After the Opponents Overcall

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 05/01/2015
Level: Intermediate

After the Opponents Overcall

What happens after partner opens the bidding and the opponents overcall?

Let's start on the 1-level.

The opponents overcall partner's 1-level opening bid with a suit bid.

WestNorthEastSouth
1(something) 1(something)

If partner opens 1-of-a-suit and the opponents overcall in a suit:

>New suits by responder are forcing one round (if on the 2-level, 10+ points).

Example: 1 (1) 1 = forcing one round (+ points)

1 (1) 2 = forcing one round and 10+ points

>New suits by responder promise 5 or more cards, except when the opponents overcall 1 with 1 and we respond 1 or 1.

Example:  1 (1) 1 MAJ = 4+ in that major
1 (1) 1 = 5 or more spades and 1 (1) 2 = 5 or more clubs.

>New suits by responder on the 3-level (not a jump, though) are GF. Example: 1  (2)  3 = 5+, GF

>New suit jumps by responder require partnership agreement (fit-showing is possible, but most players would likely play this as a weak jump in competition).  Example: 1  (1)  3

>Single raises are natural and mean what they would have meant without the interference. If forced to raise to the 3-level, it shows a little extra.  Example:  1 (2) 3 = 3+ and 8-10 in support (approximate)

>Cue-bidding the opponent's suit shows a limit-raise or better. Example: 1 (2) 3

>Jump raises are preemptive (assuming modern style).  Example: 1 (2) 3

>Notrump bids are natural (1NT=6-10, 2NT=11-12, 3NT=13-15) with a stopper in their suit (and balanced).
Example:  1  (1) 1NT=6-10 with spades stopped

More examples:

OPENEROpponentRESPONDERMEANING
1  1 1 MAJ 4+ cards 6+ points
1  1  1 5+spades, 6+ points
1  1  2 5+ 10+points
1  2 3 5+ GF
1 1 2 Partnership agreement
1  1 2 4+, Limit Raise+
1  1 2NT 11-12 balanced NF, stopper
1  1  3NT 13-15 balanced,  stopper
1  2  3 4, weakish (0-7)
1  2  3 3+, Inv+

The opponents overcall with 1NT:

If they overcall 1NT, assuming no conventions, a double is penalty, and a new suit bid is natural, NF

Examples:

WestNorthEastMEANING
1  1NT Double Penalty
1  1NT 3 Preemptive
1 1NT  2 6+, NF

The opponents overcall with a Michaels Cue-bid:

Details on this topic are covered here.

The opponents overcall with preempt:

A new suit by responder is forcing for one round on the 2-level. If responder bids a new suit on the 3-level, it is game forcing.

The opponents overcall our preempts:

Doubles are penalty. Raises are competitive/further preempting--not inviting.

For example:

WestNorthEastMEANING
2  2 Double PENALTY
2  3  3 NOT INVITING 4

updated: Dec, 2020