Protective Bidding


Definition of a 'Protection' bid

Simply this: If you were to PASS then the bidding is closed!

There are a number of technically different cases:
  1. 3 preceeding  PASS on the 1st round of bidding: PASS or bid that's now the decision!
  2. Your LHO made a suit bid that has been passed round to you 
  3. Your LHO doubled the last bid made by you or your partner and now passed to you
  4. Your LHO has redoubled a previous double made by you or your partner
  5. The bidding has reached its close in a contested auction - the question is to double, pass, or compete in your agreed suit
a) Your LHO made a 1suit bid (NOT * or **) and Partner and RHO: both  PASS - the classic protective position. b) Your LHO opened a weak 2  (NOT * or **) - P-P-?
    Good Judgement is paramount in all situations!

    Case 1  Not so infrequent but can present a difficult and critical decision

    With openings such as  2C, 2Ma, Any 5-5 2-suited <=6LTC, 2D (19-20 Bal),  2N 21-22, any 15+ HCP Hand, and any hand with a suit you would compete to the 3-level with, also holding Spade suit is always a worthwhile go!
    In 4th position the normal opening rules do still fully apply. Opening Majors with just 10HCP be cautious unless your suit is inherently SOUND or  REBIDABLE.
    Otherwise you have to make a decision whether to PASS out the board or open the bidding. Of couse if you hold a fully sound opening one must go for it. However understand if you do open the bidding and obtain a negative score it would be classified as a wrong decision! Guidelines: Advisory:  If you have a half decent Spade suit - even 4 cards - go for it with 12+ HCP and also with any 5-5 or better hand never hesitate! ALWAYS. Beta 2-level openings & 3mi should also be bid normally. 2Ma  may be opened slightly on the liught side - 5 1/2 LTC, partner take care - rather than opening 1Ma - the advantage being that opponents would be more deterred fromentering the bidding at the 4-level.
    A clear danger of opening the bidding is that opponents get a 2nd chance to enter the bidding and can now do so and overcall on sub-opening values.
    Purely pre-emptive bids should not be entertained there is nobody to pre-empt. 3 & 4 level opening bids should  be  definetely sound and distributional - expecting no more than 1 down!  Remember in any doubt to PASS and move on to another hand
    In 20-20 situations a 1NT opening (11-14) may be considered on the grounds that it is likely to buy the hand AND declarer's advantage in play may well bring it  home - an option for the more competent declarer!

    Case 2a LHO opens 1 of a suit

    A Reminder:
    when opponents opened 1NT then ONLY CDH|Rubinsohl is applicable in 2nd or protective position

    Following 1Suit  bid - The options are numerous:-

    Case 2b LHO opened with a weak 2 bid

    Options are fewer:
    Note: in 2nd position we now use Double leaning towards penalty but NOT in 4th position.

    Case 3 Your sides last bid has been doubled or their last bid has been redoubled and passed round to you

    Here are a few example situations
    a) If your partner's last bid has been doubled then your RHO opponent has sanctioned the double by passing. Consider bidding your best suit if you have little support for your partners suit.
    b) Your previous bid has been doubled. This double is usually a T-O * of some sort requesting his partner to bid - which he hasn't. Your partner PASSED so unless you had opened an artificial 1C on say 2-4 cards you may PASS otherwise redouble to get P to decide on the action he may well have clubs and wishes to PASS.
    c)  If the bidding has been 1N(you)-*-P-P-? trust partner and PASS. Partner would have taken out into a minor or redoubled for you to choose a minor if action was necessary so conclude he has values and probably major guards
    d) During the bidding your partner bid a suit and this has been doubled by your LHopponents and then passed round to you - with some help for partner consider passing - don't panic - LHO was possibly hoping his partner would compete...but hasn't. Assumption is that on balance he preferred to defend! IIf you have opened a short 1 or find a bid! else consider removing to a second suit or even NT's and finally you can PASS your judgement here!

    Case 4 opponents have redouble their last bid

    There are variants of  this but think about escaping. Partner or You have doubled the opponents last bi and your LHO redoubled and this was passed to you or was redoubled by the opener's partner and passed round to your partner  - these situations are dangerous if in a Major suit. Opponents can get land a windfall - one must T-O in another suit.were to beIf the opponents  left in this contract and make it they may even score a game and possibly expensive o'tricks too!

    Case 5 you and the opponents have been in a battle over your best suits. - a fairly regular happening.

    In part score situations use the 'Law of total tricks' of Jules Verne to guide you.
    At game or above this law is less reliable and your judgement is called more into play as controls become more important...and your knowledge of your opponents may help you too!
    To employ this law follow these steps:
    First decide how many card you and your partner have in your suit and make the same judgement based on your opponents bidding.
    Add these figures together!
    Now the law states that this would equal the total of tricks that could be made by each side added together!
    It can be applied at the 2 level considering the 3-level or applied to the 4 level contemplating the 4-level.
    Ex. you have been bidding hearts and the opponents spades and the last bid is 3S. The question is should you bid 4H?
    For you to make 10 tricks in Hearts and opponents to make 9 in spades - that's 19 tricks and would require the competing sides combined card totals to total 19 too.
    If it does one of you can possibly bid 4 and make it.
    Its been pointed out by Eric Crowhurst  that the success or failure of a key side finesse can switch a trick either way - bear this in mind in making your decision.
    If you are convinced you are more likely to have the advantage then bid 4H but be warned if its the other way round the opponents could then continue to 4 and win!