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When partner opens One of a Suit, they can have anything from 12 points* to 19 points. With 20+ points they’ll open at the level of Two.
*Even slightly fewer than 12, using the Rule of 20: open the bidding when the number of high-card points in your hand, added to the number of cards in your two longest suits, gets to 20 or more.
Because partner can have 19 points, you should always respond with six+ points, to give a partnership total of 25 points, the guideline for the three game contracts of 3NT, 4♥ and 4♠ (5♣ and 5♦ are less attractive, needing nearer 28/29 points).
Say partner opens 1♣. What should you respond with these responding hands?
|Hand (i)||Hand (ii)||Hand (iii)|
♠ A Q 10 4
♥ 9 8 5 3 2
♦ 7 3 2
♠ 7 5 3
♥ A J 9
♦ J 7 4 2
♣ 10 7 6
♠ 9 4 2
♥ A 10 9 2
♦ Q 8 5 3
♣ 9 6
Hand (a). Respond 1♥ - quantity before quality.
Hand (b). 1♦. Your response is just a stepping stone. It does not promise a rose-garden, either by way of suit or overall hand.
Hand (c). 1♦ Respond in the cheaper of four card suits. Don’t worry – you won’t miss a fit in the more valuable hearts – for partner can introduce the hearts now – at the One-level – if they have four of them.