a Ron Klinger's article promoting this idea, (he only mentions that the jump must not include a five card major) I came up with this to follow up on that premise.

Opener          Responder
1NT               2C
2D                 3C, 3D  Invitational.   Probably has a 4 card major.  

S. Kxxx  H. x  D. xx  C. A10xxxx

 3H, 3S  Smolen.   Game force showing four cards in the bid major and five cards in the other major. This allows the hand to be played from the strong side if opener has three cards in responder's five card major. S. AJxxx  H. KJxx  D. xx  C. Jx   Bid 2C and then 3H over 2D.

1NT        2D
2H          3S  Unknown singleton  3NT by opener asks. 4C,4D (singletons in that suit) 4H=singleton spade. 

1NT       2D,2H, 4D,4H   All Transfers

THE 2S RESPONSE  (Shows both minors= Minor Suit Stayman

1NT        2S 
2NT             Denies a four card minor. 3C and 3D responses show a four (or five)card minor. 

1NT       2S
2NT       3C  (weak minors)  3D 6 diamonds and four clubs, forcing.  3H, 3S  singletons 5-5 minors


Opener    Responder  

1NT         2NT   (transfer to 3C) 

3C           Pass  (how to sign off in clubs)

               3D    (how to sign off in diamonds) 

               3H, 3S  four card suits. How to show a game forcing hand with long clubs and a 4 card major.  

               3NT   Mild balanced slam try with long clubs.  14-15 HCP.   xx  Ax  Kxx  AQJxxx


Opener       Responder
S. AJxx         S. Kxxx 
H. Kxx          H. x
D. KQx         D. Ax
C. Kxx          C. QJxxxx    

Opener       Responder
1NT             2NT  (transfer to 3C)   
3C               3S    (clubs and spades)  
4S               Pass      


1NT      3C   Transfer to 3D 
3D        3H    Long diamonds with four hearts, a game force.  S. xx  H. AQJx  D. KJxxxx  C. x            

1NT             3D     Slam try with 5-5 majors:  AQ10xx  AKxxx x Jx  

1NT             2H 

2S               3H    Game forcing 5-5, but not slammish 

1NT             2D
2H               2S    Invitational 5-5    KJxxx  K10xxx  x   xx 

1NT            3H    Singleton heart, three spades, 5-4 or 4-5 minors:   Axx x  KQxx Jxxxx   Game force 

1NT            3S    Singleton spades, three hearts, 5-4 or 4-5 minors:  x   J10x  AKxxx Qxxx  Game force   

1NT           4C    Gerber      Responses:  4D =  0 or 3  4H = 1 or 4  4S= 2                  

                 4D   Transfer to 4H

                 4H   Transfer to 4S

                 4S   To play wanting to conceal the hand and not put it down as dummy.

                 4NT  Natural 16-17 HCP  

After a Stayman 2C response is doubled! 


South     West     North      East

1NT         Pass     2C           Dbl.



Redouble:  4, usually 5 or 6 strong clubs.   

Pass=   no 4 card major, but a club stopper.

2D= no 4 card major no club stopper.

2H,2S   4 card suits

2NT- maximum, no 4 card major, but 1/2 a club stopper   (10xxx, Jxx,
Qx)After partner reverses with strong support for the second suit:



After partner reverses  and you have great support for the second suit.


 Opener       Responder (you)

1D               1S 

2H               ?



You hold (a)  S. AJxxx  H. KQxx   D. xx  C. xx

(b)  S. Qxxxx  H. KQxx  D. xx  C. xx


With (a) leap to 4H showing strong trumps with outside strength. 

With (b) bid 2NT (played as the start of a  signoff and then jump to 4H to show good trumps with little on the outside.  










It has always been a problem to show the minors in response to a 2NT opening bid. You might want to try this:

Opener            Responder (you)

2NT                 3S   *(forces 3NT and responder either passes or starts minor suit slam oriented auctions)

3NT                 4C   One-suited slam try in DIAMONDS.

                        4D   One-suited slam try in CLUBS.

                        4H    Singleton heart  with both minors

                        4S    Singleton spade with both minors

                       4NT  Both minors (4-4 or 5-4), balanced, not forcing.   


The reason for having 4C mean diamonds and 4D mean clubs is to allow the strong hand to declare in case the opener is interested in playing in that suit.

An example of a 3S bid followed by 4C might be:  S. xx  H. Jx   D. AQ9xxx  C. K10x

An example of a 3S bid followed by  4H might be:   S.  xx  H. x  D. AJxxx  C. KQxxx 

An example of a 3S bid followed by 4NT might be:   S. Kxx  H. xx  D. Axxx  C. AJxx

After responder makes a slam try, it is now up to the opener to decide whether to sign off, usually with 4NT, or try for slam.

After responder bids 4C, a slam try in diamonds, if opener is interested in asking for keycards, he bids 4D.

After responder bids 4D, a slam try in clubs, 4H the next ranking suit, is the keycard ask in clubs.

After responder shows a singleton HEART, 4S by the opener can be used as "double keycard" asking for aces, kings, and queens in both minors! 

As most players don't use that, and probably have never even heard of it, it is  easier to play 4NT as a signoff after a singleton showing response and leaping to slam with a maximum plus a fit for one of the minors. If opener retreats to five of a minor it is up to responder to bid the slam with a maximum.  

2NT-3NT  (Transfer to 4C)

2NT-4C    (Transfer to 4D)  

Here are some sequences that develop from this start: 

2NT     3NT 

4C       4D   (6 clubs and 4 diamonds, slammish)  x  xx  AJxx  KJ10xxx  

2NT     3NT

4C       4H, 4S    (5 or 6 clubs with four cards in the bid major, 4NT playing strength).

S. AJxx  xx  xx  AJ10xx    (bid 3NT, a transfer to clubs, and then 4S if partner opens 2NT)

2NT     4C

4D       4H, 4S   Natural. 5 or 6 diamonds with four cards in the bid major.

2NT     3NT 

4C       4NT   Natural with long clubs, slam try.  S. xx  H. xx  D. KQx  C. AJxxxx

2NT     4C

4D       4NT   Natural with long diamonds, slam try.

One advantage of having a way to show the minors appears in some Stayman sequences: 

2NT       3C

3H         3S  Unknown singleton with heart support. 3NT asks for singleton.

             4C  Keycard for hearts (3014 responses)

             4D  Balanced slam try in hearts

2NT      3C

3S        4C   Keycard for spades (3014 responses)

            4D   Balanced slam try in spades

            4H   Unbalanced slam try in spades. Surely a side suit singleton.




If you are of the persuasion that a Flannery 2D opening bid to show five (maybe six?) hearts and four spades with 11-15 HCP is a good idea, this is a possible method for responding.

2D - 2H,2S, 3NT,4H,4S   To play 

2D-  3C,3D   Forcing. (Usually looking for a stopper in the other minor for 3NT)

2D-  3H,3S   Slam tries

2D- 4C   Transfer to 4H. If followed bv 4NT, RKB with 1430 responses.

2D-4D     Transfer to 4S.  If followed by 4NT, RKB with 1430 responses.

2D-4NT   Simple ace asking

2D- 2NT   Asks for distributional clarification

2D - 2NT Probably a game try in one of the majors.  3H or 3S would be forcing. Possible responses are:

3C,3D    Three card suit

3H          4-5-2-2   minimum

3S         4-5-2-2    maximum- most of the strength in the majors.

3NT       4-5-2-2    maximum- stoppers in both minors.

4C,4D   Four card suits, maximums, with minimums bid 3C or 3D          

4H     Six card suit. Usually 4 strong spades and six nondescript hearts.  AKJx  Q10xxxx Kx  

         A hand not strong enough to open 1H and reverse into spades.

2D- 2NT  (the meanings of the follow up bids after a 2NT response)

3x - 3H,3S     Invitational

       4H, 4S   To play 

       4NT     Natural  (a good 18 to a bad 20, balanced.)




Say you overcall or preempt and later your RHO opponent cuebids your suit. What should you do?

Traditionally you double to make sure your partner leads the suit, but is this a good idea? Your double now gives your LHO two additional options- pass or redouble.

Good opponents will have an easier time reaching 3NT (among other contracts) because they can "redouble" to show a 1/2 stopper and 'pass to deny a stopper, etc. At higher levels, they can use 'redouble' to show 2nd round control in the doubled suit, etc.

Clearly it is not in your best interests to double a suit that your partner was probably going to lead anyways.

Picking up on an idea that has been making the rounds for some time, I have done a little homework on the subject and this is what I have come up with:  (Remember, you have either overcalled or preempted in the suit RHO is cuebidding.)


Your options are either "pass" or  "double".  "PASS" means you WANT your suit led, "DOUBLE" means you DON'T! 

Say you are sitting South with either of these hands:

(a)  S. Qxx    H. KQJxx   D. Kx   C. xxx

(b)  S. x        H. Kxxxx     D. Kxx   C. KQJ10

East    South (you)  West    North

1D       1H                3D       Pass

3H        ?

With (a) you want a heart lead against a likely 3NT contract, so you pass.

With (b) you don't want a heart lead so you double.

Now let's say regardless of what you have bid, the opponents wind up in 3NT anyway. You still have another bid coming!  Basically you have four options:

(1)  Pass the cue bid and pass 3NT. 
This means you want your suit led, but are not confident enough to double 3NT.

(2)  Pass the cue bid and then double 3NT.
This time you are telling your partner not only do you want your suit led, but the opponents have made a mistake and you want them to pay. Partner is expected to lead your suit even with a void!

(3)  Double the cuebid and then pass 3NT.
This one says you don't want your suit led and you have outside values so partner should lead his own suit.

(4)  Double the cuebid and then double 3NT.
This one says not only you don't want your suit led, but you have another suit (usually a lower ranking suit) that you do not want led - big time!  Amen.   


You have the same four options:  Pass/pass,  pass/double, double/pass or double/double.  Let's see what they should mean:

Pass/Pass — Asks for your suit.

Pass/Dbl — You wanted your suit led at notrump, but now that they have arrived in a suit contract, you want something else. The most likely possibility is that you have a side suit void. A Lightner type double.

Double/Pass — You have a weakish suit with strength on the outside.

Double/ Double — This one is rare, but if it comes up, it shows  an outside AK (as opposed to a void). 


In other words, they seem to be headed for a suit slam. This time you can actually tell your partner which suit to lead!

Pass/Pass — Asks partner to lead your suit.

Pass/Dbl — Asks for the lower ranking side suit

Dbl./Pass — Shows scattered outside strength 

Dbl/Dbl — Asks for the higher ranking side suit.  



 After   1D-2C 

            2H       In theory, 4-5 in the reds with 15+ HCP ( If  count not mentioned below, assume 15+)


1D        2C

2H        2S      Tell me what you really have


2NT                 4-4-4-1   12 to a bad 15

3C                   1-4-5-3

3D                   2-4-5-2    ​

3H                      4-6  

3S                   3-4-5-1


3NT                4-4-4-1    Good 15 to 18 

4C                     5-6       17-18 

4D                     5-6        15-16 ​

 4H                    5-6        13-14    


4NT                 4-4-4-1    19-20​



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