This method, also called Blackout Over Reverse Bids, is employed by the partnership when a one-over-one response by the partnership is followed by a reverse bid by the opener on the two level. The developed Blackout method provides a response method for such a bidding sequence.

Parameters of the Concept

Note: The responder may not be a passed hand. The state of vulnerability is not an issue. The response method may not be employed if the opponents compete in a manner, which makes the employment of the method impossible.

Note: There is no universal consensus for the minimum values needed for a reverse bid. For purposes of presenting this response method the reverse bid is defined as being 16-19 high card points. Below are several interpretations of the reverse bid.

Note: The designation Wolff Over Reverses is published in The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, 7th Edition, 2011, as published by the American Contract Bridge League, page 270.

     
Several Definitions of a Reverse Bid
1. A standard reverse (called a low level reverse in the United Kingdom) is defined in a manner, by which the rebid of the opener is in a new and higher-ranking suit at the two level. The standard reverse is considered to be one-round forcing following a one level response by partner. Blackout can be employed.
2. The 2/1 reverse bid may only be bid following a 1 No Trump forcing bid by the responder. The act of a reverse bid by the opening partner is considered game forcing. Blackout may be employed.
3. A high level reverse (a designation employed in the United Kingdom and for the Acol approach) occurs when the rebid of the opener is in a new lower-ranking suit at the three level, which is game forcing. The employment of a high level reverse bid by the opener does not allow for the employment of the Blackout response method and therefore may not be used.
4. Any jump reverse bids are considered to show stronger values than a simple reverse bid. A jump reverse bid negates the possibility of the employment of Blackout since the jump reverse occurs on the three level.
   

The concept, as developed, has several responses, which require additional explanations. In this presentation all examples will show an opening of 1 Clubs and a reverse by the opener of 2 Spades.

Example 1
South
KQxx
Ax
xx
AKxxx
 
North
xxx
KQxxx
xxx
Qx
South   North   Meaning
1       Promises opening values.
    1   Promises sufficient values to respond and at least a 4-card Heart suit.
2       A reverse bid promising at least a 5-card Club suit and a 4-card Spade suit, plus minimum values of 16 high card points.
    3   If the responder rebids his own suit, then this rebid shows 5 or more cards in Hearts. This rebid is forcing for one round, but does not necessarily promise additional values. The reverse bidder is forced to rebid again.
         
Example 2
South
KQxx
Ax
xx
AKxxx
 
North
xxx
KQxxx
xxx
Qx
South   North   Meaning
1       Promises opening values.
    1   Promises sufficient values to respond and at least a 4-card Heart suit.
2       A reverse bid promising at least a 5-card Club suit and a 4-card Spade suit, plus minimum values of 16 high card points.
    3   The cheapest bid of the fourth suit, which is one round forcing, promises exactly 4 cards in the originally bid suit, Hearts, and minimum values.
    2 NT   A rebid of 2 No Trump, which is one round forcing, promises exactly 4 cards in the originally bid suit, Hearts, and minimum values. (Note: this rebid strongly implies a stopper(s) in the Diamond suit and that the holding is not suitable for a suit contract.)
         
Example 3
South
KQxx
Ax
xx
AKxxx
 
North
xxx
KQxxx
xxx
Qx
South   North   Meaning
1       Promises opening values.
    1   Promises sufficient values to respond and at least a 4-card Spade suit.
2       A reverse bid promising at least a 5-card Club suit and a 4-card Heart suit, plus minimum values of 16 high card points.
    3   This rebid by the responder is to play.
    3   The cheapest bid of the fourth suit is considered to be (game) forcing with Clubs as the implied trump suit.

Note: These complementary explanations to Blackout are necessary for the overall understanding of the concept. Also, if the responder takes a preference to the opening bid suit, which is Clubs in this example, or raising the second suit of the opening bidder (Spades) are both game forcing, natural, and accompanied with the understanding that they show a mild slam interest.

Note: Since the reverse suit may be different the similarities of the bids of the responder are apparent.

Possible Reverse Auctions

The chart below shows all possible reverse bids to the two level. The Blackout conventional response method must be altered accordingly to accommodate the various possibilities. This presentation does not illustrate or describe each possible reverse bid.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1   1    
2 or 2       Shows a distribution of 5 Clubs and 4 Hearts / 4 Spades.
         
1   1    
2 or 2       Shows a distribution of 5 Clubs and 4 Diamonds / 4 Spades.
         
1   1    
2 or 2       Shows a distribution of 5 Clubs and 4 Diamonds / 4 Hearts.
         
1   1    
2       Shows a distribution of 5 Diamonds and 4 Spades.
         
1   1    
2       Shows a distribution of 5 Diamonds and 4 Hearts.
         
1   2 or 2    
2       Shows a distribution of 5 Hearts and 4 Spades.

Reverse Bid from Clubs to Diamonds

The guidelines for the employment of the Blackout conventional response method are shown below and deal only with a reverse bid from Clubs to Diamonds. The reverse bid sequence is presented and then the possible rebids of the responder clarifying the holding are listed.

South   North   Meaning
1   1    
2       A reverse bid showing a shape of 5 Clubs and 4 Diamonds plus 16 plus points.
    2   Artificial response showing exactly 4 Spades and minimum values for a raise in Spades.
    2   Promises 5 plus Spades and is one-round forcing. This rebid does not promise any additional values except those for a first response.
    2 NT   Artificial response showing exactly four Spades. This bid is game forcing, but denies any additional values for slam consideration.
    3   Game forcing. Promises a minimum of 3 Clubs as support.
    3   Game forcing. Promises a minimum of 4 Diamonds for support.
    3   Game forcing. Promises a minimum of 6 plus Spades.
    3 NT   This bid is natural and promises a stopper(s) in the fourth suit.

Reverse Bid from Diamonds to Hearts

The guidelines for the employment of the Blackout conventional response method are shown below and deal only with a reverse bid from Diamonds to Hearts. The reverse bid sequence is presented and then the possible rebids of the responder clarifying the holding are listed.

South   North   Meaning
1   1    
2       A reverse bid showing a shape of 5 Diamonds and 4 Hearts plus 16 plus points.
    2   Promises 5 plus Spades and is one-round forcing. This rebid does not promise any additional values except those for a first response.
    2 NT   Artificial response showing exactly four Spades with minimum values. (Note: this response is generally considered semi-forcing.)
    3   Artificial response showing exactly four Spades. This bid is game forcing, but denies any additional values for slam consideration.
    3   Game forcing. Promises a minimum of 3 Diamonds for support.
    3   Game forcing. Promises a minimum of 4 Hearts for support.
    3   Game forcing. Promises a minimum of 6 plus Spades.
    3 NT   This bid is natural and promises a stopper(s) in the fourth suit.

The other reverse bid sequences are similarly constructed and are not presented. The partnership should discuss such continuances along the same lines of the above response methods and include these responses in their partnership agreement.

Note: There are several modifications of this concept as a response method following a reverse bid. The bridge student will find several forum discussions online and can review the comments and observations at these specific forums with other bridge players. The advantages and possible disadvantages of the response method are discussed and examined, and the flaws to several aspects of the conventional response method are revealed and perhaps even altered to satisfy individual partnership agreements.

 

 

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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