The basics of the Goren Bidding System includes opening the longest suit first. Other features is opening the lower of 4-4 in the Minor suits, jumping to 2 No Trump or 3 of the opening suit, if the point count is 13 to 15 support points. The No Trump range is between 16 and 18 high card points, and all 2 Diamonds/Hearts/Spades opening are strong.
Mr. Charles Goren devised a Point Count Table to be used when opening, responding, and rebidding. The charts below present his Point Count Tables.
Ace: 4 points King: 3 points Queen: 2 points Jack: 1 point
Added Points All 4 Aces: add 1 point Ace and King: 2 points Ace and Queen: 1.5 points King and Queen: 1 point King and x: .5 points
Distributional Points are counted as follows:
For any opening bid:
Void: 3 points Singleton: 2 points Doubleton: 1 point
If the partner is able to raise the opening of his partner:
Void: 5 points Singleton: 3 points Doubleton: 1 point
The concept behind the Point Count is expanded by adding the Distributional Points to the Point Count of the responder when a fit has been determined, and the result is then added to the actual point count of the total honors. The thought behind this calculation is to increase or promote each honor in the bid suit of the partner by 1 point, unless the honors already exceed 4 points. On the other hand, 1 point is deducted from the total distributional values, if the holding only contains a 3-card support, and/or the complete distribution is 4-3-3-3.
Certain requirements are advised when opening one of a suit.
1. All holdings containing 14 high card points must be opened. 2. Any holding with 13 high card points may be opened, but there must be a reasonable, logical rebid available. 3. All openings are required to have 2 Quick Tricks. 4. Any 1 No Trump opening must contain between 16 and 18 high card points and must have a balanced distribution. 5. An opening in Third Seat is permitted, if the hand contains 11 high card points and the holding contains a good suit.
Certain requirements are advised when opening two of a suit. As the high card point range diminishes, the quality of the suit increases.
1. All holdings containing 14 high card points must be opened. 2. The opener must have 23 high card points and a good 6-card suit. 3. The opener must have 21 high card points and a good 7-card suit.
In his original book, Goren's Bridge Complete, the Goren Opening Bids are shown below:
1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 3+ Clubs. 1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 4+ Diamonds. 1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 4+ Hearts. 1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 4+ Spades. 1 NT: 16-18 high card points Shows balanced shape. 2 : 23+ high card points Shows 5+ Clubs. 2 : 23+ high card points Shows 5+ Diamonds. 2 : 23+ high card points Shows 5+ Hearts. 2 : 23+ high card points Shows 5+ Spades. 2NT: 22-24 high card points Shows balanced shape.
This early version shows that the opening of a 4-card Major suit was allowed. The later, revised edition of the book Goren's New Bridge Complete in 1985 showed a preference for opening a 5-card Major suit and allowed for an Minor suit opening of a 3-card suit. The point range for a 2 No Trump range was also revised. These revised opening bids are shown below.
1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 3+ Clubs. 1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 3+ Diamonds. 1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 5+ Hearts. 1 : 13-22 high card points Shows 5+ Spades. 1 NT: 16-18 high card points Shows balanced shape. 2 : 23+ high card points Shows any shape. 2 : 6-12 high card points Shows 6+ Diamonds. 2 : 6-12 high card points Shows 6+ Hearts. 2 : 6-12 high card points Shows 6+ Spades. 2NT: 21-22 high card points Shows balanced shape.
Certain circumstances are understood, if one partner decides to open with a preemptive bid on the Three Level. The partner should not open any suit on the three level with a holding containing 10 high card points or more. The partner, after a preemptive opening, should not raise the suit of the partner unless he holds at least 3 or 4 certain Quick Tricks.
If the opponents open the auction with a bid suit first, then a Takeout Double requires that the doubler must possess a holding which would normally be an opening, which signifies 13 high card points or more. If the Takeout Double is over a 1 No Trump opening, then the doubler is required to hold at least 10 high card points.
If the right hand opponent responds to the opening of his partner, then the responder of the Takeout Doubler is not required to bid. If the right hand opponent passes, then the responder of the Takeout Doubler is required to respond. According to the Goren Bidding System, the responder may then bid once with 0 to 6 high card points, the responder may rebid again with 9 high card points, and the responder may jump bid with 11 to 12 high card points.
As a defense against the Takeout Double, the responder to the opener should pass with less than 5 high card points, bid with any values between 6 and 9 high card points, and redouble when holding 10 high card points or more.
After the auction has officially been opened, any overcall must contain at least 10 high card points if the overcall is on the one level. On the two level, the overcaller must have 12 high card points or more and a good suit. To overcall with 1 No Trump, the point range must be between 16 and 18 high card points and the distribution must be balanced.
Note: In the Goren Bidding System, the responses are defined and should be adhered to as much as possible in order to communicate definite information to the partner.
If the partner opens with one of a suit, the responder will respond according to the following chart, if there is no immediate fit. The responses are based on a balanced distribution, not on a non-balanced distribution.
1 No Trump: 6-10 high card points 2 No Trump: 13-15 high card points 3 No Trump: 16-18 high card points
If the responder is holding any support for the suit bid by his partner, then the responses should follow the guidelines established below. These responses are based on the fact that the responder has an unbalanced distribution and can respond after an immediate fit.
Raise 1 Level: with 7-10 high card points Raise 2 Levels: with 13-16 high card points Jump to 4 Level: with 9 high card points or less and 5-card support Jump Shift: with 19 high card points or more
If no immediate fit is discovered, then the following chart shows the possible responses.
Show a new suit at the 1 Level: with 6 high card points plus Show a new suit at the 2 Level: with 10 high card points plus Make 2 progressive bids without forcing to game: with 11-12 high card points
Strong 2 Clubs / 2 Diamonds / 2 Spades
If the partner opens a strong 2 Clubs / Diamonds / Hearts / Spades, then the responder should communicate his holding to the partner in the following manner, by bidding:
2 No Trump: with 6 high card points or less Positive Response: with 7 high card points and 1 Quick Trick Positive Response: with 8 high card points and 0.5 Quick Tricks
An opening of 1 No Trump promises 16 to 18 high card points and a balanced distribution. The responder has several options to communicate to his partner a description of his holding by bidding the following, which would strongly indicate an unbalanced distribution.
Bid 2 Clubs with 8 high card points or more and a 4-card Major suit. Bid 2 Diamonds, 2 Hearts or 2 Spades with less than 8 high card points and a 5-card suit. Bid 3 of any suit with 10 high card points and a good suit. Bid 4 of a long Major suit and less than 10 high card points.
An opening of 1 No Trump promises 16 to 18 high card points and a balanced distribution. The responder has several options to communicate to his partner a description of his holding by bidding the following, which would strongly indicate a balanced distribution.
2 No Trump: with 7 high card points and a 5-card suit. 2 No Trump: with 8-9 high card points. 3 No Trump: with 10-14 high card points. 4 No Trump: with 15-16 high card points. 6 No Trump: with 17-18 high card points. 7 No Trump: with 21 high card points.
If the opener opens the auction with 2 No Trump, promising 21 to 22 high card points, a balanced distribution, and all four suits protected, then the responder has the following options with a balanced distribution:
3 No Trump: with 4-8 high card points 4 No Trump: with 10 high card points 6 No Trump: with 11-12 high card points 7 No Trump: with 15 high card points
If the opener opens the auction with 2 No Trump, promising 21 to 22 high card points, a balanced distribution, and all four suits protected, then the responder has the following options with an unbalanced distribution:
Responder bids a 5-card Major suit with 1 top honor and 4 high card points, Responder bids a 6-card suit except Clubs, Responder bids 3 Clubs with 4 high card points and a 4-card Major suit,
These are a few of the basics of the Goren Bidding System, but for a complete analysis of this bidding system, it is strongly recommended that the bridge players purchase the book Goren's New Bridge Complete. This book covers all of the principles and features of this bidding system including:
Opening Bids in a Suit Responses to Suit Openings No Trump Openings Rebids by Opener Rebids by Responder Four-Card Major suit Openings Slam Bidding Preemptive Openings Overcalls Takeout Doubles Penalty Doubles Weak No Trump Openings Drury Convention Landy Convention Texas Convention Flint Convention Flannery 2 Diamond Openings Splinter Bids The Blue Team Club The Neopolitan Club The Roman Club Schenken 1 Club Precision 1 Club Defensive Play Signals on Defense Deception Squeezes End Plays
If you wish to include this system, or any other feature of this system, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.