InicioIntermediate @enOvercall with a Good Suit by Derek Rimington

Overcall with a Good Suit by Derek Rimington

Source: Mr. Bridge

The primary objectives for suit overcalls are:

1- to direct the opening lead;
2- to suggest a sacrifice;
3- to crowd the opponents’ bidding, ideally to push them too high;
4-  to reach a contract your way.

The range for a suit overcall at the one level is extensive and you should count points for high cards and distribution. Any six-card suit is suitable; with five cards, suit quality is more important than strength elsewhere in the hand.

Hand 1             Hand  2
K J 9 8 4     K 7 5 4 2
6 2                J 6
5 3                Q J 6
A J 5 3         K J 6

At love all, your right-hand opponent opens 1.

Hand I is worth an overcall of 1 but hand 2, with more points, is not. The reason is that (Hand 1) has the jack of
spades to support the king and good secondary cards in the nine and eight of spades. Also, 5332 hands are not as
powerful as 5422, especially if an opponent has bid the four-card suit. With hand 1, your length and the 1 opening
make it likely partner is short in clubs increasing the chance of a spade fit.

Vulnerability is an important factor – neither hand would be worth 1 if vulnerable. Suit length is also most important. Substitute the jack of hearts in hand 2 for the jack of spades and you can justify a 1, overcall, even if
vulnerable, because of the six-card suit.

Conscious competence is a valuable attribute when overcalling. The more favourable the vulnerability and the more opposing bidding space you can consume, the greater the case for making an overcall.

Hand 3            Hand 4
K J 9 8 6   Q J 9 8 6
6 4              4
A 7 6 2      7 3
9 3              A Q 9 8 6

Hand 3 is a minimum overcall of 1 not vulnerable if RHO has opened 1 because it stops LHO from responding 1.

1 . Exchange the 8 for the Q…and it becomes a sound overcall at any vulnerability.

Hand 4, with the two decent five-card suits, justifies an overcall of 1 over 1 .

If you run into a penalty double, you might escape into your second suit. Two-level overcalls normally require a
good six-card suit such as Q-J-9-8-6-4 or better and the values for an opening bid. A very strong five-card suit also
qualifies if it obstructs the opponents.

Mano 5               Mano 6
K 5                  7 5 2
6 2                   6 2
K 4 2               A 7 2
A J 7 6 5 4    A K J 10 6

If RHO opens 1 , pass with either of these hands if you are vulnerable. If not vulnerable, you can overcall 2.

You would need a hand like hand 7 to overcall at unfavourable vulnerability:

Hand 7
K 5
6 2
7 4 2
A K Q 8 6 2

Here you have a very good suit and six likely tricks in your hand.

In the sandwich seat – when both the opponents are bidding but your partner has passed – the need for a good suit is
extra strong. For one thing, there is a reduced chance that your side will buy the contract. This adds to the need to bid a suit you want led. For another, knowing about each other’s hands, they are in a good position to penalise you.

Dealer: South. Love All.


K 9 4
A 8 5 2
8 6
Q J 4 3

J 5
J 10 7 3
K 10 7 2
7 6 5

Q 8 7 6 2
Q 9 6
A Q 3
9 8


A 10 3
K 4
J 9 5 4
A K 10 2













All Pass


This was how the bidding went at one table in a Crockford’s match. Goaded by the overcall, West led the jack of spades. Declarer won in dummy with the king and later finessed the ten of spades. Eight tricks had become nine.
The overcall was particularly poor, as East has a good holding in the other unbid suit, diamonds.

At the other table, the bidding was the same except East passed over 1.  After West led the two of diamonds, declarer made only eight tricks.

Now for my hobbyhorse – bidding is more important than play! Even a near beginner would make 3NT on a spade
lead but not on any other.


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