This document, as detailed by Mr. Jukka K. Korpela, presents a foundation for the Finnish Standard Bidding System for bridge. Officially the standard is defined for the bidding panel of the Finnish Bridge magazine, but it is often regarded as a more general standard. Finnish bridge players quite often base their bidding system on this standard, usually omitting some conventions or adding their own.

Biographic Information

Mr. Jukka K. Korpela maintains a website on the Internet. After more than 25 years in different positions at the Helsinki University of Technology, working with IT services, user support, software development, and teaching, Mr. Jukka J. Kopela has worked as a consultant and author, as well as at the Finnish Information Society Development Center (IT standardization) and at the Blue1 airline company. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 books in Finnish. Mr. Jukka K. Korpela also maintains a blogspot on the web as of the year 2006.

     

His side interest includes also the game of bridge He has authored outlines and documentation of the Finnish Standard bidding system, which he has presented online both in Finnish and also in the English language. According to the author this document describes the standard as defined in the 1/1995 issue of the Finnish Bridge magazine. There is a newer version, which is the modern standard.

The information below is the English translation of the document as authored by Mr. Jukka K. Korpela, which is only preserved on this site for future reference.

Opening Bids and Responses

Opening Meaning Responses See Below
1 any suit 4-card plus suit Limit Stenberg, Splinter
1 NT: 15-17 HCPs, balanced   Two-Way Stayman
  5-card Major allowed   Gerber, Texas
2 Clubs: Forcing to Game or 2 NT asks 2 is negative or Relay and other
  23-24 HCPs, balanced   bids are natural and positive. Game-forcing.
2 : 6-card suit, 6-11 HCPs 2 NT asks  
2 : 6-card suit, 6-11 HCPs 2 NT asks  
2 : 6-card suit, 6-11 HCPs 2 NT asks  
2 NT: 20-22 HCPs, balanced Baron, Flint,  
  5-card Major allowed Gerber, Texas  
3 NT: Gambling 4 is suit-searching  
  No side strength 4 asks for shortness  
4 : Strong Preempt 4 or 4 is a sign-off controls, Blackwood
4 : Strong Preempt and other responses are controls, Blackwood

Conventions

Bidding the Fourth Suit is a general one-round force, which does not promise the suit bid. This also applies to a passed hand, but in that case it does not promise a new bid.

Splinter bids.
Classical for all four Aces is Blackwood.
Control-Showing Cuebids; the first cuebid promises first-round control.
Free 5 No Trump - see below.
Sputnik Double up to 2 Spades.
Responsive Double up to 3 Hearts.
Lightner Double.

Defensive Bidding

Simple overcall: indicates approximately 8-16HCPs and normally a 5 card suit, at least. If the partner of the overcaller makes a bid in the opening bid (generally forcing), then a minimum rebid in the overcall suit shows a weak hand and does not promise additional length in the suit.
Jump Overcalls are weak.
Takeout Double promises either support to unbid suits or extra strength.
1 No Trump overcall promises 15-18HCPs. The partner can then make a Major suit query by bidding 2 Clubs, unless the opening bid was 1 Diamond, in which case the Major suit query is 2 Diamonds.
Fourth-Hand 1 No Trump (Protective No Trump): 11-14HCPs.
Michaels Cuebid: an overcall in the suit of the opponent promises at least 5 cards in the highest unbid suit and in another unbid suit.
Unusual 2 No Trump: this bid promises at least 5 cards in the two lowest unbid suits.

Additional Information About Opening Bids And Responses

After 2 Clubs opening and the 2 Diamonds response, the 2 No Trump rebid shows a balanced hand with 23-24HCPs, and after this the continuation is similar to that after the 2 No Trump opening. Other rebids after the 2 Diamonds response are forcing to game.

In response to a 2 Diamonds opening, 2 No Trump is a query, to which the opener responds:

3 : minimum
3 //: No Trump control in the bid suit
3 NT: AKQxxx

In response to a 2 Hearts/Spades opening, 2 No Trump is also a query, but with the following responses:

3 of the opening suit: minimum, balanced
3 of another suit: indicates shortness in that suit
3 No Trump: maximum, balanced

3 No Trump opening is gambling and indicates a solid Minor suit, with generally no side strength. A 4 Diamonds response asks for a shortness, with the following responses:

4 /: shortness in that suit
4 NT: indicates no shortness
5 /: indicates that suit and shortness in the other Minor

Descriptions of Conventions

No Trump Conventions

Two-Way Stayman
The responses to a 1 No Trump opening have the following meanings:
  2 Clubs: Major suit query according to Two-Way Stayman, usually invitational strength.
  2 Diamonds: Major suit query according to Two-Way Stayman, and is forcing to game.
  2 of a Major or 3 of a Minor: sign-off with a weak hand and long suit.
  2 No Trump or 3 No Trump: natural raise.
The query 2 Clubs can also be made with a weak hand, with the intention to pass the rebid of the opener. On the hand it can also be made with a strong hand, if the rebid of the opener gives sufficient information for deciding the final contract. The rebids of the opener are:
  2 Diamonds: no Majors.
  2 Hearts: Heart suit, but does not deny spade suit.
  2 Spades: Spade suit, no Heart suit.
After this, the responder can raise the Major suit bid by the opener, or bid 2 No Trump., or bid a new suit with at least 5 cards, but bidding a Minor suit does not promise the unbid Major. These are all invitational bids. The responder can also set the final contract bidding a game.
The 2 Clubs query must not be made without a reason. For instance, in the series 1 NT - 2 Clubs - 2 Hearts - 2 NT or 3 NT the responder promises a Spade suit of four cards.
After the 2 Diamonds query the opener rebids:
  2 Hearts/Spades: a suit. With both Majors the rebid is 2 Hearts; continuation:
    2 No Trump: relay, after which the opener bids his other suit or rebids a five-card Major or bids 3 No Trump with a fully balanced distribution (4-3-3-3).
 

 

New suit: at least five cards
    Raise: support, slam invitational, denies short suits, except with a singleton honor.
    3 No Trump or Jump Raise: final contract.
    Jump in a new suit: Splinter bid.
  2 No Trump: no Majors, no five-card Minors; continuation:
    3 Clubs: relay, after which opener rebids his three-card Major with 4-4 Minors, 3 Diamonds with a four-card Diamond suit and 3 No Trump with a four-card Club suit.
    Bid in a suit: at least five cards in the suit.
    3 No Trump or 4 of a Major: final contract.
  3 of a Minor: five-card suit; continuation:
    New suit: at least five cards.
    3 No Trump or 4 of a Major: final contract.
    Raise: slam invitation.

Baron

After a 2 No Trump opening, 3 Clubs is a request to bid suits from below. If opener's only suit is Clubs, he rebids 3 No Trump.
This convention is also applied in the series 2 Clubs - 2 Diamonds - 2 No Trump - 3 Clubs.

Flint

After a 2 No Trump opening, 3 Diamonds commands the opener to rebid 3 Hearts. Then the responder rebids:
  Pass.
  3 Spades: signoff.
  3 No Trump: exactly five Spades and exactly four Hearts, not forcing.
  4 of a Minor: at least a five-card suit, slam invitation.
(Note:) This convention is also applied in the series 2 Clubs - 2 Diamonds - 2 No Trump - 3 Diamonds.

Gerber

After a 1 No Trump or 2 No Trump opening or after the series 2 Clubs - 2 Diamonds - 2 NT, a 4 Clubs bid asks for Aces, with the following responses:

4 : 0 or 4 Aces
4 : 1 Ace
4 : 2 Aces
4 NT: 3 Aces

After this, 5 Clubs ask for Kings analogously, other bids set the final contract.

Texas

After a 1 No Trump or 2 No Trump opening or after the series 2 Clubs - 2 Diamonds - 2 NT:

4 : 4 Diamonds is transfer to 4 Hearts.
4 : 4 Hearts is transfer to 4 Spades.

Conventions Which Indicate Trump Support

Stenberg

In response to an opening bid of 1 of a suit, the 2 No Trump response shows at least 4-card support and is forcing to game.

With a minimum hand, the opener's rebid is always 3 Clubs. Thus, other rebids by opener show a better than minimum hand, and in addition to this:

a simple rebid in a new suit (excluding Clubs) shows that suit.
a rebid of 3 of the opening suit shows Club suit.
3 No Trump shows Jump No Trump,18-19HCPs, balanced.
a rebid in a new suit at the level of four shows shortness in that suit and denies side suits.
a jump rebid in the opening suit shows a one-suited hand without shortness (distribution 6-3-2-2 or 7-2-2-2); it is forcing for one round. This also applies to 4 of a Major.

After a minimum rebid (3 Clubs) by opener:

if the opening bid was in a Minor, both players bid No-Trump controls at the level of three, with the intention of bidding 3 No Trump if suitable.
if the opening bid was in a Major, a rebid of 3 of the opening suit by responder asks for a short suit.

In the sequel, 4 NT is Blackwood. Otherwise further bids are control bids.

Splinter

A Double Jump, or an unnecessary jump, in a new suit shows trump support and shortness in the suit bid.

The strength required for the bid depends on the bidding series. A basic splinter, 1 Heart - 4 Clubs, promises about 11-15HCPs.

The standard does not specify exactly, when it is a splinter. It states that an unnecessary jump is a splinter, if there is some other way of making a slam invitation in the latest suit bid without difficulties. An example is the series: 1 Diamond - 1 Heart - 1 Spade - 4 Clubs. On the other hand, the series: 1 Heart - 1 Spade - 2 Hearts - 4 Clubs is an example of a series where a jump is not a splinter but only a control bid, shortness or genuine control.

Slam Conventions

Blackwood

Basic Blackwood, Four Aces Blackwood, is used.

After Blackwood, 5 No Trump asks to show Kings by Control Bids. The bid promises that the pair has all Aces, so partner can bid grand slam with sufficient tricks.

Control Bids

The first control bid promises first-round control, an Ace or void. In a control bid series, 4 No Trump is Blackwood only immediately after the first Control Bid. Otherwise it is a general forward-going bid.

Free 5 No Trump

Free 5 No Trump is a trump honor query, with stepwise answers:

6 : 0 honors in the trump suit
6 : 1 honor in the trump suit
6 : 2 honors in the trump suit
6 : 3 honors in the trump suit

Other Conventions and Principles

Fourth Suit is a general forcing bid, but does not promise the suit, also by a passed hand, but in that case the bid does not promise a rebid.
Raise of fourth suit by opener promises a maximum opening without a natural bid and is forcing to game.
2-over-1 is forcing up to two of the opening suit.
Reverse at the level of two by opener promises additional strength and is an unlimited round force, also after 1-over-1 response.
A game force that has been established cannot be canceled later.
After interference by the opponents with 1 NT, a bid in a new suit by responder is not forcing, and 2 No Trump is a game force with a distributional hand.
4 NT as a raise of a natural no trump bid is quantitative, not Ace asking.
4 NT in a tight situation, that is when the opponents have bid so that natural forward-going bids are not available, is neither natural nor Ace-asking.
After Redouble, that is when the opening bid has been doubled by an opponent and redoubled by responder, and the other opponent has passed, a simple rebid by opener shows that the high-card strength is minimal, and a jump rebid promises more playing strength, but not more high card strength. Thus, with good high card strength, the opener in this position passes even with a distributional hand.

Doubles

General Principles:

A Take-Out Double promises support to unbid suits or additional strength.
Responsive Doubles up to three Hearts.
Negative Double or Sputnik Double up to two Spades.
Lightner Doubles.

Responsive Double is applied in a bidding series where an opponent has made an opening bid in a suit and after a double or an overcall the other opponent has supported the opening suit. For example: 1 Heart - Double - 3 Hearts - Double or 1 Heart - 1 Spade - 2 Hearts - Double. If the other opponent has bid a new suit, a double is not responsive. In this situation, if the partner had doubled, a double is for penalties.

If there is, after the opening bid by the partner, a Jump Overcall higher than 2 Spades, then a double is conditional/optional, promising a few useful cards but not necessarily support for unbid suits. The same applies to situations where the doubler is below the suit or the opponents have a fit in a suit.

A protective double by a hand that has passed after a Takeout Double is a Takeout Double by a weak hand. Thus, the standard does not allow a bush pass after a Takeout Double, which means passing with opening strength and shortness in the suit of the partner.

A double is for penalties especially in the following situations:

when game force has been established.
after a strength-showing redouble.
after a penalty double which is based on the combined strength, for example after a double of a No Trump overcall.

 

 

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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