Starting Precision

This is a basic version of Precision for intermediate players transitioning from 2/1. See Imprecise Precision for references and a fuller scheme.

What To Open

A (!) shows alert needed. Count HCP only for these rules, but rule of 20 ok with a five-card major or 6-5. The shape, not suit quality, completely determines the opening bid. In priority order:

  • Other than 2N, everything above 2♦ is a preempt or anything else you want.
  • Balanced hands: 5332, 4432, or 4333, including a five-card major.
    • 12-13: 1♦ then 1N
    • 14-16: 1N
    • 17 19: 1♣ then non-jumped NT
    • 20-21: 2N
    • 22-24: 1♣ then jump in NT
    • 3N: 25-27
  • Unbalanced Hands: 5422, 6331, 6222, etc.:
    • 1♣!: 16+, any shape. Also certain “good” 15HCP hands. Opening 1♣! is unequivocally forcing.
    • 1♥ or 1♠: 11-15, 5+ card major
    • 2♣!: 11-15 6+ card clubs, fewer diamonds.
    • 1♦: 11-15; has 2 or more diamonds (Announce “As few as two diamonds”).
    • 2♦!: 11-15 none of the above: 0 or 1 diamonds, no five card major, no six card club suit. Possible shapes are 4415 minus a card somewhere.
    • 2♥ and 2♠: regular preemptive bids

Note that the one-level suit bids other than 1♣! are not alerted; 1♦ is announced.

Intermediate Openings

Precision defines intermediate bids from 1♥ to 2♦.

Opening 1N

Balanced 14-16 HCP, open 1N. Shapes are 4432, 4333, or 5332. Systems on. Invitational responses are 10 to a bad 12. I like to play 3♣ as a GF Puppet Stayman. Don’t open balanced 11’s.

For 12-13 HCP, open 1 of a suit and rebid notrump without jumping.

Opening a Major

Major openings show 11-15. Play 2/1 (with 13+ HCP) with the following changes. These changes are all due to the upper limit of 15. Responder is captain of the hand.

  • 2N is not Jacoby 2N. It is invitational, with two cards in the major, relatively balanced. If 2N was Jacoby, with slam interest, it would have to be 17+, which makes it not frequent enough to give up the natural meaning of 2N.
  • Use a jump-shift to show 17+ points with a good suit and support, or a great suit. Opener responds naturally. A new suit by responder on his second bid is shortness.
  • 1M - 4M! is alerted and can show any hand responder thinks should be in game with 13 or less points. Responder can often pass hands that one would ordinarily be required to bid, because of the limited range. However, raising with support is important since otherwise partner cannot revalue their hand.

Opener with a maximum and good six-card suit can rebid 3M.

Opener can show his other suit with his second bid, but a reverse into spades or jump-shift should be a maximum. As in 2/1, rebidding the major does not show six cards.

Opening A Diamond

Shows 11-15 HCP and 2+ diamonds. There is no five-card major, and the hand is unbalanced. Announce 1♦ as “as few as two cards”. Example, a 4=2=2=5 hand is opened 1♦ since a 2♣ opener requires six clubs.


  • Pass with 7 HCP or less.
  • 2♣ shows 10+ HCP and four+ clubs and is forcing but not game forcing. Opener rebids of 2♦ or 2N or 3♣ are not forcing. Denies a four-card major.
  • Otherwise play normally as with inverted minors. 2N is invitational.

Opening Two Clubs

Shows 11-15 HCP and SIX clubs. Alert. Does not deny a four- or five-card major.

  • If responder bids 2♥ or 2♠, it is not forcing; it is just a suggestion to play with 4+ cards in the suit.
  • 2N and 3♣ are invitational.

With a hand interested in game, bid 2♦!. This response is an artificial one-round force, invitational or better. Opener bids:

  • 2♥ or 2♠, a four-card suit with 6+ clubs. Skipping over a major denies it.
  • 2N relatively balanced minimum 11-13.
  • 3♣ unbalanced hand, the default.
  • 3♦ six clubs and up to five diamonds.
  • 3M six clubs and up to five of the major, GF. Extra playing strength.

If 2♣ is interfered with, ignore it except 2N! is Lebensohl, a relay to clubs:

  • 2♣! - (2♠) - 3♣ is game-forcing. Opener should show stoppers up the line.

  • 2♣! - (2♠) - 2N! - 3♣!(forced) can be passed. A new suit is to play; a cue bid is a game force, and asks for an unbid major.

    If responder continues 3N after 2N, it shows a stopper in the overcalled suit. A direct 3N over the interference shows game values but no stopper.

Opening Two Diamonds

Shows 11-15 HCP, short in diamonds, no five card major, and no six clubs. That is, the shape is 4=4=1=4, 4=4=0=5, 4=3=1=5, or 3=4=1=5.

Responses are natural and place the contract, except 2N! is Stayman and on over interference. Opener shows his lowest four-card major (He’s got one!) as follows:

  • 3♣ shows hearts and denies 4 spades (the lowest suit, clubs, means lowest major).
  • 3♦ shows spades and denies hearts (the higher suit, diamonds, means highest major).
  • 3♥ shows both majors.

Opening 2N or 3N

We will open balanced hands with natural notrump bids or by first opening an artificial 1♣!(16+ HCP, artificial, any shape) and later rebidding notrump. The natural bids are:

  • 2N shows 20-21 balanced. Systems on. 3♣ is Puppet Stayman.
  • 3N shows 25-27 balanced. Systems on. 4♣ is Puppet Stayman.

Note that balanced hands of 17-19 are opened 1♣ and opener’s second bid is a non-jumped NT bid. For example:

1♣! - 1♦! - 1N!(17-19) or
1♣! - 2♦! - 2N!(17-19)

Jumping on the notrump rebid shows the range to 22-24 HCP.

Opening One Club

Open 1♣! with 16+ HCP, artificial, forcing, unless the hand qualifies as a notrump opener.

We also use 1♣! to open “good” 15 HCP hands, defined as those with a 6+ card suit playable opposite a singleton, usually containing a singleton or void.

There is one negative response, 1♦!, showing a hand with less than 8 HCP.

The bids 2♥! and 2♠! are preemptive-type hands of 4-6 HCP concentrated in the suit, highly invitational.

Other responses show 8+ HCP and are called “positive” responses. There is a special treatment for positive responses with 4441 shapes, because these hands are not balanced but do not have a five-card suit.

Positive Responses

If you have a decent 8+ HCP, you make a “positive” response, which is game forcing. Both partners may choose to conceal a poor five-card minor and bid notrump instead. Generally opener will assume responder has 8-10 HCP. Responder may bid on past game if stronger.

Opener’s second bid will generally limit his hand but if not, he too may “bid one more” if prudent.

  • The bids from 1♥! up to 2♦! except for 1♠! show 8+ HCP and five+ cards in the suit above. For example, 1♣! - 1♥! shows 8+ HCP and five SPADES. 1♣! - 1N! shows 8+ HCP with five clubs. We will bid a 5332 with a poor minor as a balanced hand instead.

  • 1♣! - 1♠! shows 8-13 HCP, a balanced hand with no five-card major or good five-card minor.

  • 2N!(balanced) shows a balanced 14+ HCP, and is forcing to 4N. Rarely, it can be used for a 4441 with more than 12 HCP and 4 or less losers.

    Opener’s conventional 3♣! rebid asks partner to bid 4-card suits up the line to find a fit. This takes the place of Stayman.

  • 3♣ is a 4441 hand with a black singleton, 8-11 HCP.

  • 3♦ is a 4441 hand with a red singleton, 8-11 HCP.

After a 4441 bid, the next suit up asks where the singleton is; the next step shows the singleton is the lower suit, the second step shows the higher.

Example: 1♣! - 3♣!(8+ HCP, 4441 with singleton club or spade) - 3♦!(?) - 3♥!(club)

Opener can also pick a suit, which sets trump, or bid 3N to play. Bidding the stiff after inquiring is Ace-asking.

After one of the positive bids that shows a 5+ suit (with 1N! showing clubs), if opener bids that suit, it sets trump. If opener bids notrump, or a different suit, the auction proceeds naturally.

If responder makes the positive bid of 1♠! showing a balanced hand, opener may bid 2♣! as Stayman. Note that responder does not have a five-card major. Opener’s other bids are natural, showing a 5+ card suit, and often an unbalanced hand. Proceed as you would over a rebid of that suit following a standard strong 2♣ opener.

Invitational Responses

With 4-6 HCP concentrated in a six-card major, bid 2 of that major. This is not forcing but highly invitational.

Negative Response

Otherwise, with less than a good 8 HCP, bid 1♦!(0-7 HCP, artificial).

After 1♣! - 1♦!(0-7), opener’s rebids are:

  • 1♥, 1♠, 2♣, and 2♦ show five card suits. These bids are non-forcing. If your hand has 8 tricks, do not make these bids. Opener will frequently conceal a poor five-card minor.
  • 1N!(16-19, balanced)
  • 2♥! or 2♠! shows a strong hand with a 5+ card major, like a standard 2♣ opener followed by a 2M rebid.
  • 2N(22-24, balanced). Systems are on, 3♣ is Puppet Stayman.
  • 3♣ and 3♦ show very strong, unbalanced hands with a long minor suit.
  • 3♥ and 3♠ set trump and show an extremely strong hand (9 tricks). Trumps are long and solid. Partner should cue-bid.
  • 3N is 25-27 HCP balanced hand. Systems are on.

Responder’s second bid:

  • With 0-4, pass, especially if balanced, unless you have an Ace.
  • Over 1♥ or 1♠, raise with 4-5 support points; jump raise with 6 or 7.
  • With no support, you can bid a five-card suit.
  • Over 1N,
    • Transfers are on.
    • 2♣ is Stayman but only bid it with a good 7 HCP; otherwise pass. One of our big competitive advantages is not ending up in 2N on hands like these so do not invite.

Interference Over One Club

Opponents are often anxious to bid something to interfere with our 1♣! opening, or after 1♣! - 1♦!. We in turn are anxious to take advantage of it.

Our guiding principle is to ignore their interference when we can, and to cue-bid their suit or double when we can’t respond normally.

Direct Interference

If they interfere after 1♣!, we split the negative bid into two ranges.

For hands up to 8 HCP:

  • Pass with 0-4 HCP.
  • Double (or redouble) with 5-8 HCP or with a minimum positive hand with no good bid.

Responder with just an Ace can consider treating it as 5 HCP if the hand has some other attractive aspect.

Other bids are natural and positive. A cue bid shows a positive hand lacking a suitable bid – no five card suit of your own, and no stopper for notrump.

The rattlesnake bids are not available.

As the auction proceeds, a double by opener is for takeout. In a sequence such as:

1♣! - (1♥) - X!(5-8 HCP) - (2♥)

the (second) double by the opener is takeout, but a third double by the partnership is always penalty-oriented.

Two-Level Interference

Over two-level overcalls, suit bids are positive, natural, and game forcing.

  • Pass and X are the negative bids, as usual. Double should be at least 6-8 HCP.
  • 2N is 8-10 and shows a stopper.
  • 3N is 11+ and shows a stopper.
  • A cue bid shows a positive bid with no other suitable bid, or without stoppers for notrump. A later bid in notrump can be made to give partner an offer to play there if partner has stoppers.

Three-Level Interference

For interference at the 3-level,

  • Double is a balanced hand with a positive response.
  • Suit bids are natural and game forcing.
  • 3N is 8-13 with stoppers.

Interference by RHO

If 4th seat intervenes after 1♣! - (P) - 1♦!, just bid as if they had opened that suit.

  • Opener passes with any balanced minimum.
  • Double (or redouble) by opener is for takeout.

If the opener’s RHO overcalls a positive response, we’re still in a game-forcing auction.

1♣! - (P) - 2♣!(positive, diamonds) - (2♥) 3♦

agrees diamonds. Responder may bid 3♠! to deny a heart stopper, giving opener the chance to bid 3N, or if interested in a diamond slam cue bid 3♥.

1♣! - (P) - 1♥!(positive, spades) - (2♥) 2N!(17-19, heart stopper)

1♣! - (P) - 1♥!(positive, spades) - (2♥) 3♥!(no good bid, probably no heart stopper, no spade support)