Theory and Conventions



M J Bridge



Selecting your methods

I will not hide the fact that I am fascinated by conventions.

This site contains a massive number of conventions and agreements.

However, you should be clear that this is not to suggest that the inclusion of a wide selection of conventions will make you a better player - or partnership.

You won’t want to play them all;

you shouldn’t want to play them all;

indeed, you can’t play them all even if you want to.

If you are setting out to learn bridge you should concentrate on common sense, logic, and underlying principles in a simple system before selecting all those little add-ons known as conventions, and as you move into the improvers’ category and towards and intermediate standard you must be careful to select those methods which really do improve a system - not just everything you come across because it sounds like fun (unless trying things for fun is your basic motivation).

And just to complicate matters, other sources will suggest all sorts of of variations on, and additions to, your agreed method.

Don’t bow to the pressure.  Agree a set of methods (which may or may not be that suggested on the following pages), and stick with it until such time as you are ready to discuss a modified or extended set of methods, then stick with your new agreement whilst you master its minor complexities before you look to move on again.

It is tempting to say ‘let’s just play simple bridge - no conventions’ but that is something of a fool’s dream.  Even in the simplest of methods you must agree on the strength of your opening no trump and how many cards you promise when you open one of a major, even before you start to mention Blackwood or Stayman.  Remember - even understandings such as ‘a raise of one major to three major is invitational with four-card support and ten to twelve points’ or ‘responder’s change of suit following an overcall is forcing’ are agreements or conventions which are by no means universal.

When you start off you need a simple set of agreements.

On the next page you will find my guideline as to a simple and sensible set of

methods to be adopted by a beginning partnership.

This method is not written in stone but it is more than adequate as a starting point.

On the following page you will find my suggestions as to which conventions you should first choose as you consider

extending your methods,

first as an improver and then as you look to progress to and through an intermediate standard.


Note that, even from the earliest stages, I include suggestions relating to the continuations following on from the initial action.  To come to any sort of agreement without looking at what happens next is contrary to the basic tenets of good bridge bidding.

Summary sheets

This link takes you to an index of ‘crib sheets’.

I am not a great fan of such sheets, but I know that there is a desire for them.

First choose your methods based on the content of the present pages, and then, if you wish, look for the relevant summary sheets.

This page last revised 15th Dec 2017