2.6 Random Openings

It is forbidden to open hands which, by agreement, may contain fewer than 8 high card points and for which no further definition is provided.

If you open bidding for a hand with fewer than 8 high card points, then you are going to lose, so the bid is suicidal. I don't see why there is a rule to stop players from making suicidal plays, however. Can someone explain?

  • 3
    One person's "suicidal" is another person's "preemptive bid" :) Apr 5, 2023 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


It's a blanket limitation on HUM (Highly Unusual Method) systems employing a Forcing Pass or the like; by disallowing a catch-all substitution bid in place of an opening Pass. The effect is that such systems must, systemically, describe for the opponents how every hand type enters the auction.

The greatest virtue of HUM systems is the unfamiliarity of it to the opponents. This regulation combats that.

Further, I suspect it's a dig at proponents of EHAA (Every Hand An Adventure) type systems who are claiming non-agreement and non-existence of agreements on bidding patterns. Of course they built experience, and experiential agreements; now it's in black-and-white that those must be provided, in black-and-white, for the opponents in a timely manner that allows development of at least modest familiarity.

As a final note, your comment that players of such systems automatically lose: that's false. Look up the history of EHAA and Forcing Pass systms going back to the early '70's and check it out. What they actually did was undermine the skill component of winning, randomizing the results unacceptably.

  • 1
    Can you explain how you don't lose if you open bidding with <8 points? Like, why can't opponents could just pass and defeat whatever contract you end up in? Also, can you elaborate on the third paragraph - aren't bid meanings already known "in black-and-white" to opponents since you must explain your bid if asked?
    – Allure
    Apr 5, 2023 at 13:35
  • 3
    @Allure in unequal strength distribution it's quite likely that opponents all passing results in a bad outcome for them, as them playing (and winning) a proper bid in their chosen suit would net them more points than slightly defeating you in a low bid in your chosen suit.
    – Peteris
    Apr 5, 2023 at 14:08
  • 4
    Well, if the opponents have a lay down grand slam in no trump and they just pass and defeat the contract, then they'll get a lot fewer points than they would have gotten by bidding that grand slam.
    – Lee Mosher
    Apr 5, 2023 at 14:08
  • 1
    What level of "further definition" would be required? For example, could one have a bidding system where a 1C bid forces a 1D response, and a 1H rebid would be artificial and forcing, indicative of a 9-card or longer suit and 0-8HCP, with no more than 3HCP in any suit? One wouldn't be able to tell the opponents anything meaningful about the hand after 1C, but after 1H anyone given that description could likely picture what the opener's hand was likely to be (such a guess might be wrong if all remaining cards in the 9-card suit are dealt to the same player, but that would be rare).
    – supercat
    Apr 5, 2023 at 15:53
  • 1
    A hand with a nine-card suit, even with less than 8hcp, isn't exactly weak. I would of course expect a proper description to be larger than would fit in a SO comment.
    – supercat
    Apr 6, 2023 at 5:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .