Responding at the 1 level

Why is responding at the 1 level supposed to show 6 or more poiints? This hand from a recent game at is a good example of the logic behind the maths.

bridge example hand

South has a pretty nice hand but 1 making 3 scores the same as 3 making 3 so there is no adavnatge in being in anythng other than 1. North passed and that's a lucky thing because if he responds with anything South will probably bid on to game going down.

We know that it’s worthwhile bidding game with 25 or more points between you and partner. An opening bid at the 1 level normally shows a maximum of about 19 points playing Standard or Acol bridge bidding systems. 20 hands normally get opened at the 2-level. Not always, but normally.

So if the responder has 5 points and the opener has a maximum of 19 it makes a total of 24 at the most. Not the sort of game you want to be in, if you’re aiming for a long term winning strategy. But if responder has 6 points then there still might be a combined 25 points. 19 6 = 25.

Have you ever wondered why an auction like 1 – 2 shows 6-9 and not 5-9 or 7-9 ? That 6 is important. Or a 1NT response showing 6-9? Or a new suit at the 1 level showing 6 or mpre?

All these bridge point counts that might seem like made up numbers really do have a logic behind them. You have to flexible and sometimes it’s worrhwhile responding with less than 6. But you need a good reason to mess around with those basic system numbers. For all our talk of natural bidding and following your instinct and being bold and so on, a good understanding of really basic bidding is key to it all.