# Overcalls — part 2

Overcalls at the one-level were discussed in a previous post. An overcall interferes with your opponents’ bidding, invites partner into the auction and helps your partner on defense.

### Responding with support

Your partner overcalls and you have at least three-card support — how should you proceed? Raising partner is the first priority. Here are some guidelines:

1. Make a simple raise with 6 to 10 support points. Support points refer to high-card points plus points added for distribution
2. With11-plus support points, cuebid the suit the opponent opened.
3. With 4 to 6 support points and four or more trumps, make a preemptive jump raise.

### Example #1

Suppose you hold:
♠ K 5 2
10 6 5
A 10 4 2
♣ J 4 3
and it’s your turn to bid

 West North East South 1♦ 1♠ Pass ?
You have support for partner, so bid 2♠. It’s true that you have diamonds stopped, but don’t bid 1NT. It’s more important to show partner your support.

### Example #2

You hold:
♠ K 6 4 2
K 10 6
A 10 4 2
♣ 4 3

 West North East South 1♦ 1♠ Pass ?
Bid 2. You have 10 HCP plus one point for your doubleton club. Your 11 support points is a limit raise.

### Example #3

Suppose your hand is stronger
♠ K 7 4 2
A K 4
A 4
♣ J 4 3 2

 West North East South 1♦ 1♠ Pass ?
Again cuebid 2. This promises a limit raise, but may be better.

### Example #4

What if you have good support, but you are weak? You hold:
♠ K 10 4 2
4 2
10 4
♣ Q 7 5 4 2

Bid 3♠. This is preemptive and weak. You have the requisite four trumps. Your hand is weak in terms of HCP (and defense), but you have distributional values. The 3♠ bid sends that message to partner, and obstructs the opponents.

### Rebidding after overcalling

After you overcall, partner should let you know if he has support. Your overcall may be based on a wide range in terms of strength. After a cuebid, therefore, you have to tell partner how strong you are. If you are strong enough to make game opposite a limit raise, you should bid it. If you have a weak overcall (less than an opening bid), you should repeat your suit. If you have a hand that is in between, you should make a bid in a new suit, one that may be only three cards long. Here are some examples.
In each case, the bidding has proceeded:

 West North East South 1♣ 1♠ Pass 2♣ Pass ?

### Example #1

♠ A Q 10 4 3
4 3
K 8 4
♣ 10 5 3

Rebid 2♠. Your hand is too weak to make game if partner has only limit-raise strength. If he has enough to make game opposite this hand, he will bid again.

### Example #2

♠ A Q 10 4 3
7 3
A K 4
♣ K J 10

Rebid 4♠. Partner has a limit raise (or better) so you accept his invitation.

### Example #3

♠ A Q 10 4 3
5 3
A 8 4
♣ K 10 4

Rebid 2. The message this sends to partner is that you do not have enough to go directly to game as in example #2, but you do not have a weak overcall as in example #1. If partner has a minimum limit raise, he can sign off in 2♠ and you can pass. If partner has more than invitational values, he can bid 4♠. Notice that you only have a three-card diamond suit. This will often be the case. You have a known spade fit, so you are not trying to play diamonds.

### Responses when you don’t have support

Often you will not have support for partner after he overcalls. If you have a stopper in the opponent’s suit, you can bid notrump with 7 to 10 (or 11) HCP. If you have a good suit of your own, you can bid it.
Here are two examples. In both cases the auction has proceeded:

 West North East South 1♥ 1♠ Pass ?

♠ J 3
K J 4 3
K 10 3
♣ J 10 8 4