What's BART? San Fransiscans know it as "Bay Area Rapid Transit." Simpsons fans know him as an 8-year old brat (a purposeful anagram?).
In bridge, it is a convention developed by Les Bart. It is used after the auction begins specifically:
Typically, to use this convention we assume 1NT was forcing (or maybe semi-forcing).
Responder can now bid a conventional 2 to show many possible hand-types (we will get to that in a moment).
So, in the auction above, if East bids anything other than 2, his bids are natural and would mean:
2: Natural, Weakish
2: Natural, Weakish (either a very weak 3-card raise, or more normally a 2-card preference and about 6-9 HCP).
3: Natural (but more of a courtesy raise. With a better hand, start with 2).
3: Natural -- to play (because there is no natural 2 bid available)
3: Natural -- stronger than 2
3=3-card limit raise
Aside from all those natural calls, responder has the "BART" 2 call available. To bid 2, he can have any of these hand-types ( 1-1NT-2-2 = ) :
1) A good raise to 3 (responder will bid 3 next)
2) A hand with exactly 5 and 2 (opener will bid 2 if he can stand to play in hearts opposite a 5-card suit)
3) A good preference to 2
4) A good hand with diamonds (responder will bid 3 next)
5) Some other "unsure" decent hand--just waiting to hear opener bid again
What does opener do after the artificial 2 bid?
First of all, he alerts it.
Then he can do any of the following (1-1NT-2-2- ) :
Pass: Not allowed
2: Willing to play in hearts if responder has 5 (usually a doubleton heart)
2: No tolerance for hearts (usually a singleton heart, could be 6 and 4).
2NT: Natural, extras
3: Natural 5-5 in blacks
3: Artificial, saying: "If you have hearts, I have a GREAT hand -- something like a 5=3=1=4 maximum"
3 and higher: Not a good idea
This is just a summary of the basics of BART.
There are several variations possible (One is called "Lisa" -- a Simpsons reference.)
As usual, make sure to discuss if on by a Passed Hand (I say YES), or if there was interference (I say NO).
The 2 bid after 2 is alertable. 1-1N-2-2-3 to show hearts is alertable.
Last updated: Nov, 2012