Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 10/30/2010
Level: Advanced

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:


1? Pass 1NT Pass
 2? Pass ??  

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).
2NT: Natural
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
3NT= Natural


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