Red Light Green Light

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 06/29/2015
Level: Intermediate

Red Light Green Light

Vulnerability is very important in many bridge bidding decisions.

For borderline cases, go "low" if you are vulnerable but be aggressive if not vulnerable.

Opening Bids

Assuming you open most 12-counts, have no qualms about opening 1♠ with this hand regardless of vulnerability:

♠ K103  
♥ Q1087  
♦ A2  
♣ K1087

With all of those 10's and two decent four-card suits, this should be everyone's opening bid.

However, what if we change it to:

♠ Q105  
♥ A643  
♦ KJ3  
♣ Q32

Aggressive players will open this hand no matter what. I recommend opening it if not vulnerable. But pass if vulnerable. If you open and get overboard vulnerable to the tune of -200, it is usually a bad result.

My advice: In borderline cases: Open if WHITE. Pass if RED.


Again, resolve borderline cases based on vulnerability.

RHO opens 1♠ and you are considering a 2♠ overcall with:

♠ 105  
♥ A3  
♦ KJ3  
♣ K108762

Vulnerable, I'd pass. Not vulnerable, I'd overcall 2♠. Aside from the risk factor vulnerable (-200, -500, etc.), your partner will expect more from a vulnerable overcall--and might get you too high if you don't have your bid.


Everyone has their own personal style (aggressive or conservative). But within that framework, you have to observe the vulnerability. Again, resolve borderline cases by looking at the colors. Everyone would open 2♠ with:

♠ KQJ1087  
♥ 43  
♦ 43  
♣ K87

Vulnerability is not an issue.

But, what about:

♠ KQ9765  
♥ 43  
♦ 43  
♣ Q76

Vulnerable, I wouldn't do it (very aggressive players would). But, not vulnerable, I wouldn't mind opening 2♠. Note: Position is also relevant (in 2nd position, preempts should be sounder than if you are the dealer or in 3rd seat).


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