Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Considerations and principles

It should be remembered that in overcalling, perhaps more than in any other aspect of bidding, personal and partnership style and agreement will come into play.  There is an underlying decision to be made about where you are on the spectrum which, roughly speaking, stretches from ‘I will overcall whenever I have thirteen cards in my hand so as to cause the maximum possible disruption to any constructive sequence which my opponents might have planned’ to ‘I will only overcall when I can count at least thirteen solid tricks in my own hand, and even then only at favourable vulnerability.’

I shall assume that your position is not at either of these extreme positions, but it is still true that the styles of a cross-section of good and experienced players would cover a broad band somewhere in the middle ranges.  It is not for me to define a ‘correct’ position on this scale - just to point out the considerations which might make you more likely to overcall on one hand than on another.

On any given hand first convince yourself that the hand fits at least one of the aims of overcalling;

and then consider your likely bid(s) in the light of the considerations and principles which follow on the next few pages.

weak over strong

 strong over weak

artificial or natural

the SQuOT test


defensive and offensive holdings

indicating a lead

preemptive effect


ill-defined bids

how high?

protective seat

Having satisfied yourself as to the relevant aims, principles and considerations then return to the page ‘overcalling’ to link to your next actions in the context of your opponents’ specific opening bid.

Beginner and above

This page last revised 1st Mar 2019

Context - overcaller.