Schenken Club

The Schenken Club or Schenken System was devised by Mr. Howard Schenken, and it is an artificial 1 Club system. Mr. Howard Schenken introduced his Big Club bidding system first in 1963. This bidding system was perhaps based on the principles and features established by Mr. Harold S. Vanderbilt, who advocated first in 1925 that the 1 Club opening should be employed as an artificial bid to show a strong holding.

The similarities between the Vanderbilt Club System and the Schenken Big Club are many. After the introduction and before the publishing of his book, his bidding system underwent changes, which maintained and kept the principles behind the concept, but which were also combined with the Standard American bidding system to form the Big Club Standard.

His book Big Club was written and published in 1968 and has influenced the partnership understanding of many bridge partnerships. Many bridge players continue to use the Schenken Club and presented below are the main features of this system.

It is also to be remembered that there are several variations on this bidding system in the bridge community and that these variations differ perhaps in the point count and range. The responses have also been slightly altered to meet perhaps more modern terms in order to allow for more flexibility in employing other conventions, which were devised after the publication of the book and concept. However, the foundation of the bidding system has not been altered by these variations regarding the basic concept.

1  Club

Any 1 Club opening is considered forcing. This bid describes any hand which is strong in values and promises any holding with a minimum of 17 high card points or the same value with distributional values. This opening bid can describe three different types of holdings:

1. A No Trump holding of balanced distribution containing 19-22 high card points.

2. A semi-balanced holding with 17 high card points or more.

3. A strong distributional holding with 14 high card points or more.

Responses:

1. A 1 Diamond response is the systemic negative response, promising 0-6 high card points or the distributional equivalent.

2. A 2 Clubs response is artificial and equals a semi-positive response indicating 7-8 high card points, promising at least 1 Ace or 1 King, but most importantly, a 2 Clubs response promises a rebid.

3. Any other response, such as 1 Heart, 1 Spade, etc., are positive, natural, and forcing to game.

Note: After any direct overcall up to 3 Diamonds, a double by the responder equals a positive response and is considered a Takeout Double and promises at least 9 high card points plus.

The opener, after a negative response, has several options:

1. Any non-jump rebid in any unbid suit may be passed by the responder, if the responder considers this suit to be the best suit. The bid of a new suit by the opener is not forcing.

2. Any jump rebid by the opener is forcing for one round. The responder may not pass.

3. A rebid of 1 No Trump promises 19-20 high card points and a balanced holding.

4. A rebid of 2 No Trump promises 21-22 high card points and a balanced holding.

Any rebid by the responder of 2 Clubs or 3 Clubs respectively after a rebid by the opener of 1 No Trump or 2 No Trump is Stayman, asking for a 4-card Major suit. This second response by the responder promises a maximum of his values after first showing a negative response.

1 Heart, Diamond and Spade

Any opening bid, besides 1 Club, is a limit bid and shows a minimum of normally 12 and a maximum of 16 high card points. The responder may pass this opening with less than 8 high card points and a semi-moderate fit in the opened suit.

Any suit raise by the responder or a No Trump response are limited responses and are considered to be non-forcing.

Any jump to game in a Major suit bid by the opener is based on high card values plus the distributional values held by the responder. The consideration of attempting a slam contract is rare since the opening promises limited values.

A response of 3 Clubs to any Major suit opening is a strong raise of that particular Major suit and promises at least 16 support points, high card points and distributional points, for that Major suit. If the opener has a singleton, the opener is expected to bid the singleton as an attempt to explore slam possibilities. Otherwise the opener bids game in that Major suit.

1 No Trump

An opening of 1 No Trump equals the standard strong 16-18 high card points and a balanced holding.

1. A response of 2 Clubs is non-forcing Stayman and promises the standard minimum of 8 high card points plus.

2. A response of 2 Diamonds indicates an unbalanced holding, promising either a singleton or a void. The responder does not have a 4-card Major suit, but this response is game-forcing and asks the opener to rebid any Major suit stopper(s).

2 Clubs

A 2 Clubs opening is natural and shows at least a 5-card Club suit and values between 12 and 16 high card points.

1. A response of 2 Diamonds requests the opener to bid a 4-card Major suit if possible.

2 Diamonds

An opening of 2 Diamonds contains 22 plus high card points and is artificial and game-forcing. This opening bid is used to locate specific honors.

1. A response of 2 Hearts denies the holding of any Ace honor.

2. A response of 2 Spades promises the Ace of Spades.

3. A response of 2 No Trump promises the Ace of Hearts.

4. Holding 2 touching Aces, the responder jumps in the higher-ranking suit containing the Ace.

5. Holding 2 non-touching Aces, the responder bids 3 No Trump.

6. Holding 2 black Aces, the responder bids 4 Clubs.

1. The opener, in order to locate specific Kings and Queens, continues, after an honor showing response, to make the cheapest rebid to ask for Kings and Queens. The Relay bidding is continued until these specific honors have been counted and/or located.

2 Hearts

A rebid of 2 No Trump by the opener after a 2 Heart opening promises a balanced distribution and 23-25 high card points.

A rebid of 3 No Trump by the opener after a 2 Heart opening promises a balanced distribution and 26-27 high card points.

2 Hearts and Spades

Any opening on the Two Level in the Major suits are Weak Two Bids promising 8-12 high card points (some partnerships use 7-11 high card points) and a suit with considerable length and values located mainly in the respective suit. A range of 13-16 high card points are required by unfavorable vulnerability.

2 No Trump

An opening of 2 No trump promises a minimum of five cards in both Minor suits with values ranging from 10-12 high card points if not vulnerable. By unfavorable vulnerability, the high card point range is increased to 13-16 high card points.

3 No Trump

An opening of 3 No Trump promises a solid Minor suit with at least 8 or 9 playing tricks or 5/4 losing tricks. The only requirement for this opening is that no side suit should contain a doubleton worse than a Queen-small.

3  Clubs

An opening of 3 Clubs promises a solid 6- or 7-card suit of any rank and 10-15 high card points.

Preempts

Preempt overcall bids are considered according to the vulnerability.

These are the basic guidelines for the Schenken Club. There are other options and systemic conventions and/or treatments incorporated and included in the bidding system, but these are generally based upon the partnership understanding. If deciding to play the Schenken Club, this must be noted on the Convention Card and made known to the opponents at the bridge table. If the opponents request an explanation of any bid, then the player must disclose the nature of the bid.

Good Bad 2NT Cohen

Good Bad Two No Trump

Posted by permission and courtesy of Mr. Larry Cohen
The following appears in the book authored by Mr. Larry Cohen in his publication entitled: To Bid or Not to Bid – The Law of Total Tricks beginning with page 119. The content of this web page is an excerpt from this book and posted to the Internet with the permission of the author and whose personal website can be reached by clicking on the picture of Mr. Larry Cohen below.

This highly useful concept can best be explained with an example. Say you open the bidding with one heart, holding:

Your partner responds one notrump and your right hand opponent bids two spades. Despite your mere 11 high card points you’d love to bid three clubs. After all, you know the opponents have at least eight spades (partner denied four when he bid one notrump), so you can’t leave them on the two level.

The problem with bidding three clubs is that you would also have to bid three clubs with a 17-count! How does partner know if you’re just competing, or if you really have a good hand? This kind of problem comes up all the time – you’d love to bid, but you’re afraid to mislead partner about the strength of your hand.

We solve this problem with Good-Bad 2NT – a variation of the Lebensohl convention. It enables us to compete to the three level in a very effective manner.

Here is the rule:
In a competitive auction, when RHO makes any two-level call,
our 2 NT bid is not natural.
It shows a desire to compete to the three level,
and requests that the partner bid three clubs,
after which the 2 NT bidder shows his suit.
If the suit is clubs, the two-notrump bidder can pass the forced three-club bid. Bidding directly on the three level (without relaying first with two notrump) shows extras.

Here are examples illustrating the usefulness of Good-Bad 2NT:

Here, you can bid three diamonds and partner will know that you have a good three-diamond raise. If you held only you would bid two notrump, forcing partner to bid three clubs. Now when you correct to three diamonds, partner will know that you have a minimum raise.

Bid three diamonds and partner will know that you have a good hand (you didn’t bid two notrump first). If instead, you held, you’d bid two notrump, then three diamonds after partner’s forced three-club bid.

An easy two-notrump bid – partner won’t play you for an 18-count when you pull his three-club relay to three hearts. If you held, you would bid three Hearts directly.

In Standard, you’d feel uncomfortable bidding a free three hearts. But you can’t leave the opponents in their eight-card fit on the two level. Playing Good-Bad, you bid two notrump, followed by three hearts, to let partner know that you have a minimum. The number of auctions in which this two-notrump option is available is staggering. However, we’ve found that in some situations it doesn’t make sense to play it. Any serious partnership should take a little time to discuss when it should or should not apply. Some of the exceptions, discussed in Better Bidding With Bergen, are the following:

1. When two notrump would clearly be Unusual.
2. When either side has opened one notrump.
3. When the opponents have opened with a big club.
4. When the opponents make a penalty double.
5. When we have already found a fit.
6. When we are already in a game forcing auction.

Even if you choose not to discuss exceptions, you do have to use a little common sense. Let’s say your partner opens one diamond, they bid one heart, and you make a negative double holding:

They raise to two hearts and your partner bids 2 NT Good-Bad. He’s probably got a weak three-club bid or a weak three-diamond bid. You certainly can’t afford to bid three clubs since he will pass if he has clubs! So, you simply bid three hearts and partner will know you have a good hand. Look how easy it becomes to handle situations like the following.

You made a negative double and heard partner bid three hearts over their raise to two spades. You know that partner has a good hand since he didn’t bid two notrump. So, you can comfortably raise to game. If partner held only, he would not have bid a direct three hearts. He would have started with two notrump, and you would bid three diamonds (no reason to bid three clubs since, if he has diamonds and clubs, you would prefer to play in diamonds). Now, when he bids three hearts, you can pass without worrying that you’re missing a game.

Using Good-Bad 2NT, you will be able to compete quite effectively when the opponents find their fit on the two level – and that’s what the LAW wants you to do! You certainly will not suffer from the lack of a natural two-notrump bid – it’s not a bid you really need. Telling partner whether you have a good or a bad three level bid is a much more useful piece of information to convey.

Romex Gerber

After the Gerber Convention was devised, many bridge players began to apply it in their bidding auctions because is conserved so much bidding space to exchange additional information. They discovered that the convention had several drawbacks and decided to alter the convention. One variation is the Roman Gerber, which was adopted by many partnerships. Other partnerships devised a modification of the Roman Gerber variation, and this modification was used in the Romex Bidding System, appropriately called Romex Gerber, which has many similarities to the Lillois Blackwood. The advantage of this modification was the fact that the certain pairs of Aces could be identified by the partnership, and therefore the location of the Aces.

The different responses for the opener are as follows once responder has initiated Gerber:

Opener > Responder > Meaning

  • 1 NT – 4 clubs – Romex Gerber conventional method per partnership agreement.
  • 4 diamond – Shows 0 or 3 Aces.
  • 4 hearts – Shows 1 or 4 Aces.
  • 4 spades – Shows 2 Aces of the same color, either both Black suits or both Red suits.
  • 4 NT – Shows 2 Aces of the same rank, either both Major suits or both Minor suits.
  • 5 clubs – Shows 2 Aces of the same shape, either both Pointed suits (Spades and Diamonds) or both Rounded suits (Hearts and Clubs).

Depending on the response to the Ace-Asking bid, the King-Asking bid would begin by bidding one step higher or using a relay bid except No Trump, and the responses are similar to Roman Gerber. Using this modification, if the response were 5 Clubs, then 5 Diamonds would be the King-Asking bid, with the responses being step responses as in Roman Gerber, i.e. First Step equals no Kings, Second Step equals 1 King, Third Step equals 2 Kings, etc.

Since the auction is progressive and the bidding sequences become dependent upon the responses, it is necessary that both partners become attuned to the alternate bidding procedures possible to show certain controls. They must have a functioning partnership agreement, which can carry the magnitude of this progressive and changing bidding auction. It is of the utmost importance that a written partnership agreement be established to handle these features of the Roman Gerber convention.

Blue Club

Blue Club System

The book Blue Club was written by Mr. Benito Garozzo in 1969, and the co-author was Mr. Leon Yallouze. This book was adapted from the French by Mr. Terence Reese and the Introduction was written by Mr. Omar Sharif. The book was published in 1969. This book is now out of print. The Blue Club system is derived from the Neopolitan Club system devised by Mr. Eugenio Chiaradia, also of Italy, but who spent many years from 1964 on in Brazil.

During the 1950s, the Blue Team of Italy was formed. Bidding systems were not governed completely during that time, as they are today by ACBL and the WBF. Even today some restrictions applied by the ACBL are not restricted by the WBF. For example, Forcing Pass bidding systems are forbidden by ACBL at ACBL-sanctioned tournaments, but not by the WBF. Striving towards a unified agreement is a continuing process, made difficult by the many partnership agreements within the bridge community.

The Blue Team developed a bidding system using a combination of the Neapolitan and Roman bidding systems. Combining the most favorable features of both bidding systems resulted in the formation of the Blue Club bidding system. The main proponents of this bidding system were Mr. Walter Avarelli, Mr. Benito Garozzo, Mr. Pietro Forquet, Mr. Massimo D’Alelio, and Mr. Giorgio Belladonna. They had great success at the bridge tournaments using the Blue Club System.

A version of the Blue Club written by Mr. Alex Knox, called the Calgary Casual Style, is contained in the following .pdf file, and, if clicked, will be automatically downloaded to your computer and opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader. This .pdf file contains 116 pages.

The translation of this system and the resulting variations of the system were accomplished mainly by Mr. C.C. Wei and Mr. Terence Reese, and studied, copied, and played by many top bridge players of that time. Some versions of the Blue Club bidding system are still used by bridge partnerships today, however this occurs more in Europe than in North America.

As a result of the Blue Club bidding system, itself an evolution of the Neapolitan and Roman Systems, the Blue Team Club was devised, and evolved into other bidding systems such as the Super Precision using Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Suit Asking Bids, an updated version of the Roman system, the Blue Club, and the Super Roman system.

We would like to present a general overview of this bidding system. The reader should be made aware of the fact that the bids can have different meanings before they are subsequently clarified through rebids. The Blue Club has many similarities also with the Symmetric Relay of Mr. Hugh Grosvenor and Mr. Ian Robinson.

Opening Bids

1 : Promises 17 plus high card points and unbalanced, or 18 plus high card points and balanced.
1 : Promises 12-16 high card points, at least 3 Daimonds.
1 : Promises 12-16 high card points, at least 4-card Heart suit, and possibly a longer Minor suit.
1 : Promises 12-16 high card points, at least a 4-card Spade suit, and possibly a longer Minor suit.
1 NT: Promises 14-17 high card points, used with Lavings responses.
2 : Promises 12-16 high card points, natural, standard Blue Club.
2 : MULTI
2 : MULTI
2 : MULTI
2 NT: Three level Preempt in either Minor suit.
3 : Promises 5-12 high card points and 5-5 distribution at least in both Minor suits.
3 : Signifies any solid 7-card suit.
3 : Standard preempt.
3 : Standard preempt.
3 NT: Four level preempt in either Minor suit.
4 : NAMYATS, a transfer to 4 Hearts.
4 : NAMYATS, a transfer to 4 Spades.
4 : Weaker preempt in Hearts.
4 : weaker prempt in Spades.
4 NT: Specific Ace-asking bid.
5 : Preempt
5 : Preempt
5 : Preempt, bid 6/7 Hearts with 1/2 top honors respectively.
5 : Preempt, bid 6/7 Spades with 1/2 top honors respectively.

A 1 No Trump opening shows 15-18 high card points. A 1 No Trump opening or overcall may include a five card Major suit in a balanced hand and then a response of 2 Clubs becomes a Lavings Asking Bid, asking opener to describe his holding further. This response always shows at least invitational values. The rebids of the opener are as follows:

2 : Promises 15-16 high card points, and no 5-card Major suit.
2 : Promises 15-16 high card points, and a 5-card Heart suit.
2 : Promises 15-16 high card points, and a 5-card Spade suit.
2 NT: Promises 17-18 high card points, no 5-card suit holding.
3 : Promises 17-18 high card points, and a 5-card Club holding.
3 : Promises 17-18 high card points, and a 5-card Diamond holding.
3 : Promises 17-18 high card points, and a 5-card Heart suit.
3 : Promises 17-18 high card points, and a 5-card Spade suit.

MULTI Openings

2 Diamonds

1. Weak-Two in either Major suit.
2. Strong, balanced holding of 20-22 high card points with exactly 4-3-3-3 distribution.
3. Strong, single-suited Minor suit with less than 18 high card points.

2 Hearts

1. Weak values with 5-5 distribution in Hearts and unknown Minor suit, and 5-12 high card points.
2. Strong (8 plus playing tricks), single-suited in Hearts with less than 18 high card points.
3. Strong (8 plus playing tricks), two-suited holding in Hearts and unknown Minor suit, and less than 18 high card points.

2 Spades

1. Weak values with 5-5 distribution in Spades and unknown Minor suit, and 5-12 high card points.
2. Strong (8 plus playing tricks), single-suited in Spades with less than 18 high card points.
3. Strong (8 plus playing tricks), two-suited holding in Spades and unknown Minor suit, and less than 18 high card points.

Leads and Signals

1. Holding a sequence, including interior sequences, the choice is to lead the top of touching honors.
2. Leading fourth from a suit headed by an honor shows length.
3. Lead the second card from three or more small cards.
4. Signals indicate natural count, except for the first discard, which shows attitude, and after the lead of an Ace.
5. A Smith Peters attitude signal given at the first chance by the partner with the opening lead against a No Trump contract, or in the trump suit only.

Opening 1 Club shows 17 plus high card points and unbalanced shape, or 18 plus high card points and balanced shape

Responding To 1 Club

The responses to a 1 Club opening are standard Blue Club responses, except for certain bidding sequences. The following information is necessary to determine the correct bidding sequence.

1. A response of 1 Heart is game-forcing, whereas a 1 Diamond response indicates a poor seven count.
2. A response of 1 Club, and a rebid of 1 Heart is an Artificial Force showing 20 high card points plus.

Responder’s Rebids

1 : A Second Negative showing 0-3 high card points and any shape.
1 NT: Shows a 4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0 shape.
2 : A Transfer to at least a 5-card Diamond suit.
2 : A Transfer to at least a 5-card Heart suit.
2 : A Transfer to at least a 5-card Spade suit.
2 : 4-7 high card points, shows a balanced holding, 5-card Club holding is possible.
2 NT: Shows a 5-5 distribution in both Minor suits.
3 : Shows a 6-card Club suit.

Exceptions

If the response to a 1 Club opening are standard Blue Club responses, then the opener’s rebids are standard Blue Club rebids. Several exceptions must be noted.

1. A 1 No Trump response and a 2 No Trump rebid by the opener asks for a possible Singleton or Void.
2. If the opener makes a rebid which shows an acceptance of any Transfer Bid, then the opener promises support. In return, the responder can raise with stronger values, bid game using the Principle of Fast Arrival, show a second suit, or bid No Trump with a 5-3-3-2 distribution.
3. If the opener opens with 2 Spades, showing 15-16 high card points and a 5-card Spade suit, and the responder bids 2 No Trump, then the opener can rebid 3 Clubs showing a 5-card Club suit, 3 Diamonds showing a 5-card Diamond suit, 3 Hearts showing a 5-card Heart suit, or 3 Spades showing a 5-card Spade suit.
4. If the opponent, left of the responder, enters the auction after a prior bidding sequence of 1 Club – 1 Diamond, then the overcall cancels the meaning of the 1 Heart as a second forcing rebid by the opener, and all responses of the responder after the overcall are considered natural.

After any 1 Club opening, 1 Diamond response, 1 Spade rebid by opener, the responder has the following guidelines:

2 : Shows 17-20 high card points, not forcing.
2 : Shows 17-20 high card points, not forcing.
2 : Shows 17-20 high card points, not forcing.
2 : Natural and game-forcing.
3 : Natural and game-forcing.
3 : Natural and game-forcing.
3 : Natural and game-forcing.
The bidding sequence: Opener 1, Responder 1, Opener 1, Responder 1, the opener’s rebids of either 3 Clubs or 3 Spades are considered natural and not forcing, showing an ACOL Two type holding, which is most likely too strong for a MULTI opening.

Transfer bids are still applicable, but only with balanced holdings, after a No Trump rebid only by the opener in the bidding sequence.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 – 1 No Trump shows 18-19 high card points. LAVINGS-type responses are in effect.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 NT shows 20-21 high card points and a possible 5-card Major suit.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2 NT shows 22-23 high card points. All responses by the responder all considered to be natural.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 – 2 NT shows 24 high card points plus. All responses by the responder all considered to be natural.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 – 1 NT, the responder has at his disposal Baron or LAVINGS as Transfer Bids. The opener, in not accepting the Transfer Bid, shows a 4-4-4-1 distribution. If the opener responds after the Transfer Bid with 3 Clubs or 3 Diamonds, then the opener is showing a good 6-card suit in Clubs or Diamonds respectively, and slam interest.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 NT /2 /2 – 2 NT is the same as for 2 No Trump opening.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 1 /1 – 2 No Trump shows 22 high card points plus with good controls. This bidding sequence invites the responder to attempt slam. Exploring for slam can be accomplished by using Roman Key Card Blackwood, the Roman Club with Step Responses, the Arno Club, and Multi-Cuebids.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 2 (of any Major) – a rebid of 2 No Trump is then an Asking Bid about the shape of the responder’s holding. For example:

Bidding sequence: 1 – 2 /2 – 2 NT – 3 (of any suit) shows a Singleton

Bidding sequence: 1 – 2 /2 – 2 NT – 3 (of any Major suit) indicates no Singleton in any suit

Bidding sequence: 1 – 2 /2 – 2 NT – 3 No Trump indicates no Singleton in any suit and two of the top honors

Bidding sequence: 1 – 2 /2 – 2 NT – 4 (of any suit) shows a void.

Bidding sequence: 1 – 2 (of any Major suit) – a rebid of 4 Clubs by the opener is a Modified Key Card Asking Bid. The rebids of the responder are:

4 : Shows No Key Cards
4 : Shows 1 Key Card
4 : Shows 1 Key Card plus the Queen of trump

Responding To One Of A Suit

Contrary to the guidelines set forth in the original Blue Club system, the revised version was updated to include Two Over One as an absolute game-forcing feature. In addition, a 1 No Trump response show 7-11 high card points. The responder also was not permitted to use Canape Reverses, and all 2 No Trump rebids by one partner, who had in the auction had no limited his holding are forcing. Transfer Jump Shifts at the Three level were also included.

Bidding sequence: 1 / 1 – 1 – 1 NT – 2 NT is forcing, and the opener can show a possible Club suit or a 3-card Spade support.

Bidding sequence: 1 /1 – 1 – 1 NT – 2 becomes non-forcing and shows a long Club suit

Opening 1 Diamond shows 12-16 high card points, and at least 3 Diamonds.

Responding To 1 Diamond:

1 / 1 shows 6 plus high card points, and a 4-card suit length in Hearts or Spades.

1 NT shows 7-10 high card points. The responder should have one 4-card Minor suit, whereby a 2 Clubs rebid indicates both Minor suits, and therefore is not a Canape bid.

2 shows a 5-card plus Club suit with Diamonds. This bid is not forcing. The opener can escape the 2 Clubs response with a strong Canape bid or rebid a strong Diamond single-suiter.

2 shows 11 high card points plus and is forcing to 2 No Trump. The rebids by opener are below:

2 : Shows a stopper for play in No Trump.
2 : Shows a stopper for play in No Trump.
2 NT: Shows 12-13 high card points, balanced holding with stoppers in both Major suits.
3 : Shows a 5-card Club suit. The opener uses Canapé.
3 : Shows a 5-card Diamond suit and is unlimited.
3 : This rebid becomes a strong Canapé.
3 : This rebid becomes a strong Canapé.
3 NT: Shows 13-14 high card points, balanced holding with stoppers in both Major suits.
2 / 2 are then natural and strong bids by the responder.

2 No Trump becomes a Transfer bid to 3 Clubs and is natural and game-forcing. In this case, the opener can accept the transfer with moderate support. The opener can otherwise rebid a higher-ranking suit than Clubs, which is then a natural bid.

3 is a Transfer bid to 3 Diamonds and shows a 4-card Diamond suit, and is game-forcing indicating slam interest. The opener will accept the transfer when holding 4 or more Diamonds. With less than 4 card support, the opener rebids a Major suit showing a stopper. A rebid by the opener of 3 No Trump shows a stopper in both Major suits.

3 becomes a preemptive raise.

3 / 3 are Splinter bids and Diamonds become the agreed trump suit.

3 No Trump is the Principle of Fast Arrival and sets the final contract.

Responding To 1 Heart Or 1 Spade

In responding to an opening of 1 Heart or 1 Spade, the general practice is to use the procedural bidding sequences set forth in standard Blue Club. The newer version, however, incorporates Constructive Simple Raises, Transfer Jump Shifts, and Preemptive Double Raises up to and including the Three Level.

A 1 of a Major suit opening shows 12-16 high card points, at least a 4-card Spade/Heart suit, and possibly a longer Minor suit.

1 Heart – 2 Hearts by the responder shows 7-11 high card points and 4-card support
1 Spade – 2 Spades by the responder shows 7-11 high card points and 4-card support

A Constructive Simple Raise is considered forcing for one round provided the opener has a minimum balanced holding or a 5-4-2-2 distribution. The opener can either rebid his longer Minor suit or rebid 2 No Trump, requesting the responder to further describe his holding such as minimum or maximum values. However, if the opponents decide to balance after the opener decides to pass with a minimum balanced holding, then a double is for penalties.

1 Heart – 3 Hearts is purely a preemptive response showing 0-6 high card points and a 4-card support
1 Spade – 3 Spades is purely a preemptive response showing 0-6 high card points and a 4-card support

1 Heart – 2 Diamonds – 2 Hearts becomes a Waiting bid and the opener promises a 5-card suit
1 Heart – 2 Diamonds – 2 No Trump promises 12-14 high card points and semi-balanced, however, no 4-3-3-3 distribution
1 Heart – 2 Diamonds – 3 No Trump shows 12-14 high card points with a 4-3-3-3 distribution

In responding to a Major suit opening, the responder also has the option of using the Splinter bid. Using the Blue Club system, however, the Splinter bid is permitted only up to and including 4 Diamonds. Therefore, a bidding sequence of 1 Spade – 4 Hearts is natural, and not a Splinter bid, since it has exceeded the established limit of 4 Diamonds. A bidding sequence of 1 Heart – 3 Spades is a Splinter bid by the responder.

An opening of either 1 Heart or 1 Spade shows 12-16 high card points, at least a 4-card Heart or Spade suit, and possibly a longer Minor suit. In the bidding sequences of either 1 Heart – 3 Diamonds or 1 Spade – 3 Hearts, the bids of the responder are Transfer Raises showing at least 12 high card points plus and therefore game-going values, and also at least a 3-card support for the Major suit opening. The Transfer Raises are not game-forcing since opener may have minimum and only a 4-card Major suit. The opener is, however, required to accept the transfer or rebid his longer Minor suit depending on his values and strength.

It is general practice, when using the Blue Club system, to consider any bid above 3 No Trump as a Multi-Cuebid. Any bid below 3 No Trump are considered to be natural in the sense of the Blue Club system, even after an agreed trump Major suit has been established. If a Minor suit has been established as the trump suit, a bid of 3 No Trump is then a natural bid and 4 bid of a Minor suit is the continuation of the cuebid. There are several bidding sequences which calls for different interpretation:

Bidding sequence: 1 2 3 3 / 3 / 4 are cuebids
3 NT is to play

Bidding sequence: 1 2 NT 3 3 / 3 / 3 are cuebids
3 NT is to play

A 1 No Trump Opening Shows 14-17 high card points. Responses To 1 No Trump

The general practice is to use standard Lavings responses with Transfers, including 4 Clubs and 4 Diamonds. Experience has shown, however, that in the auction 1 No Trump- 2 Clubs (asking bid) – 2 Diamonds (or 2 No Trump) – 3 Diamonds is Stayman Plus, which is the traditional Stayman convention, but which promises Clubs length. The opener is then required to by-pass 3 No Trump with a 4-card Club support.

3 Clubs is Baron, but in this auction does not show any slam interest.

Lebensohl and Take-Out Doubles at the Two Level

If the opponents decide to balance or enter the auction, than any new suit bid by the responder and/or opener becomes completely invitational, and the values are then considered to be minimum. If the values are stronger, then one partner or the other can make a call of double, redouble, cuebid, and/or rebid his suit. Any direct cuebid of the opponent’s suit is Stayman-like and implies shortness in the opponent’s suit.

After an immediate overcall by an opponent after a 1 No Trump opening, Lebensohl is applicable.

Opener LHO Responder RHO Meaning
1 NT 2 2 NT pass
3 pass 3 Responder signs off, showing weakness.
3 Responder signs off, showing weakness.
3 Responder promises game-going values and a half-stopper.
3 NT Game-going values, but no stopper, and denies holding a 4-card Heart suit.
If the opponents decide to balance at the Three Level, or enter the bidding at the Three level as an immediate overcall, then a Double is for Penalties and any Suit bid if forcing for one round.

A 2 Clubs Opening Shows 12-16 high card points. Responding To A 2 Clubs Opening

The responses to a 2 Club opening are standard Blue Club system responses.

Responding To Two Diamonds

The 2 Diamonds opening is treated as a Multi. This is a bid showing a Weak Two-Bid in either Major suit, a balanced hand with strong values, or a 4-4-4-1 distribution with excellent values. The Multi was devised by Mr. Terence Reese and Mr. Jeremy Flint at the end of the 1960s, along with Mr. Robert Sheehan, Mr. Irving Rose, and Mr. Jonathan Cansino. Based on the rebids, the responder is able to recognize the true holding and values.

2 2 2 is Multi, and 2 is a non-forcing Relay.
2 Shows a Weak Two-Bid in Spades.
2 NT Shows a strong balanced holding with strong values.
3 Shows a strong Single-Suiter.
3 Shows a strong Single-Suiter.
2 Spades is a non-forcing Relay response, but considered invitational if the opener opened a Weak Two-Bid in Hearts, which becomes determined according to the rebids of the opener as shown in the above chart.

2 2 NT Asking response, Relay
3 Shows a Weak Two-Bid in Hearts.
3 Responder’s Asking Bid for further information.
3 Responder’s sign-off response.
3 Responder’s forcing rebid, requesting opener to bid the better suit for game.
4 Responder’s Key Card Asking Bid.

2 2 NT Asking response, Relay
3 Shows a Weak Two-Bid in Spades.
3 Responder’s Asking Bid for further information.
4 Responder’s Key Card Asking Bid.
4 Responder’s forcing rebid, requesting opener to bid the better suit for game.

2 2 NT Asking response, Relay
3 Shows a holding with strong Clubs.
3 Shows a holding with strong Diamonds.
3 NT Shows a strong, balanced No Trump distribution.
Any strong responses to opener’s rebids are forcing to 4 No Trump.

2 2 NT Asking response, Relay
3 A natural rebid by opener and non-forcing if a Weak Two-Bid.
3 A natural rebid by opener and non-forcing if a Weak Two-Bid.
3 A a non-forcing Relay by opener.
3 A non-forcing Relay by opener.
4 A non-forcing Relay by opener.
4 A non-forcing Relay by opener.
4 NT A bid considered a normal Blackwood convention rebid by opener.

If the opponents decide to enter the auction after a 2 Diamond opening with a Double, then a Redouble shows support for either of the two Major suits, and is a business double. A response of 2 Hearts over the Double is considered to be non-forcing and indicates relatively weak support for either one or both of the Major suits. Otherwise, the responses are the same as in the diagrams above and the partnership continues with the auction as if the double had not occurred.

After intervention:

If the opponents enter the auction on the Two Level with either 2 Hearts or 2 Spades, then a Double by the Responder, instead of the normal 2 No Trump response, promises adequate support for the other unbid Major suit. All rebids after this bidding sequence are considered natural in nature. If the responder bids 2 No Trump, then this is a Lebensohl response showing a weak competitive holding in an unnamed Minor suit. Any response in either Minor suit becomes natural and is forcing for one round. A Cuebid of the opponent’s suit and its significance is based on the partnership agreement regarding the strength and values of the holding.

After a bidding sequence: 2 Diamonds – 3 of any other suit – Double means that the Double by the responder is for Penalty.

Responding To 2 Hearts. The responses are Multi responses:

2 2 A natural responses showing a 6-card plus Spade suit. Opener should pass if he is weak.
2 NT Asking Bid, one round forcing.
3 Shows a weak holding and 5-5 distribution in Hearts and Clubs.
3 Shows a weak holding and 5-5 distribution in Hearts and Diamonds.
3 Shows a strong 1-suited holding.
3 Shows a strong 2-suited holding.
3 NT Shows a strong, solid Heart holding (partnership agreement).
4 Shows a strong 2-suited holding.
4 Shows a strong 2-suited holding.
3 Opener either passes or corrects.
3 Opener either passes or corrects.
3 this response is a weak, invitational bid if holding 5-5 distribution. May show possible slam interest.
3 A natural response showing a 6-card Spade suit, and one round forcing.
3 NT A sign-off response.
4 Opener either passes or corrects.
4 Opener either passes or corrects.

Responding To 2 Spades. The responses are Multi responses:

The responses to an opening of 2 Spades are the same as for an opening of 2 Hearts, except for the response of 3 Spades, which is a weak, invitational bid if holding 5-5 distribution. This response may show possible slam interest. The 3 Heart response then allows the opener to either pass or correct.

Responding To 2 No Trump. Three level Preempt in either Minor suit:

2 NT 3 Opener either passes or corrects.
3 Opener either passes or corrects.
3 This response is forcing, and shows a 6-card Heart suit.
3 This response is forcing, and shows a 6-card Spade suit.
3 NT This response is to play.
4 Opener either passes or corrects.
4 Opener either passes or corrects.
4 This response is a sign-off.
4 This response is a sign-off.
4 NT This is Roman Key Card Blackwood for opener’s Minor suit.

In contrast to the Blue Club system, the Blue Team Club system offers the partnership a second choice for the definition of the 2 No Trump opening. In the Blue Team Club system, a 2 No Trump opening signifies values between 21-22 high card points, a balanced holding, making allowance for a 5-card Major.

Using the Blue Club system, a bidding sequence of: 1 – 1 – 2 NT shows values of 24 plus high card points and a balanced holding. A bidding sequence of: 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2 NT shows 23-23 high card points and a balanced holding. A bidding sequence of: 2 – 2/2 – 2 NT shows 21-22 high card points and a 4-3-3-3 distribution.

For those partnerships, which would prefer playing the Blue Team Club opening of 2 No Trump, the responses follow a certain pattern. In general, the Blue Team Club bid of 2 No Trump, as an overcall, will signify only 19-20 high card points and a balanced hand. After an opening by the opponents of a Weak-Two bid, a Multi bid, or a Flannery bid, an overcall of the Blue Team Club of 2 No Trump shows only 16-19 high card points and a balanced hand. Whether the bid of 2 No Trump is an opening or an overcall, the responses signify the same.

2 NT 3 the response is Extended Stayman, or just simple Stayman.
3 Jacoby Transfer, transfering to 3 Hearts. Opener can use Super Acceptance Bid.
3 Jacoby Transfer, transfering to 3 Spades. Opener can use Super Acceptance Bid.
3 shows interest in a Minor suit slam. Opener is required to rebid 3 No Trump.
3 NT this response is a sign-off.
4 Gerber
4 Flint
4 Transfer to 5 Clubs with at least a 6-card Club suit, showing slam interest.
4 Transfer to 5 Diamonds with at least a 6-card Diamond suit, showing slam interest.
4 NT this is a simple Quantitative Raise, not Ace asking.
5 this response is a sign-off and is natural.
5 this response is a sign-off and is natural.
Below is a small outline for the continuation of the bidding sequence after one partner has opened the auction with a Blue Team Club 2 No Trump opening.

2 NT 3 Extended Stayman by responder.
3 Opener shows both Minor suits.
3 Responder now shows a 5-card Heart suit.
3 Responder now shows a 5-card Spade suit.
4 Responder now sets the suit and begins cuebidding.
4 Responder now sets the suit and begins cuebidding.
4 Responder’s Asking Bid for Clubs and Diamonds.
4 Responder Asking Bid for Clubs and Diamonds.
3 Opener shows a 4-card Heart suit.
3 Responder now shows suit preference.
3 NT Responder now signs off after a 3 Heart rebid by the opener.
4 A natural bid now by responder and forcing to 4 No Trump.
4 A natural bid now by responder and forcing to 4 No Trump.
4 NT Now Roman Key Card Blackwood by responder.
3 Opener shows a 4-card Spade suit (with both, opener bids 3 Hearts first).
3 NT Opener shows a 3-3-3-4 (any Minor suit distribution).
In the bidding sequence: 2 NT – 3, the responder is indicating a possible slam try in one of the Minor suits. The opener is obliged to rebid 3 No Trump. The responder then shows his preference according to the following diagram:

2NT 3
3 NT 4 Responder shows at least a 5-card Club suit.
4 Responder shows at least a 5-card Diamond suit.
4 Responder shows a 5-card Club suit and a 4-card Diamond suit.
4 Responder shows a 5-card Diamond suit and a 4-card Club suit.
4 NT Responder shows a 5-card Club suit and a 5-card Diamond suit.
5 Responder shows a 6-card Club suit with moderate values.
5 Responder shows a 6-card Diamond suit with moderate values.
After any of the above responses, the opener, in the Blue Team Club system, will use the next higher-ranking suit as Roman Key Card Blackwood. The bidding sequence: 2 NT – 3 – 3 NT – 4 – a rebid of 4 by the opener initiates Roman Key Card Blackwood. Through Step Responses, the responder can show his number of Key Cards. If the responder has shown both Minor suits, for example with a rebid of 4 No Trump, then both Minor Kings are counted as Key Cards. In any case, the opener becomes the captain of the partnership and decides whether to bid slam, initiate cuebidding, sign-off in 4 No Trump, bid game in the Minor suit bid by his partner, owing to a lack of additional values, of initiate Roman Key Card Blackwood.

If the responder has bid 4 Clubs after a 2 No Trump opening, then this is generally accepted as a Roman Gerber bid.

If the responder has bid 4 Hearts or 4 Spades, then these responses are Jacoby Transfers to 5 Clubs or 5 Diamonds respectively, showing at least a good 6-card suit. The opener, who then becomes the captain of the partnership, can choose to bid slam, initiate cuebidding or Roman Key Card Blackwood, or sign-off in game.

If the opponents have opened the auction on the One or Two Level, and one partner overcalls with 2 No Trump, a Transfer is not possible. Any suit response becomes then an indication of a shortage in the named suit, and is the beginning of at least a game try, if not a slam try.

If one partner has opened the auction with a Preempt, then the responder can guide his partner to the best contract.

3 Pass Responder prefers Clubs.
3 Responder prefers Diamonds over Clubs.
3 A natural bid and forcing for one round.
3 A natural bid and forcing for one round.
3 NT Responder wishes to sign-off.
4 A response considered to also be preemptive in nature, and in Clubs.
4 A response considered to also be preemptive in nature, but in Diamonds.
4 Responder wishes to sign-off.
4 Responder wishes to sign-off.
4 NT Responder initiates Roman Key Card Blackwood, and both Minor Kings are counted as Key Cards.
Opening 3 Diamonds signifies any Solid 7-card Suit. Responding To 3 Diamonds:

3 3 Opener then passes or corrects.
3 Responder shows a singleton Ace.
3 NT Responder signs off.

Responding To A Preempt In A Major Suit

Accepting the standard conventions regarding Preempts is the general practice. It is normally a matter of vulnerability versus non-vulnerability which governs the favorability of opening with a preemptive bid. Most partnerships have the understanding that the Rule of 2 and 3 should be applicable, and that any other bid by the partner in another suit is natural, at least one round forcing, and asking for a 3-card support. Any 4 No Trump response is considered simple Blackwood, and not Roman Key Card Blackwood.

If the partner responds with a bid of 4 Clubs, then this is a modified Key Card Asking Bid.
The rebids of the preemptive opener are as follows, which are Step Responses.

First Step: Shows no Key Cards
Second Step: Shows 1 Key Card without the Queen of Trump
Third Step: Shows 1 Key Card with the Queen of Trump
Fourth Step: Shows 2 Key Cards without the Queen of Trump
Fifth Step: Shows 2 Key Cards with the Queen of Trump
A bid of 3 No Trump shows a Four Level Preempt in either Minor Suit. Responding To 3 No Trump:

3 NT 4 Responder either passes or corrects.
4 Responder either passes or corrects.
4 This response is to play in Hearts.
4 This response is to play in Spades.
5 Responder either passes or corrects.
5 Responder either passes or corrects.
4 NT Roman Key Card Blackwood in the opener’s suit.

Responding To A 4 Clubs or 4 Diamonds Namyats Opening Bid

These two openings are considered Namyats transfer opening to Hearts and Spades respectively. These opening bids indicate either a solid suit in the respective Major suit, or, at worst, a Major suit with one loser and an outside trick-taking honor. The responder can bid either: 4 No Trump which is Roman Key Card Blackwood using the already agreed upon King of the trump suit; or the responder can bid a New Suit, which is a Control Asking Bid for the bid suit. The opener can bid the next step as a Negative Response.

Responding To A 4 Hearts or 4 Spades Preempt

Although these two openings are generally weaker in values than an opening of four in a Minor Suit, they promise at least a holding with 7/8 playing tricks. This means that the opener holds 5/4 losing tricks. The responses are, however, the same as with an opening of 3 Clubs or 3 Diamonds.

A List of the conventions used in the Blue Club system.

Roman Key Card Blackwood
Gerber
Multi
Lavings
Texas Convention
Grand Slam Force
Using the Grand Slam Force in connection with the Blue Club, the initiation of the attempt at a grand slam is somewhat different. It depends upon the agreed trump suit. The Grand Slam Force bid is always one rank higher than the agreed trump suit.

Trump Suit Grand Slam Force bid
Spades: 5 No Trump
Hearts: 5 Spades
Diamonds: 5 Hearts
Clubs: 5 Diamonds
The responses are then Step Bids:

First Step: Responder holds the Ace or King of trump.
Second Step: Responder holds the Queen of trump, or 2 additional trump cards.
Third Step: Responder holds no trump honor, but one additional trump card.
Fourth Step: Responder holds no trump honor, and no additional trump card.
6 No Trump: Responder holds two top trump honors.
7 of a suit: Responder holds two top trump honors.

The attempt has been made to simplify the Blue Club system as much as possible with all of its complexity. Since the probability of an opponent overcalling is great and the responses then vary according to the nature of the overcall, defense mechanisms have not been included. However, it would be wise to acquaint oneself with the defense methods of the Blue Club system, since they could become invaluable tools. It is our hope that we have achieved somewhat our goal in presenting a simplified explanation of the Blue Club system. In order to understand completely the Blue Club system, it would be necessary for the reader and interested partnerships to purchase the books related to this system, study them, and practice before its application at the bridge table. Absolute comprehension is a prerequisite.

OGUST System

OGUST CONVENTION

A conventional method of rebidding after a 2 No Trump response to a Weak Two Opening by partner devised by Mr. Harold A. Ogust.

In the United Kingdom, the 2 No Trump response to a Weak Two Opening by partner is known as Blue Club Responses.

The illustration below with the included explanations should clarify the original concept of Mr. Harold Ogust.

South

  • 2 2 No Trump
  • South is Dealer. South has 7HCPs.
  • East and West are vulnerable.
  • South does not know how strong his partner is.
  • South could jeopardize his partner’s holding.
  • South could preempt and obstruct the bidding auction of the opponents.
  • South could inform his partner of his length and approximate strength.
  • South bids 2 .

North

  • North has 13HCPs.
  • North knows South’s distribution, 2-6-2-3.
  • North knows they have 9 trumps in Hearts.
  • North would like to reach a better contract.
  • North would like to know more about South’s strength and quality of his suit.
  • North bids 2 No Trump.

The Ogust convention allows the responder to bid 2 No Trump, a forcing bid, to allow opener, by a system of Relay bids, to describe his hand more precisely. Using these step-by-step bids, both North and South can find better establish the final contract. The following rebids are those rebids as indicated in the original version by Mr. Harold Ogust. Several variations on this concept are listed below.

These Relay Bids are:

  • 3 Clubs: Shows a weak hand, weak suit
  • 3 Diamonds: Shows a good hand, weak suit
  • 3 Hearts: Shows a weak hand, good suit
  • 3 Spades: Shows a good hand, good suit

As soon as the partner of the Weak Two bidder discovers the quality of the holding, then the partner sets and establishes the final contract.

Additional Variations: Within the bridge community, as is the case with many bridge conventions and concepts, some partnerships have agreed to simply reverse the definitions of the 3 Diamonds and 3 Hearts bids. But, whichever agreement you use, please include it in your partnership agreement.

The more modern treatment, as mentioned, is that the partnership understanding reverses the original meanings assigned by Mr. Harold Ogust to the red suits. This more modern treatment is described below. The adjective to describe the relation of the hand to the suit has also been changed and perhaps clarifies the significance of the interpretation better for the purpose of communication. We have included these adjectives in the more modern or accepted version.

These Relay Bids are:

3 : Shows minimum strength, poor suit

3 : Shows minimum strength, good suit

3 : Shows maximum strength, poor suit

3 : Shows maximum strength, good suit

3 NT: Signifies a solid suit

Another variation follows and has been dubbed September or New Ogust. Only the responses and the significances of the rebids are given. This variation applies mainly the method of Losing Trick Count.

  • 3 Clubs: Shows 9 plus losers
  • 3 Diamonds: Shows 8 losers and bad hand
  • 3 Hearts: Shows 8 losers and normal to good hand
  • 3 Spades: Shows 7 losers maximum or less

In connection with this variation, the bridge player, Mr. Jeff Goldsmith, who devised it, refined this variation to certain bidding sequences, such as the following where the Weak Two bid begins only with an opening of 2 Hearts. The entire auction is given to clarify the bidding sequence:

Opener > Responder > Meaning
  • 3 Clubs – Shows an 8 loser and a normal to good holding
  • 3 Diamonds – A forcing Relay for additional information
  • 3 Hearts – Shows a poor Heart suit and
  • 3 Spades – Shows a good Heart suit

However, if the first response of the Weak Two bidder is not 3 Clubs, then the bidding sequence indicates the following:

  • 2 hearts 2 NT Meaning
  • 3 diamonds – Shows an 8 loser and a poor holding
  • 3 hearts – Shows a 9 plus loser holding
  • 3 sdpades – Shows 7 losers or better

A similar structure for a Weak Two opening in the Spade suit could be devised, but that would be a partnership agreement with this particular variation.

Another variation takes advantange of showing the number of honors held by the Weak Two bidder, as proposed by Mr. Ron Klinger of Australia.

Another variation of the responses, and by partnership agreement is that the Weak Two bidder indicate the number of honors held. This variation has several similarities with the variation of Mr. Ron Klinger. The following chart indicates the number of honors suggested as guidelines. The added feature is that all rebids by the Ogust bidder then become natural bids. This is more or less the suggested responses addressed by the SAYC and considered to be a Common Optional Convention.

Another variation is integrated in the Benji Acol System and shows a less wider range of high card points without indicating the number of honors held in the preempt suit. The following chart outlines the guidelines. It must also be noted that the response of 3 No Trump is not included.

Another variation is called Feature and is applied by the responder to determine whether the Weak Two bidder is indeed weak or strong and to discover whether the Weak Two bidder has a specified feature in a desired suit. The following guidelines are a suggestion as to the responses and meanings.

1. If the first rebid of the Weak Two bidder is of the Preempted Suit, this shows that his holding contains no feature and that the strength is weak, generally between 5 and 7 high card points.

2. Three of any new suit shows a good hand with the Ace or King in that particular suit.

3. The rebid of 3 No Trump promises all three top honors of the preempted suit.

It must be noted that this variation is indeed only a partnership agreement among some bridge players and is not to be construed as a general partnership understanding.

Another variation is called Bogust. Source: BridgeSqueeze, and contributed by SpaceCadet. This variation is based on the Weak Two bidder opening with either a good 5-card suit with two of the top three honors, or any 6-card suit. In response to the forcing 2 No Trump bid by partner, the Weak Two bidder rebids as follows to show the length of the suit and the approximate number of Losing Tricks.

We would like to specify that any and all variations and modifications to the original Ogust convention is a matter of partnership agreement. As with all concepts and ideas, they can be varied to meet the requirements and wishes of the individual partnership.

If the responder has sufficient strength and good distribution, forcing the opener to describe his hand further using the step-by-step Ogust convention can permit the responder to reach game, slam or stop in part-score. Using this Ogust convention almost guarantees that both partners will find their correct contract and that they will stay out of an unmakable contract.

The Ogust convention brings order to an otherwise perhaps chaotic bridge bidding sequence. Please remember that a Weak Two bid can also preempt your own partner, and that a system should be used in order to discover the amount of strength between 5 high card points and 11 high card points, and the quality of that suit of the Weak Two bidder.

Again, the suggestion is made that both partners deal out several practice hands, experiment with the Ogust convention, introduce an overcall of an opponent, and decide whether they would like to include the Ogust convention as part of their partnership agreement and whether or not a variation and/or modification of the Ogust convention would meet the requirements of their agreement better.

Simplified Ogust or Easy Ogust

When the opener is forced to show a good hand or a good suit after a 2 No Trump feature-asking bid, it becomes sometimes difficult to evaluate the holding according to the guidelines established by the original Ogust convention. There are some so-called borderline instances, where the rebid can also become based on the degree of agressiveness of the opener. It is this difficulty which has led to the development of a variation of the Ogust convention with either of the designations simplified or easy. The idea is to base the rebid of the Weak Two opener on how well the opener rates the opening on a scale from one to four. The quality of the suit then becomes irrelevant. The rebids of the opener are shown below:

3 Clubs: Shows a minimum. Scale of 1-4 = 1.
3 Diamonds: Shows more than a minimum. Scale of 1-4 = 2.
3 Hearts: Shows less than a maximum. Scale of 1-4 = 3.
3 Spades: Shows a maximum. Scale of 1-4 = 4.

South is forced by the first response by North to show on a scale of 1-4 how well the Weak Two opening should be calculated. Although South has a feature, the King, with the simplified version South should rebid 3 to show the top range between 5/6 points and 11 points.

In this manner, the King remains undisclosed to the opponents since it will not be mentioned as information to the opponents, which would be the case if the partnership agreement would be the original Ogust convention.

Only upon request by one of the opponents would North be obligated to fully disclose that the 3 rebid does not show a high-ranking honor, or a feature. Without a request the lead could be a Diamond, which would secure one certain winning trick in Diamonds.

Kokish Relays

Mr. Eric Kokish devised the following mechanism to illustrate how it is possible to show a strong holding and a balanced hand without having to consume bidding spade on the three level. This agreement is employed by those partnerships, which have agreed that 2 Clubs is the only forcing opening bid, that a 2 No Trump opening is a Gambling 2 No Trump opening or a Weak Minor Preempt.

With this understanding all holdings with a 20-24 plus point range, balanced or unbalanced distribution, must be opened with the strong 2 Clubs opening.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed to employ the Kokish Relays only with a point count generally between 25-26 points. This is the definition provided by the Bridge World magazine.

It is generally accepted practice to show such a strong holding with an artificial strong 2 Clubs opening.

First Example: the auction would proceed as follows:

  • 2 Normally a Waiting Bid or a Negative Bid. Other responses, per partnership agreement, are not possible.
  • 2 NT This promises a balanced distribution and a point count between 20-21 points. The partnership remains on the two level, which is the key of this concept.

Second Example: the auction would proceed as follows:

  • 2 2 Normally a Waiting Bid or a Negative Bid. Other responses, per partnership agreement, are not possible.
  • 2 This is the Kokish Relay, a puppet for responder to bid an automatic 2 Spades in order that the opener clarify his holding.
  • 2 The puppet bid.
  • 2 NT North shows a balanced distribution of 23-24 points, a holding too strong for a normal 2 – 2 NT rebid. The partnership remains on the two level, which is the key of this concept.

Third Example: the auction would proceed as follows:

  • 2 2 Normally a Waiting Bid or a Negative Bid. Other responses, per partnership agreement, are not possible.
  • 2 This is the Kokish Relay, a puppet for responder to bid an automatic 2 Spades in order that the opener clarify his holding.
  • 2 The puppet bid.
  • 3 NT North shows a balanced distribution of 25-27 points, a holding too strong for a normal 2 – 3NT rebid. This rebid is not part of the original version of the Kokish Relays, but could be used as an extension of this concept by partnership agreement if an opening bid of 3 No Trump would indicate a possible Gambling 3 No Trump.

Using the Kokish Relay, the responder would do exactly the same thing if the strong holding has an independent suit. However, the opener would change the bidding sequence in the following manner:

  • 2 2 Normally a Waiting Bid or a Negative Bid. Other responses, per partnership agreement, are not possible.
  • 2 This is the Kokish Relay, a puppet for responder to bid an automatic 2 Spades in order that the opener clarify his holding.
  • 2 South is forced by agreement to rebid 2 Spades to learn more.
  • 3 North now has described his holding with a point range of 20-24 points and an independent Heart suit, insufficient however to bid game. Therefore this bid is invitational per partnership agreement.

Alternate Agreements

Other partnerships have agreed upon the following auction, which is then game forcing:

  • 2 2 Normally a Waiting Bid or a Negative Bid. Other responses, per partnership agreement, are not possible.
  • 3 No Kokish Relay is required to show an independent suit holding in Hearts to show a game forcing action. The partner must continue to game, and with additional values will initiate a slam try.

If the opener bids anything other than 2 No Trump, then these rebids are natural and generally indicate Hearts. Some partnerships agree upon the Heart suit as being a requirement.

This approach is advantageous when holding strong, balanced hands, which are too strong in values for an immediate, non-forcing 2 No Trump rebid. This is because the conventional approaches listed below can be employed with ease on the three level. The auction has not been raised dramatically and the bidding space is still available.

After this Kokish Relay, the responder can, by partnership agreement, employ the Stayman, the Jacoby Transfer, Texas Transfer, the Gerber, or the Roman Key Card conventions.

As with many other conventional methods, different variations have arisen. Included is a different approach suggested by Mr. Danny Kleinman.

1. After a 2 rebid by the opener, the responder bids 3 and 3 naturally to indicate the corresponding long Minor suit and moderate values. It is possible that the responder then becomes the declarer.

2. After a 2 rebid by the opener, the responder bids 2 No Trump when holding a 6-card plus Spade suit, which the opener with the stronger holding will declare when holding Spade support. And, using the same approach, after a 2 rebid by the opener, the responder bids 3 promising a 6-card plus Spade suit and at least a 3-card Heart suit. With any support the opener, holding the stronger values, becomes the declarer in either Major suit.

WEAK TWO BIDS DEFENSE

DEFENSE TO WEAK TWO BIDS

There are many forms of defense methods against any and all conventional methods. It would be impossible to introduce them all since they are normally based on a partnership agreement and/or understanding. We do wish to present several defense mechanisms whenever possible and whenever we find them. Following are two possible defense methods against Weak Two Bids opened by the opponents.

Method 1: (found on Jack’s Bridge Tips – Last Updated: 9-25-2001)

In defending against a weak two opening bid, the general rule is that a bid in the immediate seat shows good values. Bids are as follows:

1. Double – for takeout, and shows sound opening hand values, support for all unbid suits and good defensive strength. Partner, probably having some length in the enemy suit, may convert the double for penalties. Partner should use Lebensohl in responding.

a. With less than 7 HCP, Responder bids at the 2 level if possible. Otherwise, he bids 2NT (Lebensohl), requiring doubler to bid 3 Clubs and then pass any correction. Doubler may, of course, bid on with a strong hand, knowing partner has fewer than 7 points. If partner uses Lebensohl and then corrects to a suit that he could have bid at the two level, this shows good values but not quite enough to have made an initial jump to the three level.
b. A jump to the three level is a strong game invitation (opening hand strength).
c. A minimum response at the three level promises about 7 to 10 points.
2. A minimum overcall shows a good 5 plus card suit and a good hand (7 Losing Trics at the two level, 6 Losing Tricks at the three level). A jump overcall shows an even better hand (5 Losing Tricks). With a 4 loser hand or better, double first and then bid your suit.

Partner may raise to any level, bid a new suit (not forcing), or cue bid (forcing – probable fit).

3. An overcall of 2NT is NOT unusual. It shows the values of a 1NT overcall (15 to 18 HCP with one or more stoppers). Partner may then cuebid the enemy suit (Stayman) or transfer to a long suit. (Example: if the enemy suit is Hearts, a bid of 3 Clubs is a transfer to Diamonds, 3 Diamonds is a transfer to Spades, 3 Hearts is Stayman, and 3 Spades is a transfer to Clubs. 3NT is to play).

4. 3NT shows a secure stopper(s) in the enemy suit and 21-22 HCP. With 19-20 HCP or 23+ HCP, double and then bid 2NT or 3NT.

5. A direct cuebid in their suit is a Western Cuebid, asking partner to bid 3NT with a secure stopper in their suit. This is usually a hand with 7 plus sure running tricks.

6. A jump overcall (Roman Jump Overcall) shows a 4 or 5 loser hand which is a two-suiter in the suit bid and the next higher-ranking suit. You expect to make game in one of those suits if partner has 7 points.

The strength requirements for bidding in the balancing position are reduced. With a short holding in the opponents’ suit, support for unbid suits and moderate values (10+ points ), balancer should double (realizing that partner may leave it in for penalties). With four cards or more in the opponents’ suit and less than opening 1NT strength, balancer should probably pass and defend. A minimum suit bid should be 5 or 6 cards in length. A jump bid in a suit shows a good suit and a good hand. An overcall of 2NT is the same as in the immediate position.

Method 2: Defense To Weak Two-Bids (Eddie Kantar’s Treatment)

Assume The Enemy’s Opening Bid Is 2 Hearts:

Double

Takeout, like a double of a 1 Heart opening.

2 Spades, 3 Clubs or 3 Diamonds

Natural, like an overcall of a 1 Heart bid. However, since you are bidding a level higher, you should have a very good suit or extra playing strength.

2 No Trump

15+ to 18, balanced, like an opening 1 No Trump bid with a Heart stopper.

3 No Trump

Long running suit with a Heart stopper, may not have the other suits stopped.

Double followed by 3 No Trump

19 to 21, balanced.

3 Hearts – The cuebid shows a long running suit and asks partner to bid 3 No Trump with a Heart stopper. Partner’s responses are:

3 NT – has a Heart stopper.

4 Clubs – has a weak hand, no Heart stopper. You will correct to you suit.

5 Clubs – has a strong hand, no Heart stopper. You will correct to your suit.

4 Diamonds or 4 Spades – has an independent suit, no Heart stopper.

3 Spades

A jump overcall, strong. When the bid to your right is weak, a jump by you is strong.

4 Clubs or 4 Diamonds

“Leaping Michaels”. Shows a strong two-suited hand with the suit bid plus the other Major, at least 5-5.

4 Hearts

The jump cuebid shows the Minors, at least 5-5, very strong.

4 No Trump

Also shows the Minors, at least 5-5, but not as strong as the jump cuebid.

Rusinow Leads

Devised by Mr. Sydney Rusinow, born in the year 1907 and died in the year 1953, and applied at the bridge table with his friends and partners, Mr. Philip Abramsohn and Mr. Simon Rossant, in the 1930s. Mr. Sydney Rusinow won the Vanderbilt Cup in the year 1933 with his team mates Phil Abramsohn, Benjamin Feuer, and Francis Rendon. He was of Newark, New Jersey, United States, and owner of a lucrative silver mine in the United States.

Note: The original principle behind the concept of this manner of leading, which bears his surname, was the lead of the lower of two honors. This principle was later revised, refined, modified to the lead of the lower of two touching honors.

Although the leads were original and unique, the ACBL, for undisclosed reasons, declared them illegal and barred the use of this principle at ACBL sanctioned tournaments until 1964, after which year the ban was lifted.

The principle behind the concept of the Rusinow Leads apparently did not sit well with the bridge community in the United States, but they were adopted by many European bridge players. They were employed also by Mr. Walter Avarelli and Mr. Giorgio Belladonna and they were incorporated into the Roman System, which they devised, and became also known as Roman Leads. Since the Rusinow Leads have become common practice with many bridge players, they have been incorporated in several bidding systems.

The principle behind Rusinow Leads is simply the leading of the second-ranking of touching honors. Rusinow Leads are used only on the first trick against a suit contract in a suit, which the partner has not bid during the auction, if at all.

It is uncommon to employ the Rusinow Leads also against a No Trump contract since the purpose of the lead against a No Trump contract is entirely different in nature, but it is not illegal.

Since the 1930s represented the era of the transition from Whist to Contract Duplicate, many innovations had to be considered and many traditional playing strategies had to be re-arranged and redefined. It was quite normal practice for the defenders to lead the King against a contract, when holding the Ace and King of the same suit. It was also quite standard for the defender to lead the King against a contract, when holding the King and Queen of the same suit. This standard practice sometimes led to unusual situations where the partner of the defender was uncertain as to the better play, since the partner was uncertain as to whether his partner had the Ace or the Queen after leading the King.

The ambiguity of the lead becomes apparent. If West has the King/Queen, East will wish to play the Jack of Spades and encourage West at the same time. However, if West has the Ace/King, then East will wish to play the 3, so that West will choose to change to another suit. If South, the declarer, holds the Queen-9-8-x, a continuation will give South at least one winner in this suit.

In the early days of bridge, defenders were looking for new ways to impart information and to try new strategies. The attempt at leading the Ace from an Ace/King, promising the King, proved unsatisfactory, since leading a single Ace against a suit contract seemed prudent and in hindsight the only lead that would defeat the suit contract. It was concluded that one problematic situation was exchanged for a second problematic situation, and it was not quite clear, which principle should be more favored, or if a new principle should be created for the defense.

Mr. Sydney Rusinow came up with a solution, which was first endorsed by Mr. Ely Culbertson. However, the solution did not gain very much favor and popularity by the bridge community. The solution was to lead the second highest from touching honors, such as leading the King from Ace/King and Queen from King/Queen and Jack from Queen/Jack. Although this solution of leading in this manner was eventually barred from ACBL tournaments, the Europeans seemed captivated by the concept. They were eventually adopted by the World Bridge Federation and especially by the advocates of the Roman Club bidding system, the players of which were looking for innovative ideas.

The main principles of the Rusinow Leads are as follows:

1. Ace: this lead denies the King, except when holding the Ace-King as a doubleton.

2. King: this lead is from Ace-King. The third hand should signal encouragement with the Queen or a doubleton.

3. Queen: this lead is from King-Queen. The third hand should normally signal with the Ace or Jack, but not with a doubleton if the dummy contains three or four small cards of the same suit. This may be to avoid a Bath Coup, whereby the declarer could possible be holding the Ace-Jack-x, and thereby cash two tricks.

4. Jack: this lead is from Queen-Jack.
4.1. Ten: this lead is from Jack-Ten.
4.2. Nine: this lead is from Ten-Nine.

These leads complement the MUD lead convention, in which the original lead is from three small cards. The first is the Middle card, followed by the higher card, followed by the lower card, when holding only three cards in that suit, or Middle, Up, Down.

5. In the case that more than two touching honors are held, and a lead has to be made, the card representing the second-highest honor is led. For example, from King-Queen-Jack, the Queen is led. The second card from this sequence, which is then led, is the Jack. The third hand knows that his partner holds the King of that suit.

A Short Summary of Rusinow Leads

  • Card Lead Card Combination
  • Ace Denies the King unless the holding is an AK doubleton.
  • King Lead from AK. Partner should unblock the Queen, if held.
  • Queen Promises KQ or longer sequence.
  • Jack Promises QJ or longer sequence.
  • Ten Promises J10 or longer sequence.
  • Nine Promises 109 or longer sequence.
  • Middle-Up-Down The play of a higher second card shows an odd number of cards in that suit.
  • Up-Down A high-low play promises and even number of cards in that suit.

Rusinow Leads gave the partner information about the holding, but the Rusinow Leads are used only on the first trick against a suit contract. This fact is very important to remember concerning the communication with the partner.

Note: After the first trick, it is important to remember that the highest card should be led from touching honors. This is true whether the lead if from either of the hands of the defenders.

Important Side Note: the Rusinow Leads were originally devised for use against a suit contract. The experiment was made to use this lead also against a No Trump contract, and the experiment failed miserably, since the purpose of a lead against a No Trump contract is different than against a suit contract. The information needed by the partner is whether the partner has led from his longest suit, and not where his honors are located.

Whether or not Rusinow Leads should be part of the partnership agreement must be considered by the individual partnership. The advantages are obvious and they are presently accepted as a form of defense by the ACBL and most other bridge governing bodies around the world.

Note: The long-time former bridge columnist for The New York Times featured in his articles deals, the outcome of which were determined better and more advantageously by the employment of Rusinow Leads. One such article appeared in The New York Times, on Monday, July 17, 1995. Unfortunately the diagrammed deal, to which Mr. Alan Truscott refers, was not archived by The New York Times.

Note: Mr. Charles Goren was also a national bridge columnist, who collaborated together with other well-known bridge players such as Mr. Omar Sharif, the actor and bridge player. He also mentioned the introduction and growing popularity of the Rusinow Leads within the bridge community in his bridge column, which appeared in The Blade, a newspaper; published in Toledo, Ohio, United States, on Saturday, June 16, 1979, a picture of which in a .pdf file format has been archived and preserved on this site for future reference.

Lavinthal Signals

These suit preference signals are very similar to the concept of Revolving Discards developed by Mr. J. Attwood. This defensive discarding method was devised by Mr. Hy Lavinthal in 1934, and has had a greater effect on defensive play than any other development in bridge history and ranks with the distributional echo and the High-Low count signal.

Note

These suit preference signals are also known and designated as the William McKenney Signals (England) and also as the B. Jay Becker Signals (United States).

A suit preference signal is an important tool for the defenders and it can keep the line of communication open. However, suit preference signals are often abused and overused. It is important to remember that showing attitude and length through signals are assigned higher priority. Therefore, it is important to remember that a suit preference signal is an unusual play of unmistakable significance. A suit preference signal is asking partner to lead a specific suit once the partner has the opportunity. Suit preference signals can be used when discarding, when leading as well as when following suit.

The contract is 3 No Trumps. The declarer is South. West leads the 3 of Hearts. South plays the 6 of Hearts from the dummy, and East plays the Queen of Hearts in order to keep a perhaps crucial entry so that East can lead through South at the correct play.
South then leads the Queen and then the Jack of Diamonds on the second and third trick. This is followed by the last small 3 of Diamonds by South. West has held up taking the Ace of Diamonds until the third Diamond play. East is forced to discard a card on the third Diamond trick.

A standard suit preference signal would be to discard a card of that rank which should then be led. If East wanted a Spade return, then East would discard a Spade, etc.

But East sees a chance to defeat the contract, but only if West, on the fifth trick, after gaining the lead, plays a Heart. Under the circumstances above, it would be disadvantageous if East had to discard a Heart, asking West to lead a Heart. Using the Lavinthal Suit Preference Signal, East must discard the 4 of Clubs. This means that East does not want a Club lead on the fifth trick, but rather the lead of the lower-ranking suit of the two remaining suits, Spades and Hearts, and therefore Hearts.

As the cards lie with East, East is able to discard a Club without having to endanger the loss of a possible winner by unguarding the suit. In the case that East had only a 4-card Club suit, and therefore unable to discard a Club to signify to his partner that a Heart lead is wanted, then East must discard the 10 of Spades, which signifies that East wishes the lead of the higher-ranking suit of the two remaining suits, Hearts and Clubs, and therefore Hearts.

This is the first method of showing which suit is preferred, using the Lavinthal Suit Preference Signals.

A second method of showing which suit is preferred, using the Lavinthal Suit Preference Signals or Revolving Discards, developed by Mr. J. Attwood, is to treat all four suits as a circle: Clubs-Diamonds-Hearts-Spades-Clubs-Diamonds-etc. When the partnership agreement includes this method, then the discard of a low card in a suit calls for the lead of the next lower-ranking suit of the two remaining suits. The discard of a high card asks for the lead of the next higher-ranking suit of the two remaining suits.

In the example above, if East discards the 10 of Clubs, East is asking for the lead of the next higher-ranking suit, Hearts. If the holding of East does not allow for a safe discard in Clubs, then the 3 of Spades, a low card, asks for the lower-ranking suit, Hearts.

Inverted Minors

The Inverted Minor Raises is a treatment and belongs to the Kaplan-Scheinwold system. Many bridge partnerships have decided to use the Inverted Minors treatment as part of their partnership agreement. The concept behind Inverted Minors is a simple one and is a reversal of the so-called American Standard procedure.

1. A single raise of the Minor suit of the opener is strong and forcing, and shows generally at least 9/10 high card points and a 5-card plus Minor suit support.

2. A double raise is weak and obstructive, and shows 8 high card points or fewer in strength and a 5-card plus Minor suit support.

Note: The original concept includes the requirement that the auction be opened by one partner in order that the conventional method can be initiated. If one partner has previously passed, then the original concept states that the support of any opened Minor suit reverts back to being standard.

In order to apply the Inverted Minor Raise, the responder should have at least a 5-card support of the opener’s Minor suit, in case the opener was forced to open a 3-card Minor suit.

The responder should not have a 4-card Major suit. This is especially true for all those partnerships using 5-card Major suit openings.

The following examples show how the Inverted Minor raises are used, and illustrate how the structure of the responder’s holding should be when making a single raise.

The responder, with the structure of the above example, would bid 2 Diamonds, showing at least 9/10 plus high card points. This bid is forcing for one round. There is also a 4-card Major suit lacking.

The responder, with the structure of the above example, would bid 2 Diamonds, showing at least 9/10 plus high card points. This bid is forcing for one round. Again, there is a 4-card Major suit lacking.

Since the single raise is considered forcing, the opener has several options. Some partnerships play that the sequence 1 – 2 diamonds is forcing to game. However, according to the original concept the following continuances are as follows, a few of which are not game-forcing.

All bidding sequences should be viewed as after the initial bidding sequence of 1 – 2 diamonds without competition.

Opener > Responder > Meaning

  • 1 and 2 diamonds – 2 hearts – This rebid by opener is one-round forcing and promises additional strength and values plus a 3/4-card Heart suit. It is generally considered to be game forcing.
  • 2 spades – This rebid by opener is one-round forcing and promises additional strength and values plus a 3/4-card Spade suit. It is generally considered to be game forcing.
  • 2NT  – This rebid by opener is non-forcing and promises a minimum and balanced to semi-balanced holding with only a 3-card Diamond suit. The responder is required to pass with a minimum and semi-balanced holding; otherwise the responder rebids the Minor suit at the three level.
  • 3 clubs – This rebid by the responder generally promises a stopper in the Club suit, promises the equivalent of a full opening bid, and is game forcing.
  • 3 diamonds – This rebid by the responder indicates a holding unsuitable for No Trump with minimum to moderate values, and no stopper in any higher-ranking suit.
  • 3 hearts – This rebid by the responder generally promises a stopper in the Heart suit, promises the equivalent of a full opening bid, and is game forcing.
  • 3 spades – This rebid by the responder generally promises a stopper in the Spade suit, promises the equivalent of a full opening bid, and is game forcing.
  • 3 clubs – A rebid in a new suit by the opener after the initial sequence strongly promises a stopper and is one-round forcing. This rebid promises more than minimum values and unbalanced distribution.
  • 3 diamonds – A rebid by the responder after a 3 rebid by the opener shows no interest in continuing the auction and promises no stopper(s) in the higher-ranking suits. This rebid is considered non-forcing.
  • 3 hearts – A rebid in another suit by the responder promises full opening values and a stopper in the suit bid.
  • 3 spades – A rebid in another suit by the responder promises full opening values and a stopper in the suit bid.
  • 3 diamonds – A raise in the Diamond suit by the opener promises minimum values and a 4-card Diamond suit. This bid is considered non-forcing. The concept behind this tactic should be considered to be purely obstructive in nature.
  • 3 hearts – A rebid in a new suit by the opener after the initial sequence strongly promises a stopper and is one-round forcing. This rebid promises more than minimum values and unbalanced distribution.
  • 3 spades – This rebid by the responder generally promises a stopper in the Spade suit, promises the equivalent of a full opening bid, and is game forcing.
  • 3NT – Since the rebid by the opener of 3 is one-round forcing, the responder is forced to bid. A response of 3 No Trump can indicate, per partnership agreement, no stopper in the Spade suit or a semi-stopper in the Spade suit. If the opener has a stopper in the Spade suit, then the opener will pass. If the opener has no stopper in the Spade suit, then the opener may or may not bid 4.
  • 4 diamonds – A rebid of 4 Diamonds by the responder shows no stopper in the Spade suit and no stopper in the Club suit. This response is non-forcing since the opener has shown no stopper in the Club suit.
  • 3 spades – A rebid in a new suit by the opener after the initial sequence strongly promises a stopper and is one-round forcing. This rebid promises more than minimum values and unbalanced distribution.
  • 3NT – This rebid by the responder promises a stopper in the Club suit and the Heart suit. Full opening values are also strongly indicated.
  • 4 diamonds – A rebid of 4 Diamonds by the responder shows no stopper in the other unnamed suits. This response is non-forcing.
  • 3NT – This rebid by the opener promises a balanced distribution and 18-19 points, a holding too weak for a 2 No Trump opening and too strong for a 1 No Trump opening with a 15-17 point range. For partnerships playing a 16-18 point range for 1 No Trump, then this rebid promises 19-20 points. This rebid strongly promises a 3-card Diamond suit.
  • 5 Diamonds – This rebid by the opener promises very strong values, an unbalanced distribution, and a lack of stoppers in at least two of the unnamed suits.

These rebids and responses can be varied and modified to meet the requirements of the individual partnership.

Possible Rebids by the Responder:

The possible rebids by the responder after the opener has rebid either Hearts or Spades are shown below. It must be noted that these rebids can be altered or modified by the individual partnership as seen fit. However, the general guidelines are outlined as follows and the reader should read the schematic correctly since both Minor suits are combined:

Responder Meaning

  • Once the opener forces the responder to further describe the holding, a 2NT rebid shows a natural Inverted Minor raise and no additional values. The responder does not promise stoppers in either or both of the unbid suits.
  • This rebid by the responder shows a minimum single raise, which is unsuitable for play in No Trump.
  • Once the opener, after the initial sequence, strongly promises a stopper (see above), then the responder can show additional strength in the other Minor suit. This information could assist the partnership to reach a final contract of 3 No Trump.
  • This rebid by the responder shows normally a good 3-card Heart or Spade suit. If this forced rebid also shows a stopper in the bid suit, then this is normally considered to be a partnership agreement.
  • This forced rebid, also a jump response, by the responder promises stoppers (one or more) in the unbid suits.

Opponents love to intervene and overcall and/or double. It is generally accepted and agreed upon by partnership understanding that the Inverted Minors treatment becomes then inactive and that the system is off. Any raises of a Minor suit opening and/or the bid of a new suit becomes then standard.

It is of the utmost importance that the partnership realize that both Kaplan and Scheinwold both agreed that if there were any interference from the opponents before the responder has a chance to use the Inverted Minors treatment, then the Inverted Minors agreement is off. Once the opponents enter the bidding before the responder has a chance to bid, then the meanings of the Minor suit raises become standard.

Note: However, many partnerships have agreed to continue to employ the Inverted Minors conventional method if an overcall by an opponent on the one level in a suit or after an immediate Takeout Double does not interfere with the application of the Inverted Minors conventional method.

Note: As stated above in the introduction to the Inverted Minors conventional method, it is only by partnership agreement whether or not the Inverted Minors conventional method continues to be in effect by a previously passed hand.

Note: The general guideline is as follows for the partnership: After a single Minor suit raise, if either partner returns to 3 or 4 of the agreed Minor suit or 2 No Trump, then this continuance is not forcing (except if either partner has bid 3 No Trump prior to a return to 4 of the Minor suit) and indicates minimum values for his/her previous bidding. Therefore, any other (re)bid that does not equal game is forcing for one round.