After reviewing the original Fishbein convention, the concept of the unique Takeout Double is for the player immediately following the preemptive opening to bid the cheapest, next available suit. An immediate double is a Penalty Double.

As with almost all conventions, methods and treatments, the Fishbein Convention has been changed and altered to meet the needs of the bridge player. This is how the Balancing Fishbein Convention evolved. Bridge players took the initial concept, discovered its flaws, and set about to change the concept.

Outline of the Concept

The concept of Mr. Harry Fishbein has been changed dramatically and really does not have very much in common with the result of its evolution.

Note: The balancing Fishbein convention is applied to provide and make available a more comprehensive and more accurate structure for balancing calls by the player in the pass out seat.

Using the balancing Fishbein convention, the bid of the next higher suit above the suit of the opener is a takeout bid, and promises opening values.

South West North East
1 Pass Pass 1
1. East promises his partner West opening values of 13-15 high card points.
2. East promises either shortness in Diamonds, or a stopper in Diamonds.
3. East promises an unknown good 5-card or longer suit.
4. East reveals no information about his Heart holding.

Additional Bidding Sequences

South West North East
1 Pass Pass Double
East has balanced with a Double. East promises either 9-12 points and support for all unbid suits, or promises 16 plus points with any distribution.
If East rebids 1 No Trump, or a non-jump 2 No Trump, East shows an opening 1 No Trump range with a balanced hand.
If East jumps in No Trump, then East shows an opening 2 No Trump range with a balanced hand.
South West North East
1 Pass Pass 1 NT
East has balanced with 1 No Trump. East promises 9-12 points with a stopper in Diamonds, the bid suit.
A balancing jump to 2 No Trump promises 19-21 points with a balanced hand, and a stopper in the bid suit.
A balancing jump to 3 No Trump is similar to the Gambling Three No Trump treatment and promises a long, solid running suit with sufficient Quick Tricks.
South West North East
1 Pass Pass 1
If East, the player in the balancing seat, bids a new suit which does not fall within the principles of the Fishbein convention, then this bid is a natural bid, showing less than 13 points.
South West North East
1 pass pass 2
If East, the player in the balancing seat, jumps in the next higher suit, East is applying the Fishbein convention. His bid is then a natural bid, and shows less than 13 points, and a long Heart suit in this case.

This Balancing Bid may only be applied if the opening is not 1 Spade.

South West North East
1 pass pass 2

If East, the player in the balancing seat, cuebids the opening bid, East is promising a solid suit in one of the three unbid suits, and asks his partner to bid 3 No Trump with a stopper in the opening suit.

South West North East
1 pass pass 2
2
3

Depending on the partnership agreement, if East, the player in the balancing seat, cuebids or jumps in a suit other than the one higher than the suit of the opener, East promises a good two-suited hand.

If East in the balancing seat bids 3 Clubs over a 1 Spade opening, this balancing bid promises also a two-suited hand.

The length of the two suits may by 5-4 by favorable vulnerability, but must be 5-5 in length by unfavorable vulnerability.

According to most partnership agreements, the cuebids normally promises the two next higher suits. And the Jump Bid normally promises the suit in which the Jump Bid is made and the next higher unbid suit.

The following charts should illustrate this principle of the Balancing Fishbein convention. The opening bid is represented on the left and the Balancing Bid with definitions is represented on the right.

Opener Balancing Bid
1 2 Clubs shows Diamonds and Hearts.
1 2 Diamonds is a natural bid.
1 2 Hearts shows Hearts and Spades.
1 2 Spades shows Spades and Diamonds.
   
Opener Balancing Bid
1 2 Diamonds shows Spades and Hearts.
1 2 Hearts is a natural bid.
1 2 Spades shows Spades and Clubs.
1 3 Clubs shows Hearts and Clubs.
   
Opener Balancing Bid
1 2 Hearts shows Spades and Clubs.
1 2 Spades is a natural bid.
1 3 Clubs shows Diamonds and Clubs.
1 3 Diamonds shows Spades and Diamonds.
   
Opener Balancing Bid
1 2 Spades shows Hearts and Clubs.
1 3 Clubs shows Diamonds and Clubs.
1 3 Diamonds shows Hearts and Diamonds.
1 3 Hearts is a natural bid.

Additional Information

The balancing bid, in the case of a Spade opening, is a little different. The use of the jump to 3 Clubs, and not the jump in Hearts, to show a two-suited holding is designed to avoid that the partner of the balancing partner make his preference known on the four level.

 

 

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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