TONTO CONVENTION

This conventional method was devised and developed by Mr. Robert Stone. The designation is an acronym for Transfers Over 3 No Trump Overcalls. This description was most likely first published in The Bridge World, 1995, in and article called TONTO on page 19.

It is a basically a means employed by the partnership to continue to explore for additional information after one partner has overcalled an opening preempt bid on the three level by the opponents with 3 No Trump. The bids of the partner of the overcaller will attempt to generally transfer the partner to the desired suit. Employing the transfer, instead of bidding directly, the partner of the overcaller attempts to make certain that the overcaller becomes the possible declarer, so that the lead is always up to the overcaller.

The transfer itself always consists of two or more steps, and the following schematic illustrates its usage.

East

South West North Meaning
3/3/3/ 3 NT "Partner, I wish to compete."
Pass 4NT This first response by the partner is quantitative.
4 Regular Blackwood, even if the preempt was 3 .
4 Transfer to Diamonds.
Note: if the Preempt is 3 , then a first response of 4 becomes a transfer to Clubs.
4 Transfer to Hearts.
Note: if the Preempt is 3 , then a first response of 4 becomes a transfer to Spades.
4 This is a transfer to the so-called remaining suit. Whichever suit, to which the responder has not transferred his partner becomes the remaining suit.

Following a transfer response, the opener rebids cheaply to indicate a fit and accept the transfer to discourage. However, if the transfer shows a Minor suit, then the opener can use the idle bid of 4 No Trump to discourage. BW12/95.

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.

Claus and Raymond

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