Bidding is competitive if both teams are struggling to find a suit and play a contract. This section discusses a few issues concerning competitive bidding. (Note on "standard" bidding.)
In a competitive auction, the length of your suit matters much more than the strength of your hand.
EXAMPLE: Suppose your partner opens 1 and the opponent makes a takeout double. You hold the following hand:
|5 Q642 T974 8542|
Without the double, you should probably pass the 1 opening. After the
double, however, I recommend jumping to 3!
Why? Well, you have 4-card heart support, so you and your partner have a nice 9-card fit. Furthermore, your spade singleton suggests that the opponents might have a very nice spade fit. By jumping to 3, you make it very hard for them to compete effectively.
NOTE: The jump to 3 is not a limit raise, and you don't have to worry about your partner raising to game. Hopefully, your partner is aware of the following rule:
|In a competitive auction, any jump-bid is preemptive.|
are two exceptions to the above rule:
1. When your partner makes a takeout double and the next opponent passes, a jump-bid does show some strength:
|(1) Dbl (Pass) 2: 4 or 5 spades and 10 or 11 points.|
2. If the opponents made a preemptive opening, or are otherwise known to be bidding with weak hands, then a jump-bid shows strength:
|(2) 2 (3) 4: Shows 3 spades and enough strength for game.|
bidding of uncontested auctions, competitive bidding does not
seem to have a "standard" approach. Though many players
bid as described here, many others follow a more traditional
approach where any jump to the 3-level show game-invitational
values. In fact, weak jump-rasies after an overcall are
classified as an alertable convention by the ACBL!
If you intend to play bridge with a partner who has not read this document, you should make sure that the two of you are on the same wavelength regarding competitive bidding. For example, whenever I play with someone new I warn them of my style as follows: "I like to jump in competition with a weak hand and good support. If I actually have an invitational hand, I'll either bid a new suit or cuebid to show my values."