One thing is, most of the casual players I know pretty much have internalised everything below, even though there seems like an awful lot of it. There are occasional edge cases where it's easy to forget to do something which will make a difference three bids from now, but mostly, for anyone I play with/against regularly, I'd normally trust their opening bid to be accurate.
One of the things I find hard to convey is the different sorts of bids. Not just the next bid, but that you're choosing a strategy for the rest of the bidding sequence. If you have 2 points, you will almost always make the weakest bid available at every round (which is almost always pass, but not always). If you have 12 points, you will open the bidding but thereafter make the weakest bid available, because you've already told partner all the strength you have, and anything more you say would tell partner you have more strength. If you have 19 points (or 4-5 losers), you will open at the one level, not 2C, but if partner responds at all you know you almost certainly have the combined strength for game, so priority #1 is to make sure you bid game, and bids before that are only useful if they help you choose _which_ game, or help you choose whether to try to bid slam.
I include the list below, although:
- I've deliberately simplified some things I didn't think I had room to explain, so do point out corrections and omissions if you think they'd be helpful, but don't assume I don't know them
- I wrote the system I use most often, but didn't put it the differences if I play strong NT or strong 2s, etc
- Given occasional omissions I don't know if it would be more helpful or more misleading for anyone actually trying to learn more
Do you have a balanced hand? ie. 4432 or 4333 or 5332 Small variations in shape occasionally permitted. 5332 can be treated as "balanced" or "five card suit" depending on the hand and minor or major Count HCP, stick to the point ranges below. If you think your 11 pt hand is genuinely equivalent to a 12 point hand, you can treat it as a 12 point hand But don't deliberately deviate from the point ranges -- partner will be relying on them being precise Do you have < 12 pts Pass Do you have 12-14 HCP? Open 1NT. You have described your entire hand in one bid. No need to do anything else. Partner will know if they want to be in game or not, so just respond to partner's bids, don't bid on otherwise. Do you have 15-17 HCP? Open a suit - open the 5 card suit, or the lowest 4 card suit (Variant: can open H with 4 if you'll rebid NT) Then rebid NT at the lowest level Or, if you have a fit for partner's suit, decide between bidding NT or supporting Then expect partner to place the contract Do you have 18-19 HCP? Open a suit If partner responds at all, you will automatically have enough points for game Jump-rebid NT (even if that takes you to 3NT). Partner will place the contract. Do you have 20-22 HCP? Open 2NT Responses are very similar to opening 1NT, but partner will respond with 4+ points. Do you have 23+ HCP? Open 2C Rebid NT Do you have enough for 3NT, 6NT or 7NT even if partner has zero? Open 2C, then bid it. Do you have a 6+ card suit? Do you have < 6 pts? Pass Do you have 6 to 9 or 10 HCP? Ideally the HCP will be in that suit Ideally you will have 0-1 aces (the more aces, the less chance opponents will make a contract) Preempt at the two level if possible Need extra length or extra strength if you need to preempt at the 3 level Preempt more or less aggressively depending on the vulnerability If you don't want to pre-empt, pass Do you have 10 or 11 to 15 HCP? Make a minimum opening in your suit If partner bids a suit, rebid your suit (unless you can support her suit!) Partner won't know for sure you have a 6 card suit, but will often guess. Bidding too strongly is a mistake Do you have 16+ HCP (or 5 losers)? Open your suit If partner bids, jump-rebid your suit Do you have a 5+ card suit? Usually with a second suit (unless 5332 with a five card major suit) Do you fail the rule of 20, or have fewer than 7 losers, or have a bad 7 losers? Pass Do you have 6-7 losers or 12-15 points? Open your longest suit (highest of equal-length 5+ card suits) If partner bids a suit, support it if you have 4+, else rebid your suit at the lowest level Do you have 5-6 losers or 16+ points? Open your longest suit (highest of equal-length 5+ card suits) If partner bids a suit, support it if you have 4+ Else bid a second suit even if it forces partner to respond at the 3 level Show extra stregth Shows that your first suit was 5+ Do you have 4441 shape? This is rare and no system deals with it well, so it's stuck at the bottom here Do you have 12+ points? If not, pass Loser count seems normally over-optimistc with this shape? If so, normally bid something (but not always) The problem is if you open and partner bids your singleton Work out BEFORE YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO BID what you're going to do if that happens Is your singleton suit not-spades? Open your lowest suit (or suit below the singleton?) Then support partner's suit or rebid another suit at the one level Do you have 15+ points? Open a suit Then support partner's suit or bid NT Do you have 12-14 pts and a singleton spade? Nothing is right, anything you say is misleading and partner will forgive you Decide which of the following is LEAST misleading and do that: Treat your hand as 11 balanced and pass Treat your hand as 15 balanced and rebid NT if necessary Treat one of your suits as 5+ cards, open it, and rebid it if necessary Treat your hand as 5-6 losers, open a suit, and rebid another suit even at the 2 level.
You can also comment at http://jack.dreamwidth.org/857336.html