Theory and Conventions

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Theory, Conventions, and Rules of Thumb


There are many conventional bids in modern bridge.


Some are in common use at all levels of the game - some exist only in the expert game - and some, believe it or not, exist only at the beginner level.


Many of these conventions are specific to a particular point in the bidding.

The Stayman convention for example is used by most partnerships after partner opens in no trumps.  There are other important situations in which it should be used, but as this is its natural home you will find a full discussion of it under the section on responder’s first bid when partner opens 1NT.  Extensions of the convention will be discussed as they arise in other situations.


Other conventions such as the splinter bid and the cue-raise arise in a great many situations.  You will find a discussion of these and other such conventions in this section, although further mention of them will also be found in particular context situations.


Occasionally a particular convention arises out of a particular piece of more abstract theory.

The most important example of this is ‘The Law of Total Tricks’.

Such theory will be included, along with an introduction to the conventions which follow from it, in the following pages.


Note that many of the methods in these pages come into an advanced classification - when you find a reference to them in the main bidding section keep your eye on the colour-coding bar to guide you as to an appropriate level of difficulty.  If you are progressing from a beginner stage towards intermediate then miss out the bits with a red or yellow bar in the first place - concentrate on the content with a dark green side-bar (or the pale bluey-green ‘post-beginner and above).


Indeed, I would suggest that you do not start by ploughing through these pages - they are here primarily as a central reference point. Look at the bidding situation which you are working on, and if the discussion at that point refers you to a convention on these pages then come back and have a look at it.


For more about conventions, theory, and other topics in this section follow the links on the left.


To enter the ‘bidding’ section of the site use the drop down menu centre-right at the top of the page.