Also known as Herbert Negatives. The original conventional method of showing weak, if not zero values, on the second bid was developed by Mr. Walter Herbert, formerly of Austria and then of San Diego, California, and who became the Director and also Conductor of the San Diego Opera. The conventional method was designated the Herbert Second Negative and was included as a feature for agreements employing strong opening bids. It also became part of the Vienna bidding system of Austria, which used the Bamberger point count of 7-5-3-1, and which is an artificial One Club System.

Principles of the Concept

The idea behind the concept found favor with the bridge community and was further developed and is presently also used by the advancer as a response to a Takeout Double following an opening bid by an opponent. The true origin of this version, also dedicated to and designated as a Herbert Negative, is not completely known. However, the following description was developed, promoted, advocated by Mr. Daniel Auby of Vallentuna Municipality in Stockholm County, Sweden.

When assuming the following auction, it becomes difficult for the advancer to immediately communicate to partner the range of values adequately by so-called standard methods. However, it is almost vital that this information be conveyed so that the intervenor, the partner making the Takeout Double, can more precisely judge the effectiveness of competing and/or sacrificing.

East

South

West

North

1

Double

Pass

?

North may not pass the Takeout Double, and North should have an effective agreement with partner to show a certain range of points. The concept behind the Herbert Negative is to use the cheapest available bid as an artificial call, thus having the possibility of defining certain ranges. As a result of this particularly informative bid the intervenor is immediately in the position to conclude which contract is possible and at which level. It is important to remember that the bid by the advancer does not inform the partner about shape, distribution, or possible stoppers in the suit of the opening opponent.

The conventional method, as advocated by Mr. Daniel Auby, also incorporates this concept with the concept behind the lebensohl conventional method to allow the advancer to communicate more information to describe a larger variety of holdings, also stronger holdings. Therefore, the frequency of the Herbert Negative bids is increased and they become more precise in conveyed information.

As a result the Herbert Negative bids can also be employed in the following bidding sequences:

East

South

West

North

2

Double

Pass

?

       

East

South

West

North

3

Double

Pass

?

The responses of the advancer to a Takeout Double by partner is bidding-sequence-conditional, which means only that the top limit of the values held shown by the Herbert Negative bid depends on the the bidding sequence. The Herbert Negative bid is the next cheapest and available bid (designated as the first step) and is a three-way bid. This is the key to the entire concept.

1. To show minimum values (0-5 high card points), the bidding sequence must be as follows. The advancer shows immediately a holding considered minimum and negative, informing partner to be cautious.

East

South

West

North

Meaning

1

Double

Pass

1

Herbert Negative bid showing 0-5 high card points.
AQ86
AK106
765
KQ
J742
J873
943
106

2. To show more values (0-8 high card points), the bidding sequence must be as follows. The advancer shows a so-called medium holding. If the advancer rebids 2 No Trump, this rebid is natural and promises the top range of the held values or between 5/6-8 high card points or, at the most, a bad 9 high card points.

East

South

West

North

Meaning

1

Pass

Pass

Double

Pass 1 Herbert Negative bid showing 0-8 high card points.
J742
Q873
QJ3
106
AQ86
AK106
765
KQ

3. The advancer promises values between 0-7 high card points in the following two bidding sequences. In the first example of both opening bids by the opponent the intervenor is in Second Seat and in the following example the intervenor is in the Fourth Seat, but both sequences allow the advancer to communicate the range of values held.

East

South

West

North

Meaning

2

Double

Pass

2

Herbert Negative bid showing 0-7 high card points.
2 Pass 2 Double
2 2
Herbert Negative bid showing 0-7 high card points.

East

South

West

North

3

Double

Pass

2

Herbert Negative bid showing 0-7 high card points.
3 Pass Pass Double
Pass 3
Herbert Negative bid showing 0-7 high card points.

4. The advancer promises values between 0-12 high card points in the following bidding sequence:

East

South

West

North

Meaning

Pass

1

Pass

Pass

Double Pass 1 Herbert Negative bid showing 0-12 high card points.
AQ86
AKJ6
76
984
KJ74
Q873
KQ3
106

If the advancer does not make the next possible bid, the next cheapest available bid, then the advancer does not trigger the Herbert Negative bid. Rather the continuances convey other information to the intervenor. They are as follows:

1. Any other bid, which is not a Herbert Negative bid, and which is not a non-jump bid, is natural and constructive. In general this is a one-round forcing bid.
2. Any other bid, which is not a Herbert Negative bid, and which is a jump bid is natural and a game try.
3. Any cuebid of the suit of the opponent is only forcing for one round and is not game forcing, but rather only a game attempt.

Most experienced bridge players will soon recognize that the Herbert Negative bids are so designed that the final contract, if the opponents concede, may not be played in the suit of the Herbert Negative bid, since the bid is totally artificial and shows no length in the suit named. Another possible drawback is that the intervenor (or partnership) is unable to include Lead Directing Doubles in their partnership agreement since the double by the intervenor is forcing. The advancer must respond.

Note: In the age-old debate as to whether the advancer continues to be forced to bid if the partner of the opener, or right hand opponent, responds with either a suit bid or a double or redouble or is exempt from bidding is a matter of partnership agreement. The reason behind the possibility that the advancer may be freed from bidding is that a pass can be informative or that the agreement is that systems are off under such circumstances. We have no knowledge of any consensus regarding this point.

 

 

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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