This bidding system was developed by Mr. Fred R. Thomas, born in the year 1925, and was published in the year 1980 by the Uniclub Press, located in Los Angeles, California, United States. The title of his publication is Universal: The System For Everyone, and in the words of the author, is so named because it is the one system that is natural and also universally suitable for everyone, average players as well as the experts.

Note: Any additional information as to the person of Mr. Fred R. Thomas, especially photographic material, would be greatly appreciated.

     
     

Two Diamonds Opening Bid

The 2 Diamonds opening was specifically developed to describe three-suited holdings, which did not fall within the parameters of the opening 2 Clubs bid. The opening bid was designed also describe two-suited holdings, which increased its employment with certain holdings falling within established parameters.

Contrary to the 2 Clubs opening bid, the 2 Diamonds opening bid does not show Diamond shortage, but does show shortage in one unspecified suit when describing a three-suited holding. According to the publication Mr. Fred R. Thomas writes that a Club void is an absolute requisite for opening 2 Diamonds if the holding contains a 5-card Major suit.

Note: Also, according to the author, the holding should be opened with 1 Club if the void is a Major suit.

The point range is between 16 and 21 high card points. The opening bid of 2 Diamonds is non-forcing and the responder may pass when holding a 3-card plus Diamond suit and fewer than 4 high card points, and there is no other suit worthwhile or safe to bid. The reasoning is that since the opener could have maximum values of about 21 high card points, the responder needs only very few values in order to reach a game contract.

Responses

Opener   Responder   Meaning
2       Shows a 3-suited holding, possibly a 2-suited holding. Values range from 16 to 21 high card points.
    2   Artificial. The only forcing first response. The opener is requested to name his short suit. This response requires also 6 plus high card points when holding a 4-card plus Major suit, but requires 8 high card points if the responder holds only a 4-card plus Minor suit. This may sometimes become a judgment call on the part of the responder with a holding such as: Kxxxx x xx Jxxxx
2       The opener is short in Spades. Without a fit the responder rebids 2 No Trump with 6-7 high card points and a Spade stopper. The responder can bid game with additional values.
2 NT       By rebidding No Trump the opener signifies that the short suit is Hearts (systemic substitution). The opener rebids 2 No Trump with 16-17 high card points, and 3 No Trump with 18 plus high card points. If there is no stopper(s), then the partnership may be forced to bid game with a 4-3 trump fit.
3       The short suit is Clubs.
3       Two-Bid-Rebid shows a two-suited holding. The opener is two-suited in Diamonds and Clubs.
3       Shows a 5-card Heart suit and a void in Clubs.
3       Shows a 5-card Spade suit and a void in Clubs.
         
    Continuation of First Responses
    Pass   Shows 0 to 3 high card points and at least 3 Diamonds.
    2   Shows a 4-card plus Spade suit with a range of 0 to 5 high card points. The opener rebids 2 No Trump with Spade shortage and 18-19 high card points, or game in No Trump with additional values.
    2 NT   This bid is also a systemic suit substitution, also for the Heart suit, but this time it implies holding a 4-card plus Heart suit. If the Heart suit contains only 4 cards, then the combination must hold a stopper as in J10xx.
    3   Shows 5 to 7 high card points and a 4-card plus Club suit. If the Club suit is a 6-card suit, then the values may be reduced to a minimum of 4 high card points. Non-forcing.
    3   This first response requires 4 to 7 high card points with a 4-card Diamond suit, but with a 5-card Diamond suit the values may be reduced to only 3 high card points.
    4   This initiates the Thomas conventional method of Ace-asking. This method was specifically designed for the Universal Club by the developer and named for him. This first response shows a minimum of 8-9 high card points and a good Diamond fit. This bid is forcing.

Example 1

Slam Attempt with Thomas Conventional Ace-Asking Method

AK87
AK43
KJ63
4
 
4
652
AQ1094
Q1087
   
West   East   Meaning
2   4   The responder initiates the Thomas Ace-asking conventional method.
4 NT       Shows two Aces.
    5   The responder initiates the Thomas King-asking conventional method.
5 NT       Shows 3 Kings.
    6   The responder bids the Minor suit slam.

Example 2

AJ87
5
AJ63
AK85
 
K10943
62
Q97
J94
   
West   East   Meaning
2   2   Artificial. The only forcing first response. The opener is requested to name his short suit. This response requires also 6 plus high card points when holding a 4-card plus Major suit, but requires 8 high card points if the responder holds only a 4-card plus Minor 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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