Bidding Basics 6, Responder's Rebids

By Kitty and Steve Cooper


When the auction begins with one of a suit, responder can often place the final contract by the fourth bid. When opener has raised responder, the question is whether there are enough points for game. Usually responder already has the answer by adding her points to the minimum and maximum that opener can have.

When opener has rebid 1NT showing 12-14 points responder often knows whether or not to bid game. Responder’s suits at the two level are to play and jumps to the three level are forcing, so 2NT is the only invitation. Note that more advanced players use the unbid minor as a Stayman-like convention to have more flexibility in their invitational and forcing sequences. This is called “new minor forcing” and will be discussed in a future article.

Here is a repeat of our chart of responder’s hand strengths, now including loser count:


Point Range and Losers


Game Prospects

6-10 (9+ losers)



11-12 (8 losers)



13-16 (7 losers)


Bid game


When opener bids a third suit or rebids her first suit,  responder asks himself the following questions, in order, before making a rebid:

1) Can I raise partner’s major, bid a new major at the one level, or raise myself? With a known eight card fit with partner or a six card suit of your own (majors preferred of course) do the following:

  • ·                      Raise to two (or pass the raise to two) with a minimum
  • ·                      Raise to three with a medium strength hand
  • ·                      Raise to game with a maximum, when raising a minor this can mean bidding 3NT.

2) If none of the above apply ask yourself “Am I balanced?” - if so then:

  • ·                      With a minimum, rebid 1NT,  pass partner’s 1NT response, pass partner’s second suit bid, or raise partner’s first suit the minimum amount.
  • ·                      With a medium hand, bid 2NT
  • ·                      With a maximum hand, bid 3NT

3) You must be unbalanced if none of the foregoing questions got a yes answer. Therefore you will bid a new suit or raise partner’s first suit

  1. 7.                  A minimum hand can bid a new suit at the one level. If that is not available, then this hand must choose between bidding 1NT with strength in the unbid suit and bidding a previously bid suit at the cheapest level even when the fit might only be seven cards (this includes passing partner’s non‑jump bid).
  2. 8.                  A medium hand makes its natural rebid of its second suit, or jumps in an old suit.
  3. 9.                  A maximum hand needs to force to game, therefore you must either bid a new suit or bid a game.

What if responder has a better hand than a maximum? Slam is a possibility in that case and that will be covered in a future article.

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