Sign off bids in bridge
After one player makes a limit bid in a constructive auction, partner will often be able to make a sign off bid, choosing the final contract.
How do we get to game?
This hand caused problems for a few people, so let's see what went wrong and see what we might've done to bid better.
South opens 1♠. That's fairly normal. Partner bids 1NT, and at this point some people missed out on a game by bidding 2♠ or in some cases 3♠ and that's it, the bidding just stopped. How come we didn't get to game?
First of all let's talk about limit bids for a moment. A limit bid is a bid, which shows a narrow or limited range of points.
What are some examples of a limit bid? Consider a 1NT opening. If you are playing Acol, that's 12 to 14. If you are playing standard that's 15 to 17. Or another example, say 1♥ 2H showing 6-9 points. That 2♥ is a limit bid because it shows a narrow range of points.
Limit bids are great because as soon as your partner has made a limit bid, you can calculate your combined strength and most of the time you'll be able to choose the final contract. No more messing around. We don't get extra points for complicated auctions so if there's a simple way to get to the best contract, let's do that.
Simple, effective bidding.
Back to our hand. That 1NT from North is a limit bid. It shows 6-9 points and mostly it will be balanced. Sometimes North can be a little bit off shape if he's not strong enough to bid a new suit at the two level, but most of the time reasonably balanced.
Now, ask yourself this question. What contract do we want to play in? If North has got 6-9 points and reasonably balanced, do we want to play in a slam? I don't think so. Do we want to play in a part score something below game? No, I don't think so. We've got 18 points and a really good six card spade suit. So we want to play a game.
Which game do we want to play in? Well, it's not going to be hearts, clubs or diamonds. It's going to be spades probably. You might choose to play in 3NT, but probably not. Probably you're going to want to play in 4♠. Hey, I've got a good idea. Why don't we just bid 4♠? Yeah, that'll work.
What if I bid 3♠? What would be the point? Maybe I should bid 3♠ and then partner can bid 4♠. But why? We don't need to do that after a limit bid. We know the final contract. You can just bid 4♠, nice and simple. You don't need to ask permission from partner here to do anything.
It is true that sometimes you'll need to define partner's range with an invitational bid but not this time.
Jump to game
Sometimes a player will jump to game before partner has made a limit bid and this is often done good trump support and a shortage in a side suit.