Congratulations! You have stumbled across my Bridge Blog, where I communicate with the world about my passion for the game of Contract Bridge. My name is Tor Hylbom, and I play at the Arcadia Bridge Center located at 333 N. Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia, California. I also play in tournaments when I have time. Effective communication is the key to success at Bridge, and the purpose of this blog is to facilitate communication with partners and potential partners about my preferred methods of bidding and play (and also the underlying reasons behind my preferences). I’m hopeful that writing this blog will help me organize my thoughts.
As a starting point, I use “Standard American” bidding with 15-17 point 1NT range and a 20-21 point 2NT range for opening. With a balanced hand and 18-19 points, I open a suit normally at the 1-level and jump to 2NT on the rebid. To the basic system, by default I include weak preemptive openings at the 2-level or higher. Opening 2♣ is forcing, and it shows a powerful hand. I also assume familiarity with standard Blackwood and Gerber. 4NT after partner’s NT opening is quantitative (invitational to slam). Gerber would be used to ask about aces after a NT opening by partner. 2NT after partner’s preemptive opening bid is forcing and asking about point range of the preempt. Standard takeout doubles by overcaller are assumed. Standard approach to discards and defensive signaling is assumed.
With a new partner, a good place to start regarding bidding is one of the following simple convention cards developed by the American Contract Bridge League: Fat-Free Card or Standard American Yellow Card, which comes with a system booklet. It would also be useful to go over various partnership agreements and understandings with the following checklist, by Mike Lawrence: Partnership Understandings.
In addition, I’m selectively comfortable with the “bells and whistles” (conventions) listed below, which would need to be discussed in advance and alerted in most cases:
2 over 1 Game Forcing modification to Standard American (forcing 1NT response)
Bergen Raises (or Reverse Bergen Raises)
Limit raises of major suits
Reverse Drury – An improved version of the Drury convention that reverses the meanings of opener’s bids. After the 2♣ response by a previously passed hand (artificial) to a 3rd- or 4th-seat major suit opening bid, opener continues in the following manner: 2♦ shows a full opening bid (artificial). 2 of the same major shows a sub-minimum opening bid. Any other rebid by opener is the same as would have been made after a limit raise (if you are playing limit raises). Responder only uses the convention with adequate strength and support for at least a 2-level response to an full opening bid.
Smolen (major transfer option after a negative response to Stayman)