Canapé - Canape

Canapé is a bidding method, note that it is not a system, in which the long suit is normally, usually, generally bid on the second round. This bidding method was developed by Mr. Pierre Albarran, 1894 to 1960, in France, and which became quite popular. In comparison, standard methods are described in France as la longue d'abord, or long suit first. The picture below shows Mr. Pierre Albarran and is a photograph taken in the early 1920s. The photographer is unknown.


The Canapé bidding method has also influenced Italian bidding theory. It was incorporated into both the Roman and Blue Team Club systems, and also in derivative bidding systems such as the Orange Club, which was successfully played by Bob Hammon and Bobby Wolff, and the Simplified Club, which is a total canapé bidding system.

The definition given by Mr. Pierre Albarran was that a two-suited hand of more than minimum strength, the higher-ranking suit must be bid on the first round if it has four cards, and on the second round if it has more than four cards.

Four-card Major suits are normally bid ahead of any Minor suit and five-card Major suits are bid on the first round if the hand is minimum. Normal reverse sequences are inverted, or inversé in French.

The following example is an illustration of the canapé bidding system.

When applying the Canapé bidding method, the opening bid is 1 Heart. The rebid of 2 Spades is made on the second round. The reasoning is that a Heart preference is almost certainly improbable and the partnership can remain safely on the two level.

As mentioned, the Canapé bidding method has been incorporated into other bidding systems, and a modified version called canapé tendency, or tendance canapé in French, was used with excellent success in international competition by Pierre Jaïs and Roger Trézel. This partnership bid minimum hands in normal, standard bidding sequences, but adopted the Canapé bidding method for hands of maximum strength.


Article by B. Jay Becker and Steve Becker

The Bridge Column of B. Jay Becker and Steve Becker for The Mohave Daily Miner, published November 5, 1984, is presented below as a picture. The clarity is not the best. The point of the article is to point out that there can be a disadvantage to such a bidding method, especially in competition.


3rd European Open Bridge Championships

Daily Bulletin 1, Saturday, June 16, 2007
Chief Editor: Mark Horton
Location: Anatalya, Turkey
Date: June 15 to June 30, 2007

Board 32
Dealer: West
Vulnerable: East-West

West   North   East   South
Rubin   Hamman   Ekeblad   Soloway
1 *   Pass   1 NT   3
3   Pass   4   Double
Pass   Pass   Pass    

One Diamond was part of the canapé method being employed by East/West.When South decided his hand merited further action, North was delighted to pass.

Declarer won the Club lead with dummy’s Ace and played a Spade, getting the bad news, South discarding the seven of Diamonds. He ducked a Diamond to North who switched to the Jack of Hearts, covered by the King and Ace. South played the King of Clubs, declarer and North discarding Hearts and continued with the Jack of Clubs, ruffed by declarer as North discarded another Heart.There was still a Diamond and a trump to lose, two down, -500.


Publication - How to Win at Rubber Bridge

Mr. Pierre Albarran and Mr. Pierre Jaïs published the book How to Win at Rubber Bridge. The publication was first published in 1959; the English translation was published first in 1961. The book contains a certain humour, profoundness and orginality, which won tremendous acclaim and popularity in France and Europe. The book was adapted for English readers by Mr. Terence Reese.


Mr. Pierre Albarran, perhaps too extensively, concentrates in the first third of the book mainly on psychological problems, especially the human failings which lead bridge players to perform on a lesser level than should be owing to various human frailities. The book contains many anectdotes from his personal experience at the bridge table, but Mr. Pierre Jaïs complements the book with the more detailed and technical topics, including many complete analysis of partscore situations. It is this feature of the game of bridge, which perhaps provides the skilful bridge player with the greater advantage opposite his opponents.

The book is written by both authors from the standpoint of the French canapé method, but this feature provides no problem for the adaptation of Mr. Terence Reese in his translation of the book.



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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