Featherston Defense Method

This conventional defense method was devised and developed by Mr. Norm Featherston of Redmond, Washington, born 1934, and who teaches the game of bridge and who has been the Bridge Administrator Recorder for District 19 beginning in the year 1992. Source.

Features of the Concept

The concept is easy to learn and effective against all No Trump ranges opened by the opponents. The convention serves as a defense mechanism, owing to the distributional strength or shape of the overcaller, against all such No Trump openings by the opponents.

Note: The partnership must decide and agree whether this concept should also be applied to openings of 2 No Trump or higher.

Note: Any additional information as to the bridge personality Mr. Norm Featherston would be greatly appreciated, as well as any photographic material.

Principles of the Defense Method

Double: Shows touching suits - Clubs and Diamonds, or Diamonds and Hearts, or Hearts and Spades, or Spades and Clubs.
2 : Shows Clubs and Hearts, or non-touching suits.
2 : Shows Diamonds and Spades, or non-touching suits.
2 : This overcall is natural and promises at least a 5-card semi-solid Heart suit.
2 : This overcall is natural and promises at least a 5-card semi-solid Spade suit.
3 : This overcall is natural and promises at least a 5-card semi-solid Club suit.
3 : This overcall is natural and promises at least a 5-card semi-solid Diamond suit.
2 NT: Promises both Minor suits, Clubs and Diamonds, with a pattern of 5-6 or 6-5, or
shows both Major suits with additional values and a distributional pattern of at least 5-5 plus.
Pass: If the partner of the Doubler has additional values, then the partner is allowed to pass the double and play for penalty.

Example of the Featherston Convention

Dealer: South
Vulnerable: None

Dealer: South / Vulnerable: None


West North East
1 NT Double Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 3
3 Pass 4 Pass
Pass Pass

The range of the 1 No Trump opening, in this illustration, is between 12 and 14 high card points and does not promise a stopper in every suit. The overcall of double by West shows two touching suits, neither of which are known at this time. North, for whatever reason, decides to pass and await further information, and possibly to reenter the auction later. East responds in his best suit, whereupon West confirms that one of his touching suits is Spades by bidding Spades. The other touching suit could be either Hearts, the lower-ranking suit or Clubs, the higher-ranking suit. East, acting upon the possibility that the second suit is perhaps Clubs, is very much in favor of Clubs with his holding and rebids Clubs.

West, the doubler, however communicates the second suit by rebidding Hearts. Now both touching suits are known to East, namely Hearts and Spades. East bids game with the No Trump bidder in front of him. North, without taking any action, may have surrendered a favorable partscore or hopes to defeat the contract also for a favorable result. On this deal, with a successful Heart finesse and establishing the Club suit, East can easily take ten tricks and a possible overtrick, securing the game contract.

Possible Variations of the Concept

The partnership can also decide whether to expand the first responses of the partner of the doubler to show certain distributional patterns or shape. For example, in the above example, the partnership agreement could include that the first response of the partner of 2 shows a distributional pattern of a 4-card Heart suit with a 5-card Club suit.

Instead of a simple relay bid as the first response, the so-called idle bids of 2, 2, and 2, can be employed to show a certain shape and/or values. Whether shape and/or values can also be attributed to these idle bids on the three-level is a matter of partnership agreement. It is also a matter of partnership agreement how to communicate information if the partner of the No Trump bidder enters the auction.



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.