This concept is an integral part of the Romex Bidding System, devised and developed over the years by Mr. George Rosenkranz of Mexico in cooperation and collaboration with Mr. Phillip Alder. The principle behind the concept is based on the original idea that the partnership must have a conventional method of asking for trump controls in order to discover whether a slam contract is feasible.
The basic structure is based on a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening bid, which is forcing to game. The responder may not pass until game has been reached. This particular opening bid guarantees a certain number of high card points and/or also a certain number of losing tricks. Since this particular opening bid demands that a game contract is reached, then the trump asking bids are employed to determine whether a slam contract is possible.
Parameters of the Opening Bid
The Romex Bidding System, devised by Mr. George Rosenkranz and Mr. Phillip Alder, employs the 2 Clubs opening as an artificial bid, which is forcing to game. The 2 Clubs opening is a two-way bid and can mean the following:
Bid Points Meaning 2 23-24 Promises a balanced shape with a minimum of 8 controls; game forcing, or 29-30 Unbalanced shape with 11 controls or 3 losers if the primary suit is a Major suit, but 2 or less losers if the primary suit is Clubs.
In the Romex Bidding System, the opener will jump rebid, which establishes, at least temporarily, the trump suit, as in the following example:
Opener Responder 2 2 Waiting bid by the responder. 3 Establishes the trump suit.
In the above example, and with all other jump rebids by the opener, the jump rebid not only establishes the trump suit but is also, at the same time, an asking bid. The responder shows by steps the number of cards held in this particular suit.
Note: the feature of steps in the game of bridge means only that the partner bid one bid higher than the previous bid, even No Trump, but only if any competition by the opponents is absent or does not interfere with the employment of bidding steps.
The steps are outlined below:
First Step: Shows a void or a singleton in the suit. Second Step: Shows a doubleton in the suit. Third Step: Shows 3 cards in the suit. Fourth Step: Shows 4 or more cards in the suit. Fifth Step: Shows a singleton Ace, King, or Queen in the suit.
For example, in the above auction, the following shows several steps, by which the responder can show his holding. The student must remember that the employment of trump asking bids is dependent upon the rebid of the opener, and therefore the response method can change accordingly.
Opener Responder 2 2 Waiting bid by the responder. 3 Jump rebid, which establishes the trump suit. 3 NT First Step showing either a void or a singleton. 4 Second Step showing a doubleton. 4 Third Step showing a 3-card Spade suit. 4 Fourth Step showing a 4-card Spade suit.
In the case that the responder bids either the Second Step, the Third Step, or the Fourth Step, the opener can rebid 4 No Trump to ask the responder again as to the number of the top honors he holds in the trump suit in the following manner:
First Step: Shows zero of the top three honors in the suit. Second Step: Shows 1 of the top three honors in the suit. Third Step: Shows 2 of the top three honors. Fourth Step: Shows all three of the top three honors in the suit.
The following example should clarify this auction sequence:
Opener Responder 2 2 Waiting bid by the responder. 3 Jump rebid, which establishes the trump suit. 4 Third Step showing a 3-card Spade suit. 4 NT Trump Asking Bid for the number of held honors. 5 First Step shows zero honors in Spades. 5 Second Step shows 1 of the top three honors in Spades. 5 Third Step shows 2 of the top three honors in Spades. 5 Fourth Step shows all three of the top honors in Spades.
Since the intended trump suit of the opener can change during the auction, the Romex Trump Asking Bids can also change, if the opener changes the intended trump suit. This can occur if the first response to the First Trump Asking Bid shows a void or a singleton, as in the following example. The auction proceeds in the same manner with the clarifying step responses.
Opener Responder 2 2 Waiting bid by the responder. 3 Jump rebid, which establishes the trump suit. 3 NT First Step showing either a void or a singleton. 4 The opener changes the trump suit to Clubs and 4 Clubs becomes the Trump Asking Bid. 4 NT This response, the Fourth Step, shows a 4-card Club suit.
Although it is quite rare, the opener, after a First and/or Second Step response to the Trump Asking Bids, can change the trump suit again, as in the following example:
Opener Responder 2 2 Waiting bid by the responder. 3 Jump rebid, which establishes the trump suit. 3 NT First Step showing either a void or a singleton. 4 The opener changes the trump suit to Clubs and 4 Clubs becomes the Trump Asking Bid. 4 First Step shows a void or a singleton in the Club suit. 4 The opener again changes the trump suit to Diamonds. Distribution is a possible 4-4-1-4.
The responses are the same as in the Step Rebids as outlined above and follow the same pattern. By inference, the opener can, via the Step Responses, also determine the distribution of the responder. In this case, the responder, by deduction, have a distribution in the red suits, a possible 1-5-6-1. As mentioned, this instance would be quite rare.
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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