In the game of bridge, a most important feature is to pronounce the very first bid, or open the auction. Many bridge partnerships have therefore developed partnership understandings to the significance of these opening bids. The responses and rebids are more or less traditional in their interpretations, and use the normal conventions to establish the final contract.

It is important for the individual bridge reader to understand that the origins of most versions of opening bids are unclear, but in the case of the Clement-Oliver opening bids, the originators are Mr. Bruce Clement and Mrs. Pam Oliver of Wellington, New Zealand. The picture shows Mr. Bruce Clement in the year 2008 and who has a bridge blog on the web.

Note: Any contributed information as to bridge personality Mrs. Pam Oliver, especially photographic material, would be greatly appreciated.


Opening Bids Only

Bid Strength Meaning
1 : 9-22 high card points Shows a 3-card plus Club suit.
1 : 9-22 high card points Shows a 4-card plus Diamond suit.
1 : 9-22 high card points Shows a 4-card plus Heart suit.
1 : 9-22 high card points Shows a 4-card plus Spade suit.
1 NT: 11-14+ high card points Balanced distribution and/or forcing.
2 : 23 high card points Shows any distributional shape.
2 : 6-10 high card points Shows a 6-card Heart or Spade suit, or
    an Acol Two bid with 18 high card points plus, or
    Shows balanced distribution and promises 20-22 high card points.
2 : 7-15 high card points Distribution: 5-5 plus in Hearts and a second, unspecified suit.
2 : 7-15 high card points Distribution: 5-5 plus in Spades and a second, unspecified suit.
2 NT: 6-10 high card points Distribution: 5-5 plus in Spades and a second, unspecified suit.

It is evident that the Clement-Oliver opening bids use the Acol version of opening a 4-card Major suit as opposed to the 5-card Major suit requirement as played in 5-Card Majors systems. The reader should also be aware that the lower limits of the opening bids are determined by the Rule of 19, which state that the number of high card points added to the length of the two longest suits should total nineteen. If this is the case, then opening the auction would be acceptable under the standards of the World Bridge Federation and other governing bodies.


If the opening bid is a 2 Clubs bid, promising 23 high card points and any shape, a response of 2 Diamonds is negative. All other responses must be considered to be slam-inviting.

If the opening bid is 2 Diamonds, which can have three individual interpretations, then a 2 Heart response is a Negative Response, a response of 2 Spades shows interest in the Heart suit, and a response of 2 No Trump indicates strength in values.

If the opening bid is 2 Hearts and/or 2 Spades, a response of 2 No Trump is one-round forcing, and the opener must then bid his second suit. The rebid of the opener may be interpreted as showing weakness and/or point count since the range is so large.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, 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.