Other Agreements


From honour holdings when not leading an honour, we lead third from even length, fifth from odd length. If the holding does not include an honour (ace through ten) then the highest card is also permissible. When leading an honour we use normal standard overleads (ace from ace-king) from sequences including interior sequences. However, from six-card suits including an interior sequence the third highest is normally led. The queen may be led from five or more cards headed by the KQT9 asking for unblock of the jack.
At trick one, third hand when not attempting to win the trick signals reverse attitude according to Obvious Shift principles (see below), except when the ace is led and the queen is on dummy (reverse present count) or in a cashout situation where count is important (reverse present count). Other cards on tricks 2-12 are reverse present count when not required to play a card of a specific rank. Natural high-low suit preference on rare occasions.

The Obvious Shift Principle

An attitude signal by third hand to the opening lead refers to desire for opening leader to switch to the Obvious Shift. The following rules apply:

After strong 2NT bids

Where the partnership makes a strong natural 2NT bid, then Puppet Stayman and transfers are used.

Puppet Stayman Structure after a strong 2NT

3C Asking for major suits
3D At least one four-card major
3H 4S
3S 4H
3NT No four-card major
4D Both four-card majors
3H 5H
3S 5S
3NT No four- or five-card major
3D 5+H
3H 3+H
3S 2H 4-5S (then 4D is a re-transfer)
3NT 2H 2-3S (then 4D is a re-transfer)
3H 5+S
3S 3+S
3NT 2S (then 4D is a re-transfer and 4H is natural 5+S 5+H)
3S Game forcing, both minors
3NT Unsuited to a 5m contract
4m Choice of suit with extra values
4M Both minor suits, control bid
4NT Both minor suits, unable to make a control bid
5m Choice of suit without extra values

Crowded-auction slam tries

Where no room is available for detailed slam tries, a jump to five of an agreed or previously shown suit is a slam try needing control in the opponents suit, and a bid of five of their suit shows control in their suit and issues a general slam try for the agreed or previously shown suit.

RKCB agreements

Where a suit is agreed or implied and 4NT is a keycard ask then 5C shows 1 or 4 of the five keycards and 5D shows 0 or 3. Over each of them, the cheapest non-trump step is an ask for the trump queen. In response to that ask, step one denies the queen and other steps show specific kings naturally or deny a showable king. After the original 4NT ask, 5H and 5S both show two keycards, denying and showing respectively the queen of trumps. In all cases 5NT confirms the possession of all key cards, implies that grand slam is possible and inquires for a specific king. When the keycard asker has shown a void, the key card in that suit should not be shown. When the keycard responder has a void and two keycards they respond 5NT without the queen of trumps and bid their void naturally at the six level when holding the trump queen (6H when hearts is agreed and a spade void is held).
When hearts are agreed or implied, and both 4S and 4NT are available for investigating heart slams, Kickback is used. 4S becomes the RKCB ask and 4NT replaces 4S as (for example) a spade control bid. After the RKCB ask, 5S and 5NT swap their meanings similarly, with 5NT relating to (usually) the spade king, and 5S either serving as the king ask or denying posession of side kings. The normal step RKCB replies shift down one step.

Defence to Multi 2D

This defence applies to Wagner or Multi 2D openings, showing among other possible options, a weak two in either major

Dbl Either 19+HCP any shape, or around 11-15HCP with an unspecified 5-card major - approximately a two-level overcall. After this action, the first double by either intervenor or advancer is for takeout, unless they choose to bid instead (showing 19+ for intervenor). Further doubles are for penalty.
2H Shows a strong notrump overcall. Two-level continuations are natural, with higher responses as for Puppet Stayman.
2S/2NT At least a sound overcall in clubs/diamonds, showing at least a sound opening bid with 6+card suit, or at least game values with a 5-card suit. Advancer may accept the transfer neutrally, or make a (forcing) natural bid.
3C/3D A "weak" overcall in clubs/diamonds, showing about 8-11HCP and at least 6+card suit.
3H/3S Strong jump overcall, not forcing, about 16-18HCP with a 6+card suit.
3NT To play.

Defences to openings at the two level

Over their 1NT

Where their 1NT range includes 13HCP (or is entirely weaker) and we are not a passed hand, we treat it as weak and use Cappelletti (also known as Hamilton or Pottage) where double is strong and penalty-oriented, 2C shows a single-suited hand, 2D shows both majors (normally 5+/4+ either way but might be 4+/4+ in extremis), 2H/2S show that suit and a minor (5+/4+ either way, 2NT asks for the minor suit, 3m by advancer in competition shows their own suit) and 2NT shows a strong 2-suiter. After the double we use action doubles under their shown length and penalty doubles over their shown length. Advancer's pass over responder's forcing action that does not show values creates a force. In fourth seat we act in the same way.
Otherwise over their 1NT we use Woolsey, where double shows a hand with at least five in a minor suit and a four-card major, 2C shows both majors, 2D shows a single major suit, 2H and 2S show at least five in the bid suit and a four-card or longer minor suit, and 2NT shows either a minor two-suiter or some extreme two-suiter (rebid a new suit). After the double, 2C initially seeks to play in the minor suit, however after (1NT) Dbl 2C 2D then 2H now seeks to play in the major suit, 2D after the double seeks opener's major suit and other suits bids are natural. After 2C, then 2D asks for the longest major suit, or 2H with two four-card suits. After 2D, major suit bids at the two and three level are correctable (including in further competition), 2NT shows a strength-based inquiry (3C and 3D shows H and S respectively with non-minimum hands), 3C and 3D are natural non-forcing and constructive, 4C asks for a transfer to the major suit and 4D asks for a bid of the major suit and 4H and 4S bids are to play showing independent lenth in the suit bid. The bids of 3C and higher retain their meaning after further competition.
If they use Stayman or some similar inquiry, we double the artificial ask or response to show that suit, request a lead and suggest competing. If they use a transfer, we double to show a full-valued takeout hand (after this double, or a pass instead of it, a later double of the takeout suit is still for takeout). If they transfer to a major suit then the bid of their transfer suit shows exactly four cards in the other major and an unspecified longer minor (2NT asks for the minor suit).

Doubles by limited hands

Where a hand is limited by having made a weak shape-descriptive action, or opened a limited opening that has been raised, or opened a limited opening showing a 6+card suit, two suits, or a balanced hand, then at that hand's first opportunity to double the opponents, that double is not penalty, but rather indicating a desire to bid more in the context of the auction. This treatment recognises the relative improbability of the weak limited hand holding a good penalty double, and the relative likelihood of a partner, having made tactical raise, wanting to penalise, rather than continue bidding. Exceptionally, only with freak hands, the limited hand can elect to bid rather than make this double. This "I want to bid" double is only available on the first occasion the opponents may be going to play the most recently-named contract. Should partner's auction create a force and the limited hand is in the direct seat, then this agreement does not apply.

Raises in competition

In auctions not specifically described previously, jumps to new suits below 4H show fit for partner and the desire to express a useful honour holding with length in the suit named and the offensive strength to reach the lowest available level in the agreed suit. A jump bid in the opponents' suit shows shortage in their suit, agrees trumps and announces game values. Both fit-showing and splinter jumps normally promise at least four trumps. Such fit-showing actions create a force only when made at unfavourable vulnerability when offensive strength for game was announced. Double by a hand that made a fit-showing jump is not for penalty, but rather expresses sufficient defensive strength in context to need to act further. Their partner may bid or pass according to judgement. Double by a hand opposite a fit-showing action is for penalty. After an initial four-level overcall by partner a bid of a new suit shows (first-round) control and slam interest. A new suit introduced when that suit might have been introduced naturally on a previous occasion shows fit for partner's suit.

2NT in competition

2NT is rarely natural in competition. In defined situations it may be Lebensohl (including after our double of a weak two-level opening by the opponents, or equivalent), Rubensohl (including after two-level interference of our 1NT or two-level interference over our strong club or Power Double auction where we have not shown a suit), a conventional raise of an opening or overcall, a strength-based inquiry, or a natural suggestion of contract with invitational overtones (mostly after a two-level overcall or a 1NT takeout).
In other situations it is typically a mid- to late-round competitive action indicating at least two possible strains. Partner is expected to take preference between the two most logical or lowest reasonable strains, and to act accordingly if the 2NT bidder removes their preference to a new strain (showing intolerance for the preference). The availability of such actions colours the nature of late-round takeout doubles of (particularly) two of a major. Often a 2NT bid over 2S might describe a takeout double with intolerance for defence. The availability of 2NT over 2H to describe minor-oriented hands allows a takeout double to be more spade-oriented. Where double would be for penalties then no inferences apply to 2NT other than that at least two strains are possible. A hand opposite a takeout double may freely use 2NT to indicate no significant preference and to ask the takeout doubler to bid the most appropriate strain.

Passes and Redoubles

When there exists no specific contrary agreement, when the opponents double a suit shown by partner a pass is noncommittal and a redouble is for rescue in context. Likewise, when the opponents double a denomination not shown by partner, then pass shows tolerance to play in that denomination (in context) and redouble denies such tolerance. A redouble by a hand that has raised partner seeks penalties, otherwise all undefined partscore redoubles are for rescue.

4NT in competition

The follow rules apply to 4NT bids in competition:
In summary, a jump to 4NT tends to be RKCB, a non-jump tends to be offering 2 places except where defined.