Swiss Convention

This is quite a simple convention and there is not much to learn, but the usage could prove to be quite effective, when applied correctly.

The Swiss Convention requires a response of Four in a Minor suit to an Opening of One in a Major suit, and shows a Standard Forcing Raise to the Three Level. This means 13-15 points.

The Swiss Convention is a strength showing substitute used by bridge players who use limit jump raises.

Remember the guidelines for Responding to an Opening Bid?


with 13-15 Support Points
This is a Limit Bid
This is a Forcing bid

Partner opens with 1 Heart, and you hold the following.


1. You know that partner has an opening with 5-cards in Hearts.

2. You have 3 Hearts; you have 13-15HCPs; raise to 3 Hearts.

3. This bid by you is forcing. Partner must continue to game.

4. You have described your hand accurately and quickly.


Examples show the effectiveness of the Swiss convention. In the above example, the responder has 3 Hearts.

What if he has 4 Hearts? Or 4 Spades?

Partner opens with 1 Heart:

Over 1 Heart, or 1 Spade, the responder bids 4 Clubs, or 4 Diamonds,
to show a hand too strong in high cards to raise directly to Game.

That is why in the Basic Guidelines, the bid of 3 Hearts indicates strongly only a 3-card support and 13 to 15 support points, equaling a Limited and Forcing Bid, if the responder has not passed previously.

Using the Swiss convention, the responder shows 4-card support for the opening of a Major suit, and also a rather semi-balanced hand, because the responder would otherwise bid a side suit and then raise to game on the second round.

In the above example, the responder is lost in finding a bid. Can the responder bid 4 Clubs or 4 Diamonds? The answer is no. 2 No Trump would describe his hand, but review his Club holding.


The Swiss convention uses the 2 bids: either 4 Clubs or 4 Diamonds to explain and describe the above hand of the responder.

These two bids can vary in meaning between partnerships, so let us review what they can signify.

Trump Quality

4 Clubs shows and
4 Diamonds denies
A. either four trumps headed by at least two of the top three honors
B. or five or more trumps headed by at least the Ace or King

Your choice is

1. 4 Clubs shows A or B

2. 4 Diamonds denies A or B



4 Clubs shows and
4 Diamonds denies
A. either three Aces
B. or two Aces and the King of Trumps

Your choice is

1. 4 Clubs shows A or B

2. 4 Diamonds denies A or B


Controls or Trump

4 Clubs shows and emphasizes good controls

4 Diamonds shows and emphasizes strong Trumps



The Swiss convention should be used only according to the guidelines set forth above. If you and your partner wish to include this convention in your bidding, then please include it also in your partnership agreement. The important thing to remember is which choice you and your partner make in showing or denying Controls and/or Trump. This is of the utmost consideration.

There are, of course, several variations, modifications or refinements to the Swiss convention since it does mess up the bidding by the opponents quite effectively. Several variations are listed below. Perhaps you and your partner would prefer one of them.

Trump Swiss - A variation of the Swiss convention with a more informative bidding process.

Fruit Machine Swiss - A variation of the Swiss convention showing Singletons, Aces, and Trump King.

Singleton Swiss - A variation of the Swiss convention showing two Aces and maybe a Singleton.

Super Swiss - A variation using a four step bidding process showing Voids, Singletons, and Aces.

Conglomerate Major Raises - An extension of the Swiss convention.

Limit Raise - Limit Raises apply the Swiss convention in reaching the correct contract.



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.