This conventional defense method was devised and developed by Mr. Gerald W. Helms, also known Jerry Helms, of North Carolina, United States. The defense method is derived from the surnames of Mr. Jerry Helms and his bridge partner and co-contributor Mr. Bill Lohman. This defense method was developed as an improvement of the Cappelletti conventional defense method, of which Mr. Jerry Helms was a co-developer.

Additional Source

Mr. Gerald W. Helms has presented a summary and short outline of Helms to Hello online. In the words of the author: Outlined below is a popular convention for competing after notrump. Depending on who you know and where you live, the convention is called either Cappelletti, Hamilton, or Helms.

     

Applicable Situations

The concept can be employed in many different situations and auctions such as:

Exclusion Bids
    In the case that the responder of the No Trump bidder makes a call or bid, then this conventional method can enable the partner of the overcaller to take some action.
Balancing
    This concept is also available to the player in the fourth seat to either balance or respond to the action taken by partner after the opponents open the auction with No Trump.
After Strong 1 Club and 2 Clubs Openings
    This concept can also be applied in these situations when the opponents are employing a Strong 1 Club system or after a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening.
After NT Rebids by Opponents
    This concept may also be employed after an opponent has rebid No Trump.
After NT Overcalls by Opponent
    When the partner opens the bidding and an opponent overcalls with No Trump, then the concept may also be employed.

Opponents Open 1 No Trump

After an opponent has opened the auction with 1 No Trump, then the Hello bidder can inform his partner about the shape and distribution and also about the values held, as shown in the following schematic:

Double: This Hello double conveys to partner that similar No Trump values are held and that the double is natural and penalty-oriented or that the Hello doubler has a long, unspecified suit which could run against a final No Trump contract by the opponents.
2 : This is an artificial overcall and informs partner that the intervenor holds either a one-suiter in Diamonds, or a two-suited holding with a Major suit and a Minor suit, both unspecified.
2 : This is a transfer bid to Hearts. The values may be either strong or weak. If weak, then the suit should be at least a 6-card suit.
2 : Promises both Major suits. The strength can be either weak or intermediate. The guideline is that in direct seat both suits should be a 5-5 distribution and in the balancing seat a distribution of at least 5-4.
2 : Promises a long Spade suit. If weak, then the suit should be at least a 6-card suit. If strong, then a 5-card suit is acceptable.
2 NT: This is a transfer bid to Clubs.
3 : Promises both Minor suits.
3 : Promises both Major suits and generally 16 plus high card points.
3 : Preemptive in nature and promises a 7-card plus Heart suit. Weak in point count.
3 : Preemptive in nature and promises a 7-card plus Spade suit. Weak in point count.

Note: The concept presented on this web page is as Mr. Jerry Helms presents it originally. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the overcalls, rebids and responses should be decided depending on the state of vulnerability and that the bridge players should be aware of this fact at all times before making a call or bid.

Note: The concept of the Hello conventional defense method is somewhat dependent on the partnership agreement employed and can be altered or varied to meet the requirements of the particular partnership in values and strength as well as length.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed that the distribution of the holding, when overcalling could / may be reduced to 4-4 in both specified or unspecified suits regardless of the state of vulnerability. This is entirely a partnership agreement in all employed variations of the concept.

Responses and Continuations

Partner: Responder
Double: The responder is required to bid or pass. If the responder passes, then the intention is to play for penalties and the responder should have about 7/8+ high card points. If the responder recognizes a chance at a possible game and/or partscore, resulting in a better score, then the responder should preferably bid, paying attention to the state of vulnerability. Whether systems are "on" or "off" is a matter of partnership agreement.
2 : To complete the relay, the responder should bid 2, which is artificial. If the partner has Diamonds, then the partner may pass or raise to the next level. Otherwise the Hello bidder bids the Major suit on either the two or three level, depending on values. A jump to the three level is invitational.
  Note: Alternatively, the responder may pass the 2 only if the responder has a good Club suit with added length and is of the opinion that a play is possible even opposite a void in the hand of the Hello overcaller.
2 : The responder generally accepts the Transfer bid to 2. Otherwise, if the responder has a good holding in Hearts, then the responder can "re-transfer" with 3 indicating invitational values and 4 with game values.
  Note: Holding good values the responder can also imply the "Heavy 2 NT" response indicating a possible game in Hearts. The Hello bidder can accept game and bid 4 or reject game and bid 3.
  Note: Alternatively, the responder may pass the 2 overcall only if the responder has a good Diamond suit with added length, no tolerance for Hearts, and is willing to play even opposite a Diamond void in the hand of the Hello overcaller.
2 : Since this Hello overcall promises both Major suits, the responder can either pass with good Heart tolerance or bid Spades if the Spade is preferable. With equal tolerance in both Major suits and invitational values, the responder can employ the "Heavy 2 NT" bid and allow the Hello overcaller accept game by bidding 4 (Note: the responder can correct to 4) or reject game by bidding 3 (Note: the responder can correct to 3).
2 : The responder can pass showing tolerance for Spades and weak values. The responder can also invite by raising one level. Any and all cuebids on the three level are forcing for one round and shows more than minimal values. Any first response on the four level is a Splinter bid showing a singleton and/or void and game values.
2NT: As a Transfer bid to Clubs, a non-jump bid of the Clubs suit shows weak values; a jump bid in the Clubs suit indicates an invitational holding with values; a game bid can show either game values or be preemptive in nature. Any bid other than Clubs after the Transfer bid promises an independent suit and is non-forcing.
3 : Pass shows minimum values in Clubs and preferred Minor suit. A raise to 4 is invitational and 5 can show game values or be preemptive in nature. A response of 3 shows only preference, whereas a response of 4 is invitational and a 5 response can show game values or be preemptive in nature.
3 : The general guideline is to make a preference response with a range of 0-6 points. With higher values the responder should bid game in one of the Major suits.
3 : The responder should pass if also weak and little support or preempt on the four level with Heart length as support. Any cuebid of an unbid suit is game-forcing and the desire to double any suit, in which the opponents bid game other than the cuebid suit.
3 : The responder should pass if also weak and little support or preempt on the four level with Spade length as support. Any cuebid of an unbid suit is game-forcing and the desire to double any suit, in which the opponents bid game other than the cuebid suit.

Mr. Gerald W. Helms also presents a second version (Helms II) in his summary and short outline of Helms to Hello online, which is also presented on this web page.

2 : Relay to 2 Diamonds. Confirm a Diamond overcall by passing, or convert the forced diamond response to a Major to show a Major / Minor two-suiter. Advancer uses 2NT to ask which Minor.
2 : Promises both Major suits.
2 : Promises Hearts.
2 : Promises Spades.
2 NT: Promises both Minor suits.
3 : Promises Clubs.
Double: Penalty. More often based on tricks rather than just scattered high-card strength.

Hello Defense Method

When the partner of the No Trump bidder enters the auction after a Hello conventional bid has been made, the partnership requires a means of additional communication. This is illustrated below in the guidelines. Assume the following auction:

South West North East
1 NT 2 2// Double

Any double by East, the Advancer, communicates the information to West, the Hello bidder, of any suit bid by North, the partner of the No Trump bidder, is employed to initiate additional competition by promising a suitable fit and support for the shape of holding held by the Hello bidder. Therefore, the advancer should have at least a 3-card support in Diamonds, Hearts and Spades. This guideline is employed generally up to and including a 3 bid.

Further rebids are shown below with the corresponding meanings.

South West North East
1 NT 2 2// Double
Pass

As soon as the auction returns, in this sequence, to West or the Hello bidder, then the following guidelines are recommended:

3 : This rebid confirms a one-suited Diamond overcall.
3 : This rebid confirms Hearts and an unspecified Minor suit.
3 : This rebid confirms Spades and an unspecified Minor suit.
Pass: A Pass confirms that the partner of the No Trump bidder has advanced with a bid of one of your suits.

In the following auction, the following guidelines are the general recommendations for the Advancer of the Hello bidder:

South West North East
1 NT 2 Double
Redouble: The Advancer, in this example East, should have at least a 3-card support in Diamonds, Hearts and Spades.
Pass: A pass indicates no support in the suits of the Hello bidder and shows a rather neutral holding.
New Suit: Any bid by the Advancer in a new suit promises an independent suit which also includes at least a 3-card Diamond support.

Balancing Seat

This concept is also available to the player in the fourth seat to either balance or respond to the action taken by partner after the opponents open the auction with No Trump. The concept behind this action is the reasoning that a penalty double in fourth seat asking for an inspired and/or unusual lead becomes a guessing game. An alternative is that the call of double forces the partner to bid: 2. The rebids of the Hello Doubler take on other meanings than those of the Hello Doubler in the immediate seat. The following auctions and guidelines illustrate this principle. Note the change of dealers in the two auctions. One is a passed hand.

South West North East
1 NT Pass Pass Double
Pass 2 Pass ?
       
West North East South
Pass 1 NT Pass Pass
Double Pass 2 Pass
?
Pass: The 2 overcall is natural and promises a semi-solid 5-card Club suit or a broken 6-card Club suit. Note: the Hello bidder must be aware of the distinction between a Pass and a "heavy" 2 NT overcall.
2 : This rebid promises Diamonds and an unspecified Major suit.
2 : This rebid implies at least a 4-card Heart suit but guarantees a 5-card plus Club suit.
2 : This rebid implies at least a 4-card Spade suit but guarantees a 5-card plus Club suit.
Other: Owing to the fact that most overcalls are able to show shape and length, any other overcall implies strongly a holding with less shape and/or values or playing defensive strength.

The suggested responses by the Advancer follow:

2 : A pass by the Advancer indicates a preference to Diamonds. To ask for the unspecified Major suit, the Advancer bids: 2. If this is the Major suit of the Hello bidder, then the Hello bidder could initiate an invitation and/or the Advancer could jump one level to show maximum values and shape.
2 : A pass by the Advancer indicates a preference to Hearts and minimum values. The Advancer bids 3 with Club support. The Advancer may also employ the "heavy" 2 No Trump response.
2 : A pass by the Advancer indicates a preference to Spades and minimum values. The Advancer bids 3 with Club support. The Advancer may also employ the "heavy" 2 No Trump response.
Other: Owing to the fact that most calls of the Advancer are able to show shape and length or preference, any other overcall implies strongly a holding with less shape and/or values or playing defensive strength.

Following Strong 1 Club and 2 Clubs Opening Bids

The Hello conventional method can also be employed after a Strong 1 Club and 2 Clubs openings. This concept can also be applied in these situations by employing the double as the original 2 bid after a No Trump opening. The student of this concept will recognize that the the responses remain the same as does the significance of the bid. Depending on the level of bidding the responses also remain the same.

This method requires a solid partnership understanding and an awareness of the situation, the action of the opponents, and the state of vulnerability in addition to any defense mechanism in the case the partner of the opener enters the auction to interrupt the line of communication.

Following No Trump Overcalls by an Opponent

The Hello conventional method can also be employed once the auction has been opened on the one level and the immediate opponent overcalls with No Trump as shown in the following example:

South West North East
1 1 NT ?

After South has opened the auction and an immediate No Trump overcall has been made, then the advancer, in this example North, has several options as outlined below. These guidelines may differ from those where the auction is opened with a Major suit. The student should be aware that the guidelines recommended may be the same for either a Minor suit or Major suit opening, but they may also differ according to the partnership understanding. Included are both.

Pass: A pass indicates a holding which is not capable of either doubling or making a bid. The holding is more destined to defend than compete. The maximum number of values should be 10 or less.
Double: A double promises 10 plus points and may be converted to penalty.
2 : This is a relay to 2 and either shows Diamonds and Spades, or Spades and an unspecified Minor suit. A continuation to 2 may be followed by 2 No Trump by the opener to ask for the unspecified Minor suit and should be employed when holding no Spade tolerance.
2 : This bid is a transfer bid to Hearts.
2 : This bid promises both Major suits.
2 : This bid promises a longer Spade suit. It is natural and non-forcing. A jump to 3 is invitational.
3 : This jump bid promises both Minor suits. The state of vulnerability may be the deciding factor in the length required or recommended.

Opening Bid is a Major Suit

If the auction begins with an opening of a Major suit, specifically Hearts, then the partnership understanding may differ according to agreement. A differing set of guidelines has been suggested by Mr. Jerry Helms, which are listed below with the corresponding auction.

South West North East
1 1 NT ?
Pass: A pass indicates a holding which is not capable of either doubling or making a bid. The holding is more destined to defend than compete. The maximum number of values should be 10 or less.
Double: A double promises 10 plus points and may be converted to Penalty.
2 : This first response is a relay to Diamonds and promises a semi-solid 5-card Diamond suit; otherwise it should be a 6-card Diamond suit.
2 : This response is a limited Heart raise. Per partnership agreement, this may be a jump response to show additional values and excellent support for Hearts.
2 : This bid promises both Major suits. The holding should be at least a 3-card Heart suit and a 5-card plus Spade suit.
2 : This bid promises a 6-card or longer Spade suit. (Optional agreement)
2 NT: This is a relay to 3 and promises a 7-card semi-solid Club suit headed by Queen-Jack at least.
3 : This first response promises both Minor suits and should be 4-5 or 5-5 depending on the state of vulnerability.

Optional Treatments and Variations

If the auction begins with a specific opening of the Diamond suit, then the partnership understanding may differ according to agreement. The following meanings of the first response may / can differ according to individual partnership agreements. Mr. Jerry Helms has not addressed this possibility. For example, if the auction proceeds:

South West North East
1 1 NT ?

In this particular auction the first bids of the responder may take on other meanings as outlined below:

Pass: A pass indicates a holding which is not capable of either doubling or making a bid. The holding is more destined to defend than compete. The maximum number of values should be 10 or less.
Double: A double promises 10 plus points and may be converted to penalty.
2 : This first response promises Spades and an unspecified Minor suit. A rebid of 2 NT by the opener asks for the Minor suit.
2 : This first response is a transfer bid to Hearts. The length should be at least a 5-card plus Heart suit.
2 : This first response promises both Major suits and equal length or working values in both Major suits.
2 : This bid promises a 6-card or longer Spade suit. (Optional agreement)
2 NT: This is a relay to 3 and promises a 7-card semi-solid Club suit headed by Queen-Jack at least.
3 : This first response promises both Minor suits and should be 4-5 or 5-5 depending on the state of vulnerability.

If the auction begins with a specific opening of the Spade suit, then the partnership understanding may differ according to agreement. The following meanings of the first response may / can differ according to individual partnership agreements. Mr. Jerry Helms has not addressed this possibility. For example, if the auction proceeds:

South West North East
1 1 NT ?

In this particular auction the first bids of the responder may take on other meanings as outlined below:

Pass: A pass indicates a holding which is not capable of either doubling or making a bid. The holding is more destined to defend than compete. The maximum number of values should be 10 or less.
Double: A double promises 10 plus points and may be converted to Penalty.
2 : This first response is a relay to 2 and promises at least a semi-solid 5-card Diamond suit or a broken 6-card Diamond suit.
2 : This first response is a Transfer bid to Hearts. The length should be at least a 5-card plus Heart suit.
2 : This first response promises a one-level raise of Spades with corresponding support.
2 : This first response promises at least 3-card Spade support and at least a 5-card plus Heart suit.
2 NT: This is a relay to 3 and promises a 7-card semi-solid Club suit headed by Queen-Jack at least.
3 : This first response promises both Minor suits and should be 4-5 or 5-5 depending on the state of vulnerability.

Against Strong, Artificial 1 Club Openings

The concept of the Hello conventional method can be combined with the Mathe system of conventionally defined doubles as authored and developed by Mr. Lew Mathe. This combined conventional method is employed mainly against strong, artificial 1 Club openings by the opponents. A certain immediate disadvantage of the strong, artificial 1 Club opening is that the bid communicates a definitely held high card point range, but does not specify on the opening any suit or distribution. The guidelines are outlined below:

South West North East
1 ?  
Pass: A pass indicates either no particular suit OR promises a strong balanced to semi-balanced holding. Whether this pass is regarded as a Forcing Pass is partnership agreement.
Double: Promises both Major suits. If weak, then the distribution must be 5-5, otherwise distribution can be 5-4 based on partnership agreement.
1 : This overcall is natural promising at least a 5-card plus Diamond suit and may be lead-directing.
1 : This overcall is natural promising at least a 5-card plus Heart suit and may be lead-directing.
1 : This overcall is natural promising at least a 5-card plus Spade suit and may be lead-directing.
2 : This overcall is a transfer bid to Diamonds and is preemptive / obstructive in nature.
2 : This overcall is a transfer bid to Hearts and is preemptive / obstructive in nature.
2 : This overcall promises both Major suits and at least a distribution of 5-5, which may depend on the state of vulnerability.
2 : This overcall promises the equivalent of a Weak Two bid in Spades.
2 NT: This overcall is a Transfer bid to Clubs and is preemptive / obstructive in nature.
3 : This overcall promises both Minor suits and at least a distribution of 5-5, which may depend on the state of vulnerability.

Against a Strong, Artificial 2 Clubs Opening

The concept of the Hello conventional method can also be employed after a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening by the opponents. The guidelines are outlined below for an immediate overcall:

South West North East
2 ?
Double: This is a transfer bid to a long Diamond suit. The holding may not be two-suited in shape.
2 : This is a transfer bid to a long Heart suit. The holding may not be two-suited in shape.
2 : This promises both Major suits with at least a 5-5 distribution by all states of vulnerability.
2 : This bid is natural and promises a long Spade suit with corresponding trick-taking ability.
2 NT: This is a Transfer bid to Clubs and promises at least a semi-solid 5-card Club suit or otherwise a 6-card plus Club suit.
3 : Promises both Minor suits and should be 5-5 in shape.

Fourth Seat

The concept of the Hello conventional defense method can also be employed after a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening by the opponents. The guidelines are outlined below for an fourth seat overcall:

South West North East
2 Pass 2 ?
Double: Promises both Major suits.
2 NT: Promises both Minor suits.
2 : This is a natural bid and promises a one-suited holding.
2 : This is a natural bid and promises a one-suited holding.
3 : This is a natural bid showing long Clubs and trick-taking values.
3 : This is a natural bid showing long Diamonds and trick-taking values.

Against a Strong 2 No Trump Opening

The concept of the Hello conventional method can also be employed after a strong 2 No Trump opening by the opponents. The overcaller may be sacrificing for a better score or may have a natural overcall with a strong one-suited, possibly two-suited holding with trick-taking capabilities. The following guidelines are outlined below:

South West North East
2 NT ?
Double: This is a transfer bid to a long Club suit.
3 : This is a transfer bid to a long Diamond suit.
3 : This is a Transfer bid to a long Heart suit.
3 : This overcall promises a two-suited holding in both Major suits. Possible void.
3 : This is a natural bid showing long Spades and trick-taking values.
3 NT: This overcall promises a two-suited holding in both Minor suits.

 

 

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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