This conventional method was devised by Mr. Tom G. Townsend of Berkshire, England, which is a Home County in the South East of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county. This usage, which goes back to the 19th century at least, was recognized by the Queen in 1958.

The county is one of the oldest in England. It may date from the 840s, the probable period of the unification of Sunningum (East Berkshire) and Ashdown (the Berkshire Downs, probably including the Kennet Valley). The county is first mentioned by name in 860. According to Asser, it takes its name from a large forest of box trees that was called Bearroc, which is believed, in turn, to be a Celtic word meaning hilly.

     

Basic Concept

This conventional method first found a public format in The Bridge World magazine authored by Mr. Barry J. Rigal of New York, New York, in October 1996, page 27. The designation of this method has been explained by Mr. Barry J. Rigal in a message posted to the newsgroup 'rec.games.brige', which follows and which Mr. David Stevenson also confirms later in the thread of the topic.


GNATS

Is already a system. But it is so incredibly appropriate I'm prepared to let DWS (David Stevenson) have it...

I wrote about transfer jump responses to a take-out double in BW (The Bridge World) circa 1990 I think. And also about transfer fourth-suit forcing (an idea poached from (P.J.) Crouch / (J.O.) Hobson). I'm not sure but I think the second of these was called GNATS.

It was never discussed in BW but the reason why it was so named was ... 'G*D! Not Another Transfer System!'

Barry Rigal

Note: It is left to the imagination of the reader to decipher the expletive, which could be: goodness, Godzilla, gadzooks, etc.

Note: The bridge student can read the entire posting of Mr. David Stevenson about GNATS Opening Bids in the accompanying .pdf file, which is only preserved and archived and included on this site for future reference.

Note: In this thread archived in this newsgroup Mr. David Stevenson presents (in the first person as a contributor) ...... 'GNATS, a system permitted at Level 4 in England/Wales, so I thought I would just tell you the basics. I only play it for fun, not because I think it theoretically better, but some parts of it are interesting. GNATS was a name conceded to me by Barry Rigal, first used in Cambridge University for some long forgotten system many years ago. It stands for G*d, Not Another Transfer System.'

The student of bridge will find that this version by Mr. David Stevenson is not identical with the version published by Mr. Barry J. Rigal in The Bridge World magazine and developed by Mr. Tom G. Townsend. Following is the version as published in The Bridge World magazine in October 1996 and not the version of Mr. David Stevenson as presented in the newsgroup 'rec.games.brige', posted July 21, 2007, 10:54pm, and who is the Forum Host of 'forums.bridgetalk.com'. In order to view this posting the student should become a subscriber to this particular bridge forum or view the shortened version, which is taken from this source and which is archived and preserved on this site in .pdf file format for future reference only.

GNATS Convention

This conventional method was developed by Mr. Tom G. Townsend in order to permit and allow the partnership to describe, define, delimit, and determine one-suited and two-suited holdings, and also balanced and unbalanced holdings, with Spade support, but of different strength and values. This conventional method can be triggered or initiated when and only when the following bidding sequence has taken place:

South   West   North   East
1 hearts   Pass   1 Spades   Pass
GNATS            

The opener, South in this example, can describe and limit and transfer North via the following rebids:

1 NT: This is a transfer to Clubs, which could possibly be only a 3-card suit. Partner is required to bid Clubs. The presumed distribution is therefore 3S-5H-2D-3C.
2 Clubs: This is a transfer to Diamonds. Partner is required to bid Diamonds.
2 Diamonds: Although the Heart suit is actually the opened suit, this rebid is a transfer to Hearts. Partner is required to bid Hearts. This rebid promises a one-suited holding in Hearts and at least medium values or strength. Any subsequent minimum rebid promises only invitational values, whereas any subsequent strong rebid promises additional values.
2 hearts: As opposed to the 2Diamonds rebid, this rebid is natural and promises a one-suited holding in Hearts with at least a 6-card suit with only minimum values.
2 Spades: A natural systemic raise of the suit of partner, which can be only 3-card support. It shows minimum values and a balanced to semi-balanced holding.
2 NT: A natural systemic bid. (Normally promises 18 plus points and denies Spade support.)
3 Clubs: This rebid is a transfer to Diamonds and promises a fit for the suit of partner, which is Spades; promises per partnership agreement either invitational or game values. (Note: following this rebid the partnership may agree to employ 'mini-splinter' bids for a slam try.
3 Diamonds: This rebid is a transfer to Hearts and promises a fit for the suit of partner, which is Spades; promises per partnership agreement either invitational or game values. (Note: following this rebid the partnership may agree to employ 'mini-splinter' bids for a slam try.
3 hearts: This rebid promises game values, additional length in Hearts, and denies sufficient Spade support.
3 Spades: This rebid shows a limit raise for the suit of partner, which is Spades, and promises only moderate/medium values. The expected distribution is 4S-5H-2D-2C. Whether or not this rebid always promises a 4-card Spade support is determined by partnership agreement.
3 NT: This rebid promises a solid suit in Hearts headed by at least the top three of the five honors: AKQxxx meets perhaps the minimum requirement.
4 Clubs: This is a so-called auto-splinter showing a one-suited Heart holding with game values and at most a singleton in Clubs. It also denies any support for the suit of partner. (Note: an auto-splinter bid is a call that indicates a short suit in a holding with one long suit, such as a bid that announces the singleton in a distribution of 6-3-3-1. Also Note: this rebid may promise a void in Clubs per partnership agreement.)
4 Diamonds: This is a so-called auto-splinter showing a one-suited Heart holding with game values and at most a singleton in Diamonds. It also denies any support for the suit of partner. (Note: an auto-splinter bid is a call that indicates a short suit in a holding with one long suit, such as a bid that announces the singleton in a distribution of 6-3-3-1. Also Note: this rebid may promise a void in Diamonds per partnership agreement.)
4 hearts: Promises a minimum of 6 Hearts and a minimum of 4 Spades. Game forcing.
4 Spades: Promises exactly 5 Spades and a minimum of 6 Hearts. Game forcing and slam invitational.

These rebids by the opener following this particular bidding sequence describe the holding of the opener. However, following any rebid by the opener, the continuances can become more exacting for the partnership to reach the maximum partscore, the game contract, and the slam contract. Such continuances are per partnership agreement and are not included. It should be noted that this method should be employed by a practiced partnership.

 

 

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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