Bridge Conventions

 

A to I J to R S to W

 

A Convention, as defined by The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, is a call or play with a defined meaning.

There were many pioneers in establishing these conventions, and they are used by bridge players in America and around the world. They were invented, implemented, revised, and became useful tools in the management of 26 cards. They serve as instruments of communication between two people playing the same game. Some have practically remained the same from the day of their conception, and some have experienced several variations.If all bridge hands were balanced, the game would be boring. There are many combinations resulting from the deal of 52 cards. Many have weird shapes. In order to master these so-called freak hands, conventions have been invented. Other conventions will be added in time. Their definitions and applications will be simplified in order to make the conventions understandable and helpful. One disadvantage to conventions are their interpretations. Even bridge players with thirty years experience disagree on the defined meaning of some bids because of the numerous amount of card combinations. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to reach a Partnership Agreement, and if your partner makes an inaccurate bid, then he has made a mistake, which you must accept. Shouting at him will do no one any good.

Bridge is suppose to bring joy, fun and entertainment to the players. If a bidding mistake happens, please return to your written Partnership Agreement, review it, and, if necessary, make the required amendments. In this manner, you and your partner will avoid the same mistake again.It is important to have a Partnership Agreement concerning the definition of a convention. Otherwise the Line of Communication becomes disturbed and distorted. Therefore, in addition to the Basic Guidelines, the agreed usage of the definitions of the conventions must be clear to both partners.

Following are several Conventions and summaries of ethics and conduct at the Bridge Table. The list is incomplete, of course, but we shall be adding new Conventions as time passes. The attempt has been made to simplify the definitions, in order that the reader does not become overwhelmed and overpowered by examples and explanations. Simply click on the Convention you would like to review, deal yourselves a few hands as practice, and if you like the Convention, please include it in your Partnership Agreement. Keep in mind that almost every Convention has been altered, changed, improved over time and variations have also become popular. We have tried to include these variations under the main heading of the Convention.

Artificial Two Clubs

A tool for opening a very strong hand. In modern practice, there are two conditions under which a holding should be opened with a strong forcing bid.

Following are several tools, conventions and treatments, used in partnership agreements for responding to a strong, artificial 2 Club opening.

  • Ace Showing ResponsesThese are responses to forcing Strong Artificial Two Clubs Opening bids that are based on the theory that the opener with a powerful unbalanced or semi-balanced hand is more interested in the first-round controls of his partner than in his long suit or general strength.
  • Two Diamond Negative Response – A response showing minimum values to an opening forcing bid.
  • Herbert Second Negative Response – A convention to show the lower range of a weak response used by the responder on the second rebid.
  • 2 Diamonds As Negative And 2 Hearts as Neutral Response – Two different responses to a Strong Artificial Two Clubs opening.
  • Step Responses – This convention was devised by bridge players in the past decades to allow the responder, whose partner has opened the auction with an Strong Artificial Two Clubs bid, to inform his partner Step by Step the possession of Aces and Kings.
  • Automatic Two Diamonds Response – A treatment devised by several partnerships, whereby the only response permitted to a Strong Artificial Two Clubs opening must be 2 Diamonds.
  • Two Diamonds Positive Response – A partnership agreement, whereby the only possible positive response is 2 Diamonds after an opening of a Strong Artificial Two Clubs bid.
  • Cheaper Minor as a Second Negative – A treatment allowing the responder to show with his rebid the lower range of his values.
  • Albarran – This treatment and/or convention is used only after a 2 Clubs opening by the responder. The origin is unknown. Fundamentally, the Albarran convention is Ace Showing, providing information to the 2 Club bidder before he/she has a chance to define and describe his/her holder.

Balancing

Some views on the Art of Balancing, which is not a science under any standard. However, one should familiarize oneself with the basic requirements of Balancing before reaching a Partnership Agreement.

Bangkok Club System

When one of the bridge players at the bridge table opens 1 Club, then that bridge player could be using the Bangkok Club System devised by Mr. Somboon Nandhabiwat.

Basic Guidelines

    • Opening The AuctionUnder which circumstances and with how many High Card Points should a player open the auction.
    • Responding Once the Auction has been opened by your partner, what are the Basic Guidelines you should follow to accurately and quickly describe your hand. This is important for the communication between partners and should form the foundation upon which you build trust and confidence.
    • Rebid By The Opener – This rebid is one of the most important bid in the auction, because it informs partner as to the length and strength. This bid is the most descriptive.
      Golden Rule – A little but important guideline which will assist, as a part of the partnership agreement, the communication of held distribution.
    • Rebid by the ResponderIt is important to learn the Guidelines used by many bridge players to communicate not only strength and length. The Rebid by the Responder is an excellent tool. Following are several additional tools for the responder and for his/her second bid to describe the values and distribution.
Bart Delayed Game Raise
Fourth Suit Forcing New Minor Forcing

Behavior

  • EtiquetteAn essential element at the Bridge table. It does not matter whether you are playing social bridge, rubber bridge or Contract Bridge.
  • ConcentrationIf you lose your concentration, you may lose the necessary trick needed to make the contract. Always stay alert.
  • ConductIt is always nice to make a good impression on your fellow bridge players. We should try to be friendly and courteous.
  • Propriety – A strict code of ethics and courtesy is part of the game. The purpose of the Proprieties contained in Chapter VII, Laws 72 to 76 is to make the Game of Bridge more enjoyable for everyone, no matter what the situation.
  • Zero ToleranceThe ACBL has printed Guidelines on all of the above. It would be nice if everyone would read this article. This policy has now been established and is enforced at all sanctioned events.

Bergen

Mr. Marty Bergen has developed several bidding conventions and bidding methods which are applied in modern bidding auctions. We have listed them separately to make the search easier for the visitor.

Bergen Over No Trump Bergen Drury
Bergen Over Doubles of 1 No Trump Impossible 3 No Trump
Jump Cuebids As Transfers Bergen Major Suit Raises

Bidding Systems

A list of Bridge Systems employed around the world. This list contains the most widely-used Bidding Systems which have caught the attention of the bridge player. These Bidding Systems have also withstood the challenge of time, and have survived through popularity in the bridge community.

Blackwood

Mr. Easley Blackwood came up with an idea on how to bid and also how to avoid Slams. His Convention has caught the attention of every Bridge Player around the world. Variations on this concept of Mr. Easley Blackwood are presented below and have enhanced this concept greatly to benefit many bridge partnerships, and are worthy of the serious bridge player.

  • Roman Blackwood – This convention is a variation on the concept of Mr. Easley Blackwood, and shows matching Aces and Aces of the same color and/or rank.
  • Blue Team ResponsesA variation on the Blackwood convention devised by the Blue Team of Italy and also the variation on the Blackwood convention called the English Roman Blackwood.
  • Roman Key Card Blackwood – This variation of the Blackwood convention includes the King of Trump as a fifth Ace, and the responder shows Key Cards.
  • 1430 Convention – A variation of Roman Key Card Blackwood which reverses the meaning of two responses.
  • Exclusion Blackwood – A form of Roman Key Card Blackwood in which partner is asked to show Aces and/or Key Cards except in a particular suit, which has been determined to be a void. This convention is also known as Voidwood.
  • Rolling or Sliding Blackwood – Rolling Blackwood, or Sliding Blackwood, is a variation of the Blackwood convention. It takes into account that two partners could reach an unsafe contract in the Minors using the normal Blackwood convention.
  • Blackwood After Interference – If the opponents dare to interfere with the bidding after you initiate the Blackwood convention, you have several choices to show your number of Aces. There are several devised conventions to show your strength, such as: DEPO, DOPI, ROPI, DOPE, PODI, RIPO.
  • Cheap Blackwood – A variation of the Blackwood convention to allow more bidding space for the exchange of descriptive information.
  • Byzantine Blackwood – A complex variation of the Blackwood convention using Side Suits and Half-Side Suits as features.
  • Key Card Blackwood – A variation of the Blackwood convention, which shows the four Aces and the King of trump. Also known as Five-Ace Convention.
  • Baby Blackwood – Sometimes, there are some bridge hands which are slam-suspicious. Employing the normal Blackwood convention would present a problem, because the bidding might exceed a safe contract. Baby Blackwood was devised as a convention to prevent this.

Blue Club System

The book Blue Club was written by Mr. Benito Garozzo in 1969, and the co-author was Mr. Leon Yallouze. Its contents explained the system used by the Blue Team of Italy which had many successes. This book was adapted from the French by Mr. Terence Reese and the Introduction was written by Mr. Omar Sharif. The book was published in 1969. A simplified version is presented.

Blue Team Club Openings

There are certain guidelines basic to the Blue Team Club, and it must be realized that the foundation, and thus the additional responses, have been altered over the course of many years. Several partnerships continue to play the Blue Team Club, although with certain modifications.

Blue Team Club Responses

The responses to a 1 Club opening show controls by Steps, counting an Ace as 2 controls and a King as 1 control.

Blue Team Club System

The Blue Team Club System is based on the principle that a 1 Club opening is forcing. The style of this System is called Canape, and this means that the opener can/should bid the short suits before he bids the long suits. Canape is a bidding method in which the opener bids his long suit on his rebid and was developed by Mr. Pierre Albarran from France.

Bridge Bidding Systems

Here you will find a list of the different Bidding Systems available to the bridge player. Many great men and women from around the world have worked diligently to devise these Bidding Systems. We do not plan to explain each and every Bidding System, but the good bridge player should be aware that there other Bidding Systems used. If possible, the bridge player should become acquainted with several, because very many conventions and treatments have been incorporated into the 5-Card American Standard Bidding System.

Bridge Sites

If you click on the Links Button below, you will also find out where other interesting Bridge Sites are on the Internet and around the world, where the Districts and Units are located and many personal Bridge Webpages. It is fascinating to discover that interest in the Game of Bridge is so high and alive.

Club Systems List

The begin of a list of Club Bidding Systems, which open with 1 Club and meaning of what that exactly is.

  • Bangkok Club
    As the name indicates, this Club System was devised in Thailand. Yes, there are bridge players in Thailand. Devised by Mr. Somboon Nandhabiwat this Club System was used with some success in several world championship tournaments.
  • Blue Club
    The Blue Team developed a bidding system using a combination of the Neapolitan and Roman bidding systems. Combining the most favorable features of both bidding systems resulted in the formation of the Blue Club bidding system. The main proponents of this bidding system were Mr. Walter Avarelli, Mr. Benito Garozzo,Mr. Pietro Forquet, Mr. Massimo D’Alelio, and Mr. Giorgio Belladonna. They had great success at the bridge tournaments using the Blue Club System.
  • Blue Team Club Openings
    Blue Team became the popular name for the Italian International Bridge Team, which had many international successes from 1956 to 1975. The captain and the members of the Blue Team devised a bidding system, which is still played today. The Blue Team Club was the result of the efforts of the Italian Bridge Federation, Mr. Carl Alberto Perroux, the team captain, and the team members, who dedicated themselves to the study of the game of bridge.
  • Blue Team Club System
    The Blue Team Club System was mainly devised by Mr. Benito Garozzo. The Blue Team Club System is based on the principle that a 1 Club opening is forcing. The style of this system is called Canape, and this means that the opener can/should bid the short suits before he bids the long suits. Canape is a bidding method in which the opener bids his long suit on his rebid and was developed by Mr. Pierre Albarran from France.
  • Blue Team Club Responses
    As the name implies, the opening will be 1 Club. The significance of this 1 Club opening is that it is defined as 1. forcing, and 2. shows 17 or more points using a 4-3-2-1 count. Sometimes it is also a distributional factor which may define a 1 Club opening with slightly less than 17 points, or a weaker 1 Club opening with exactly 17 points.
  • Blue Team Roman Responses to Blackwood
    Even the Roman Blackwood Convention, a variation of the original Blackwood Convention, has a variation. This variation was devised by the Blue Team Club and was applied with some success. The Blue Team was the popular name given to the Italian International Bridge Team which had a series of huge successes starting in 1956 and ending in 1969.
  • Carrot Club Bidding System
    The Carrot Club, originally “Morotsklovern”, (Swedish for Carrot Club), was invented by Mr. Sven-Olof Flodqvist and Mr. Anders Morath in 1972 for use in the European Championships in Athens, Greece. It was the system that won the European Championships in 1977, with two pairs playing Carrot. In the European Championships the Carrot team placed 1st in 1987, 3rd in 1989, 2nd in 1991, and 5th in 1993. In the World Championship they placed 3rd in 1987 and 1991, and in the Olympics 3rd in 1988 and 4th in 1992.
  • Kentucky Club Bidding System
    The origin of this bidding system is unknown but the name can hold a clue.
  • Tangerine Club Bidding System
    The Tangerine Club is a Bridge bidding system based on a weak/strong 1 Club opening, followed by simple but efficient asking bids, light opening bids of one of a suit showing 10-14 points and at least 4 cards in the suit, a 1 No Trump opening of 12-14 HCPs and a balanced hand without five card majors, a natural 2 Clubs opening showing 10-14 points and at least 5 clubs, and weak two openings of 5-9 points and at least 5 cards in the suit.
  • Universal Club Opening Bids
    The origin of these opening bids is unknown but is based on a system developed in the United States. The 1 Club opening bid has a definite limited range and shows a minimum of length in the Club suit. However, the 1 Club opening may show a stronger holding, which then has to be determined. These opening bids also employ the use of a 5-card suit whenever a Major suit is opened and the No Trump range has been extended. Generally any opening on the two level promises distinct distributional holdings. The opening bids are shown in the schematic below.
  • Universal Club Two Clubs Opening
    In the Universal Club bidding system, origin unknown, the opening bid of 2 Clubs has been assigned a specific meaning, which is that it shows a three-suited holding, generally a distribution of 4-4-1-4, with values between 12 and 17 high card points. A minimum and a maximum point count is known and also the short suit, which is Diamonds.
  • Universal Club Two Diamonds Opening
    In the Universal Club bidding system, origin unknown, the opening of 2 Diamonds has been assigned a specific meaning. This opening bid promises a three-suited holding. The required point count is between 16 and 21 high card points. This opening demands that the Diamond suit be one of the three suits as opposed to the 2 Clubs opening bid, which shows Diamond shortage.
  • Universal Club 2 Hearts and 2 Spades Opening
    The Universal Club bidding system has relegated special, if not specific, information in the opening bid of either 2 Hearts or 2 Spades. Either of these two openings promise at least a 5-card card, or longer, and a second, unspecified second suit, also a 5-card suit, or longer. The point range is a minimum of 14 high card points and the upper range is unlimited. Therefore, these two opening bids are forcing for one round. They are not considered to be absolutely game-forcing in nature.

Convention Chart

Everything you wanted to know about the new Convention Chart and more.

Defense to 1 No Trump

This link leads you to Defense Conventions against 1 No Trump openings. This connection will take you on a Tour For Defense Conventions. Clicking on the individual links below will take you specifically to the convention you may choose.

D.O.N.T. Bergen Over No Trump Hamilton Convention
Astro Convention Cansino Convention Landy Convention
Modified Astro Cappelletti Convention Ripstra Convention
Pinpoint Astro Crash Over One No Trump Suction Convention
Astro Cuebid Brozel Convention Becker Convention
Aspro Convention Brozel Rescue Bids Optional Double
Asptro Variation

Defense to a Preempt on the Three Level

There are several methods of defending against opponents, who decide to open the auction on the Three Level. Many bridge players have given much thought to this form of attack.

  • Cheaper or Lower Minor – This is a method, sometimes referred to as a convention, which uses the Cheaper or Lower, still available Minor suit, if the preempt on the Three Level is in the Club suit, as a takeout double.
  • Cheaper Minor Over The Blacks – This method uses an overcall of 3 Diamonds after a preempt on the Three Level of 3 Clubs, and a 4 Clubs bid over a preempt on the Three Level of 3 Clubs, for takeout. Any double over a preempt on the Three Level of 3 Clubs is for penalty. Any double over 3 Diamonds or 3 Hearts is considered a cooperative double.
  • FILO – A defense method after an opponent opens the auction with a preempt on the Three Level. This method is used mainly in England and is called FILO for FIshbein over Red suits and LOwer Minor, or Cheaper Minor, over Black suits is for takeout. Any double is considered to be for penalty.
  • Reese Method – A method, which uses the bid of 3 No Trump as a takeout after a preempt on the Three Level in a Major suit only. The call of a double is for penalty. If the preempt is in a Minor suit, then a double is takeout, even in the pass-out seat.
  • Smith Convention – A variation of the Cheaper or Lower Minor suit, devised by Mr. Curtis Smith, whereby a bid of 4 Clubs is the only bid over any preempt on the Three Level for takeout. Used mainly in England.
  • Weiss Method – This is a method of defense, which is a partnership understanding, generally against a Preempt on the Three Level, and which combines the application of the Cheaper Minor Suit for takeout, and the double is applied as an Optional Double.

Defense to Strong Artificial Opening Bids

Mr. Alan Fraser Truscott has devised a method of defending against a Strong, Artificial Opening bid, generally an opening of 1 Club, to show a one-suited or two-suited holding.

Doubles

Everyone uses them, but the meaning can be different in many cases, and can actually change during the auction. Please take a look, and brush up on your doubles. By clicking here, you can take a Tour Of Doubles. Clicking on the individual Doubles below will take you directly to the particular Double.

Takeout Double Competitive Double
Penalty Double Negative Double
Cooperative Double Lead Directing Double
Responsive Double Snap Dragon

Drury Convention

A convention devised by Mr. Douglas Drury to allow partner to show a certain point range with distributional support after passing. Also included are Reverse Drury and Bergen Drury.

Fishbein Convention

Defense convention against a Preemptive Opening or a Weak Two Opening.

Balancing Fishbein Convention

This convention allows the player in the Pass Out Seat ways of describing his hand accurately. Please review the Fishbein Convention first.

Flannery Two Diamonds

This convention allows the opener to describe a certain distribution in both Majors with one descriptive bid.

Fourth Suit Forcing

A convention, whereby the rebid of the Responder is forcing for at least one round.

Gambling Three No Trump

An opening bid based on a long solid Minor suit.

Ghestem

A system of strong two-suited overcalls developed by Mr. Pierre Ghestem.

Golden Rule

A principle in bridge which every player should adhere to. Short and sweet.

Gerber Convention

A convention devised by Mr. John Gerber to ask for Aces and Kings one level lower than the Blackwood convention. Mr. Gerber also included suit contracts in his convention, and the application thereof can be quite effective. Beware, however, that certain ambiguities can arise by using this convention. Included are also explanations for Rolling Gerber or Sliding Gerber, as it is sometimes known. Following are several variations and modifications on the concept of the Gerber convention, which many partnerships have included in their partnership agreements.

  • Ace Identification Convention – A variation of the Gerber convention to locate the position of the Ace or Aces held by the responder.
  • Black and Red Gerber – A convention to assist the partnership when the trump suit is Clubs.
  • Extended Gerber – A method of pinpointing certain Key Cards in slam attempts.
  • Fane Four Club Convention – A modification of the Gerber convention to show Aces, Kings, and a void.
  • Key Card Gerber – A variation of the Gerber convention to show Key Cards.
  • Roman Gerber Convention – Since 1938, bridge players around the world have altered, modified, and expanded the concept of Mr. John Gerber. This is a modification of the Gerber convention, which uses Roman style responses.
  • Romex Gerber – The Romex system has created a modification of the Gerber convention, which allows the partnership to identify the location of certain Aces.
  • Super Gerber – A modification of the Gerber convention which allows any bid between 4 Clubs and 5 Clubs to ask for the number of Aces.

Ingberman Convention

This is not a variation of the Reverse bid, but rather a concept devised by Mr. Monroe Ingberman to be used by the responder of a Reverse bidder to show minimum values through a Relay bid of 2 No Trump.

Inverted Minors

A treatment in the Kaplan-Scheinwold system showing weakness or strength after a Minor suit opening.

 


If you wish to include any convention listed here, or any other convention, 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 features or the convention are 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 available 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.