The Sharples convention, devised by twin brothers Mr. James Watson Sharples, born in November of the year 1908 and died October 3, 1985, and also by his younger twin brother Mr. Robert Boake Sharples, born in the year 1908 and died in the year 1999, both of Caterham, England, is originally a method of responding to a No Trump opening by the partner.
Note: Any additional information contributed to the person of Mr. James Watson Sharples, especially photographic material, would be greatly appreciated. Biographic information authored by Mr. Robert (Bob) Rowlands can be found on the website of the English Bridge Union under Jim Sharples.
Note: The Sharples Against No Trump, as a competing defense method to an opening bid of 1 No Trump, should not be confused with the Sharples convention, which is a natural extension of the Stayman convention.
However, these twin brothers also developed a conventional defense method of competing against a No Trump opening by the opponents. The original version has been lost to history and there are presently several versions available to the bridge player. The version presented here is designated as the original version and holds this distinction with the understanding that it is the oldest recording of their method.
This version of their defense method against a No Trump opening by and opponent can be employed either in the immediate seat or in the balancing seat. The range of the No Trump opening is generally on the stronger side, but the concept can / may be adapted to confront all ranges of No Trump.
Guidelines For Sharples Against No Trump Opening Bids
Double: Any double is for penalty. Partner must pass. 2 : Shows 4-card plus Spade suit and any shape otherwise. 2 : Promises shortage in Clubs and any shape otherwise. 2 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Heart suit and is a natural bid. 2 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Spade suit and is a natural bid. 3 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Club suit and is a natural bid. May be preemptive. 3 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Diamond suit and is a natural bid. May be preemptive.
As the student of defense methods can recognize, this original concept can / may be modified or varied to meet the standards of modern bridge technique. This concept is rather advanced for the time of its conception owing to the use of the double for penalty and only promising a 4-card Spade suit with the corresponding overcall. The non-employment of the 2 No Trump overcall to show both Minor suits is also unique in that it is lacking in the original concept.
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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