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Finish this sentence...Long reply from a new player

Posted By: Chuck Bower
Date: Monday, 9 March 2015, at 5:00 p.m.

In Response To: Finish this sentence...Long reply from a new player (Bob Koca)

Is it true that one is not allowed to bid whatever he wants at any given time?

I'm not sure what this question means. Here are the rules of bidding:

0) Definition: A 'bid' is a combination of a number from 1-7 and a suit {Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades} or No Trump. A 'call' includes all bids, and also 'pass', 'double', and 'redouble'.

1) Dealer 'calls' first, then players follow in clockwise order (same direction that hands were dealt).

2) A 'pass' can be made at any time (as long as it is a player's turn to call). A bid is allowed at any time (again, in turn) as long as that bid is higher than all previous bids. Hierarchy: if at the same (numerical) level the suit named must be alphabetically higher than the previous suit, with No Trump being higher than any suit. A higher level outbids any lower level bid. A lower level bid is not legal.

3) Three consecutive passes are necessary and sufficient to end the auction.

4) (Note; since teammates sit opposite each other the auction always alternates between teams.) A player may 'double' the most recent bid iff that bid was made by opponent (and, to be clear, the auction hasn't ended with three consecutive passes).

5) A player may 'redouble' an opponent's 'double' iff that is the most recent non-pass call made (and again, iff the auction is still alive). Note: unlike BG you cannot redouble a redouble. Also, any legal bid cancels all previous doubles and redoubles.

6) The most recent bid at the end of the auction determines the contract and will be played offensively by the first person of the team which won the bid who mentioned that suit (or first person on that team to mention No Trump).

7) if the most recent bid in the auction was doubled (and/or if that double were redoubled) the contract is still as in item 6 but the scoring will be different (higher for either offense or defense, depending if the contract is fulfilled or defeated).

8) To fulfill the contract, declarer's side must win a minimum 6+N tricks where N is the level of the contract. (E.g. 4 Spade contract means declarer must win at least 10 tricks to fulfil the contract.)

As long as it can be written down what you are doing is any bidding convention allowed?

This varies by competition, but typically the answer is "no, any convention or treatment used must be on an approved list". Of course at informal games (e.g. at home) you can make your own rules.

Is it possible that a bidding convention could be so convoluted that whatever it gives up in efficient signalling to partner it gains in opponents getting hopelessly lost in a crazy logic puzzle trying to figure everything out?

Although (in formal competitions) the opponents must be informed of the meaning of any convention and, when faced with a turn, can answer the opponent of any call what meaning it has, that still doesn't mean the asking person can figure out the subtlties, nor is it the requirement of the other team to do so. For example, if a person makes a 1 NT bid and the opponent asks if this can be made with a singleton (exactly 1 card in a suit) or void (exactly 0 cards in a suit) and the answer is 'no', the responder doesn't have to point out that this precludes partner from holding an 8-card suit!

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