Bridge Conventions

Conventions are important in any bridge bidding system. Even players learning the game soon come across the word “convention”. Agreed with partner they form a code to exchange information about card holdings without infringing the rules of bidding.

Few words are allowed in the bidding: the numbers one to seven, suit names, no trump, no bid, pass and double can be said, and little else.

There is, of course,  information behind natural bidding. Opening 1, for example, means I have 13-19 points and at least four hearts. If I bid them again then I have at least five hearts. Opening 1 no trump shows a balanced hand such as 4-3-3-3.

But once the bidding gets off the ground conventions soon come into play. In response to an opening bid of 1 no trump, a bid of 2s means 9-11 points and five cards in hearts. That’s natural. But what about 2♣s? Well, this is the Stayman convention and probably the most well-known of them all. Like many conventions you will come across, Stayman seeks to avoid playing a contract in no trumps. Responder is unbalanced and thinks the team should play with a suit as trumps. Remember, all he said was 2♣s, and yet these two words convey so much more. Responses to these conventional calls also convey coded information.

On the right of this page is a list of all the conventions referred to in this book, A Practical  Guide to Playing Bridge.

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By Nigel Benetton – based on the UK Acol Bridge Bidding System
Last updated: Tuesday, 11th May 2021