Mr. Robert B. Ewen published his book Doubles For Takeout, Penalties, and Profit in Contract Bridge in 1973 and perhaps unwittingly contributed to the principle of the Equal Level Conversion.

The problem for South is that South has the values for a Takeout Double but not the distribution. South would prefer to show both suits with a Michaels cuebid but lacks an additional Spade to conform to the 5-5 distribution as required. As Mr. Robert Ewen describes in the book: “After a 1 opening bid by your RHO, you would like to try for a Spade contract by making a Takeout Double, but you would also like to advertise your powerful Diamond suit by overcalling. Since you are fortunate enough to hold your length in the two higher-ranking unbid suits, you can do both. First, make a Takeout Double; if partner responds in Spades or (improbably) in Diamonds, all will be well. If he misguidedly mentions Clubs, however, simply direct his attention to the other two unbid suits by converting to Diamonds.”

This was rather the beginning of Equal Level Conversion. The designation of the concept is such that the player has not increased the level of the auction by bidding, ergo: Equal Level.

Another example of an Equal Level Conversion follows

The question among bridge players is: which bid is most appropriate for South in the balancing seat. There are many arguments for bidding 2, but there are as many arguments for employing the Equal Level Conversion with a double and then correcting if the partner responds in Clubs.

The problem arises when one opponent has opened the bidding in a Major suit and the next player has sufficient values for an overcall, but has a longer Minor suit and a shorter Major suit. According to Mr. Robert Ewen, the Equal Level Conversion double solves this dilemma.

There are mixed opinions about this method and the opinion of Mr. Frank Stewart regarding the book Competitive Bidding with Two Suited Hands by Mr. Max Hardy is presented below:

Competitive Bidding with Two Suited Hands by Max Hardy

With this book, Max abandons his usual role as a reporter and consolidator of modern expert practice in favor of taking a critical look at the modern approach to describing two-suited hands when the opponents have opened the bidding.

His major target is the Michaels Cue Bid and he shows it no mercy, not only demonstrating its inferiority but also proposing an alternative approach based on the Top and Bottom Cue Bid which is markedly superior both in theory and in practice. In his methods, the cue bid shows the highest and lowest ranking unbid suits (always a Major and a Minor) with the Minor suit being either better or longer (or both) than the Major (which is usually only a 4-card suit).

With a good 5+card Major, he is content to overcall in the Major and hope to show the Minor on the next round. He uses the jump overcall in an unbid Minor to show the same sort of hand with the two lowest-ranking unbid suits. Again, the lowest-ranking suit is longer or stronger; the Unusual Notrump is reserved for two 5+card suits.

With the two highest-ranking suits( Michaels country), he relies on a Takeout Double, and uses the principle of Equal Level Conversion to deny the lowest-ranking suit if partner is inconsiderate enough to respond in that suit.

Although a marked improvement over popular expert practice, this approach has two theoretical flaws:

1. Things can get out of hand if partner jumps in the lowest-ranking suit in response to the Takeout Double (and if he is forbidden to jump, the doubler must raise any time he holds support for that suit).

2. No method is available to permit playing in the opener’s suit when the opening bid has been in a 3-card club suit. The first problem can be solved by using conditional transfer responses to the Takeout Double, while the second problem requires switching to a different system based on conditional transfer overcalls after a 1 Club opening.

Both of these methods were described in the reviewer’s 1981 book, 3-D and the MAFIA Club.

Mr. Eric Rodwell expressed an opinion in an interview with BridgeMatters, which is included below as an excerpt:

BridgeMatters: Do you like Equal Level Conversion Doubles?
Eric Rodwell: I only like converting Clubs to Diamonds. I definitely think that anytime I double and then bid a Major it should be a good hand though I know some people do not agree with that.

BridgeMatters Note: Equal Level Conversion Doubles say if you double and, over partner’s suit response, you then bid a suit at the same level (i.e. equal level), you are not showing extra values. For example, with 13 points and 4-2-6-1, you could double a 1 opening, and if partner bids 2 you could bid 2 without showing extra values.

BridgeMatters: What about the Raptor Notrump, sometimes called the Polish Notrump Overcall, to show four cards in an unbid Major and five or longer in an unbid Minor?

Eric Rodwell: I just find the strong notrump overcall too valuable to give up . . . for any other purpose. Certainly, there are some hands – say they open 1 in front of me and I have AQxx xx xx KJxxx – where it would be nice to play a 1NT overcall showing four Spades and a longer Minor. But I can pass and hope to later make a Club-Spade showing Takeout Double. Or, if I feel like overcalling my four-card suit or my five-card suit, I could do that and get along most of the time. So I definitely have to say I do not care for that idea.

On the other hand, a variation on the theme of the Equal Level Conversion Double has emerged via the team of Mr. Eric Rodwell and Mr. Jeff Meckstroth, which carries the designation Minimum Equal Level Conversion Double. The following examples illustrate this strategy:

The question is whether the partner should overcall on a 4-card Spade suit, overcall on a 5-card Diamond suit, or double and possibly correct if the partner bids Clubs. The Minimum Equal Level Conversion Double of Mr. Eric Rodwell and Mr. Jeff Meckstroth states that the partnership have the understanding that a double is required and if the responder bids 2 (or 3 if the partner of the opener decides to enter the auction), then a correction to Diamonds by South does not indicate additional values since the partnership has stayed at the same level. In order to show additional values, the doubler would jump in Diamonds.

The following example shows a continuation of this partnership understanding:

If the Minor suit is Clubs, then the agreement is to simply bid Clubs. The Minimum Equal Level Conversion Double does not apply in this auction.

The understanding also applies in the following instance

Holding a distribution of 5 Hearts and 4 Spades, the standard preference was to bid 1 Heart. With the Equal Level Conversion Double, the partnership can first double. If the first response is Clubs, then the ECL-Doubler can rebid Hearts, showing minimum and a 5-card Heart suit and a 4-card Spade suit. If the first response is Hearts or Spades, then a possible game may be explored.

The Equal Level Conversion has been a part of national and international tournaments and belong in the reportoire of many expert bridge players as can be seen on the Convention Card of Cohen-Berkowitz and Daniela von Arnim-Sabine Auken and Greta Chai – Foo Yoke Lan.

It is apparent that the Equal Level Conversion Double should apply in only one definite and particular bidding sequence and that its employment in other situations may / should be guided by other, alternative conventional methods. It seems, however, that the last chapter on this principle has not yet been written.

Off Shape Takeout Doubles

The origin of this version of the Takeout Double is unknown. The concept behind this particular double is that the doubler is not promising a holding equivalent to and meets the requirement of a traditional Takeout Double. The doubler does not have at least 3 support cards in the unbid suits, but values to compete in the auction.

This variation on the concept of the Takeout Double is also known as Minimum Off Shape Takeout Double, which refers to the required strength of the holding. The required strength of the holding should be that of an opening bid. However, the regular and accepted designation is Off-Shape Takeout Double.

The following example shows the employment of such a double in competition. It occurred at the Third European Open Bridge Championships conducted in Antalya, Turkey, between June 15 and June 30, 2007, and reported in Bulletin 4.

The analysis of the commentator follows:

East has a difficult bid over both two Spades and three Spades. Pass might well be the popular choice. Two Spades actually went three off for 150 to France. In the Closed Room Helen Erichsen’s off-shape take-out double led to a thin Three No Trump for Espen Erichsen.

Philippe Soulet led the Spade King and when South threw a Diamond. Espen Erichsen, fearful of a Heart switch, won at once to tackle Clubs. When North played low he faced his first decision.

With only one entry back to hand he had to guess now. When he put in the Queen and it lost to the King, matters looked bad. However, Michel Bessis now switched to a low Heart.

Espen Erichsen put in the Ten and, needing this trick, let it win, even though this apparently blocked his route back to hand.

A winning line now is to play a Diamond, followed by the Ace of Hearts and two rounds of Clubs. North, on lead, has to concede an entry to the West hand. However, Espen Erichsen chose another successful route. He led a second Club to the Ace, then the Ace of Hearts and the third Club.

At this point Michel Bessis discarded a second Diamond. North won and switched to the King of Diamonds. Had South kept the extra Diamond declarer would have needed to duck the King to endplay North. He surely would have done this as he had a count on the hand, but with only three missing Diamonds Espen Erichsen could safely win the Ace, cash the Queen, and exit with a Diamond. Michel Bessis could cash two tricks in the suit, but had to concede the rest to West.

This was nail-biting 600 and 10 IMPs to Erichsen. The Norwegians lead 20-5.

Distribution – Pattern – Shape

If the opponent opens the auction with a Major suit and the next player holds a distribution of 3M-2M-4D-4C and opening point count, the question remains whether the player in rotation should double. It is not in question as to whether the player in rotation may make a call of double, since this action is not penalized by the official Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

The question is whether the player should make such an off-shape takeout double, and whether it is to the advantage of the player to risk such a gambling action.

The guidelines are few and the employment questionable, but sponsoring organizations do allow such off-shape doubles for takeout. The recommended amount of values equals that of a normal opening bid, especially if the opponent opens a Minor suit.

However, if the opponent opens a Major suit, then the values should increase by at least a Queen. Some partnerships require a King. The one requirement is that the pattern does not qualify the holding for a No Trump overcall, generally meaning that the player does hold a stopper in the suit of the opponent in order to make an overcall of No Trump.

In general, such off-shape doubles are seldom and are, to state the obvious, a gamble. However, they are employed often by players on the international level and at international events.

Lightner Double

The Lightner Double is a lead-directing double of a slam contract, developed by the bridge pioneer Mr. Theodore A. Lightner. He considered the chance a good possibility that the opponents would either fulfill their slam contract or fail by one trick. He considered it a requirement that only experienced opponents bid the slam contract and that voluntarily. He reasoned that a penalty double would not be profitable, and gave the call double a new meaning.

His premise is: A double by the hand not on lead is conventional.

The partner on lead is requested to choose an unusual lead which may result in the defeat of the contract. Note that it is not always possible to defeat the contract and any lead by the partner will not always defeat the contract. The concept is that an unusual lead may defeat the contract.

1. A Lightner Double excludes the lead of a trump.
2. A Lightner Double excludes any suit bid by the defenders.
3. A Lightner Double may exclude any suit not yet bid, but this is conditional.
4. It is also conditional that the defender, who uses the Lightner Double, to expect to ruff the lead of a side suit mentioned by the opponents, or otherwise to win the first two top tricks in that suit.

Note: Bridge experts have restricted the meaning of the Lightner Double and define the Lightner Double to mean that the partner must lead the dummy’s first bid side suit.

In any case, using the above mentioned guidelines, the partner is more or less supposed to deduce the lead from the context of the auction. It was Mr. Theodore A. Lightner, who took some of the guesswork out of the equation. He did not establish hard and fast rules.

Below are two examples of the use of the Lightner Double and how the player on lead may deduce which suit to lead. The auction is secondary and may be unusual for the bridge player employing Standard American bids.

2000 District 16 GNT Finals, Flight A – Board 10
Richardson, Texas – May 28, 2000

Situation: Both Vulnerable

South opens the auction with 1 No Trump signifying a range of 14-16 high card points.

West overcalls with 2 Clubs. This signifys a long Diamond holding or a 4-card Major suit and Clubs.

North doubles. This is the Stayman convention.

East bids 2 Diamonds. East shows support for a long Diamond suit possibly held by partner.

South rebids 3 Clubs, indicating at least a 4-card Club suit, and a possible 4-card Major suit holding, but little interest in playing in a final No Trump contract.

West passes.

North bids 6 Clubs, an attempt at slam. North has three good controls with two Aces and a singleton Diamond.

East doubles. This is the Lightner Double. The expectation of East is that his partner, West, may a) hold only one Spade or b) that the King of Spades is located in the hand of North. Two good options and possibilities. If either expectation is met, then the small slam goes down one trick.

East has also calculated a sacrifice of 6 Diamonds doubled for -1100 points against a possible +200 if he and his partner can set the contract by one trick, and decides for the possible defeat of the contract.

West leads the 9 of Spades and the declarer is caught in the dummy with an exposed King of Spades. The calculation of East paid off. Dummy plays the King of Spades, hoping against all hope, and the contract is shattered when East puts up the Ace of Spades and follows with the Queen of Spades.

Italy vs. USA 2, Board 11
Florida 1999

West took a large risk in bidding the small slam of 6 Diamonds. North is on lead, and his partner has used the Lightner Double to request an unusual lead.

According to the actual lie of the cards, the slam can not be made as long as the defense collects their two black Aces. North, however, leads the King of Spades, partner South playing a discouraging low Spade hoping for a Club switch, but then North attempts to cash the Ace of Spades. The declarer ruffs and cashes the rest of the tricks for plus 1090 points. That is 16 IMPs to Italy instead of 5 IMPs, if North had shifted to a Club.

The declarer trumps the second trick, after North attempts to cash the Ace of Spades, leads the Ace of Diamonds on the third trick and discovers that North is void. On the fourth trick, the declarer leads the Jack of Hearts and overtakes with the Queen of Hearts. On the fifth trick, the declarer plays the Queen of Spades and discards his losing Club. On the sixth trick, declarer finesses South for the Queen of trump successfully.

Had North listened to the Lightner Double of his partner, North should have cashed the Ace of Spades and then lead, even seeing in addition the King of Clubs in the dummy, the Queen of Clubs to his partner for the setting trick.

There have been some discussions and disputes about the Lightner Double having to be alerted. The following deal is from the NEC World Bridge Championships, played in 1994 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The following is the Appeals Report #25.

Open Pairs, September 25, 1994
Chairman: Bobby Wolff
Members present: Jeffrey Polisner, Grattan Endicott, Tommy Sandsmark, Jean-Claude Beineix
Scribe: John Blubaugh

(1) Lightner Double – No Alert

The Result: East led the 9, trumped by West, who then led the 6. North went down three tricks for a plus of 800 for East-West.

The Facts: North-South maintained that the Lightner Double was Alertable and if the double had been Alerted, they would have bid 6 No Trump.

Director’s Ruling: The director believed that all bridge players used this double so it was not necessary to Alert it. The result was allowed to stand.

Committee’s Decision: The committee felt North-South should have recognized the meaning of the double (do not lead a Diamond) and they could possibly have been taking a two-way shot to get a good result. If East had made the wrong lead, they would score the slam. If East made the correct lead, they could always maintain to a committee that the double was not Alerted and they would have gone to 6NT if they had been Alerted. Wolff believed that the Lightner double was not an alertable bid and should not be Alerted. The committee agreed and the result was allowed to stand. The committee also agreed that the appeal was substantially without merit and North-South’s deposit was forfeited.

Postscript: After the committee had ended, Director-in-charge Bill Schoder told the committee that in the past some rulings have required Alerts of the Lightner Double. The committee felt that Alerting a slam double as a conventional action is both unnecessary and harmful. Acting as WBF President, Wolff reformed the committee as a Tournament Committee and moved that the Lightner double specifically should be added to the list of un-Alertable conventions. The committee agreed and the conditions of contest were so amended.

Note: The Lightner Double has no etched-in-stone rules in choosing the lead. However, using the established guidelines set forth by Mr. Theodore A. Lightner reduces the guess-factor considerably. The idea is to listen to the auction, add up the distribution of the individual hands to determine a possible void, exclude the trump suit as a possible lead, take any possible winners immediately, watch the discard of his partner as to preference, and make that calculated guess from the gathered information.

France and Bridge Clubs

Bridge Federation of France – Federation Francaise de Bridge – The Official Site and Home Page.

Le Bridgeur – The major bridge magazine for bridge players in France.

The following list constitutes the regional districts or regulating bodies for bridge in a certain area.
These can be found by clicking on the icon above.

  • Comite de L’Adour
  • Comite D’Alsace
  • Comite
  • Comite de Bourgogne
  • Comite de Bretagne
  • Comite de Cote D’Azur
  • Comite de Dauphine-Savoie
  • Comite du Hurepoix
  • Comite de Lorraine
  • Comite du Lyonnais
  • Comite de Basse-Normandie
  • Comite de Picardie
  • Comite du Val de Seine
  • Comite C.B.O.M.E.

Bridge+ – This Is A Must See.

This website has been created by Mr. Quéran Gilles and Mr. Andrei Varlan. The main portion of the website is in French, but, for the international Internet bridge player, they also offer webpages for bridge players in English and in German. The website contains very much information for the bridge player. Mr. Quéran Gilles and Mr. Andrei Varlan also publish a magazine entitled BRIDGE +, 4 issues a year. They also write and edit Bridge Books and computer CDs for the further education and enjoyment of the bridge player.

Bretagne Bridge Comité – In French and contains pertinent information for the bridge player in the Bretagne.

Bridge en Guyenne – Most of the information provided is in English, but the creator of this website has not yet translated everything from the French. You will find this website quite interesting.

Bridge en Hurepoix – In French and contains pertinent information for the bridge player in this region of France.

Bridge Insolite – Only in French. Among many pertinent information for the bridge player in France this website also includes Le Code International 2007 (text officiel), which corresponds to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. This is an extensive website offering rules on the game of bridge, employed principles and generalities, and also probabilities.

Canal Bridge – Only in French.

Christian Deryck – In French.

Christian Guyot – In French.

Claire Bridge – In English also. This site is dedicated to Bridge Lovers.

Claude Papet – In French.

Ecole Francaise de Bridge – In French. Introduction (translated): Want to learn bridge, you want to improve, play competitively. The school has trained thousands of bridge players since its inception, and it delivers in Paris at Porte Maillot. Classes for all levels.

Etienne Turpin – In French.

Jacky Menard – In French.

Jacques Dubosc – Enchéres de bridge. In French.

Jacques Goujon – TBP programmes. In French. Also in English.

Jean Gamain – In French.

Jean Michel Mollimard – Bridge Passion. In French.

Marc Bordarier – Bridge Club Maison Carrée. In French.

Michel Giroux – In French. Standard 2000.

Michel Sitterlin – In French.

Olivier Giraut – Club de Bridge des Administrations. In French.

Patrice Boquillon – In French.

Pierre Chidiac – In French.

USF Bridge – Only in French and offers the following.

Website français d’un club de bridge, avec des rubriques concernant:

  • – Le club (Activités et résultats)
  • – Le comité régional (Articles mensuels)
  • – La revue nationale (Rubrique d’arbitrage)
  • – Les règles (Lois et Règlements français).
  • – Les enchères (Système d’initiation et d’enseignement français)
  • – Le jeu de la carte (Donnes remarquables, Coups célèbres)

French website from a local bridge club, with concern in:

  • – The club (activities and results)
  • – Regional body (monthly column)
  • – National revue (Referee column)
  • – Laws (French laws and rules, in French)
  • – Bidding (French learning system and conventions)
  • – Play (Strange and/or famous hands)

Vincent Brévart – In French.

Loser On Loser

Discarding a losing card on a losing card has been the fundamental element of play since the days of Whist, Bridge Whist and Bridge. The concept is simple, since it is the act of playing a card that must be lost on a losing trick in some other suit, but may vary in its application. Below, the reader can discover several of the variations of the concept, in order to recognize better the circumstances surrounding a Loser On Loser play.

Example 1

The contract is 4 Hearts. Declarer is South. The lead by West is: King of Diamonds. The declarer plays low from the dummy and East overtakes with the Ace of Diamonds, knowing that his partner has the Queen of Diamonds. East plays his second Diamond on the third trick, and West wins. South, the declarer, knows that West will produce a Diamond on the third trick for East to trump. Since the dummy contains only small trump cards, East will be able to overtrump. South also has a losing Club trick. South therefore throws a losing Club trick from the dummy on the third trick. South can later ruff the losing Club trick in his hand in the dummy. This variation is known as Allowing a Safe Ruff to Produce a Trick.

Example 2

The contract is 3 Spades. Declarer is South. The lead by West is: Ace of Hearts. West leads the King of Hearts and the 10 of Hearts on the second and third trick respectively. South ruffs the third Heart, cashes the Ace and King of Diamonds, and ruffs the small Diamond in the dummy on the sixth trick. The seventh trick is the deciding trick for South. If South cashes the Ace of Clubs and leads another small Club, then East will win in order to lead another Heart, which will create a situation where the defense will gain two trump tricks. The trick is to play a Loser on Loser. South plays the Ace of Clubs and then leads a small Heart and discards the losing Club. East wins the trick, but is now forced to lead. This variation is known as Allowing a Safe Re-Entry.

Example 3

The contract is 4 Spades. Declarer is South. The lead by West is: King of Diamonds. South wins the first trick with the Ace of Diamonds, crosses to the dummy with a small Heart and plays three rounds of Hearts, discarding his losing Diamond. In the case that South, on the fifth trick, does not play the last Heart in the dummy to discard a losing Club trick in his hand, then the defense wins two Club tricks, one definite Spade trick, and the possibility of promoting the Jack of trump, held by West, as a winner after East obtains the lead to play his last small Heart for West to ruff. This variation is known as Preventing a Later Overruff Threat.

Example 4

The contract is 3 Spades. Declarer is South. The lead by West is: Ace of Clubs. South is definitely certain that West is void in Hearts as deduced from the auction and counting his Heart cards. West wins the first trick and the second trick with the King of Clubs. On the third trick, West leads the Queen of Clubs. South realizes that East must be prevented from gaining the lead and leading a Heart. On the third trick, South therefore discards a loser on a loser and plays a small Diamond. This variation is known as Preventing a Particular Opponent from Gaining the Lead.

Example 5

The contract is 4 Spades. Declarer is South. The lead by West is: Ace of Hearts. Based upon the auction and the fact that the declarer has followed suit, West realizes that the declarer is most likely void in Hearts, and is perhaps planning a loser-on-a-loser play by discarding a low Diamond in order to set up his Diamond side suit. West shifts, on the second trick, to a trump. Hindsight shows that West may also have shifted to playing the 10 of Diamonds with the same effect. The declarer wins the trick in the dummy with a high trump and plays the 4 of Spades from his hand, leads the 9 of Hearts, which East covers with the Queen of Hearts. South ruffs with the 5 of Spades, and then returns to the dummy via the 6 of Spades to the remaining trump honor. South plays the Jack of Hearts from the dummy and then discards his losing Diamond. West wins and has to play his Ace of Clubs in order that South does not make an overtrick. South has successfully discarded a loser on a loser, unblocked the trump suit to create an additional entry, and prevented East from gaining the lead to begin the Clubs. This variation is known as: Establishing a Side Suit.

Other variations of the Loser-On-Loser play include the variations of a) Executing an Endplay by Creating a Throw-In Card, b) Executing an Endplay by Forcing an Opponent to Remain on Lead, c) and other variations perhaps not yet analyzed and/or invented. Understanding this principle of playing a card that must be lost on a losing trick in another suit must be understood by the bridge player, even if that card is an Ace. Understanding the techniques of a Loser-on-Loser play is necessary and must be recognized by the bridge player when the opportunity arises.

Crocodile Coup


Once bridge players around the world latch onto a certain situation regarding specific card combinations, then they, by habit, describe that situation as best they can, usually with a little bit of humor thrown in. This is how the situation called Crocodile Coup received its name. Once the crocodile, just swimming above the surface of the water, opens its mouth wide, then the person observing this action realizes that there is an impending threat, and will take steps to retreat. However, there are situations when the opponents must rise to the occasion, and become the crocodile.

A Crocodile Coup is therefore a defensive, threatening action by the opponents to prevent the declarer from following through with his intended endplay, which normally would fulfill the contract. It could even be termed a scare tactic, which deceives the declarer into believing that his course of action is threatened, causing the declarer to follow another line of strategy.

Since this situation does not come up that often, we would simply like to present the classic textbook example.

West decides to lead the Queen of Hearts, which wins the trick. West leads the Jack of Hearts, which South, the declarer, ruffs in his hand. South draws two rounds of trump, and ruffs his last King of Hearts. Declarer then takes his tricks in Clubs. Declarer now has 6 tricks and the opponents only 1 trick.

The declarer now decides to lead a low Diamond from his hand. As you can see, if West plays second hand low, East is forced to overtake with the King of Diamonds and has no entry back to West, who has two Diamond winners. Instead East will have to lead back a suit and give the declarer a ruff and discard.

The logic of West must be, that South has three Diamond losers, and when the declarer at Trick Eight plays a low Diamond, West must play the monstrous Ace of Diamonds, realizing that his partner East may have only one Diamond, the King. Therefore, West must play his Ace of Diamonds immediately in second seat to win the trick with what may be an unnecessarily high card and prevent his partner East from having to lead back for a ruff and discard endplay, as planned by the declarer. By playing the Ace of Diamonds in second seat, West takes three Diamond tricks plus the one Heart trick, and defeats the contract.

Reisinger Trophy

Past History of the Reisinger Trophy

Many bridge players participate for the Reisinger Trophy, which is a six-session open team-of-four event scored by board-a-match with two qualifying sessions, two semifinal sessions and two final sessions. It was contested as a four-session championship until 1966.

It was known as the Chicago Trophy until 1965. The event began in 1929 as the North American Open Team Championship and the prize was the Chicago Trophy, donated by the Auction Bridge Club of Chicago.

In 1928, the open team competition was for the Harold S. Vanderbilt Cup. The Chicago Trophy was replaced in 1965 by the Reisinger Memorial Trophy, donated by the Greater New York Bridge Association in memory of Mr. Curt H. Reisinger. Mr. Curt H. Reisinger, born in 1891 and died in 1964, of New York City, was a principal patron of contract bridge and the American Contract Bridge League in the early years of both. Mr. Curt H. Reisinger was a great-grandson of Anheuser and a grandson of Busch, co-founders of the brewery from which he inherited great wealth. That wealth enabled him to become a stalwart financial supporter of the game, as well as a noted philanthropist on a far larger scale. In the years when it was often a struggle to meet the League’s modest payroll, Mr. Curt H. Reisinger was often called upon and never failed to help with a loan or an outright gift. His support made possible several early contract bridge tournaments, clubs and books. His accomplishments are not all listed here, because that would be an almost impossible feat.

Among the positions in which Mr. Curt H. Reisinger served were director of the United States Bridge Association, president of the Greater New York Bridge Association and Chairman of the ACBL. In 1953, Mr. Curt H. Reisinger was named ACBL Honorary Member.

Many well-known bridge players have competed for the Reisinger Trophy, and we would like to mention a few before we list the Winners of the Reisinger Trophy, and the Runner-Ups. We would like to point out several distinguished players and records.

In 1947, Sally Young, Jane Jaeger, Paula Ribner and Kay Rhodes tie with John Crawford, Ted Lightner, George Rapee and Samuel Stayman, and with another team consisting of Robert Appleyard, Simon Rossant, Morris Berlieant and M.A. Lightman. The four ladies were the first ever women’s team to win the Reisinger Trophy.

No team has ever won the Reisinger Trophy three consecutive times except for the team of Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Jeff Meckstroth, and Eric Rodwell in the three consecutive years of 1993, 1994, and 1995. The team of John Crawford, Charles Goren, Charles Solomon and Sally Young won the Reisinger consecutively in 1937 and 1938. The only other time this feat has been accomplished was in the year 2004 and year 2005 by the following team: Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Paul Soloway, Jeff Meckstroth, and Eric Rodwell.

In 1955, Mr. Oswald Jacoby won his first Reisinger Trohpy while playing with his son, Mr. James Jacoby, the first ever father and son team. Mr. Oswald Jacoby was also on the winning team in 1983 with Mr. Edgar Kaplan, Mr. Norman Kay, Mr. Richard Pavlicek and Mr. Bill Root.

Mr. John Crawford holds the record for winning the Reisinger Trophy, a number of ten times. His first win was in 1937, and then he won in 1938, 1939, 1942, 1946, 1947, 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1961, all with different teams. Helen Sobel and Sally Young share the record for winning the Reisinger Trophy four times. Helen Sobel became the last woman to win the Reisinger Trophy in 1957.

Note: In the Ellensburg Daily Record, (picture of newspaper), for which Mr. Alfred Sheinwold was the bridge writer and columnist, it is stated that “Alfred Sheinwold … together with his teammates has just won the nationally famous and coveted Reisinger Trophy Bridge Tournament for the third consecutive year”. This is obviously a mis-print since all records show that Mr. Alfred Sheinwold did not win the Reisinger Trophy three years consecutively. It is also published that the team mates were: Edgar Kaplan, Alfred Sheinwold, Ralph Hirschberg, Richard Kahn and alternate Norman Kay. There is no mention in the newspaper article about the officially listed team mates Mr. Leonard Harmon and Mr. Ivar Stakgold, as listed in the Daily Bulletin for the 81st Fall North American Bridge Championships, Friday, November 28, 2008, Volume 81, Number 8, held in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

The teams do not always consist of members from one country. Sometimes the teams are multi-national. For example, in 1987 the winning team consisted of Zia Mahmood, a Muslim from Pakistani, Jaggy Shivdasani, a Hindu from India, Billy Cohen, a Jew from Canada, and Ron Smith, an African-American. Bridge is certainly a game, where religion and nationality are not the important elements at the table.

Another multi-national team won in 1989. Zia Mahmood from Pakistan, Sam Lev from Israel, Michael Rosenberg from USA, and Mark Molson from Canada.

The record margin of victory in the Reisinger, 10 full boards, was set in 1966 by Robert Jordan, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Arthur Robinson.

Several of the ACBL presidents and members of the Board of Directors have won the Reisinger: Charles Solomon, Jeff Glick, Waldemar von Zedtwitz, Bobby Wolff, Lew Mathe, Peter Leventritt, John Gerber, Ira Corn, Don Oakie, and Edgar Kaplan.

Year Winners and Runners-Up – Chicago Trophy 1929 – 1965

1929 1. Max Cohen, Louis J. Haddad, Robert Halpin, Nils M. Webster
2. Carlton R. Drake, James Kelly, Paul D. Parcells, Charles Rilling
1930 1. William Barrett, W. James Carpenter, Ely Culbertson, Johnny Rau
2. Mary Clement, Dorothy Rice Sims, P. Hal Sims, Waldemar von Zedtwitz
1931 1. Elizabeth Banfield, Cmdr. Winfield Liggett Jr., Frances Newman, George Unger
2. David Burnstine, Oswald Jacoby, Willard Karn, P. Hal Sims
1932 1. B. Jay Becker, S. Garton Churchill, George Reith, Waldemar von Zedtwitz
2. Ely Culbertson, Michael T. Gottlieb, Oswald Jacoby, TheodoreA. Lightner
1933 1. Charles A. Hall, Albert Steiner, Philip Steiner, Richard Wildberg
2. B. Jay Becker, S. Garton Churchill, P. Hal Sims, Waldemar von Zedtwitz
1934 1. Henry S. Dinkelspiel Jr., Lewis Jaeger, Bernard Rabinowitz, Maurice Seile
2. Theodore A. Lightner, Merwyn D. Maier, JeanP. Matthews, Sherman Stearns
1935 1. F. Roland Buck, Joseph E. Cain, Lawrence J. Welch, Edson T. Wood
2. Ely Culbertson, Josephine Culbertson, Richard L. Frey, Albert H. Morehead
1936 1. Marge Anderson, Donald G. Farquharson, Mrs. J. A. Faulkner, Percy E. Sheardown
2. Arthur Glatt, Laura Heiner, John R. Smith, Albert Weiss
1937 1. John R. Crawford, Charles H. Goren, Charles J. Solomon, Sally Young
2. Oscar J. Brotman, William Perry, Alvin Roth, S. S. Vorzimer
1938 1. John R. Crawford, Charles H. Goren, Charles J. Solomon, Sally Youn
2. A. Mitchell Barnes, Mary Clement, Benedict Jarmel, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz
1939 1. B. Jay Becker, John R. Crawford, Charles H. Goren, Charles J. Solomon, Sally Young
2-4. Jay Cushing, Seymour Kaplan, Al Leibowitz, Edward N. Marcus
2-4. Oswald Jacoby, Merwyn D. Maier, Robert A. McPherran, Waldemar K. von Zedtwit
2-4. Henry Auslander, Joseph Davis, Jacob D. Lindy, Catherine W. Samberg
1940 1. Harry Feinberg, Jeff Glick, Maury J. Glick, Louis Newman
2. Alfred R. Dick, C. William Potts, James Sheern, Edward R. Thomas
1941 1. Peter A. Leventritt, Simon Rossant, Helen Sobel, Margaret Wagar
2. A. Mitchell Barnes, S. Garton Churchill, Lee Hazen, Charles S. Lochridge, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz
1942 1. B. Jay Becker, Charles H. Goren, Sidney Silodor, John R. Crawford
2. S. Garton Churchill, Harry J. Fishbein, Lee Hazen, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz
1943 1. B. Jay Becker, Charles Goren, Sidney Silodor, Helen Sobel
2. Samuel Katz, Bertram Lebhar, Jr., Peter A. Leventritt, Simon Rossant
1944 1. Simon Becker, Peggy Golder, Ruth Sherman, Charles J. Solomon
2. B. Jay Becker, Charles H. Goren, Sidney Silodor, Helen Sobel
1945 1. Lee Hazen, George Rapee, Samuel M. Stayman, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz
2. Ambrose Casner, Harold J. Harkavy, Ralph Hirschberg, Harold A. Ogust, Jack Shore
1946 1. A. Mitchell Barnes, John R. Crawford, Alvin Roth, Edith Seligman
2. Simon Becker, Stanley O. Fenkel, Fred D. Karpin, Louis Newman
1947 1-3. 1-3. Paula Bacher, Jane Jaeger, Kay Rhodes, Sally Young
1-3. John R. Crawford, Theodore A. Lightner, George Rapee, Samuel M. Stayman
1-3. Robert Appleyard, Morris Berliant, Malcolm A. Lightman, Simon Rossant
1948 1. George Boeckh, C. Bruce Elliott, Agnes Gordon, Charlotte Sidway
2. John R. Crawford, George Rapee, Sidney Silodor, Samuel M. Stayman
1949 1. Lee Hazen, Larry Hirsch, Richard Kahn, Peter A. Leventritt, Jack Shore
2-3. Sidney Aronson, Emily Folline, Benjamin O. Johnson, Ludwig J. Kabakjian, Edward N. Marcus
2-3. Jeff Glick, Arthur S. Goldsmith, Alvin Landy, Sol Mogal, Elmer I. Schwartz
1950 1. B. Jay Becker, Myron F. Field, Charles H. Goren, Sidney Silodor, Helen Sobel
2.John R. Crawford, George Rapee, Edward N. Marcus, Howard Schenken, Samuel M. Stayman
1951 1. Corti Boland, C. Bruce Elliott, Micky M. Miller, Percy E. Sheardown
2. B. Jay Becker, Charles H. Goren, Myron F. Field, Sidney Silodor, Helen Sobel
1952 1. Harold Harkavy, Edith Kemp, Alvin Roth, Tobias Stone
2. Edward H. Cohen, Jeff Glick, Arthur S. Goldsmith, Elmer I. Schwartz
1953 1. B. Jay Becker, John R. Crawford, George Rapee, Samuel M. Stayman
2. Harry J. Fishbein, Peter A. Leventritt, Ruth Sherman, Charles J. Solomon, Peggy Solomon
1954 1. B. Jay Becker, John R. Crawford, George Rapee, Sidney Silodor
2. Israel Cohen, Paul Kibler, Alvin Roth, William Seamon
1955 1. Ben Fain, George Heath, Paul Hodge, James Jacoby, Oswald Jacoby
2. William V. Lipton, Victor Mitchell, W. Miller Nelson, Joseph G. Ripstra
1956 1. B. Jay Becker, John R. Crawford, George Rapee, Sidney Silodor
2. Ben Fain, Paul Hodge, Oswald Jacoby, Dick Sutton
1957 1. Charles H. Goren, Harold A. Ogust, William S. Root, Howard Schenken, Helen Sobel
2. Robert Y. Barrett, Ben Fain, Harry J. Fishbein, John Gerber, Paul Hodge
1958 1. Leonard B. Harmon, Ralph Hirschberg, Edgar Kaplan, Alfred Sheinwold, Ivar Stakgold, Richard Kahn, Norman Kay (alternate)
2. Arthur M. Miller, John H. Moran, David Strasberg, Jay Wendt
1959 1. Lewis L. Mathe, Donald A. Oakie, Meyer Schleifer, Edward O. Taylor
2. Harry J. Fishbein, John Gerber, Paul Hodge, Charles J. Solomon
1960 1. Ollie Adams, William Hanna, Sidney H. Lazard, Lewis L. Mathe
2. Oswald Jacoby, Mervin Key, G. Robert Nail, Curtis Smith
1961 1. John R. Crawford, Norman Kay, Alvin Roth, Sidney Silodor, Tobias Stone
2-3. Charles Coon, Robert F. Jordan, Eric R. Murray, Arthur G. Robinson
2-3. Harold B. Guiver, Carol Sanders, Thomas K. Sanders, Michael Shuman
1962 1-2. Paul Allinger, Harold B. Guiver, Lewis L. Mathe, Ron Von der Porten, Erik Paulsen, Edward O. Taylor
1-2. Robert D. Hamman, Eddie Kantar, Donald P. Krauss, Marshall Miles
1963 1. Charles H. Goren, Boris Koytchou, Peter A. Leventritt, Harold A. Ogust, Howard Schenken
2. Donald R. Faskow, William L. Flannery, Herbert Sachs, Paul Swanson
1964 1. John Gerber, Paul Hodge, Mervin Key, Harold Rockaway
2. Harold Harkavy, Edith Kemp, Cliff Russell, Curtis K. Smith, Bobby Wolff, Waldemar K. von Zedtwitz
1965 1. Eddie Kantar, Michael S. Lawrence, Marshall Miles, Lew Stansby
2. Michael Engel, Phil Feldesman, Richard Freeman, Ira S. Rubin

Note: The Chicago Trophy was replaced in 1965 by the Reisinger Memorial Trophy, donated by the Greater New York Bridge Association in memory of Mr. Curt H. Reisinger.

Note: The method of Total Point Scoring (or Aggregate Scoring in the United Kingdom) was the computation of scores based on points earned minus points last, from the scoring table of Contract Bridge. (Note: See Laws of Contract Bridge, Law 84, and Laws of Duplicate, Law 73, the scoring used at rubber bridge or Chicago. As a from of scoring in team games, the method of Total Point Scoring is/was adaptable particularly for match play in head-on contests. However, IMP scoring replaced Total Point Scoring during the 1960s. The Reisinger Trophy knock-out teams in the Eastern States Regional was the last conducted major knock-out event to replace Total Point Scoring with IMP scoring. This occurred in the year 1965.

Year Winners and Runners-Up – Reisinger Trophy

1966 1. Robert F. Jordan, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Arthur G. Robinson
2-3. Gerald W. Bare, Harold B. Guiver, Lewis L. Mathe, Mike McMahan, Erik Paulsen, Hugh Ross
2-3. William S. Root, Alvin Roth, Bee Schenken, Howard Schenken
1967 1. Robert F. Jordan, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Arthur G. Robinson, William S. Root, Alvin Roth
2. Steve Altman, Michael M. Becker, Charles Peres, Daniel Rotman
1968 1. Kyle Larsen, Erik Paulsen, Peter A. Pender, Hugh Ross, Howard Schenken
2. Bill Eisenberg, Bobby Goldman, Robert D. Hamman, Eddie Kantar, Sidney Lazard, George Rapee
1969 1. Philip Feldesman, William Grieve, Ira Rubin, Jeff Westheimer
2. Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Sami R. Kehela, Sidney Lazard, Eric R. Murray, George Rapee
1970 1-2. Bill Eisenberg, Bobby Goldman, Robert D. Hamman, James Jacoby, Michael S. Lawrence, Bobby Wolff
1-2. Grant S. Baze, Anthony H. Dionisi, William P. Grieve, Harlow S. Lewis, Peter A. Pender, George Rapee
1971 1. William Grieve, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Donald P. Krauss, Lewis L. Mathe, George Rapee
2. Grant S. Baze, Anthony H. Dionisi, Harlow S. Lewis, Peter A. Pender
1972 1. Lou Bluhm, Steve Goldberg, Steven J. Parker, Stephen W. Robinson
2. William Grieve, Sami R. Kehela, Eric R. Murray, George Rapee
1973 1. Larry T. Cohen, Dr. Richard H. Katz, Bud Reinhold, Alan Sontag, Peter Weichsel
2. Jack Blair, Byron L. Greenberg, Thomas K. Sanders, Paul Swanson
1974 1. Fred Hamilton, Erik Paulsen, Hugh Ross, Ira S. Rubin
2. Stephen Goldstein, Marc S. Jacobus, Jay Merrill, Steve Sion, Judi Solodar (Judi Radin)
1975 1. Fred Hamilton, Erik Paulsen, Hugh Ross, Ira S. Rubin
2. Richard E. Doughty, Frank M. Hoadley, Jack LaNoue, Sidney H. Lazard
1976 1. Malcolm K. Brachman, Bill Eisenberg, Bobby Goldman, Eddie Kantar, Mike Passell, Paul Soloway
2. Matt Granovetter, Robert H. Lipsitz, Steven J. Parker, Samuel M. Stayman
1977 1. Jim Cayne, Alan Greenberg, James Jacoby, Kyle Larsen, Michael S. Lawrence
2. Matt Granovetter, Robert H. Lipsitz, Neil Silverman, Samuel M. Stayman
1978 1. Ira G. Corn, Jr., Fred Hamilton, Robert D. Hamman, Ira S. Rubin, Bobby Wolff
2. Allan Graves, Gaylor Kasle, Mark Lair, George Mittelman, Barney O’Malia, Ron Smith
1979 1-2. Russ Arnold, Robert Levin, Jeff Meckstroth, Bud Reinhold, Eric Rodwell
1-2. Ira G. Corn, Jr., Fred Hamilton, Robert D. Hamman, Ira S. Rubin, Bobby Wolff
1980 1. Ron E. Andersen, Malcolm K. Brachman, Bobby Goldman, Eddie Kantar, Michael S. Lawrence, Paul Soloway
2-3. Mark Lair, Jeff Meckstroth, Mike Passell, Eric Rodwell, George Rosenkranz, Eddie Wold
2-3. Roy Fox, Ed Manfield, Paul Swanson, Kit Woolsey
1981 Chip Martel, Peter A. Pender, Hugh Ross, Lew Stansby
2-3. Roger Bates, Chuck F. Burger, Jim Cayne, Bill Eisenberg, Alan Greenberg
2-3. Roger Bates, Chuck F. Burger, Jim Cayne, Bill Eisenberg, Alan Greenberg
1982 1. Bill Root, Richard Pavlicek, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay
2. Mark Molson, Eric Kokish, Paul Lewis, Robert Lebi, George Mittelman, Drew Cannell
1983 1. Oswald Jacoby, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Bill Root, Richard Pavlicek
Note: 1984 newspaper picture of Oswald Jacoby; Note: Bridge Column by Alan Truscott on the death of Oswald Jacoby
2-3. Ron Rubin, Mike Becker, Billy Eisenberg, Eddie Kantar, Michael S. Lawrence, Peter Weichsel
2-3. Chip Martel, Lew Stansby, Peter Pender, Hugh Ross
1984 1-4. Bill Root, Richard Pavlicek, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay
1-4. Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein, Allan Stauber, Mike Smolen
1-4. Samuel Stayman, Richard Reisig, George Tornay, Saul Bronstein
1-4. Jim Robison, Jon Wittes, Ross Grabel, Stelio Touchtidis
1985 1-2. Chip Martel, Peter Pender, Hugh Ross, Lew Stansby
1-2. George Rosenkranz, Eddie Wold, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Marty Bergen, Larry N. Cohen
1986 1. Steve Robinson, Chip Martel, Hugh Ross, Peter Boyd, Peter Pender, Lew Stansby
2. Bud Reinhold, Ron Andersen, Tommy Sanders, Paul Soloway, Bobby Goldman
1987 1. Zia Mahmood, Jaggy Shivdasani, Billy Cohen, Ron Smith
2. Walter Johnson, Mark Cohen, Ralph Katz, Bill Pollack, David Berkowitz, Howard Weinstein
1988 1. Jimmy Cayne, Bob Hamman, Mike Passell, Mark Lair, Chuck Burger, Bobby Wolff
2. Tom Fox, Dick Melson, Jim Hall, David Lehman
1989 1. Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg, Sam Lev, Chris Compton, Mark Molson
2. Jillian Blanchard, Bob Blanchard, Jon Greenspan, Kerri Shuman, Margie Gwozdzinsky, Glenn Eisenstein
1990 1. Richard Pavlicek, Bill Root, Edgar Kaplan, Norman Kay, Brian Glubok
2. Malcolm Brachman, Mike Passell, Paul Soloway, Bobby Goldman, Mark Lair, Eddie Wold
1991 1. Cliff Russell, Sam Lev, Larry Cohen, David Berkowitz, Marty Bergen, Bjorn Fallenius
2. Mike Cappelletti Jr., Mike Cappelletti, Lawrence Hicks, Rob Crawford
1992 1. Jimmy Cayne, Mike Passell, Mark Lair, Chuck Burger, Gabriel Chagas, Marcelo Branco
2. Jim Mahaffey, Alan Sontag, Eddie Kantar, Ron Andersen, Tony Forrester
1993 1. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
2. Jimmy Cayne, Chuck Burger, Mike Passell, Paul Soloway, Bobby Goldman, Mark Lair
1994 1. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
2. Jimmy Cayne, Chuck Burger, Mike Passell, Paul Soloway, Bobby Goldman, Mark Lair
1995 1. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
2. Peter Nagy, Bruce Ferguson, Howard Weinstein, Ralph Katz, Fred Stewart, Steve Weinstein
1996 1. Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby
2. Jimmy Cayne, Chuck Burger, Mark Feldman, Michael Seamon, Alan Sontag, Mike Passell
3. Rita Shugart, Andrew Robson, Steve Sion, Eddie Wold, ; Tony Forrester, Geir Helgemo,
4. Edgar Kaplan, Brian Glubok, Norman Kay, Sidney Lazard Sr, Bart Bramley, Ronald Smith
1997 1. Bart Bramley, Howard Weinstein, Sidney Lazard, Steve Garner
2. George Rosenkranz, Eddie Wold, Adam Zmudzinski, Marek Szymanowski, Marcin Lesniewski, Cezary Balick
3. Richard Schwartz, Mark Lair, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby, Paul Soloway, Bobby Goldman
4. Steve Zolotow, Harold Lilie, Marc Jacobus, Ronald Smith, Bob Crossley
List of participating Teams: .pdf file format
1998 1. Rita Shugart, Andrew Robson, Geir Helgemo, Tony Forrester
2. George Jacobs, Ralph Katz, Lorenzo Lauria, Alfredo Versace, Peter Weichsel, Alan Sontag
3. Bobby Wolff, Dan Morse, Hugh Ross, Michael Becker, Barnet Shenkin, Peter Nagy
4. Jeffrey Wolfson, Neil Silverman, Lew Stansby, Chip Martel, Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg
1999 1. Rita Shugart, Andrew Robson, Geir Helgemo, Tony Forrester
2. Dano DeFalco, Giorgio Duboin, Guido Ferraro, Norberto Bocchi, Maria Teresa Lavazza (npc)
3. Gerald Sosler, Kay Schulle, ; Andrea Buratti, Massimo Lanzarotti
4. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Paul Soloway, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
2000 1. George Jacobs, Alfredo Versace, Lorenzo Lauria, Ralph Katz, Norberto Bocchi, Giorgio Duboin
2. Mike Cappeletti Jr., Gary Cohler, Richard Finberg, Mark Lair, Jerry Goldfein
3. Billy Miller, Curtis Cheek, Roger Bates and Ron Smith, Lou Ann O’Rourke (captain)
4. Andrew Gromov, Aleksander Petrunin, Cezary Balicki, Adam Zmudzinski
2001 1. Roy Welland, Bjorn Fallenius, Howard Weinstein, Steve Garner, Brad Moss, Fred Gitelman
2. George Jacobs, Ralph Katz, Alfredo Versace, Norberto Bocchi, Giorgio Duboin, Lorenzo Lauria
3. Kyle Larsen, Peter Weichsel, Alan Sontag, Lew Stansby, Chip Martel, Rose Meltzer (npc)
4. Rita Shugart, Andrew Robson, Tony Forrester, Boye Brogeland
2002 1. Stephen Landen, Dan Morse, Bobby Wolff, Pratap Rajadhyaksha, Adam Wildavsky, Jackson, Douglas Doub
2. Richard Schwartz, Michael Becker, Larry Cohen, David Berkowitz, Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg
3. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Eric Rodwell, Jeff Meckstroth, Bob Hamman, Paul Soloway
4. Malcolm Brachman, Mike Passell, Claudio Nunes, Fulvio Fantoni
2003 1. Malcolm Brachman, Mike Passell, Eddie Wold, Eric Greco, Geoff Hampson
2. Roy Welland (npc), Bjorn Fallenius, Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg, Cezary Balicki, Adam Zmudzinski
3. Ralph Katz, Alfredo Versac, Lorenzo Lauria, Norberto Bocch, -Giorgio Duboin
4. Peter Bertheau, James Rosenbloom, Christal Henner-Welland, Claudio Nunes, Fulvio Fantoni, Fredrik Nystrom
2004 1. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Paul Soloway, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
2. Richard Schwartz, Massimo Lanzarotti, Andrea Buratti, Mike Becker, Larry N. Cohen, David Berkowitz
3. Mike Passell, Eddie Wold, Geoff Hampson, Eric Greco
4. Roy Welland, Bjorn Fallenius, Zia Mahmood, Adam Zmudzinski, Cezary Balicki, Michael Rosenberg
2005 1. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Paul Soloway, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell
2. George Jacobs, Alfredo Versace, Lorenzo Lauria, Ralph Katz, Zia Mahmood, Michael Rosenberg
3. Michael Becker, Walid Elahmady, Tarek Sadek, Jan Jansma, Richard Schwartz, Louk Verhees
4. James Cayne, Michael Seamon, Tor Helness, Steve Weinstein, Robert Levin, Geir Helgemo
2006 1. Gary Cohler, Joe Grue, Curtis Cheek, Jacek Pszczola
2. Russell Ekeblad, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby, Fred Gitelman, Brad Moss
3. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Bob Hamman, Paul Soloway
4. Rose Meltzer, Kyle Larsen, Alan Sontag, Roger Bates, Geir Helgemo, Tor Helness
2007 1. James Cayne, Michael Seamon, Alfredo Versace, Lorenzo Lauria, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes, Charlie Weed (npc)
2. Aubrey Strul, Michael Becker, Larry Cohen, David Berkowitz, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby
3. Russell Ekeblad, Peter Weichsel, Louk Verhees, Jan Jansma
4. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Bob Hamman, Hemant Lall
2008 1. Nick Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Zia Mahmood
2. Roy Welland, Brian Glubok, Steve Garner, Howard Weinstein, Billy Cohen, Ron Smith
3. Daniela von Arnim, Sabine Auken, Debbie Rosenberg, Michael Rosenberg
4. Aubrey Strul, Michael Becker, Larry Cohen, David Berkowitz, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby
2009 1. Nick Nickell, Jeff Meckstroth, Zia Mahmood, Eric Rodwell, Bob Hamman, Eric Kokish (npc)
2. Michal Kwiecien, Rafal Jagniewski, Alexander Smirnov, Josef Piekarek
3. Ishmael Delmonte, Daniel Zagorin, Kevin Bathurst, Bas Drijver, Sjoert Brink, Ashley Bach
4. Rita Shugart, Andrew Robson, Jan Jansma, Louk Verhees
2010 1. James Cayne, Michael Seamon, Alfredo Versace, Lorenzo Lauria, Antonio Sementa, Giorgio Duboin
2. Alexander Smirnov, Roy Welland, Christal Henner-Welland, Josef Piekarek, Steve Garner, Howard Weinstein
3. Andrew Rosenthal, Aaron Silverstein, Chris Willenken, David Gold, Tom Townsend, Michael Rosenberg
4. Mark Gordon, Pratap Rajadhyaksha, Alan Sontag, David Berkowitz, Terje Aa, Jorgen Molberg
2011 1. James Cayne, Michael Seamon, Alfredo Versace, Lorenzo Lauria, Giorgio Duboin, Antonio Sementa
2. Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Geir Helgemo, Tor Helness, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes
3. Jacek Pszczola, Josef Blass, Michal Kwiecien, Krzysztof Martens, Krzysztof Jassem
4. Andrew Rosenthal Team: Aaron Silverstein, Chris Willenken, Bjorn Fallenius, Michael Rosenberg, Peter Fredin
* Note: Andrew Rosenthal was not able to make it to 2011 Seattle NABC to play with the team he sponsored.

Stripe-tailed Ape Double

To our knowledge there is no such thing as a Stripe-tailed Ape. To date we have only been able to find a fish called Pimelodus Notatus (Stripe-Tailed Pimelodus). Our research has been exhaustive, but not productive. The designation may be the result of back-room bridge conversations or terminology inheritance from Whist and Auction Bridge players, but this is only speculation.


The article by Mr. Michael Cappelletti is also of interest although it deals more with the game of poker than with bridge. However, the application of the concept behind the Stripe-tailed Ape Double remains the same. This article has only been preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file for future reference.

We did, however, discover the Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta), which is a large Strepsirhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of four lemur families. It is the only member of the Lemur genus. Like all lemurs it is endemic to the island of Madagascar. It is known locally as Hira (Malagasy) or Maki (French and Malagasy), and it inhabits gallery forests to spiny scrub in the southern regions of the island. It is omnivorous and the most terrestrial of lemurs. The animal is diurnal, being active exclusively in daylight hours.

In the days of yore when the scoring methods of the game of bridge was evolving a certain Mr. Sam Scaffidi, born in the year 1935 and died in the year 1988, in cooperation, collaboration and possible conspiracy with Mr. John Lowenthal, born in the year 1938 and died on December 7, 1999, discovered that if the opponents doubled at the five level when the other two players were definitely heading towards a makeable slam contract, then the slam bidders might possibly consider playing at the five level doubled.

The reasoning behind this was that the score for a five level contract doubled, even with an overtrick included, was, at that time, less than a slam bid and made, small or grand. They also discovered, according to the scoring method of the time, that if, in the same circumstances, a Major suit or a non-vulnerable Minor suit were doubled by the opponents and the other players heading towards a slam redoubled, then the resulting score is greater than the small slam score. Whenever this redouble occurred, then Mr. Sam Scaffidi and Mr. John Lowenthal would run like a striped-tailed ape to their longest suit.

Assuming favorable vulnerability and the suit of the opponents is Hearts and after a bid of 4 No Trump, the intention is to bid a slam contract, and on the first response, perhaps 5 Hearts, Mr. Sam Scaffidi would double in the hope that the opponents would cease seeking the slam contract. The philosophy and possible profit behind this double was evident using the older scoring methods, the philosophy being that: Being lucky is good, but one has to be good to be lucky.

In the case of a redouble by the opponents, Mr. Sam Scaffidi would pull his own long suit and hope that the penalty was less than the score for a vulnerable slam. The partnership of Mr. Sam Scaffidi and Mr. John Lowenthal employed this Stripe-tailed Ape Double, whenever the contract was for a Major suit or a non-vulnerable Minor suit.

The reason was that five of a vulnerable Minor suit redoubled with an overtrick was still slightly less than scoring up the slam. Therefore, many, if not all bridge-sponsoring organizations recouped and decided that the bonus for redoubling be increased a little to correct and compensate for this particular situation. Presently, five of anything redoubled and making an overtrick is greater than bidding the slam. On the other side of the equation, the penalty for doubled, non-vulnerable undertricks was substantially increased.

However, this does not indicate that this particular double has become obsolete. The following article, written by Mr. Alan Truscott, shows the effectiveness of the principle when used properly and appropriately. BB2000/2P86.


By Alan Truscott

Marlboro Bermuda and Venice Cup
Beijing, China
October 8th – 21st, 1995
Issue 7, Saturday, October 14th, 1995

The computer played a small joke that was generally overlooked. On board 16 of round 11, East held five Spades and seven Hearts and could make 6 Spades, on a 5-5 fit, against any lead, and 6 Hearts if the defense failed to find a Spade lead and ruff.

In the next round, on Board 16, East held seven Hearts and five Spades.
Board 16. East/West Vulnerable.
Dealer West.

It can be seen that for East-West it is a laydown for 6 Spades or 6 Hearts, but only four pairs out of 32 got there. Mario Onorati and Alejandro Bianchedi for Venezuela, Bjorn Fallenius and Mats Nilsland for Sweden, and Jorge Barrera and Anton Cahn-Speyer for Colombia got to the obvious 6 Spades. Mark Molson and Boris Baran for Canada got to the less obvious 6 Hearts. Some either-or bids can confuse their users. It might seem unlikely that East would fail to bid Spades on this deal, but it happened at one table:

1. A two-way bid: either a weak two-bid in Hearts, or an Acol two-bid in an unspecified suit.

2. A waiting bid to find out what West is up to. The weak two-bid seems unlikely.

3. This suggested a very long Spade suit, and a double to show general strength would no doubt have been better.

4. North knows that the opposition can make a slam somewhere, so she produces the Striped-Tailed Ape double. If they redouble, you beat a retreat.

5. What should East do? Bid Hearts in the face of a likely misfit? Redouble? She passed and the bidding ended.

That was 1050 to East-West, which was worth 7 IMPs and might have been much more. In the replay East-West reached 6 No Trump for a score of 1440. Mercifully, I will reveal only one name. The Striped-Tailed Ape Doubler was Jo Morse of the U.S.A. II team, that qualified in the Venice Cup.

A second bridge column also appeared in The New York Times.

Bridge: If an Accidental Bid Works, Why Not Call It Intentional
By Alan Truscott
The New York Times
Saturday, January 31, 1981

Vulnerable: East-West

West led the  Queen.

There are a few eccentric bidding coups that happen more often by accident than design. But the true ratio is hard to determine, for the leading character always insists, quite loudly, that he knew exactly what he was doing.

An example is the Striped-tailed Ape Double. If you double an opponent in five Spades when he was about to bid six Spades and make it, you have improved your score. But you must be prepared, like a cowardly ape, to run for the shelter of your own suit if you run into a redouble.

A faintly comparable maneuver can occur when sacrificing. If you select your best combined suit, the opponents will spurn a small penalty and continue bidding, with a successful result. But if you choose, deliberately or accidentally, an inferior suit, a double becomes more likely and you may still escape with a penalty that is less than the value of the game or slam available to the opponents. Finding the Heart Queen.

Consider, for example, the diagramed deal, from a side game during the Nationals last fall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. East-West can make six Spades, which needs very little more than a successful Diamond finesse, but they are unlikely to reach a slam. If North and South save in Hearts at favorable vulnerability, they can make eight tricks by guessing the location of the Heart Queen.

If one Heart is raised to four Hearts, an opposing bid of four Notrump clearly shows length in the Minor suits. If the suit is Spades, this is less clear, and many experts would regard this bid as a three-suit Take-out.

North and South were perhaps on different wave lengths, for the final contract was five Diamonds doubled, a precarious spot. West led the Spade Queen and shifted to the Club Queen.

The South player, Sandy Rosen of Roslyn, Long Island, ducked and then won the Club continuation. She played a third Club, and East ruffed low, a poor decision. South overruffed, ruffed a Spade and played the last Club from dummy.

This time East discarded a Spade, and South was able to score another ruff in her hand. She tried a Seart lead, but West ruffed. At this point the defense could have scored four more trumps by cross-ruffing, collecting 900 points to beat all the contracts below slam. But West erred by shifting to the Diamond Queen, and when this held he missed his last chance by playing the Jack. The result was down three for 500, and East-West had done no better than they would have done against Hearts.

That was a striped-tailed ape sacrifice announced South, daring anyone to suggest that there is no such beast.

Daily Bulletin – 69th Summer North American Bridge Championships
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Date: July 24 to August 3, 1997
Vol. 69, No. 8 – Friday, August 1, 1997
Editors: Henry Francis and Brent Manley

Tale of the Ape

By Powhatan Wooldridge

In the qualifying round of the NABC Senior Swiss Teams, Marcia Freed sat North and hear her partner open 1! The bidding proceeded:

At this point it seemed virtually certain to Marcia that the opponents were 4-4 in Spades and her partner was void. Since her fifth Spade could be established by ruffing, she bid 6 with confidence. East doubled.

John, a firm believer in the adage that the preemptor should not bid again, scowled.

West led a Spade to East’s Ace as John followed with the Jack. East had bid 4 on A-Q-x, presumably as a lead director, planning to run to his five-card Diamond suit if doubled. All was well, however, since John held the two red Aces and was soon claiming.

At the other table this is how the auction went:

Powhatan was quick to justify Jill’s double to their teammates … It was a striped-tailed ape double. That’s a double of a game bid aimed at keeping the opponents from bidding a slam. Marcia’s decision to bid on to 6 had converted a 7-IMP loss to a 10-IMP gain.

Negative Stripe-Tailed Ape Double

The following is from the TwoPlusTwo.Com Magazine, an online Forum for puzzles and games. The name of the user is centurion, location is Albquerque, New Mexico, United States, and posted on 11-06-2008, 01:21 PM.

Re: Bridge Bidding Reverse Sheep REVEAL

Regarding the Striped-Tailed Ape double: I once invented a convention I called the Negative Stripe-Tailed Ape Double.

My great (matchpoint) discovery was that when the opponents were vulnerable, you could make a Stripe-tailed Ape double of 5 of a Minor and sit for the redouble! 5xx+1 = 1350 (old scoring) whereas 6 = 1370. Unfortunately partner didn’t always provide the 1 trick I needed. When he had 2 tricks, -950 was a bottom, and when he had zero tricks, -1750 was close to a bottom since other pairs seldom bid the grand. The Negative Negative Stripe-tailed Ape double was meant to solve this problem. When playing Negative Stripe-tailed Ape double, the double of 5m (vulnerable) in an obvious Stripe-tailed Ape situation showed zero tricks; partner could sit with 1 trick even redoubled, but must run with zero or two tricks.

Unfortunately, I never could get anyone to play it with me, and then the lawmakers thwarted me by changing the bonus for making a redoubled contract.

End of quoted and excerpted text by centurion.

Note: As an interest to the bridge student the scoring method was changed in the year 1987 to eliminate this discrepancy.

Stayman Minor Suit

Minor Suit Stayman

This convention, a variation of the Jacoby Transfer originally devised by Mr. Oswald Jacoby, is used by the responder whose partner has opened the bidding with 1 No Trump. The bridge community liked the original concept of Mr. Oswald Jacoby and created new variations.

The concept of this convention was created for the responder, whose holding includes a long Minor suit and, generally, very little values or very strong values indicating a strong interest in a possible slam contract in a Minor suit.

This variation is also used to explore the possibility of a No Trump contract as the final contract and to determine whether of not the holding of the responder justifies a No Trump contract.

The original version of the Jacoby Transfer convention did not use the bid of 2 Spades as a transfer bid. This bid became an idle bid and the ensuing variations took this feature under consideration to construe, invent, and develop other variations of the concept, especially for the Minor suits

Basically, the Minor Suit Stayman convention is applied as follows. Even with an overcall by the immediate opponent on the two level will have no bearing on the functionality of this concept since any overcall on the two level will not affect the concept. If the overcall is 2 Spades, then the partner of the No Trump bidder simply doubles to initiate this conventional method.

Opener > Responder > Meaning

  • 1 NT 2 Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits.
  • 3 Opener has a 4-card Club suit.
  • 3 Opener has a 4-card Diamond suit.
  • 3 Opener has both 4-card Minor suits and shows a control in Hearts.
  • 3 Opener has both 4-card Minor suits and shows a control in Spades.
  • 2 NT Opener indicates interest in a possible Minor suit slam.
  • 3 NT Opener indicates no interest in a Minor suit slam.
  • 3 or 4 Responder shows a singleton in Hearts; the level is dependent.
  • 3 or 4 Responder shows a singleton in Spades; the level is dependent.

The Minor Suit Stayman convention was devised for specifically three types of holdings held by the responder, and which will be determined during the ensuing auction:

1. A holding with a 6-card plus Diamond suit and weak values.

2. A 5-5 distribution in both Minor suits and weak values.

3. A 5-4 distribution in both Minor suits and possible slam values.

Note: Some partnership understandings have the agreement that, after the auction shows slam interest, any rebid by the responder at the lowest possible level of No Trump promises a distribution containing doubletons in both Major suits.

This partnership understanding also includes the feature that if the auction allows the responder to safely bid 3 No Trump, then this rebid shows a mild interest in slam. If, however, the responder is able to jump one level and rebids 4 No Trump, then this rebid is quantitative, and requests the No Trump bidder to continue to slam with a maximum and to sign-off if holding a minimum. This rebid of 4 No Trump is not forcing.

In several partnership agreements, there is also the understanding about the following auction:

Opener > Responder > Meaning

  • 1 NT 2 Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits.
  • 2 NT 3 or 3 Responder shows a singleton in Hearts and/or Spades.
  • anything 4 or 4 Responder shows a void in Hearts and/or Spades.

When seeking a slam in a Minor suit, if the responder bids and rebids a Major suit, the second bid of the same Major suit promises a void.

As one illustration for the responses of the No Trump bidder, the following example, showing a holding of the No Trump bidder, should clarify the reason behind a 3 Spade rebid after a 2 Spade response by the responder:

The No Trump bidder is showing his partner that he holds both a 4-card Club suit and a 4-card Diamond suit. Only a 4-card Minor suit is required when using the Minor Suit Stayman convention as compared with the Jacoby Transfer For The Minor Suits convention, where the Minor suit should contain at least a 5-card suit. And by bidding 3 Spades, the No Trump bidder promises a control feature in the Spade suit, and indicates possible interest in exploring for a slam in a Minor suit. This information, contained in one rebid, could prove to be invaluable if and when the responder should consider exploring for a slam in one of the Minor suits.

The continuation of the auction is dependent on the rebid of the No Trump bidder. If the rebid shows any possible slam interest, then the partnership understanding should be solid and the partnership agreement must be adhered to, as in the following example:

The No Trump bidder, by inference, realizes that the responder must have the first-round control in Clubs, otherwise the responder would not have accepted the slam attempt by naming the desired Minor suit of Diamonds. Therefore, the opener can reason that a slam contract in Diamonds is a sound contract. In the above example, the responder becomes the declarer and drops the two losing Clubs on the winning Heart and Spade and/or finesses the King of Spades correctly. Whether or not the No Trump bidder decides to convert the final contract to a No Trump contract is absolutely dependent on his holding and is a judgment call.

If the partnership agreement is to apply the Minor Suit Stayman convention, then this information must be made available to the opponents. There will also be other possible holdings than those shown above, which will demand different auctions than those presented here. The concept, however, remains the same and the rebids of the No Trump bidder and the responder should retain the same information as presented above. It is important for the partnership to recognize those rebids, which show slam interest before individually exploring for a possible slam. The rebids showing no interest in slam should be respected and accepted as a sign-off. An interesting article about the application of the Minor Suit Stayman convention is contained in the Bridge Bulletin, published by the ACBL, Issue January 2002, page 85, written by Mr. Max Hardy.

Minor Suit Stayman Over A 2 No Trump Opening Bid

Although not included in the original concept, the idea of employing Minor Suit Stayman following a 2 No Trump opening bid is completely acceptable by partnership agreement. The only requirement, generally accepted, is the fact that the responder hold a minimum distribution of 5-4 in both Minor suits and has an interest in establishing whether or not a slam is possible.

As with an opening of 1 No Trump, the responses are similar by an opening of 2 No Trump. The following schematic will clarify:

Opener > Responder > Meaning

  • 2 NT The range of the 2 No Trump opening bid is 20 to 22 high card points.
  • 3 Responder wishes to inquire about the holding in the Minor suits. The responder shows a minimum distribution of 5-4 in both Minor suits.
  • 3 NT The opener does not hold a 4-card Minor suit.
  • 4 The opener promises a 4-card Club suit.
  • 4 The opener promises a 4-card Diamond suit.
  • 4 The opener signals slam interest in the Club suit or No Trump. Promises maximum values and at least a 5-card Club suit.
  • 4 The opener signals slam interest in the Diamond suit or No Trump. Promises maximum values and at least a 5-card Diamond suit.

Once the 2 No Trump has clarified his holding and somewhat shown his distribution and strength, then the responder is in a position to make a more educated decision based on this additional information as to whether a slam is feasible. The responder will then either establish the final contract or request additional information in the following manner.

Continuances by the Responder

Responder Meaning

  • Pass If the responder believes that the forced rebid by the No Trump bidder is the best possible contract, then the responder will pass. This is to play.
  • 3 NT If the responder believes that the forced 3 No Trump rebid by the No Trump bidder is the best possible contract, then the responder will pass. This is to play.
  • 4 NT This second bid, following any bid by the No Trump bidder, is quantitative. The No Trump bidder may pass.
  • 4 This bid is Gerber and asks the No Trump bidder for the number of Aces and/or Keycards held. (Note: some partnerships may employ Roman Keycard Gerber.)
  • 5 This is a sign-off. Partner must pass
  • 5 This is a sign-off. Partner must pass.
  • 4 NT Generally Roman Keycard Blackwood for either Minor suit.
  • 6 To play.

The partnership may decide to adopt other Ace-asking, Control-asking, or Keycard-asking methods than those suggested above.

The partnership may also employ the Minor Suit Stayman conventional method over an opening bid of 3 No Trump. The rebids by the opener are generally the same, only one level higher. Although the partnership has very little bidding space to convey information, the exchange of information should suffice for the partnership to establish a final contract. The employment of the Useful Bidding Space Principle should also contribute to the exchange of additional information.

Unusual No Trump

The development of this conventional defense method was devised by Mr. Alvin Roth and Mr. Tobias Stone. According to The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, published in the year 1964 by Crown Publishers, Inc., page 470, and also to The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, published in the year 1971 by Crown Publishers, Inc., page 532, this conventional defense method was originally devised by Mr. Alvin Roth in the year 1948 and developed by him with Mr. Tobias Stone.

The Unusual No Trump is a conventional defense method designed to show two suited hands in competitive situations with one bid. The logic and reasoning behind the convention is to consume bidding space and to describe to your partner the distribution of your hand as quickly and as accurately as possible. This can be done with one bid.

In order to understand the Unusual No Trump convention, both players must first achieve a partnership understanding of the definition of terms required before implementing this bid. The Unusual No Trump is an effective convention and should be used according to established guidelines, but not indiscriminately, which only serves to undermine not only the conventional method but also the partnership trust.

Please compare this convention with Michaels Cuebid, which cuebids the bid suit of the opener, because there are some similarities in that both conventions show two-suited hands. The Unusual No Trump convention is used after an opening bid in the Major suits, and also in other bidding circumstances which will become clear, and this is very important to remember. Since the two conventional defense methods are, practically speaking, first cousins, it is imperative that the visitor first of all, distinguish between Michaels Cuebid and The Unusual No Trump.

Both conventions are used as overcalls:

South employs the Michaels Cuebid to show a two-suited holding, where one suit is the other Major suit, in this example Spades, and an unspecified Minor suit.

By employing the Unusual No Trump convention, South is showing a two-suited holding, both of which are the Minor Suits.

By bidding 2 No Trump, employing the Unusual No Trump convention, North is showing a two-suited holding, both of which are the Minor suits.

The attempt is made in this presentation to establish the intended meanings to the various calls possible after the bidding is opened by the opponents. It depends very much on the Seat and the Call, and whether the bid is an immediate overcall, a bid made after passing, or whether the bid is Fourth Seat after the opponents have bid twice. Review the following examples carefully:

1 NT West has a legitimate 1 No Trump holding, promising 15-18 high card points, and also a stopper(s) in Spades, and a balanced distribution.

1 2 NT West holds a minimum of 5-5 distribution in both Minor suits by unfavorable vulnerability, or West holds a minimum of 5-4 distribution in both Minor suits by favorable vulnerability.

1 Double West shows a 4-card Heart suit, at least 3-card support in both Minor suits, and approximately 10 plus points by favorable vulnerability and at least an opening by unfavorable vulnerability.

East is in the balancing seat and has decided to re-open the bidding of balance. The 1 No Trump bid signifies 10-12 high card points and a stopper(s) in Spades. (Note: Some partnerships agree that a Balancing No Trump is limited to a range of 12-14 high card points and a stopper in the opponent’s suit. When holding a balanced distribution with a range of 15-17/18 high card points the general agreement is to first double and then rebid No Trump.)

East holds a 5-5 distribution in both Minor suits by unfavorable vulnerability, or East holds a minimum 5-4 distribution in both Minor suits by favorable vulnerability.

East has an actual 1 No Trump opening with 15-17/18 high card points, a stopper(s) in Spades and a balanced holding, or an actual 2 No Trump opening with 20-21/22 high card points, a stopper(s) in Spade and a balanced hand. But East cannot show it at this time. East will do so on his next bid because East is forcing West to bid.

Note: Any 2 No Trump bid immediately after an opening of a Major suit by the opponents signifies that the 2 No Trump bidder holds at least a 5-5 distribution by unfavorable vulnerability in both Minor suits, or at least a 5-4 distribution by favorable vulnerability in both Minor Suits. The point range should be 6 high card points plus, and should be mainly in the suits indicated. Remember that the distribution will be your main weapon. Also, the number of Losing Tricks may be the determining factor.

Note: The number of values, by partnership agreement, has been altered by many bridge players to be based on the number of Losing Tricks instead of high card points. This means that a holding such as: QJxxx – J109xx may be appropriate for the employment of this defense method. This is not, however, an individual partnership agreement.

Unusual No Trump Overcalls by a Passed Hand

What is the meaning of the bid by South after first passing? South cannot have a genuine opening of 1 No Trump, but he knows that his opponent West is weak. South sees a good chance to enter the bidding auction showing a two-suited holding. South could have something similar to the holding shown in the above diagram.

Note: The number of Losing Tricks in Example 1 equals 6 Losing Tricks, whereas in Example 2 below, the number of Losing Tricks equals 5 Losing Tricks. The number of Losing Tricks may be the determining factor in deciding whether to employ this conventional defense method.

South does not hold opening values, but South has a good distributional holding. However, with one bid, as a direct overcall after passing first, South can communicate to partner a distributional two-suited holding in Diamonds and Clubs, with distribution of at least 5-5, since both teams are vulnerable.

Note: In such bidding sequences the auction remains on the one level, which has certain advantages in competitive circumstances. However, see the example below when South decides to jump directly to 2 No Trump.

South does not have opening values, but South has a good distributional holding. With one bid, as a direct overcall after passing first, South communicates to partner a distributional two-suited holding in Diamonds and Clubs, with distribution of at least 5-5, since both teams are vulnerable. However, South could have simply bid 1 No Trump showing both Minor Suits as in Example 1. Why did South bid 2 No Trump?


The Unusual No Trump bid is a conventional defense method, and like all concepts, bridge players have been trying to improve, alter and modify them.

It must be noted that the 1 No Trump and 2 No Trump bids are used by some bridge players to show a two-suited holding in other suits. Instead of the lower two unbid suits, the bid is used to denote the two higher-ranking unbid suits.

Mr. Alvin Roth also made additions to the concept in his published pamphlet titled The Unusual No Trump, first published by the Devyn Press in 1981 as part of the Championship Bridge Series, that the inclusion of the bid of 2 No Trump directly over an opening bid by the opponent is unusual.

He includes topics such as:

  • 1. When is No Trump Overcall Unusual?;
  • 2. Which Suits are shown by an Unusual No Trump;
  • 3. Requirements;
  • 4. Responding to an Unusual No Trump;
  • 5. Other uses for the Unusual No Trump;
  • 6. Defending against Unusual No Trump.

The visitor should remember, however, that this variation is not part of the original version. This variation is presented in .pdf file format for future reference.

What if South passes and then makes a direct overcall of 1NT or 2NT over a Minor?

If South were two-suited in the Major suits, South would use the Michaels Cuebid of 2 Diamonds. But with the bid of 1 No Trump South is showing the two lower-ranking unbid suits, namely Hearts and Clubs.

If East had opened the auction with 1 Club and South were two-suited in the Major suits, South would use the Michaels Cuebid of 2 Clubs. But with the bid of 1 No Trump South is showing the two lower-ranking unbid suits, namely Hearts and Diamonds.

Remember: if South bids 2 No Trump, as a direct overcall, South is showing even more distribution and playing strength.

A direct overcall of 1 No Trump or 2 No Trump by a passed hand has been considered. The question is what, exactly, constitutes a direct overcall?

Partnership Agreement

This agreement is valid only if the opening is on the one level.
Any direct overcall of 1 No Trump or 2 No Trump by a passed hand is unusual, and shows the two lower-ranking unbid suits and 5-5 distribution.
Any non-direct overcall by a passed hand of 1 No Trump is not unusual but rather is a balancing bid.
Any non-direct overcall by a passed hand of 2 No Trump is unusual and shows the two lower-ranking unbid suits.

Explanation: if a bridge player has passed once and finds himself in the Pass-Out position, the player must make a decision. He must either pass or balance

South has the opportunity to pass, knowing that the opponents have most likely reached a poor contract. South should balance only if South realizes that there is a good chance of balancing with an immediate and very descriptive bid. South must also be quite aware of the fact that he could be pushing the opponents towards a makeable contract, and that he and partner will most likely end on the three level.

Therefore, the bridge player in the Pass-Out position must take a serious second look at his hand and decide whether his hand is more suited for defense or offense.

The bridge player in the Pass-Out position must also assume that the opener could have a hand with strength of about 19 high card points maximum, and must make this fact a consideration of his decision to pass or balance.

It seems probable that West may have scraped all distributional points together in order to answer his partner. At favorable vulnerability, it might be profitable for South to reopen the bidding with a most descriptive bid. Are the opponents willing to take their suit to the three level?

It should be apparent to think of a distributional holding as being stronger than a hand which has only power in high card points. With such favorable distributional hands it has been proven that a 5 Diamonds contract can be made with as little as 10 high card points!


These are the basic guidelines for the Unusual No Trump defense method, which become very useful in bidding contracts as well as providing partner with unusually fast and descriptive information, and putting obstacles in the path of the opponents. The bridge player should realize that there are several factors involved such as:

1. State of vulnerability.
2. Location of values.
3. Whether the Unusual No Trump is be a Passed or Non-Passed Hand.
4. Whether the Unusual No Trump is a direct overcall or balancing and/or reopening call.
5. Whether the opponents have bid and raised the same suit.
6. Whether or not the opponents have bid two different suits,
7. Number of Losing Tricks.
All of these guidelines may determine the employment of the Unusual No Trump and in deciding whether the No Trump overcall reflects which partnership agreement in the auction.

Once again, it must be repeated that the vulnerability must be regarded at all times and the Unusual No Trump conventional defense method must not be used indiscriminately for any two-suited holdings. The requirements should be observed by the player, since the partner will otherwise slowly lose trust.

As stated in the introduction, Mr. Alvin Roth and Mr. Tobias Stone put a lot of effort into making this method comprehensible, understandable, and underscored its effectiveness. The difficulty is to master it together with your partner. Each bid must be communicated in such a fashion that it be readily understood. Each partner must visualize the auction, especially the passes, and then make the correct decision and the correct bid.

Please Note: We have attempted to present the basic concept of the Unusual No Trump convention defense method to the reader, encourage the reader to question the material when studying the content we present, and also to encourage the reader to continue his/her study of the convention by purchasing those bridge books, which deal with the subject. It is impossible for us to present each and every case with examples and explain whether or not the Unusual No Trump convention may or may not be effective, employed, and/or is applicable. We have attempted to reflect the different considerations necessary to determine whether or not such a call meets most of the necessary requirements, and which determine the advisability of such a call or overcall and/or balancing reopening call.