"PA" or "Partnership Agreement"


Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 05/31/2016
Level: Intermediate

I get thousands of bridge questions a year. I can't find the time to answer them all. In this article, I will attempt to answer all of them at once (perhaps you were referred to this article by asking such a question).

Everyone knows that "PC" means Politically Correct. I'd like to start to throw around "PA" -- to mean "Partnership Agreement."

Many areas of bridge have no "standard." It is just a matter of how you and your partner agree to play.  Here are some examples:

WestNorthEastSouth
 1♠  Pass  2♠  

Without discussion, there is no way to know if East's 2♠ is weak or strong.

 

WestNorthEastSouth
 Pass 1♠ Pass 1♠
2♠      

Without discussion, there is no way to know if West's 2♠ is Natural or a Michaels bid.

 

WestNorthEastSouth
 1NT Pass 2♠  
2♠ Pass 3♠  

Without discussion, there is no way to know if East's 3♠ is meant as weak, invitational, or forcing.

 

WestNorthEastSouth
 1♠ Pass 2NT* 3♠
 3♠      

Without discussion, there is no way to know if West's 3♠ is shortness, a control, or a second suit.

 

 * Jacoby 2NT

WestNorthEastSouth
 1♠ 1♠   3♠  

Without discussion, there is no way to know if East's 3♠ is invitational or weak.

 

WestNorthEastSouth
1♠ Pass 2♠ (GF) Pass
2♠      

Without discussion, there is no way to know if West's 2♠ guarantees extra values or if it can be bid with a dead minimum.

 

I could list dozens more.

Here is the point: There are many "non-standard" areas in bridge. Unless you and your partner make an agreement, there is simply no way to know if Player A is thinking one way and Player B is thinking the other.

Regarding "which way is better," that would be like asking a politician his thoughts on whether or not to raise taxes. There are hundreds of conventions and treatments around. They all have their adherents and they all have pros and cons. For example, I prefer 2♠ waiting after a strong 2♠ opener (I think it best to give opener room to describe). Others like 2♠ as a bust and still other like step/control responses (my least favorite). Rather than debate it, I just advise players to stick with what is comfortable to their partnership.

What about defensive carding? I teach "Standard." I get asked "What about odd-even?" Or, "my teacher said that upside-down attitude is best." My answer-- the same:  "PA."  Choose whatever you and your partner are comfortable with.


 

On another front, many questions (of a similar vein) have "no right answer" (click the link).


 

I get emails about 2/1 GF. Most everyone uses it, but how? There are many possible little variations (see this article).


 

If you have a serious partnership and wish to delve further, here is a partnership checklist.


 

My general advice is to try to avoid making "undiscussed" bids. If you can find some other bid (one that won't be misunderstood), choose that instead. For more, click here.