If you are new to bidding or to Acol bidding then start with the page ‘assessing the hand’.

For the rest of you - read on.

Oh for the good old days when, once you or your partner had opened, the opposition politely allowed you to develop the auction and so reach your optimum contract.

I don’t actually remember such times, and I am not totally convinced that they ever existed.

It is however certain that competitive bidding has become much more aggressive and widespread in more recent times.  You have no choice - you can’t beat ‘em so you ‘ad better join ‘em.

However, these changes have not been uniform across the bridge-playing world.  If there are differences in partnership styles in the matter of opening bids, then the waters can only get muddier as we look at overcalling styles.

Partly because of this many partnerships approaching an intermediate standard are hugely under-prepared.

Their methods frequently steal ‘a bit from here and a bit from there’ leaving a mish-mash of ideas which do not meld well together.

Even if they have an agreement on the basic strength of an overcall or a double what happens next tends to be an extremely random matter.

Any aspiring partnership should put considerable thought into this part of their game. The starting point is to have a clear understanding of the possible hands which might fit a particular overcall after which it will be possible to look at the possible continuations.

In the following pages I will suggest the sort of agreements which you might have regarding the overcall.

Do not feel tied by my choices - your agreements should correspond to your partnership style - but do please have some agreements to give you a framework for bidding in more extended sequences.

First, I shall look at the aims and principles which underlie the whole area of overcalling.

After that follow the links on the left for a consideration of the possibilities as they apply to the opponents’ specific opening bids.

Beginner and above

This page last revised 28th June 2017

Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge