The following variation was devised by Mr. Pierre Ghestem of France, a leading bridge personality and published author.

Background for the Concept

The Gerber conventional method has many variations because the concept is so versatile and flexible. This particular designation is possibly a French derivation of the town in France called Lille, where Mr. Pierre Ghestem was born. This variation of the original concept provides the partner with the information about the rank and the color of the Aces.

     

Foundation of the Concept

For some inexplicable reason the designation by Mr. Pierre Ghestem of Lillios Blackwood is misleading, when referring to his method, since the concept itself is based upon the original concept of the Gerber conventional method, and not the Blackwood conventional method. This variation is also referred to as Lillios Gerber and also Lillios Aces Asking Bids.

Once the Asking Bid has been initiated, then the responder has the following options:

Opener   Responder Meaning
1   3 Limit Raise or Forcing Raise. A matter of partnership agreement.
4 The trump suit has been established and the Lillois Blackwood convention (Lillois Gerber) has been initiated.
  4 Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
  4 Shows 0 or 3 Aces.
  4 Shows 2 Aces of the same rank, Majors or Minors.
  4 NT Shows 2 Aces either rounded (Hearts and Clubs) or pointed (Spades and Diamonds).
  5 Shows 2 Aces of the same color, either Red or Black.

Mr. Pierre Ghestem decided that the response showing only 1 Ace should be 4 because it should be assumed that the responder should have a minimum of 1 Ace. Therefore, by responding in this manner, one bidding step is gained.

Note: In many conventional methods the responses to any Ace-asking inquiry uses the feature of color and shape of the suit symbols. Such is the case with the Lillois Blackwood method. Included in the responses is one bid, which shows the shape of the held Aces, and one bid, which shows the color of the held Aces. In this manner the asking partner knows exactly the location of Aces.

King and Queen Asking Bids

In order to discover the number and possible location of the Kings, and even Queens, the 4 bidder employs step bids, which is the cheapest bid above the response, but which excludes the agreed trump suit, or No Trump if the contract is presumed to be played in No Trump. The responses follow a similar pattern when responding to the Ace-Asking bid:

Opener   Responder Meaning
1   3 Limit Raise or Forcing Raise. A matter of partnership agreement.
4 The trump suit has been established and the Lillois Blackwood convention (Lillois Gerber) has been initiated.
  4 Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
4 King-Asking bid. First relay bid or step bid.
  4 NT First step bid showing 1 King. The established trump suit is not included in the response method.
  5 Second step bid showing 2 Kings.
  5 Third step bid showing 2 Kings of the same rank, Majors or Minors.
  5 Fourth step bid showing 2 Kings either rounded (Hearts and Clubs) or pointed (Spades and Diamonds).
  5 NT Fifth step bid showing 2 Aces of the same color, either Red or Black. (Note: rare and infrequent.)
   
The Queen-asking bid is dependent on the response following the King-asking bid. In order to ask for Queens the second step bid is employed. For example:
Opener Responder Meaning
1 3 Limit Raise or Forcing Raise. A matter of partnership agreement.
4 The trump suit has been established and the Lillois Blackwood convention (Lillois Gerber) has been initiated.
  4 Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
4 King-Asking bid. First relay bid or step bid.
  4 NT First step bid showing 1 King. The established trump suit is not included in the response method.
5 Queen-asking step bid. The cheapest bid, excluding the established trump suit, is employed.
  5 First step bid showing 1 Queen.
  5 Second step bid showing 2 Queens.
  5 NT Third step bid showing 3 Queens. The established trump suit is not included in the response method.
   
Variation: the partnership can also decide to employ a variation for the Queen-asking response method. As soon as the King-asking bid has been asked and the response has been given, then the next cheapest bid, excluding the trump suit, is the Queen-asking inquiry. The response method of the alternative method is outlined below:
Opener Responder Meaning
1 3 Limit Raise or Forcing Raise. A matter of partnership agreement.
4 The trump suit has been established and the Lillois Blackwood convention (Lillois Gerber) has been initiated.
  4 Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
4 King-Asking bid. First relay bid or step bid.
  4 NT First step bid showing 1 King. The established trump suit is not included in the response method.
5 Queen-asking step bid. The cheapest bid, excluding the established trump suit, is employed.
  5 First step bid showing 1 or 4 Aces.
  5 Second step bid showing 0 or 3 Aces.
  5 NT Second step bid showing 2 Queens of the same rank, Majors or Minors.
  6 Third step bid showing 3 Queens of the same rank, Majors or Minors.
  6 Fourth step bid showing 2 Queens either rounded (Hearts and Clubs) or pointed (Spades and Diamonds).
  6 Fifth step bid showing 2 Queens Shows of the same color, either Red or Black. (Note: rare and infrequent.)

Note: The alternative method of responding to the Queen-asking inquiry allows the partnership to better locate the Queens according to shape and to color, thus providing a certain advantage, if not security in setting the final contract.

The partnership must be acutely aware of the fact that such a conventional method is almost a system of its own in that the relay bids are completely dependent on the responses, which in turn are step bids communicating the desired and requested information.

Any possible continuations following interference or immediate intervening overcalls in competition, even a double, are a matter of partnership agreement. The partnership must decide whether the system is played systems on or systems off in competition.

 

 

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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