BRIDGE TEACHER EXTRAORDINAIRE
Updated 18th February 2024
CONVENTION CORNER IN BRIEF
NEGATIVE DOUBLES :-
Your partner opens the bidding and next person overcalls if you “are stuck” but have enough points to reply then you probably should be saying DOUBLE. This is called a Negative Double invented by Alvin Roth in the early 1960s when the Sputnik rockets were being launched. Therefore they have commonly been called Sputnik Doubles. All they are saying is I am able to reply and therefore have 6+ points and I like the two unbid suits, probably 44 in the unbid suits. Once you play Negative Doubles you cannot make an immediate penalty double. You just PASS & PRAY, pray that partner reopens the bidding with Double and you intend converting that one.
THE UNASSUMING CUE BID
Your partner overcalls 1S and you have a reasonably good 10 points with a fit and you are not sure who is messing about. Has Opener made a light opening bid ? Has partner mad a light overcall ? If it is partner who has made a light bid then you do not want to punish him by leaping off to 4S do you ? So now you use the Unassuming Cue Bid (commonly called UCB) facility and actually bid Opener’s suit. This says partner I have a good raise in your overcalling suit please tell me more about your hand. Overcaller now clarifies his hand further by a quick retreat to his original suit if minimum or maybe a jump if better than minimum or he may even introduce a new suit which would be forward going.
The Lightner Double
The opponents freely bid to slam or sometimes even 3NT and suddenly partner pops up with a DOUBLE. This is saying partner WAKE UP and find an Unusual lead. If dummy has bid a suit it usually demands dummy's first bid suit to be led. Partner will probably have a void in that suit and can immediately ruff. If no suit has been bid then partner is expected "to use their loaf" and come up with a strange lead which will kill declarer.
Simple Cue Bidding
Once a suit has been agreed such as 1♠ - 3♠ or 1♥ -1♠ 3♠ rebid then the introduction of a new suit is now deemed to be a "CUE BIB" and it shows first round control of the suit. First round control of a suit means you can win a trick in this suit immediately either because you have the Ace of that suit or you have a void in that suit. Once you start a cue bidding sequence off partner can also contribute to the conversation by making a cue bid back. If they have nothing to add they merely return to the agreed trump suit at the lowest possible level- this is sometimes called a sign off. Having cue bid a suit once if you should then cue bid it again you are now showing second round of that suit ie a King or a singleton.
ROMAN KEY CARD BLACKWOOD
Once a suit has been agreed or agreed implicitly 4NT asks about 5 key cards which are the 4 Aces and the King of trumps. The basic answers are 5♣ 0 or 3 key cards 5♦ 1 or 4 Key cards, 5♥ two key cards without trump queen and 5♠ two key cards with the trump Queen. A follow up bid of 5NT then asks for Kings or specific Kings depending on partnership agreement.
TRIAL BIDS in the Majors
Partner has just replied 2♥ or 2♠ to your 1♥ or 1♠ Opening bid and you have good 16+ points and you fancy your chances of Game so you bid a new Suit (Trial Bid) and partner now goes to Game if he has help in that suit (King or better or shortage) but retreats to the three level without any helpTRUSCOTT CONVENTION
After partner Opens 1♥ or 1♠ and their is an intervening Informative double because a jump to 3♥ or 3♠ is now used pre-emptively to show support with only 6-9 points. What to do with 10-12 points and 4 card support ? 2NT is no longer used in a natural sense because as soon as you have any 9+ point hand you are saying redouble Alan Truscott invented his convention to show this precise hand. So ONLY after an intervening Double an immediate Jump to 2NT shows 10-12 points and 4 card support for the Major.
The opposition Opens and partner doubles and then Right Hand opponent supports opener's suit. You have 8+ points and are 4432 in unbid suits and are "STUCK" for a bid so you DOUBLE and that describes the hand down to a tee.
JUMP CUEBID OF THE OPPONENTS' SUIT
If you have a great source of tricks and stoppers in every suit but the suit opened you might consider 3NT as an option if partner has stopper in the opener's suit so you immediately Jump cue bid their suit and this says to partner please bid 3NT if you have a stopper in their suit
so if you were to pick up :- you could certainly use the convention immediately if they open 1♥
♥ 54 you immediately bid 3♥ asking for stopper for 3NT
Name That Ace
Once in a while, you should be so lucky, you might pick up 11 or 12 tricks and only need to know if partner has the correct Ace to make it to a small slam or a Grand Slam then you can OPEN 4NT and this very rare bid says NAME THAT ACE. The answers are as follows 5♦ = Diamond Ace 5♥ = Heart Ace 5♠ = Spade Ace 6♣ = Club Ace 5♣ = No Aces and 5NT (you should be so lucky) shows 2 Aces
so if you were to pick up :- you could certainly use the convention immediately
♠ AKQJ8765 all you want to know is Does Partner have the ♥Ace and if they do you
♥ KQJ10 want to be in 7 and if not you still want to be in 6
One of the simplest conventions to play over 1NT. Since the Majors are so important it is good to have a convention to show both Majors in one go. If the opponent opens 1NT and you have at least 44 in the Majors and 8/9-14 points then you say 2§ and it asks partner to choose between Spades and Hearts. If you bid anything else at the two level it is saying I have 8/9-14 points and just that suit. Landy's main drawback is that you cannot embrace one Major and One Minor - but who wants to do that ?? (NB if you do go down to 8/9 points then you had better have compensating shape at least 54 rather than a paltry 4432 hand (UGH)GERBER
Because 4NT over 1NT or 2NT Opening bids is Quantitive asking partner to go on to 6NT with a maximum Hand John Gerber of the USA invented his convention to only be used over a 1NT or a 2NT opening bid to ask for Aces and Kings as follows :-
4♣ directly over the 1NT or 2NT bid now asks for Aces and in the same step sequence the answers are as follows :-
4♦ is None or 4 Aces (not over weak No Trump) 4© is 1Ace 4ª is 2 Aces and 4NT is 3 Aces
and a subsequent bid of
5♣ then confirms that all the Aces are held and asks partner about Kings in a like manner and the answers are
5♦ is No Aces 5 is 1© King 5ª is 2 kings and 5NT is 3 Kings and 6♣ is all 4 Kings
GERBER SHOULD NOT BE USED IN OTHER BIDDING SEQUENCES other than
over NT openers and NT rebids assuming you and your partner are on the same wavelengthFourth Suit Forcing
If you are not sure what to bid next in a non competitive auction (the opponents are silent) then use the Fourth Suit Forcing Bid. This means that if you and your partner have already bid 3 suits and either one of you now bids the fourth suit you are saying "I have a good hand, want to bid on (usually Game Forcing) and would like you to describe your hand further. The partner should now bid out his shape. If he has 4 card support for the second suit he should raise it. If he has 3 card support for partner's first suit he should now show that. If he has an honour doubleton or better he can now bid No Trumps. This convention allows the partnership to find all their 5:3 fits and it stops them getting to silly 3NT contracts where each player might be chancing 3NT without a stopper in the fourth suit.
ª 654 ª AQJ65
© AK765 © 43
¨ AQ65 ¨ K43
§ 3 § A65
JOSEPHINE GRAND SLAM FORCE
(named after Josephine Culbertson) You are at a point in the auction where you know you have no losers in any of the other three suits and all you are worried about is the quality of partner's Trumps. You make a sudden leap to 5NT and this says to partner "Forget the other three suits, just concentrate on the agreed trump suit and I expect you to bid 7 of the agreed trump suit with any of the top three trump honours and to just stop in 6 with 1 or 0". (Some people play a more sophisticated version where 6§ shows none and 6 of the agreed trump suit shows 1- this can only de done if clubs is not the agreed suit)
© AKQJ107 Miracle of Miracles partner just opened 1ª so the convention would now be ideal as all you need to know is
¨ does partner have both the King and Queen of Spades as part of his opening bid ?
This is a defence to 1NT to show Majors with another suit. - After 1NT
a) Double shows 15+ points and is for Penalties
b) 2♣ shows Hearts and a Minor (at least 9 cards)
c) 2♦ shows Spades and another suit (at least 9 cards)
d) 2 of a Major is natural and shows 5 but preferably six cards, in that suit
The Astro bidder's partner now reacts but trying to give preference to the known Major after 2♣ or 2♦
quantitive 4nt/5nt replies to 1NT and 2NT Opener
If your partner Opens 1NT (12-14 points) and you bid directly to 4NT this is saying Please bid 6 with maximum 14 point hand or a good 13 count and Pass with 12 or poor 13 count. If partner bids 5NT directly this is an invitation to 7NT and Opener is now expected to bid 7NT with a Maximum hand but with a minimum hand to STILL BID 6NT. To Bid 6NT one needs 33 points so the responder would need 19/20 to make the invitation to 6NT and to make the invitation to 7NT the responder would need 23/24. Rather than remember these point counts acknowledge the totals 33 and 37 and see if your possible point count approaches these totals.
Therefore over a 2NT Opening bid, if you had 14 points you would calculate my 15 plus your 20 is only 35 but if you have 22 now we are talking business because the total now comes to 37 - what is the bid to invite to 7NT - it is 5NT so that's what you bid.
(NB if you want to ask for Aces you will have to use a new convention such as Gerber, but only over 1NT or 2NT Opening Bid does this apply)
Leading with AceKing Doubleton and following suit with AceKing Doubleton
With AKX it is normal to lead Ace promising King and when following suit you follow suit with King from AKX (lowest of touching honours). However if you are leading from Ace King Doubleton looking for a ruff, you need to know where partner's Entry is located so you need TO WAKE PARTNER UP - You do this by leading the king. Partner thinks you haven't got the Ace and suddenly you play the Ace next. Partner will be attentive and chuck a high card to show his entry is located in the higher of the two remaining suits barring trumps and a low card to show his entry is located in the lower suit.
A similar situation arises when following suit to wake partner up. Playing the Ace first denies the King so when you suddenly then play the King partner will signal in a likewise manner.
Many times partner will open 2NT with not only a four Major but even a five card major. Therefore not only will you want to get to your also want to get to your 5:3 fits
Therefore a reply of 3♣ over the 2NT opener now asks partner if he has a five card Major or a four card Major. If he has 5 of the Major he bids 3 of that Major ie 3ª or 3♥.
If he has only 4 then he bids 3♦ and now partner bids the suit he has not got so that partner can still play the hand - in effect a transfer r and now responder bid 3♥ with 4 Spades and 3ª with 4 Hearts
If partner has neither a four or five card Major they just bid 3NT.
Partner opens 1ª or 1♥ and you have Game going hand Plus with a fit you can bid 2NT and this asks partner to do one of the following things :-
1. Bid a singleton or Void at the 3 level if they have one
2. Bid 3 of Original suit with a good hand 14/15+ points (and no singleton or Void-see1)
3. Jump straight to 4ª or 4♥ with an absolute Minimum
5. Rebid in NT with 15+ points balanced
6. Bid 4 of a new suit to show another five card suit (and no useless doubleton)
Now if responder's hand is suitably matching they can cue bid onto a Slam or initiate Blackwood or go straight to a Slam now or merely sign off.
The Lightner Double
The Lightner Double was invented by Theo Lightner of New York.
If the opponents bid to Slam and, out of the Blue, your PARTNER DOUBLES. Partner is asking for an UNUSUAL LEAD. If in doubt you should lead the first suit bid by the prospective dummy hand. Normally the doubler will have either a void in that suit and quickly want to get a ruff or has some holding in that suit such as AQ in that suit and wants you to immediately finesse "poor" dummy.
If they freely bid 3NT and you want dummy's suit led, again you should use this Double.
If you DO NOT WANT an unusual led then don't Double or partner might do an unusual lead and that could give the contract to the opposition (I speak from bitter experience L)
Checkback after 1NT rebid (Crowhurst 2♣ )
In its simplest form you open 1♥ and partner replies 1♠ and now you rebid 1NT showing 15-18 points (assuming your are playing a Weak No Trump Opening Bid of 1NT) responder now rebids 2♣ asking for more information about your 1NT rebid and you rebid as follows :-
2 of partner's Major 3 card support and minimum (15/16) 2 of your Major 5 card suit and minimum 15/16
3 of partner's Major 3 card support and maximum (17/18) 3 of your Major 5 card suit and maximum 17/18
2♦ shows minimum hand (15/16) with neither 3 card support nor 5 card suit
This convention helps you get to all those wonderful 5:3 Fits
2NT shows Maximum hand (17/19) with neither 3 card support nor 5 card suit
The Lebensohl Convention
Partner Opens 1NT and there is INTERVENTION what do you, as the partner, now do ?
if you bid 2♦ or 2♥ or 2♠ then this is still WEAK and a sign off (this would be like this if you were playing natural bidding too)
if you bid 3♣ or 3♦ or 3♥ and 3♠ then this is still STRONG and Game Forcing (this would be like this if you were playing natural bidding too)
2NT is Now conventional and an integral party of Lebensohl and demands 3♣ from Partner who will then Pass or make a bid at three level which will then be deemed as invitational
if you bid intervener's suit then this is Stayman looking for a Major fit (if a Major has already been bid then it promises the other Major)
if you bids 1NT and follow up with a Cue Bid at the Three level then this is also Stayman
if you bid 3NT this is to play
if you bid 2NT followed by 3NT this is to play
So what's the difference between these two sequences and the 2 Stayman sequence ?
If you go directly to 3NT or use a direct Cue Bid Stayman this shows you have NO Stopper in Intervener's suit
If you go "around the houses" via the 2NT bid then you DO HAVE STOPPER in intervener's suit - The way to remember it is as follows FADS Fast Arrival Denies Stopper SSS Slow Shows Stopper.
(NB some people play it the other way around).