Only us vulnerable at rubber, LHO opens 1 heart. Partner doubles, RHO passes, and I have (s)AQJ9 (h) Q42 (d) JT4 (c)853. In this situation, I would "jump" the bidding one level to two spades, because a bid of only one spade could imply that I have xxxx or even xxx in spades and a "bust" (or nearly so) otherwise.

Change my spades to diamonds, and an expert (Frank Stewart) recommends that I hold back at two diamonds, rather than "jump" the level to three diamonds, even though I have ten high card points. Is this because my "jump" takes me to the three level rather than two?

And is "level" the reason that Stewart recommends bidding a "craven" 2 clubs with (s)943 (h) A52 (d) AQJ (c)8732, following LHO's bid of one spade, partner's takeout double, and RHO's pass? Because my "natural" bid suit is clubs, but I don't want to bid three clubs with my weak holding despite my 11 points? But if my clubs were spades (and LHO had opened, say, one heart), I would "jump" the level to 2 spades (not one spade), right?

  • With the first hand but diamonds and spades swapped, I would seriously consider bidding 1NT. Yes, your heart stopper is iffy, but you want to keep NT in the picture. Apr 21, 2022 at 5:29

2 Answers 2


This depends heavily on what you play, but the standard would be that 9+, you jump, 0-8, you don't. See for example Larry Cohen's article on takeout responses. Level doesn't matter very much. 1H-X-P-2D shows 0-8 just like 1C-X-P-1D does.

That's not to say there's no difference between 1H-X-P-2D and 1H-X-P-1S; particularly when responding to 1H-X, you know that partner certainly has 4 spades (nearly certainly, anyway), and so skipping to 2D or 3D means you don't, and you are much more likely to be in a misfit situation. So there might be some adjustment made on your side; in particular, I'd like to see a 1NT (or 2NT or 3NT) if you have the opener's suit stopped before I see a 2D/3D/etc., if your hand is not highly distributional. I might slightly downgrade my hand's shape values (meaning any extra points I'm giving it for having a long diamonds suit, or shortness in spades - not that the hand you have there has any of that). But not so much that I'd only bid 2D over 1H-X-P with 10; particularly with partner in the direct seat, there's a reasonable chance we have a game here, and we don't want to miss out on that.

In the linked question "craven 2c", that's an 11 count with an ace in partner's presumptive suit; 2c is okay only if you're downgrading your hand on distribution significantly. That's a complicated choice, and I guess it's okay in the circumstances (terrible distribution and terrible suit); but with

S xxx
H Axx
C xxxx

If I as doubler had (as a very reasonable average hand):

S x
D Kxxx
C AQxx

I would be pretty sad to miss out on the very makable 5c (with both HQ and CK being likely onside, you on average lose one club and one spade, with 4 club tricks [one or two from spade ruffs] plus 3-4 hearts and 4 diamonds). Plus all of the other configurations that might be "pass" after 2c but "game" after 3c (P could have 15, for example, and still be expected to pass 2c)...


It’s good to remember the bidding is a two way conversation. Give your most important information first, and listen for partners too.

Your jump to 2S is ideal because you show the major fit and 9-11 points immediately and it’s safe; when partner hasn’t got 4 spades he has a lot of extra points instead.

However there are two weaknesses in jumping to 3D. Partner hasn’t guaranteed you 4 diamonds and you are bidding up to the 3 level as well. Partner may leave you there on a 4-3 fit with a minimum double! The level of fit known so far should be your ‘level’ limit. Have 6 diamonds or a decent 5 for the 3D bid.

It’s better to bid 2D first saying you don’t have the spade fit. If partner is strong he will bid again anyway, and you can then continue the conversation to reveal your extra strength, since you’ll want 28 for a minor game and partner is probably lacking in H for no trumps.

In many situations it is the bids that you did not make which conveys the most helpful information to your partner. 2D most usually says I don’t have 4 spades as I did not bid spades and I don't have 13 points as I did not cue bid 2H.

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