Bridge World Standard

Bridge World Standard (BWS) is a system based on the majority preferences of approximately 125 leading experts and thousands of Bridge World readers. Its methods were determined by polls: a clear expert preference determined the treatment; close questions were decided by the readers' vote. Because it is a consensus system, BWS is rarely used by regular partnerships. It is, however, very valuable in forming casual partnerships--if both partners know the system, they need discuss only those areas in which individual preferences do not conform to the BWS treatment. BWS is also used as a foundation for voting in the Master Solvers' Club in The Bridge World.  For more information about the BWS system visit Bridge World at their website

Opening Bids and Responses

Minimum balanced hand:
good 12.

1 NT: good 15 to bad 18. Jacoby transfers (splinter rebids; game raise is slam try; two diamonds plus two spades forcing only one round); two spades shows minors; three hearts invitational, major two-suiter; Texas transfers; Stayman (two-spade rebid invitational; two-heart rebid weak; minor rebid forcing); Smolen; three of a minor invitational; Gerber.

2 NT: good 20 to bad 22 (small doubleton acceptable). Jacoby transfers; three spades shows minors; Texas transfers; Gerber; High Gerber.

Two clubs artificial, strong: Natural responses (positive response requires good suit); two diamonds neutral; second negative=cheaper minor to three diamonds.

Preempts: Weak two-bids (two notrump, which asks for feature if maximum, and new-suit responses forcing). "Weak gambling" three-bids. New-suit response to game-level opening asking-bid (step responses).

3 NT: gambling (little outside strength); four-diamond response artificial.

Five-card majors in first and second position: one-notrump response forcing; two-over-one promises rebid; limit jump raises (four trumps; cheapest rebid asks shortness); two notrump strong raise (asks shortness); three notrump natural, 16-17; passed-hand responses: one notrump 6-12, two clubs strong raise, three clubs natural.

Responses to minor-suit openings: Single raise strong, 10 pts. up, denies major; jump raise weak; 1 NT 8-10 after one club, 6-10 after one diamond; two notrump natural, game force; up the line may be ignored with moderate hand; two-club response to one diamond promises a rebid.


Partnership Bidding

Splinter raises:
Double-jump shift after suit opening; single jump in fourth suit if one level above a reverse; single jump in third suit if four level, or reverse; double jump in fourth suit; four of opener's minor after new-suit rebid; jump-shift by two-diamond responder to two clubs; new-suit jump after single major raise; double new-suit jump after 1 NT response.

Slam methods: Roman key-card Blackwood with trump-queen ask; DOPI; five notrump (2 keys) or higher response with void; 5 NT rebid invites seven, asks king cue-bidding. Cheapest-weakest responses to grand-slam force. Gerber after one-notrump or two-notrump opening, or rebid. Picture jumps in forcing situations.

Other methods: Fourth-suit bidding: nonforcing by passed hand unless reverse; one spade may be weak; promises another bid at two level; game force if reverse or at three level. Third-suit bidding: game force if reverse or at three level, otherwise does not promise rebid. Opener's suit-over-suit reverse promises rebid; responder's cheaper of 2 NT and fourth suit neutral. All non-jump-shift secondary jumps by one-over-one responder invitational. Opener's jump rebid to four of original minor is strong raise. Unbid minor forcing and artificial after one-notrump rebid, requests support. Three clubs artificial, may be prelude to signoff, after two-notrump jump by opener. Reraise to three of major preemptive.


Competitive Bidding

Negative doubles:
After suit opening, through three spades (including opener's suit); after one-notrump opening, at the three level; unlimited; suggests length in unbid major; of one heart shows four spades; of one spade after minor opening shows four or more hearts. Repeat same-suit double by negative doubler for takeout.

Weak jump responses after overcall of minor opening.

Over overcall: jump raise preemptive, cue-bid is at least limit raise, jump cue-bid is splinter.

Over two-suited overcalls: cheapest cue = raise; next cue = unbid suit; unbid suit nonforcing.

Over minor Michaels: unbid suit nonforcing; major suit shows stopper.

Over major Michaels: cue-bid in enemy major is limit raise or better; new suit forcing.

Support doubles and redoubles when raise to two is available, except one club--(pass)--one diamond--(one spade)--double shows hearts.

Over a double of partner's suit bid: new suit forcing at the one level only; jump shift nonforcing; two notrump limit raise or better; double jump in new suit splinter

Lebensohl after two-level overcalls of one notrump (fast denies stop).

Jump cue-bid by opener is splinter raise.

Pass and pull strong in forcing situation.


Defensive Bidding

Michaels cue-bids
(in minor: majors; in major: other major plus unspecified minor) in direct and reopening position over suit one-bids and over one-notrump response; weak or quite strong.

Direct jump cue-bid natural over minor, asks stopper over major.

Takeout doubles of preemptive openings through four hearts; otherwise for penalty.

Maximal overcall double of raised suit.

Reopenings: 1 NT, 10-14; 2 NT, 18-19.

In fourth seat over a response: one notrump and cue-bids natural.

After 1 NT overcall: two clubs Stayman; jumps invitational.

Double of free new-suit bid by responder shows fourth suit plus tolerance.

Cappelletti over one notrump (all situations).

Direct two notrump unusual for lower unbid suits; weak or quite strong.

Takeout doubles: may be light with shape; new-suit rebid very strong.

Preemptive jump overcalls and jump raises of overcalls.

Responsive and extended responsive doubles
after takeout doubles, at the two level after an overcall, after a preempt.

Mixed-raise advances of overcalls.

Cue-bid by advancer forcing until a suit is bid twice, or game.

Lebensohl after double of weak two-bid, either position by unpassed hand, and following one-notrump overcall.

Opening Leads

Against suit contracts: third from even; low from odd. All other leads old-fashioned.

A special thanks to Bridge World for giving permission to SWAN games to post the BWS summary.

Copyright © 1996-2000 Bridge World Magazine, Inc. Reprinting of contents without permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved.
The Bridge World, PO Box 299, Scarsdale NY 10583 USA
Internet: E-mail: