M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions



The basic wriggle

The two agreements on this page are the backbone of several of the well-known ‘wriggle’ conventions.

The forcing pass

A pass by responder is played as forcing, requiring partner to reopen with a redouble.

Following this redouble responder will either pass when holding some values (say 8+ points) or start bidding four-card suits up the line as he searches for an escape.


The immediate redouble now becomes available for some alternative meaning.

Most commonly it will carry the message ‘I have a five-card suit’.  Partner is asked to bid 2 after which responder will either pass or correct.

A 7 6 2

T 8 3

Q 8 7 4

7 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.


Partner will redouble and you will start your escape with 2.

A 7 6 2

K 8 3

Q 8 7 4

K 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.


Partner will redouble and you will pass again, happy to play in 1NTxx or to search for a penalty should your opponents try to escape.

Q 7 6 2

K 8

Q 8 7 4 3

8 6

Partner opened 1NT and RHO doubled.

Redouble, promising a five-card suit.

Partner will bid 2, and you will correct to 2.

To be honest, this method in itself is roughly equally as effective as the common sense approach.

They both reach a redoubled contract when your side holds the balance of the points, and they both cater for those situations in which responder holds a five-card suit in a weak hand.

When holding nothing longer than a four-card suit in a weak hand, the scramble following a forcing pass and partner’s redouble is little different from the scramble following an S.O.S. redouble.


The advantage of any system built on these wriggle agreements is that by combining both a strong meaning and a scramble into the forcing pass more sequences become available to locate the best escape when holding nothing longer than a four-card suit.

Responder can either start scrambling immediately, or he can pass first and scramble second.

Specific conventional methods vary in how they allocate the available sequences to the various hand-shapes containing one, two, or even three four-card suits.

Either adopt the basic wriggle on this page now as you familiarise yourself with the ‘five-card redouble’ and ‘the forcing pass’, or move directly to one or other of the best known ‘extended wriggles’.

Use this method as a stepping stone.

Get used to the forcing pass and the artificial redouble as defined here,

then move on to one of the extended systems which follow.

Post-beginner to intermediate

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

This page last revised 6th Jun 2019

Context  -  Partner opened 1NT - RHO doubled (natural)