One option when sitting at a bidding table is to press the "Deal
Source" button where you will see a series of tabbed windows. There,
specific bidding constraints can be entered for the hands BBO will deal. The
"Advanced" tab leads to the most powerful feature: the ability to
enter constraints in a programmer-like language. Through this, you can specify
very tightly how BBO will deal the cards in a way that lends itself to
practicing a given convention or situation.
The links in the table below lead to constraint files I have used.
To use a constraint file, click one of the links below and copy the file (text
only). Be sure to copy the entire thing, parentheses and all; they
matter. You may save it to your own machine or just paste it into the BBO bidding
table's advanced tab. Before you leave the "advanced" tab, be sure you
check "Use this input for the Dealer program." If you forget to check this
box, the content you just pasted won't be used.
The robots you bid against can be made silent or noisy. When you create a BBO
bidding table, check the radio button labelled "Opponent's Bidding"
"Controlled by Host". This will cause the BBO robot players to
bid their hands per the
GIB schema rather than
being silent throughout.
| File Name
||Description or Challenge
||Pub Date (yyyy,mm,dd)
Overcall 1NT with a singleton
||As of Feb 2020, ACBL rules allow us to have a singleton in our
1NT overcall or opener when we lay claim to it being "Natural" only when the
stiff is an ace, king or queen. If the singleton can be a lower
card, the hand doesn't fit the official definition of Natural.
If it's not Natural, it's Artificial and consequently, would need to be
Because your singleton changes the makeup of the other three hands, this
constraint may help you choose whether to go Natural or Artificial.
ALERT: To test only overcalls, uncheck the BBO boxes that let North and
for methods one can use versus the so-called
It's popular in Europe, but not the USA. So those who need to defend against
it at top level US tournaments may need the practice.
ALERT 1: You will not be able to use BBO's robots with this constraint
since the robots don't know this convention. Best to have human opponents.
ALERT 2: To get the best effect, uncheck the boxes that let North and South deal.
for details. This constraint covers only opener's mini-splinter, not responder's.
Summary: Sometimes, after opener bids one of a minor and responder bids one of a
major, the opener's hand, in support of responder's major, will be worth
much more as long as responder's hand contains little or no duplication of value.
The ability to reveal this value provisionally can prevent doomed games and
also allow the envisioning of magical slams.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Update of 2021-03-28 also deals the strong jump shift hands that a mini-splinter
displaces. Test your alternative choices.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Super Accept constraint.
|All hands that need to respond to a 15-17 NT opener.
Includes the following switches:
1. to change the notrump range,
2. to force the NT opener to have a 5-card major,
3. to disinclude any given type of responding hand.
4. New for 2019: switch added to practice Smolen-ish hands.
See the documentation within the constraint file itself for details.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Practice your version of Super Accept using the second link on the left.
See the comments in the constraint code describing the updates and how to use them.
Rule Of 2020
||A nod to the current year: the Rule of 20 times two.
In theory, it takes an opening hand facing an opening hand to yield a
game complement. So if the Rule of 20 yields a hand worth opening,
then two such hands facing each other should yield a game often enough
— terrible misfits being the obvious exception.
This constraint deals both North and South hands equaling
exactly 20 under the rule.
• Read the original
Rule of 20 in Points Schmoints.
• Then see whether your tweaks align with
• Also baked in: the July 2020 advice Charles received from Marty Bergen via e-mail,
referring to the 7222 hand pattern, "OK to count 2‑card suit as 2nd longest."
||Over partner's perhaps-light 3rd seat one-of-a-major opening, how do you
respond and continue?
Be sure to check out the switches within the code
designed to induce shortness in either hand — something that may result in
upgrades, downgrades and splinter bids by either partner.
|Complete rewrite 2020‑07‑04;
Overcalling and Advancing
||Read a tutorial on this topic at
ALERT: To make this constraint work properly on BBO,
uncheck the boxes that allow North-South to deal.
||Professionals are divided on how to handle
very strong two-suiters. Some won't open two clubs, some will.
Using this code, you and partner can better choose your path.
||Many play Puppet Stayman over 2NT — a few even over 1NT.
Test your methods with this constraint.
Note: If wish to change the options in the code, read the instruction at the
top of the code file.
For those just starting out on Puppet, see
Puppet at Wikipedia.
Escape 1NT Doubled
||There are any number of escape sequences to remove 1NTX to a low level
suit contract. Test yours with this constraint.
New: If you use a different NT opener, change the vMin and vMax variables in the code.
Also, if you are not one of the many who follow Richard Pavlicek's "Aces and Tens"
regimen to upgrade 14+ to 15, just skip those hands since they will be included in these deals.
For details on the method, see
Aces and Tens.
for details. This constraint covers only responder's mini-splinter, not opener's.
Summary: Sometimes, over partner's one-of-a-major opening, a responder will
hold a provisional limit raise hand whose valuation depends on shortness
in an auxiliary suit. If so, responder can inform the opener of his shortness.
This can induce opener to downgrade for duplication of value and avoid doomed game contracts.
||For many beginning players, one of the more confusing concepts
in bidding is the "Reverse." This concept has stood the test of time
and can be found in books as far back as the 1930's (Culbertson).
Practice them with this constraint.
Hint: Some of the hands this constraint deals will not be
strong enough for a reverse.
Culbertson, Eli. Contract Bridge Complete;
The New Gold Book of Bidding and Play.
J.G. Winston Company. 1938. p. 214.
||Are you brave enough to leap to five in a suit in which partner
has preempted? Are you good enough to quickly calculate
what the opponents are making and also notice the vulnerability?
||Showing shortness in the non-trump suit (or asking for it)
allows us to diagnose
Duplication of Value and revise our hand value accordingly.
This constraint deals such hands.
• On 9/20/2016, added the option to turn on a switch that forces a singleton ace or king to
reveal that this too can indicate Duplication.
• On 1/13/2018, added singleton queens and jacks.
3NT after partner's preempt
||Partner preempts 3 of a minor and you are looking at 19-21
HCP in a somewhat balanced hand. Do you dare convert to 3NT?
The hands dealt by this constraint reveal how much you need
to know your partner. What suit quality can you expect? What chance of an entry?
||Partner opens and gets overcalled. Shall you penalize? Or compete? How?
||Bizarre, one-suited hands don't come up often,
making them tough to handle. Practice them with this.
Also, see the constraint file comments on switches that change suit lengths.
|Lebensohl Over Weak Twos
||Deals hands for those who want to master using the Lebensohl
convention versus opponents who open the auction with weak two bid.
See for example Lebensohl at Wikipedia.
||For genuine Two-Over-One players, a one diamond response to opener's
one club "denies ... a four card major suit unless [responder] has
at least five diamonds and the values of an opening hand." (Hardy)
Notice the advantages of this concept with this constraint.
Hardy, Max. Two Over One Game Forcing - Revised.
Louisville: Devyn, 1989. Print. p.45
||Can you and partner diagnose when it is that you have the general values for a slam
but have two off the top in some side suit?
This constraint file contains a switch, aptly named theSwitch. On line 6 of the file, theSwitch=0
forces both partners to have the same uncontrolled suit; change it to a 1 (the digit one)
when you want just one partner or the other to have one.
Slammish Long Minor
||Common problem: Partner opened a strong NT and you are staring at
a one-suited club or diamond hand that may find a slam complement in partner's hand. How do you proceed?
Also check out MSR
2 Club Opener Derailed
||You wanted to open 2 clubs (Game Forcing), but the opponents open first. How do you recover?
||Partner opens 2NT. Can you handle all the continuations?
One such method is found at
||Partner opens and the opponents chime in with some two-suited convention.
Can you diagnose the continuations and get to the right spot?
Awkward Super Minor
||A common problem: you hold 19 - 21 HCP, one long minor suit,
and need an effective second call. Test your system and your knowledge.
||The Forcing Notrump is widely acknowledged to be the
weak sister of the 2/1 system. Thus the need to master it (with this constraint file).
||Rule: If you and I as partners constructively bid a game,
and the opponents press on, the *very* first pass by our side is absolutely
unconditionally forcing for one round. The forcing passer's partner is forbidden
from passing: he must either double for penalty or "take the push" and bid one more.
Simon's Conventions for details.
2- and 3-Way Game Try
||See the file's internal comments for Web links explaining this topic.
New Minor Forcing
|Is it a New Minor Forcing hand or just a one-off? The second file generates
New Minor Forcing hands that occur more rarely allowing us to skip the more common ones that the
first file generates so many of.
||2012‑12‑17 and 2016‑01‑26
||If you want to play
better practice with this constraint before springing it on partner in a real game.
||Whether it's a game-force opener or just a wannabe, can you reach
the best spot? And what if the stronger hand isn't the dealer?
Or worse, what if partner is a preempting hand!?
||The 3-suited hand can be a magical fit or a maddening mess,
especially when deciding between penalizing, pushing, and slamming.
See how well you and your partner deal with them.
||Whether a massive fit or a massive misfit, is it game,
slam or just a part score? Can you handle the slam controls (including voids)?
And how about duplication?
For this one, be sure you turn on "Opponent's
Bidding" "Controlled By Host" to see whether you can also handle
||A river of Jordan hands. And can you navigate the minors as well?
||Is it Smolen or a wannabe? How often does your system get to
the optimum contract and right‑side it?
|| More of those majors. How do you handle these?
|| You have the major(s). Now what? Game? Slam? Backing into NT?
|| When "they" have a strong 1NT opener: can you steal
the auction? Is there a game your way? Understand partner's continuations? Test
it all with this.
||4th Suit Forcing? New Minor Forcing? And what then? Some
hands are rather nice, but also rather awkward to bid.
||Is it a Weak 2 or 1 of a suit? What if you aren't the first
one to bid (overcall or jump)? How does partner continue?
||Respond with CrissCross, Inverted Minor or some other
treatment over a one club or one diamond opening.
||What do your bids mean when the opponent's interfere with
your 1NT auction?