Partner opened one diamond. I responded 1 NT with the following hand.

♠Txxx ♥Axx ♦Txxx ♣Ax

Partner then rebid two spades. I raised to four spades, reading my partner for 17 points or so. We went down two because he only had 13.

I said, "I read you for 17 points because you "reversed" (bid a higher-ranking suit at a higher level with the second bid).

Partner answered, "I was just bidding my 5-4 pattern. It said nothing about extra strength."

Did partner, in fact, "reverse"? Does it require about 17 points to do so? And if so, did it make sense for me to raise to four spades (I counted "eight" HCP, plus something extra for the club doubleton, and the two tens, located strategically in his suits).

  • Without knowing the bidding system you are playing, it is hard to answer who is right. I suggest you leave the specifics out. "What is a Reverse?" is a good question in itself and does not need the other questions.
    – Aryabhata
    Oct 21, 2011 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


I agree with your understanding of the situation. By forcing you to go to the 3-level if you decide you prefer his first suit (diamonds)... well, that's a textbook reverse. I would suggest that "about 17" points is a fair reading of such a bid.

Since your partner only had 13 points, and your bid should clearly have allowed him to infer that between you you only barely have the balance of the points, it's difficult to see what he hoped to achieve by going to 2S. You are extremely unlikely to have 5 or more spades after your NT bid, so at best you're finding a marginal 4-4 spade fit, at worst no fit at all. And that's if you stop bidding there, which of course you are unlikely to, because your partner has just falsely suggested that he has some basis on which to keep the bidding going... 4S sounds about right for an 8 card fit and roughly 24-25 points between you, yes.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again - send your partner back to basic Bridge school!


You should have responded 1♠ to indicate 4+ spades. 1NT response denies 4-card major.

Yes, your partner reversed. Since you denied 4 spades, opener's rebid 2♠ is unusual and hence a reverse. Opener's reverse promises at least invitational values.

If the opener has a minimum hand, he bids no higher than 2♦. With a balanced hand, he passes your 1NT. Otherwise, he bids 2♣ for 4+ clubs or 2♦ for 5+ diamonds. These 2m's are non-forcing.

  • Welcome to the site. Interesting answer. So I should have "avoided" the "reverse" by bidding one spade. Even with a suit headed by the T?
    – Tom Au
    Apr 12, 2013 at 17:28
  • 4
    Bridge is different from dating, quantity is more important than quality. This way you will never miss 4-4 major fit. If you have 3 spades and bid 1NT, his 4 spades won't make a 8-card fit. (He seldom has 5 spades or he may open 1♠.) Therefore, his 2♠ reverse does not seek fit (4♠) but seeks 3NT.
    – jdh8
    Apr 12, 2013 at 17:45
  • I would bid 1S in this sequence on a suit that was no better than 8xxx. Mar 9, 2019 at 0:48

First of all, let us consider the issue of simple preference. You hold

S 92
H AQ652
C K5

The bidding goes 1H-1S/2D. The 2D bid asks partner to show preference between the red suits. If he prefers the FIRST bid suit, he can do so at the 2 level Now, say you hold

S 92
D AQ652
C K5

The bidding goes 1D-1S/2H-? If partner prefers your FIRST bid suit, he must go to the 3 level. So you want to have a better hand to do so. Probably a King better than minimum or extra length in the two suits. So he has three reasons not to reverse 1 you have denied having four spades 2 He is not strong enough 3 The information that he has four spades is of no value to you. Hopefully, this answers your question.

But why did YOU respond 1N? Much as you may hate to do so, the standard response on that hand is 1S, informing partner that you have four. He has promised a rebid, so with his minimum hand he raises to 2S. The end.

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