Say your right-hand opponent opens the bidding at the one level and you make a one-level overcall in a suit (for example, 1 by RHO, 1 by you); what kind of hand do you promise for this action? This section of the convention card deals with “one over one” overcalls and the responses to these competitive bids.
Use the spaces provided to describe the strength of your one-level overcalls. Write in the minimum and maximum number of HCP. A commonly used range is 6 to 17 HCP (but others are possible, of course). With less, you’d pass, and with more, you’d double ﬁrst and then bid again to show a very strong hand. Note the word “usually” on the card. Your HCP range is meant to give the opponents a general idea of your overcall philosophy, but the range isn’t carved in stone.
Often 4 cards
Most overcalls promise at least ﬁve cards in the suit. Rarely, an opportunity for a four-card overcall comes along. For example, RHO opens 1♣ and you hold:
♠A K Q J ♥6 ♦8 7 4 3 ♣7 4 3 2. A takeout double is inappropriate because of the singleton heart, but a 1 overcall is a standout, even though the suit is only four cards in length. If you make a habit of overcalling four-card suits, however, check the box so that the opponents know about this, too.
Very Light Style
Many players would venture a 1♥ overcall on a hand such as:
♠9 2 ♥K Q J 9 5 ♦8 7 6 5 ♣8 2
despite its minimum high-card strength. Indeed, if your range is 6 to 17 HCP, this would be an example of rock-bottom minimum.
If you like to risk even lighter overcalls on a regular basis, check the box marked “very light style.”
Say the auction begins:
Partner’s raise is, of course, not forcing because your overcall could be made on a weak hand. But what if partner bids a new suit instead, say, 2♣? Are you required to bid again? Put another way, is partner’s bid forcing? If so, check the “Forcing” box. If it’s non-forcing, check that box instead. If partner usually expects you to bid again except in cases where your overcall is a minimum and the hands are misﬁtting, check the “NF Const” box (non-forcing, constructive).
What does partner’s jump raise in this auction mean?
Is it forcing? Invitational? Preemptive? Check the appropriate box.
Note that there is a line in RED at the bottom of this box. You may use this line to describe any other treatment that you and your partner agree upon. A good one to discuss is this: What does a jump cuebid mean? For example:
The non-jump cuebid (2♦) is typically played as a general force by most players, but what about the jump cuebid (3♦)? Things such as this can be described on the RED line and they must be Alerted.