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Responding to the Opening Bid
When partner opens the bidding they want to hear how many points you have and whether you can support their bid.
If partner has opened a major suit then you look first to see if you can raise their suit. After partner opens 1H:
J 10 7 5     K 6 3     K 10 9 4     8 2
You would raise to 2H to show you have 3 card trump support and 7-10 points. Some people might play 6-9 pts or a similar range, but the idea is the same.
What if you don't have support for partner's suit, then what? If you have 4 cards in a major suit then bid it.
J 10 7 5     8 2     K 10 9 4     K 6 3
With this hand you can't raise partner with only 2 card support, so bid 1S instead.
Point count is important too.
J 10 7 5     8 2     K 10 9 4     9 6 3
Now you don't have enough points to make a bid so just pass.
The shape of your hand is also a consideration.
A 7 5     8 2     K 10 9 4     Q 9 6 3
Here you have enough points but can't raise Hearts or bid a 3 card Spade suit so you should bid 1NT to tell partner you have 6-9 points.
Bidding at the two level takes more points.
A 7 5     8     K 9 4 2     A Q 9 6 3
This hand has too many points to respond 1NT so you bid 2C to show partner your extra points and good suit.
Try a set of our Suit Bids Flashcards.  50 cards with quick questions and answers on responses, rebids by opener, and responder's second bid in minor suits, major suits, and notrump. Also covers jump raises, forcing bids, reverses and more!
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