Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Conventions T to Z

Take-out double

A take out double in general suggests shortage in the opponents suit.

It invites partner to bid in any new suit.  Usually it will be made on a hand of opening strength or thereabouts, but there are exceptions to this.

Tartan two bids

A form of multi-bid in which an opening two of a major carries both weak and strong meanings.

Texas transfers

Responses of 4 and 4 to an opening 1NT or 2NT, setting the suit as hearts or spades respectively.

An excellent alternative is ‘South African Texas transfers’.

This link takes you to the 1NT page.

Third suit forcing

When opener has repeated his first suit any bid in a new suit is potentially artificial and is game-forcing.


There are many variations on the basic idea of transfers, both in detail of application and in the situations in which they are employed, but the most common application is as a lowest-level response to partner’s opening bid of 1NT or 2NT.  In general, the transfer bid promises five cards in the next higher suits and instructs partner to bid that suit.  The common themes are that the player making the transfer bid can arrange for his partner to be declarer, and also that he may or may not choose to make a subsequent bid thereby giving himself the opportunity either to pass on a weak hand or to show a further feature of his hand with a stronger holding.  (See - red suit transfers, four-suit transfers, two-tier transfers).

Transfers after partner opens 1NT

Transfers after partner opens 2NT

Transfers after partner opens 1 major and RHO doubles

Transfer advances

A system of transfer bids after partner has made a suit overcall - advanced, but recommended.

Transfer overcalls

A system for overcalling the opponents opening bid of 1NT.

Transfer Walsh (See Walsh below)

Not to be confused with Walsh relays sometimes referred to as Walsh transfers (also below)!

A variation on ‘Walsh’ in which facing a 1 opener responder uses 1 to show hearts and 1 to show spades.

This entry is included only to emphasise the distinction between transfer Walsh and Walsh relays.

Trial bid

Once a partnership has bid and agreed a suit, either directly or by implication, then a bid in a new suit is usually played as an artificial force in search of the optimum contract.  Such a bid is called a trial bid.

There are many styles of trial bid.  You will probably agree to use different styles in different situations.

Various possibilities follow in this section, and suggestions as to when each one might be used are included in the sections on bidding - particularly the section on opener’s rebid.

Truscott 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.

Truscott defence (1)

A defence to artificial strong opening bids.

This link takes you to the opening strong club page.

Truscott defence (2)

A defence to artificial strong opening bids.

This link takes you to the artificial strong two page.

Two-suited overcalls

Michael’s and Ghestem are the traditional options but there are other (and I think better) possibilities.

Two-suited facing 1NT

Immediate three-level responses to an opening 1NT can be used to distinguish between responding hands which are predominantly two-suited in the minors.  Recommended.

Two-under transfers

A system of four-level transfers facing a 2NT opening bid in which bids of 4 and 4 set the suit as clubs and diamonds respectively.

Two-way Drury

A variation on the ‘Drury’ convention when facing partner’s one of a major opening in third seat.

Unassuming cue-bid

A cue-bid by advancer in the opponents’ suit showing a good raise of partner’s overcall.

Unusual 2NT

An bid of 2NT which cannot possibly be strong promises the two lowest unbid suits in a weakish hand.  It might appear at various points in the auction.

This link takes you to the page which considers it as an immediate overcall of the opponents’ one of a suit opening.

Unusual 4NT

A convention to show a strong hand with both minors over the opponents’ opening weak two in a major.

Voids and singletons

A variation on splinter bids in which a bid of 3NT is used to distinguish between voids and singletons.

Voidwood (or Exclusion Blackwood - sometimes incorrectly referred to as Lackwood)

A variation on Blackwood in which a jump in a new suit following suit agreement asks for a count of aces (or key-cards) not including that in the bid suit.

Walsh (See also transfer Walsh above)

Not to be confused with Walsh transfers (which follow)!

A treatment by responder facing a 1 opener in which he bids a four-card major rather than a four- or five-card diamond suit on a weak hand.

Usually played as part of a system featuring five-card majors and a short club, but not without merit even in a standard system.

Walsh relays (or Walsh transfers)

Not to be confused with transfer Walsh!

In its most common form facing partner’s opening 1NT, the artificial sequence 2, 2, 2 is game-forcing based on a single-suited hand. It is usually the precursor to a slam-try.  The quality of the suit can be shown very precisely in the subsequent auction.

Weak 2NT

An opening bid of 2NT can be played as weak and two-suited in the minors.

Weak jump-overcall

Jump overcalls were traditionally played as  ‘strong and forcing’.

In the modern game they are usually played either as ‘weak’ or ‘intermediate’.

The weak version is typically about 5 - 9 points with a six-card suit - like a weak opener.

Weak reverse

A partnership might agree to make a reverse bid to show the shape of a hand without promising the additional strength traditionally associated with a reverse bid.

Weak no trump

This term is used for an opening bid of 1NT which is made on a weak balanced hand.

In this work I shall confine myself to a range of 12-14 points, and hand-shapes 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2, and 5-3-3-2.  Other ranges are possible, but the term ‘weak’ will usually indicate a maximum of fourteen.

It is useful to allow the use of the bid for 5-4-2-2 hand-shapes in the range with weak long suits and points in the short suits.

Some partnerships also allow either a singleton ace, a singleton honour, or any singleton by agreement, but this is not my choice.

Weak take-out

This is a bid by responder following partner’s opening bid of 1NT.  It promises at least a five-card suit and is not in any way invitational - opener should pass.  This type of bid might feature in a beginner’s method whilst developing the concept of a hand suitable for such treatment, but it should be replaced by a transfer system of responses as soon as the player wishes to proceed beyond the beginner stage.

Weak twos

This term is used for an opening bid of two of a suit which promise a single-suited hand within some predefined limited range.

Alternatively it may be defined to show a two-suited hand.

Typically the single-suited version will promise a six-card suit, but five cards is also playable by agreement.  The two-suited version will usually promise at least 5-4 shape in a specified major and another suit.

In either case a typical point-range would be five to nine, or possibly six to ten.


Also modified Wenble - sometimes known as CRO.

A system of two-suited overcalls.

Wonder bids

A conventional method for overcalling the opponents artificial strong opening.

This is an excellent expert method, but beyond my level of knowledge and expertise.  You will have to look elsewhere to learn about these bids.


Another name for the multi-Landy conventional method of overcalling the opponents’ 1NT.


This term covers a number of agreements by which a partnership can escape to a safer contract when their opening bid of 1NT is doubled for penalties.

Conventions 111 to C

Conventions K to P

Conventions QRS

Conventions T to Z

Conventions D to J