Finding An 8 Card Fit After Partner’s NT Rebid

In Acol bridge it is usual to open with a bid of 1NT if you hold a balanced hand and 12 – 14 High Card Points.  However, if you hold a 5 card major, it is usually recommended that you open with 1 of that suit.

A balanced hand will have 5 3 3 2, 4 4 3 2, or 4 3 3 3 shape. A rebid of No Trumps could mean that you hold a 5 card major if you opened with a bid of 1 of a major suit.

If responder holds 3 cards in the opening suit, it is possible that the partnership has an 8 card fit and it’s a good idea to check for this before following up with a further NT bid.

Consider the following hand:

South has 11 HCP and could bid 3NT.  The hand is weak in clubs and it would be a shame to miss a major suit fit, especially if partner is also weak in Clubs.  How can we do this?

South makes a bid of 3 hearts.  This is a forcing bid and tells opener that S holds exactly 3 hearts.

  • If opener does have 5 hearts they can bid 4 hearts, knowing that there is an 8 card fit.
  • If opener holds 4 hearts or fewer they can bid 3 NT as there isn’t an 8 card fit in hearts.
  • If, however, opener holds 3 spades, s/he can bid 3 spades – asking partner if they have 5 spades as the responding bid of 1spade shows 4+ spades.
If the opener bids spades, responder has to make the final decision on the contract.  They will bid 3NT if they don’t hold 5 spades, or they will bid 4 spades if they do have 5 cards in spades.