Gerry Fox, the coordinator of bridge activities for Oceania Cruises, is a bridge expert and has taught the game full-time for more than 40 years. He is an ACBL Diamond Life Master and the author of several books on the subject. Last month, Gerry shared his best tips on the short club. Below, he shares his best tips on bidding up the ladder.


  1. Up-the-ladder simply means that, during the descriptive phase of the auction, one should never skip over a 4-card suit, regardless of its quality, to get to a higher-ranking one. The only excuse for skipping a 4-card suit, then, is to get to a 5-card or longer suit.
  2. The primary purpose of this strategy is to keep the bidding low, to facilitate finding a 4-4 fit in any suit, major or minor, and to minimize the chances of playing in a 4-3 fit. By going one-over-one, your partner can draw better inferences about your hand and will have fewer rebid problems.
  3. Game-room-1The alternative strategy of skipping the minor to get to the major first uses up more bidding space and frequently creates a rebid problem for the opener. If the bidding starts 1C-1S,the opener cannot mention diamonds or hearts at the one level and requires extra strength to bid either one at the two level, which would be a reverse.
  4. Some experts do recommend that the responder to 1C, holding four diamonds, four hearts, and 6-9 points, thus, basically a weak, one-bid hand, might prefer to respond 1H in this specific case. The fear is that over 1C-P-1D, the next opponent might bid 1S, and the heart suit could be lost. This, however, is an irrational fear, as the opener can always double to show hearts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.