This concept was originated by Mr. Larry Allen of Summerville, South Carolina, United States, and who is a member of the South Carolina Unit 160. Any additional information as to the bridge personality of Mr. Larry Allen, especially photographic material, would be greatly appreciated.

Note: This concept is also known under the designation of Allen Over No Trump.

Principle of the Concept

The concept behind this conventional method is that the partnership is able to find a 4-4 fit in a Minor suit. One partner has opened the bidding with 1 No Trump. The range of the No Trump is generally between 15 and 17 points. However, the concept can be applied with other No Trump ranges as long as adjustments are made accordingly regarding the values held by responder.

The conventional method is employed when the responder holds a distributional holding with Minor suit holding equaling four cards minimum in both suits. With game values and no 4-card Major suit, then the responder will jump immediately to game in No Trump.

Concept Principles

The foundation stone of the Allen conventional method is to permit the responder to inquire about the holding of the No Trump bidder with fewer than game values, with game values but weak Major suit holdings, and also with slam values. Therefore, the range of the values held by the responder can be between a good 7/8 to 20 plus points.

The application of the Allen conventional method requires the responder to apply the Stayman convention first, which means that the responder must bid 2 Clubs, asking the opener if he has a 4-card Major suit.

Example 1: A 4-card Heart Suit
Opener   Responder   Meaning
AKQ
A763
Q43
J54
 
653
K4
KJ75
Q1097
   
1 NT       Range is generally 15-17 high card points and balanced distribution.
    2   Stayman conventional response.
2       The No Trump bidder shows a 4-card holding in Hearts.
    2   Initiation of the Allen convention. The responder bids the other Major to discover whether the No Trump bidder holds a second 4-card suit.
2 NT       Denies possession of a second 4-card side suit.
3       Shows possession of a 4-card Club suit. Distribution is possibly 3-4-2-4.
3       Shows possession of a 4-card Diamond suit. Distribution is possibly 3-4-4-2 or 2-4-4-3.

With this holding the No Trump bidder will rebid 2 Hearts. In this case the Allen convention dictates that the responder bid 2 Spades, thereby asking the No Trump bidder whether he holds a second 4-card suit. The rebids of the No Trump bidder are included in the schematic above.

Example 2: A 4-card Spade Suit
Opener   Responder   Meaning
AKQ4
A73
Q43
J54
 
653
K4
KJ75
Q1097
   
1 NT       Range is generally 15-17 high card points and balanced distribution.
    2   Stayman conventional response.
2       The No Trump bidder shows a 4-card holding in Spades.
    3   Initiation of the Allen convention. The responder bids the other Major to discover whether the No Trump bidder holds a second 4-card suit.
3 NT       Denies possession of a second 4-card side suit. The No Trump bidder signs off in game in No Trump.

If the No Trump bidder rebids 2 Spades, the Allen convention dictates that the responder bid 3 Hearts, which is also asking whether the No Trump bidder has a second 4-card suit.

Notes

As the bridge student has recognized the bidding has reached the three level following a rebid in Spades by the No Trump bidder, and the best contract could be on the three level. The partnership is already, in the second case, heading towards a possibly risky contract.

Therefore, the guideline is that if the No Trump bidder does not have a second 4-card suit, he automatically rebids No Trump at the cheapest Level.

Note: In the case that the No Trump bidder has a 4-card Minor suit and the responder has initiated the Allen conventional method showing both 4-card plus Minor suits, then it would be preferable to bid the Minor suit since the No Trump bidder is unaware of the strength of the held values by responder. This is a choice, which the No Trump bidder must make. It is a judgment call, a gamble if the No Trump bidder decides to bid game in No Trump and take the chance.

Example 3: Denial Bid of a 4-Card Major Suit
Opener   Responder   Meaning
AKQ
A76
Q743
J54
 
653
K4
AKJ7
AQ109
   
1 NT       Range is generally 15-17 high card points and balanced distribution.
    2   Stayman conventional response.
2       Denies holding a 4-card Major suit.
    3   Initiation of the Allen convention.
The bids below describe more accurately the holding of the No Trump opener:
3       Promises a 4-card Diamond holding and the responder presumes a 3-3-3 pattern in all other suits.
3       Promises a distribution of 3 Spades, 2 Hearts, 4 Diamonds, and 4 Clubs: hence a 2-3-4-4 pattern.
3       Promises 2 Spades, 3 Hearts, 4 Diamonds, and 4 Clubs: hence a 2-3-4-4 pattern.
3 NT       Promises a 4-card Club suit and the responder presumes a 3-3-3 pattern in all other suits.

Note: By applying the Allen convention with the example above, if the No Trump Bidder rebids 3 Diamonds, it is reasonable to visualize a Contract of 6 Diamonds.

 

 

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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