Theory and Conventions



M J Bridge




Opening balanced hands


Partner opened in no trumps - basic methods

(Weak take-outs, limit raises, no Stayman, no transfers)

Responding to 1NT - improver’s methods

(Incorporating Stayman and simple four-suit transfers)


Responding to 2NT - improver’s methods

(Incorporating 4-card Stayman and red-suit transfers)


Summary sheets

It is with considerable misgivings that I have included this page and its attachments.

There is always a demand from those learning the game for a quick simple synopsis of what to do with every hand in every situation.

Needless to say, life isn’t that simple, and bridge would be a lesser game if it were.

Clearly such lists have their place.

The danger is that the learner can become too dependent.

In every bidding situation you should first evaluate your hand.  This will involve more than points.  Shape is paramount - and so is suit quality.  There is also room for judgement and ‘feel’.

And then you should try to work out for yourself how best to communicate this holding to your partner using the bidding tools in your repertoire as you remember them.

Once you have such a plan in mind you might wish to check your thoughts against some list of guidelines - fair enough.  Better is to play on with what you think is right, see what happens, and then look into what you might have done differently when you get home (marital protocol permitting).

It’s known as ‘learning the hard way’ but it’s well worth it.

I have resisted the temptation to condense all aspects of bidding (even at a basic level) onto a single sheet of A4, but a careful selection from the options on offer will give you a sound start, and a different selection will take you beyond the first rung of improvers’ methods.

These summary sheets correspond to the methods which I have recommended as a starting point.  Other choices are perfectly possible. Some are discussed in the bidding section of this site, but you will have to look elsewhere for relevant summary sheets.

Note that there are choices relating to the responses when opening 1NT, and there are also choices relating to a reverse rebid when you open one of a suit.  You should make a clear partnership decision on these matters - you can always change it later.

So - I hope that these sheets are useful - but please use them wisely.

No trump openings

Opening one of a suit - unbalanced hands - basic methods

(including shape-showing non-strong reverses)


Opening one of a suit - unbalanced hands - improvers’ methods

(including ‘modified’ strong reverses)


Responding to one of a suit - basic methods

(No support bids)


Responding to one of a suit - improvers methods

(Jacoby game-force, splinter bids)


Opening one of a suit

Opening twos - three weak and one strong

(My recommended method from beginner to intermediate standard)


Opening two of a suit

Opponents double partner’s 1NT - a basic wriggle

(Weak take-outs and redouble to show strength)


Partner raises your suit - trial bids

(Natural and shape-showing trial bids)



Overcalling - basic methods


Responding to partner’s overcall

(Including the unassuming cue-bid)


Bidding theory

Losing trick count



Play basics

(This site is all about bidding, but please allow me one starter sheet on play)


This page last revised 22nd Nov 2018