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It is difficult to overestimate the role of the responder in the selection of the final contract. In many cases he is able to make an immediate diagnosis, and at such times he should act with conviction. At other times the future of the hand may not be clear-cut, and it will be necessary to make a series of temporizing bids until he finds out more about his partner's hand.
The responder has certain mile-posts upon which he may fasten his eye. Regardless of the number of conventions that from time to time find favor with the general run of players, one principle has remained constant: an opening bid facing an opening bid will produce game.
Since the normal minimum opening bid contains about 13 points, this is another way of saying that a combined partnership holding of 26 points will usually offer a good play for game.
The responder's first duty is to decide whether to give the opener another chance to speak.
RESPONDING WITH WEAK HANDS
Even with relatively weak hands it is usually good strategy to give the opening bidder one more chance, for the opening may have been made on a hand of considerable strength, sometimes as much as 21 points.
It is necessary therefore to respond with relatively weak holdings.
We do not mean to imply that responder should bid with nothing at all, for if he has less than six points a pass is usually the correct procedure. But if he has a weak hand which does include six points he should take some action, and that action comes in one of three forms.
1) A response of one no trump, which is based on six high-card points and may run as high as nine or 10.
2) Raising partner from one to two in a suit. This is done with hands worth seven to 10 dummy points.