This concept was devised by Mr. Phillip Alder, bridge columnist, bridge author, and bridge personality. This is a conventional defense method and borrows elements of both the Aspro convention and the Astro convention, and is considered to be a combination of both. The designation is also a combination of both methods: Asptro-Astro. This conventional method is a defense method employed after an opponent opens the auction with 1 No Trump.

Email Message

On June 30, 2014, Mr. Phillip Adler contributed the following information regarding the origin of the Asptro defense method:

I claim responsibility. However, I know there are two versions when the intervenor has both majors. I bid the better / longer one first, whereas Tony Forrester believes (believed?) it was better first to name the shorter / weaker suit.

Also, the artificial advance depends upon the range of the notrump opening. Against a strong notrump, one uses two notrump, which also usually includes a fit for the shown major. But against a weak notrump, two notrump is needed in its natural sense, so, as you say, you raise the bid minor.

Regards,
Phillip Alder

On August 13, 2014, a follow-up email message contained the pertinent additional information from Mr. Phillip Alder, which is excerpted and quoted:

The original from Astro, being devised by Paul Allinger, Roger STern and Lawrence ROsler.

This was slightly amended by Terence Reese, producing Aspro (a headache pill in England).

I blended them to produce Asptro. Hardly imaginative, but it seemed better to allow flexibility when holding a major two-suiter.

Regards,
Phillip Alder

No Trump Ranges

Note: The general range of the 1 No Trump opening bid by the opposing side is considered to be between 15-17 points. However, the Asptro conventional defense method may be adjusted to accommodate additional opening ranges.

Note: There are several descriptions and/or variations of the Asptro conventional defense method and all have their merits at the bridge table. The attempt on this web page is to preserve the original concept as devised, and also, to some extent, to provide the reader with references to other sources. One source is in written word and it is the publication Practise Your Asptro: A Defense to 1NT, (Bridge Plus Practice Series), year 1999, Publisher: Bridge Plus, Series Editor: Elena Jeronimidis, Cover Design and Typesetting: Ruth Edmondson, Printed in Great Britain by Ashford Colour Press, Gosport, Hamshire, ISBN-10: 1902123158 / ISBN 13: 9781902123158. Other sources will be published once discovered or contributed.

Nevena Senior (nee Deleva) won the European Ladies Pairs in the year 1987 for the country of Bulgaria. In her career as a bridge player she has played in many European and World Championships, winning the bronze medal in both the 1988 World Team Olympiad, and the 1989 and 1999 Ladies European Pairs. Partnering with her husband, Mr. Brian Senior, she has won many open amd mixed bridge tournaments on a global scale.

     
     

Note: The Brierfield Bridge Club in the United Kingdom has an excellent online description for Acol players. This information has also only been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

Note: Mr. Leif B. Sorensen, an avid bridge player in his younger years, devoted 43 professional years as a physician-scientist at the University of Chicago, Illinois, United States, before resuming the study and play of duplicate bridge with energetic activity and intensity. With active memberships in both the American Contract Bridge League and the American Bridge Association he has progressed to the level of author. Contemporary Bridge Bidding: A Guide for Players at the Intermediate Level, November 2011, Publisher: Xibris, Corporation, ISBN-10: 1462889824 / ISBN-13: 978-1462889822.

Note: Only this pertinent information has been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

     

Original Concept

The original concept of the Asptro convention method is as follows:

Opponent   Overcaller Meaning
1 NT     The No Trump range is generally considered to be within the range of 15-17 points. However, the Asptro conventional defense method may be adjusted to any permissible opening range.
    2 Shows Hearts and a second unspecified suit.
    2 Shows Spades and a second unspecified suit.
    Although the above two overcalls constitute the core concept of the Asptro conventional defense method, higher continuations maintain normal validity.
    2 Natural. Promises a good 5-card plus Heart suit.
    2 Natural. Promises a good 5-card plus Spade suit.

The responses are per partnership agreement and can take any form. These responses may be based on the state of the vulnerability, the actual shape of the holding of the responder, and held values can determine whether a jump would clarify the holding more accurately. With neither Heart support nor Spade support and in order to discover the second suit of the overcaller, then the advancer necessarily requires an inquiry bid which is generally 2 No Trump.

Note: The conventional treatment of two-suited holdings of equal length or comprising one or both Minor suits is the same as in the original conventions of Aspro and Astro conventional methods. When the overcaller holds a distribution of 5-4 in both Major suits, then the guideline is that the overcaller makes his initial overcall to show the 4-card Major suit, which means that the overcaller overcalls with 4 with a 4-card Heart suit and 4 with a 4-card Spade suit.

Note: This overcall on the four level should be based on a holding containing a certain number of tricks or losing tricks with the values located in both Major suits. The generally accepted minimum should be: KQJx - KJ109x.

Continuations

Once the intervenor overcalls 2, the advancer may pass or compete if the partner of the No Trump bidder enters the auction. However, if the partner of the No Trump bidder remains silent, then the advancer must respond.

2 : This is a relay bid showing at most a 2-card Heart suit, and the intervenor can now show his 5-card Spade suit.
2 : This bid shows at least a 3-card Heart suit and at least a 4-3 trump fit.

Continuations

Once the intervenor overcalls 2, the advancer may pass or compete if the partner of the No Trump bidder enters the auction. However, if the partner of the No Trump bidder remains silent, then the advancer must respond.

2 : This is a relay bid showing at most a 2-card Spade suit, and the intervenor can pass since the advancer most likely has at least 2 Hearts, meaning that the partnership has found a 5-2 trump suit fit.
2 : This bid shows at least a 3-card Spade suit and at least a 4-3 trump fit. The intervenor may pass.

The advancer, with stronger values plus distribution, raises the artificial bids of the overcaller. This requires the overcaller to further clarify the holding. The rebids of the intervenor, depending on the overcall, are:

Recommended Continuances

After a 2 overcall and a raise to 3 by the advancer, a raise which is viewed as an artificial game forcing response:

3 : Shows a 4-card Heart suit (the anchor suit) and a 5-card Diamond suit.
3 : Shows a 5-card Heart suit and an unspecified 4-card Minor suit.
3 : An artificial rebid by the advancer asking for the Minor suit.
3 NT: This is a natural bid and is to play in No Trump.
3 : Shows a 4-card Heart suit and a 5-card Spade suit.
3NT: Shows a 4-card Club suit.

After a 2 overcall and a raise to 3 by the advancer, a raise which is viewed as an artificial game forcing response:

3 : Shows a 4-card Spade suit (the anchor suit) and a 5-card Heart suit.
3 : Shows a 5-card plus Spade suit and an unspecified 4-card Minor suit. A 4 relay by the advancer asks for the Minor suit.
3 NT: Shows a 4-card plus Spade suit and an unspecified 5-card Minor suit. A 4 relay by the advancer asks for the Minor suit.

Note: There are multiple variations of the Asptro conventional defense method and they are somewhat dependent on the bidding system employed and can be altered or varied to meet the requirements of the particular bidding system and/or partnership.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed that the distribution of the holding, when overcalling could / may be reduced to 4-4 in both Major suits regardless of the state of vulnerability, otherwise the distribution is generally 5-4, 4-5, or 5-5 depending on the state of vulnerability. This is entirely a partnership agreement in all employed variations of the concept.

 

 

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.

 


     
Email Conventions Bridge Sites
     
Home Page I Glossary Home Page II
     
   
  Defense Methods