Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Partial stop

We shall meet this concept many more times as we proceed.

The situation where you think that no trumps might be your best strain, but you are uncertain about your stops either in your opponents’ suit or sometimes the fourth suit, is quite common.

If you have a good stop then you can make the bid in no trumps yourself;

if your partner has a good stop then he can make this bid.

The problem is when you both have a bit, but not enough.

Qx opposite Jxx or Jx opposite Qxx will always stop a suit once if the opponents attack it.

If the suit is led, you must duck the lead in the first hand,  and take the trick if you have the opportunity in the second hand.

Qx (or Kx) and Jxx are referred to as partial stops.

We shall come across this concept first when we are looking into the immediate overcall of a weak two.

The idea is commonly, but not universally, used in this context, but it works well in this situation and it will also occur in many extended sequences.

In situations in which you have agreed this interpretation with your partner the agreed bid promises one of these holdings.  (e.g. Qx or Jxx).

Of course it also implies a hand of sufficient all round strength to justify the search for a game contract.

With a matching holding, partner should bid 3NT, confident that the suit can be stopped at least once.

The search for a partial stop

The search for a partial stop will usually be initiated by a bid of the opponents’ suit or a bid in the fourth suit.

In certain specific situations (e.g. the cue-raise, the unassuming cue-bid) such bids will have different and closely defined meanings.

In other situations, such a bid might be used on any one of a variety of hand types.

Their basic purpose is to ask partner to describe their hand further.

This may well involve showing extra shape (e.g. an extra card in either the first or second suit), but failing that a partial stop should rank high in the list of possible features which might be shown.  Such a feature would be shown by a response in no trumps.

Creating a second stop.

A special case arises when one partner has a suit stopped with a holding such as Axx.

By bidding it to show a partial stop as above partner might be able to become declarer in a no trump contract with a holding such as Qx. If the suit is then lead to him a second stop in the suit will have been created.

This page last revised 20th Mar 2018