Bridge players have been attempting to discover, devise, develop methods and systems to exchange vital communication regarding the location and/or the number of Aces, Kings, Queens, and even Jacks, to determine the success rate of a small or large slam since the development of the organized game of bridge.
Note: For Blackwood-based conventional methods, please refer to the Blackwood section on the main Conventions web page.
The attempt has been made to list these devised and developed methods alphabetically for the bridge player, so that the bridge player can learn from them, employ them correctly, and improve slam-bidding techniques.
Australian Trump Asking Bids
The origin of these Trump Asking Bids is unknown, but the designation rather definitely establishes the country of origin. They were devised solely for the purpose of reaching and bidding a safe slam contract. These bids are employed when the partnership is attempting slam, but these bids are also useful when bidding a questionable game contract, as opposed to other conventional methods, which deal only with bidding slam contracts.
Boland Convention - Boland Slam Try - Boland Slam Bids
The origin of this bidding method is unknown, but is most likely the conclusions of Mr. V.F. Boland and Mr. John H. Law, two bridge experts and authors, who published their studies 1931 in the book: Accurate Contract Bridge. This is a method of slam exploration after one partner opens especially with a 1 No Trump, but which can also be applied with a 2 No Trump opening, and the responder jump raises to 4 No Trump.
Bower Convention - Bowers Variation of Blackwood - Bower's Convention
This slam bidding method was devised and developed by Mr. Stewart W. Bowers of New York, New York, United States. This presentation also includes the partnership agreement, whereby the Bower conventional responses are employed only for the Major suits and the Revised Roman Blackwood conventional responses are employed for the Minor suits.
British Style Roman Blackwood
The Roman Blackwood conventional method, as devised by the successful Blue Team Club of Italy, proved to have a flaw in the responses in so far that the response of 5 Hearts was ambiguous. Bridge players in the United Kingdom devised a variation to overcome this flaw.
Clarac Slam Try
A feature of the Pro System based principally on a 4 Clubs bid to ask about Aces and other controls, in order to attempt slam after the previous auction has indicated the possibility. The name CLARAC is an acronym for CLub Asking, Respond Aces and Controls.
Culbertson Four-Five No Trump
This conventional method was designed and developed by Mr. Ely Culbertson in the year 1934 and was published in his book Contract Bridge Complete: The Gold Book of Bidding and Play in the year 1936. This conventional method, with a bid of 4 No Trump, could be introduced or initiated by either partner at any time during the auction, preferably after a trump suit has been either established or inferred.
Declarative Interrogative Four No Trump
The origin of this method is unknown. Otherwise known as simply D.I., it refers to a 4 No Trump bid employed in specified bidding sequences as a general slam attempt. As far as can be determined this method was originally conceived as part of the Neapolitan system.
Fulwiler Asking Bids
Devised by Mr. C. H. Fulwiler, born in the year 1886 and dies in the year 1980, and of Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. He was President of the Western Division ACBL beginning in the early 1940s and served also on the ACBL Board of Directors.
A convention devised by Mr. John Gerber to ask for Aces and Kings one level lower than the Blackwood convention. Mr. John Gerber also included suit contracts in his convention, and the application thereof can be quite effective. Beware, however, that certain ambiguities can arise by using this convention. Included are also explanations for Rolling Gerber or Sliding Gerber, as it is sometimes known.
Black and Red Gerber
This variation of the Gerber convention was devised by Mr. Irving Cowan, of Ontario, Canada. As is the case with many Ace asking conventions and treatments, it has proven difficult to determine the final contract when the agreed trump suit is one of the Minor suits, especially the Club suit.
Mr. Jeff Rubens decided that the Blackwood conventional method and most, if not all, of its variations contained within them the disadvantage of actually wasting useful bidding space. This was especially true if the trump suit is not Spades. The concept of Kickback was originated in order to avoid and alleviate this drawback by employing some bid other than the usual and traditional 4 No Trump bid as the Keycard Asking Bid.
This conventional method for slam-inquires of asking for Keycards is presented online by Mr. Nuno Ferreira. The difference to the almost universal Blackwood conventional method is the fact that Lackwood inquires about Keycards in one color. The desired cards and the respective color depend on the bidding situation. Note: the information is in French only and any contribution of an English translation would be greatly appreciated.This information is presented in .pdf file format and will be automatically opened in a new window by your browser.
Note: the core concept of the Lacker conventional slam try method is the same as the universal Blackwood conventional method. Both methods should only be employed if the bidding sequence indeed clearly establishes a slam potential.
Miller Convention - Miller Slam Try
This conventional slam bidding method was published in The Bridge World reportedly in the early 1960s by Mr. M. M. Miller of Toronto, Canada. The concept behind this conventional method is to reach the slam try immediately upon finding first a suit fit, and especially following a 1 No Trump opening by partner, and also, added later, following a 2 No Trump opening by partner. The 1 No Trump opening is considered to be a strong No Trump opening with a range from a strong 15/16 to 18 high card points. The 2 No Trump opening is considered to have a range from a strong 19/20 to 21 high card points.
The origin of this variation of the Blackwood conventional method is unknown. As the designation signifies, this variation is only employed when the established or inferred trump suit is a Minor suit. The following illustration should clarify the principle behind this concept.
This slam bidding method was devised and originated with Mr. Norman de Villiers Hart and Sir Norman Bennett. This method evolved during the early pioneer days of the game of organized bridge. This particular method was incorporated into the Vienna Bidding System. The conventional method is also known as the Norman Four No Trump method.
The origin of this conventional method is unknown. The concept of the Redwood conventional method asking for Keycards while making a slam attempt is also a result of an application designated as U.S.P., or Useful Space Principle, conceived by Mr. Jeff Rubens. Since both Redwood bids are Diamonds and Hearts, the method was called Red-wood because both suits are the color red as opposed to the Black-wood conventional method.
R/H 4 No Trump Convention
The origin of this conventional method is unknown, but the strong assumption is, however, that Mr. Ranik Halle, original birth-name Andronik Saradscheff, is the author. The concept is that any bid of 4 No Trump by either partner inquires of the partner a response, which would communicate the suit quality of the held honors, which are namely the specific honors of Ace, King, and Queen of the established trump suit.
Robinson Four Clubs
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.
Roman Keycard Blackwood - Roman Key Card Blackwood
This variation differs from the original concept of Mr. Easley Blackwood in that there are not only four Aces counted in the different responses, but five Keycards which are the four Aces and the King of the agreed, implied, or established trump suit. The King of the trump suit is counted as the fifth Ace, or the fifth Key Card.
Preemptive Roman Keycard Blackwood
The origin of this conventional method, which is an extension of the Roman Keycard Blackwood conventional method, is unknown. The concept is based on the fact that the responder, who has not yet bid or even passed, holds values for a likely slam contract. Any additional information as to the origin of this approach would be greatly appreciated.
San Francisco Convention
The origin of the designation of the convention is unknown, but it is rather evident that not only the state of California, United States, but also the city of San Francisco, California, wished to be immortalized in the annals of bridge history via a conventional method. However, the developer or originator remains unknown. The conventional method is employed once a trump suit has been established and one partner triggers a slam try.
Suppressing A Known Ace, Keycard, or Void - Principle of
Partnership agreements, which include Ace-asking or Keycard-asking conventional methods, generally include the understanding that the responses to such conventional methods should not include the already shown or known Ace, Keycard, or void. This agreement would take effect, for example, if the partnership executes an Exclusion Blackwood response . This understanding should be a feature of all partnership agreements. Otherwise one partner may assume that the already bid Ace, Keycard, or void is included or, conversely, not included. Therefore, the conventional method should be adjusted to either include or not include the already bid Ace, Keycard, or Void. The Ace, Keycard, or Void is expressly suppressed or deliberately excluded by prior agreement. (Note: no examples are provided.)
Thomas Convention - Thomas Four Diamonds
The origin of this convention is unknown and is properly designated as the Thomas Four Diamonds convention. It can be used in several bidding systems, such as the Universal Club bidding system, but can also be employed as a stand-alone method of asking for Aces.
The fundamental concept of the Turbo convention is that the partner rebids 4 No Trump to show an even number of Aces and/or Key Cards. This may only occur after a cuebid has been made showing a first or second round control after suit establishment. If the partner rebids higher than 4 No Trump, then this action shows an odd number of Aces and/or Key Cards and also a first-round control in that named suit.
Two No Trump Response as a Relay to Three Clubs
This treatment is used by many partnerships, which utilize the response of 2 Spades as a slam try in a Minor suit. The concept is based on the idea that the responder, following a 1 No Trump opening by partner, relays to Clubs with a first response of 2 No Trump.
Wang Trump Asking Bids
Although not a slam-bidding technique or method this conventional method allows the partnership, generally without competition, to explore for the possibility of seeking a slam at a low level. Once it has been determined that a slam is possible, then the partnership initiates the slam-bidding agreement.
Warren 4 No Trump Convention
This is a 4 No Trump convention, which is sometimes referred to as the San Francisco Convention. It was used by many bridge players when the game of bridge was evolving and it is, to some degree, very similar to the concept of the Culbertson Four-Five No Trump convention. The origin of the designation of the convention is unknown.
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