I open with 1 club.

Left bids 1 hearts.

My partner bids 1 spade.

How many spades can I assume my partner has?

  • This is a very broad question and the answers would depend a lot on your partners play style and how the game is going
    – Joe W
    Jul 21, 2015 at 22:58
  • @JoeW: This is a fairly straightforward two-way answer. Unless OP is playing some obscure artificial system there is not much variation here beyond whether or not Negative Doubles are agreed. Jul 22, 2015 at 5:00
  • Notwithstanding my comment above - you should provide scoring method, bidding system, and vulnerability status for both partnerships when asking a bridge question. Even in this instance there are subtleties that could come into play. Jul 22, 2015 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


Assuming that you have Negative Doubles, sometimes called Sputnik Doubles, in your arsenal of agreements, then partner is showing 5 or more Spades. With only four Spades partner would double instead.

The argument might be presented that partner is coming in with only 4 good spades as a lead directing call, but there is no reason for this. First, partner is odds on to have the opening lead if opponents win the auction; and second the double would also show a spade holding. Consequently this argument holds no water on this auction.

If you are not playing Negative Doubles then partner's call should either show five Spades and at least a minimum responding hand (normally 5+ HCP in standard systems), or four spades and a hand worth at least two free bids, normally 9+ HCP or so in standard systems).

The reason for the two-way call is that with the stronger hand partner must make it clear that your side likely owns the auction, and can compete possibly to the 2- or 3-level. You can determine after partner's next call if he might have only 4 Spades, with extra points. Initially assume partner is only showing 4 spades in this case, though it is acceptable to make a single raise to 2 with only three-card support if you are minimum.

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