The Gerber convention was devised by Mr. John Gerber in 1938. This convention is sometimes referred to as the Four Clubs Blackwood. However, the concept was devised independently by Dr. William Konigsberger and Mr. Wim Nye, and was also published by them in Europe in 1936.

Principle of the Concept

Since the year of its conception, bridge players around the world have altered, modified, and expanded the concept of Mr. John Gerber. This is the right of all bridge players to attempt to improve and modify a concept, an idea, an agreement.

The basics of the original Gerber convention should be reviewed in advance of studying the variation with the official designation of Roman Gerber. The following chart gives the bid of the responder and the rebids of the opener. Roman Gerber is normally used after a No Trump opening, although this is not always the case in certain bidding sequences.

Opener Responder Meaning
1 NT 4
4 Shows 0 or 3 Aces.
4 Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
4 Shows 2 Aces.

If the responder, the 4 Clubs bidder, continues the auction to ask for the number of held Kings, he bids the cheapest possible bid.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   4   Asking for Aces.
4       Shows 1 or 4 Aces.

Once the number of Aces is known the responder can continue asking for the number of Kings held by bidding the next cheapest possible bid.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   4   Asking for Aces.
4       Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
    4   Asking for Kings following a 4 Hearts response.
4 NT       Shows 1 or 3 Kings.
5       Shows 1 or 4 Kings.
5       Shows 2 Kings.

The next cheapest bid by the responder, in this example the bid of 4 No Trump, asks for clarification of the previous response. With 1 or 3 of the specified honor cards bid by the opener, the responder bids the control he has or does not have. The responses will depend upon the response to the Ace-asking bid and the King-asking bid. Using the same bidding sequence the asking partner requests clarification as to whether partner holds 1 or 3 honors, etc., by using the next cheapest bid.

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   4   Asking for Aces.
4       Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
    4   Asking for Kings following a 4 Hearts response.
4 NT       Shows 1 or 3 Kings.
    5   Asking bid to clarify the nature of the held honors.

It has been established that the opener holds at least two honors. The Roman Gerber concept allows the partnership to continue the bidding in order to discover additional information about the nature of the two honors. With two known honors to be identified, the responder makes the minimum bid if they are of the same color. The responder makes the second possible minimum bid if they are unmatched in color and rank. The responder makes the third possible minimum bid if both honors are Majors or Minors. Using the same example as above, the responses will be as follows:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1 NT   4   Asking for Aces.
4       Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
    4   Asking for Kings following a 4 Hearts response.
4 NT       Shows 1 or 3 Kings.
    5   Asking bid to clarify 1 or 3 honors.
5       First step bid showing that the two honors are of the same color.
5       Second step bid showing that the two honors are unmatched in color and rank.
5       Third step bid showing that the two honors are confined to either both Major suits or confined to both Minor suits.

Additional Explanations to the Response Method

To clarify the complete response method, the following guidelines may be useful. In the case that the No Trump bidder holds only 1 honor, either Ace or King, then the No Trump bidder bids the suit, in which the honor is located. In the case that the No Trump bidder holds three honor cards, either Aces or Kings, then the No Trump bidder bids the suit, in which no honor is held. The following outline of the complete response method is shown below.

With 1 honor: The partner bids the suit, in which the honor is located.
With 3 honors: The partner bids the suit, in which no honor card is held.
With 2 honors: The partner bids in steps as follows:
  First step bid promises 2 honors of the same color.
  Second step bid promises 2 unmatched honors.
  Third step bid promises 2 honors of the same rank, either in both Major suits or both Minor suits.

Note: It must be stressed that the trump suit must be excluded from any step response and that any response in the trump suit is a sign-off and the partner must pass.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed that the next relay bid after asking for Kings asks for Queens. This means that the 4 bid asks for Aces, the next relay bid asks for Kings, and the next relay bid asks for Queens, not for honors. This is a second option of the partnership.

As the reader can imagine, the auction becomes progressive according to the responses of the No Trump bidder. The continuations of the responder is totally dependent upon these responses, and the partnership must adjust the bidding accordingly. In turn, the opener can also learn about the holding of the responder, who makes the appropriate, informative bid.

Since the auction is progressive and the bidding sequences become dependent upon the responses, it is necessary that both partners become attuned to and aware of the alternate bidding sequences possible to show certain controls.

 

 

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.

 


     
Email Conventions Bridge Sites
     
Home Page I Glossary Home Page II
     
 
  Gerber Variations