Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Conventions D to J

Delayed game-raise

A traditional method by which responder shows a quality side-suit before agreeing partner’s suit.

Denial cue-bids

A method of showing controls in which you bid the cheapest suit in which you do not have some specific type of control.

Dixon defence

A defence to the multi two diamonds


Standing for ‘Disturbing the opponents’ no trump’.

A method for overcalling the opponents’ opening bid of 1NT.  It prioritises rapid interference at a low level, and is particularly recommended against the strong no trump.

A similar method is sometimes used over the opponents artificial strong club opening.


A method for dealing with intervention over your ace-asking convention.

There are a number of variations on the theme all with fairly similar sounding names,.  These are mentioned on the same link.

Double key-card Blackwood

A two-suited variation on RKCB once a double-fit has been established


A conventional method employed by a passed hand after partner has opened in third or fourth seat on what might be a light opener.


A convention in which an opening bid of 2 promises at least 4-4 in the majors in a weak hand.

Equal-Level conversion

A form of scramble by which a take-out double can be used to show certain 5-4 hand-shapes, provided that the five-card suit is lower-ranking and a reversion to the four-card suit can be made at the same level.

Exclusion bids

A conventional way of making a weak take-out over the opponents artificial strong opening.

Exclusion Blackwood (or Voidwood)

A variation on Blackwood in which a jump in a new suit following suit agreement asks for a count of aces not including that in the bid suit.

Exit transfers

A form of wriggle to escape from 1NTx incorporating the transfer principle.

False preference

Usually a rebid by responder, returning to partner’s first suit as a means of keeping the auction open.

This can arise in a number of different situations.

Partner opened 1 heart - you responded 1 spade

Partner opened 1 major - you responded 1NT

Partner opened 1 minor - you changed suit at the one-level

First-round control

In the context of bidding a first round control is a variety of cue-bid used once a suit has been agreed.  Such a bid promises either an ace or a void in the suit bid.  Its aim is to help in the search for a possible higher contract.

First- or second-round controls

In the context of bidding a first- or second-round control is a variety of cue-bid used once a suit has been agreed.  Such a bid promises either an ace, a king, a void or a singleton in the suit bid.  Its aim is to help in the search for a possible higher contract.

Fifth suit forcing

A repeat of the fourth suit by the player who bid ‘fourth suit forcing’ in the first instance, asking specifically for a no trump stop.


(or fit-showing jumps)

A convention by which you can show agreement with partner’s suit together with a genuine quality side-suit.

The convention can be used, by partnership agreement, at various points in the auction, including by responder in both the uncontested and contested auction and also, in particular, by advancer in the contested auction.

The link takes you to its use advancer.

Five-card Stayman

A variation on the Stayman convention in which opener is requested to bid a five-card major if held and to make some other bid if not.

There are various methods relating to the other bids when a five-card major is not held.

This convention, in one form or another, is becoming increasingly common opposite an opening bid of 1NT now that this bid commonly conceals a five-card major suit in a 5-3-3-2 shape.

It is commonplace in response to an opening bid of 2NT, and is strongly recommended in this situation.

Flannery convention

A convention in which an opening bid of 2 shows a hand of eleven to fifteen points with five hearts and four spades.

Alternatively, the opening bid of 2 may be used in the same way.

Forcing 2NT

This entry applies in the context in which opener has opened and rebid in his suit promising a six-card holding and responder bids 2NT at his second opportunity.  The bid is played as forcing for one round.

Forcing pass (1. The wriggle)

A pass following a double of partner’s opening 1NT which demands that partner reopens the bidding.

Forcing pass (2. Slam bidding)

A pass when in the slam zone asking partner to choose between bidding on and doubling for penalties.

Four of a minor

It is a useful agreement that when a minor suit is agreed at the four-level in a non-forced situation then the bid expresses at least a mild interest in a slam.  With a weaker holding you must jump immediately to the five-level.

Four-suit transfers

In addition to the red-suit transfers over 1NT promising hearts or spades the simple version of four-suit transfers uses 2 to transfer to clubs and 3 to transfer to diamonds.  It is particularly powerful in its ability to show a game-going hand with a five-card minor suit and a four-card major suit, whilst retaining a simple limit raise to 2NT and promissory Stayman.  This is my recommended method for players as they proceed beyond the beginner stage.  At a more advanced level many tournament players enlarge on this method by using two-tier transfer responses.

Fourth suit forcing

A bid in the fourth suit is never needed in a natural sense - in such a situation a bid in no trumps would be indicated.

It is therefore always played as artificial and forcing - usually game-forcing, which opens up a number of extended sequences for slam bidding.

In response partner will describe his hand as best he can according to an agreed set of priorities.

Gambling 3NT

A convention in which an opening bid of 3NT is based on little more than a running minor suit.

Gambling 3NT rebid

If opener’s 2NT rebid is played as forcing then a rebid of 3NT can be played as above on an unbalanced hand with a potential running minor suit.

Garbage Stayman (or rubbish Stayman)

The Stayman convention will usually be used on hands of eleven or more points, intending to rebid 2NT or 3NT or to raise partner’s major suit response to the three-level or higher.  There are however a number of situations in which the convention can be used to contrive an escape on a weak hand.  Using the convention in this manner is sometimes referred to as ‘garbage Stayman’.

Gates double

An double by a passed hand of an opening bid of 1NT, which can be assigned any one of a number of different meanings.


A variation on Blackwood in which 4 is used as the asking bid.

Usually used following opening bids of 1NT, 2NT or an artificial opening sequence to 2NT.


A common system of two-suited overcalls (but not recommended).

Gold responses

A system of responses to an artificial game-forcing 2 opener as proposed by David Gold.

Good-Bad 2NT

A means of distinguishing between constructive and competitive bids at the three-level following two-level intervention by RHO.

The convention can be applied in a number of different situations.

Opener’s rebid


Good weak two

Like a single-suited weak two but with a higher range.  Frequently played in fourth seat or as part of a multi system.

Hackett defence

A system of defence to the opponents’ weak-two opening bid.


A form of wriggle for escaping from 1NT doubled.


An alternative title for the Cappelletti convention - a conventional method for overcalling the opponents’ 1NT opening bid.


An alternative name for Halmic - see above.


An alternative form of wriggle for escaping from 1NT doubled

Herbert negatives

A bid in the next suit up by responder in response to partner’s natural strong two opening bid denying the values for a positive response.

How good are you? bids

A variety of trial bid used in the search for a possible higher contract.

Highly recommended as the first bid in a slam-try sequence.

Impossible major

A bid in a suit which has already been denied, always forcing and with some agreed meaning.

Intermediate jump overcalls

Typically 11 to 16 points and a six-card suit

Inverted Ghestem

A system of two-suited overcalls

Inverted minor suit raises

A method in which a raise of partner’s minor suit opening to the two-level is forcing and a raise to the three-level is preemptive.

Jacoby 2NT

An immediate jump to 2NT in response to partner’s opening one of a major is played as forcing to game based on a good holding in high-card points and agreeing partner’s suit.  It creates extra space in any possible search for a slam. In the contested auction this bid more commonly indicates a good raise to at least the three-level, but is not game-forcing.  It is recommended that you should incorporate either this bid or the high-card limit raise into your methods.

Jacoby transfers

The usual transfer responses to 1NT and 2NT were originally introduced by Jacoby, and are sometimes referred to as Jacoby transfers, particularly in the American game.


See Allerton and Jagger.

Jordan 2NT

A bid of 2NT by responder following partner’s opening bid of one of a suit and a double by RHO to show a good raise of partner’s suit to the three-level or higher.

Jump cue-bid

Such a bid might either be part of a two-suited overcall system, or alternatively it might be made on a running minor in need of a no trump stop.

Jump overcalls

May be weak, strong or intermediate.

Conventions 111 to C

Conventions K to P

Conventions QRS

Conventions T to Z

Conventions D to J