Theory and Conventions



M J Bridge



Sources and acknowledgements

The first thing to say is that this site is not one of those which lets you into the secrets which have propelled me to the top of the bridge ladder.  As a performer I might be ‘goodish’, but I am certainly far from being an expert.

This site is more of a research thesis.

I have looked at methods which I have been taught and methods which I have encountered.

Some seem to work better than others.

Some make sense to me and some don’t.

Some make sense in certain combinations, but are frequently encountered in totally illogical groupings.

Some are excellent at a certain stage of development or in a certain bridge environment.

To address these matters I have studied various authorities, analysed various methods which I have encountered, and on occasion come up with some idea of my own.  The results of this research are the basis of this site.

When any of my own ideas appear this is made clear - they have probably not stood the test of time in the highest levels of competition.

Many other methods are suitable perhaps only at a learning stage, or more frequently only in the hands of expert partnerships who play together with great frequency.  Again, I have tried to make it clear who should be interested in any slightly non-standard approach.

I hope that the results of this study have some validity, and might also provide a resource for various categories of developing player.


My first studies beyond the basics came with a thorough reading of the late Eric Crowhurst’s books.

His depth of analysis was way ahead of his time.

Although his writings championed the weak no trump and a system based around four-card majors I find that some of his methods were skewed by an outlook which dated back to the days of five-card majors.  Furthermore his methods more or less predate such modern innovations as transfer bids.  I would not recommend his writings as a source of the best methods in the modern game but, as a study of how to analyse a group of available bids, they are second to none, and as such they are highly recommended as a slightly historical but thoroughly worthwhile read.

Probably the best teacher for the improving player or partnership at the present time (as well as being one of the very best players in world bridge) is Andrew Robson.

In particular his book ‘What should have happened’ is jam-packed full of good technique both in bidding and play.

If you get the chance to go to one of his teaching seminars then jump at it.

Ron Klinger is another excellent teacher with a plethora of writing behind him who also provides excellent seminars.

I have referred frequently to his book ‘bridge conventions - defences and countermeasures’.  Sometimes the various continuations and alternative options are treated a little too quickly, but it is an excellent source of ideas.

I have also visited a number of web-sites.

Bear in mind that they don’t all say the same thing about the same situation. It is necessary to interpret, and pick the best, from the choices offered.  Clearly the same can be said about this site.

For many years ‘the bridge guys’ site was the first port of call for many as they looked to learn more about some given convention.

It contained a massive collection of articles.

However, the site now appears to have been taken down.

Bridgebum is a favourite of mine.  It tends to give just one implementation of a convention when there are variations but the presentation is amongst the clearest to be found anywhere.

I have a fascination with Terence Quested’s site at ‘The Pattaya bridge club’.

This one is idiosyncratic to say the least.

It includes ideas of his own, and he is not backward in expressing his opinions of various alternative methods, but it is fascinating to look at his offerings alongside those of others.

More recently I have come across Chris Ryall’s site.

This is another work of considerable research and scholarship, incorporating both standard methods and his own ideas.

It is particularly exhaustive and authoritative in its study of weak-two opening bids.

Strongly recommended.

Of course there have been many other influences.  I cannot begin to list every friend,partner, or opponent from whom I have picked up either an idea, a method, a point of view, or a way of looking at something.

I just hope that I have combined all of these factors in a way which is accurate, reasonable, and helpful.

I should though like to say a particular thank you to those correspondents who have done a little proof-reading on my behalf and have let me know of some of the places in which corrections were necessary.

A particular thank you in this respect to David Moore.

A selection of links is to be found on the next page.

This page last revised 10th Dec 2019