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Bidding as Opener - the “Rule of 20”

You should always open the bidding with 12+ high-card points. You can open the bidding with slightly fewer than 12 points when you have a shapely hand. Use the Rule of 20 – which states that you can open the bidding when your high-card point-count added to the number of cards in your two longest suits gets to 20.

Exercise:Which of these hands should open the bidding?

Hand A   Hand B   Hand C   Hand D  
♠ A Q 7 4
K 4 3
6
♣ Q 10 9 6 3
  ♠ Q 3 2
K J 7 4 2
A J 7
♣ 9 8
  ♠ 4
Q 9 7 4
7 5
♣ AK J 10 6 2
  ♠ J 8 5 3
6
Q 9 6 3
♣ A K J 5
 

Answer:

(a) You should open 1 (satisfying the Rule of 20), planning to rebid 1 over a 1 / response.

(b) You should pass. Balanced hands with fewer than 12 points should not open – they will never satisfy the Rule of 20.

(c) 1 ♣  (satisfying the Rule of 20), planning to rebid 1 over 1 but 2 ♣  over 1 ♠.

(d) Pass. 4441s are notoriously awkward shapes, in fact when I began “you should always open 12 point hands” there is something to be said for passing a 12-point 4441: so difficult to describe in the bidding and so often disappointing in the play.

 

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