SA-YC Simplified

Part 2

Some of the Conventions used with SA-YC
(but mainly with 2/1)

Although one may prefer to play KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetie) , there are some conventions that one should know, if only to be aware of what the opponents are telling each other! Below are detailed some of the more commonly used "optional" ones. If you would like to learn more conventions, an excellent source (and the main source for this document) is "Modern Bridge Conventions" by William S. Root & Richard Pavlicek. This book can be ordered (Worldwide) from Baron Barclay Bridge Supplies

Bergen Raises! (Bergen)
Brozel! (broz)
Cappelletti! (capp) (also known as Hamilton (ham))
Drury! and Reverse Drury! (rdrury) and 2-way RDrury
Flannery! (flan)
Gambling 3NT! (gnt)
Inverted Minors! (invm)
Jacoby Xfer to minors! (J4xf)
Landy! and Revised Landy! (rlandy)
Lavinthal Discards (Lav)
Lebensohl! (Leb)
Lightner Double
Minor-Suit Stayman! (mss)
Minor-Suit Transfer Bids! (mst)
New Minor Forcing! (nmf)
Odd/Even (Roman) Discards (o/e)
Puppet Stayman!
Roman Key Card Blackwood (rkc)
Smolen Transfer Bids! (Smolen)
Splinters! (spl)
Texas Transfer Bids! (Texas)
Unusual over Unusual!
Voluntary Bid of 5 of a major (Vol5)
Document Links
Note 1: DOPI and R-O-N-F have been included in Part 1
Note 2: ! = Alert throughout NF=Non-Forcing

Astro ( ! )

A method of competing against an opponent's 1NT opening bid for 2-suited hands. An overcall of 2c shows at least 5/4 or 5/4 shape in hearts and a minor, 2d shows at least 5/4 or 4/5 shape in spades and any 1 other suit. HCP range approximately 9-14. Any other bid is natural.

Astro can by partnership agreement also be used in the balancing seat and over 2NT openers (see below) and Gambling 3NT

The Astro Overcalls are:
East South Shows
1NT 2c! At least 4 hearts with unknown minor
2d! At least 4 spades with unknown 2nd suit

Note 1: The longer suit can be either way round, ie., at least 9 cards in your 2 suits
Note 2: One of the Astro bidder's major suits is always known
Note 3: All direct game calls are sign off

More Frequent Responses to Astro
East South West North Shows
1NT 2c! Pass 2d! Denies 3 cards in the known major (hearts)
2h! At least 3 cards in the known major (hearts)
2d! 2h! Denies 3 cards in the known major (spades)
2s! At least 3 cards in the known major (spades)

Less Frequently Used Responses
East South West North Shows
1NT 2c/d! Pass 2s/3c! 6+spades/clubs, denies 3 of known major (NF)
2NT! 11+HCP would like to find out what partner's
other suit is (forcing)
3c/3d! good 6-card suit, good 3 of other minor,
denies 3 of known major, (invitational)
3h/3s! Jump in any suit is natural and invites game.
Here it invites game in the known major
Partner should pass if min

Note1: In competition, if the Astro overcall is doubled, responder may:
(a) Pass to show at least 4 cards in the suit doubled
(b) Make a normal response
Note2: If Opp2 bids over the Astro overcall, the Astro responses have the same meanings as far as possible.

Options Open to the Astro Bidder
PassIndicates that 2nd suit is the relay suit
2 x known
Shows 5+ & indicates that the relay suit was not the 2nd suit (If this can't be
tolerated by responder he may bid 2NT forcing the Astro bidder to bid his 2nd suit)
3 x suit5+ in the 2nd suit (If Astro bidder's 3 is a raise or jump bid it is inviting to game)
2 x other
Shows exactly 3 of the other major in case responder has 4/5
(if not responder should bid 2NT asking for Astro bidder's minor)

Astro can (although rare) be used over an opening 2NT (and Gambling 3NT) by the opponents, with extreme distribution and favourable vulnerability, to describe both 1 and 2 suited hands. The principles of Astro above should still apply in both direct and balancing seats. For example:

2NT3C!hearts+minor:Lacking 3 hearts partner bids 3D! (relay)
3D!spades + another suit
Any other suit bid!Natural
3NT!Both minors

goto Index

Bergen Raises ( ! )

Bergen Raises apply when partner (playing 5-card majors) opens 1 of a major. The theory is that you want to bid to the level of the combined length of your trump suit, according to "The Law of Total Tricks". ie., with 4-card support + partners 5 = 9 tricks = 3 level. With a weak hand and 4 trumps you can jump to the 3 level (pre-empt)

Note:This table of examples assumes a basic system of 2/1
1H/1S2H/2S7-10 Points with 3 trumps (constructive raise)
1H/1S3H/3S!0-6 Points with 4 trumps
1H/1S1NT!6-12 Points less than 4 trumps, good other major/other suit (forcing)
(If responder has good 10-12 and 3 trumps,he rebids 3 of opener's suit)
1H/1S2NT! J2NT, (forcing). If NOT playing J2NT =13+Points (invitational)
1H/1S3C!6-9 Points and 4 trumps
1H/1S3D!10-12 Points and 4 trumps (limit raise)
1H/1S4H/4S!0-6 Points and 5 trumps
1H2C/2D!Game Forcing
1S2H/2C/2D!Game Forcing

Note 1: Nowadays most use 3C! as the "limit" raise and 3D! to show 6-9, either way the minor raise is artificial and says nothing about the bid suit.

Note 2: A jump to 3 of the other major shows a hand worth a raise to game with singleton or void in side suit: if opener wishes to discover the short suit he bids in steps eg., 1H-3S!, opener bids 3NT! to ask about the singleton/void: responses are: 4C! or 4D! = singleton/void in bid suit: 4H! = singleton/void in spades. (Over 1S-3H!, 3S! would ask about the short suit and a 3NT! response would = single/void in clubs etc.)

Brozel ( ! )

A method of competing against an opponent's 1NT opening. A double is used to show a 1-suited hand. If partner does not wish to defend, he removes the double to 2C and the doubler can pass (with clubs) or bid his real suit.

The Overcalls of 1NT are:
1NT X! 1-suited hand
2C!clubs and hearts
2D!diamonds and hearts
2H!hearts and spades
2S!spades and a minor (pard may respond 2NT to locate minor)
2NT!clubs and diamonds
3C/3D/3H/3S!3-suited hand + void or singleton in bid suit.
(Note: Most players prefer to use this as a natural bid)

goto Index

Cappelletti! (Capp) (also known as Hamilton or Ham) ( ! )

Used versus opponent's opening of 1NT

The Overcalls of 1NT are:
1NTX!Strong hand (penalty oriented)
2C!1-suited hand Respond with 2D! (Pass only if
you have a good 6-card club suit).
Partner can pass with diamonds or correct to his suit
2D!At least 5/4 in the majors
2H!hearts + a minor
2S!spades + a minor
2NT!Both minors

Possible responses to Cappelletti!

Capp O/Call North Shows
Strong Penalty
Pass Can stand the X
2 x Suit Weak takeout, can't stand the X
2c !
2d! Relay asks Pd. to bid his suit – Pd will pass if suit is diamonds or correct .If Pd has 6xd+4xc, he can show this by bidding 2NT! over the 2d! relay
Pass Poor hand with long decent clubs
2h-s! Good 5+-card major
2NT! 11-13HCP balanced hand (invitational)
Pass Poor major suit support with long good diamonds
2- Minimum response - major suit preference (NF)
3c! Poor major suit support with long good clubs
(force 1rnd)
Either a minor-suit hand or limit raise in 1 of the majors (if the latter the plan is to rebid 3h-s after pd has shown his better minor) (NF,invitational)
3h-s! Preemptive in accordance with " The Law of Total Tricks"*
Pass content to play in 2h
3h! Preemptive as * above
(force 1rnd)
Asks Pard to bid his minor or shows a limit raise, eg.1NT-2h!-P-2NT!-P-3d-All Pass or, 1NT-2h!-P-3d-3h(invitational, NF)**
Pass content to play in 2s
3s! Preemptive as * above
(force 1rnd)
Asks Pard to bid his minor or shows a limit raise as ** above but spades instead of hearts
both minors
3c-d! Preferred minor
3hs! A good major suit of your own and 11+HCP (more likely vs wk NT)(NF)
Pass/3NT! 11+HCP Balanced hand with good major stops (more likely vs wk NT)

Note 1: The above responses assume Opp2 passes. If Opp2 doubles the 2c overcall, then a redouble shows 7+HCP and support for all suits inviting the Overcaller to compete at the 3-level

Note 2: The Partnership may agree that in the "balancing position" a double would show a 4-card major+ a longer minor

Note 3: Capp may also be used over openings of 2/3NT (including Gambling 3NT)

Note 4: Further, the Partnership may also agree to use Capp after one partner has opened the bidding with 1c/1d and opponent has overcalled 1NT. In this case, Partner2's Capp overcalls at the 2-level would have the same meaning as above and would indicate a weak hand of 8 or less Points, since with a stronger hand he would double for penalty

goto Index

DONT! (Disturb Opponents NT)

The Overcalls of Opp's 1NT are:
East South Shows
1NT X! 1-suited hand (if weak respond with 2c!
partner can pass with clubs or correct to his suit) *
2c! clubs and a higher-ranking suit
2d! diamonds and a major
2h! both majors
2s! spades and may be weak
Note: A response of 2NT! by North is forcing - see below

Possible Responses to DON’T Overcalls:
West North South Response Options assuming East Passes
1NT X! 2c! (artificial) asks Pard to bid his suit (see * above)
If you have a v good suit of your own you can bid it
If you have a balanced hand with 14+HCP you can pass for penalty
2c! Pass is you have 3+c
Bid 2d! (artificial) asks Pd to bid the other suit (if suit is d pd will pass)
2d! Pass if you have 3+d
Bid 2h! (artificial) asks Pd to bid the other suit (if suit is h pd will pass)
2h! Pass with hearts or adjust to spades
2s! Pass
Raise if you have a strong hand and at least 2xs. (Remember Pd may be weak)

Further 3-level bids by DONT overcaller after 2NT! (14+HCP) response:
West North South North North's possible responses
1NT 2c! 2NT!
3c! Bad hand with clubs and unknown other suit
3d! Good hand with clubs and diamonds
3h! Good hand with clubs and hearts
3s! Good hand with clubs and spades
2d! 2NT!
3c! Bad hand with diamonds and hearts
3d! Bad hand with diamonds and spades
3h! Good hand with diamonds and hearts
3s! Good hand with diamonds and spades
2h! 2NT!
3c! Bad hand with better hearts than spades
3d! Bad hand with better spades than hearts
3h! Good hand with better hearts than spades
3s! Good hand with better spades than hearts

If DONT overcall is doubled, your possible responses are:
Pass Indicates tolerance of bid suit
XX Asks for Partner's 2nd suit
New Suit Natural, non-forcing
If DONT overcall is in turn overcalled (2of a suit) your possible responses are:
Pass Natural, non-forcing
X Asks for Partner's 2nd suit
New Suit Natural, non-forcing

Another use of DONT is when your side opens 1NT and Opp1 doubles; a rescue bid may be necessary, especially if playing weak NT

North Opp1 South Shows
1NT X XX! 1-suited hand (if wk respond with 2c!
Pd can pass with clubs or correct to his suit)
2c! clubs and another suit
2d! diamonds and a major
2h! Both majors
2s! spades

Drury ( ! )

Used for reponding to 3rd/4th seat major suit opening bids. A response of 2C! is 100% forcing. (Drury, and all its variations, is off if the 1 of a major is overcalled). Opener continues as follows:

Call2D!Artificial. Sub-minimum opener
Rebid of suit!Shows full opening hand

Reverse Drury (more commonly used) ( ! )

An improved version of Drury that "reverses" the meanings of opener's rebids. RDrury is an effective way to gauge the strength of partner's 3rd/4th seat 1 of a major opener. 2C! by responder shows 10-12 points with at least 3 card support for the bid suit.

1-2!2!Artificial, showing full opening hand
2-!Rebid of suit=subminimum hand, responder should pass
12!2!At least 5/4 spades/hearts, does not promise opening strength.
Responder can pass with 4x or return opener to spades
12!3-!Good 5 card minor.
Does promise opening strength. (forcing)

Note: If responder really wants to show a long good minor he needs to bid 3/ over 1/

Two Way Rdrury ( ! ) (Recommended)

Show a limit raise with three-card trump support for partner’s major suit opener by bidding 2! and four-card support with 2! Responses are the same as for RDrury above except after 2! you lose the “2! artificial full opening hand”. A clear advantage of 2-way RDrury is that opener can now identify the combined trump fit and that extra trump may be invaluable in partner's decision to bid game. 2-way RDrury allows responder, a passed hand, to tell partner that he has a limit raise with either 3 or 4-card support for Opener’s major suit opener. This form of Drury is highly recommended since opener is made aware of the combined trump total, in keeping with the “Law of Total Tricks”.

Flannery ( ! )

Instead of a weak 2D, an opening bid of 2D! is used to show 5 hearts and 4 spades and 11-15HCP. Responder may:

  1. Sign off in 2 of a major
  2. Jump to 3 of a major to invite game
  3. Bid 2NT as a forcing enquiry
Over 2NT Response, Opener Rebids in the Following Manner:
2NT! 3C/3D!3 cards in bid minor
3H!Minimum hand with 2/2 in the minors
3S!Maximum hand with 2/2 in the minors
3NT!Max hand with 2/2 in the minors + an honour in both minors
4C/4D!4 cards in the bid minor

Note: 2H is sometimes used instead of 2D (reserving 2D for some other purpose) - the responses are the same, except that responder passes to sign off in hearts

goto Index

Gambling 3NT ( ! )

1. 10-12HCP and a 7-card solid minor, no void or small singleton, open 3NT! (The hand must have no outside Ace or King). If responder has stops in the other 3 suits and no minor void (and no slam interest), he can pass. If he does not have the required stops and entry, he must bid 4C which opener can adjust to 4D if necessary.

2. Acol 3NT Opening (Recommended)
16-21HCP, a solid or semi-solid minor suit of at least 6 (usually 7) cards, and outside stops in at least 2 (often all 3) suits, no void or small singleton
Note: Responder must never rescue partner: if slam is out of the question, responder should pass.

Inverted Minors ( ! ) (invm)

A single minor raise is forcing and a jump minor raise is weak, thus "inverting" the standard meaning of the two bids. When responder has a weak minor raise (eg. 1D-2D) he is unlikely to "buy" the contract so he may as well bid 3. Conversely if responder has a good minor raise, he wants to keep the bidding as low as possible to allow careful exploration for game, or slam. No hand is too strong for a single minor raise. For example:

Responses over an Opening of 1 of a minor
1C/1D1NT6-10HCP balanced hand.Denies 4-card major.
Does not deny 4 of bid minor (NF)
1C/1D2C/2D!Min 10 Points (no upper limit) and 4+trumps,
denies 4-card major (forcing)
1C/1D3C/3D!Weak hand with 5 trumps or 4 good trumps

After the single minor raise, opener must bid again, (except if responder is a passed hand, or if opener's RHO intervenes with a bid or a double).

Opener's Possible Rebids
1C/1D2C/2D! 2NT!Min response suggests NT as final contract
3C/3D!Min response hand unsuitable for NT
2H/2S!Extra strength, 4+ of the bid minor + 3/4-card major
3NT!18-19HCP (if playing 15-17NT), balanced hand

After a single minor raise responder is compelled to bid again only if opener rebids in a new suit. Otherwise, responder has the option of passing if he feels the proper contract has been reached.

Responder's Possible Rebids
NorthSouth South's Rebid Shows
1C/1D2C/2D!Natural showing 2D raise as minimum
1C/1D2C/2D!Minimum single raise (unsuitable for NT)
1C/1D2C/2D!Strength in the other minor: may help to enable 3NT
1C/1D2C/2D!3 good hearts/spades (South denied 4 with the single minor raise)
1C/1D2C/2D!Stops in the 2 unbid suits

After responder's rebid, any further bidding is governed by the following principle: "After a single minor raise, if either partner returns to 3 or 4 of the agreed minor or 2NT, this is not forcing (except if either partner has bid 3NT prior to a return to 4 of the minor) and indicates minimum values for his previous bidding. Hence, any other bid that does not complete game is forcing.". In competition, the forcing single minor raise is "on" after a single suit overcall or t/oX

Jacoby Transfer to minors (J4xf) ( ! )

Use if responder has a long minor, less than 8HCP, limited entry making a NT contract undesirable.

1. The simple SAYC method:
After a 1NT opener, a 2S! response is a transfer to 3C, which can be passed with clubs or responder can rebid 3D if his suit is diamonds.

2. The better method which keeps Opener as declarer:
After a 1NT opener, 2! is a transfer to clubs and a 2NT! call is a transfer to diamonds

Note 1: Jacoby Transfer to minors is "off" altogether if the 1NT opening is overcalled.
Note 2: Although this is an SA-YC treatment, another way is to use 2 to Xfer to Clubs and 2NT to Xfer to Diamonds thereby keeping the contract in the strong hand.

Landy and Revised Landy (rlandy)( ! )

A simple defense over opponent's 1NT opener. An overcall of 2C! is artificial and asks for takeout in either of the majors. All other overcalls are natural, unless you use Revised Landy which additionally uses 2D! to show both minors.

Laventhal Discards (Lav)

Discard of a low card of either remaining suit (ie. excluding trumps), asks for the lower suit
Example: If, say, hearts are trumps and you are discarding on clubs, then a low spade or diamond asks for a diamond.

Discard of a high card of either remaining suit, asks for the higher suit
Example: If, say, diamonds are trumps and you are discarding on spades, then a high heart or club asks for a heart

goto Index

Lebensohl (Leb) ( ! )

A method of contending with the opposition suit overcall of partner's 1NT opening bid. Essentially it involves an artificial response of 2NT. which demands that opener bids 3C! as a "relay" bid. Responder may then pass (with clubs) or sign off in his real suit. After a 2-level overcall by the opponents, a response of 3 of a new suit is natural and forcing, e.g., 1NT-(2d)-3c! (This also applies if it is a jump bid over opp's 2-level overcall: e.g. 1NT-(2D)-3H!).

If responder, after the Lebensohl 2NT bid, bids a suit that is higher ranking than overcaller's suit, it is invitational to game e.g., 1NT-(2d)-2NT!-(P)-3c!-(P)-3h!). The logic behind this is that if the responder had wished to sign off, he could have bid two immediately after the overcall, which would be weak, just as in standard bidding (e.g., 1NT-(2d)-2h).

A common problem after an overcall of the 1NT opening is determining whether a stopper is held in the opponent's suit. 3NT is often reached with each partner hoping the other has a stopper, but in fact neither has. This problem can be solved through another application of the Lebensohl convention. Here's how (assume West passes):

e.g.NorthEastSouth South's Rebid Shows
A1NT2H2NT!Confirms a heart stop - partner should pass
B1NT2H2NT!Cuebid is Stayman showing 4 spades and confirms a heart stop
C1NT2H3NT!Denies heart stop. Partner must have a heart stop to Pass
D1NT2H3H!Denies heart stop but shows 4 spades.
Partner must have a heart stop to bid 3NT

Memory Aid: "DD" = "Direct Denies"

After a 2-suited overcall (eg. when opps are using conventions such as Brozel, Astro and Landy) and the overcall is artificial, it is still possible to employ Lebensohl, but with certain modifications as follows:

1. After a 2-suited artificial overcall of 1NT opening, the suit bid is still an "unbid" suit.
2. The agreements re the stop in opp's suit (see above) are "off"
3. After a 2-level artificial overcall, a double is for penalty but the doubler does not promise specific values in the artifical suit but defensive strength (approx 7+HCP) and usually suggests length in one or both of the opp's suits.

Note : After a natural 3-level suit overcall a double is for takeout

A further application of the Lebensohl convention is used after partner has made a takeout double of opponent's weak 2-bid opener. A response of 2NT! (if you are weak and have a long suit) requires the doubler to bid 3C! (unless he is v strong and can pass or bid 3NT), then you may pass (with clubs) or sign off in your suit.

EastSouthWestNorthNorth's Rebid Shows
2HXPass2NT!Less than 7HCP with
5+cards in the bid suit
Pass3C! (relay)Pass (with clubs)/3D!

Note 1: The failure to engage the Lebensohl 2NT bid gives a constructive meaning to 3-level suit responses to partner's takeout double
Note 2: If the suit bid at the 3 level, after engaging the Leb 2NT is a higher ranking suit than the opp suit, then it is invitational, e.g., 2D-X-2N!-3C!-P-3H!.

goto Index

Lightner Double

A form of lead-directing double made over a voluntarily bid slam contract. Its purpose is to request an unusual lead, never a suit bid by your own side. In the majority of cases the Lightner Double is based on a void, often in one of the opponents' suits, usually in a side-suit bid by dummy.

Note: The Lightner Double only applies against voluntarily bid slams so the double of an opponent's sacrifice bid is not lead-directing but penalty.

Minor Suit Stayman (mss) ( ! )

Over partner's 1NT opener, 2S! shows at least 5/4 in the minors, denies a 4-card major and shows game interest. If the 1NT opener responds 3C! or 3D!, it shows a minimum for his NT and 4 cards in the minor bid.

Note 1: MSS (like Jacoby Transfers) is "off" altogether if the 1NT opening is overcalled. Also over openers of 2NT and 3NT.

Note 2: The use of MSS over a 2 or 3NT opener always shows slam interest. If a minor suit has been agreed, then a later bid of 4NT is Blackwood

Note 3: This simple form of MSS is not recommended since it eliminates the use of (MST which combines both Jacoby Transfers to minors and minor Suit Stayman)

Minor Suit Transfer Bids ( ! )

Recommended treatment whereby Jacoby Xfers to minors and MSS are used as a combined convention. The Minor Suit Transfer Bid must always show a "one-suited" hand, since all "two-suited" hands are adequately catered for with the use of Stayman, Jxfers to majors, or MSS. MST uses 2NT! as the transfer to clubs and 3C! as the transfer to diamonds.

Example A
No.NorthSouthSouth's Rebid Shows
1.1NT2NT!At least 5 (usually 6) clubs and a "bust"
2.1NT3C!At least 5 (usually 6) diamonds and a "bust"

Example B: further bidding by the Xfer bidder
No.NorthSouthSouth's Rebid Shows
1.1NT2NT/3C!Singleton or void in the "new" suit, at least 6 of the known minor.
Game force, suggests slam interest
2.1NT2NT/3C!No singleton or void, Game Force, possible slam interest.
Opener should pass if min with min support in the known minor
3.1NT2NT/3C!6+ of the known minor. highly distributional,
Game invitational. Opener should pass or continue to 5C/5D
4.1NT2NT/3C!This is quantitative not Blackwood but South has
shown 5+ of the known minor
5.1NT2NT/3C!Signing off in the known minor.
highly distributional, very few HCP

Since 2NT is used as a Transfer, Responder must use Stayman to invite to game in NT if he has a balanced hand and 8/9 HCP. This works as follows:

No.NorthSouthSouth's Rebid Shows
1.1NT2C!8+HCP may/may not have a 4-card major - invitational to 3NT
2.1NT2C!8+HCP, denies a 4-card major and invites to game in 3NT
3.1NT2C!8+HCP with exactly 4 hearts - invites to game in 3NT or 4H
4.1NT2C!"check-back Stayman" (in case opener has a 4-card s suit as well as 4xh)
Force 1 rnd, 8+HCP, denies 4xh but shows exactly 4xs
- opener now rebids logically

Note 1: Minor-Suit Xfer Bids may only be used after a 1NT opening bid and are "off" if the 1NT opener is overcalled or doubled.

Note 2: If the Minor-Suit Xfer Bid is overcalled or doubled, opener may:

  1. Bid with a good fit for responder's minor
  2. X for penalty
  3. Pass
Responder's rebids will have their usual meanings.

Note 3: If opener bypasses the Xfer (rare) and rebids 3NT, it would indicate a super-fit in responder's known minor and an expectancy of making 3NT despite partner's weakness. After such a bypass, responder is in charge of the bidding since his weakness/strength are unknown to the opener. He may

  1. Pass
  2. Rebid his suit (usually a sign off)
  3. Cuebid a new suit if he has slam interest
  4. Bid 4NT to invite slam in NT

Note 4: If as responder you have 7-10HCP and a 6-card minor suit a direct raise to 3NT is probably the best bid since any attempt to employ Minor-Suit Xfer Bids to further describe your hand would decrease your chances of succeeding in the better contract of 3NT.

Note 5: An addition to Minor-Suit Xfer Bids is the use of 3D/3H/3S! to show a 3-suited hand with a singleton or void in the suit bid (Splinter Response). This would be game forcing and would show slam interest. If the shortage is in clubs, then use Stayman and bid normally. Splinter Responses are "off" after interference by the opposition

goto Index

New Minor Forcing (NMF) ( ! )

The use of a bid in an unbid minor suit by responder as an artificial convenient forcing bid after a 1NT rebid by the opening bidder. Much like "4th Suit Forcing (4sf)". It promises about 11+HCP and is most frequently used when responder has a 5-card major suit as a means of enquiring about 3-card support. With a choice of "new minor" bid the longer and stronger to suggest a stopper.

NMF is also effective when responder has 5/4 spades/hearts (after a minor-suit opening). It asks opener for a 4-card heart suit, as well as for 3-card spade support.

NMF may also be used as a temporising bid when responder wishes to invite game in his own suit, or in opener's suit. This is the only means of describing such hands of invitational strength, assuming that responder's 2nd-round jump bids are forcing.

After the NMF forcing bid, opener must further describe his distribution, in order to help responder locate the best contract. In most cases, opener may also indicate whether he holds minimum or maximum strength for his 1NT rebid.

Note: In competition if either opponent has bid, the NMF convention is "off": responder's rebid in a new minor after opener's 1NT shows a real suit and is not forcing.

3rd Round Bids Available to Opener
PriorityNorthSouth North's 3rd Rnd bid Shows
11C1SShows 4 hearts by bidding the unbid major.
Does not deny 3xspades
21C1HShow 3 hearts and min/max 1NT rebid
31H1SDenies 3 spades, shows club stop
and min/max 1NT rebid
41H1SDenies 3 spades, no diamond stop
and min 1NT rebid
51D1HDenies 3 hearts no spade stop,
does not agree clubs but shows 4 of them

Responder's 3rd Round Available Bids
PassIf opener's 3rd round bid is the logical contract
Any Minimum BidNatural (agreeing suit/NT) (if below game invitational)
Any Jump BidNatural (agreeing suit) (if below game forcing)
After 2H 3rd rnd bid by pard
(showing 4xH), with 5xS
and less than 4xH, bid 2S
Asks if pard has 3 spades
(forcing for 1 rnd)

If the NMF convention is adopted, responder must know the proper methods of describing 2-suited hands (at least 5/5 shape) after opener's 1NT rebid:

  1. With a weak 2-suiter, responder may (a) rebid a reasonably good 5-card major or (b) pass. Do not bid a new minor suit. (With 5/5 majors, responder is able to bid both suits).

  2. With an invitational 2-suiter, responder should bid a new minor, even when holding both majors. Then on the next round, responder may bid his 2nd suit (unless opener's 3rd bid has indicated an obvious final contract).

  3. With a game-forcing 2-suiter, responder should jump in his 2nd suit.

goto Index

Odd/Even Discards (also known as Roman Discards)

  1. An odd discard encourages that suit.

  2. A low even discard discourages that suit and asks for the lower of the remaining side suits (discount trumps)

  3. A high even discard discourages that suit and asks for the higher of the remaining side suits (discount trumps).

Note 1: Usually applies on first discard only
Note 2: Can be extended to encourage/discourage lead, eg., play odd to encourage continuation or hi/lo even to discourage continuation and ask for hi/lo of the side suits.

Ogust ( ! )

A method of rebidding after a forcing 2NT! response to a weak 2 bid. The weak 2 bidder decribes both the strength of his hand and the number of top honours in the long suit (top honours are A, K, & Q. Do not count the Jack).

Responses are as follows
3C!Min hand with 1 top honour in suit
3D!Min hand with 2 top honours in suit
3H!Max hand with 1 top honour in suit
3S!Max hand with 2 top honours in suit
3NT!Max hand with 3 top honours in suit

Memory Aid: "minors are minimum, 1-2-1-2-3" where the numbers refer to the top honours held for each of the 5 possible replies.

Note: Where opener is between minimum (6HCP) and maximum (10/11HCP), treat

7-9HCP + 6-7 losers as maximum
7-9HCP + 8+ losers as minimum

Losers: There are 3 possible losers in each suit - AKQ missing . However an unsupported Q counts as half a loser and a small singleton would only count as 1 loser, a small dblton as 2 losers, so a hand of, say, AJxxxx, xx, xx, Qxx, would have 8 and a half losers but if you change the Qxx to QJx the hand would have 8 losers (both would be minimum with one top honour=3c!)

goto Index

Puppet Stayman ( ! )

A variation of Stayman where the 2! response to partner's 1NT opener, forces opener to rebid 2! if he has no 5-card major.

Responder continues as follows:

  1. 2! shows a 4-card spade suit
  2. 2! shows a 4-card heart suit
  3. 2NT! shows both 4-card majors and invitational strength
  4. 3! shows 4 hearts and 4 or 5 spades, game force
  5. 3! shows 4 spades and 5 hearts, game force
  6. 3NT! no 4-card major and game going strength
The advantage of this treatment is that it allows opener to be declarer without divulging any information about his hand. A similar treatment can be used over 2NT openers.

Roman Key Card Blackwood (RKC)

The answers to RKC include the King of trumps as an extra control card (ie. 5 control cards: 4 Aces and King of trumps). There are 2 main versions played on OKbridge, 0314/3014 and 1430.

RKC 0314/3014 asking for ControlsRKC 1430 asking for Controls
4NT 5C0 or 3 controls1 or 4 controls
5D1 or 4 controls3 or 0 controls
5H2 or 5 controls without Q Trumps2 or 5 controls without Q Trumps
5S2 or 5 controls with Q Trumps2 or 5 controls with Q Trumps

After the reply to 4NT, 5 of the trump suit is a signoff. If the reply is 5 or 5, the cheapest relay asks for the trump Queen, and the next cheapest relay is used to ask for Kings. If the reply is 5 (denying the trump Queen) or 5 (showing the trump Queen), then the cheapest relay is used to ask for side suit Kings.

Note 1 (with patnership understanding):

  1. A 5NT response to 4NT can show an 0 or 2 controls with a working void
  2. 6 of any suit below the trump suit can show 1 or 3 controls with void in the bid suit
  3. 6 of the agreed trump suit can show 1 or 3 controls with a void in a higher ranking suit

Note 2:
  1. A 5NT rebid by the RKC bidder, when it is not a 1st or 2nd relay, asks for the cheapest King. With the club King, for example, responder would bid 6c.
  2. Many players expect that asking for the trump Queen or for Kings is a grand slam try that guarantees that all keycards are held by the partnership. If so, then either partner is entitled to go to the 7 level when their unshown holdings are judged to be "the right stuff".
  3. The relays re Q of trumps and asking re Kings are based on "agreed trump suit" - if no trump suit has been agreed (eg., 1H-P-1S-P-4NT), you should assume the last bid suit is the trump suit, ie., spades
  4. Relays exclude the agreed trump suit which would be used to signoff.
  5. If an Ace/Control is missing be aware that to ask about Kings may take you over 6 of the agreed suit.
  6. Some players show Zero Kings by bidding 6 of the agreed suit and specific Kings by bidding the cheapest suit in which a King is held. Some players bid 5NT to show a King in a suit above the trump suit. If you are in any doubt as to what any of the replies mean, ask the RKC bidder.

RKC Asking for Side Suit Kings & Q of Trumps
(RKC ? Aces)
(RKC ? Aces Reply)
Trump Suit
? trump Q
5HNo trump Q
5STrump Q
? Kings
? trump Q
5SNo trump Q
5NTTrump Q
? Kings
? trump Q
5HNo trump Q
5STrump Q
? Kings
? trump Q
5HNo trump Q
5STrump Q
? Kings
4NT5Dclubs or
? trump Q
5SNo trump Q
5NTTrump Q
? Kings
? trump Q
5NTNo trump Q
6CTrump Q
? Kings
? trump Q
5SNo trump Q
5NTTrump Q
? Kings
or hearts
? Kings
? Kings
? Kings

goto Index

Smolen Transfer Bids (Smolen) ( ! )

An adjunct to Stayman and Jacoby Transfers, where, after a 2 reply to Stayman, responder holding 5/4 or 6/4 in the majors, jumps to 3 of his 4-card major, allowing opener to become declarer in responder's long major.

Opener Responder Responder Shows
5 spades and 4 hearts
5 hearts and 4 spades

Opener can raise responder's long major with 3 trumps or rebid 3NT with only 2. In the latter case, with 6 of his long major, responder can bid 4 of the suit immediately below his 6-card major as a further transfer.

SequenceResponderResponder Shows
1NT-2-2-3!-3NT4!6 spades and 4 hearts
1NT-2-2-3!-3NT4!6 hearts and 4 spades

Splinters ( ! )

The use of an unusual jump bid to show a singleton or void in the suit bid and excellent trump support for partner's last bid suit. This is forcing to game and shows slam interest.

1H3S!13-16HCP, agrees hearts, singleton or void spade (forcing)
With no slam interest partner may sign off in 4H
1H/1S4C/4D!As above but with club/diamond void or singleton
1S4H!As above but with heart void or singleton
Note: Some players prefer that any game call is to play and not a splinter

Note 1: In competition after opponent's takeout double, splinter bids are still "on"

Note 2: In non-competitive auctions, Splinter bids may be extended to areas of rebidding, by both opener and responder. In this respect the "rule of thumb" is if a particular new-suit bid would be forcing, then one level higher in that same suit is a splinter bid.

Texas Transfers ( ! )

Jump responses of 4/4 over opener of 1NT/2NT to transfer to 4/4 when responder wants to be in game but has no slam interest


The idea behind this convention is similar to that behind Jacoby Transfers - it is better for opener to be declarer, since his high cards won't be exposed to the defenders.

Using both transfer conventions, responding to both 1NT and 2NT, Root/Pavlicek recommend the following understandings:

  1. Texas, then pass is signoff in game, therefore:
  2. Jacoby, then raise to game is mild slam try (not forcing but opener is invited to bid again with maximum).
  3. Jacoby, then 4NT is defined as quantitative slam invitation, therefore:
  4. Texas, then 4NT is Blackwood.
OpenerResponderOpenerResponderUsing both JXfer and Texas, Shows
1NT2-!2-4-Suggests slam interest
2-!2-4NTQuantitative slam invitation
4-!4-PassSignoff in game, no slam interest
4-!4-4NTBlackwood, not quantitative

Texas Transfers are "on" in competition through 3

1NT2-34!Xfer to 4
24!Xfer to 4
34Natural, not an Xfer

Unusual Over Unusual ( ! )

A defence of Opponent's Unusual NT overcall of Opener's 1 of a major opening.

After a 2NT overcall of Opener's 1-, resonses of 3 and 3 are artificial showing hearts and spades respectively: e.g., If partner opened 1:

  1. 3! shows a heart suit with enough strength to force
  2. 3! shows a limit raise (or better) in spades
  3. 3! shows a heart suit but is not forcing
  4. 3! shows a spade fit, but less than a limit raise
Voluntary Bid of Five in a major Suit

A voluntary bid of five in an agreed major suit, is a slam invitation which is also a form of "asking bid". It asks partner to proceed to slam if he has 1st or 2nd round control of the enemy suit or, if your side has bid all but one suit, then 1st or 2nd round control in the unbid suit.

The Responses to Control Showing Enquiry
re Enemy Suit or Unbid Suit are:
PassNo controls in specified suit (2 quick losers)
Bid 6 1st round control (eg. Ax)
Bid 6with 2nd round control (eg.singleton)
5NT (rare)Guarded King giving partner the option of 6NT

Note: If opps have bid a suit and there is also an unbid suit, a cuebid of the unbid suit shows 1st round control in both.

When the above is illogical, eg. 1S-5S or if there is no unbid suit and no enemy bid, the voluntary bid of 5 of the agreed trump suit asks about the trump quality.

Responses to Trump Suit Enquiry are:
Call PassIf you feel there are 2 trump losers
6If only 1 trump loser
7If trumps are solid

Note 1: Since there is no logical reason to jump to 5 of a major suit, a voluntary such bid must be a slam try, you should be able to recognise it when used.

Note 2: If partner has pre-empted in a competitive auction, a raise to 5 of his major is not a slam try, even if voluntary. This is an "advance sacrifice".

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