This variation of the Gerber convention was devised by Mr. Irving Cowan, of Sheden, Ontario, Canada. As is the case with many Ace asking conventions and treatments, it has proven difficult to determine the final contract when the agreed trump suit is one of the Minor suits, especially the Club suit.

Note: Any additional information about Mr. Irving Cowan would be greatly appreciated, as would any contributed photographs.

Principle of the Concept

If the partnership agreement is to employ the Blackwood convention, then the partnership could ultimately exceed the better final contract. The Gerber convention would allow the partnership to stop at a lower level, but the possibility of exceeding the better final contract is also present.

Black and Red Gerber, a modification of the Gerber convention, allows the partnership to deal with this situation when the designated suit is either Spades or Clubs, the two black suits. This modification also allows the partnership more flexibility when the agreed trump suit is a red suit, either Hearts and Diamonds, and the asking bid is different.

The Black and Red Gerber uses the 4 Clubs bid to ask for Aces if the agreed trump suit is a red suit, Hearts or Diamonds, as shown in the bidding sequence below.

Opener   Responder Meaning
1   2  
3   4 Black and Red Gerber is initiated. The established trump suit is Diamonds.

In the case that the agreed trump suit is a black suit, Spades or Clubs, then the bid asking for Aces is different, as illustrated in the bidding sequence below.

Opener   Responder  Meaning
1   2  
4   4 Black and Red Gerber is initiated. The established trump suit is Clubs.

In the above example, the Club suit has become the agreed trump suit. The bid of 4 Diamonds by the responder is the initiation of Black and Red Gerber. In this case, a black suit has become the trump suit.

Bidding Sequences for Black and Red Gerber

In the employment of this conventional method the trump suit may be either definitely established, as in the two bidding sequences shown above, or the trump suit can be implied.

Opener   Responder Meaning
1   2  
4     Black and Red Gerber is initiated. The implied trump suit is Diamonds.

Instead of establishing the trump suit it is possible that the trump suit can only be implied. With this understanding the initiator of the Black and Red Gerber conventional method can either be the opener or the responder.

Note: Although rather clear in the approach, as offered by Black and Red Gerber conventional method, there can be instances of ambiguity as shown in the following bidding sequence.

Opener   Responder Meaning
1   2  
4     A jump rebid showing a holding with 5 plus Hearts, 4 plus Clubs, and values of about 18-20 points.
    4 As a consequence this rebid by the responder has become ambiguous. The continuations for such bidding sequences should be previously discussed by the partnership.

Responses

The responses to Black and Red Gerber, whether the agreed trump suit is a black or red suit, follow a series of 4 Steps.

1st Step: Shows 0 or 4 Aces.
2nd Step: Shows 1 Ace.
3rd Step: Shows 2 Aces.
4th Step: Shows 3 Aces.
   
Opener   Responder  Meaning
1   2  
4   4 Black and Red Gerber is initiated. The trump suit is Clubs.
4 Shows 0 or 4 Aces. First Step.
4 Shows 1 Ace. Second Step.
4 NT Shows 2 Aces.Third Step.
5 Shows 3 Aces Fourth Step.

In the shown bidding sequence above, where the Club suit is the agreed trump suit, the 1st Step, showing 0 to 4 Aces, would be a response of 4 Hearts.

Note: The reader can also understand the step responses also as the useful space principle devised by Mr. Jeff Rubens. By bidding one step up (or the next cheapest suit), then information is exchanged regarding the number of held Aces.

Example

North
A63
AKQ74
Q10
A65
 
South
KQ9
52
J87
KQJ87
     
North   South  Meaning
1     Promises a 5-card plus Heart suit and opening values.
    2 Promises at least a 4-card suit and 10 plus points. (Note: 2/1 agreements are game forcing.)
4     As a game contract in No Trump seems improbable with the holding of North, the preferable rebid is to support Clubs. A double raise shows the additional values.
  4 Black and Red Gerber is initiated. The trump suit is Clubs.
5 Shows 3 Aces. Fourth Step.

The concept of Black and Red Gerber includes the use of four possible bids to communicate information, and which do not carry the partnership past game in the trump suit.

King Ask Agreements

As soon as the number of held Aces has been established, the partnership can proceed to ask for the number of Kings. Or the partnership can agree that the next rebid would be asking for the specific location of the Ace or Aces. There are several methods used to proceed with the bidding sequence according to the partnership agreement used.

A. One partnership agreement may be that a rebid of 4 No Trump is asking for the location of the Ace or Aces, as in the Ace Identification modification of the Gerber convention.
B. One partnership agreement may be that one partner can rebid the Gerber suit in order to ask for the number of Kings.
C. One partnership agreement may be that any rebid is cuebidding the Aces and/or Kings.
D. Another method, which has found some popularity is to bid 4 No Trump after a response of 4 or 5 after a response of 4 so that the responser can show the Ace or Aces in the following pattern:
 
1st Step: Shows Aces of the same color, either both Black Aces (Spades and Clubs) or both Red Aces (Hearts and Diamonds).
2nd Step: Shows Aces of the same rank, either both Major suit Aces (Spades and Hearts) or both Minor suit Aces (Diamonds and Clubs).
3rd Step: Shows two non-matching Aces, either Pointed (Spades and Diamonds) or Rounded (Hearts and Clubs).

 

 

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.

 


     
Email Conventions Bridge Sites
     
Home Page I Glossary Home Page II
     
 
  Gerber Variations