Competitive Bidding

It would be great if we could always bid our hand without the opponents saying a word, but all too often our nice sequence is thrown into confusion because they intervene. One of the test of any bidding system is its ability to cope with interference. Because Precision is a more structured system with more artificial sequences than a largely natural system like Standard American or 2-Over-1, it is more vulnerable to intervention if a partnership have not prepared the ground properly to assist them in coping with the opponents' bidding (Indeed, our philosophy when playing against pairs who play Precision is to obstruct their bidding as much as possible).It would be foolish not to anticipate good pairs doing exactly the same to us.

OCP relies heavily on structured enquiry sequences and Asking Bids and these are highly vulnerable to interference. You will find that all of the prepared enquiry sequences (eg: after 2-2) have very specific provisions on how to cope with interference. Similarly, coping with interference over Asking Bid Sequences gets a whole (very long) page all to itself. Even during natural bidding sequences, however, many pairs flounder about when Opps compete and do not take full advantage of utilities such as Lebensohl or the fact that a well-timed "Pass" can convey just as much information than a bid in the same situation. It is not our intention that you should enter the fray unprepared...

Specific Measures

This system provides a number of specific measures for coping with interference:
During Asking Bid Sequences




General Guidance

If the situation does not fall into one of the above categories, this system does not provide specific "rules", but more general guidance. This should assist you and your partner to make the right decisions on when to bid, when not to bid, and how to proceed:

Bidding in front of partner.
This covers situations where your right-hand opponent (RHO) has bid, doubled or redoubled. If you bid in the situation then you are said to be "bidding in front of partner" (ie: because Partner also has another chance to bid) unless partner has just demanded some kind of response from you. Since your partner is themselves in a position to bid you should remember that a pass from you can potentially be just as instructive as a bid.

For example, suppose you open, partner responds in a suit and your RHO overcalls (eg: 1-2-(2): If you have a lower-range hand or any range of hand with a shortage in Clubs, you should Pass here. This sends a clear message to partner that you are either minimum or dislike Clubs (or both). The Pass is still giving information and the fact that the 2 bid is forcing to 2NT is unaffected, because Partner still has an opportunity to re-open. Similarly a Double from your here is unequivocably Negative, promising 4-card Hearts. If you Pass and partner wants to carry on with the bidding, their initial action should normally be a re-opening Double, in case you have a penalty double of their overcall.

If you bid in front of partner in these situations then, depending on what you bid, you are sending specific messages to partner about : By bidding in front of partner you are usually showing extra values, and even if you are not specifically supporting partner's suit you are implying at least a decent tolerance for their suit. If partner has another bid whether you bid or not, you should always consider whether you need to bid at this stage and whether you have some specific information that you need to pass to partner.

In Forcing Sequences
If you are in a forcing sequence (not Asking Bids as such) it is normally for one of three reasons:
  1. One of you has made a bid of some kind that is forcing to a particular level (eg: 2/1 bid forcing to 2NT, Forcing No Trump) or one that is game-forcing (A reverse or a cue-bid of their suit by Responder, or some other strong bid), or
  2. Partner has asked you for some specific information (eg: Stayman, 2-2 Enquiry), or
  3. Partner has specifically asked you to bid something (eg: 2NT Lebensohl, Transfers).
Forcing Sequences:
If you are in the protective position (this is only in case [1]) then you must bid and simply have to make the most sensible bid you can. If you are not in the protective position (ie: partner or your RHO has bid), then consider whether a bid from you really adds something (See Bidding in Front of Partner, above).

Forcing No Trump:
In the case of intervention immediately over the Forcing No Trump, Opener passes with any 5332 hand, otherwise they make their normal bid if they can do so at the normal level.

If the interference has prevented this then they normally pass, but the other option is a takeout double if short in opp's suit. If Opener passes over the intervention or makes any bid except the takeout double, then Responder's rebids are exactly as over the normal scheme for the Forcing No Trump. If Opener makes the takeout double, then the Gamma bids in new suits are not used and bids in new suits are natural and "to play".

If partner has asked you for some specific information and RHO intervenes, there are many occasions when a pass from you conveys the information just as well as a bid. For example if you open 1NT, partner bids 2 Stayman and RHO overcalls then a pass from you clearly denies a 4-card holding in any unbid Major that you could still bid at the 2-level.

If the bidding goes 1NT-2-(2)-??, then Double to show 4-card Hearts. The situation when opps overcall at the 3-level is slightly more complex: Best to pass with any minimum holding, whether or not you have a 4-card Major, but with a maximum show a 4-card Major if you have one.

2-2 Enquiry
If Opener has a 4-card Major then over the intervention they bid it if possible at the 2-level, or make a negative double to show the presence of a 4-card major if they can't bit it at the 2-level. If Opener has 6-card Clubs, then if the opp's overcall is at the 2-level, Lebensohl is available to show/deny a stop in their suit. If, however, the overcall is at the 3-level, then they Pass or bid 3NT depending on their holding in the Opponents' suit.

In the case of intervention immediately over the Lebensohl 2NT bid, Responder always passes because the 2NT bid simply instructs partner to relay with 3. With interference, partner simply passes so as not to consume any further bidding space and thus restrict the options open to the 2NT bidder.

With Transfers, the situation is slightly different in that partner might have wanted to break the transfer to show good support and a maximum hand. In these circumstances partner may bid to show that hand, but otherwise should pass in case the transfer bidder is really weak and has no wish to compete further.

Lastly, with Romex Trial Bids the only real concern is intervention immediately over the 2NT Romex bid. Here Responder should pass with no game interest and a hand not even wanting to compete further, Double with a hand where they want to hear the location of Opener's shortage, bid 3 of the agreed Major with a hand willing to compete further but no serious game interest, and bid game directly if they're willing to accept any invitation.


One of this systems main weapons in the case of interference is Lebensohl. This is explained in full on the Lebensohl page, but the main features are reproduced here for convenience. What follows applies in any competitive sequence where the bidding has reached the 2-level:
For instances where the bidding is still at the 1-level, then the general measures outlined above apply (there is an option to use Lebensohl at the 1-level, but this requires considerable adjustments to other responses in this scheme, including 1NT bids, and is not being taught as part of this system).

Pre-emptive Interference

If the interference is of a pre-emptive nature then the action to be taken depends on whether or not we have established through the bidding that we hold the balance of the points, or not. If Responder has not yet bid (eg: 1-(4)-???) or has made a bid that is, or may be, a weak rescue type of bid (eg: 2-2-(4)-???) then all bidding is natural and non-forcing.

If we have established that this is definitely "our" hand and it is clear that opps are sacrificing or attempting to do so, then the options are as follows for the individual bidding immediately over the pre-emptive interference:
  1. Any immediate bid is strong and implies 1st or 2nd round control of opps suit.
  2. A Double specifically denies 1st or 2nd Round Control of their suit but is a "strong" bid in the sense that it shows a willingness to go further if partner does have 1st or 2nd Round Control of their suit.
  3. A Pass is Lebensohl-style, forcing a Double from partner which will either be passed for penalties or following which a non-constructive sign-off bid will be made.
  4. Please also have a look at Control-Denying Doubles and Non-Penalty Slam Doubles on the Doubles Page


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