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Opener’s rebid (part 1 - balanced)

The third partnership bid, opener’s rebid, is the most crucial of many auctions. Opener is now able to tell partner whether his hand is balanced (he’ll rebid notrumps) or unbalanced. If balanced, he’ll be able to show partner how many points he holds to within a narrow range. If unbalanced, he’ll be able to tell partner more of the shape of his hand.

Say opener is balanced – ie no void, no singleton, not more than one doubleton (4432, 4333, 5332). Here is the basic rebid structure:

  • 12-14    You opened 1NT.
  • 15-16    Rebid notrumps at the lowest level over partner’s new suit bid*.
  • 17-18    Rebid notrumps with a jump over partner’s new suit bid*
  • 19    Rebid 3NT

*If partner supports, or responds 1NT, things are different. After, say 1-2, you should pass with 15-16 and rebid just 2NT with 17-18. Bear in mind that partner has shown weakness, so you should rein things in.

You open 1 and partner responds 1. What now with these balanced opening hands?:

Hand a) Hand b) Hand c)
♠  J 7 2
A K 9 3
A 2
K 9 6 4
9 6 2
A Q 8 52
A Q 2
♠ A 2
A J 10 2
A K J 2
Q 10 9


  • a) Rebid 1NT, showing 15-16.
  • b) Rebid 2NT, showing 17-18.
  • c) Respond 3NT, showing 19. Partner should have six points for their response, meaning the partnership hold 25.

I should say that some modern partnerships are adopting a slightly different structure, whereby a 1NT rebid shows 15-17; a 2NT rebid shows 18-19 and a 3NT rebid is rarely used but shows a gambling (unbalanced) hand with a near-running suit.

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