District 6
Jane Farthing, President
American Contract Bridge League
Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference
District 7
Zero Tolerance, D6 policy
Dec/JanArticle by Steve RobinsonApr/May
Rebid After One-of-a-Minor Opener (Feb/Mar 2006)

You hold a hand with 1-3-4-5 distribution, x xxxAKxxAJxxx for instance, with 11-14 HCP playing a five-card major, strong notrump, standard system. How do you bid this type of hand playing with a partner you know will respond 1? (Good partners raise your minor.)

There are four plans of action: (a) Open 1 and rebid 2. (b) Open 1 and rebid 2.

(c) Open 1 and rebid 1NT. (d) Pass.

Point No. 1

As you will see from the expert’s comments, there is no clear-cut answer. Some experts open 1 and rebid 1NT no matter what the hand looks like. They bid their longest suit first. For you to be able to rebid 1NT with a singleton, you need partnership agreement. Otherwise, if partner holds Qxxxx xxxKJxxx and rebids 2, thinking that you have at least two spades in your hand when you bid 1NT, he could go down bunches. Another problem that could come up if you open 1 on x xxxAKxxAJxxx is suppose your LHO bids spades and partner makes a negative double on a hand such as Qxx AQxxxxxxxx. If you bid diamonds, partner will have to take you back to clubs, which will take you to a higher level.  

Jill Meyers---Open 1, and bid 1NT over a 1 response.

David Bird---It is clear to open 1 and to rebid 1NT over 1. The alternative of opening 1 and rebidding 2 is horrible by comparison.

Point No. 2

If the 1NT-rebid can have a singleton spade, then the 2-rebid promises at least six clubs.

Chris Compton---100% to open 1 and rebid 1NT. As long as partner is aware of the possibility, this solves a lot of problems. Opening 1 and rebidding 2 shows either six clubs or 14-16 HCP.

Drew Casen---I open 1 and rebid 1NT.

Brad Moss---I open 1 and rebid 1NT.

Bobby Lipsitz---I open 1 and rebid 1NT. I do not open a hand with 11 HCP and this distribution! Exception: with AKQxJxxxx, I would try 1 then 2.

Margie Gwozdzinsky---I grew up that you open your longest suit, and see what happens. I would therefore open 1, then raise the major or rebid 1NT if partner bids my singleton. I would need at least 12 HCP if they’re in my long suits, else I pass. Years ago, I opened a 0-4-4-5 hand with 1, and rebid 1NT! over 1, got to 6 doubled (Lightner) and wrapped it.

Carol Simon---My partner knows I can rebid 1NT with a singleton spade, so will be prepared for it. I will open my longer suit first, unless my second longest suit looks just about as long as my longest suit, or perhaps for defensive (lead) purposes: e.g., AKQx 10xxxx. Otherwise, 1 is my opening bid and I will freely raise a red suit and bid 1NT over 1. I know you think that is unpalatable as much as I feel it is unpalatable to open 1.

Henry Bethe---I open 1 and rebid 1NT, but I am very conservative opening this pattern. In third seat with very strong, lead-directing diamonds and weak clubs and a minimum, I might open 1, e.g. Q QJxAQJx9xxxx. I would still rebid 1NT. I would not open this in first or second position.

Marty Bergen---With weakish diamonds, I open 1 and rebid 1NT. With strong diamonds, I open 1 then bid 2.

Barry Rigal---I would pass with 11 HCP and would pass some hands with a bad 12-count. With a good 12-count, I open 1 and rebid 1NT (my spade raise is three+ cards, not typically four). And by the way I'd raise hearts with three on the actual hand. With very good diamonds and weak clubs I'd open 1 -- one time in 30 perhaps.

Point No. 3

If you have a minimum 1-3-4-5 hand, you could pass and avoid the rebid problem. You can later make a takeout double or bid the unusual notrump.  

Mike Passell---I tend to open 1 and rebid 1NT. I would open 1 and rebid 2 with great diamonds and all my points in the minors. I have found that randomly opening 1 and rebidding 2 as many people do leads to playing a lot of 4-2 fits and rebidding five-card minors makes it difficult on partner not being able to count on the sixth club.

Doug Doub---I open 1. Normally I would rebid 2 over 1, but if my spade singleton were a high honor, and the rest of the hand looked suitable, I would rebid 1NT. If my diamonds were excellent and clubs poor, I would consider opening 1 and rebidding 2. A partner of mine once did this in the Blue Ribbon Pairs and got a winning opening lead against the opponent's 4 contract. However, I think that opening 1 is normally against the odds.

Jeff Rubens---I have little table experience with such a system; based on my (considerable) experience with five-card majors and weak notrumps, I would (at IMPs) probably pass with 11-12 HCP, open 1, intending to rebid 1NT (i.e., making that arrangement in advance, that I could have this shape) with whatever remaining range would show a hand too weak to open 1NT. Note: It doesn't apply to me, but for those who might open 1, the suit qualities of the minor suits might matter.

Mel Colchamiro---In general, with 1-3-4-5 hands and 11-14 HCP, I open 1 and after 1, rebid 1NT, except with 11 HCP. Then I would bid and rebid clubs if good enough or (heaven forbid, go the 1-2 route with great diamonds). Maybe we shouldn't even open those 11 pointers with difficult shapes. Personally I find that in general, bidding 1 and then 2 with four diamonds and five clubs is a BIG LOSER. I hate it. Rebidding 1NT is BY FAR the "least-worst" action. It limits your hand and sue me--I owe partner a spade.

Bart Bramley---I strain to open 1 with this hand type. I'm always trying to bid my longest suit first. If my intention is to rebid 1NT I will certainly open 1. I would do this with scattered values among my three long suits, and especially if my singleton were an honor. I bid 1 then 2 with strong clubs and weak hearts, say x xxxKJxxAKJxx. I start with 1 only if all of the following conditions pertain: (1) I intend to rebid 2, (2) my diamonds are strong, and (3) my clubs are weak. With x xxxAKQxKxxxx I would bid 1 then 2. If my partner dislikes rebidding 1NT with a low singleton I might include a few more hands in the 1 then 2 category. Since I will usually raise hearts if partner bids them, I am much more comfortable if I have already bid my longest suit first.

Point No. 4

What you open could depend upon what you would do if partner responds 1 . You can’t rebid 1NT with a singleton spade if partner responds 1 . If you can’t raise hearts on three, then you almost have to open 1 and rebid 2 over a one-of-a-major-response.  

Point No. 5

Some experts open 1 and rebid 2. If you open 1 and rebid 2 you could end up playing a 4-2 fit. Responder has Qxxxx QxxxKxxx. The auction goes 1 -- 1 -- 2. Responder can’t rebid 2 since that shows six. Responder can’t rebid 2 since that is fourth suit and is forcing to game. Responder can’t rebid 2NT since that shows 10-12 HCP. The only reasonable alternative is to bid 2, hopefully playing the 5-2 diamond fit. This is why 1 -- one-of-either-major -- 2 should show good diamonds.     

David Berkowitz---It would not occur to me to do anything other than 1 followed by 2.

Perhaps an extreme hand x KxxxxxxAKQJx, you could open 1 and follow with 2. I am a strong believer in very few three-card raises (one-of-either-minor – one-major -- two-of-same-major), so I really need to have no-trump rebids to be balanced.

Kathie Wei-Sender---I would open 1 and rebid 2.

Larry Cohen---I would bid 1 then 2.  I don't agree with the "open 1, rebid 1NT" crowd. If I rebid 1NT, I want my partner to be able to correct to spades with five or six.

Point No. 6

Some experts look at their suit quality. With good diamonds they open 1. With good clubs they open 1. Either way, they don’t rebid 1NT with a singleton.

Karen Allison---Depending on suit quality I either open 1 and rebid 2 or open 1 and rebid 2. I try very hard not to rebid five-card suits. I virtually never rebid 1NT with a singleton in partner's suit. I'm a pretty old-fashioned bidder, but this is one time a canape is not unexpected. (Editor’s note: Canape is a style of bidding where, on the second round, you bid a longer suit than the suit bid on the first round.)

Eddie Kantar---If the diamonds are strong and clubs are weak, I open 1 and rebid 2. If the clubs are strong, I open 1 and rebid 2. With 11 HCP I pass without intermediates in either minor.

Marinesa Letizia---How funny you should ask. About ten years ago, I was playing with Lynn Deas in the round of sixteen in the Vanderbilt. I was taking Beth Palmer’s place. We played all 64 boards against you (Steve Robinson) and Peter Boyd. It was a close match. One of my pet peeves is opening this hand 1, so with much disdain Lynn agreed to open it 1. Lynn opened 1, Peter Boyd overcalled 2, I made a negative double, he went for 500 and we won the match on the last board. Therefore, I would open 1 and rebid 2. Even though I play precision now I still strongly believe this is the right action.

Point No. 7

Some experts can go either way. They look at their hand and find the auction that best describes what they have.

Ralph Katz---Holding J Qxx or x K10x in the majors or better, I would open 1 and rebid 1NT. Otherwise I would open 1 with very good clubs and rebid 2, or with medium clubs and good diamonds open 1 and rebid 2. If both minors are medium like KQxxAQxxx with no spots, then I would lean towards what my partner’s style is whether to open 1 or 1, then either rebid 2 or 1NT.

Billy Eisenberg---It depends on the quality of the five-card suit. With very strong clubs I open 1 and rebid 2. With a great concentration of my HCP in diamonds, I open 1. Finally, with hands like x AQxKxxxAxxxx, I open 1 and rebid 1NT.

Point No. 8

Some experts can go either way depending upon their holdings.

Bobby Wolff---Usually 1 and then 2 unless the diamonds are weak (Qxxx or some such), then open 1 and rebid 1NT at Matchpoints, but rebid 2 at IMP's unless the clubs are weak (K10xxx or some such) then rebid 1NT at both games. This is under the normal assumption that at the time of my opening bid I wasn't 100% sure partner would respond the dastardly 1.

Bob Hamman---Holding x xxxAKxxAKxxx, I would bid 1 then 2. With hearts stopped and 12-13 HCP, I tend to rebid 1NT.

Billy Pollack---No simple answer. With softish values, good hearts, and/or a singleton spade honor, I'll rebid 1NT.  With chunky minor-suit values or good texture, I'll try 1 then 2. With good clubs, I'll bid 1 then 2. I don't think rules are the right answer (such as: "never" rebid 1NT with a stiff spade).

Joe Kivel---Not a simple answer. With the "wrong" 11 or 12 HCP I pass. By wrong I mean no convenient rebid. If my clubs are much stronger than my diamonds, I open and rebid my clubs. With good diamonds, I open 1 and rebid 2. With a singleton Queen, King or possibly Ace of spades, I rebid 1NT. Without any of above, I guess what's right. For example, holding x KQxKxxxAxxxx, I would pass. Change a small club to the Jack, I'd open 1 and rebid 2. Change a small diamond to the Jack, I’d open 1 and rebid 2. Change the singleton Spade to the Jack, I'd probably rebid 1NT.

Kerry Sanborn---It depends upon the structure of the hand. If it is suit-oriented, I will either open 1 or 1. Which one to open would depend upon the strengths of the two suits. Given a hand such as x AxxAKxxQxxxx, I would be more likely to open 1 and rebid 2; however, with a holding like x AxxQxxxAKxxx, I might start with 1 and rebid the suit. If my hand looks softer, I would normally open 1 and rebid 1NT after the 1 response, e.g., Q QJxKQxxKJxxx. I would have no reason to think that a suit contract was better than notrump.

Mike Becker---I don't know partner will respond 1, and must base my opening bid on a mix of all possibilities. That said minimums should tend to rebid 1NT to slow down the auction. With a concentration in both minors, I open diamonds and bid clubs. With good hearts, I rebid 1NT, especially with the spade 10 or higher. With poor diamonds and strong clubs, I open and rebid clubs, or open clubs and rebid 1NT with hearts stopped. So I bid the whole sense of the hand.

Curtis Cheek---This is a question that has a different answer (as with my hair) for each decade of my bridge life:

1975 (Year 1, and long hair...really): I opened 1 and rebid 2. I always opened my long suit and didn't worry about future developments.

1985 (Year 11, bald spot in back) I opened 1, then rebid 1NT. I always opened my long suit, but got tired of playing 5-1 fits.

1995 (Year 21, top gone) I opened 1, then rebid 1NT. I still hated the false preference after 1-one-of-either-major-2, but anticipated competitive issues where it might be nice to have a fallback position after auctions such as 1 -- 1 -- Double -- 2 ; Pass – Pass -- Double

2005 (31st year, why wait - shaved head): suit quality and honor structure is my guide.

Bad diamonds: I open 1, then bid 1NT. Good diamonds, no heart stopper:  I bid 1 then 2

Bad/good diamonds, heart stopper:  1 then 1NT. Playing with Joe Grue: I open 1 and rebid 2 (because we play a strong club system). A 1NT rebid guarantees a balanced hand. (At this stage of my bridge life, I have a greater appreciation for not having an unbendable set of rules.)

Kit Woolsey---This would depend on my suit quality mostly – I can't give a hard and fast answer. For example:

x xxxAQJxKJxxx, I would open 1 and rebid 2

x AxxxxxxAQJxx – I would open 1 and rebid 2

Q AQxxxxxK10xxx – I would open 1 and rebid 1NT

Q K10xAQJxxxxxx – I would open 1 and rebid 1NT.

Zeke Jabbour---I focus on the rebid. High-card distribution plays a major role. With a chunky club suit, I tend to open 1. A rebid of 2, therefore, need not promise six. With good diamonds and weak clubs, I might open 1. With good hearts I might open a club and rebid 1NT to allow partner an opportunity to bid a non-forcing 2 . I will not open a minor-oriented hand with a bad 11 HCP when the rebid is likely to be too awkward. I focus on the rebid and rely on judgment.

George Jacobs---I open 1 with rebiddable clubs, and 1 with mediocre clubs.

Grant Baze---It is a function of suit quality or, more accurately, high card dispersal.

With x xxxAxxxAKQxx, I open 1 and rebid 2.  

With x xxxAKJxAxxxx, I open 1 and rebid 2.

With Q KQ10AxxxKxxxx, I open 1 and rebid 1NT; however,

With x KQ10AxxxKxxxx, I would open 1 and rebid 2.

In general, I would rebid 1NT with a stiff spade honor and two cards in hearts; I would open 1 and rebid 2 with most other hands, unless the club suit is very strong and the diamond suit is not, in which case I would open 1 and rebid 2.

Steve Bloom--- Of the four plans of action: (a) Open 1 and rebid 2; (b) Open 1 and rebid 2; (c) Open 1 and rebid 1NT; (d) Pass, Option (d) really has some merit, since hands short in spades are not worth their point count. However, it is not one that I would ever consider. I am too old these days to pass and await developments -- I fear I may never get that second chance. So it is reasonable to decide which of the three lies best fits your hand, and act accordingly. Still, the choice is much more a matter of system and responding style. Playing with a traditionalist, a responder who bids suits up the line, opening 1 is unlikely to miss a diamond fit. Furthermore, the traditionalist auction 1 -- 1 usually delivers either five spades, or a club fit. As such, it is right to raise on three trumps. Thus, the auction 1 -- 1 -- 1NT implies at most two spades. Playing with a traditionalist partner, option (c) is almost always best. Should partner rebid 2, partner will not be sorely disappointed with my dummy. The modern approach, however, is to bid majors before minors, MAFIA style (Majors Always First In Auctions). Computer simulations have shown that it is against the odds to raise such partners on three trumps, and the auction 1 -- 1 -- 1NT will frequently include three spades. Responder, with a weak hand, and with, say, 5-2-4-2 distribution, will often want to correct 1NT to 2 or 2. Since most pairs use 2 for some artificial gadget, the only available correction is 2. Partner will not be at all happy with my 1-3-4-5 dummy. Playing with a modern partner, I almost always opt for (a) or (b), whichever seems more suitable to my hand type.


The most important conclusion is that your partner must know what your tendencies are. My tendency is to open 1 if the suit is good, otherwise open 1.  

Don Berman, Web Master.