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Opener’s & Responder’s Rebids


At the second round of the bidding, it’s time to describe strength and shape in more detail so both opener and responder can make the best decision about the final contract. Opener’s rebid depends on whether responder has made a forcing or non-forcing (limit) response.

In general, opener shows the strength of their hand:

  • Minimum (13-15 points)
  • Medium (16-18 points)
  • Maximum (19-20 points)

And, at the same time, defines the shape more precisely:

  • single-suited: six + cards of the same suit
  • two-suited: five+ cards of one suit and four+ cards of another
  • balanced: 4333, 4432, 5332 (not four cards of responder’s suit)
  • a fit for responder’s first suit

When Responder makes a forcing bid

Any bid in a new suit by an unpassed hand is forcing. At the one level, it shows 6+ points (e.g.1♣ p 1♥), and at the two level, 10+ points, (or an opening hand if playing Two Over One Game Force). These responses are unlimited and opener must describe their hand further.

Hands without a fit for responder (e.g. 1♣ p 1♥ p to you)

  • Single-suited, rebid your long suit at the appropriate level (minimum 13-15, medium 16-18, maximum 19-20) e.g 1♥ p 1♠ p 2♥/3♥/4♥.
  • Two-suited, bid your second suit, at the next level if minimum or medium (13-18) e.g. 1♥ p 1♠ p 2♣/2♦, and jump in the second suit if maximum (19-20) e.g. 1♥ p 1♠ p 3♣/3♦.
  • Balanced, bid no trumps at the next level if minimum (12-14), e.g. 1♥ p 1♠ p 1NT, jump in no trumps if maximum (18-19) e.g. 1♥ p 1♠ p 2NT. Opening 1NT shows medium (15-17) in Standard. In the Acol system, it’s 12-14, so you just reverse the meaning of 12-14 and 15-17.

Hands with a Fit for Responder 

  • Minimum (13-15) raise to the next level. e.g. 1♥ p 1♠ p 2♠. Responder will know whether to stop in partscore or go to game.
  • Medium (16-18) jump a level. 1♥ p 1♠ p 3♠. Responder decides whether to bid game.
  • Maximum (19-20) jump to game. 1♥ p 1♠ p 4♠.


When Responder makes a non forcing (limit) bid
If responder raises opener’s first suit (e.g. 1♥ p 2♥) then opener will:

  • pass with minimum (13-15)
  • raise one level with medium (16-18), or make a game try
  • jump to game with maximum (19-20)

After a 1NT Response (6-9 and no fit for opener’s first suit) then opener will:

  • pass with a balanced minimum
  • bid a second suit with 5/4, 5+/5+ shape
  • rebid own suit with a single-suiter (6+ cards)
  • rebid 2NT or 3NT with 18-19 points balanced


Enough information has now been exchanged to make a decision. Add opener’s points to yours:

  • Fewer than 25, play a partscore
  • 25+ go to game, either in a suit or no trumps

Responder’s point ranges are

  • Minimum: 6-9 points
  • Medium: 10-12 points
  • Maximum: 13+ points