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Double six ! You need


Careful! Some people still jump overcall for stronger hands

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Interfering bids. Overcalls, Jump overcall

When you overcall, but bid at a level higher than the minimum level that you could have bid, then it's known as a "jump overcall". Beware! There are three different ways people play jump overcalls, each with different meanings. So make sure you agree with your partner beforehand whether you are playing (1) weak, (2) intermediate or (3) strong jump overcalls! We think Weak is the most useful.

1. Weak: I've got a 6-card suit, 5-10 HCP

The idea of a "weak jump overcall", WJO, is to shut out the opposition. By jumping, you are blocking out a lot of the bidding space which can make your enemy's life very difficult. That makes them fun; what's more you get a chance to particiapte in the auction, which is fun too.

They are a bit like weak 2's and weak 3's opening bids. (And as such they usually require 7-cards if the jump is needed to the 3-level). Having said that, they are not quite as effective as weak 2s and 3s in shutting out the enemy, because they've already managed to get some communication in before you jumped.

The opportunity to bid them arises more frequently than the other 2 forms of jump overcalls, and partly for this reason have become popular. You need:

  • a good 6-card suit (or 7 if the bid is at the 3 level)
  • 6-10 HCP

Suit quality

As with weak 2s and 3s, and as with simple overcalls, the suit quality is paramount. The focus of your strength should be in the long suit: where you need at least 2 honours at the 2-level, and 3 at the 3-level. Some might say you need at least 4 HCP in the long suit, or QJ10.

What if I have 11+ points?

You must not jump overcall, since that misleads your partner into believing you are weak. The result could be that you might miss a game. So, with 11+ HCP, bid a simple overcall. With 16+, double and bid the long suit later, see "Strong hand" below.

However, if your partner opened the bidding by passing, then you can WJO at a slightly higher level to make the 4th seat person's life harder. Eg after



2, AJ9643, 87, AQ8 (11HCP)

you could bid 2H. The 4th seat enemy will need a 5-card spade suit or 12 points to reply to the 1C opener, hoho. Unless of course he knows about negative doubles.


Responses are similar to responses to weak 2's and weak 3's. In brief, usually pass. But....

If game is not on, as will usually be the case, you bid the "limit of the fit", even with no points. This will maximise the damage to the strong enemy's chances of getting to game. Your bid should equal the total number of trumps your partnership has, so with 4 cards in your hand, making 10 in total, raise the bidding to 4 which is of course equal to 10 tricks. This is the same approach to a response to a standard simple overcall.

You might want to be a bit careful if vulnerable. For example, after 1H-3D-3S-?, with

J432, 765, 109872, A5

you would bid 5C, but pass if vulnerable. That's becasue the enemy have shown a game strength hand with the 3S bid.

If game is on - bid it. With 17+ HCP and suit fit (8 cards) you have at least 22HCP, as many as 27, so you can bid 4 of the suit. You'll need more for a minor game, of course.

If game is a "maybe", with 14-17 HCP, you can respond 2NT to ask for more information. If the WJO was at the 3-level, use the Unassuming Que Bid (UQB) to make the request. (The Unassuming Que Bid is a bid of the enemy suit, showing possible game interest and asking partner to carry on describing his hand),

The responses to the request made by responding 2NT are the same as for weak 2's. Remember that these responses can vary, and require partnership agreement.


You should be more cautious when vulnerable - maybe adding a point or two to the range (7-12HCP), or bidding one level lower.

Guidelines: when vulnerability is favourable, you don't need very many playing tricks, and can bid up to 3 short. When it's equal or adverse, you should not be more than 2 playing tricks short of your bid. Again, a bit like pre-emptive bids.

Defence to WJO

Just as with a defence to a weak 2 or weak 3, you should attempt to bid if you can. You know the overcaller is weak and they are trying to steal your contract. In other words, stretch the bidding a little.

For example after 1H-3D-?, with J762, Q83, 3, AQ942, bid 3H, even though you only have 9HCP and a 3-card fit. In this case, your partner is more likely to have a 5-card suit, since the distribution is unbalanced.

For example after 1H-3D-?, with K87,Q2,AJ6,J10963, bid 3NT, enve though you only have 11HCP.

Double or triple jump overcall

An overcall that misses out two levels of possible bidding is a double jump overcall, which is rather like a 7-card preempt, and has the same meaning.

Strong hand, 16+

With 16+ HCP, rather than jump, simply "double" and then bid the 6-card suit on your rebid. With only a 5-card suit you'd need 18+HCP.

Pending your rebid, your partner will regard your double as a double for takeout, which is a forcing bid asking for his best suit. However, when you then switch suit, he'll realise that in fact you have 16-19 HCP and a long suit, and will readjust his thinking.

Super Strong

With 20+, in the old days, you would cue bid the opponent's suit. This is simply a point count, and a forcing bid and says nothing about your shape of suit preferences. Your partner should simply close his eyes and bid 2NT, so that you can then say what you really meant.

However, since this is such a rare situation, most players now use this cue bid as a Michael's cue bid, announcing one or two 5-card Major suits, which is not only much more common, but is also tremendously powerful.

If you do really have a powerful hand, more than 18 HCP with a 5-card suit, or 16 points and a 6-card suit, then you can first bid a forcing "double for takeout", and then, on the rebid you (the overcalling doubler) can go on to change suit, ignoring the one your partner has been forced to offer you. Partner should spot that something funny is clearly going on, which has a special meaning

Similarly, a 2NT overcall used to mean a balanced hand with 20-22 HCP, but again it's such a rare occurrence that this unusual 2NT bid is nowadays employed to announce one or two 5-card minors, which again is both more common and much more useful.

Now try the quiz

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2. Intermediate: I've got a 6-card suit, sort of opening hand

This is the standard Acol jump overcall system, even if more and more Acol players now use the weak variety. (SAYC players tend to use the weak variety.). For the Intermediate Jump Overcall, IJO, you need

  • a good 6-card suit
  • ~11to 15 HCP

In combination this means you'll have around 6 losers, which is a better guide. If you have a 6-card suit but your hand is weak, in the 7-10 HCP range, bid a simple overcall.

With a strong hand (16+), you should double for takeout and then rebid your suit or NT.


Respond with 9+ HCP (20-24 assured), fewer with suit support (use LTC). With support and 3 winners, raise to Major game.

3. Strong method: I've got a 6-card suit and 15-19 HCP

Beginners and rubber bridge players favour the strong version, promising 6-cards and 15 points. It's not popular with duplicate and chicago scoring because the situation arises quite rarely. In any case you can, instead, just double for takeout and bid the long suit later, as mentioned above.

Which is best, Weak or Intermdiate Jump Overcalls ? WJO or IJO ?

Both have there advantages, but whichever you decide to use you should definintely agree with your charming partner beforehand, since they have quite different meanings.

You might want to download a convention card, so you both know what your bidding systems mean, and in case the opposition should ask what your bids mean.

Now try the quiz

Can you put all this into action ? Try the quiz for this subject by clicking on the link at the top left of the page, just below the main menu.
(You can try quizzes for any other subjects too while you're there. Look out for the thin red line).



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