This conventional method is a derivation of several bidding systems developed and defined by bridge experts from Italy. The intention is to immediately show with the first response the number of Aces and Kings contained in the hand of the responder. By employing these response the opener has a better visualization of the holding of the responder and a immediate information to judge the possibility of a slam.

This particular conventional method is sometimes referred to as step responses, since the responses are considered steps, or bids, which are not always in sequence and which specify certain information as to certain holdings or the lack thereof. See: The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, Sixth Edition, Page 441, which states that the method was described in The Bridge Journal.

The Bridge Journal was a bi-monthly magazine intended for the edification of bridge players and also for the exchange of ideas by serious players. The journal was founded and first published in 1963 by Mr. Paul Heitner and Mr. Jeff Rubens. The content was aimed at improving technical and mechanical aspects of the game, especially at tournament level. When Mr. Jeff Rubens became Associate Editor of The Bridge World in 1967, The Bridge Journal ceased independent publication and merged with The Bridge World.

The concept is the same, relatively, whichever designation is used: step responses or control showing responses. The designation control showing responses is used in this presentation.

Once the auction is opened with a strong, artificial 2 Clubs, the responder is forced to bid. The employment of control showing responses requires the responder to show the number of controls, which are the Aces and Kings. bid, to inform his partner step by step.

The responses do not inform his partner where the Aces and Kings are located, only the number thereof. The opener can, as a result, estimate more exactly the strength of the hand of the responder. Variations of this method have been devised within the bridge community and we have attempted to include most variations. It is up to the partnership to decide which variation and/or modification best suits the needs of the partnership.

The foundation of the conventional method is to count each Ace as 2 Controls and each King as 1 Control. The following graph should clarify the Control Showing Responses:

2 : 0 or 1 Control Specifically a King or no King.
2 : 2 Controls 1 Ace or 2 Kings
2 : 3 Controls Specifically 1 Ace and 1 King
2 NT: 3 Controls Specifically 3 Kings
3 : 4 Controls 2 Aces or 4 Kings or 1 Ace and 2 Kings
3 : 5 Controls 2 Aces and 1 King or 1 Ace and 3 Kings

In The Netherlands this conventional response method is known as stap, which translated simply means steps. The reason for this inclusion is that the possible and/or theoretical number of controls have been included. Source. The conventional response method is known as Controle Tonende Antwoorden, and adds to the above schematic the following theoretical control showing responses:

3 : 6 Controls 3 Aces, or 2 Aces with 2 Kings, or 1 Ace with 4 Kings.
3 : 7 Controls 3 Aces with 1 King, or 2 Aces with 3 Kings.
3 NT: 8 Controls 4 Aces, or 3 Aces and 2 Kings, or 2 Aces and 4 Kings.

The first response is the most decisive one, because after the first response, the responder must make a sufficient bid over the bid of his partner. Once mastered, both partners will be able to estimate and/or infer the strength and the location of the controls, which is ultimately the goal before establishing the contract.

As the student certainly has already noticed, the bid of 2 No Trump, indicating three controls, could possibly make the responder the declarer. If this is the case, then it is preferably better that the weaker hand plays. It is not always true that the weaker hand should become the dummy. With three Kings concealed, the opponent leading the first card will be leading up to a King, which is much better than coming through the King.

Altered or Modified Version

The origin is unknown for an altered version of this particular conventional method, which is that the 2 Spades first response shows any 3 controls, either 1 Ace and 1 King or 3 Kings, and the 2 No Trump first response shows only one control with 8 plus high card points. All other first responses remain the same.



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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