This Sharples convention, devised by twin brothers Mr. James Watson Sharples, born in November of the year 1908 and died October 3, 1985, and also by his younger twin brother Mr. Robert Boake Sharples, born in the year 1908 and died in the year 1999, both of Caterham, England, is originally a method of responding to a No Trump opening by the partner.

The original version has been lost to history and there are presently several versions available to the bridge player. If any visitor has more information, we would greatly appreciate any additional information.

This version of the competitive defense method, which carries the designation of either Version Two or Modified Sharples Against No Trump, can be employed either in the immediate seat or in the balancing seat. The range of the No Trump opening is generally on the stronger side, but the concept can / may be adapted to confront all ranges of No Trump. Source is: David Stevenson.

The attempt has been made to present several of these versions. The origin of this particular modified version is unknown, but has many features of the proposed original version. As with many defense methods against an opening of No Trump by the opponents, the Sharples convention has its modifications and its variations. The following variation is dissimilar to the original concept by including a multi-purpose 2 Diamonds bid.

Note: This variation of the Sharples conventional defense method is somewhat dependent on the bidding system employed and can be altered or varied to meet the requirements of the particular bidding system.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed that the actual shortage of the holding when communicating shortage in either Minor suit, or both Minor suits as the case may be, may be dependent on the state of vulnerability after a 2 Diamonds overcall. This is entirely a partnership agreement in all employed variations of the concept.

Guidelines for Overcalls

Double: Any double is for penalty. Partner must pass.
2 : Shows 4-card plus Spade suit and any shape otherwise.
2 : Promises shortage in Clubs OR Clubs and Diamonds.
2 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Heart suit and is a natural bid.
2 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Spade suit and is a natural bid.
2 NT: Per partnership agreement.
3 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Club suit and is a natural bid. May be preemptive.
3 : Promises generally a 5-card plus Diamond suit and is a natural bid. May be preemptive.

It is left to the individual partnership which responses should follow to indicate additional description of the corresponding holding. This also pertains to length of suit, values, working values and jump bids.

Responses 2 and 2

These responses can be modified to be employed as guidelines for any response higher.

Any suit at the lowest level:
  This response is natural and weak in values. The suit bid is also the longest suit of the advancer. In the case that the advancer holds two suits of equal length, then the advancer shows the higher-ranking suit first in order to rebid the second suit as cheaply as possible.
Any jump suit bid:
  A jump suit bid promises a strong one-suited holding of a minimum 6-card length, which is generally solid to semi-solid in shape. This response is invitational and non-forcing.
2 NT:
  This is an artificial response, which forces the intervenor to the four level. However, this does not mean that it is game forcing. This response is normally intended to discover whether or not a game contract of 3 No Trump is possible opposite a No Trump opening. It is also intended to find otherwise a suit fit, either a Minor suit or a Major suit, the latter becoming a game contract. The intervenor is obliged to clarify the holding as cheaply as possible before by-passing 3 No Trump.
3 NT:
  This response is natural and shows the desire to play in 3 No Trump.


In the case that the advancer does not bid 3 No Trump, a game contract, then all continuances are natural. The reason is that the intervenor possesses sufficient information about the holding of the advancer to establish the final contract.

Since the intervenor does not promise a two-suited holding with the immediate overcall, this may be the case in the subsequent bidding sequence. The advancer then passes with a weak holding and as few as a 2-card support.

Note: As the student of defense methods can recognize, this version of the Sharples conventional defense method can / may be modified or varied to meet the standards of modern bridge technique. This concept was rather advanced for the time of its conception owing to the use of the double for penalty and only promising a 4-card Spade suit with the corresponding overcall. The non-employment of the 2 No Trump overcall to show both Minor suits is also unique in that it is lacking in the original concept.



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.