Mr. Marty A. Bergen developed a method of dealing with an opponent's overcall of a double after a 1 No Trump opening. This conventional method, when applied, allows the partnership to reach the correct contract even after the opponents have decided to enter the auction. This method also allows the partnership to finalize the contract even after a penalty double.

     

Using this method, the partnership will continue bidding normally if the double of the opponents promises competitive values such as a two suited holding, and does not promise an abundance of high card points. This is also the case if the opponents are using Brozel or D.O.N.T., where a double shows a one-suited holding.

The partner of the 1 No Trump bidder will proceed with the auction, using any and all agreed conventions and systemic bids, as if the opponents had not doubled. This means that Jacoby Transfers, Stayman, Two-Way Stayman, Blackwood, etc. are still applicable and are played as systems on. This fact is an essential ingredient in the partnership agreement.

However, the following bidding sequence should be noted:

South   West   North   East
1 NT   Double   Redouble   2

According to the Bergen conventional method the partnership is able to add a new definition, or definitions, to the redouble. According to the partnership agreement a redouble could show at least 6 to 7 high card points and a balanced to semi-balanced holding. This redouble promises that the 1 No Trump bidder could make the contract of 1 No Trump doubled, presuming that the opponents actually pass. Accordingly, if the opponents gain the final contract, a double by the 1 No Trump bidder or his partner would then be a penalty double.

The following bidding sequence is also of note:

South   West   North   East
            1 NT
Double   Redouble   2   Pass
pass            

In this particular bidding sequence the pass by East is a forcing pass, and North, in the pass out seat must bid or double for penalties.

The same holds true for the following bidding sequence:

South   West   North   East
            1 NT
Double   Redouble   2   Pass
2   Pass   Pass    

In this particular bidding sequence the pass by West is a forcing pass, and East, in the pass out seat must bid or double for penalties.

Optional Agreements

The above is one form of the partnership agreement when using the Bergen conventional method. Following are two other partnership agreements with defined meanings of the redouble by the partner of the 1 No Trump bidder.

Option 1: Using the Bergen conventional method, the partnership agreement could be to use the redouble with another partnership definition. After the opponents have entered the auction with a competitive double, the partnership agreement could mean that a redouble promises a weak hand with about 6 to 7 high card points and both Minor suits.

Option 2: Using the Bergen conventional method, the partnership agreement could be to use the redouble with another partnership definition. After the opponents have entered the auction with a competitive double, the partnership agreement could mean that a redouble promises a weak hand with about 6 to 7 high card points with a singleton or void in one of the Major suits.

The above method is for treating an overcall which promises a one-suited or two-suited hand held by the opponents. The Bergen conventional method also provides alternative bids when the double by an opponent does not promise a one-suited or two-suited hand, but is rather a penalty double. If this is the case, the Bergen conventional method utilizes several alternative bids available to the partner of the opener to show a hand with weak values or even a game-invitational holding. It must be remembered, that the partnership agreement between the opponents is that a double of a 1 No Trump opening is for penalty, and the partner of the doubler is not required to bid.

If the responder has a long Spade suit, the responder simply bids two Spades, and the 1 No Trump bidder is expected to pass.

North   East   South   West
1 NT   Double
(Penalty)
  2    
       
J109764
98
54
987
   

If the responder has a long Club suit, the responder simply redoubles, and the 1 No Trump bidder is expected to bid 2 Clubs. If Clubs is the suit of the responder, then the responder will pass. If the long suit of the responder is Diamonds, then the responder will simply bid 2 Diamonds, and the 1 No Trump bidder will pass. If the long suit of the responder is Hearts, then the responder will simply bid 2 Hearts, and the 1 No Trump bidder is required to pass.

The employment is also available in the following example:

North   East   South   West
1 NT   Double
(Penalty)
  Redouble   Pass
       
643
8
54
KJ109764
   
2   Pass   Pass    

The rebid of South of 2 Diamonds or 2 Hearts is neither forcing nor invitational.

However, if the responder bids 2 Spades after he redoubles, the situation is different, because the responder has more values and strength, and may perhaps be inviting to game.

North   East   South   West
1 NT   Double
(Penalty)
  Redouble   Pass
       
KJ109764
8
K76
Q8
   
2   Pass   2    

In the case that the responder has a long Diamond suit or a long Heart suit, then the responder will bid 3 Diamonds or 3 Hearts respectively after forcing the 1 No Trump bidder to respond with 2 Clubs by redoubling. This form of the bidding process using the Bergen conventional method becomes then game-invitational. The 1 No Trump bidder is forced to reevaluate his holding and make the decision, generally dependent upon his holding a minimum or maximum No Trump range.

In the situation where the responder is weak, but has no game-invitational values, the responder may jump directly to the three level in any suit, without redoubling first.

North   East   South   West
1 NT   Double
(Penalty)
  3   Pass
       
865
7
KJ109654
84
   
Pass   Pass        

If the responder is holding a two-suited hand, then the responder will bid 2 Clubs over the double, signifying Clubs and a higher-ranking suit. If the responder bids 2 Diamonds directly over the opponent's double, then the responder is signifying Diamonds and a higher-ranking suit.

If the responder bids 2 Hearts over the opponent's double, then the responder is promising both major suits. The responder bids the cheaper or lower-ranking suit first. If the 1 No Trump bidder has a fit in the suit bid by the responder, then the 1 No Trump bidder will simply pass. If he does not have a fit, then he will bid the cheapest next suit, and if that is the suit, then the responder will pass.

These relay bids will continue until the second suit of the responder has been found. If the 1 No Trump bidder has maximum values for his No Trump range and an excellent fit for responder's suit, the opener may even raise. However, this is not forcing.

To summarize, the meanings of the bids of the responder after a partnership agreement penalty double by one of the opponents follow:

Responder   Meaning
Redouble   This is a relay forcing the opener to bid 2.
2   Shows Clubs and a higher-ranking suit.
2   Shows Diamonds and a higher-ranking suit.
2   Shows both Major suits - Hearts and Spades.
2   Shows Spades and is considered to be a sign-off bid.
3   Shows Clubs and is a preemptive response.
3   Shows Diamonds and is a preemptive response.
3   Shows Hearts and is a preemptive response.
3   Shows Spades and is a preemptive response.

This, in general terms, are the basics of the Bergen conventional method of coping with a double by the opponents after a 1 No Trump opening. Whether the double is for takeout or a penalty double, the partnership can use the above conventional method to deal with certain card combinations or card holdings.

 

 

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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