LIMIT RAISES

When playing Five Card American Standard, a Jump by the responder in the named suit to the Three Level indicates 13-15 Support Points for that suit, and is considered a forcing bid. This is true, especially if the opener has bid a Major suit.

The Limit Raise treatment informs the partner that
a Jump by the responder indicates at least
4-card support in the bid suit
and 10-12 Support Points.
This Limit Raise is not forcing.

Example:

Opener Responder
AKJ83
Q85
975
Q2
Q1076
K73
A86
J53
1 3

To some bridge players, this is the more modern treatment. The Limit Raise is applied mostly in competitive bridge. The Limit Raise is used in all four suits, although some partnerships limit this convention only to the Major suits. The meaning of the Limit Raise does not change whenever used. Therefore, a Limit Raise, even by a passed hand, carries the same meaning, without exception. Even after an intervening bid by an opponent, the Limit Raise still retains the original definition, although some partnership agreements have varied the meanings of certain bids to compensate for interference. These methods are explained below.

Below are the rebids available to the opener.

If the opener has opened with an absolute minimum, then the opener should pass.

Opener
AKJ83
Q85
975
Q2
Pass

If the opener has opened with more values, then the opener should bid game.

Opener
AKJ83
QJ85
97
QJ2
4

The opener may even try slam with values and good distribution.

Opener
AKJ1083
8
AQ9
KQ8
4 NT

As mentioned, the Limit Raise can be applied in all four suits. It is important to remember that a Limit Raise in the Minor suits also carries the responsibility of the desired and required length. However, a Limit Raise in a Minor suit would not be advisable if the responder does hold a 4-card Major suit. It is definitely not recommended. If the partnership agreement decides to apply the Limit Raise also to the Minor suits, then the responder is required to have at least a 5-card holding in that Minor suit, and no 4-card Major suit, which must be bid first. The rebids of the opener remain the same as described below.

Example:

Opener Responder
K75
Q98
AK976
J7
Q98
K107
Q10843
A6
1 3

Using the Limit Raise, it becomes necessary to alter the treatments and conventions normal to Five Card American Standard somewhat. However, the changes are minimal and can be applied easily to relay the correct information and to describe the hand accurately. These altered methods apply in general to the Major suits. They also apply to the Minor suits, but caution must be used as Length Of The Suit becomes the dominant factor.


Jacoby 2 No Trump

Example:

Opener Responder
AKJ83
QJ85
97
QJ2
Q986
J1054
K843
AK7
1 2 No Trump

If the responder has more than 10-12 support points for the suit of the opener, then the responder will use the Jacoby 2 No Trump method to show game-going values of 13 plus support points. This response is absolutely game forcing, and the opener may not pass until game has been reached.

Partnership Agreement for Jacoby 2 No Trump

1. the responder is required to have 13 plus support points for the Major suit of the opener,
2. the responder needs a minimum 4-card support in the bid suit of the opener,
3. the Jacoby 2 No Trump response is game forcing,
4. with only a 3-card suit support, the responder must bid another suit,
5. if the responder is a passed hand, then a 2 No Trump response is a natural bid,
6. a Jacoby 2 No Trump response is used normally only as a response to a Major suit opening,
7. a Jacoby 2 No Trump response after a Minor suit opening is only used with partnership agreement.

The opener, after realizing that the responder has at least a 4-card support for his suit and that a trump suit has been established, can further describe his holding. It is important to remember that the Jacoby 2 No Trump response is not a Limit Bid. The responder may have more values.

If the opener rebids 4 , then the opener shows minimum strength from 12 to 14 support points, no interest in continuing the auction, and normally sets the final contract. The only situation where a slam may be attempted is when the responder has hidden values not yet shown, such as a void or a doubleton headed by the Ace/King and a void.

Example:

Opener Responder
AK974
AQ98
98
87
Q1086
J105
K74
AK6
1 2 No Trump

If the opener rebids 3 No Trump, then the opener shows a holding with medium strength between 15 and 17 support points. The responder, upon re-evaluation of his holding may or may not consider a slam attempt.

Example:

Opener Responder

KJ1076

QJ10

AQ2

Q4

Q985

K54

K843

AJ
1 2 No Trump

If the opener rebids 3 , then the opener shows maximum strength or 18 plus support points and a definite interest in slam.

Example:

Opener Responder

AKQ96

93

AQJ

Q65

J1084

Q87

K843

AK
1 2 No Trump
3

If the opener rebids 3 / 3 / 3 , then this rebid of a new suit on the Three Level promises shortness, either a singleton or a void, in that suit. The significance of this rebid is useful to the responder in re-evaluating his holding and consider seriously the possibility of attempting a slam. The responder has the information that his partner holds a singleton or a void in the rebid suit and that the opponents can not possibly take the first two tricks in that suit, even if the opponents hold the Ace and King of that suit. The responder also realizes that the opener is looking at slam possibilities.

There are several partnership agreement variations regarding the point range to communicate when bidding a singleton. This is entirely a partnership understanding. The point range can be agreed upon to be a moderate to good opening count or even showing a point count exceeding 18 plus points. The general consensus is that the point count should be at least 14 points before deciding to show a singleton, and that the trump suit should contain at least 2 or 3 touching honors of the top 5 honors, or even have a certain Losing Trick Count. However, as mentioned, these guidelines can be varied according to the partnership agreement.

Example:

Opener Responder

AKJ1076

AK4

K105

6

Q986

J1075

QJ8

AK
1 2 No Trump
3

If the opener jump rebids to the four level, such as 4 / 4 / 4 , then this jump rebid by the opener shows a two-suited hand. The second suit should have at least two honors and must be a 5-card suit, such as the KJ10xx, and contain the values for attempting slam. The holding must contain either a singleton or a void, but instead of cuebidding the singleton or void, the opener will inform his partner first of his second 5-card suit.

Example:

Opener Responder

AKJ107

AK

J

KJ1086

Q986

Q1087

K9

AQ9
1 2 No Trump
4


Interference:

There are several ways to handle interference from the opponents. If there is a direct overcall or Takeout Double over a 1 Heart or 1 Spade opening, the standard agreement is that the Jacoby 2 No Trump response is off. The concept behind the Jacoby 2 No Trump response is generally to explore slam possibilities. After a direct overcall by an opponent, a slam seems unlikely. Although an overcall typically does not prevent the responder from bidding 2 No Trump, the 2 No Trump response in such situations has proven to be more useful as a natural, invitational, and non-forcing response.

Example:

West

North

East

South
 

KJ

K83

Q1042

Q642

Pass

1

2

2 NT

When playing systems off, the response of 2 No Trump by South in the above example can be used to show 10-12 high card points and a stopper in the bid suit of the opponent. This response no longer means that South has a 4-card Spade support and game-going values in Spades. The response becomes now natural and invitational.

Example:

West

North

East

South
 

KQ75

AJ3

J4

QJ62

Pass

1

2

3

In the case that the responder does have game-going values and a 3/4-card support in opener's suit, then, using Limit Raises, the responder will cuebid the suit of the opponent to show this holding. This cuebid is absolutely artificial and says nothing about the cuebid suit.

Example:

West

North

East

South
 

KQ75

AJ3

J4

QJ62

Pass

1

Double

2 NT

In the above example, the opponent has Doubled, instead of overcalling with a suit bid. The general guideline, using Limit Raises, is to treat this double as non-existent. The Jacoby 2 No Trump response is once again used in its original interpretation. It is treated as if the double does not exist. The idea behind this systems on again feature is the fact that no bidding space has been consumed.


In the case that an opponent decides to enter the bidding after a Jacoby 2 No Trump response, then the opener has several options available to describe his holding, whether a minimum opening or a medium holding of 15-17 support points.

Example:

North

East

South

West

1

Pass

2 NT

3 //

North:
1. A Pass shows shortness, either a singleton or void, in the opponent's suit.
2. The bid or a new suit shows shortness, either a singleton or void, in that suit.
3. A bid of game in the agreed Major suit shows minimum strength, no singleton or void, and a semi-balanced hand.
4. A bid of 3 No Trump shows a medium to maximum strength with no shortness in any other suit.

Some of the other Conventions used together with the Limit Raise are:

Swiss - The Swiss Convention requires a response of Four in A Minor Suit to an Opening of One in a Major Suit and shows a Standard Forcing Raise to the three-level. This means 13-15 points.

Singleton Swiss - This variation of the Swiss Convention is short and to the point. The cards of the Responder must have a definite distribution.

Mini-Splinter - The application of the Mini-Splinter shows, after a Jump Shift by either the Opener or Responder, a definite Suit Fit and also a Singleton or even a Void in the suit bid.

Super Swiss - A means of showing either a Singleton or a Void after establishing a Fit.

Omnibus Two No Trump - A step by step Bidding Process with artificial bids to indicate length and strength.

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.