General Principles of Competitive Bidding

  • Holding the minority of points or approx. equal points as your opponents, use the TTP as the guide as to how high you can safely compete, excercising prudence when vulnerable, holding a flat hand or holding poor trumps.
  • Suit quality is of paramount importance, all the more so when bidding with weak hands.
  • A 1S overcall, being pre-emptive, is appealing as it forces the opposition to the 2 level if they want to bid a suit. It can therefore be done with minimal (i.e. 7-8 HCP) hands but in such cases, almost all of the points must be in the spade suit i.e. the requirement for good suit quality remains.
  • If “they” have a fit, “we” have a fit so you should be inclined to compete. If in addition, “they” have limited their hands, you must compete.
  • The corollary is that if “they” seem to be misfitted and if in addition, they have not limited their hands, you should not compete.
  • Never compete just because you can. If you compete and “they” end up declaring, you have given them valuable information. This is especially true in the case of the highly descriptive two suited overcall bids.
  • Your hand is good to compete if your high cards are in your own long suit or opposite partner’s long suit. It is bad to compete if your high cards are in “their” suit or in unbid suits.
  • Your high cards are good opposite partner’s long suit but (apart from the ace) may well be useless opposite partner’s shortage. Opposite known shortage, unsupported Qs and Js are useless and unsupported Ks are of dubious value.
  • But remember, the single most important issue in deciding how high to compete is the total number of trumps your side holds i.e. the TTP.