1 level suit openings

1 Level Suit Openings and Responses

One of the most basic bidding skills in bridge is the ability to navigate an auction that begins with 1 of a suit. Most hands you encounter will start this way so it is important to learn.

What do I need to open?

You should open the bidding if you have 12 or more points in your hand. To open with 1 of a suit you need –

  • 12-19 points
  • an unbalanced hand

If you have a hand like this then your first move should be to open 1 of your longest suit.

So this hand…

would open 1 heart.

And this one…

would open 1 club.

So what if your partner has opened 1 of a suit. What should you respond? 

If you have at least 6 points in your hand and partner has opened then you must respond. Your first priority will depend on whether partner has opened a major or a minor suit. Remember that spades and hearts are majors and diamonds and clubs are minors.

If partner has opened 1 of a major then your first priority should be to show support if you have it. You do this by repeating partners suit at the appropriate level. 

 

  • 2 level response shows 6-9 points and 3+ card support.

e.g. partner opens 1 heart   

  • 3 level response shows 10-12 and 4+ card support.

e.g. partner opens 1 heart   

  • 4 level response shows 12+ points and 4+ card support.

e.g. partner opens 1 heart   

If partner opens 1 of a minor then you should only support them if you cannot bid a major or NT (see below).

If you have 3 card support but more than 9 points then you will have to bid one of the below alternatives and show support later.

If partner opens and you have at least 6 points you have to respond. If you have fewer than 6 points you should just pass.

If you have 6+ points and cannot support partner (including if you need to wait to show 3 card support) then you will need to change the suit. You can bid a new suit at the 1 level with 6+ points, but you need at least 10 to bid a new suit at the 2 level.

Bid Your Longest Suit

If you cannot show support for partner then your first move should be to bid your longest suit if you can. Sometimes your hand will not have enough points to do this. Say partner opens a heart and you have a 6 card club suit and 8 points. You cannot bid 2 clubs because you do not have the required 10 points to bid a new suit at the 2 level.

Partner has opened 1

This hand has less than 3 card heart support, but a good spades suit. They should respond 1♠.

Partner has opened 1

This hand has less than 3 card heart support, but a good club suit. They also have the necessary 10 points to bid at the 2 level. This hand should respond 2♣.

If you have enough points to bid at the 2 level then great. BUT there is no need to jump in response to partner if you are changing the suit. If partner opens and you bid a new suit then this is what we call a forcing bid. Partner HAS to bid again. This means that you will always get a second bid and if you have a strong hand you can show it then.

Partner has opened 1

This hand has 11 points. but since they are planning to change the suit to spades there is no need to jump. The correct response then is 1♠.

If partner opens 1 of a suit and you respond 2 of a suit then you are usually promising at least 4 cards in that suit. The only exception is if partner opens 1 spade and you respond 2 hearts. In this instance you promise 5 hearts. This is because it takes up almost an entire level of bidding. 

Show a Major if You Have It

If you lack the points to show your longest suit, but you do have a four card major you can show then that should be your next priority.

Partner has opened 1

This hand has less than 3 card heart support, but a good diamond suit. However, they do not have enough points to bid a new suit at the 2 level. With a 4 card spade suit, this hand should show what it can and respond 1♠.

Last Resort – 1NT

If you do not have a suitable hand for any of the above options then your usual move will be to bid 1NT. In response to a 1 level suit opener, 1NT shows 6-9 points and less than 3 card support for partners suit. IT DOES NOT SHOW A BALANCED HAND.

Partner has opened 1

Even though this hand has a long diamond suit, they do not have 10 points to bid diamonds at the 2 level. With no 4 card spade suit to show their only choice of response is 1NT.

Opener’s rebid

You are the hand that origionally opened 1 of a suit and bidding has passed back round to you. What next?

Your next move will be one of the following options. 

Support partners suit 

If you have 4 cards in partners suit then you can bid it to show support. The level depends on your points

  • Raise partners suit to the 2 level to show a minimum opening hand (12-15)
  • Raise to 3 with a game invitational hand (16-18)
  • Raise to 4 with 19+ points

Bid a second suit if you can

If you have at least 5-4 shape e.g. 5 spades and 4 hearts, then you might be able to show your second suit. Your ability to do this depends on your point count. For more information on this see our guide on bidding two suited hands.

Repeat your first suit if you have no second

If you only have one long suit (or cannot bid your second) then you will probably have to rebid your first suit. Again the level depends on your points. For more on this see our guide on the barrier.

Rebid no trumps if you have an appropriate hand

If you have a balanced hand with more than 14 points then your rebid should be in no trumps. The level of rebid shows your points. For more see the guide on rebidding in no trumps.