Source:  Ginny & Jeff Schuett for

There is very little written describing the approach to bidding misfitting hands, but here are some general guidelines.

1. Most of the issues are those of bidding the responder’s hand. In this case, it is important to limit your strength as early as possible in the auction. With long suits playing Standard or 2/1 game forcing, start with 1NT, then hope to bid your long suit later when partner will know you don’t have a good hand. Especially playing Standard, do not stretch to make a 2/1 without 10 high card points. If responder changes suit after 1NT response, expect a 6+ card suit and 5-8 HCP.

For example: 5 KJ10754 752 QT8 – Start with 1NT over his 1opening and bid 2 over his minor suit rebid. This is weak, 6-9 with 6+ hearts.

2. As responder, feel free to pass opener’s rebid with only a minor fit for the rebid suit and a weak hand. Note new suits are NOT forcing by opener, only jump shifts and reverses are.

For example: 5 J107 KJ732 Q842 – Start with 1NT over his 1 opening and pass his 2rebid.

3. As responder with a weak hand, it is usually best to play in your long suit because opener’s high cards will take or develop into quick tricks and your long trumps will also take tricks. If you play in opener’s long suit, your weak misfitting hand will be almost useless to him. This is even true if partner rebids a six-card major and you have to go to the three level to bid your long suit with a weak hand. For example: 87 KJ109732 QJ42 – Start with 1NT over his 1 opening and after his 2 rebid, bid 3. Your hand will take many tricks in diamonds, very few in spades.

4. 2NT can never be a rescue bid with a misfitting hand. It is always forward going and invitational to game if partner has a little extra. In general, you don’t want to play notrump anyway with misfitting hands because you won’t have the ability to set up winners and entries to use them. Stop as quickly as possible by passing and accept the fact that not all hands fit well.

5. On rare occasions, responder will have an awkward rebid with an invitational hand without any obvious fit. He may have to “fudge” either a high card stopper or a card in support. For example: 85 Q107 J103 AKJ82 – Playing 2/1 game force, start with 1NT over his 1 opening and over his 2 rebid, bid 2NT invitational. This is a good value bid.

6. In invitational auctions starting with 1, opener can accept the invite and offer to play in hearts after responder bids 2NT. For example: AK985 K107 AJ103 2 – Playing 2/1 game force, partner starts with 1NT over your 1 opening and over your 2 rebid, bids 2NT invitational. Bid 3 to accept and offer to play in hearts if responder has 5+ hearts. You cannot have 4 hearts as you would have rebid them immediately over 1NT if you did. If responder doesn’t have 5+ hearts, he bids 3NT, or possibly supports the minor with four-card support and a weak fourth suit. This is advanced but valuable.