Jarvis - Dubois Notes

Executive Summary

  • Inverted minors; off over interference. On by a passed hand with no interference.
  • Takeout doubles to 3♠.
  • Flannery 2♦
  • 2♥ bust over 2♣ opener
  • Direct cuebid (1x) 2x is Top and Another, not Michaels. 2N asks for the other suit.
  • Two-Way New Minor Forcing.
  • Fourth Suit Forcing to Game.
  • Unusual 2N
  • Sandwich 1N
  • Spiral (next step up inquiry after opener raises 1M to 2M).
  • Kokish Game Tries (next step up after 1M - 2M reverse try, 3-level bids show shortness).
  • General Defense to Two-Suited Bids (Unusual v. Unusual).
  • Lebensohl 2N after partner doubles their 2-level preempt.
  • Gambling 3N: solid 7 or 8 card minor, no outside A or K.
  • Ingberman 2N after opener’s reverse to show minimum.
  • 4♣ over 3N is Gerber if no suit has been agreed and at least one hand is still unlimited.
  • Carding is UDA and otherwise standard.
  • Leads are standard; top of nothing from small holdings in unbid suits.

Offensive Agreements

An exclamation point shows a bid that must be alerted. The alert text often follows as in “2N!(4 card raise, gf)”.

Style Choices

  • To avoid potential rebid problems, we sometimes open 1♦ with four diamonds and five clubs, but in general try to open the longer suit so as to not distort the shape of our hand.
  • Preempts are sound vul, light non-vul.
  • Two-suited bids are not mini-max style.

Major Raises

  • Jacoby promises at least 4 trumps. Off by a passed hand.
  • Jordan 2 NT after 1M by partner and a TO dbl by LHO shows 3-card support of partner’s M suit bid, invitational or better. Off by a passed hand.
  • By a passed hand, we use reverse Drury 2♣. Any reply other than 2M is a full opener. Over interference, Drury is off, and 2♣ is natural.
  • We use Kokish game tries, and the Spiral convention; see Convention Notes.
  • A bid of 3N after agreement on a major suit is an offer to play there, usually based on a flat hand with extra HCP above the minimum needed for game.

Special Doubles

  • Negative doubles through 4♥.

  • Support doubles / redoubles through 2♠.

  • Responsive doubles / maximal doubles through 4♥, including when their two suits are different such as (1♦) X (1♠) X. (Larry Cohen write-up “Doubles part 2”)

  • Takeout over preempts through 4♠; (4♠) 4N shows minors.

  • Equal-Level Conversion Doubles

    A takeout double of a major can lack three-card support in clubs if it has good support for diamonds, usually five cards. If partner responds in clubs, the doubler bids diamonds without showing extras. To show extras doubler would have to jump in diamonds.

When We Open 1N

State opening 1N as 14+-17 to allow upgrading good 14’s.

After opening 1NT:

  • 2♣ Stayman; Does not promise a 4-card major, due to 4-way transfers.
    • 1N - 2♣ - any - Pass shows a weak hand usually 4=4=4=1 or 4=4=5=0.
    • 1N - 2♣ - 2♥ - 2♠(forcing) shows 4 spades. Required with 4-way transfers to show that responder has spades but not hearts. Opener who does not have spades should bid 2N if he would not accept an invite. Anything else is game-forcing.
    • 1N - 2♣ - any - 2N!(may not have a four card major) invitational
    • 1N - 2♣ - 2♦ - 2♥ shows 4-4 in the majors, weak, pass or correct. (Garbage)
    • See below for special rules when responder is 5-4 in the majors.
  • 2♦! transfer to hearts
  • 2♥! transfer to spades
  • 2♠! transfer to clubs
  • 2N! transfer to diamonds
  • 3♣!(5-card major?) requires GF values and a three-card major.
    • Opener bids a five-card major if he has one; otherwise 3♦!, denying a five-card major. Next responder who has a four-card major “puppets” by bidding his three-card major; or lacking a four-card major, bids 3N. By this procedure the opener declares any major-suit fit.
  • 3♦! shows at least 5-5 in the minors.
  • 3♥! shows 5-5 majors, invitational.
  • 3♠! shows 5-5 majors, gf.
  • 3N is to play.
  • 4♣ is Gerber.
  • 4♦/♥ are Texas transfers.
  • 4♠ is not defined. (See however Namyats if you ever play that)
  • 4N is quantitative invite to 6N.


  • If 4-4 in the majors, invitational+, responder should use ordinary Stayman not 3♣.
  • After the minor transfer bids, opener rebids the “in-between” suit to show Qxx or better and suggest 3N. Responder bids his minor suit to decline.
  • Transfer to a minor and then bid above 3m other than 3N is a slam try in that minor. Such a bid is a cue bid.
  • After 1N - 2♣ - 2♦ with slam interest:
    • 4N is quantitative,
    • 4♣ is Gerber, asking for Aces.
  • After 1N - 2♣ - 2M with slam interest:
    • 3W (the other major) is a power raise. Suit is agreed. Partner should cue bid.
    • 4♣ is RKC in the suit bid. Suit is agreed.
    • 4N is quantitative.

Transfer Auctions

After a transfer, 4N is quantitative; 4♣ is Gerber (not RKC).

With a six-card major, transfer and bidding game is a mild slam try, since Texas was available with a minimal game-going hand. Cue bid to explore.

In the auction 1N - (P) - 2T(transfer to M), if the 2T bid is doubled for the lead, opener’s pass shows two cards in responder’s suit M, completing the transfer with 2M shows three-card support, while opener’s redouble shows at least five good cards in the transfer-bid suit T.

1N - (P) 2T(transf->M) - (X lead-directing in T)
 P - (P) XX

requests the transfer again, even though opener only has two cards in the suit M. If responder is weak this is what he will do. Otherwise interest will center on whether the partnership has stoppers in T.

Special Rules For 5-4 Majors

We have special rules for responding to 1N when 5-4 in the majors.

  • With 5♠ and 4♥:
    • Weak: transfer to the five card suit, spades, and pass.
    • Invitational: 2♣ - 2♦ - 2♠. (Must use Stayman; transfer to spades and then 3♥ is too high, since it is past 2N)
    • Game Forcing: 2♣ then if 2♦, bid 3♥! (Smolen)
  • With 4♠ and 5♥:
    • Weak: transfer to the five card suit, hearts, and pass.
    • Invitational: transfer to hearts and bid 2♠. (Cannot use Stayman as 2♣ - 2♦ - 2♥ is Garbage Stayman already)
    • Game Forcing: 2♣ then if 2♦, bid 3♠! (Smolen)

Interference Over Our 1N

  • Meckwell Escape over a penalty double of our 1N.
  • Systems on over any artificial bid or double that does not show a definite suit.
  • Systems on over a bid showing ♣s with or without an unknown second suit.
  • Lebensohl over a bid that shows ♦s, ♥s, or ♠s with or without an unknown second suit. A double of such a bid is penalty-oriented.
  • A transfer overcall is treated as if they had bid the suit transferred to.
  • If their bid shows two definite suits use the Unusual v. Unusual defense.

Slam Bidding

  • RKC 1430
  • We use Italian cue-bidding (first and second round controls below 4 of trump)
  • In response to an RKC action bid of 5N, bid lowest Kings.
  • 4♣ is Gerber over 1N or 2N.
  • 4♣ is Gerber over 3N unless both hands have been limited.

Defensive Agreements


  • Meckwell over their 1N opener. Details follow.
  • A cuebid of their first-bid suit is top and another.
  • Unusual 2N:
    • A jump-overcall of 2N shows the lower two unbid suits.
    • 2N over a 2-level preempt is not unusual.
    • 4N as first overcall on our side is unusual, e.g. (4♥) 4N(minors)
    • When 3N cannot be natural, it is unusual, as in (1♥) P (3♥) 3N. There cannot be enough points for that to be natural.
  • Mathe over a strong 1♣ or 2♣ (X=Majors, NT=minors). Bidder discretion advised.

When They Open 1N

Use Meckwell after opponents open a strong or weak 1NT, in either seat. Over a weak NT relax strength and shape requirements some.

After their 1N:

  • X shows a minor(5+), or both majors (4-4+)

    Partner bids 2♣(Relay), then doubler passes, corrects to 2♦, or bids 2♥ to show both majors

  • 2 Clubs - Clubs and a Major (5-4 min)

  • 2 Diamonds - Diamonds and a Major (5-4 min)

  • 2 Hearts shows long hearts (5+).

  • 2 Spades shows long spades (5+).

  • 2NT shows both Minors (5-5 minimum length)

If 6-4 usually treat it as single-suited.

In the auction (1N) P (P) ? it is usually right to make a Meckwell bid with good shape.

When They Overcall 1N

When they directly overcall a suit opener by us with 1N, having a range such as 15-18, then responder must double with any hand containing 9+/10 or more HCP. We will not let them play an hand below 2♠ undoubled.

As a corollary, any bid over the 1N at the two level shows 9 or fewer points.

Convention Notes

Flannery 2♦ Opener

The Flannery 2♦!(5 hearts, four spades, 11 to 15 HCP) opener covers a hand with five hearts and four spades and values insufficient to reverse on the second bid. Obviously, you lose the ability to make a weak 2♦ opener.

The responses are:

  • Pass can be made with a six card diamond suit and less than 10 HCP.
  • 2♥ and 2♠ are sign-offs
  • 2N! inquires about opener’s minor suits. Responses are:
    • 3♣ shows a 4=5=1=3 shape.
    • 3♦ shows a 4=5=3=1 shape.
    • 3♥ shows a 4=5=2=2 shape, minimum.
    • 3♠ shows a 4=5=2=2 shape, maximum.
    • 3N shows a 4=5=2=2 shape, both minors stopped.
    • 4♣ shows a 4=5=0=4 shape.
    • 4♦ shows a 4=5=4=0 shape.
  • 3♣ shows at least six clubs, to play.
  • 3♦ shows at least six diamonds, invitational
  • 3♥ and 3♠ are invitational.
  • 3N natural, signoff.
  • 4♣ and 4♦ are transfers to 4♥ and 4♠ respectively. These transfers are power raises, giving responder a chance to start slam bidding.

Note that opener’s rebid never shows more than 15 HCP, so a rebid that might show more than that indicates great playing strength.


If you open 1♥ then responder will assume you do not hold four spades, and therefore 1♥ - 1♠ shows five spades. Of course, opener might indeed have a bigger hand with four spades, as in 1♥ - 1N - 2♠.

Meckwell Escape

Meckwell Escape is used after we open 1 NT and there is a double for penalty by opps. If at any point in what follows, one of the opps bids, then we are off the hook.

After 1N (X), pretend the doubler is the one who opened 1N and use Meckwell. Pass (alert, forcing) takes the role of the Double showing a minor or both majors, and the now-available redouble shows responder thinks we can make 1N.

Other bids are the same as Meckwell. Our shape requirement may be only 4-4. With 4-3-3-3 shape, responder can either treat his four-card suit as a five-card suit, or he can treat his four-card suit and his best 3-card suit as a two-suiter. In these situations, pray that your opponents elect to introduce a suit of their own.

If it goes 1NT by us, Pass, Pass, Double, then opener should pass. Responder treats the bid as if made in direct seat.

If the double is left in, Responder makes any of the Meckwell bids or passes to sit for the double. If Responder redoubles, it says, partner pick your best suit and we can go up the line if necessary. Best is to hope the opps bid something.


Spiral applies when we open a minor, the responder bids a major, and the opener raises it. Opener usually has good values in the major and a ruffing value to raise with only three cards.

Spiral is initiated by the bid of the next strain up, 2♠ over hearts, and 2N over spades:


1♦ (P) 1♥ (P)
2♥ (P) 2♠!(Spiral)

The responses are steps, showing opener’s 3- or 4-card support and strength:

  • 1st step: 3-card support, minimal hand (11/12-15)
  • 2nd step: 3-card support, maximal hand (15/16-21)
  • 3rd step: 4-card support, minimal hand
  • 4th step: 4-card support, maximal hand

The two 4-card support bids set trump.


Kokish applies when we bid and raised a major suit to 2M without interference after the 2M bid.

A bid of the next strain (2♠ over 2♥, 2N over 2♠) asks for the next suit up the line in which responder would accept a game try. (When hearts are trump, 2N shows responder would accept in spades but not clubs or diamonds). If responder replies positively in a suit, opener can bid a suit between that one and trump to ask about it.

Example, opponents pass throughout:

1♠ - 2♠
2N! - 3♣  -- would accept game try in clubs
3♥!  -- that's nice, but I need to know about hearts.

Instead of the inquiry, bids of a suit at the 3-level are a game-try with shortness in the suit bid. Responder can go to game with good values that are not wasted opposite the shortness.

Puppet Stayman

After each of the following openings, a 3♣ bid is game-forcing Puppet Stayman showing an exactly three-card major:

  • Over 2N, or
  • Over a 2N rebid after a strong 2♣ opener, or
  • Over 1N (partnership agreement required).

Puppet Stayman is game forcing because, lacking a major, the opener will reply 3N.

Over 2N, bid 3♣!(asking for a four- or five-card major) if you have a 3-card major.

With partnership agreement, over 1N, bid 3♣!(asking for a four- or five-card major) when holding a game-forcing hand with a three-card major . If you do not have a 3-card major, but do have one or two four-card majors, bid regular Stayman.

Puppet is a partnership agreement in each case, although if you do it over 2N you should also do it after a 2N rebid over a 2♣ opener.

Note that use of 1N – 3♣ as Puppet Stayman is not common, so be sure to have a firm agreement and alert it. If you ask a casual partner, “Are we playing Puppet?”, without discussion, the answer refers to the 2N and 2N after 2♣ cases only.

The 3♣ bid over 2N need not be alerted, but the responses must be alerted.

Responses are:

  • 3♦!(Opener has no five card major, has one or more 4 card majors)
    • 3♥! Responder has four SPADES <– major you do NOT have!
    • 3♠! Responder has four HEARTS <– major you do NOT have!
    • 3N! Responder does not have a four card major
    • 4♦! Responder has two 4 card majors. Opener has choice of games.
  • 3M!(Opener has this five card major)
    • Responder normally chooses between 3N or 4M.
    • Responder with slam interest and 3+ card fit in M can bid the other major as a power raise of M. It can’t be natural.
    • 4♣ is natural with long clubs.
    • 4♦ is natural with long diamonds.
    • 4N is quantitative (M is not agreed as our suit)
    • Suit bids at the five level are splinters.
    • A special thanks to Marty Bergen for helping with this section.
  • 3N!(Opener has no four or five card majors)

The name “Puppet” comes from the 3♥ and 3♠ rebids after a 3♦ response, in which the responder bids the major he DOESN’T have, so that the strong hand becomes the declarer. He’s pulling the opener’s strings.

1N - 3♣ Changes

Opener’s reply to the 1N - 3♣ “Puppet” is to bid 3N directly if he has no four-card or five-card major, changing 3♦! to mean, “does not have a five-card major”. Over 3♦!, responder who only had a 3-card major but not a four-card major bids 3N and whether or not opener has a four-card major remains unknown. This sequence does not work over 2N bids.

If opener shows a five-card major, bidding the other major is a power raise.

Defensive Agreements

Leads and Carding

These are guidelines that may have to give way to circumstances. The 10 is an honor, the 9 is not.


From holdings that do not contain an honor, against suits or NT:

  • If we have bid and raised the suit, lead top of nothing, bottom of something.
  • From three small:
    • In a suit partner has bid and you supported, lead high.
    • In a suit partner bid and you have not supported lead low (count).
    • In an unbid suit, lead top of nothing.
  • Otherwise lead count: high from 2, second-highest from 4, low from 5.

Note that leads below the King always deny the card above with the exception of the lead of the Q from KQT9(x) against notrump.

Leads Against NT

Standard leads as on the convention card:

  • Fourth best from an honor.
  • Against NT, honor sequence leads show three in the sequence such as QJT, or a defective honor sequence such as QJ9. Lead Q from QJ95 but 5 from QJ85.
  • The lead of an Ace shows four honors, asks partner to unblock an honor if holding one; otherwise give count.
  • Lead the King from KQJ, AKJx or KQJx.
  • Lead the Queen from QJT, AQJx, or KQT9. Partner drops the J if he has it.
  • The lead of a Jack is from JT9, or AJT9.

Leads Against Suits

Standard leads as on the convention card:

  • Fourth best from an honor.

  • The top of 2 touching honors

  • Lead A from AKx(x)(x) unless:

    1. After trick 1
    2. Against a contract at the five-level or above.
    3. You a leading a suit partner has bid (whether or not you supported)
    4. You are leading a suit you have bid and partner has supported

    In those cases, lead the King.

  • Lead K from KQx, AK doubleton, or Kx

  • Lead Q from QJx, or Qx

  • Lead J from Jtx, KJTx, or Jx

  • Lead the Ten from T9x, KT9x, QT9x, or Tx


  • Upside-down attitude.
  • Standard count.
  • Often suit preference when leading from any situation where it does not matter which card you lead, such as when trying to get a ruff or knocking out declarer’s last stopper in NT.
  • Suit preference when a switch is obviously going to be necessary.
  • Foster Echo vs NT (2nd highest from suit if dummy winning opening lead with Q or better)

Attitude Details

We give attitude on first leads of a suit by partner, and when first discarding a suit.

  • The primary job on a lead is to indicate whether one wants the suit continued or not. For example, partner leads an Ace to a suit contract. With Q753 play the 3 to show the Q – partner, it is safe to play the King next. With 753 play the 7; partner, I don’t have third round control. With 73, play the 3, because we have third-round control.
  • If it is clear to us and to partner that the suit should not be continued, give suit preference.
  • On the lead of a King or Queen judgement must be used depending on the contents of the dummy. For example, on the lead of a King with only small cards in the dummy, you must discourage if you do not have the Ace or Jack, to avoid partner continuing the Q into Declarer’s AJ.
  • If dummy has an K or Q in the suit but ducks, a positive attitude can show that 3rd hand has kept an honor over it. For example, partner leads 4th best and dummy contains Kxx and Declarer ducks it. Holding A72, play the 2 to show the retained Ace.
  • If you had to play third-hand high, your remaining attitude in the suit may still be unknown. When your attitude is unknown your next play is attitude.
  • When partner switches and leads a new suit, your signal is attitude in the new suit. There is no signal about the previous suit until you get a chance to discard.

Count Details

We give count when Declarer leads a suit, when partner clearly needs the count, and when our current attitude is known. Count is always CURRENT COUNT.

Once you’ve given count, you can give suit preference. Partner should take care in reading too much into this, as you may not have a preference, or may not have a suitable card.


  • No special first discard.
  • If discarding from a solid sequence with some length, discard the highest.

Other Notes

Discussion Topics

Topics for discussion:

  • What does 4m mean if m is an agreed suit?
  • Consider adopting Smitch Echo against NT contracts. This means that when Declarer wins his first trick and begins to play his suit, either partner can echo high-low to show that they want to continue the suit originally led.
  • XYZ
  • Bergen Raises
  • Add Parish Relay to 2H bust. See July 2020 Bulletin under Parrish.

Change Log

  • Version 1.1:
    • Reverse Drury 2♣ off over interference.
    • Added remarks about style with 2 minors.
    • Added section on special doubles.
    • Added “Top and Another” direct cue bid, Unusual 2N.
  • Version 1.2:
    • Made explicit the treatment of a transfer overcall of our 1N
    • Lead top of nothing from small holding in unbid suit.
    • Add sections about Kokish and Spiral.
    • Decided use of 3N after major suit agreement as offer to play.
  • Version 1.3
    • Document use of ELCD
    • Change to modern style 1N - 3♣ responses
    • Puppet Stayman details
    • 4♣ over 3N is Gerber unless both hands already limited.
  • Version 1.4
    • Add Flannery 2♦ Opener
    • When they overcall our opener with 1N
  • Version 1.5
    • 2♥ bust over 2♣
    • Two-suited bids not restricted to mini-max.
    • Rearranged document.
  • Version 1.6
    • Sandwich 1N