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.

     
     

Opening Bids of Two Hearts / Two Spades

In contrast to a 2 Diamonds opening bid, mainly showing a three-suited holding, the Major suit opening bids on the two level show only two-suited holdings. Either of these two opening bids promise at least a 5-card suit plus in the opened Major and a second, unspecified suit, also a 5-card plus suit. The minimum distribution should be 5-5 by all states of vulnerability.

The point range is a minimum of 14 high card points and the upper range is unlimited. Therefore, these two opening bids are forcing for one round. They are not considered to be absolutely game-forcing in nature. A typical minimum opening of 2 Spades is illustrated in the chart below.

AQJ64
74
AK842
7

The responses are shown in the schematic below with the individual meanings, and are based on the above example holding. The shown opening is Spades, but the same parameters apply if the opening bid is Hearts.

Opener Responder Meaning
2 3 A single raise shows at least a 3-card support in Spades, and a point count between 0-6 points. The opener can pass, sign-off in game, attempt slam or identify his second 5-card plus suit. If the second suit is Diamonds, then the opener must rebid 5, since 4 is reserved for Thomas, the systemic Ace-asking method.
  Notes of author: The bid of 4 may be initiated only following a raise or the solid suit response. Also, if the opener decides to specify the second held 5-card plus suit, then the decision to attempt slam is transferred to the responder, since this information may be crucial in establishing a second suit fit and perhaps a shortage in one suit.
4 A jump to 4 Clubs shows at least a 3-card support in Spades, and a point count between 7-11 points. With additional values and support for partner's Major suit, the responder should first bid 2 No Trump, a temporizing and game-forcing response.
3 A new suit first response requires 17 plus high card points with a 6-card plus suit in the bid suit. This response is forcing to either the four level or game. A 3 No Trump rebid by opener, following this first response only, indicates that the second held 5-card plus suit is a Minor suit. This 3 No Trump rebid by opener may be passed since the opener may wish to play in 3 No Trump. Any continuations are based on the holding of the responder.
3 A new suit first response requires 17 plus high card points with a 6-card plus suit in the bid suit. This response is forcing to either the four level or game. A 3 No Trump rebid by opener, following this first response only, indicates that the second held 5-card plus suit is a Minor suit. This 3 No Trump rebid by opener may be passed since the opener may wish to play in 3 No Trump. Any continuations are based on the holding of the responder.
3 A new suit first response requires 17 plus high card points with a 6-card plus suit in the bid suit. This response is forcing to either the four level or game. A 3 No Trump rebid by opener, following this first response only, indicates that the second held 5-card plus suit is a Minor suit. This 3 No Trump rebid by opener may be passed since the opener may wish to play in 3 No Trump. Any continuations are based on the holding of the responder.
3 NT A 3 No Trump first response promises an unspecified solid one-suited holding of at least a 6-card length such as AKQ10xx. The total number of winning tricks contained in the holding should be six or seven winning tricks.
Continuations Following a 2 No Trump First Response
2 NT With all other holdings by the responder, whether weak or strong, the responder bids 2 No Trump to await opener's second suit and his approximate strength, which is the information necessary to continue the bidding sequence with additional information available. This first response is one-round forcing.
3 The opener bids the second, previously unspecified suit with weak to moderate values. This rebid in Clubs is informative also in the sense that the opener does not rebid his opened Major suit. If the rebid is Clubs, then the Club suit is equal in length to the length of the opened Major suit. This rebid is non-forcing.
3 The opener bids the second, previously unspecified suit with weak to moderate values. This rebid is non-forcing.
3 The opener bids the second, previously unspecified suit with weak to moderate values. This rebid is non-forcing. Note: if the Major suit of the opener is Hearts, then this rebid becomes Spades.
3 If the opener rebids his first suit, (also Hearts if Hearts is the opened bid), instead of showing a second suit, this bid denotes that the second suit is Clubs and that the first suit is equal or longer than the Club suit. This special rebid is designated as the Two-Bid-Rebid.
4 A jump rebid following a forcing 2 No Trump first response is made on holdings strong enough to force to game. An exception may be that the partnership stop on the four level if the second suit is a Minor suit.
4 A jump rebid following a forcing 2 No Trump first response is made on holdings strong enough to force to game. An exception may be that the partnership stops on the four level if the second suit is a Minor suit. Note: if the Major suit of the opener is Hearts, then the partnership may not bid Spades.
3 NT A first rebid of 3 No Trump promises, in response to a first response of 2 No Trump, at least
10 plus winners. Note: if the first response is 4 Clubs, as described above, then this rebid by the opener becomes 4 No Trump. In order then for the responder to inquire about the second suit of partner, then the responder must bid 4 Clubs to ask. Note: if the opener is forced to rebid 4 No Trump, then the responder asks for the second, unspecified suit by bidding 5 Clubs.
4 (5 ) Forced rebid after a 3 NT rebid by opener.
4 The opener identifies the second suit. This special rebid is designated as the Two-Bid-Rebid.
4 The opener identifies the second suit. This special rebid is designated as the Two-Bid-Rebid. Note: the player should be cautioned as to the logical bidding sequences if the opening bid was Hearts.
4 If the opener rebids the original suit on the four level, then this artificial rebid establishes Clubs as the second suit. This special rebid is designated as the Two-Bid-Rebid.

The student must be aware that anytime the second suit is higher-ranking that the first suit, this denotes and strongly indicates that the first suit is longer than the second suit. Per the author: Caution must be exercised to warrant such reverses because a simple preference could raise the auction to an unsafe level.

 

 

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
     
 
  Artificial Openings