The origin of this particular competitive method against three-level preemptive opening bids by the opposing side remains unknown. It is strongly assumed that the concept originated within the bridge community. The letters build an acronym from the explanation of the concept, namely FIshbein over red suits and LOwer Minor over black suits. However, Mr. Harry J. Fishbein is not the developer of this particular competitive method.

Fishbein Convention

The Fishbein conventional method is employed after an opponent's preemptive opening bid, usually at the three level. The method is intended on one hand to allow the partnership to find the best contract, and on the other hand to apply a sever penalty to the preemptive opening bidder. The reader must realize that the Fishbein convention is employed only by a non-passed player in the direct position, and must also comply with the following three principles.

1. Following a preemptive opening bid at the three level a double is for penalty. The double is not intended for takeout. In order to double the competing intervenor must have length in the suit of the opening preemptive bidder, and must also hold a strong hand with defensive tricks. (Note: it is generally assumed that the defensive tricks should be in the trump suit.)
 
Hand 1
75
A3
AK976
KJ87
 
Hand 2
AKQJ65
64
82
AK2
  The intervenor, with Hand 1, would double for penalty following a preemptive opening bid of 3 Clubs. However, with Hand 2, it is strongly recommended that the intervenor not double for penalty following a preemptive opening bid of 3 Clubs. (Note: see example below as to the correct bid.)
   
2. The takeout is accomplished by overcalling the preemptive opening suit with the next higher ranking suit except No Trump. This completely artificial one-round forcing overcall forces the advancer to bid his longest suit. (Note: whether or not the advancer holds one stopper in the preemptive suit, the general consensus is that the advancer does not have the option of bidding No Trump.
 
Hand 1
AQ64
AJ105
AQ6
75
 
 
   
   
   
   
  Following a preemptive opening bid of 3 Clubs by the opposing side, then the intervenor should decide to compete with Hand 1. The willingness to compete is communicated to the advancer by bidding the next higher ranking suit, which is Diamonds. If the preemptive opening bid is 3 Diamonds, then the intervenor would overcall 3 Hearts, and if the preemptive opening bid is 3 Hearts, then the intervenor would overcall 3 Spades.
  Note: all continuations follow the parameters as established by the Fishbein convention.
   
3. An overcall by the intervenor of 3 No Trump is to play. A text book holding is included below.
 
Hand 1
AQ
KQJ6
AK8
AQ7
 
 
   
   
   
   
   
4. Most Important Principle: Any overcall of double following a preemptive opening bid on the three level is always for penalty. Partner must pass.
     

Cheaper Minor

The combination of the two concepts, Fishbein and Cheaper Minor, is that the intervenor can include bidding the cheaper Minor suit over any preemptive opening bid in a black suit, either Spades or Clubs. If the preemptive opening bid on the three level is Spades, then the cheaper Minor suit is employed, which would be 4 Clubs. If the preemptive opening bid on the three level is Clubs, then the cheaper Minor suit is employed, which would be 4 Diamonds.

Note: Any cuebid of the preemptive opening bid in a Minor suit on the three level is employed as Michaels Cuebid showing a Major two-suiter. Any cuebid of the preemptive opening bid in a Major suit on the three level is employed as Michaels Cuebid showing the other Major suit and an unspecified Minor suit.

Note: As a feature of this combination of concepts to compete with a overcall to communicate accurate information to the advancer one of the agreements is that a jump by the intervenor to 4 Diamonds following a preemptive opening bid of 3 Clubs promises Diamonds and an unspecified Major suit. The advancer can either pass or correct.

Note: As this particular competitive method is generally employed by bridge players, who mainly play according to the principles of Acol, it must be added that the competitive method includes the Fishbein convention, the bid of the cheaper Minor, the Michaels Cuebid, and a jump bid to show a Minor suit and a Major suit.

Note: Generally all continuations by the advancer are per partnership agreement and/or bidding approach.

 

 

If you wish to include and of these features, 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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