Bergen Raises

This conventional method was originally called Bergen Major Suit Raises, because they were only used after one partner opened a Major suit. This is a conventional method devised by Mr. Marty Bergen, and was first published in the ACBL Bulletin in April 1982. Using the responses of this method, the partner could show his overall strength and his actual trump length with one bid.

This method has also undergone some changes since its inception. To some degree, the responses are sometimes completely natural and several are completely artificial.

The responses are different depending on whether the raises indicate a holding with fewer than game values.

These responses for holdings with fewer than game values and their meanings are as follows. The leaning bridge player should remember that the responses are for a Spade opening in the example and that the true ‘meaning’ refers to both Major suits, Spades and Hearts.

North-South Meaning

  • 1 and 2 Spades – Shows 3-card Spade support, 6-10 points.
  • 3 Clubs – Shows 4-card Spade support, 7-10 points, artificial.
  • 3 Diamond – Shows 4-card Spade support, 10-12 points, artificial.

Note: Some partnerships reverse the meaning of the 3 and 3 responses.

  • 3 Spades – Shows 4-card plus Spade support, 2-6 points, preemptive. (Note: some publications show 0-6 points.)
  • 3 NT Shows 12-15 points, 3-card Spade support. (Implies strongly a balanced distribution of usually 4-3-3-3 or similar pattern).

The reason why some partnerships reverse the meaning of the 3 Clubs and 3 Diamonds responses is because Mr. Marty Bergen, in the original publication, had written them as reversed. The modification followed later. Although the modification could have been called Reverse Bergen Raises, this particular designation was never considered.

In the case that the responder has only 3-card support for the opened Major by his partner and also 10-12 good support points, the partnership agreement is that a response of 1 No Trump is forcing for one round. In the following two bidding sequences, the responder shows the requirements for 10-12 support points and 3-card support.

In the case that the responder holds sufficient points for game, then the responses are different.

A response of 3 No Trump shows a balanced hand, game values, stoppers in the other unbid suits, and 3-card support in Spades. This response is non-forcing. The opener may pass. However, if the opener wishes to pursue any slam interest, the opener begins cuebidding.

Any jump to the three level in the other Major suit shows a hand with game values, a singleton or a void in an unspecified side suit. In order to identify this side suit, the opener may make the cheapest rebid, or a Step bid, which are shown below:

Bidding Sequence 1:

Opener Responder Meaning

  • 3 Spades – Cheapest bid by opener.
  • 3 NT Singleton or void in Clubs.
  • 4  Clubs – Singleton or void in Diamonds.
  • 4 Diamonds – Singleton or void in Hearts.


Bidding Sequence 2:

Opener Responder Meaning

  • 3 NT Cheapest bid by opener.
  • 4 Clubs – Singleton or void in Clubs.
  • 4 Diamonds – Singleton or void in Diamonds.
  • 4 Hearts – Singleton or void in Spades.

The Bergen Raises has several advantages, which are recognized by experienced bridge players. The artificial jumps are designed specifically to obstruct the opponents from entering the auction. The responses give a better picture of the strength of the responder as well as the length of his holding in the opened Major suit. The shared information concerning the location of a singleton or void could be a decisive factor in exploring slam possibilities. The partnership is able to utilize the responses of 4 Clubs, 4 Diamonds, or 4 of the unbid Major suit for other purposes.

Note: It is the partnership agreement of most bridge players that Bergen Raises are not used, when one partner has already passed. The primary use of this method occurs after one partner opens a Major suit in First or Second Seat and the right hand opponent has passed. All responses must be alerted.

If the opponents decide to enter the auction after a response of 3 Clubs or 3 Diamonds, depending on the opening, then a double is generally a lead directing double and/or a Takeout double depending on the partnership agreement of the opponents. A double by the opponents may also signify a two-suited hand with one Major and the other unbid Minor suit. If this is the partnership agreement of the opponents, then the Doubler will bid his Major suit after the double. Any cuebid by the opponents of the opener’s Major suit promises the second unbid Major suit and the second unbid Minor suit by partnership agreement. Although rare, a Pass may be a Takeout Double and is forcing.

Employing the Bergen Raises method, most partnerships agree that the Bergen Raises method is off, if the overcall interferes with a constructive continuation of the Bergen Raises method. If the overcall does not interfere with the constructive continuation of the Bergen Raises method, then the system is on.


Suction Convention

This conventional defense method is ascribed and credited to Mr. Harold Feldheim of Hamden, Connecticut, United States. The Suction conventional defense method is employed after the opponents open the auction with No Trump. The guidelines of this convention are neither involved nor complicated, but the partner must first make an assumption, and then bid as cheaply as possible to discover the actual meaning behind the overcall.

Note: The guidelines of the Suction conventional defense method is somewhat dependent on the bidding system employed and can be altered or varied to meet the requirements of the particular bidding system.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed that the distribution of the holding, when overcalling could / may be reduced to 4-4 in both Major suits regardless of the state of vulnerability, otherwise the distribution is generally 5-4, 4-5, or 5-5 depending on the state of vulnerability. This is entirely a partnership agreement in all employed variations of the concept.

The overcall of any suit shows the next-higher suit, or the other two suits. This is known as a transfer overcall since the overcaller is actually transferring his partner to the desired suit. The objective and advantage of this transfer overcall is that the No Trump bidder is then forced to lead the first card as opposed to being in third seat.

  • 2 Clubs: Shows a one-suiter in Diamonds, or a two-suited holding with Spades and Hearts or both Major suits.
  • 2 Diamonds: Shows a one-suiter in Hearts, or a two-suited holding with Spades and Clubs, or both Black suits.
  • 2 Hearts: Shows a one-suiter in Spades, or a two-suited holding with Clubs and Diamonds, or both Minor suits.
  • 2 Spades: Shows a one-suiter in Clubs, or a two-suited holding with Diamonds and Hearts, or both Red suits.
  • 2 NT: Shows non-touching Rounded suits, Clubs and Hearts.
  • Double: Shows non-touching Pointed suits, Diamonds and Spades.

The partner of the overcaller, or Suction bidder, assumes the next-higher suit, until the bidding auction indicates otherwise. Therefore, the advancer (partner of the intervenor) will use a relay bid, or the cheapest bid possible, as a waiting bid to find out more about the holding of the overcaller. The advantage of having the No Trump bidder being in third seat can sometimes be lost since the Suction bidder may sometimes become by default the declarer by having to correct to the intended suit.

Acol System

The Acol System is used by many bridge players around the world, and is employed mainly in British tournament play. It is a different system than the American 5-Card System. For a list of further Bidding Systems available to the bridge player, click on the icon below.

The Acol System was the brain-child of bridge players, among whom were Mr. Maurice Harrison-Gray, Mr. Iain Macleod, Mr. J.C.H. Marx, Mr. Terence Reese and Mr. S.J. Simon. The history of the Acol System is rather unique in that it was first employed in 1934 in a relatively small North London Bridge Club located on Acol Street, from whence the name. The bridge players mentioned above relied heavily on the early writings about the Game of Bridge written by Mr. Ely Culbertson.

If you wish to improve your understanding of this Bidding System, then we recommend the purchase of the following two books. which you can buy at Amazon or Baron Barclay.

The following are several Basic Guidelines for the Acol System.
The list is definitely incomplete, but the idea is to understand the basics first, and that is our purpose and intention.

If you would like anything added, please let us know and we shall do our research and homework.

The Weak No Trump is applied when the players are not vulnerable. The original No Trump range was 13-15HCPs, but this range has been reduced to 12-14HCPs. Always take a look at the Convention Chart to ascertain the 1 No Trump range.

The Strong No Trump is applied when the players are vulnerable. The original No Trump range was 16-18HCPs, but this range has also been reduced to 15-17HCPs. Always take a look at the Convention Chart to ascertain the 1 No Trump range.

Some bridge players apply the Weak No Trump and the Strong No Trump at any vulnerability. The opponents must use caution and make certain which No Trump range is used at which vulnerability, if at all.

Limit Raises and No Trump Responses

Both Limit Raises and No Trump Responses are not forcing.
After an opening bid of 1 , a response of 2 No Trump or 3 is encouraging, but not forcing. Each response shows about 11 points.

Jump rebids are not forcing unless they are in a new suit.

If the opening is one of a suit, then the required strength and Quick Trick ability can be slightly lower than in American methods, especially if the opener holds a 6-card suit.

Two-Over-One responses were originally made even on weak hands with about 8 points, but are presently played using the strength required for traditional American Standard, which is approximately 10 points. However, some Acol players feel that this response is forcing to at least 2 No Trump.

Fourth Suit Forcing bids are used conventionally by most Acol bridge players.
2 means an artificial strong opening and is forcing to 2 No Trump.

An Acol Two-Bid is forcing for one round.

Gambling 3 No Trump equals a long and strong Minor suit with at least two other suits protected with a stopper.

4 No Trump Opening is a bid asking for specific Aces. The partner may not have passed previously when this bid is applied.

There are other features used in the Acol System.

Some are Basic and some are Optional.
We have not filled in all the blanks yet.

  • Acol Direct King Convention
  • Baron Slam Try
  • Benjamin
  • Blackwood
  • Crowhurst
  • Culbertson 4-5 No Trump
  • Gerber Convention
  • Grand Slam Force
  • Flint
  • Interest-Showing Bids
  • Kock-Werner Redouble
  • Responsive Double
  • Roman Blackwood
  • Roman Two Diamonds
  • Sharples
  • Short-Suit Game Try
  • Stayman Convention
  • Strong No Trump After Passing
  • Swiss
  • Texas
  • Trial Bid
  • Unusual No Trump
  • Void-Showing Bids
  • Weissberger

If you and your partner would like to study the Acol System more, then we strongly suggest purchasing the appropriate books describing the conventions and methods used. It is a different System and can be very effective.

A lot of time and effort has gone into this Acol System by many good bridge players, and the result has been very positive based on the popularity of the Acol System. We suggest you at least acquaint yourself with the basics and then make your decision.

Acol Bridge

For interested Bridge Players, who would like to learn the Acol Bidding System, we have tried to accumulate sufficient material regarding the Acol Bidding System. As with all Bidding Systems, there are modifications, different approaches, even conventions devised and borrowed, and we have included these for the edification of our visitors and for the curious. Any contributions to this list will be greatly appreciated.

Summary of the Acol Bidding Systems

The Acol Bidding System is considered to be a natural system. However, the Acol Bidding System is also considered to be an unregulated system, meaning that there is no official governing body issuing any directives about the structure of the bidding system, as opposed to the ACBL’s Standard American Yellow Card. Most Acol-players compare the bidding system to a ‘living language’, which changes with time, evolves as a necessity, and becomes modified as needed.

There are several versions, therefore, of the bidding system, and all versions are in use. They include, but are not officially limited to:

Acol, which is unregulated Acol. This version is perhaps the most common and preferred version and is sometimes referred to as Standard Acol.

Standard English Acol, which is referred to as Standard English. This bidding version was developed by Sandra Landy with the support of the English Bridge Union and under its supervision and/or auspices. This version had the goal of facilitating the learning of the game of bridge for new players.

Benjaminised Acol, also referred to as Benji Acol or simply Benji. This version employs opening on the two level in both Major suits as weak openings, as opposed to openings on the two level in both Minor suits as being strong openings.

Reversed Benji, which is identical to Benjaminised Acol except that the two Minor suit openings on the two level are switched or reversed.

Acol System Notes

The visitor finds access via ‘Map’ in the menu, top left.
This is a must read for any bridge player wishing to understand the guidelines of the Acol Bidding System. Dr. Chris Ryall has made notes on the general structure of the Acol style which he suggests is somewhat more relaxed than North American methods. These System Notes are designed for those who already know the basic principles of bidding and hand evaluation, but wish to play in an Acol partnership in say an online environment. The distinction between Acol and Benjaminised Acol is explained, and common variants seen in Britain are mentioned.

Standard English Acol System

This is the complete bidding system for Acol players as published by the English Bridge Union. This is in .pdf file format and can be found on the website of the English Bridge Union.This is the official system as presented by the EBU as Standard English Modern Acol, Version 1 and dated December 2006. The visitor should check for this information and additional information with the EBU. A copy of this information, also in .pdf file format is archived and preserved on this site solely for future reference.

Acol Bidding System

In keeping with the policy of courtesy, we have decided to include the Basic Guidelines of this Bidding System mostly used by our British bridge players. We have tried our best to present and represent this System, but we know that we can not accomplish this on a grander scale. We hope, however, that we have done our readers a certain service in acquainting them with the Acol System. We wish to give them that choice.

Acol Bidding System

This is a comprehensive bidding system for the Acol System devised by Mr. George Jesner. Many of the features have to be memorized. Since it is so extensive, it is suggested that the interested bridge player take the time to discover the logic and reasoning behind this bidding system.

Acol Two-Bid

The Acol Two-Bid is an intermediate bid and is forcing for one-round, because it represents a strong and forcing bid. Includes the definition of the Herbert Negative Bid.

Acol General Structure

For those bridge players being introduced for the first time to the Acol System, this would be a starting point to learn the basic structure.

Acol according to Lewis and Hancock

A summary, written in 1987, of the Acol Bidding System devised and played by Mr. Hancock and Mr. Lewis. First names unknown and would be appreciated. This is written in a .pdf file format, and, depending on your browser, will either be automatically opened by your browser or automatically downloaded to your computer and opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Baron System

Note: Under construction. A part of the Acol System, and yet a system that stands on its own merits.

Benjamin Convention – A scheme for opening Two-Bids or bids on the two level: Majors: weak; Diamonds: artificial (near) game-force; Clubs: artificial, an Acol two-bid with long suit(s) as yet unspecified.

Benjamin Two Bids or Benjamin 2 Bids – This bridge concept was originated by Mr. Albert Benjamin of Scotland. Also known as: French Two Bids and Unnamed Strong Two Bid Openings. As a feature of the Acol bidding system, the Benjamin Two Bids are employed to indicate an opening, which almost guarantees a game holding.

A feature of the Acol System after a 2 No Trump opening bid.

Acol 4 No Trump
This is a special and specialized opening bid, which asks partner directly how many Aces he holds. As you might suspect, the opener already has enough Playing Tricks for a slam, and is looking for the grand slam.

Acol Leads and Signals
As in all Bidding Systems, the lead can give useful information to the partner, as can the first discard.

Opener’s Rebids
General Guidelines for the opener and several for the responder.

A feature of the Acol system which deals with the rebid of 1 No Trump by the opener.

The term Swine is an acronym for Sebesfi-Woods-1-Notrump-Escape.

Wraight Convention

Devised by Mr. Philip Wraight. Playing Acol, the bridge player may have a problem as responder with a balanced 10 count, if the bridge player is unable to bid a four card suit at the one level, since 1 No Trump shows 6-9 points except over 1, and the 2 No Trump rebid shows 11-12 points. The bridge player is also in difficulty with a balanced 3-3-3-4 hand with 6-7 points if partner opens 1, when a raise in Clubs takes the bridge player past what may be the best contract of 1 No Trump. This can be true of both Minors if you are playing Inverted Minor raises. This information has only been preserved and archived in .pdf file format on this site for future reference.


Bridge in Pakistan and the History of the Sport of Bridge

Duplicate Bridge was introduced in Pakistan in 1957 by a civil engineer Mr. Kh. Azeemuddin, the founder and Managing Director of Associated Consulting Engineers (ACE) private limited. He, with the active support of his colleagues Mr. Ashfaq Ahmed, Mr. Qavi Khan, Mr. Mahmood Ali, and Mr. Kadir Ali founded the 57-Club at the Nazimabad Club, Karachi. Other such organisations also sprung up and they joined hands to popularise the game. Late Mr. Muhammad Tasnim and Dr. R.H. Usmani organised tournaments to give a boost to the game. No rules had been formulated at that time, but their verdict was accepted by all.

Pakistan Bridge Federation

Contract Bridge was introduced in Pakistan in the 1950s. It was generally played by army officers, business executives and people of the elite group. Duplicate bridge, which is better known as competitive bridge, was first introduced in Pakistan by Khaja Azeemuddin, a civil engineer, who started duplicate bridge after forming the 57-Club at the Nazimabad Club in Karachi. Quickly the game spread, until most social clubs in Karachi and Lahore had reserved spaces for contract bridge and began to hold duplicate bridge tournaments.

The Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF), founded in 1972, is the national governing body for all competitive bridge tournaments and development in Pakistan. It became the founding member of the Bridge Federation of Africa, Asia & the Middle East (BFAAME) in 1981, which initially boasted of 22 member countries, until a separate zone was created for Africa. It is currently known as the Bridge Federation of Asia & the Middle East, and is represented as Zone 4 of the World Bridge Federation.

Karachi Bridge Association

Affiliated to Pakistan Bridge Federation. The Karachi Bridge Association invites the visitor to join their weekend Duplicate Bridge Programs at Aslam Bridge hall located at: Citizens Enclosure-2, Block-M, National Stadium, Karachi.

Punjab Bridge Association

Located in Lahore, Pakistan, the Punjab Bridge Association provides pertinent information about tournaments, dates and times, the results of such tournaments, news about individual bridge clubs, and information on bridge lessons.


The Blue Team Club System was devised by Mr. Benito Garozzo, who has won many championships during his bridge career. During his time as an active bridge player, Mr. Benito Garozzo was viewed by his peers as perhaps the best bridge player of his time.

That is quite an accomplishment. Mr. Benito Garozzo was a major contributor in devising the Blue Team Club System. The Blue Team Club was based upon a bidding system called Neapolitan, which was played successfully by many bridge players in Italy. However, since 1965, Mr. Benito Garozzo has gradually revised the Neapolitan and renamed it the Blue Team Club system.

The Blue Team Club System is based on the principle that a 1 Club opening is forcing. The style of this system is called Canapé, and this means that the opener can/should bid the short suits before he bids the long suits.

Canape is a bidding method in which the opener bids his long suit on his rebid and was developed by Mr. Pierre Albarran from France.

Blue Team Club was the main system of the Italian Blue Team before the Team switched to Precision. There were many variations of the opening bids and this was due to the modifications of the original version, which can no longer be pin-pointed. The following version is perhaps the closest to the original and shows only the foundation of the opening bids.

  • 17+ HCPs Any shape
  • 12-16 HCPs 4-card plus Diamond suit
  • 12-16 HCPs 4-card plus Heart suit
  • 12-16 HCPs 5-card plus Spade suit
  • 13-15 HCPs Distribution: 3-3-2-5 or 3-3-3-4
  • 16-17 HCPs Balanced shape
  • 12-16 HCPs 5-card plus Club suit
  • 17-20 HCPs Distribution: 4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0
  • 12-16 HCPs 5+ Heart suit and 4+ Club suit
  • 12-16 HCPs 5+ Spade suit and 4+ Club suit
  • 21-22 HCPs Balanced shape

In essence, if the opener has a No Trump range, then the opener will open No Trump. It is that point range not covered by No Trump which the Blue Team Club System addresses.

Secondly, a hand containing 17+ points and which is unbalanced is opened with 1 Club, even though the distribution is 4-4-4-1. And thirdly, a hand with 8 plus Quick Tricks will be opened with 1 Club, even though the strength is less than 17 points, using the 4-3-2-1 count.

It is very important to remember that the responses are Step Responses, attempting to impart as much information as possible before reaching the best contract. These are the basic principles of the bidding system.

Opener Meaning

  • 1 Club
  • Forcing
  • Indicates 17+ points (using 4-3-2-1 count)
  • Could indicate 8+ Quick Tricks

Since the responder is forced to bid, he follows certain guidelines to offer descriptive information about his hand. This is done by showing the number of controls he possesses. Each Ace is counted as 2 Controls. Each King is counted as 1 Control. The meaning of each response is listed below.


  • 0-2 Controls less than 6 points
  • 0-2 Controls 6+ points
  • 3 Controls (1 Ace and 2 Kings, for example)
  • 4 Controls (2 Aces, for example)
  • 5 Controls (2 Aces and 1 King, for example)
  • 6 Controls (2 Aces and 2 Kings, for example)
  • shows a 6-card suit with 2 honors, shows 0-5 points, not forcing
  • 7 Controls (2 Aces and 3 Kings, for example)

1. Any response starting with 1 Spade and above, showing at least 3 Controls, is a game-forcing response.

2. Any response starting with 1 Spade and above, showing at least 3 Controls, is a game-forcing response.

3. The negative 1 Diamond response allows the responder to pass at his next turn, unless the opener jumps in another suit.

4. If the opener rebids No Trump, the responder can use Stayman to find the best suit.

5. If the responder does a Jump Shift at his rebid, the responder shows a solid suit with 13+ points.

6. Jump rebids of 4 Clubs and 4 Diamonds by the responder are transfers to 4 Hearts and 4 Spades respectively.
The chance of an intervening call was taken into consideration when using the Blue Team Club System. The overcall is generally on the One Level and normally does allow for a Weak Two Bid on the Two Level. Depending on the overcall, the responses are somewhat altered.

Opener Left Hand Opponent Responder

Double Pass – shows 0-3 pointsRedouble shows 3-5 points (possible values in Clubs) 1 Diamond shows 4-5 points

All responses with 1 Heart and above remain the same

Pass equals – the 1st Step Response. Double equals the 2nd Step Response. A Cuebid could equal 5 Controls.

Other responses are showing Controls 2 Hearts or 2 Spades are the same as above

In this situation:
Responder: 1st cheapest bid = 3 Controls
Responder: 2nd cheapest bid = 4 Controls
Responder: 3rd cheapest bid = 5 Controls, etc.
(A Cuebid could equal 5 Controls)

Jump Overcall

  • Responses have the same pattern.
  • Pass is the weakest bid
  • Double equals 6+ points
  • Suit responses are one-round forcing
  • No Trump equals 3-4 Controls
  • A Cuebid shows 5+ Controls

These are the basic principles for the Blue Team Club System. In order to clarify it further, the bridge player will have to buy the book for further explanations and examples. The intervening call does alter the bidding auction and disturbs the line of communication between the two partners, and therefore needs practice and experience.

To begin introducing examples would mean making this short version into a long version, but the intent was to bring the basic guidelines to the forefront without writing a book.

If you wish to make the Blue Team Club System a part of your partnership agreement, then an explicit understanding of the basics and knowledge of the advanced features should be fully understood.

Gambling Three No Trump



Everyone loves to gamble. Bridge is a gambling game, although it is considered unmannered to play for money. To take guessing out of the equation and the auction, conventions and logical treatments, etc. have been invented, devised and created. However, the Gambling Three No Trump Convention is used to obstruct the opponents because it takes up so much bidding space. This conventional method is part of the British System. This feature is also used by bridge players using Precision. The Gambling Three No Trump bid is also a feature of the Acol System and has been adopted by bridge players using the Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening bid.

The Gambling Three No Trump bid is an opening bid based on a long, solid Minor Suit, with at least one, preferably two, outside stoppers. The general consensus is that the Minor suit contain at least seven cards, which are solid in honors from the top Ace down to generally the Jack. This guideline, however, has been relaxed to include holdings which contain only five Losing Tricks and a 7-card Minor suit. However, the requirement that an outside stopper should be included continues to be valid for both views.

The so-called Classical Version of this concept requires that the opener have stoppers in two side suits in addition to the solid 7-card Minor suit. This version is sometimes referred to as the Strong, Gambling 3 No Trump Opening.

The second version is referred to as the Modified Version, devised by Mr. Terence Reese. In this version the Minor suit is still the solid to semi-solid 7-card Minor suit with the difference being that only one outside King or Queen be present. This version is sometimes referred to as the Weak, Gambling No Trump Opening.

The following illustrations of the Classical versus the Modified Versions should clarify this concept of Mr. Terence Reese.

With either of these holdings the opener should open the auction with 3 No Trump.
Responder has the following options:

  • Pass: To play.
  • Shows weakness and indicates a desire to play in opener’s long suit.
  • An artificial bid, asking for a singleton.

1. If opener has a singleton in a Major suit, the opener bids that suit. A 4 rebid shows a singleton in Hearts and a 4 rebid shows a singleton in Spades.

2. If opener bids 4NT, this shows a singleton in either of the Minor suits.

3. If opener bids 5 or 5, then opener has a singleton in other Minor suit and the bid establishes the long, solid Minor suit.

These two bids are natural and indicate a self-sufficient 6-card suit or better. The opener is required to pass.

This is a conventional bid. Opener has already shown an Ace, and therefore the responses are downgraded.

This bid shows a desire to play in the Minor suit of the opener. This can be a possible Preempt.

This bid is natural. With a high honor in Clubs, the responder has reasoned that the suit of the opener is Diamonds. The opener should pass.

A forcing response asking opener to bid a grand slam if opener has additional values such as an 8-card Minor suit, or King/Queen in a side suit.

Shows a desire to play a Minor suit slam. The opener can correct to Diamonds is Diamonds is the long, solid Minor suit.

Defense mechanisms are solely based on the partnership agreement. Following are several suggestions.

In general any defense mechanism is decided by the individual partnership. Possible defense methods are presented below, but they are not to be considered etched in stone. The following bids generally apply to the immediate seat after a Gambling 3 No Trump opening, but may also apply if the partner of the opener passes in rotation.

Double: Double is for penalty.

If the suit of the opponent bidding the Gambling 3 No Trump can be deduced, then:

Promises specifically Hearts and (to partner) an unknown Minor suit. This overcall is similar to the Astro convention and/or possible variations.

Promises specifically Spades and an unknown Minor suit. 4NT by partner asks for the Minor suit.

As the defense must bid on the four level, the defense is generally a concept of simplicity. This applies to all other bids, which are deemed natural and are non-forcing in nature. As an alternative method, a bid of 4 in this defense mechanism may be employed by the partnership as wished, even natural if not the suit of the opponent.

Another alternative is that this variation can also be varied so that the overcaller may actually bid the deduced suit of the player bidding the Gambling 3 No Trump in order to be obstructive to the partner of the No Trump bidder. The variation would be to actually bid the suit of the No Trump bidder to show shortage in this suit, length in the other Minor suit and promise Hearts or Spades according to the partnership agreement.

Another possible defense mechanism is based on the Ripstra conventional method, which is as follows. The overcaller is showing:

1. both Major suits

2. minimum 4-4 distribution in both Major suits

3. the stronger of the Minor suits

In both instances, the overcaller is showing at least 8 card distribution in both Major suits. The overcall must base the decision on the assumption of adequate values based on high card points, sufficient distributional values defined by shape of the holding, and the expectancy of partner holding at least one or more winning tricks. Therefore, the bid of four of the better Minor suit is Takeout for the Major suits, which also gives the partnership the added advantage of providing the partnership with additional bidding space to find its best suit and best fit.

There are several other variations of established first responses to an opening of a Gambling 3 No Trump. One variation is presented below, which employs the so-called Rescue Bid. The origin is unknown.

A Rescue Response asking partner to 1. Pass with Clubs or 2. correct to 4 with Diamonds.

A Rescue Response asking partner to 1. Pass with Diamonds or 2. correct to 5 with Clubs.

Promises a good 6-card suit or longer, but denies any outside Ace. This first response is generally considered to be non-forcing in nature.

An Asking Bid for trump quality.

The general view is that the opener bids:

  • 1. 5 Clubs when holding the equivalent of: AKQxxxx. This bid shows lower quality and normal length.
  • 2. 5 Diamonds when holding the equivalent of: AKQJxxx. This bid shows higher quality and normal length.
  • 3. 5 Hearts when holding the equivalent of: AKJxxxxx. This bid shows lower quality and additional length.
  • 4. 5 Spades when holding the equivalent of: AKQxxxxx. This bid shows higher quality and additional length.

5 Clubs To play in the Minor suit of the opener. If the suit is Diamonds, then the opener corrects.

Multi Two Diamonds

The Multi 2 Diamonds opening was devised in the 1960s by Mr. Terence Reese and Mr. Jeremy Flint (* see following insert), assisted by fellow bridge partners Mr. Robert Sheehan, Mr. Jonathan Cansino and Mr. Irving Rose. The concept behind this opening is to make the interference by the opponents difficult and to obstruct their line of communication by an opening on the Two Level. Another reason for the 2 Diamonds opening is to prevent the opponents from immediately discovering which Major suit is designated by the opening. A line of defense then becomes more difficult, since the suit is unknown as well as the general strength of the opener.

According to ACBL regulations, the Multi Two Diamonds may be employed in national-rated bridge events and in stand-alone Flight A events at regionals, or in the top brackets of a regional knockout as long as the average masterpoint holding of the lowest team in a bracket is more than 1000 points and the sponsor permits such agreements.

The Multi Two Diamonds convention could be allowed or permitted at a sectional as long as the sponso approves and publicizes the fact that this convention is approved.

Bridge Clubs have the right to designate what conventions they will allow and permit and ACBL does not regulate their decisions in this regard.

In all cases involving ACBL-sanctioned tournaments where the use of Multi Two Diamonds is permitted, the pair using the convention must have a copy of the approved written defenses available. These defenses can be obtained from the website of ACBL.

The Multi 2 Diamonds opening promises either a:

1. Weak Two Bid in either of the two Major suits
2. or a balanced hand with enormous values
3. or a strong 4-4-4-1 distribution
4. or a strong Two Bid in a Minor suit

A distinct disadvantage of the Multi 2 Diamonds opening is that the partner sometimes is unable also to choose the best immediate line of response, such as in making a preemptive raise, if weak, of the intended Major suit, which is still unknown to the partner after the opening. Based on the assumption that the opener could have a balanced holding and/or distributional holding with strong values, the partner is forced to make a compromising, artificial bid to await further information. This compromising, artificial bid allows the opponents to enter the bidding process.

A second disadvantage is the fact that the opponents also have a more successful chance to enter the auction if the opener first bids a Multi 2 Diamonds, than had the opener opened the auction with a weak 2 Hearts or 2 Spades bid, forcing the opponents to enter the auction perhaps on the Three Level.

However, there are definite advantages to the concept behind a Multi 2 Diamonds opening. If the holding is weak and the opener does indeed have a Weak Two Bid in one of the Major suits, then the opponents do not have the opportunity to cuebid any Major suit, since the Major suit of the opener is unknown. If the responder has a strong holding, it is quite possible that the responder may become declarer, who may be able to protect a tenace or a side suit King-small.

Another advantage is that the contract could be played in Diamonds, if the responder considers Diamonds the better suit than a Major suit. The opener may not employ Multi Two Diamonds with a Diamond void. Using Multi 2 Diamonds frees the opening bids and/or the bids of 2 Hearts and 2 Spades, which become idle bids after agreeing to play Multi 2 Diamonds and which may be used for other purposes, such as Acol Two-Bids. These idle bids could also be assigned, for example, an opening of 2 Hearts as meaning Flannery 2 Diamonds, and a 2 Spades opening could be used to describe a two-suited holding in both Minor suits and only distributional values. Remember, these examples of employing the idle bids of 2 Hearts and 2 Spades are only examples, not guidelines.

Since the original version of the Multi 2 Diamonds method underwent refinements almost immediately after its original version was made known, there have arisen many variations on the responses by the responder and rebids by the opener to communicate additional information within the partnership. It is impossible to represent all variations on this method, either for a tailored individual partnership or for a tailored national partnership understanding. Many variations are based entirely on a partnership understanding and these vary from country to country.

The following outlines represent only guidelines of partnership understandings, which have arisen to create a foundation for the employment of a Multi 2 Diamonds opening. They are not rules etched in stone, and the individual partnership must decide for itself the advantages and disadvantages of any chosen variation and/or variants of the concept.

After opening a Multi 2 Diamonds bid, the responder realizes that there can be generally 4 different types of hands that the opener, his partner, may have. The responder generally assumes that his partner has a Weak Two Bid in either of the Major suits and responds according to the assumption that his partner is weak.

A response of 2 Hearts can communicate several different meanings:

1. A response of 2 Hearts indicates the desire to play in Hearts opposite a Weak Two bid in that suit, which the responder does not know is the suit the opener desires, but this response shows good Heart support.

2. A response of 2 Hearts indicates that the responder is interested in keeping the auction alive and is awaiting further rebids by his partner. If the opener reveals a Weak Two bid, then the responder can determine, based upon the strength of his holding, the final contract, which may even be a slam contract.

3. A response of 2 Hearts may indicate a strong hand and shortness in Hearts, the holding of which will be revealed during the auction. It is important that the opener first describe his reason for opening.

4. A response of 2 Hearts can also indicate a weak to moderate holding containing support in both Major suits. The ensuing auction will reveal this, mainly through a pass rebid by the responder after the opener shows weakness. The desire in this case is not to exceed the Level possible for a successful contract.

  • A response of 2 Spades indicates the desire to stop the auction with the partner holding a Weak Two bid in Spades. His holding, however, can sustain a rebid by the opener of 3 Hearts, if Hearts is the suit of the opener. This response of 2 Spades mildly suggests a shortage in Spades and more length in Hearts, which is a key element in the case that the partnership ends up defending a contract and/or if the responder becomes declarer.
  • A response of 2 No Trump is forcing as it also is opposite a standard Weak Two opening bid. The opener is then required to communicate not only his suit but also his strength, revealing his reason to open:

1. Weak Two Bid in either of the two Major suits
2. or a balanced hand with enormous values
3. or a strong 4-4-4-1 distribution
4. or a strong Two Bid in a Minor suit

The responder holds sufficient values to reach the three level, even opposite a Weak Two holding in either of the two Major suits. A response of 2 No Trump may also be entirely a tool of obstruction in the auction aimed at the defenders, who may wish to enter the auction, but will have to do so on the three level.

Either of these responses are considered invitational and/or forcing depending upon the partnership agreement. Both responses shows sufficient values to enter the three level and at least a 4-card suit in the suit bid.


In the Multi 2 Diamonds method, any response of 3 Hearts and/or 3 Spades are considered to be bids, which the opener can correct. The opener can correct the response by 1. passing the bid suit or corrects to the other suit with a minimum values, or 2. can correct, for example, by jumping to game in Spades with maximum values after a 3 Hearts response. These responses are not to be considered preemptive in nature.

1. A response of 3 No Trump is to play in the more modern version of Multi 2 Diamonds.

2. In the original version, devised by Mr. Terence Reese and Mr. Jeremy Flint, a response of 3 No Trump promised a strong two-suited holding in the Minor suits and approximately four losers in total.

  •  A response of 4 Clubs is a Transfer bid by the responder, in order that the responder become the declarer. The opener is required to bid one suit higher so that the responder can rebid Hearts. If the responder first bids 4 Diamonds, then the opener is required to rebid 4 Hearts and the responder rebids 4 Spades, his suit. The reason behind this transfer is that the defenders may find it more difficult to find the correct lead. It also shows moderate to sufficient values in the intended Major suit, which may not equal enough for a safe and secure contract.
  • A response of 4 Diamonds requests the opener to rebid his suit on the Four Level, which is game level. The responder has sufficient values to reach game and indicates that the opener is better equipped to be the declarer.
  • A game level response in either of the Major suits indicates sufficient values for game and the responder decides who is to become the declarer.


Any defense to a Multi 2 Diamonds opening becomes a matter of partnership agreement and must be based on the principle of which seat and/or position at the table decides to defend and/or enter the auction. This element is paramount in deciding the significance of any overcall.

Any defense mechanism is also a matter of partnership agreement, but the partnership should determine whether an initial pass in the immediate seat, in order to discover the suit of the opener, followed by a bid equals a valid bid or an act of balancing.

Also, the partnership must determine in advance the meanings of any 1. double, 2. the bid of any unbid suit plus No Trump, and 3. the significance of any overcall on the three level. Several operable defense options are listed below and may serve as the foundation for a partnership understanding.

1. Any Double of a Multi 2 Diamonds opening by the First Seat is a Takeout Double.

2. Any Double of a Multi 2 Diamonds opening by the First Seat promises a strong No Trump.

3. Any Double of a Multi 2 Diamonds opening by the First Seat is a Two-Way.

East, in the Fourth Seat, must realize from the responses by South that these responses indicate that South has most likely bid the shorter Major in his holding, especially if South responds 2 Hearts. Any defense mechanism, initiated in the Fourth Seat and/or partnership understanding must consider this response based on this almost certainty.

It is recommended that if Fourth Seat enters the auction, then all suit bids should be considered natural as well as any No Trump bid. A Double should be considered to be a Two-Way, either 1. as a Takeout Double, or 2. as Penalty. The point count should be near a standard opening bid and the shape should be considerably unbalanced as in a three-suited hand with at least a 3-card suit in the suits not determined by the Multi 2 Diamonds opener.

If the opener clarifies his holding either by passing or correcting, then the partner of the player in Fourth Seat will immediately become aware of the intended suits, especially the Major suit. After this realization the partner of the Fourth Seat player can easily determine whether the double is for Takeout or for Penalty.


There are more features, however not fundamental, to the defense strategy, but they are mainly a consideration of partnership agreement and should be considered under this aspect.

As mentioned earlier, these responses may be interpreted by other partnership agreements to indicate different and/or alternative information. A distinctive alternative Multi 2 Diamonds version from The Netherlands is presented below.

The foundation of the Multi 2 Diamonds is that this opening bid can represent either of the following choices.

1. Weak Two Bid in either of the two Major suits

2. a strong holding with 20 plus high card points

3. a 3-suited holding of 4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0 shape

The continuing auction appears below with the corresponding alternative communication.

Another method of responding has been suggested by Mr. Barry Rigal and Mr. Chris Ryall of England. It is also the recommendation of Mr. Barry Rigal and Mr. Chris Ryall that the individual partnership must discuss what to do over opponents doubles and overcalls. The premise of this method is that the opener have one of the following holdings:

  • Poor Weak Twos in the Major suits
  • Sound Weak Twos in the Major suits, 8-9 high card points
  • Sound Weak Twos with a side suit splinter
  • Sound Weak Twos, balanced with a fluently running suit
  • A strong (e.g. 22-24) balanced hand with 22-24 high card points
  • A pure Acol Two in a Minor suit

The problem, as noticed by Mr. Barry Rigal and Mr. Chris Ryall, was that there appears to be insufficient bidding space on the Levels available after a Multi 2 Diamonds opening to reach the optimal contract, especially if that contract should be 3 No Trump. Using this method, which specifically states that a Multi 2 Diamonds opening should be:

2 dimaonds: Shows 5-9 high card points by favorable vulnerability.
2 diamonds: Shows 7-11 high card points by unfavorable vulnerability.

The concept behind the method, in the case that a contract of 3 No Trump is the optional contract, is to ignore the Major suits and to employ a Two-Way 3 Diamonds response to 2 No Trump.

* A Paradox bid is a call of the suit you do not hold when the length in one of two suits has been shown or implied by partner’s bid, generally when the partnership expects to establish the final contract in one of these suits.

The partner can simply bid the lower suit for the partner to either pass or correct. Alternatively, if the partner has a fit for that lower suit, the partner bids the other suit. Therein lies the paradox. Although a call of the lower suit with support for the higher may also be paradoxical, this case is trivial. Using a Paradox bid generally forces the partnership one level higher, but this is accomplished only with a good fit.

It may be of importance to the individual partnership to review the Conditions of Contest 1998 for the Cavendish Invitational Pairs. Included is only the pertinent paragraphs regarding the use of Multi 2 Diamonds openings and their place during the Cavendish Invitational Pairs.


Invitational Pairs
Conditions of Contest 1998

1. There are 60 pairs entered in this event. Each pair will play 2 boards against every other pair during the course of the three days (118 boards total). The boards will be played simultaneously, barometer style.

2. It is expected that all players will conform to the Proprieties of Bridge, specifically in the tempo of card play. It is strongly recommended that at trick one, declarer take about 15 seconds before playing to the opening lead and that the player in third seat take some 10 seconds before playing. Thereafter, significant breaks in tempo before selecting small cards will be strongly discouraged. The Directors and Tournament Committee intend to enforce these provisions closely and strictly.

3. The tournament will be played in five sessions: four sessions of 24 boards each and one session of 22 boards. Starting time for the first session on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is 12:30 pm. Other starting times will be announced from the floor. The tournament site is the Montego Room (Convention Center) at the Mirage.

“13. In general, any convention or treatment that is familiar to the average tournament player, or can be explained to the average player within 10 seconds, is allowed. Methods of destructive nature are not authorized, nor are the following:

* Forcing or strong pass systems;
* Multi 2 Diamonds and similar conventional bids;
* Two/suited weak two/three-bid openings which specify only one (or none) of the suits held;
* Preemptive bids that do not specify which suit is held;
* Artificial bids or sequences that require a lengthy explanation;
* Canape style overcalls or opening bids if the first-bid suit may be shorter than four cards;
* Comic notrump overcall;
* Any system, convention or treatment that would require a pre-alert and written suggested defenses.
* Transfer openings, transfer responses.”

It is apparent to the reader that the Multi 2 Diamonds opening can be effective once the partnership comes to a certain understanding. The responses can be multi-interpreted and multi-varied, but the object is to attain a definite partnership agreement as to the meanings of the responses.

The second objective is for the opener to communicate to his partner the type of holding he has. In some variations, the type of holding shown is limited, and therefore the exact type of holding must be clarified through the ensuing bidding process. To cover all of the existing partnership understandings is beyond our scope in presenting a general guideline by which this is accomplished. It is left to the individual partnership.

Defense methods fall within the same category and must be decided and agreed upon by the individual partnership. This also includes certain bidding sequences which should be analyzed separately, and which could disrupt the continuity of the line of communication of the defenders.

Oswald Jacoby

Mr. Oswald Jacoby was born in Brooklyn on December 8, 1902, and died in 1984. He was a bridge columnist and first achieved international preeminence as partner of Mr. Sidney Lenz in the Culberson Match, but he had already established himself` as a champion at Auction and Contract. He next became a member of the famed FOUR HORSEMEN and FOUR ACES teams. His selection by Mr. Sidney Lenz over players of greater experience and with whom Mr. Sidney Lenz had practiced partnerships was early recognition of the brilliance and skill that were later to bring Jacoby to the top of the ACBL’s list of all time masterpoint winners.

He left Columbia in his junior year to become an Actuary, completing the examination of the Society of Actuaries in 1924 to become, at age 21, the youngest person ever to do so. After four years with Metropolitan Life, he went into business for himself, but his success was cut short by the 1929 stock marker crash. Jacoby’s victory-studded career includes many oddities. He played in (and won) his first auction tournament in July 1929, the National Team Championship of the American Whist League. But he had already won the first big contract pair tournament ever played, the Goldman Pairs event in the Eastern Slates Championship held in February of that year.

Later on, he set a record by winning the Goldman Trophy three times in 20 years, the only occasions on which he entered. Afterward, he became a national champion by winning two AWL pair and team events. After the Culbertson-Lenz match, Jacoby was secretary of the United States Bridge Association for nearly two years, thus being associated with Mr. Ely Culbertson. Late in l933, however, he helped to form the original Four Aces team, which dominated the bridge world for the next several years. During this period, in addition to American Bridge League triumphs, he won two pair championships and four team championships of the USBA. Mr. Oswald Jacoby had two months of Army service in World War 1, when he was 15, and he was awarded the Victory Medal. On December 7, 1941 he was playing in the Open Pairs in Richmond, Virginia, when the Pearl Harbor attack was announced. He immediately left the tournament and did not play again for four years. During most of that time he served as a specialist in the Navy, with the rank of lieutenant commander.

When he returned to competition in 1945, he found Mr. Charles Goren far ahead in the masterpoint rankings. He had done very little about returning to the top when he again returned to active duty in 1950 for service in the Korean War. He served as a commander in intelligence and was a member of the original staff at the Panmunjom armistice conference. This return to service cost him his place on the American team in the first Bermuda Bowl matches. However, he had represented the ABL, in international competition as far back as 1935 when the Four Aces team defeated the French, champions of Europe, in the first official World Championship encounter.

Returning from two years of Korean service. Mr. Oswald Jacoby found he had dropped out of the top 19 masterpoint holders. By 1958 he had managed to move back into sixth place, still far behind Mr. Charles Goren. At that time he decided to make a determined effort to regain the Number 1 position. By 1962 he had done so. Between 1959 and 1963, he won the McKenney Trophy four times in five years; the only player at that time older than 50 to win the trophy. He won it at ages 57, 59, 60 and 61. In 1963 he became the first player to acquire more than 1,000 points in a single year. His winning total that year was 1,034. In 1967, he surpassed the 10,000-point mark, at which time he retired from active competition for the McKenney Trophy. Almost exactly one year later he relinquished his position as top masterpoint holder to Barry Crane.

In 1950, Mr. Jacoby became the daily bridge columnist for Newspaper Enterprise Association, serving several hundred newspapers. He established a record on April 22, 1982 when his 10,000th article was printed. (Goren’s name appeared on more than this number, but he had not written any columns for many years before his death in 1991.) Mr. Oswald Jacoby wrote books on poker, canasta, gin rummy and mathematical odds. He also continuously maintained a practice as a consulting actuary, served for six years as a member of the Board of Visitors of Harvard Observatory (for the last three, under the chairmanship of then Senator John F. Kennedy), became an expert on computers and was frequently consulted on questions of tournament movements, elimination schedules and scoring. He won a North American Championship (the Chicago in 1955) with his son, James Jacoby, and scored many victories with his wife of 50 years, Mary Zitz Jacoby.

He was hoping to add to his titles the missing one – most masterpoints owned by any husband and wife, regardless of when acquired. Mr. Oswald Jacoby was elected to the Bridge Hall Of Fame in 1965 and was named ACBL Honoray Member in 1967. As npc of the North American teams for 1969, 1970 and 1971, Jacoby captained the first North American Bermuda Bowl champion teams (1970 and 1971) in more than a decade.

His North American Championship titles are: Spingold 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1945, 1950, 1959; Vanderbilt 1931, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1965; Chicago (now the Reisinger) 1955; Reisinger 1983; Master Individual 1935; Master Mixed Teams 1968; Life Master Pairs 1936; Mens Teams 1952 and 1959; Open Pairs 1935, 1960, 1964; Mens Pairs 1934, 1939, 1949. He also won USBA Grand National Open Teams 1934, 1935, 1937, Open Pairs 1936, 1937; he won ABL Mens Teams 1931, 1932; AWL Team-of-Four 1929, 1931, 1933, Open Pairs 1933, and the HERMAN TROPHY in 1960. He placed second in many NABC events and won countless regional titles including the MARCUS CUP 1955. In 1973 he won the World Championship of Backgammon. Mr. Oswald Jacoby pioneered many bidding ideas, including Forcing 2 No Trump, Jacoby Transfer Bids and Weak Jump Overcalls.

His innovations have included developments of Gerber and Blackwood and a specialized use of Two No Trump and Three No Trump Responses. His most recent innovations were the use of Two-Way Stayman in connection with Jacoby Transfer Bids after 2 No Trump opening and after 2 -anything- 2 No Trump. He invented the use of 2 Clubs as a double negative response to 2 Clubs with 2 No Trump a positive Heart response and 2 Diamonds the usual waiting bid. Among his writings are The Four Aces System, What is New in Bridge, Win at Bridge with Oswald Jacoby, Win at Bridge with Jacoby Modern, Win At Bridge With Jacoby and Son, Improve Your Bridge With Oswald Jacoby: 125 Bridge Hands from the Master, The Backgammon Book (with John Crawford). He also had many books on mathematics, gambling, poker and other card games, including canasta, in which he had the two best-selling books.