Let's say I have a 4S-3H-4D-2C distribution and 12-18 points. One of the opponents has already opened and they didn't bid clubs but one of the other suits (S, H or D). Now what can I bid? I cannot overcall because that requires a strong suit. I cannot double because that promises at least a 3 carder of all the unbid suits including clubs. What do I bid in this case?

I play Standard American 5 card major or 2/1

  • "can't double" depends on what you've agreed on with your partner. With this had, I'd overcall with 1NT if the hand was 15+ points. – steenbergh Jul 12 '18 at 9:19
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    Yup, "12-18" is too wide a range to be covered by a single bid. The strong end (however your partrnership defines that) is 1NT, the weak probably Pass. – Tim Lymington Jul 12 '18 at 10:24

As pointed out in the comments, the range 12-18 is a double range for which both sides must be looked at separately.

With the lower half, 12 to a bad 15, just pass. Don't hesitate; just pass in your normal tempo. Trust partner to balance when necessary, or find a partner who will. Any hesitation with this hand gives partner an ethical problem that will prevent a reopening call.

With the upper half, a good 15 to 18, just bid 1NT in tempo.


A bid of 1 NT over an opening bid of 1 of a suit holding 15-18, a balanced hand, and a stopper in the bid suit seems reasonable. If the suit bid by the opponent was one in which the overcaller holds 3 small cards, I would favor a double, despite a 2-card club suit. It is a risk, as partner might bid the short suit, but the likelihood of the NT bid winding up in a 3NT contract where the opponents lead and run the Heart suit in the case described seems much more serious.

Given the pressure to respond in a major if possible, the risk of a club mis-fit seems tolerable to em, as no bid is perfect in this situation, and a good fifteen is too strong to make pass attractive.

  • Would the down voter care to explain the perceived problem with this answer? I am growing more and more convinced that unexplained down-votes should be removed from the SE model. I am not an expert, but i am a fairly experienced tournament and club player, approaching life Master status in the ACBL – David Siegel Mar 5 '19 at 2:54

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