The Overcall Structure

Table of Contents

The Structure at a Glance

For busy players who don't have time to read, here is the essence of the Structure in chart form:

RHO opens-->

You bid:

1 1 1 1
Double 14+ HCP tends to be balanced
1 Simple Overcall
4-14 HCP
4+ diamonds
1 Simple Overcall
4-14 HCP
4+ hearts
1 Simple Overcall
4-14 HCP
4+ spades
1NT 1NT Takeout
4-14 HCP
3+ card support for all unbid suits
2 Two-suited cue bid
(touching suits)
5+ diamonds
4+ spades
4+ HCP
Two level overcall
5+ clubs
4-14 HCP
2 Two-suited jump overcall
5+ diamonds
4+ hearts
4-14 HCP
Two-suited cue bid
(touching suits)
5+ clubs
4+ hearts
4+ HCP
Two level overcall
5+ diamonds
4-14 HCP
2 Two-suited jump overcall
5+ hearts
4+ spades
4-14 HCP
Two-suited cue bid
(touching suits)
5+ diamonds
4+ spades
4+ HCP
Two level overcall
5+ hearts
4-14 HCP
2 Weak jump overcall
6+ spades
Two-suited jump overcall
4+ spades
5+ clubs
4-14 HCP
Two-suited cue bid
(touching suits)
5+ hearts
5+ clubs
4+ HCP
2NT Strong 2-suiter (8.5+ playing tricks)
Non-touching suit + another
3 Asks for stopper for 3NT Intermediate jump overcall
12-17 HCP
6+ clubs
Two-suited jump overcall
5+ clubs
5+ diamonds
4-14 HCP
3 Intermediate jump overcall
12-17 HCP
6+ diamonds
Asks for stopper for 3NT Intermediate jump overcall
12-17 HCP
6+ diamonds
Two-suited jump overcall
5+ diamonds
5+ hearts
4-14 HCP
3 Intermediate jump overcall
12-17 HCP
6+ hearts
Asks for stopper for 3NT Intermediate jump overcall
12-17 HCP
6+ hearts
3 Intermediate jump overcall
12-17 HCP
6+ spades
Asks for stopper for 3NT
3NT To play
Good 4 bid
Preemptive, natural NAMYATS
Good 4 bid
Good 4 bid
Preemptive, natural
preemptive, natural
preemptive, natural


This document is based on two main sources: 

I have supplemented this material with a my own (very limited) experience and with some observations made while kibitzing Twineham and Hodges in actual play.  I have tried to clarify places where the sources seemed obscure, and I have also indicated places where they are contradictory or where I just can't make sense out of them.  My goal was to summarize the available information, not to create any new theory.  This process has exposed enough loose ends that you and partner will have plenty to talk about the next time you meet at Starbucks.

Paul Cornelius
May 2001

1.  Introduction

Odds of holding a hand in the given HCP range after an opponent opens the bidding
HCP range Probability
0-5 18.18%
6-8 27.65%
9-11 28.55%
12-14 19.02%
15-37 6.60%
38+ 0.00%

When the opponents open the bidding they have already gained an advantage. Standard defensive bidding methods allow you to compete if you have a decent hand, but this doesn't happen very often (see chart of probabilities at right).  The main purpose of the Structure is to allow you to compete on weaker hands.  The Structure is based on the theory that competing at the one- and two-level is superior to balancing at the three-level, which can be very dangerous as the opponents have already communicated their values. 

The Structure often relies on the Law of Total Tricks to decide how high to compete. On most hands we possess at least an eight-card fit, which usually will allow us to compete successfully at the two-level; sometimes we will have two eight-card fits which will allow us to compete at the three-level. If we have a nine-card fit the three-level should be safe, etc. The opponents of course attempt to do the same depending on how big their trump fits are.

The Structure comprises the following tools:  Simple Overcalls, No-trump for Takeout, the Power Double, Roman Jump Overcalls, the Two-suited Cuebid, Intermediate Jump Overcalls, NAMYATS, and a few other gadget bids.

1.1.  General principles

The Structure applies only in direct seat when the opponents have opened with a natural bid of 1 in a suit.  It is off in balancing seat or when both opponents have bid. 

Throughout this document the term "advancer" is used to name the partner of the player who first makes a competitive bid (overcall or double).  The Advancer plays a critical role in the Structure since it is almost always his job to make the final decision about how high to compete on the combined offensive values of the partnership.  Advancer must bear in mind that many calls in the Structure are limited and do not promise defensive values.  The most important concept in the Structure is summarized this way by Spaulding: 

"Get in, get out; bid limit of offensive values but don't hang your partner."

2.  The Simple Overcall at the One-level (SO)

Of all the tools in the Structure, the simple overcall (SO) occurs the most frequently.  The inferences that can be drawn from an SO, or even a pass, are many. Because the overcaller has several other possible bids in the Structure, the choice of an SO denies possession of certain other hand types.  This will become clear as the other bids are presented.

There are several reasons to make an SO: 

The requirements for an SO are modest: generally 4-14 HCP and a 5+ card suit; however, 4 card suits are common when the hand contains length in opener's suit.  The SO denies holding a side 5 card suit and tends to deny a higher ranking 4 card suit, although there are 4-4, 5-4, and 6-4 hands that cannot be described with a single systemic bid.  The SO is alertable.

There are no specific requirements for suit quality.  While the average is something like KJ9x, lesser holdings are acceptable if the hand's general strength suggests getting into the auction.  For example, if RHO opens 1C and you hold: S KQx H T9xx D xx C AKxx, the recommended bid is 1H.  (This paragraph is from Fout).

The inferences from partner passing in an auction like this: (1C) - P - (1S), are very revealing. It's known that partner could not even compete at the one-level. Partner almost surely denies possession of all the hands mentioned in this section, and denies the three-suited takeouts, two-suited hands, and other holdings that will be described below. The hands most likely to be passed are either very weak, are 4-3-3-3 (or some other balanced pattern) with length in opener's suit, or have a bad suit and only average values, e.g., Jxxx or worse and 6-9 HCP.

2.1 Responding to an SO

The aggressive nature of the SO implies that advancer must act with caution, particularly when considering a raise on 3 card support.  Advancer's holding in LHO's suit is of critical importance [Fout]: the situation is especially dangerous when holding three small, Jxx or Qxx of LHO's suit, or with a modest 4-3-3-3 hand.

Case 1: Overcaller's LHO passes

In an uncontested auction the advancer has four ways of raising overcaller's suit:

1.  Simple raise.  This generally requires 4+ card support and is blocking.  Advancer has no interest in game.

2.  Double raise.  When non-vulnerable this is blocking and denies interest in game.  When vulnerable it is invitational.

3.  Bid 1NT (forcing, see below) and then support opener's suit on the next round  [Fout; not mentioned by Spaulding].

For example:

1 1 Pass 1NT (forcing)
Pass 2 (forced relay) Pass 2

This sequence shows some game interest so overcaller should continue with a maximum.

4.  Bid 2NT (Jacoby style).   This promises an opening hand with 4+ trumps and is forcing for one round.  Overcaller responds as follows:

A.  Rebid his suit with less than 8 HCP [Spaulding] or a generally poor hand.  This is not forcing.  

B.  Bid a new suit at 3 level to show a singleton or void.  Presumably this also implies 8+ HCP [my interpretation].

C.  Jump to a new suit at the 4 level to show 6-4 distribution and maximum HCP.

Lacking support for overcaller's suit, advancer must bear in mind that overcaller is very likely to have shortness in one of the unbid suits (otherwise he would have overcalled 1NT - see below).  Advancer can choose among these possibilities:

1.  Pass.  Strongly tends to have fewer than 4 cards in overcaller's suit.

2.  New suit at the one level.  Non-forcing and non-constructive, this denies interest in game and merely suggests an alternative spot. This strongly implies fewer than 3 cards in overcaller's suit.

3.  1NT is similar to Lebensohl and asks overcaller to make an artificial rebid of 2.  Assuming the relay is accepted, advancer can now continue in one of several ways:

A.  Pass, or bid a suit at the 2-level that is lower-ranking than overcaller's suit.  This is weak and non-forcing with no interest in game.  It shows a 5+ card suit and strongly implies less than 3 cards in overcaller's suit.

B.  Bid a suit at the 2-level that is higher ranking than overcaller's suit.  This is mildly invitational but non-forcing.

C.  Make a mild game invitation by rebidding overcaller's suit (see above).

Overcaller may break the relay to 2C if his original suit was 6 cards long.  With a minimum hand he rebids his suit; with a good hand he can bid a new suit to show 3 or 4 cards in the suit bid and 11+ HCP.

4.  A new suit (non-jump) at the two level is a one-round force.  This is often made with 3+ card support for opener's original suit in reserve.

5.  A new suit (jump) at the two level or above is preemptive.

6.  A cuebid of opener's suit is a strong no-fit game try.  Advancer has at most 3 card support for overcaller,  and is looking for game either in no-trump or in his own suit.  This shows 15+ HCP and asks overcaller for a further description.

Case 2: Overcaller's LHO doubles

I have to say that both sources are very vague in their treatment of this situation.

The advancer again has four ways of raising the overcaller, but they are different from Case 1.

1.  Redouble.  This is a "support redouble" promising exactly 3 cards.

2.  Single raise.  Promises 4+ cards and denies interest in game.

3.  Jump raise.  Promises a very good 4 cards or 5+ card support.  If non-vulnerable it is purely blocking and denies game interest; if vulnerable it is invitational  [This is my interpretation of the sketchy descriptions available].

4.  Cue bid.  This now shows a fit (since the negative double makes it unlikely that a non-fit game is available).  Fout describes it as a "limit raise", whatever that might be in this situation; presumably overcaller should bid game if he is near maximum.

Apart from these bids Spaulding simply says that "all other bids are as in standard."  Presumably this implies that new suits by advancer are nonforcing, and 1NT is a balanced hand with stoppers and 7-10 points.  I recommend some partnership discussion on this point.

Case 3: Overcaller's LHO bids a new suit, or raises opener

The possible responses here are much more limited.

1.  Double.  This shows 3 card raise if the suit can be bid at the two level; otherwise it is value-showing and responsive.

2.  Any direct raise promises at least 4 card support.  It is purely competitive "unless vulnerable vs. not [Spaulding]".

3.  I assume that a cue bid shows support for overcaller's suit and invites game (if bidding space permits).

3. The One No-trump Overcall for Takeout (NTO)

The centerpiece of the system.  The NTO comes up frequently and creates problems for the opponents, while letting us know the suits in which we can compete.  The NTO can be described as a light three-suited takeout, showing 3+ cards in each of the unbid suits and generally 6 -15 HCP.  The bid implies a doubleton or less in the opener's suit, i.e., it should not be used with 4-3-3-3 hands.  The bid is alertable.

3.1 Point count requirements

The sources differ in their description of the point count requirements.  Spaulding gives the range as 4 to a bad 14, or up to a bad 15 opposite a passed partner.  Fout says 6-15 at equal vulnerability.  At the table Twineham and Hodges, at unfavorable vulnerability, said their range was 8-14.

Fout opines that certain hands should make a NTO with extra values and the wrong shape to make a Power Double (PD). The PD tends to show a doubleton or greater length in opener's suit; thus responder will often convert a PD for penalties. For example:

S AJT9 H AQTx D -- C KQxxx

when RHO opens 1D , bid 1NT and follow up with a double on your second turn.

3.2 Shape requirements

Fout says that the only specific requirement is 3 cards in each of the unbid suits, and suggests that the NTO should be made with a 7-3-3-0 pattern.  Spaulding is far less radical, giving as typical hand patterns "4-4-4-1, 4-4-3-2, 5-3-3-2, 5-4-3-1, etc."

3.3 Responding to an NTO

Case 1: Overcaller's LHO passes.

  1. Pass [Fout, not mentioned explicitly by Spaulding although he does say that the NTO is non-forcing].
    This must show a hand suitable for notrump with some points, but light enough that there is no danger of missing game.
  2. Bid a suit at the 2-level [not mentioned explicitly by Spaulding].
    To play.  This should generally end the auction, but Fout says that the NTO bidder can raise with a shapely maximum (4+ card support).
  3. Cue bid at 2 level.
    Asks the NTO bidder for a 4-card major.  If the opener's suit was a minor this could simply be looking for a safe place to play, but if advancer later bids a new suit then this is an invitational sequence.  

    Fout says that a second cue bid by advancer demonstrates a strong interest in game, probably in the suit named by the NTO bidder.

    Neither source mentions what to do if the NTO bidder doesn't have a 4-card major; presumably he makes the cheapest available response or bids 2NT.
  4. Bid a suit at the 3-level.
    Preemptive unless vulnerable versus not. This shows a 6-card suit or a good 5-card suit.  Alertable.
  5. 2NT.
    Fout says that this "tends to show minors, but could be a hand with a minor and a major. This depends on the auction."
    Spaulding says this is invitational to 3NT.
  6. Cue bid at 3 level [Spaulding, not mentioned by Fout]
    Asks NTO bidder to bid 3NT with a stopper.
  7. Bid game or 4 of a minor [Fout, not mentioned by Spaulding]
    To play.

Case 2: Overcaller's LHO doubles

  1. Bid a suit at the 3-level [Spaulding]
    Preemptive unless red versus white. This shows a 6-card suit or a good 5-card suit with a little shape.  Alertable.

    Spaulding isn't very clear on this.  He implies that this bid is still a game try if vulnerable, but it seems unlikely that a game can be made after the opponents have opened and doubled.  I think that the "unless red versus white" idea shouldn't be applicable here.
  2. Bid a suit at the 2-level.
    Promises a 5+ card suit and is to play.  Alertable.
  3. Redouble (alertable)
    Promises exactly 4 cards in the highest unbid suit.  
    Neither source explains how to follow this up.  NTO bidder presumably is supposed to take out into this suit if he also has 4 of them, or otherwise rescue himself.
  4. Pass (semi-forcing and alertable)
    Denies a 5-card suit and also denies 4 cards in the highest unbid suit.  NTO bidder will now take one of the following actions: 

    A. Pass with a flattish max (very rare)

    B.  Bid a 4-card suit of his own 

    C.  Redouble to show a 5-card suit.  This asks partner to relay to 2.  
    This treatment is described by Fout and differs from Spaulding.  I observed that this is how Twineham and Hodges now play at the table, so I've written it up here as the standard agreement.  In the original pamphlet the meanings of redouble and a suit bid were switched; i.e., redouble denied a 5 card suit and a suit bid promised one.

Case 3: Overcaller's LHO bids a new suit or raises opener's suit

  1. Double (alertable I think)
    Negative according to Spaulding, responsive according to Fout.  This may amount to a mere difference in semantics, but it's possible that Spaulding considers it to promise 4 card support for any unbid major.

    If NTO bidder responds 2NT, it's a takeout for the minors [Spaulding].
  2. 2NT (alertable)
    Takeout for the minors.
  3. Bid a suit.
    To play.  Non-constructive.

Here are two examples given by Fout: 

"1.  At IMPs both vulnerable, you hold: S Jx H AKTxxx D J9xx C x. Over a one diamond opening by LHO, partner bids a NTO while RHO follows with 2C. You gamble out a 4H bid. It goes down one -- barely -- when partner holds a mere six count, but the opponents are gin for 5C, win 10 IMPs. 

"2.  At matchpoints you hold: S QJxx H Qxxx D -- C QJxxx. Your RHO opens 1D; you bid a NTO. Your LHO doubles, and partner leaps to 5C! What does partner have? You pass, happy for now until your LHO chimes in with 5H while partner and RHO pass it around to you. What does partner have? Well, work it out; with any six-card suit partner should bid 3C; with a little shape and a good six-card suit that would constitute a 4C bid. So, partner must have seven clubs and it seems likely partner has one or fewer hearts. Since partner couldn't hammer five hearts, you're going to have to follow the LTT and bid 6C with a twelve-card fit. Score it up. Partner held: S Kxx H -- D Jxx C AKTxxxx; the kind of hand you would expect. It's unlikely standard bidders could possibly draw these inferences from such a short auction, and find a way to preempt the opponents out of their cheap 6D save."

4.  The Power Double (PD)

This bid shows a good 15+ HCP [Spaulding says 14+] and any shape.  Since certain distributional hands are expressed in other ways, the PD tends to be balanced like a standard 1NT overcall.  It does not, however, guarantee a stopper or a minimum length in any particular suit. It is alertable.

4.1 Converting the double for penalty

Responding to the PD is very similar to responding to a standard takeout double.  The responder should be alert to the possibility of converting the double for penalties, especially at favorable vulnerability.  This happens much more often with the PD than with standard doubles, for example:

S Kxx H Axx D QJ9x C xxx

When LHO opens 1D and partner doubles, we would pass for penalty.  We could make 3NT but the penalty pass rates to bring in much more.

4.2 Responding to the PD 

Case 1: Doubler's LHO passes

1.  1NT shows 4-7 HCP and a stopper.  Alertable, I think.

2.  2NT shows 8-9 HCP and a stopper.  Alertable, I think.

3.  Cuebid asks doubler to bid his best suit.  This promises no particular strength; responder will clarify that at his next bid.  In response to a cue bid the doubler should jump or make a return cue bid to show 17+ points.

4.  "Other bids are similar to standard."
Spaulding doesn't say so, but I think the responder needs to take opener's promised strength into account.  Hands with only 10+ points must force to game, so hands with only about 7+ must jump (in my opinion).

Case 2: Doubler's LHO bids

1.  Double is negative for the unbid suits.

2.  A new suit at a minimum level is competitive only.

5. The Two-level Overcall (TLO)

The TLO shows 4-14 HCP and 5+ card suit.  In many cases it looks just like a standard overcall, but since there are almost no pre-empts available in the Structure it can also be hand that would have made a standard weak jump overcall.  In general it tends to show a balanced single-suited hand without the playing strength for an Intermediate Jump Overcall, or with the wrong shape for an NTO.  It is alertable.

5.1 Responses to the TLO

The responses to the TLO are mostly natural and similar to standard bidding.  Most of this information is from Fout.

Case 1.  Overcaller's LHO passes.

1.  Raise of partner's suit.  Always blocking; avoid making this bid on a honor doubleton as overcaller is less likely to have a 6+ card suit than in standard bidding.  Alertable.

2.  Cue bid.  Game invitational.

3.  2NT.  Natural and invitational.

4.  A new suit at the 2 level is non-forcing, but overcaller can raise with a maximum and 3 card support.

Case 2.  Overcaller's LHO bids or doubles.

1.  A double (or redouble) is a strong raise to 3 of the overcaller's suit.  Advancer may have as much as an opening bid.  This is alertable.

2.  A direct raise to 3 is blocking and denies interest in game.  Alertable.

3.  Cue bid is a good hand, either in support of overcaller's suit or in another suit.

6.  The Roman Jump Overcall (RJO)

The two cheapest jump overcalls over a one-level bid by opener show the suit bid and the higher touching suit, with generally 6-15 HCP [This is Fout; Spaulding says 4-14 HCP]. There will always be at least nine cards in the two suits. If there are only nine cards, the lower ranking will always [Spaulding says "almost always"] have five cards and the higher ranking will have four. The bids are as follows with minimum holdings and tendencies:

2D/1C 5+ diamonds and 4+ hearts
2H/1C 5+ hearts and 4+ spades
2H/1D 5+ hearts and 4+ spades
2S/1D 5+ clubs and 4+ spades; 5+ spades if vulnerable
2S/1H 5+ clubs and 4+ spades; 5+ spades if vulnerable
3C/1H 5+ clubs and 4+ diamonds; 5+ diamonds almost always
3C/1S 5+ clubs and 4+ diamonds; 5+ diamonds almost always
3D/1S 5+ diamonds and 4+ hearts; 5+ hearts almost always

The point ranges and limitations are very sensitive to relative vulnerability. Non-vulnerable vs. vulnerable opponents, 2H/1C with S Jxxxxx H Txxxxx D x C --, would be acceptable. Vulnerable vs. non-vulnerable opponents, 2H/1C with S KJxx H AJxxx D Qx C KQ, would be reasonable, as opposed to a double, especially opposite a passed partner  [Spaulding].

As a general rule, hands that have a 5-4-3-1 pattern, with the singleton in opener's suit, should prefer an NTO to the RJO.

6.1 Responding to an RJO

Case 1.  Overcaller's LHO passes.

1.  A cue bid shows the best possible hand with strong game interest.  Such a hand may want to play in the 4th suit, which advancer indicates by bidding the 4th suit at his next turn.  More often it is a strong game try in one of overcaller's suits.

Overcaller responds as follows: 

A.  The cheapest suit bid (one step up the line) shows a minimum hand with minimum shape.

B.  The second cheapest suit bid shows a 5-5 or better shape with minimum HCP.

C.  A bid of 3NT, if available, shows a stopper in opener's suit and maximum HCP.

D.  4 of openers suit, or the 4th suit at the 4 level shows shortness in the suit bid, at least 5-5 distribution, and maximum HCP.

E.  A jump to game in the lower-ranking of the RJO suits shows 4-6 distribution with some extra HCP.  [This is Fout; Spaulding says "generally 5-5, maybe 4-6, average values"]

For example after the auction 1 - 2 - Pass - 3:

3 weak hand, 4-5 in majors
3 weak hand, 5-5 in majors
3NT stopper in , "good hand"
4 5-5 in majors, shortness in , maximum HCP
4 5-5 in majors, shortness in , maximum HCP
4 4-6 in majors, average HCP

2.  2NT is invitational and tends to show interest in the higher-ranking suit. Tends to show a stopper [Spaulding].  

Overcaller responds as follows:

A.  Pass with a minimum shape and size.

B.  Take out to 3 of overcaller's lower-ranking suit with 4-6 shape and a weak hand.

C.  Take out to 3 of overcaller's higher-ranking suit with 5-5 shape and a weak hand.

D.  Bid 3 of opener's suit, or 3 of the fourth suit, to show 5-5 shape and good values.  [Spaulding says that this bid is a "fragment", but Fout implies that it shows shortness].

E.  Bid 3NT with maximum HCP.

For example after the auction 1 - 2 - Pass - 2NT:

3 Shortness in , 5-5 in majors, good hand
3 Shortness in , 5-5 in majors, good hand
3 weak hand, 4-6 in majors
3 weak hand, 5-5 in majors
3NT maximum HCP

3.  A correction to overcaller's higher ranking suit, or a raise of either of overcaller's suits, is generally a sign-off.  The only exception is a raise to 3 of a major when vulnerable, which is a mild game try.

Case 2: Overcaller's LHO bids

  1. If the opponents double, redouble is equivalent to a cuebid above. Pass is to play. Any other bid is essentially as above.
  2. If the opponents raise or bid the fourth suit, a double replaces the cuebid. A double at a very high level just shows values. 

7.  The Two-suited Cuebid (QB)

This bid shows the pair of suits that cannot be shown by the RJO, i.e., the suits that are touching the cuebid suit. For this purpose spades and clubs are considered to touch each other.  An important difference between the QB and the RJO is that the upper range of the QB is unlimited, since overcaller is guaranteed another bid. Here's a list of the suits shown:

2C/1C 5 diamonds and 4 spades
2D/1D 5 clubs and 4 hearts
2H/1H 5 diamonds and 4 spades
2S/1S 5 clubs and 4 hearts, tends to be 5-5

The responses for these are the same as for the RJO.  Since overcaller's hand is unlimited, when he has a strong hand he must take charge of the auction.

8.  The Two No-trump Overcall (2NT)

2NT over a one-level suit bid shows a good two-suited hand. One suit is always the non-touching suit (over 1C it's hearts and over 1D it's spades, and vice versa); the other suit is initially unknown. The suits are almost always 5-5 and the hand is less than 5 losers as evaluated by Losing Trick Count.  

Here are three examples:  Fout gives (over a 1H opening): A H x D AK9x C KQT9xxx.  Spaulding gives over 1: x AKJxx AQJxx xx  and AQ10xx KQ10xxx x x.

8.1 Responding to 2NT

In this section the known suit is called the "anchor" suit; the other one is called the "back" suit.

Case 1: Overcaller's LHO passes

1.  A bid of the anchor suit is to play with a very weak hand.

2.  A bid of the cheapest non-cuebid suit also shows a weak hand, looking to play in the back suit.

3.  Bypassing the cheaper non-cuebid suit implies an ok hand for the back suit and a tolerance for the anchor suit, but essentially, it's still weak.

4.  A cuebid asks for a further description; tends to be a good invitation or better. Doesn't promise more than 1 trick, since 2NT has 4-1/2 losers or fewer.

5.  A jump in the known suit is either to play (if it's game) or invitational (if it's not game).

6.  A jump in the unknown suit or opener's suit is a splinter for overcaller's known suit.  This shouldn't be difficult to remember since it's sure to come up several times per session ;-)

Case 2: Overcaller's LHO bids a suit

1.  A bid of the anchor suit is to play.

2.  Double is the same as a cuebid in case 1 if the anchor suit can be bid at three-level; otherwise it's value-showing.

Case 3: Overcaller's LHO doubles

1.  A bid of the anchor suit is to play.

2.  A redouble is the same as a cuebid in case 1.

3.  A pass forces either (a) a redouble, or (b) a bid of the back suit if it's lower than the anchor.

9.  The Intermediate Jump Overcall (IJO)

Bids at the three-level (when higher than the two cheapest jump shifts) show a single suited hand with the values to bid to the three level in competition. The hands generally range from 12 HCP and a 7-card suit to a bad 17 HCP with a 6-card suit. Suit quality is generally about a 1 loser maximum. The available bids are: 3D-3H-3S/1C, 3C-3H-3S/1D, 3D-3S/3H and 3H/1S. Treat with respect to vulnerability. In a major, one top trick and a fit by responder is usually sufficient to bid game vul. vs. nonvul, but nonvul vs. vul even 1-1/2 tricks with a fit would probably be insufficient (overcaller has a NAMYATS bid available showing 8 to 8-1/2 tricks). All game bids are to play, and four-level bids below game are usually slam tries for overcaller's suit.

10.  Miscellany


Bids at the four-level follow the NAMYATS convention.  With 8 to 8-1/2 playing tricks, bid 4 of the corresponding minor to show a strong hand with a long major suit; bid 4 of a major directly to show a pre-emptive hand.  Thus 4C transfers to 4H and 4D transfers to 4S. The exceptions are logical: over 1H and 1S, 4C and 4D are normal four-level minor preempts since a transfer would make no sense.

10.1.1 Responding to NAMYATS

  1. Accepting the transfer denies interest in slam.
  2. Bidding the step in between shows a mild interest in slam.

10.2 Two Spade Jump Overcall Over One Club

This is the only existing jump preempt available below the four-level; treat this as you would in standard. A 1S overcall of 1C thus tends to deny the preemptive style hand.

10.3 Three-level Jump Cuebid

One of the easiest bids in the system, the three-level jump cuebid asks advancer for a stopper in the bid suit and tends to show a long minor with a couple of outside cards.