The Weissberger method is a conventional variation of the Stayman conventional method. The concept behind this variation evolved within the Acol bidding system and was devised by Mr. Alan Truscott, Mr. John Pressburger, and Mr. Maurice Weissberger, after whom the conventional variation was named. The idea behind the concept is to discover whether the No Trump bidder has a 3-card Major suit.

Note: Any contributions as to the persons of Mr. John Pressburger and Mr. Maurice Weissberger would be greatly appreciated as would any photographs of these two bridge players.

Note: Mr. Maurice Weissberger died March 3, 2009. An excerpt from his obituary follows:

Maurice Weissberger died on 3rd March, just short of his 90th birthday. He had been one of Great Britain’s finest players both in domestic and international competitions. Internationally, his best result was finishing second with the late Joan Durran in the World Mixed Pairs in 1966. This, along with numerous other good performances, helped him become one of the very few British players ever to achieve the World Bridge Federation’s rank of World Master. The pinnacle of his outstanding domestic record was achieving back to back wins in the Lederer Trophy in 1966/67. The list of Lederer winners reads like a who’s who of world bridge, including more recent stars like Tony Forrester and Zia Mahmood.

As a bridge theorist, Maurice invented the convention known as Extended Stayman, where, if the auction begins 1nt-2c-2d, then a bid of 3d asks the 1nt opener to show if he has one or both 3 card majors.

Maurice was still playing rubber bridge at the Avenue Bridge Club shortly before his death, where he enjoyed enormous respect and affection. Following Joan’s death in 2005, Maurice donated a cup in her memory to the County. The Durran Weissberger Cup is awarded annually to the winners of the first division of the County League. It is fitting that the County should have this permanent reminder of two of its most talented and successful players.

Employment of the Concept

The concept is used only after a No Trump opening. Within the Acol bidding system the use of Stayman is first alerted, and then the No Trump bidder is required to name a 4-card Major suit, if possible, and, if the No Trump bidder holds no 4-card Major suit, then the No Trump bidder bids Diamonds.

The Acol bidding system allows, as an option, the responder to rebid 3 Hearts or 3 Spades to show a 5-card suit, and this rebid is considered to be only invitational and non-forcing.

This method leaves the rebid by the responder of 3 Diamonds as an idle bid with no significance. The concept of the Weissberger conventional variation is to utilize this particular rebid to ask for a 3-card Major suit. The bidding problems involved are as follows:

1. The responder holds a 5-card Spade suit and a 4-card Heart suit and game values.
2. The responder holds a 5-card Spade suit and a 5-card Heart suit and game values.
3. The responder holds a 5-card Spade suit and a 5-card Heart suit and possible game values. Additional information is necessary.
The following schematic should clarify this:
Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   2 *Alert   Stayman, asking for a 4-card Major suit.
2       Denies holding a 4-card Major suit.
    3   Weissberger showing distribution of 5-5 in both Major suits, and asking for a 3-card Major suit. This rebid by the opener promises game values and the partnership may not cease bidding until a game contract has been bid.
3       Promises a 3-card Spade suit, but minimum values.
    4   Responder bids game promises game values.
    Pass   Insufficient game values.
4       Promises a 3-card Spade suit, but maximum values.
3       With a doubleton Spade, then the assumption is that the No Trump bidder must have at least 3 Hearts and minimum values.
4       With a doubleton Spade, then the assumption is that the No Trump bidder must have at least 3 Hearts and maximum values.
3 NT       In the rare instance that the No Trump bidder holds 2-2 distribution in both Major suits, then the opener jumps directly to game in No Trump in order to show this distribution. Any continuation by the responder is an individual agreement. (Note: one agreement is that over 3 No Trump, if responder has a game-forcing holding and at least 5-5 in both Major suits, then the responder may bid 4 Diamonds to request opener to bid 4 Hearts.)

Among the possibilities and card combinations analyzed by Mr. Alan Truscott, Mr. John Pressburger, and Mr. Maurice Weissberger, the conclusion was that there were situations, in which the devised Weissberger conventional variation was neither needed nor required.

See the following chart for explanations and be aware that the bidding sequence is considered to be non-forcing since the values are considered fundamentally to be insufficient. Only if the No Trump bidder has maximum values can or should the No Trump bidder establish a game contract.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
A. 1 No Trump   3 *Alert   Promises a 4-card Spade suit, a 5-card Heart suit, and game values.
   
B. 1 No Trump   2 *Alert   Stayman, asking for a 4-card Major suit.
2 - no 4-card Major   3   Promises a 5-card Heart suit and a 4-card Spade suit.
    3   Promises a 5-card Spade suit and a 4-card Heart suit.

 

 

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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