The Benjamin convention was devised by Mr. Albert Benjamin of Glasgow, Scotland, who was born April 1, 1909 and died January 17, 2006. Mr. Albert Benjamin liked the Weak Two Bids so much, that he decided to alter the concept somewhat.

Note: His father was born in the country of Sweden and his mother emigrated from Siberia, Soviet Russia. Mr. Albert Benjamin qualified to represent Scotland 28 times in many tournaments against England. He also authored the daily bridge column for the Glasgow Evening Citizen. He was one of the leading bridge personalities from the country of Scotland.

Note: Mr. Albert Benjamin, together with co-author Mr. Ewart Kempson, published Tournament Bridge For Everyone, in the year 1963 by Faber and Faber.

Note: As an additional perspective to this particular concept Mr. Andrew Kambites and Mr. Paul Bowyer compare the pros and cons of this conventional method. This comparison by two leading experts was published by the English Bridge Union in April 2010 (source), and has only been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

Note: A relevant article by Mr. Bernard Magee, author, teacher, and bridge software developer, was published by the English Bridge Union (source), and has been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

He learned as a bridge student to employ the Acol System, which is standard in British tournament play and widely used in other parts of the world. The Benjamin convention has become a feature of the Acol System, especially when dealing with minimal Weak Two Bids. The concept proved so popular that most bridge players referred to the concept simply as Benji and also Benji Acol.

Developed in the 1950s the concept is that an opening in either Minor suit shows a strong holding whereas an opening in either Major suit shows a weak holding.

Opening Bid   Meaning
2   An artificial and strong opening. Promises a range of 20-23 points and a long suit or 22-23 plus points with balanced distribution. One round forcing.
2   An artificial and strong opening. Promises a range of 23 plus points. Forcing to 2 No Trump.
2   Weak Two Bid showing both Major suits. The Heart suit is stronger than the Spade suit. The minimum range must be at least 5 points. The top range is unspecified, but less than opening.
2   Weak Two Bid showing both Major suits. The Spade suit is stronger than the Heart suit. The minimum range must be at least 5 points. The top range is unspecified, but less than opening.

Responses After a 2 Clubs Opening Bid

2 : This response is artificial, negative in nature or semi-positive. The bid also promises fewer than 3 controls, whereby an Ace equals 2 controls and a King equals 1 control.
2 : This response is positive, natural, and promises a minimum of 3 controls as well as a minimum 5-card suit headed by an Ace or King.
2 : This response is positive, natural, and promises a minimum of 3 controls as well as a minimum 5-card suit headed by an Ace or King.
3 : This response is positive, natural, and promises a minimum of 3 controls as well as a minimum 5-card suit headed by an Ace or King.
3 : This response is positive, natural, and promises a minimum of 3 controls as well as a minimum 5-card suit headed by an Ace or King.
2 NT: This response is positive, natural, and promises 8-10 points and a balanced distribution.
3 NT: This response is positive, natural, and promises 11-13 points and a balanced distribution.

Responses After a 2 Diamond Opening Bid

In the original version the responses to a 2 opening are identical to the responses employed in the Albarran-de Nexon conventional method with the first response of 2 being the only negative response. The other responses are listed below. The designations of North-South are only used for the sake of presentation and convenience.

North   South   Meaning
2   2   Promises only the Ace of Hearts.
    2   Promises only the Ace of Spades.
    2 NT   Promises no Aces but 8 high card points plus.
    3   Promises only the Ace of Clubs.
    3   Promises only the Ace of Diamonds.
    3   Promises the equivalent and minimum of AKQxxx, a 6-card suit.
    3   Promises the equivalent and minimum of AKQxxx, a 6-card suit.
    3 NT   Promises 2 Aces.
    4   Promises the equivalent of AKQxxx, a 6-card suit.
    4   Promises the equivalent of AKQxxx, a 6-card suit.
    4 NT   Promises 3 Aces.

Note: All responses following an Major suit opening bid are per partnership agreement. There are various response methods, from which the partnership may choose.

Variations of the Benjamin Convention

A variation of this concept was devised by Mr. Claude Delmouly and by Mr. Jacques Parienté of France. The responses are listed below:

North   South   Meaning
2   2   A negative first response.
    2   Promises 1 Ace in a Major suit, not specifically Spades.
    2 NT   A positive first response indicating no Ace.
    3   Promises 1 Ace in a Minor suit, which is not specified.
    3   Promises 2 Aces but does not specify which ranks.
    3   Promises the equivalent and minimum of KQxxx in Hearts, a 6-card plus suit, but no values in any side suit.
    3   Promises the equivalent and minimum of KQxxx in Spades, a 6-card plus suit, but no values in any side suit.
    3 NT   Promises 3 Aces.

Another variation on this concept was proposed by Mr. Paul Chemla and by Mr. Michel Lebel, also of France. The responses are listed below:

North   South   Meaning
2   2   A negative first response showing 0-2 controls, either 1 King plus maximum 1 Queen or 1 Ace but no other honors.
    2   A positive first response showing 1-2 controls, either a minimum of 2 Kings or 1 King and 2 Queens or 1 Ace and 2 Queens.
    2 NT   Promises 3 controls.
    3   Promises 4 controls.
    3   Promises 5 controls.
    3   Promises 6 controls or more.
    3   This is a Super-Texas Transfer to Clubs. The opener must bid two steps above, skipping No Trump.
    3 NT   This is a Super-Texas Transfer to Diamonds. The opener must bid two steps above, skipping 4 Clubs.
    4   This is a natural response showing a 7 or 8 card Heart suit headed by KQJxxxx(x), but no other values in any side suits.
    4   This is a natural response showing a 7 or 8 card Spade suit headed by KQJxxxx(x), but no other values in any side suits.

Note: Reverse Benjamin is a version of Acol, where 2 Clubs is game-forcing, 2 Diamonds shows an Acol Two Bid, and 2 Hearts/Spades are weak.

 

 

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.

 


     
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