My bridge club plays by a rule that an opening of a convenient minor requires a demand response by the partner unless intervening opponent does an overcall.


  1. My partner opened with 1-Diamond; opponent passed.

  2. As Responder I had no 4-card major, 3-cards each in the minor suit, and less than 6 points. We play that a minor response to a minor opening implies that the responder has a 5-card minor suit, such as the bidding: 1H; pass; 2D (5-card diamond suit)

  3. But in my case I did not have 5 diamonds or anything, really. After fretting whether to pass (against our rules) or bid "something" (leading to a disaster), I bid 1-NT expecting/hoping partner to put contract in her best suit.

  4. My partner (the opener) responded 2-NT and the bidding: 1D; pass; 1NT; pass/ 2NT; pass; pass; pass And we went down big time.

To me - and hoping partner would realize it, my 1NT implied a bust hand and she was to then pick her best suit. But didn't work that way

Any advice how we can properly handle this situation the next time? What is the ACL rule for responding to a "convenient minor opening"? Is a demand response the rule?

  • 2
    no 4-card major and 3 in each minor suit is only 12 cards?
    – Tom77
    Jul 9, 2014 at 21:15
  • 2
    The rules (and usually bridge clubs) don't "demand" bids. The bidding system does, which players are free to ignore (likely to the detriment of the partnership). Not sure why a bridge club has a rule forcing the responder to bid something. Or is your question mainly about the bidding system which almost everyone plays in your club? (or did I misunderstand what you wrote?)
    – Aryabhata
    Jul 10, 2014 at 23:11
  • You would do well to learn the difference between implied and inferred.
    – Tom Au
    Apr 26, 2017 at 16:56

3 Answers 3


Playing in North America, I have noticed two main approaches to responding to a convenient minor opening:

  • Only respond with normal responding strength (usually given as 6 HCP).
  • Respond with any hand that has an ace, a king, or shortness in the minor opened.

The first is covered by many bidding books, so let us discuss the second.

First of all, you must not respond 1NT without at least 5 HCP; this will lead to disaster, as you have learned. When you are broke, your first priority is to bid a four-card major; if you do not have one and partner has bid 1C, you may bid 1D and pass partner's 1-level rebid (or 2C -- other 2-level bids are reverses and thus forcing).

The real issue comes when partner has opened 1D, and you hold a hand like Jxx xxx x xxxxxx. This is the worst case, and probably the least bad action is to pass and hope that your left-hand opponent comes into the auction. The only alternative is 1NT, but this is a terrible alternative (you must not bid 2C, as this must promise strength).

  • 1C - 1D - 2D is a raise of partner's suit, not a reverse, I would think. as 1D would usually show at least a 4-card suit. Jun 4, 2019 at 3:44

First of all, the Laws of bridge do not mandate any particular bidding system and except in dealing with an irregularity, do not mandate any particular bid.

Secondly, it is very unusual, and not permitted in ACBL open games, for the bridge club to mandate a particular system, much less a particular bid in a given bidding sequence.

Thirdly the question says:

I had no 4-card major, 3-cards each in the minor suit

But this is not possible, as it leaves at most 12 cards in the hand. There must be at least one 4-card suit in the most balanced possible hand (4, 3, 3, 3)

Fourthly, most players using convenient minor that I have played with or against do not bid with a bust, even if partner opens 1 club. They will strain to make an otherwise borderline bid. If your agreement is that 1C must not be passed, then you should discuss what bid(s) to make with a sub-minimum hand. I would favor bidding a 4-card (or longer) major, or 1D with no such major. Responder would be free to pass any rebid that is not forcing (A bid of 2H or 2S would be a reverse, and 2NT would be a strong jump, and any of those would be forcing.) However, other agreements are possible.


I've played systems like this, but only One Club demands a rebid of one diamond. In this situation,the opener will bid one of a four card major, or 1NT, or pass the 1 diamond bid with four diamonds. This is still too high opposite a bust hand, but no worse that a "weak NT" opposite a bust.

One diamond can be passed by a bust hand, because the bust bid would be 1NT (leaving the majors open for "natural" bids). The ABCL frowns on bidding systems where the "bust" bid is higher than the one suit rank above the opening bid (2 clubs, 2 diamonds is okay, 2 clubs, 2NT (bust) is frowned upon), because it takes up bidding space.

Besides, your team has left more room for the opponents to overcall following the approach I outlined.

  • re "has left more room for the opponents to overcall following the approach I outlined": The fatal flaw of ill-thought-out Forcing Club systems is to provide a road map to the hand without actually taking up bidding space, allowing opponents to both bid and play the hand half-a-trick or more better. Time to double the stakes when opponents choose such a weak bidding system. Jun 2, 2019 at 1:53

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