The 5 suit opener

The 5-suit is usually only used in the case of the minor suits. It is similar to the 3NT opening bid. But see the second example below. A 5 bid would show a 9-carder in s and, say, 12 points and further that his minor suit is not solid. It is the minor equivalent of the 4-suit major opener. In the following example, North has eight diamonds and 8 points:

North as opener
10 5 2
A K J 9 8 6 5 4 3


Note that the hand is just below the strength required for a 2 opener, which would have been preferred had the Q been held instead of the J and was facing a partner who had not yet passed.

Opening a major at the 5-level

North as opener
Q J 10 9 8 7 3 2
A K Q 10

The five-level major opener usually shows a nine-carder. This hand is almost a solid 11 tricks without support! Even so, North’s opening of 5 is a calculated risk. It is asking South to raise with one top honour or go for Grand Slam with both.



South would reply as follows:

Response to a 5 in a major opening bid
SouthWhat his reply means
PassI have neither ace nor king of ♠s
6♠I have either the ♠A or the ♠K
7♠I have both top honours

Pre-emptive response

Normally you would pass partner’s pre-emptive bid, unless you have support for partner’s suit or a very good hand (16+ points)

Partner’s reply can also be pre-emptive, provided it is a double jump takeout. Note that a jump takeout would show strength, a double jump shows weakness and a 7-carder, similar to the 3-suit opener.


South’s double jump takeout response to North’s normal one of a suit opener shows 8–11 points and his long spade suit. If South had a stronger hand he would bid 2 in response to a 1 opener. This would show 16+ points and a signal for the partnership to investigate a fit for a contract at a suitable level. For example with this hand:

South as responder
A J 9 7 6 5 4
A K Q J 10

South has 19 points and a long spade suit.


If South had a better distribution of honours, but still 16+ points, he might jump straight to Game. He certainly would in any case if he had an 8-carder in spades. And the following hand might be a suitable candidate.

South as responder
A K Q 9 8 7 6 5
A 9
A J 8


In summary:

South as responder to one of a suit opener
2♠16+Minimum four-card ♠ suit
3♠8-11Weak but a long ♠ suit
4♠16+Strong and a long ♠ suit

Back to Top
To continue reading go to: Defence to pre-empt

By Nigel Benetton – based on the UK Acol Bridge Bidding System

Last updated: Friday, 2nd July 2021