This concept or conventional method arose originally in the bridge community, whereby the partnership could distinguish, via a particular bidding sequence, which, upon employment, would determine whether the responder has a 5-card Major suit. The concept is that only when the opening is 1 Club and the first response is 1 Diamond, then the responder does not hold a 5-card Major suit.
The first response of 1 Diamond then becomes an artificial bid. Conversely, if the opening bid is 1 Club, and the first response is a Major suit, then the responder is promising at least a 5-card Major suit. All continuations in the bidding auction are then generally or even solely based on partnership agreement.
This concept is based on the fact that the opener must bid 1 Club when holding no 5-card Major suit. This means, as a consequence, that the opener may open a holding with 1 Club even if the distribution is theoretically 4-4-4-1Club or even 4-4-5Diamonds-0Clubs. Whether or not Mr. Eric Kokish addressed the issue that the opener is required to hold a minimum of at least 2 cards in the Club suit is unknown. This requirement, however, is fundamental so that the responder may have the opportunity to bid 1 Diamond in the case that he does not hold a 5-card Major suit.
After the concept found some popularity, Mr. Eric Kokish developed and devised a continuation of bidding, which is based on this concept. Mr. Eric Kokish published an article in the publication The Bridge World, August, 1974, Volume 45, No. 11, called The Montreal Relay. The definition of this concept in this particular publication is quoted: ..... an artificial one-diamond response to leave room for opener to show a four-card major at the one level, usually used in conjunction with major-suit responses to one-club openings that imply at least five-card length.
The student of the Montreal Relay as presented in the Bridge World by Mr. Eric Kokish should also view and review the issue of BridgeNews, Volume 1, Issue 1, of November, 2006 of The Villages Duplicate Bridge Club. An article contained therein is titled Montreal Relay Bids and is provided by Dr. Neil H. Timm. This is a .pdf file and should load automatically. The Villages Duplicate Bridge Club is in central Florida and is located in District 9, Unit128, and is supported on the Internet by BridgeScore.com.
The following presentation is a duplicate of this portion of the article as it appears in the e-BridgeNews. Dr. Neil H. Timm is an Emeritus Professor for the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. The following is a link to the Home Page of Dr. Neil H. Timm.
Although the designation for this method is practically identical to the development of Mr. Eric Kokish, certain differences are obvious. Therefore the designation must be considered from the perspective that the two methods are not identical.
Montreal Relay Bids
Provided by Dr. Neil H. Timm
*1 Club Opener + Responses (1st and 2nd Seats Only)
High Card Points (hcp) Responses Opener's Rebid 2 Clubs Forcing 6-9 Points
1 : 5+ Diamonds 1 : 5+ Hearts 1 : 5+ Spades
Re-Bid 6+ Suit or Bid 4-Card Suit or Bid 3-card Suit with A or K 10-12 Points
2 : 5 Hearts 2 : 5 Spades 2 : 6+ Hearts 2 : 6+ Spades 2 NT: No 5+ Major
3 Clubs Forcing, Next Level Bids 1st Level Higher 10 Points 2nd Level Higher 11 Points 3rd Level Higher 12 Points 13+ Points
3 : 5 Hearts 3 : 5 Spades 3 : 6+ Hearts 3 : 6+ Spades 3 NT: No 5 Card Major
4 Clubs Forcing, Next Level Bids 13-14 4 Diamonds 15-16 4 Hearts 17-18 4 Spades 19+ 5 NT
Note: With one or two 4 card majors, may bid 2NT with 13+ Points so that partner may bid their 4 card Major Suit if Available.
With no 4 Card Major bid 3NT. With a larger hand bid 4NT Blackwood since no agreed upon suit.
* = Alert --- if asked announce as Artificial and Forcing.
All bids are alertable. The system is designed to play in a major suit (5-3 or 4-4 fits) or NT.
Note: For persons who play 2/1, in the 3rd and 4th seats, one may play Inverted Minors (Single Raise 13+ hcps and double raise Weak <10 hcps and at least 4 pieces, alert) with Criss-Cross (1D pass 3 or 1 pass 2) a limit raise, 9+ to 12- hcps and four card support (alert) with Flip-Flop where after a minor suit bid and a take out double, a jump to 2NT shows a preemptive raise for the minor (alert) and a jump raise in the minor shows a limit raise (9+ to 12- hcps). See, for example, the Book by Max Hardy (2002), Advance Bridge: Bidding for the 21st Century.
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.