Judy Kay-Wolff

BRIDGE CONVENTIONS (then and now)

     When I first learned to play bridge (or so I thought) back in ancient times .. Stayman, Blackwood and Gerber loomed before me.   I gradually cluttered my convention card with countless more, of necessity.   Today, from what I read, the assortment is contained in a menagerie with variations too lengthy to count.   I have to admit I am ultra spoiled playing with Bobby as he keeps the do-dads to a minimum .. thus less likely for me to forget!  And, bear if mind, as one ages, sometimes it take a toll on ones memory .. not necessarily one’s mind.   I can personally attest to that.

     If forced to specify my favorite three most successful conventions .. it   would not take long to produce:   Weak NT (NV only); Two-Way Stayman (casting transfers aside);  and Flannery.  We play several others (including Wolff Signoff, of course) .. but few enough to seriously hinder my retention span.  Over six decades, I found the fewer time-consuming conventions I employed, the more time I could devote to the other vital aspects of the game .. which are ever so demanding.

     Out of curiosity, what are your favorite three .. and why? 


7 Comments

Bill CubleyDecember 29th, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Stayman, Takeout Double, Negative Double are all basic to 5 card majors dating back 50-60 years. Having a firm grasp of the basics is how we decide to accept more complex methods.

I used to play just Standard and a partner on occasion would complain that he played 2/1 and did not know what to do. My reply was how do you play 2/1 without having learned standard bidding.

We grew from standard to 2/1, not the other way around. This is how we learned to properly bid after an opening bid and a response.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and to Bobby!

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 30th, 2017 at 5:08 am

Happy New Year to You and Yours, Bill.

I think conventions are most successful with regular partnerships with less opportunity for mixups and confusion. As far back as I can remember, I enjoyed long lasting twosomes which made life easier and bidding less of a hassle. I incurred a major and difficult transition when I switched from rigid KS (ala my beloved Edgar) to Bobby’s less stringent style .. and it took me a while to adjust to it. But, who was I to argue with Bobby Wolff! However, he did concede to playing Weak NT .. NV only .. and it does have its advantages.

Paul FlashenbergDecember 30th, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Jacoby transfers, as it allows many more sequences, as well as potentially protecting tenaces from the opening lead; splinter bids, which are invaluable for slam bidding; and Roman Keycard Blackwood, another invaluable slam bidding tool.

Interesting that you chose Flannery, as Mike Lawrence in his Judgment at Bridge II, listed Flannery as a convention not to play.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 31st, 2017 at 12:59 am

Hi Paul,

Nice to hear from you at this busy and festive time of the year. I, at one time, played Jacoby Transfer, but I am convinced at the two level, two Way Stayman has more to offer. 2C starts out (*) as non-forcing to game; 2D is game forcing and the majors are NF and natural. The biggest advantage is when you bid 2S, opponents must venture into the auction at the three level.

(*) I say ‘starts out as NFS,’ because you don’t want to get doubled for the lead with weak diamonds so you start with 2C, though partner plays it as NF to game, but you always have the final say.

And .. the reason I love Flannery is that we have the comfort of knowing partner’s specific suits and strength by his opening 2D call and after a 2NT reponse learn more about shape. Besides, 2D openers are ancient history.

WilliamDecember 31st, 2017 at 9:33 pm

How do you handle openings of 1NT by opponents?

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 31st, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Basically, in direct or sellout seat, 2C=Minors and 2D=majors. There are other ramifications, but I am running out to an appointment and will elaborate on much more later.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 1st, 2018 at 1:57 am

Hi again William,

I omitted a balance in sellout seat is different because you did not bid originally. Thus, a balancing double shows clubs. The rest is the same. It has worked for me and I like uncomplicated auctions!

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