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Andrew’s least favourite conventions (one)

I have made a list of my ten favourite conventions – bids that do not necessarily mean what they appear and require prior partnership agreement. Each week I will disclose and outline one of them.

This week and next week, however, I would like to divulge my two least favourite conventions. My first is Gerber (in which a bid of 4 ♣ asks for aces) – the bid of 4 ♣ has far better uses. This week’s auction derailed because of a Gerber misunderstanding.

South Deals
N-S Vul
A 5 4
6 4
8 6 5
A Q J 10 8
7 3 2
Q 10 2
K J 9 4 2
5 3
N
W   E
S
9 6
K 9 8 3
Q 10 7 3
7 6 4
 
K Q J 10 8
A J 7 5
A
K 9 2
West North East South
      1 ♠
Pass 2 ♣ Pass 3 
Pass 3 ♠ Pass 4 ♣
Pass 4 ♠1 Pass Pass
Pass
  1. unsure of what to bid

Before we comment on the bidding, let us see what North-South could have made. If ♠s are trumps, they can make 12 tricks – five trumps,  A,  A and five ♣s. And if ♣s are trumps, by trumping the second round of s in the South hand, they can make all 13 tricks. What went wrong?
The answer is that North thought that South’s 4 ♣ bid was Gerber – his 4 ♠ response showed two aces. South, on the other hand, thought 4 ♣ was natural, showing secondary ♣ support and a slammy hand. If the partnership knew that they were not playing Gerber, then North would have agreed with South’s interpretation. With his super-fitting hand, he would have bid 4 NT “Blackwood” to ask for aces, then 5 NT to ask for kings, then 7 ♣! As it was, South thought that North was signing off in 4 ♠ and passed. What a missed opportunity!

ANDREW’S LEAST FAVOURITE CONVENTIONS: (1) Gerber

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