Sharples is the convention to show power in the minor suits. It is a bid of 4♣ or 4♦ in answer to the Stayman 2♦ negative. It is like the Weissberger response but differs in one important respect. It shows an interest in minors not majors.
The typical Sharples hand will hold one or two 4-card minors, and perhaps even a 4-card major.
By convention, if he has two 4-card minors South bids ♣s first. Bidding ♦s first would deny a ♣ holding.
South as responder
♠ K Q 9 6
♦ A Q 8 5
♣ K J 9 4
North South Responder
1NT 2♣ Stayman
2♦ 4♣ Sharples
It is a strong convention, usually showing 16+ points in responder’s hand; it needs to be strong to contemplate Game in a minor, which requires the five level. On minimum points North will need 16 points (including distributional points) from South to provide the necessary 29 points required for Game. North promised a minimum 12 points in his opening bid of 1NT but since the partnership is transferring to a suit contract he is likely to have at least one more point for distribution.
South’s response of 4♣s, signalling Sharples, is showing a 4-card ♣ suit, although he may also have a 4-card ♦ suit. With 4-card support, North will raise him to Game at 5♣s.
In the next bidding sequence South is showing he has a 4-card ♦ suit, which denies a biddable ♣ suit. Here, North does not raise to 5♦ s, preferring a 4NT response as a negative bid to show he does not hold four cards in ♦ s. If North had a stronger hand, he might well have replied 5NT as a strong negative.
|Conventions against 1NT opener – summary|
|1] In response to 1NT opening bid|
|Opener||Response||Convention||Message from responder|
|1NT||2♣||Stayman||Please bid 4-card major if you have one|
|1NT||2♦ /2♥||Jacoby||Please transfer to 2♥/2♠|
|1NT||2♠/3♣||Extended Jacoby||Please transfer to 3♠/4♣|
|1NT||4♦ /4♥||Texas||Please transfer to 4♥/4♠|
|1NT||4♣||Gerber||Asking for aces|
|2] In response to a negative 2♦ rebid from opener in response to 2♣ Stayman:|
|2♦||3♠/3♥||Smolen||Please bid your 3-card major|
|2♦||3♦||Weissberger||I am interested in the major suits|
|2♦||4♣/4♦||Sharples||I am interested in the minor suits|
When we have covered stronger hands in later chapters (there are more conventions to come!) this table will appear in extended form in a future chapter.
Rule No 11 – Some conventions do not work together. It is not a case of the more the merrier—quite the reverse! Too many conventions will lead to confusion and misinformation. Conventions are for partnership agreement. Use only those that work for you.
By Nigel Benetton – based on the UK Acol Bridge Bidding System
Last updated: Monday, 19 April 2021