THE ROMEX SYSTEM OF BIDDING
This bidding system was devised and developed over the years by Mr. George Rosenkranz of Mexico in cooperation and collaboration with Mr. Phillip Alder. The designation is a combination of the name of the developer and the country of origin of the person, who devised and originated the bidding system: ROsenkranz MEXico. as stated in the publication The Romex System of Bidding, page ix of the Foreword by Mr. Alan Truscott.
It is of interest to note that Mr. George Rosenkranz decided to designate his development The Romex System of Bidding and not The Romex Bidding System, by which designation it has become known.
The concept behind this bidding system is that Mr. George Rosenkranz believed that there were imperfections in the bidding style represented in the so-called Standard American system. He thought that the opening range of one suit was too great and should be revised in order to reflect a more narrow range. He also believed that the only forcing opening bid of 2 Clubs was too limiting and that other methods could be devised. His modifications and revisions led to the Dynamic No Trump opening, which in turn became a forcing opening bid, and to the Mexican 2 Diamonds opening, which added more accuracy to the normal opening of 2 Clubs. Another feature of his revisions was the fact that the Forcing 2 No Trump opening become game-forcing, and all in all, the Romex Bidding System by Mr. George Rosenkranz contained at least four one-round forcing opening bids.
Another feature of the Romex Bidding System is the employment of bids, especially opening bids, to fit the nature of the vulnerability. The nature of the opening bids are based on three different states of vulnerability:
2. equal vulnerability
Another feature of the Romex Bidding System is the employment and application of bids, which shows:
3. Playing Tricks
and allows the partnership to better establish the final and best possible contract. This concept in the evolution of this particular bidding system represented something new in the concept of bidding and laid the groundwork for introduction of these features into other bidding systems to allow for different approaches.
Mr. George Rosenkranz is one of the first bridge pioneers, who introduced this feature into the bidding system. His bidding system has been revised by him and others via publications, which include the features of this comprehensive bidding system. The ground work of the bidding system is outlined in the publication Bid to Win – Play for Pleasure, co-authored with Mr. Phillip Alder.
Another publication, Godfrey’s Bridge Challenge, also co-authored with Mr. Phillip Alder, continues the development of the bidding system.
The Romex Bidding System devised by Mr. George Rosenkranz and Mr. Phillip Alder, as described in the above two publications, is outlined in the schematic below and constituted the foundation of the bidding system.
- 1 Any Minor Suit: 12-18 HCPs 3-card plus suit; no 5-card Major suit
- 1 Any Major Suit: 12-18 HCPs Promises a 5-card suit
- 1 NT: 18-21 HCPs Artificial and forcing opening. Shows either a 12-20 HCPs balanced shape with 6 plus controls, or unbalanced shape, 18-21 HCPs, 6 plus controls and 4-5 losers
- 2 : 23-24 HCPs Balanced shape with 8 controls and 8 controls; game forcing
- 29-30 HCPs Unbalanced shape with 11 controls or 3 losers if the primary suit is a Major suit, but 2 or less losers if the primary suit is Clubs.
- 2 : 21-22 HCPs Balanced shape with 7 controls
- 27-28 HCPs Game-forcing. Balanced shape with 10 controls or unbalanced shape and 2 or less losers. The hand is one or two suited, primarily Diamonds
- 27-28 HCPs Game-forcing. Unbalanced shape with 3 losers and 4-4-4-1 distribution with shortage in any suit, including Diamonds
- 2 Any Major Suit: Weak Two bids
- 3 Any Suit: Preemptive
- 3 NT: Four Level preempt in a Minor suit
- 4 Any Minor Suit: The Namyats convention tranferring partner to Major
- 4 Any Major Suit: Preemptive. Used for holdings insufficient for employing Namyats
- 4 NT: A Five Level preempt in a Minor Suit
- 5 Any Minor Suit: Preemptive. Used for holdings insufficient for employing 4 No Trump
A third publication, Stairway to the Stars, also co-authored with Mr. Phillip Alder, contains a continuation of the theme and introduces the concept of “Two Cards” approach, which was devised for different bidding approaches by different states of vulnerability. This concept was, at the time, a most extraordinary concept and received much attention. This concept, in general, has been adopted by many bridge partnerships.
The Romex Forcing Club, as described in the above book Stairway To The Star, is described in the schematic below. Compared with the original version, the reader notices several differences and modifications. Mr. George Rosenkranz and Mr. Phillip Alder revised the requirements for the opening bids of five openings, reasons unknown. In general, the modifications were approved by most sponsoring organizations, but some of the opening bids conflicted with the Mid-Chart convention. For example, the concept that the opening bid of 2 No Trump could indicate a good 3-level preempt in either Minor suit and that a direct bid of the Minor suit on the three level indicate a lesser preempt was not accepted. After the decision was made to deny this aspect, the developers revised the Minor suit preempts to indicate that an opening of 2 No Trump would promise a good preempt in Clubs only and that an opening of 3 Clubs would indicate a lesser preempt, while a 3 Diamond opening could indicate either a good preempt or a lesser quality preempt in Diamonds.
- 17+ HCPs Artificial and forcing (in this version the 4-4-4-1 holdings are included, which were previously opened with 2 )
- 12-16 HCPs The Diamond length can be as few as 2 cards
- 12-16 HCPs 5-card plus Heart suit
- 12-16 HCPs 5-card plus Spade suit
- 1 NT: 10-12 HCPs Balanced shape
- 12-15 HCPs 6-card plus Club suit; natural
- 12-15 HCPs 6-card plus Diamond suit
- Shows 3-suited holdings, which have Diamond shortage (see following distribution)
- Distributions: 3-4-1-5; 4-3-1-5; 4-4-1-4, 4-4-0-5
- Preemptive Weak Two bid
- 2 NT: Shows a three level preempt in either Minor suit.
After the revisions and the modifications to the bidding system, the general result was an organized and efficient bidding system, which allowed for several approaches depending on the state of the vulnerability and were stricter regarding the position at the table, especially in First and Second Seat. These opening bids are presented below.
Opening Bids in First and Second Seat:
- 1 Club: Shows 12-18 high card point; 3-card plus suit.
- 1 Diamond: Shows 12-18 high card point; 3-card plus suit.
- 1 Heart: Shows 12-18 high card point; 5-card plus suit.
- 1 Spade: Shows 12-18 high card point; 5-card plus suit.
- 1 NT: Shows 18-21 high card points; an artificial opening. Employed if the shape is unbalanced, contains 4-5 losers and 5 plus controls. If the shape is balanced, then this opening shows 19-20 high card points and generally 6 controls.
Responses to 1 No Trump openings:
2 Clubs: This response shows 0-5 high card points and is considered the only first response that is not game-forcing
2 Diamonds: This response shows 6 plus high card points and anywhere from 0-4 controls. However, if the responder holds 2 plus controls, then the cover cards may be less than 3
2 : This response show 2 controls and 3 plus cover cards
2 : This response shows 3 controls and 3 plus cover cards
2 NT: This response show 4 controls and 3 plus cover cards
3 Clubs: This response shows 5 controls
3 : This response shows 6 controls
3 : This response shows a natural 6-card plus suit, between 4-6 high card points, and denies a 3-card suit in the other Major suit
3 : This response shows a natural 6-card plus suit, between 4-6 high card points, and denies a 3-card suit in the other Major suit
2 Clubs: This opening shows 23-24 high card points, at least 8 controls if the shape is balanced. This two-way bid can also mean that the holding may contain 3 or less losers if the shape is unbalanced and the suit is a Major suit. If the suit is Clubs, then the requirement is 2 or less losers. Unbalanced distribution with Diamonds as the primary suit is opened with the same requirements with 2 Diamonds. This opening is game-forcing except for the one auction: 2 Clubs – 2 Diamonds (waiting) – 2 No Trump.
2: This opening shows 21-22 high card points, at least 7 controls, or as the two-way bid, 27-28 high card points and 10 controls if the shape is balanced. If the shape is unbalanced, then this bid is absolutely game-forcing and shows the primary suit is Diamonds. The holding contains 2 or less losers and 22 plus high card points.
2: This opening shows 5-11 high card points, at least a 6-card suit with two of the top three honors (or a variation as later devised) three of the top 5 honors. The holding does not contain a 4-card Spade suit, generally no void and no more than one singleton.
2: This opening is the same as the 2 Hearts opening bid. It shows 5-11 high card points, at least a 6-card suit with two fo the top three honors (or a variation as later devised) three of the top 5 honors. The holding does not contain a 4-card Heart suit, generally no void and no more than one singleton.
2 NT: This opening shows 25-26 high card points, at least 9 controls, and promises a balanced shape. The holding may have a 5-card suit in either the Major or Minor suits. This opening is forcing to 3 No Trump or game in a Major suit.
3 Clubs: This opening promises no more than 10 plus high card points. The holding should contain no void, no 4-card Major suit, and no more than one Ace or King outside the trump suit. The vulnerability is a factor in deciding to opening three of a Minor suit. By favorable vulnerability the suit should contain a good 6-card suit promising 5 plus playing tricks whereas by unfavorable vulnerability the length of the suit should be increased by one card and the number of playing tricks should be increased by two, therefore the holding should contain a good 7-card suit and 7 plus playing tricks. At equal vulnerability the opening may be also be made with the above requirements for favorable vulnerability but the holding should contain at least 6 playing tricks.
3: The requirements for this opening bid are the same as for a 3 Clubs opening bid.
3: The requirements for this opening bid is that the holding contain no more than 9/10 high card points, no void, no 4-card Spade suit and no more than one Ace or King outside the trump suit. The state of vulnerability is also a deciding factor. By favorable vulnerability the suit may contain only a 6-card suit but must contain at least 5 playing tricks. At equal vulnerability the number of playing tricks should be 6 at least. By unfavorable vulnerability the suit should contain a good 7-card suit and 7 playing tricks and an additional guideline is that there should be not more than two losers opposite a singleton, especially by unfavorable vulnerability.
3: The requirements for this opening bid are the same as for the opening of 3 Hearts, whereby the Heart suit in the holding may not be a 4-card Heart suit.
3 NT: An opening bid of 3 No Trump is a Minor suit preempt. The holding contains a maximum of 10 high card points and the Minor suit is at least an 8-card suit, preferably a 9-card suit. The Minor suit is not a solid suit, as with a Gambling 3 No Trump opening, but may be a broken suit containing two of the top four honors, no outside Ace or King, and no 4-card Major suit. The vulnerability is also a deciding factor. By favorable vulnerability the holding should contain at least 6 plus playing tricks. By equal vulnerability the holding should contain at least 7 plus playing tricks, and by unfavorable vulnerability the holding should contain at least 8 plus playing tricks.
4 Clubs: An opening of 4 Clubs is the Namyats convention. The opener promises a constructive preempt in the corresponding Major suit and promises at least a 7-card plus suit with only one losing trick and a total of 8 plus playing tricks. The holding should not contain an outside Ace or King. Responder is required to bid 4 Hearts.
4: This opening bid is the same as the opening of 4 Clubs, but the responder is required to bid 4 Spades.
4 : This opening bid promises a good 7-card plus suit in Hearts with no more than one loser in the suit. The holding should not contain any outside Ace or King. By favorable vulnerability the holding should contain at least 7 playing tricks and by unfavorable vulnerability the holding should contain at least 8 playing tricks.
4: The requirements for this opening bid are the same as for an opening of 4 Hearts.
4 NT: This opening promises an excellent 8-card plus suit (preferably a 9-card suit by unfavorable vulnerability) and 9 plus playing tricks. The holding should contain no more than one loser in any other side suit.
5 Clubs: This opening shows an excellent 8-card suit (preferably a 9-card suit by unfavorable vulnerability) and promises no more than one loser in the trump suit. The holding may contain either any outside Ace or King but not two Aces outside the trump suit. By favorable vulnerability the suit named must contain at least 9 playing tricks, and by unfavorable vulnerability the holding should contain at least 8 playing tricks.
5 Diamons: The requirements for this opening bid is the same as for the 5 Clubs opening bid.
This, in general, gives an overview of the Romex Bidding System, but there have been other features of the bidding system, which have been incorporated into the general bridge community and adopted by it. The links below provide access to the web pages, which describe these particular features.
Dynamic No Trump – This method of opening No Trump is an integral feature of the Romex Bidding System, devised by Mr. George Rosenkranz of Mexico and Mr. Phillip Alder. The concept is that the opener may show a relatively strong holding, which is unbalanced, and which can be made on any distribution except 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2, or 5-3-3-2 holdings. The strength is restricted to exactly 18 to 21 points and must have at least five controls and which has only four to five losers.
Romex Gerber – After the Gerber Convention was devised, many bridge players began to apply it in their bidding auctions. They discovered that the convention had several drawbacks and decided to alter the convention. Other partnerships devised a modification of the Roman Gerber variation, and this modification was used in the Romex Bidding System.
Romex Jump Shifts – A short description of the requirements and restrictions included in the Romex Bidding System to allow for the bids by either partner to be forcing.
Romex Namyats – This concept is an integral part of the Romex Bidding System, devised and developed over the years by Mr. George Rosenkranz of Mexico in cooperation and collaboration with Mr. Phillip Alder. The principle behind the concept is based on the original Namyats convention, devised by Mr. Samuel Stayman. The basic structure remains the same, but the requirements are stricter and more accurately defined.
Romex Stayman Over 2 NT and 1 NT – Mr. Marshall Miles, Mr. George Rosenkranz, the developer of the Romex Bidding System, and others developed this alternative to Puppet Stayman.
Romex Trump Asking Bids – The Romex Bidding System, devised by Mr. George Rosenkranz and Mr. Phillip Alder employs the 2 Clubs opening as an artificial bid, which is forcing to game. The Trump Asking Bids are conducted in Step Responses, and the trump suit may change during the bidding sequence.