The origin of this conventional method has not been determined although several suppositions exist, but which cannot be proven or substantiated, and therefore the origin continues to remain controversial. The convention has been attributed by some to one of the Becker family consisting of Mr. Benjamin Jay Becker and/or one of his two sons, who became also bridge personalities, namely Mr. Steven Becker and Mr. Michael Becker, but these rumors have been disproven and are completely unfounded and categorically false. This fact is completely conclusive as a result of an email message received on July 21, 2016, to this website from a member of the Becker family unconditionally denying any knowledge of its origin.

Informational Data

Also, several rumors convey falsely the belief that the name Becker was simply chosen by the originator as this surname was well-known throughout the bridge community, and who wished to indeed attach himself to this particular name for promotional reasons and possibly public acceptance. However, this remains only speculation even though the name Becker is and has been the surname of various other bridge personalities.

It is also important to note that The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, Newly Revised Fifth Edition, Copyright 1994, ISBN-10: 0943855489, is the earliest publication of The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge to indeed include the Becker convention on page 28. This entry makes no reference to the author or originator of the conventional method.

The student of bridge should also note that the entry for the Becker convention can also be found in The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, 7th Edition, page 269, Copyright 2011, with the marked update that the Becker convention is also known as Modified Landy.

Note: A posting, dated October 16, 2015, on bridgewinners.com by Michael (Mike) Becker regarding the authorship of this convention reads as follows (quoted): "It's been a mystery to me, and I've been asked many times. B. Jay, my dad, did not invent Becker over NT. (2C = both m's, 2D = both M's, other suit calls natural, I think). Neither did I or brother Steve or uncle Simon, cousins Bobby and Murray, or wife Judy (all LMs and 3 of them NABC champs). Neither did R. Jay, (not a relative). Maybe Phil from Cleveland?!!" (end of quoted text).

Note:It is also of considerable note that Mr. Sam Fry, Jr., in his bridge column in The Ludington Daily News, dated Friday, April 26, 1957, refers to a person with the name Becker, who about 15 years ago (or around the year 1942), originated the Suit Preference Signal or Becker convention. However, even by his own admission, Mr. Sam Fry Jr. admits that we don't know if Jay actually invented the convention ... This information has also only been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference. (Note: As Benjamin Jay Becker was born in the year 1904 he would have been about 38 years of age in the year 1942.)

Note: After a thorough research the question remains as to the true identity of Becker, The meaning of the designation Becker, as provided by ancestry.com is: Dutch, German, Danish, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): occupational name for a baker of bread, or brick and tiles, from backen 'to bake'. English: occupational name for a maker or user of mattocks or pickaxes, from an agent derivative of Old English becca 'mattock'.

Principle of the Concept

The range of the opening No Trump bid is regarded in the original version as being between 16-18 high card points. Over time partnerships have adapted the Becker convention for other No Trump ranges between 10 and 18 high card points. This is a partnership agreement.

This defense method shows a certain two-suited holding with varying strength which is generally in the two suits indicated below.

Illustration of the Concept

The following example should assist in clarifying and illustrating the concept of this conventional method.

 
North
AJ10x
KQx
Kxx
QJx
 
West
xxx
Axxx
Jx
10xxx
 
East
xx
x
AQxxx
AKxxx
 
South
KQx
J10xx
10xx
xxx
 
South (D)   West   North   East   Meaning
Pass   Pass   1 NT       Range is defined as 15-17 high card points and balanced distribution.
            2   The Becker convention is initiated to show both Minor suits.
Pass               South is unable to either employ Stayman (weak values) or initiate a transfer bid to either Major suit.
    Pass           West either corrects to Diamonds or passes if holding a better Club suit.

The distribution is generally 5-5, but may also be 5-4 with a solid suit according to the original version.. The amount of high card points is a matter of partnership agreement, but it is based on the strength used with the Landy Convention.

Note: Later revisions of the Becker convention include the allowance of distribution in regard to the state of vulnerability. The distribution can be 5-4 by favorable vulnerability. However, when vulnerable the distribution promises a 5-5 pattern unless a 4-card promised suit contains a minimum of 2 winning tricks such as KQJ and stronger values. The concept of the Losing Trick Count method has also been introduced in partnership agreements.

This conventional defense method is usually played at matchpoint duplicate and allows the overcaller and his partner to play on the two level. The strength and the distribution of the holding of the overcaller plus the corresponding responses of the advancer take precedent in any and all continuances. The intervenor sits normally in the direct seat after the No Trump opener, and the range of the No Trump opening should be determined before any continuances. Whether or not the Becker convention applies in the balancing seat after two passes is a matter of individual partnership agreement.

Opposite a bid by the partner of the No Trump bidder the advancer must make the decision whether to continue competing or not. Any action by the advancer following a competitive bid by third seat, even as a passed hand, the advancer, also a possible passed hand, must be based on a partnership agreement.

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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