(Bridge Bidding System)

Hi, and welcome to our system, which we have dubbed "West Coast Washington." It is based upon "Washington Standard" -- 5-Card Majors, 2/1 Game Forcing - but it has a bunch of gadgets and things that are distinctly the product of southern California. Below are the highlights. If you have any comments, drop us a line at dshukan -at- gmail. Enjoy.



2C = Stayman


1N-2C-X-2N may be just a raise to 2N

1N-2C-2M-3C = transfer to diamonds
(note -- if opener responds 2D instead of 2M, that is no longer a transfer to diamonds, since opener could have passed 2D. Rather, it shows nonforcing club/major 2 suiter)

2D = Jacoby

Exception: May be beginning of Walsh relay

2H = Jacoby

2S = Minor Suit Stayman

2N = Transfer to clubs (rarely, big 4441)

3m = AQxxxx or KQxxxx in suit, nothing outside

3M = Same as 3m -- 6-card broken suit, nothing outside

3N = Natural

4C = Gerber (03, 14, 2min, 2max)

4D = Texas (in comp thru 3D also)

4H = Texas (in comp thru 3D also)

4N = Quantitative raise (pass w/min, 6 w/max)

5N = Quantitative raise (6 w/min, 7 w/max)



2S (after 2H) = 4 spades, invitational

3C = transfer to diamonds

3D = at least 5 diamonds, game force

3oM = unknown splint, like after 1M-3oM

4C = RKC Gerber

4D = fit for M, slam int, no splint

4S, 5C, 5D, 5H = Exclusion RKCB

4N = Quantitative, slam interest, no fit for M


3C = second suit, forcing to game

3D = second suit, forcing

3H = Cuebid, agreeing S (b/c smolen shows 2 suiter)

4C = Cuebid, agreeing S (texas, then 4N, = RKC)

4D = Cuebid, agreeing S

4H, 5C, 5D = Exclusion RKCB

4S = slam interest (use texas w/no slam interest)

4N = quantitative


After 1N-2S-3m:

Other m (3D or 4C) = 5 cards, forcing

3H = singleton or void

3S = singleton or void

3N = 2/2 majors, no extras

4m = RKC

4N = 2/2 majors, extras (but still non-forcing)

NOTE -- after 1N-2S-3m, anybody's bid of 4m is RKC, and anybody's bid of 4N is non-forcing.

After 1N-2S-2N:

3C = very weak; 5 clubs

3D = very weak; 5 diamonds

3H = singleton or void

3S = singleton or void

3N = to play

4C = Gerber

4N = Quantitative



1M - 2M 6-9 points, 3 trump

1M - 2N Jacoby 2NT (15 or more HCP)

1M - 3C 6-9 points, 4 trump

1M - 3D limit raise, 4 trump

1M - 3M preempt

1M - 3N 13-15 HCP, may be 3 trump only if 4333

See also -- (a) Forcing NT, (b) Splinters, (c) Inv Trump Swiss



1M - ? - 2M Standard

1M - ? - CUE L/R or better

1M - ? - JUMP Q below 3N = western / above 3N = splinter

1M - ? - 3M = preempt




3C = 15 or more HCP, no splinter

3D = splinter

3oM = splinter

3N = club splinter

4X = 5 cards in X

3M = 6 trumps, at least some interest in slam

4M = signoff (suit continuation by responder shows singleton or void)

5. GENERAL RESPONSES OVER 2N (or over 2C-any-2N)

3C = Puppet Stayman (OR beginning of raise to 3N)

3D = Jacoby

3H = Jacoby

3S = Minor Suit Stayman (OR beginning of signoff in diamonds)

3N = Transfer to clubs

NOTE -- Walsh Relays also apply (2N-3D-3H-3S, etc . . .)


After 1x-1M-1N, then 2C is an all-purpose forcing bid.


2D = 1-2 trump + min
oM = 1-2 trump + middle
2N = 1-2 trump + max

2M = 3 trump + min
3M = 3 trump + max

NB -- When responder uses NMF and opener shows a max hand, a game force is established. Thus, responder can only use NMF if he has invitational strength or better.

Also note -- the corollary of using NMF is that responder's jump to 3 of a minor after the 1N rebid is invitational, not forcing (must use 2C first, then the minor, to force).


3N = 8 card minor, one hole

4C (4D) = 8-9 tricks, heart (spade) suit missing one honor
(strength = at least a 1-bid, but less than 2C)

4H (4S) = traditional preempt

2C-X-4H (4S) = 8-9 tricks, solid heart (spade) suit (at least A or K outside)

8. SUPER ACCEPTANCES OF JACOBY TRANSFERS -- In short, simple accept with 2-3 trumps, super accept at 3-level with 4 trump and a min, show doubleton with 4 trump and a max. This changes a bit due to Walsh relays. Specifically, we have the following responses:


2H = 2 or 3 trump
2S = 4 trump. If responder bids 2N (retransfer), then
3C = max with doubleton club
3D = max with doubleton diamond
3H = all others


2S = 2 or 3 trump
2N = max, 4333 (4 trump)
3C = max, 4 trump, doubleton club
3D = max, 4 trump, doubleton diamond
3H = max, 4, trump, doubleton heart
3S = 4 trump, all non-maximums

9. 2 way game tries after major suit agreed at the 2 level -- direct is a help-suit and relay is a short suit (note that game tries also apply when one partner has bid 2H or 2S in response to a negative double, since a fit has been found at the 2 level

NOTE -- Help suit = 4-5 cards and 4-5 HCP

1M-2M-3M = "power try" -- asks whether responder is top or bottom of 2-bid.

10. Bidding after 1m-2m inverted minor -- show stoppers up the line. Jump shift is splinter (single or void with slam interest). New suit by opener BEYOND 4 of the minor is an asking bid (see above, when we incorporate asking bids).


Simply, 1C-2C(3C)-4D or 1D-2D(3D)-4C is RKC blackwood (03, 14, 2-, 2+)


2D = 0 or 1
2H = 2
2S = 3 consisting of A,K
2N = 3 consisting of K,K,K
3C = 4
3D = 5 or more

3NT = AKQxxx(xx) in unspecified suit

(after which 4C = other controls -- 4D = 0, 4H = 1, 4S = 2, 4N = 3 or more)

SECOND NEGATIVE -- If opener bids 2N, then all normal 2N systems are on. But if opener bids a suit, responder shows a complete bust by making the cheapest possible call. Anything other than the cheapest possible call is game forcing, and fast arrival applies. (Thus, after 2C-2D-2S, 3S is stronger than 4S.)


Without competition:

2C = limit raise, 3 card support
2D = limit raise, 4 card support, no splint
2N = intermediate hand with 6 clubs or diamonds (opener's rebids are "pass or correct")
3C = preemptive in clubs
3D = preemptive in spades
1H-2S = 4 card limit raise with undisclosed splinter?

With competition:

over DBL or 1S -- all Drury systems on
over 1N -- all Drury systems off
over 2C -- 2D is omnibus limit raise
after 1S-2H, DBL = limit raise (Drury double)
2N = ______________
3C = ______________
3D = ______________


2D (or 2H over 2D) = full opener but would reject limit raise
2M = not a full opener
other non-jump suit below 3M = help suit game try
other jump suit = splinter
2N = DRURY SLAM TRY (18-19 HCP without a splinter)

14. MATHE ASKING BIDS -- See Root at 203. Cheapest bid after a limit raise is a slam try asking whether limit-raiser has some singleton or void. NOTE -- where limit raise is a cue bid or a Bergen limit raise, the Mathe Asking Bid is made by bidding as if the limit raise were in the real trump suit. Thus, after --

N - E - S - W

1H - 2C - 3C - P

3H = to play
3S = Mathe
4H = to play
4other = second suit


1H - P - 3D - P

3H = to play
3S = Mathe
4H = to play
4other = second suit

15. 3C-P-3D = checking for 3 card major

Rebids by preempter are:

3H = 3 card SPADE suit
3S = 3 card HEART suit
3N = no 3 card major
4C = both 3 card majors and GOOD hand (leaves room for 4D cue bid for slam)
4D = both 3 card majors and BAD hand

Responder will always use this sequence if his major is only 5 cards long, thus 3C-P-3M shows at least six cards (and is forcing).


1X-1Y-2N- 3C = begin signoff (opener is required to bid 3D or 3Y)
3D = asks for undisclosed 4-card major
other = forcing to game

NOTE -- does not apply over forcing NT. Over forcing NT, responder's 3-level bids are natural and nonforcing.

TO BE DISCUSSED: After 2N, what is:

-- responder's immediate 4C
-- responder's immediate 4N
-- responder's 3C, then 3N
-- responder's 3C, then 4C
-- responder's 3C, then 4N


1M-4C = 12-15 HCP, 4 or 5 "good" trump, no splinter

1M-4D = 12-15 HCP, 4 or 5 "bad" trump, no splinter

1M-3oM = undisclosed splinter (opener bids cheapest suit for relay, or signs off)

1S-3H-3S-3N = my shortness is a void, bid 4C & I'll disclose it
1M-2N = 15 or more HCP, at least 4 trump, any shape (rebids above)

18. RKCB and Exclusion Blackwood



After agreement, 4N = RKC
If no agreement, a jump to 4N = RKC in last-bid suit


03, 14, 2-, 2+

with void -----> 5N = 2 with a void
6X = 1 or 3 with void in X
6Trump = 1 or 3 with void in a higher suit

Subsequent Bids

Cheapest non-trump bid after 03 or 14 = queen ask
(without = one step, with = cue-bid cheapest side K)

5N guarantees 5 key cards and asks for cuebid of cheapest K. After that cue-bid, asker's NEXT side-suit bid asks for K in the bid suit. For example:

1S - 2S
4N - 5C
5N - 6C ..... = club king
6D .......... = bid 7 if you have the diamond king
6H .......... = bid 7 if you have the heart king


Jump to suit above 4 of agreed suit, after trump agreement, shows void and asks for key cards outside of the bid suit.
Responses = 0, 1, 2, 3; repeat of exclusion suit asks for cuebid K.

Exclusion is also triggered by 4N when the RKCB bidder has splintered (because Blackwooder would have bypassed the splinter and simply bid Blackwood with a singleton).

19. 4th SUIT FORCING -- to game or 4minor. Jump in any suit (including 4th) after 3 suits have been bid = invitational.


21. Walsh Relays (with careful super-accept) --

After 1N-2D-2H, responder's 2S "cancels" the transfer and forces opener to bid 2N. Then responder continues:

3C = 6 clubs missing 2 top honors, slam interest
3D = 6 diamonds missing 2 top honors, slam interest
3H = 6 clubs missing 1 top honor, slam interest
3S = 6 diamonds missing 1 top honor, slam interest
3N = undisclosed solid 6 card suit, slam interest

NOTE -- Opener has to be careful when superaccepting 2D transfer to 2H. See discussion of superacceptances, above.


After 1 of a minor, responder's jump to 3X = splinter, with at least an opening hand. This is forcing to 3N or above. No 4-card major (but see note).

NOTE -- after 1C-3D, responder will almost certainly have a 4-card major (unless he has an unlikely 3316 distribution). Thus, after 1C-3D, opener bids a 4-card major if he has one, to potentially reach a 4-4 fit.


For simplicity, when 3N has been bid naturally, a later 4N is not Blackwood and not forcing.


Opener's 4N is still Blackwood in 3 situations:

(1) If opener made a jump shift rebid
(2) If opener reversed
(3) In the sequence 1X-3N-4N

24. When decision is borderline, invite games aggressively, but accept invitations conservatively. (The corrolary to this is -- if its a close question whether to invite game or bid game directly, bid it directly.)



NOTE -- all bids natural if opponents bid 2x showing 2 suits other than x.

If 2C does not show a 1 or 2 suiter with clubs, then

DBL = stayman (or begining of 2C-3C diamond sign-off)
all other systems are on

DBL of 3-level interference is for penalty.

2. LEBENSOHL over 2X-DBL-Pass (also when DBL is in balance seat)

3. McCABE over 2X-DBL and 3X-DBL (responder raises the preempt by bidding an intermediate suit over the double, which acts as a lead director)

4. DONT over NT (unless top of NT range is 13 or fewer) --

DBL = undisclosed long suit, 9 or more HCP (partner relays to 2C, but can pass for penalties with a scattered 10 count

2C = C+ (4/4 is OK, except at unfavorable)

2D = D+ "

2H = H+ "

2S = S (weaker than DBL-2S)

2N = minors

3X = long suit, 0-8 HCP (any 7 card suit; 6 card suit should pretty good)

*** Over weak NT (13 max) -- DBL = strong NT (direct) (systems on)
= weak NT (balance) (systems on)

other = natural

When DONT bid is doubled in direct seat:

Pass indicates tolerance

RDBL = show me the other suit

New suit = responders' own suit, at least 6 cards

5. HAYASHI escapes over 1NT doubled for penalty by direct

- RDBL --> 2C (one suit -- responder passes or corrects)
- suit = lower of 2 touching suits (lower suit is better)
- pass --> RDBL (for business or correct to lower of nontouching suits or correct to H = H&S better S; correct to S = S&C better C)

NOTE -- when their DBL= artificial, our RDBL= "I am more interested in trying for a penalty than in having our side declare"

6. Double or 1NT for takeout after 2 enemy suits at the 1 level --

1x - pass - 1y - ?

the question mark bidder bids as follows:

DBL = takeout, strength more than shape
1NT = takeout, shape more than strength
2NT = takeout, lots of shape

7. Cue bids are limit raises (or better) over partner's major open or partner's major overcall. JUMP cues below 3N are western Q's (except after our 1-level overcall with a major, in which case it's a mixed raise). JUMPS to 4 level (Q or shift) are splinters in that suit --

(our bids are underlined)

1S - 2C - 3C = limit raise (or better)

1S - 2C - 4C = spade support, club splinter, slam interest

1S - 2C - 4D = spade support, diamond splinter, slam interest

1C - 1S - P - 2C = limit raise (or better)

1C - 1S - P - 3C = mixed raise (6-9 HCP, 4 trump)

1C - 1S - P - 4C = club splinter, slam interest

8. Cue bid = LIMIT in minor suit competition;
Inverted minor OFF in competition

we- they- we

1C - 1S - 2C = ? (6-9 HCP, good support)
1C - 1S - 3C = ? (preemptive)
1C - 1S - 2N = ? (just like 1C-2N, but with stopper)
1C - 1S - 2S = ? (limit raise)
1C - 1S - 3S = ? (western Q)
1C - DB - 2C = ? (6-9 HCP, good support)

1C - DB - 2N = ? (preemptive) FLIP-FLOP
1C - DB - 3C = ? (limit raise) FLIP-FLOP

9. Unusual Over Unusual --

after 1M-2N overcall by opponents:

3C = invitational, with hearts
3D = invitational, with spades
3H = not forward-going, with hearts
3S = not forward-going, with spades

10. Unusual Over Michaels (or other 2 suited bids) --

when both suits are known:

lower Q = invitational in lower non-enemy suit
higher Q = invitational in higher non-enemy suit
lower non-enemy suit = not forward going in that suit
higher non-enemy suit = not forward going in that suit

when only one suit is known:

all unknown suits are natural and not forward going
Q = limit raise or better in opener's suit
DBL = 10 or more HCP, no support


After 1C, 1C-1D, 2C, or 2C-negative only, then:

Any suit bid shows either the one suit above or the two below. (DBL = stolen)
Any NT bid shows eith pair of non-touching suits.

Responder's bids are always "pass or correct," but should feel fee to increase the level with an appropriate hand. Responder has the option to pass the suction bid with length in that suit.

NOTE: As a general rule, jumps are made with weaker hands.

12. SUPPORT DOUBLES -- if can raise partner's suit at 2 level

13. MAXIMAL OVERCALL DOUBLES -- if no game try is available


Thru 2N -- DBL = 0-1 control, P = 2 controls, cheapest bid = 3,
next = 4, next = 5.

Above 2N -- DBL = superneg
suit = 5 or more, 2 of top 3 honors
NT = natural with stopper
P = don't know what to do (then DBL by opener is penalty)

15. When we overcall their weak 2 with 2N (Hardy at 240-43) --

Basically, our 2N overcall (direct or balance) shows about a 1N opener with stoppers. Advances are as follows:

-- 4-suit transfers, SKIPPING their bid suit. Thus, if it goes 2H-2N-P, then 3C transfers to 3D, 3D transfers to 3S (skipping H), 3S transfers to NT, and 3NT transfers to C (but overcaller can chance a pass of 3N with a good club fit). NOTE -- ALL NON-JUMP BIDS AFTER 2N are transfers (except for the cue bid).

-- cue-bid = Stayman. Thus, 2H-2N-P-3H asks for 3S (with min and 4 spades), 3N (without 4 spades) and 4S (with 4 spades and a max)

16. When they overcall with 1N --

-- General rule is we are competing, nothing is forcing
-- Double is for penalties
-- Any new suit shows at least 5 cards, non-forcing
-- New suit at 3 level is long and preemptive

If we opened a major (M):

-- 2M is simple raise
-- 3M is preemptive raise
-- 2N = either 5/5 minors OR good limit raise (opener assumes minors and bids better minor; if responder corrects to 3M, that means it was the limit raise hand)

If we opened a minor (m):

-- 2m is SAME SUIT STAYMAN (responder has a least 4/4 in majors, opener bids his better major, even if he has to do so with 3 cards. With 2-2 in majors, opener can bid 3 of a minor)
3m = to play (can be on just about anything)


1. Lavinthal Discards; 3d + 5th best leads; Upside-Down Count & Attitude.

Also, attitude leads during the play of the hand (low suggests continuation, high suggests switch -- but remember, sometimes the card played is constrained by other considerations)

During play of the hand, should lead K from AK when situation will be clear to partner, such as when leading up to dummy, or when dummy has the Q. In such cases, the A denies the K, and partner should signal accordingly when the A is lead.

2. Against NT, opening lead of J, 10, or 9 = 0 or 2 higher --

Just like it sounds, an opening lead of J, 10, or 9 shows 0 or 2 higher cards not all in sequence.

3. Reverse Smith Echo - On declarer's first lead in a notrump hand, Hi-Lo = discouraging for opening leader's suit, Lo-Hi = encouraging

[exception -- when dummy has long suit missing A or K and no outside entry, show upside-down count instead of Smith Echo]

4. AT 5-LEVEL OR ABOVE -- lead of A asks for attitude, lead of K asks for count. Lead K from AK. Any other way gets into trouble. (In his book, Blackwood says this is the way to go, even if you normally use A from AK.)


hi-lo = suit preference for the higher of the 2 most likely side suits. Note that lo-hi is not necessarily a preference for low -- it may simply be no preference at all. (This treatment has proven to be more useful than using trump echo to show count.)

We have also been toying with adding a mini-notrump (10-12) to our system, although we have not perfected it yet. For those who feel adventurous, here is the basic structure. Be sure to discuss how adding the mini-notrump affects the rest of your bidding structure, especially sequences beginning 1x-1y-1N.

ROMEX MINI-NOTRUMP (1st, 2nd, & 3rd seat only, and NOT UNFAVORABLE)

Opening 1NT = 10-12 HCP, balanced


2C = non-forcing Stayman
2D = forcing Stayman (forcing to game)
2H = to play
2S = to play
2N = relay to 3C (either signoff in clubs, or invitational 2-suiter)
3C = club-heart 2-suiter (at least 5-5)
3D = to play
3H = to play
3S = to play
3N = to play
4C = Gerber (0 or 3; 1; 2 min; 2 max)
4D = Major two suiter, partner picks game
4H = to play
4S = to play
4N = Quantitative (pass or bid 6)
5N = Quantitative (bid 6 or bid 7)


After 1N-2C
If responder passes, or converts 2D to 2H, then he was scrambling with a weak hand. If responder does anything else, he is invitational.


After 1N-2D
We are forced to game (or 4minor). The next suit that responder bids is at least 5 cards long. If a major, it tends to be exactly 5 cards, since with 6 and a game force, responder should just jump immediately to 4Major.

After 1N-2N-3C- ?

pass = signoff in clubs
3D = red 2 suiter
3H = major 2 suiter
3S = spades & a minor
3N = minor 2 suiter, no slam interest
4C = minor 2 suiter, slam interest

NOTE -- the invitational heart-club 2 suiter is shown by 1N-3C.

1x-1y-1N = 13-16 HCP
1x-1y-2N = 17-18 HCP
opening 2N = 19-21 HCP

NOTE -- Now the "new minor forcing" is always 2C, since it leaves an extra step to describe hand strength, which is useful. Other than that, we can continue to play pretty much our usual system:


2D = 1-2 card support; minimum
2oM = 1-2 card support; medium
2N = 1-2 card support; maximum (if responder bids again, game force)
2M = 3 card support; minimum
3x = 3 card support; medium (this is a rebid of opener's first suit)
3y = 3 card support; maximum; shortness in "y" (game forcing)
3N = 3 card support; maximum; 4333

NOTE: 1x-1y-1N-2D is not forcing, even if 2D is a "new minor".
NOTE: 1C-1D-1N-2C is another form of checkback, which checks for a bypassed 4-card major in opener's hand.
NOTE: Should also discuss Checkback after interference, which Romex provides for (with cue bids).

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