The origin of this conventional method is traced back to Mr. Howard Robinson of New York City, New York, United States. His concept for the employment of an opening bid of 4 Clubs for certain holdings as a three-stage asking bid to determine the location of any singletons, the number of held Aces, and also trump honors, was an innovative method in the evolution of the game of bridge.

Note: Mr. Howard Robinson developed this method in the 1960s. Information about the person of Mr. Howard Robinson is scarce, and any contribution of information as to his person, especially photographic material, would be greatly appreciated.

The employment of the 4 Clubs bid can be made by either partner and is defined as a jump bid, or a bid which immediately follows a jump raise of another suit.

Example 1

South
AK976
QJ95
A6
54
 
North
Q1083
AK76
K3
762
South   West   North   East   Meaning
1   Pass           South promises at least a 5-card Spade suit and opening values.
        3   Pass   North jump bids in partner's suit to show at least a 4-card Spade support and limited support.
4               In this example, South would sign-off by bidding game in Spades owing to the lack of additional values.

The above example falls within the parameters of the Robinson Four Clubs conventional method. With additional values the opener would consider employing the bid of 4 Clubs to attempt a slam try.

The following Example 2 guides the student through an entire auction, presenting not only the several response options available for the player being asked, but also for the various continuations for both players following the initiation of the Robinson Four Clubs conventional method.

Example 2

South
AQ103
8
A76
AJ976
 
North
KJ987
AK
92
KQ87
South   West   North   East   Meaning
1   Pass           South promises opening values.
        1   Pass   North bids up the line and promises sufficient values to respond.
3   Pass           South shows more than average support for Spades and jump raises the suit of partner. The bid promises at least a 4-card Spade suit.
        4   Pass   This is the Robinson Four Clubs bid, which is a three-stage asking bid to determine the location of any singletons, the number of held Aces, and also trump honors.
Options:            
4 : South shows a singleton in Hearts.
4 : South denies any singleton.

The following shows the Robinson Four Clubs continuations if the asking partner discovers that a singleton is held. The following is based on the example as illustrated in Example 2.

South   West   North   East   Meaning
1   Pass           South promises opening values.
        1   Pass   North bids up the line and promises sufficient values to respond.
3   Pass           South shows more than average support for Spades and jump raises the suit of partner. The bid promises at least a 4-card Spade suit.
        4   Pass   This is the Robinson Four Clubs bid, which is a three-stage asking bid to determine the location of any singletons, the number of held Aces, and also trump honors.
4   Pass           South shows a singleton in Hearts.
        5   Pass   The next higher-ranking suit bid, excluding the trump suit, asks partner to show the number of held Aces.
Continuations:        
5 : Promises zero Aces.
5 : Promises 1 Ace = step one.
5 : Promises 2 Aces = step two.
5 NT: Promises 3 Aces = step three.

The continuations are dependent on the responses of the partner responding to the asking bid for the number of held Aces. The following auction is based on the response of 5 NT, which promises 3 Aces, as in the case of presented in Example 2 above.

South   West   North   East   Meaning
1   Pass           South promises opening values.
        1   Pass   North bids up the line and promises sufficient values to respond.
3   Pass           South shows more than average support for Spades and jump raises the suit of partner. The bid promises at least a 4-card Spade suit.
        4   Pass   This is the Robinson Four Clubs bid, which is a three-stage asking bid to determine the location of any singletons, the number of held Aces, and also trump honors.
4   Pass           South shows a singleton in Hearts.
        5   Pass   The next higher-ranking suit bid, excluding the trump suit, asks partner to show the number of held Aces.
5 NT   Pass           Promises 3 Aces = step three.
        6   Pass   The information obtained by the 5 NT response shows that all four Aces are held in both combined holdings. North continues by bidding the next higher-ranking suit in order to discover the nature of the trump holding.
Communication of the held Ace, King, or Queen of the trump suit is as follows, and is accomplished by three step bids.
6 : Promises the Ace of trump, which is Spades. This is the first step.
6 : Promises the King of trump, which is Spades. This is the second step.
6 : Promises the Queen of trump, which is Spades. This is the third step.

Note: In the presented illustration South holds both the Ace of Spades and the Queen of Spades. The first responsibility of South is to show the Ace of Spades. Thus, the response by South would be 6 Diamonds.

Note: The Robinson Four Clubs conventional method does not permit the partnership to inquire about the number of held Kings.

The communication between North-South, conveyed via the Robinson Four Clubs conventional method, allows the partnership to find the final contract of 7 No Trump.

The student of this conventional method must be alert to the fact that the asking bidder can sign-off whenever the asking denomination is by-passed or reverts to the agreed trump suit. This condition is of ultimate importance in the employment of the Robinson Four Clubs conventional method.

 

 

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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