M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions



The common-sense approach

In the early days of your bridge career you will have a system of responses to 1NT based on natural weak take-outs and forcing bids.

At this point you will require a straightforward way of dealing with intervention.

What follows below is a natural, simple, and sensible way of dealing with a double on your right.

Redouble promises values

If you hold a modicum of points then you must find some way of conveying the good news to partner that this hand belongs to your side. The easiest way to do this is to redouble, more than happy to play in 1NTxx if left and laying the groundwork for a subsequent penalty double should your opponents look for an escape.

The exact definition of ‘some values’ is a matter for partnership discussion.  I will suggest a minimum of eight, thereby allowing partner to declare 1NTxx on a combined total of at least twenty points.  You might prefer to define a higher minimum.

With a more shapely holding you might jump in a suit in search of a game your way.

Note that the redouble will not be used in this way as we move on to better known conventional methods, nor will it ever be used in this way when partner opens one of a suit.

9 7 6 3 2

T 8

Q 8 7 4

K 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

Bid 2 - your lowest five-card suit.

It might not be much of a suit, but it can hardly be worse than 1NTx, and you might escape without a double.

Some will make such an escape by bidding their lowest four-card suit.

Usually this will work out fine, but there is a real possibility that you might finish n a 4-2 fit, particularly if your bid suit is a major.

Slightly better is to stick with the five-card requirement and to adopt the methods below with just a four-card holding.


This just leaves you with weak hands containing no five-card suit.

Simply pass.

Partner will know that you hold neither eight points nor a five-card suit.

Usually he will instigate the search for a better contract.

At its simplest any suit rebid by opener will promise at least a four-card suit.  You will only pass with doubleton support or poorer thus ensuring at least a 4-3 fit in partner’s suit, or bid four-card suits up the line.

A recommended refinement is that, following your pass, partner will bid a five-card suit as a weak escape or make an ‘S.O.S. redouble’ in search of a 4-4 or 4-3 escape.

Lowest level bid in a suit is a weak escape

With less than eight points your aim should be to escape to a suit contract.  Ideally you will find at least a seven-card fit at the two-level and will escape a further double.

The obvious approach is that any bid by you promises a five-card suit in a weak hand (but see below) - opener is expected to pass (even when holding a doubleton).  Note that for our present purposes a weak hand is anything up to seven points, although you might sometimes let the double stand with the right six or seven points.

9 7 6 2

T 8 3

Q 8 7 4

K 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.


If partner reopens with 2 you will bid 2, if partner reopens with 2, 2 or 2 you will pass, and if partner makes an SOS redouble you will bid 2.

A 7 6 2

T 8 3

Q 8 7 4

K 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

You have nine points, and partner at least twelve - total twenty one or more.

Redouble - happy to play in 1NTxx, or to defend as your opponents bid on.

A 7 6 2

K 8 3

Q 8 7 4

K 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

You have twelve points - total twenty four to twenty six.

Redouble.  There might be a game your way, but you will usually score much better by making this contract, or doubling your opponents’ escape for penalties.

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

You have exactly the same points as in the previous example, but this hand is not designed for defence nor for declaring 1NT doubled.  Your opponents might well punish you in their own long suit.  It must be worth a try for 4.

A K Q 7 6 2

8 3

8 7 4

K 6

Post-beginner to intermediate

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

There is nothing wrong with the methods on this page.  They will serve you perfectly well through and beyond an intermediate level.

However, most ambitious partnerships will adopt one of the better known conventional ‘wriggles’ along the way.

Choose either ‘exit transfers’ or ‘an extended wriggle’.

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO doubled (natural)

This page last revised 4th Apr 2018