The origin of this conventional method is unknown. Bridge players around the world have adopted the Gerber convention and included it in their partnership agreements. However, bridge players around the world have discovered certain presumed flaws in the Gerber convention, a feature inherent in all bridge conventions.
After the Gerber bidder has discovered the number of Aces held by his partner, the Gerber bidder would prefer to know the location of the Ace or Aces.
The Gerber Ace Identification convention helps the partnership locate the Aces by certain responses. It is best that the student review first the responses for the Gerber conventional method before proceeding.
The responses by the opener to a 4 Club bid by his partner, who is asking for Aces are:
4 : Shows no Ace or 4 Aces 4 : Shows 1 Ace 4 : Shows 2 Aces 4 NT: Shows 3 Aces
Once the partnership has established the trump suit, then the partnership decides to attempt slam. In the following bidding sequence the responder holds sufficient values to employ the Stayman conventional method to inquire about a possible 4-card Major suit. The rebid by the opener promises a 4-card Spade suit.
The responder then initiates the Gerber convention and the partner must assume that Spades is the implied trump suit. The partner responds with 4 Hearts, showing one Ace. The Ace Identification convention allows the partnership to determine the location of this particular Ace as in the example auction below:
North South Meaning 1 NT 2 Stayman convention. 2 Shows a 4-card Spade suit. 4 Gerber convention. Spades is the implied trump suit. 4 North has 1 Ace. 4 NT Ace Identification Convention per agreement. This is not a Blackwood bid. 5 North holds the Ace of Clubs. 5 North holds the Ace of Diamonds. 5 North holds the Ace of Hearts. 5 North holds the Ace of Spades.
After North has shown only 1 Ace, South can ask for the location of that particular Ace. North bids the suit in which the Ace is located.
The Ace Identification convention allows the partnership to confirm the location of two Aces in case the response shows the holding of two Aces after an Ace-asking bid via the Gerber convention. This is accomplished with the bid of 4 No Trump as in the following example. The responses indicate the location of the two Aces by designating the color and rank.
North South Meaning 1 NT 2 Stayman convention. 2 Shows a 4-card Spade suit. 4 Gerber convention. Spades is the implied trump suit. 4 North has 2 Aces. 4 NT Ace Identification Convention per agreement. This is not a Blackwood bid. 5 North holds 2 Aces of the same color (Clubs and Spades). 5 North holds 2 Aces of the same rank (Minors or Majors). 5 North holds 2 Aces of different color and different rank.
Again, the partnership has decided to attempt slam. The Gerber convention is initiated. The partner responds with 4 Spades, showing two Aces.
By bidding 5 Clubs, North can show that he holds the Ace of Spades and the Ace of Clubs, or the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Diamonds. By bidding 5 Diamonds, North can show that he holds the Ace of Spades and the Ace of Hearts, or the Ace of Diamonds and the Ace of Clubs.
The following example hand illustrates the Ace Identification conventional method in action:
North AJ86 42 J AKJ654
West 54 Q653 654 8732
East 103 KJ987 AK972 9
South KQ972 A10 Q1083 Q10
South West North Meaning 1 1 Pass 3 3 3 NT Pass 4 Gerber Ace Identification convention. Pass 4 Partner, only 1 Ace. Pass 4 NT Please identify. Pass 5 The held Ace is the Ace. Pass 6 Pass Pass Pass
The bid of 4 by North is Gerber by partnership agreement. The response of 4 shows possession of 1 Ace. For the slam attempt, South needs to know the location of that particular Ace. If South holds the Ace, then the contract could by off by 2 Heart tricks. However, if South holds the Ace, then any losing Hearts could be discarded on the Club suit.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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