Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Conventions Q to S

Queen ask

An extension to RKCB in which following partner’s response to 4NT a bid in the next non-trump suit asks partner whether or not he holds the queen of trumps.

Quest transfers

A little known but excellent method of showing both invitational and game-going hands which are 5-4 in the majors facing 1NT.


An acronym for rank, colour, other which can apply to a number of different situations.

This link takes you to its use as a system of two-suited take-outs.

Red-suit transfers

The simplest transfer system in which a response of 2 to 1NT promises hearts and a bid of 2 promises spades.  The system is vastly more powerful than one based on weak take-outs, but it is a wasted opportunity.  A system based around transfers in all four suits is recommended.

Such transfers are commonly used over both 1NT and 2NT opening bids, and also over artificial 2NT opening sequences.

The link takes you to the continuations following a 1NT opening bid.


Redouble is, of course, a bid - not a convention.  However it is important to appreciate that this bid is hardly ever used in its natural sense.  At a high-level it will usually indicate a control in the opponents’ suit.  At lower levels in the auctions it will most commonly show a good hand with a poor fit for partner.  The implication is that if the auction continues you and your partner will be looking for the opportunity to make a penalty double.


A variation on Blackwood in which 4 and 4 are used as the asking bids following clubs and diamonds agreement respectively.


Waiting bids, designed purely to give partner the opportunity to define his hand in greater detail.

The two most frequent contexts for such bids are:-

in response to an artificial strong opening bid, and

as part of an advanced ‘relay and scan’ method of locating controls in partner’s hand.

Responsive double

A form of take-out double by advancer following partner’s take-out double and responder’s raise of the opening suit.

Reverse bids

A reverse bid occurs whenever one player bids two suits in such a way that partner would have to raise the bidding to the next level to show preference to the first suit.

Usually it refers to a a rebid by opener which is higher than two of his first suit.  Such a bid requires partner to bid at the three-level even to show no more than simple preference - opener’s reverse.

The term may also be applied to responder’s bidding.

Reverse Drury

A variation on the ‘Drury’ convention in which opener’s rebid of 2 promises values and other responses are light.

Reverse two-way Drury

A variation on two-way Drury in which the meanings of the 2 and 2 responses are interchanged.


A conventional method for overcalling 1NT.

On this site Landy, Asptro, Cappelletti, D.O.N.T., and transfer overcalls are considered for use in this situation.

Roman Key-Card Blackwood (RKCB)

An improvement on standard Blackwood in which the king of the agreed trump suit is counted as a fifth ace, and in many sequences it is also possible to locate the queen of trumps.  As with standard Blackwood a cue-bidding will frequently be preferable, but if the critical cards are the trump honours then this is a powerful tool, and should be included amongst your methods.

Rosenkranz redouble

A lead directing redouble by advancer.

Ruben’s advances

Another name for transfer advances.

Rubinsohl (sometimes Rubensohl or transfer Stayman)

A method combining the best of transfers and the Lebensohl convention when RHO overcalls partner’s opening bid of 1NT.

Rule of fifteen

A guideline for opening one of a suit in fourth seat

Sandwich no trump (or sandwich 1NT)

A bid of 1NT after LHO has opened, partner has passed, and RHO has changed suit.

This use of the bid suggests a two-suited holding rather than a strong balanced hand.

SARS (Shape-asking Relays After Stayman)

Following the sequence 1NT, 2, 2 the rebid 3 is used as a shape-asking bid - artificial and forcing - to find out about partner’s minor suit holdings in search of a slam.

There may be artificial extended sequences attached, and the idea may be extended to apply to the bid following a positive response to the original Stayman enquiry.

Scrambling sequences

A method by which take-out doubles can be used on a wider variety of hand-shapes, usually by doubling first and then bidding in a new suit.  In this work I consider one particular version of scramble - the equal-level conversion.

Self-sufficient suit

A suit which is likely to play for no losers even when facing a void in partner’s hand.  This is usually interpreted as AKQJxx or AKQxxxx.

Important in making a bidding decision, and specifically when partner opens a strong two.

Serious 3NT

A convention to distinguish between a cue-bid with extras and a cue-bid without extras.

Shape showing

A style of trial bid which is essentially natural.


Jack Marx and the twins Jim and Bob Sharples were responsible for the invention of, the development of, or the popularisation of, a number of bidding conventions.

Amongst these were two-tier transfers into the minors in response to partner’s opening 1NT, and a relay transfer sequence to show the invitational raise and possible other stronger holdings.

Also sometimes known as Marx-Sharples transfers.

Short suit trial bid

A style of trial bid which informs partner of a shortage.


A method of showing 5-4 in the majors on a game-going hand facing 1NT.

S.O.S. redouble

A self-explanatory escape mechanism by opener on his rebid after his opening bid of 1NT is doubled and responder passes.

South African Texas transfers

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

This link takes you to the 1NT page.

Specific ace ask

An opening bid of 4NT which asks partner to name any specific ace which he might hold.

Specific king ask

A variation on the Blackwood 5NT king ask.  This version asks for specific kings rather than how many kings.

Spiral (also spiraling, spiral scan)

A system of defining the controls held (and sometimes other features) in response to a series of relay bids from partner.

Splinter bid

An unnecessary jump in a new suit shows support for partner together with a void or singleton in the bid suit. It is usually played as game-forcing in the uncontested auction.  This same jump is frequently given a different meaning in the contested auction (see fit-jumps) but the splinter in the opponents’ suit remains an invaluable weapon.


My own variation on two-suited overcalls. (Note - not standard)

Sqot (or Squot) test

This is really a guideline rather than a convention, but it is included here to help locate it.

In deciding whether or not a suit is of sufficient quality this method offers an excellent ‘rule of thumb’ guideline.


A lowest-level response in clubs when partner opens 1NT, 2NT, or an artificial 2NT sequence, is usually used to ask partner if he holds a major suit.

By partnership agreement the convention may ask for a four-card suit or a five-card suit, and the bid may or may not promise a four-card major suit holding in responder’s hand.

The link takes you to the basic version of four-card promissory Stayman.

Stayman in doubt

Following an opening 1NT, a Stayman enquiry and a major suit response, responder can rebid 3 (artificial and forcing) to agree partner’s suit.  The bid may be used on 4-3-3-3 game-going hands and on hands with a slam interest.

Strong 2NT

An opening bid of 2NT to show a strong balanced hand on some prescribed range - typically 20 to 22.

Strong club

A number of advanced systems have 1 as their only strong opening bid, typically on sixteen or more points.

This is not part of any system which I recommend.  However, it is vital that you have agreements on how to deal with such methods.

Strong jump overcalls

The traditional version - almost forcing

Strong no trump

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

It will be made on a defined range, typically 15 to 17 or 16 to 18.

Systems incorporating a strong no trump are more common than weak no trump systems when viewed on a world-wide scale and for this reason alone they have been the vehicle for many international successes.

As this site concentrates on a system based around a weak no trump the strong no trump is only considered as something which your opponents might do.

Strong twos

These are opening bids of two of a suit which promise a strong hand - typically eight or more playing tricks in a hand of sixteen or more points.

Strong two-suited hands

Artificial strong opening bids showing two-suited hands.

These bids are not standard.

Support bids

Bids which agree partner’s suit and give some further information such as strength or shape.

Support double

A means by which opener can distinguish between three- and four-card support for partner’s suit in the contested auction.

Conventions 111 to C

Conventions K to P

Conventions QRS

Conventions T to Z

Conventions D to J