This question is related to What Is a “Reverse” In Bridge?, but covers a different case.

I understand that reverses (17+ HCP, longer in first suit than second) apply to a 1-level response:

S    W    N    E
1D   pass 1S   pass

But suppose the bidding has a 2-over-1 response from responder showing 11+ points (but not game-forcing):

S    W    N    E
1D   pass 2C   pass

Is the 2H bid normally interpreted as a reverse? Or is this partner convention?

4 Answers 4


There are a few answers to this question :)

First, technically that is a reverse, though it does not necessarily show extras. The best definition of reverse I've seen is "A non-jump rebid by opener that would force responder to give preference at the three-level." So in the example you gave, if partner prefers diamonds to spades they would have to bid 3D, making it a reverse.

However, what you're really asking is: Does a reverse after a 2/1 response show extras? Here, it depends strongly on partnership agreements. You do not say what system you are playing, but I will assume that it is either Standard American or the related 2/1 Game Forcing.

If you are playing Standard American, the Yellow Card booklet says that a reverse still shows extras, but some partnerships modify this agreement.

If you are playing 2/1 Game Forcing, there's two different types of auctions to consider:

  • 1D-2C: This auction bears special discussions since there isn't a particularly widely accepted standard treatment. As an example of the variety of opinions, see this thread on BBO about 1D-2C.
  • 1M-2m: I'm going to sound like an echo, but partnership discussions apply. My sense is that most pairs play the reverse as not showing extras, although my preference is to play that it denies a dead minimum.

Rebids after reverses are in general a field where I find most beginners and intermediate players have a different idea of what is "standard"; I strongly suggest discussing this situation with any new partner you sit down with, or at least do as Marty Bergen suggests, and pray they don't come up.


First, some terminology and basic analysis:

  • A 2 over 1 is a response by Opener's partner, in an uncontested auction, to an opening of 1S, 1H or 1D at the two level in a lower ranking suit than Opener's.

    In all natural systems a 2 over 1 call promises to not let the auction die below the level of 3 in Responder's suit (possibly excepted with passing an invitational 2NT rebid by Opener). By inference it shows a hand of suitable strength (both defensive and offensive) to make such a promise.

  • A Two Over One is a systemic 2 over 1 call, from systems such as Two Over One Game Forcing and Kaplan-Sheinwold, which assigns additional meaning and strength to the response.

    All such agreements are excluded from the analysis below, as they require systemic rebids by opener.

  • Opener's Reverse promises sufficient strength, both offensive and defensive, to play at the three level in the best available fit. Following a 1 over 1 response this is generally taken to be a hand worth about 17 points.

Now consider the auction provided:

 1D - Pass - 2C - Pass

Responder has promised (with sufficient values) to not let the auction die below 3C; and Opener has promised sufficient values to play at the three level in the best available fit.

Note that the additional partnership strength required for Opener's Reverse are already provided by Responder.

Therefore Opener does not promise any additional strength with the call.


This seems to be a widely-discussed issue. I think that the reverse should be "off." (Meaning -- it's technically a "reverse" by definition perhaps, but it should not have the meaning of a reverse.) It may be difficult to show such a strong hand later (which is possible, but statistically unlikely). The benefit of showing the 4 card major seems to be fairly large, especially as you could still have a 4-4 major fit. It is only if you are looking for slam that you need to show extras. You can play that a jump to 3NT in a 2/1 auction shows 15-17 points, and so that takes care of many of these hands. And with a major-suit fit you could use serious 3NT. Of course these are more sophisticated agreements, but it seems the lesser evil (when compared to having 2S be limited to strong hands).


The meaning of a "reverse" in this situation will vary between partnerships, but here's what it means to me. (Hopefully, you will have discussed this hypothetical with your partner before the situation comes up.

When partner bids "one over one," s/he could have as little as six points. (Actually, the one over one bid implies two potential ranges, 6-9, and 10-12, the latter when it functions as a substitute for a two over one bid of a lower suit. And in a few cases, you might have more than 12 points.)

Then a reverse means, "we might be in game zone" if we can find a trump fit." Over a one over one bid, I imply 17 points or more, against your presumed nine points, a rough "average" of your possible holdings.

If you've made a two over one bid, you've shown 10-12 points. In that case a "reverse" on my part would require at least 15-16 points (not 17), to get to the 25-27 needed for game.

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