Quick summary

Use only when responding to opener's repeat of the same suit, or when he switches to NT on his second bid.

Rebid above the barrier with:

The 'barrier' is at the same suit as responder's first bid, but one level higher.

Usually forcing to game.


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Bridge Venue

Example Deal

«  0062  »

Responder rebids. Responders reverse

Hey partner ! I've got game going points

Please pay attention to the order of my bids

Responder can "reverse" his bid order too, sometimes known as "breaking his barrier", to show he has 12 points or more. The bid is usually forcing to game, for fairly obvious reasons. It's an important bid, because the 2-level new suit 1st response showing 10+ is not enough for opener to bid game if he has 12-14 HCP.

By bidding 2 different suits starting with the lower denomination suit at the one level, and the higher denomination suit at the 2 level, (e.g. 1diamond followed by 2spade), responder says he's quite strong (12+ HCP). He has gone through the barrier of 2diamond that he set with his first bid of 1diamond.

Bid them the other way round (i.e. 1spade followed by 2diamond), and you are telling partner you might not have more than 12 HCP. Maybe you'll need to jump to 3diamond if you're strong enough for game?

Useful. Let's hope partner was paying attention !


Suppose the opener bids 1diamond, and then follows with a NT rebid. Responder has two biddable major suits (heartspade), containing 4 cards each. The order and level in which he bids these two suits will, among other things, tell his partner if he has 12+ plus HCP (go through barrier), or fewer than 12 HCP.

1diamond (by opener) – 1heart(by responder) – 1NT (by opener) – 2spade (by responder - this bid is the "reverse"). Here, responder has shown 12 points or more. If he wanted to show the same suits but fewer than 12 points, he would have bid the other was around as follows:

1diamond (by opener) – 1spade(by responder) – 1NT (by opener) – 2heart (by responder). Here, the responder has not gone through the barrier set by his first bid at the 2spade level.

A caveat
Note: If the opener's rebid were in a different suit from his first bid, then responder's rebid in a new suit would not imply any particular number of points (in fact, that would be "4th suit forcing"). Also, if opener's rebid had been to support responder's first bid, then again a change of suit by responder has quite a different meaning, probably a cue bid). To put it another way, a responder's "reverse" can only be made after opener has re-bid his first suit, or has switched to No Trumps after his first suit bid.

Suit lengths

You need to think about the impact of differing suit lengths of the two suits you want to bid. The most common combinations to worry about of course are 5-5, 4-4, and 5-4. 6-6 should be treated like 5-5

You should also bear in mind that your suits need to be bid in the order longest first, or according to denomination if they are of the same length. After you've had a little read of that section, which you should definitely do, and not forgetting to read about "delayed support", let's have a look at the consequences of all this with an example. . .

Example 2 a, b, c

(a) 1club – 1diamond – 2club – 2heart. Here the responder has said: I have 2 biddable suits, the distribution is 4-4 or 5diamond-4heart, and I have 12+ HCP (1) .

(b) 1club – 1heart – 2club – 3diamond. Here the responder has said: I have 2 biddable suits, the distribution is 4diamond-5heart or even 5-5, and I have 12+ HCP. The distribution cannot be 4diamond-4heart or I would have bid the diamonds first, example (a). . ...

(c) 1club – 1heart – 2club – 2diamond. Here the responder has said: I have 2 biddable suits, the distribution is 4-4 or 4diamond-5heart (or even 5-5), and I have fewer than 12 HCP. The distribution can be 4diamond-4heart, even though I started with the Hearts. Responder normally starts with the lowest denomination first (diamond in this example). However, starting with the diamonds would have forced me to break my barrier when I then went on to mention Hearts, as in case (a). That would not be good ! Telling my partner that we have game going points would have misled the poor chap considerably more than a slight uncertainty over my number of Hearts. Always assuming he was paying attention to my "reverse" in the first place.


footnote: (1) A problem comes up in a case similar to example 2 (a). Say you have fewer than 12 HCP. Let's say the distribution is 5diamond-4heart, so you have to bid the diamonds first, or course. How can you now bid the hearts without breaking your barrier ? Answer is, you can't. So don't. You will now have to pass or think of something else. The alternative is to bid according to example (c) below, which is probably just about acceptable with a 4-4 distribution, but not with 5-4 the wrong way round.




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