This variation of the original Michaels Cuebid was designed by Mr. Gordon Bower. Source. The argument for a new concept or approach to Michaels Cuebid is based on the following, quoted from the article of Mr. Gordon Bower:

If you are going to adopt a new convention, you should adopt one that gives you the most bang for your buck - one that helps you solve a frequently occurring bidding problem in your current system.

That's where the weakness of Michaels lies. The convention works fine. but, if your opponent opens 1 Diamond and you have a fair hand with both majors like AQ973 - KJ954 - 8 - J2, overcalling 1 Spade and following up with 2 Hearts on the next round would also work just fine. The only time Michaels does something new for you is when you have a hand too weak to bid it naturally, and 5-5 hand patterns don't come up all that often.

Some people are tempted to simply say: OK, from now on 'I'm going to use Michaels when I have 5 cards in one suit and 4 in the other, too. That's not wise.

Mr. Gordon Bower continues to explain the reason for devising a new approach owing to a feature not addressed correctly or sufficiently by Michaels Cuebid. The following is excerpted:

The fundamental observation I have for you is this: 5-5 hands are not hard to bid. If you are strong, you can bid them one at a time. If you are weak, you may be able to bid one of them now, or you may be able to come in later with an Unusual 2NT (or 4NT) overcall after your opponents bid both your short suits. Similarly, 5-4 hands - that is, hands with 5 of a higher-ranking suit and 4 of a lower-ranking suit - are also usually not hard to bid. Overcall in the higher-ranking suit, and if you get a second chance, bid the lower-ranking suit next time.

However, weak to moderate 4-5 hands are a problem. If you overcall in your longest suit, you are likely to never get a chance to show your 4-card suit unless you reverse - consuming extra bidding space and showing a stronger hand. It's dangerous to force a hand to the 3-level if partner is weak and just wants to take a preference to your first suit.

After comparing the weakness of Michaels Cuebid and explaining the features of Roman Jump Overcalls, which were eventually replaced with Weak Jump Overcalls, Mr. Gordon Bower attempts to combine the two. In his words, which follow, he explains how the conventional method functions and also how it became so designated:

If 4-5 hands are a problem, one obvious solution would be to simply use the cuebid to show that type of hand. Using one bid to show all three possibilities (say, 1 - 2 with 4 Spades and 5 Hearts; 4 Spades and 5 Diamonds; or 4 Hearts and 5 Diamonds) means there is no one suit your partner can count on you to have. And while there are ways to cope with that, in the ACBL, the General Convention Chart requires this cuebid to promise at least one known suit.

In the fall of 1999, I proposed a somewhat complicated combination of cuebids, Roman jumps, and 2NT bids to show both 5-4 and 5-5 hands. My regular partner, Michael Schmahl, streamlined it a bit, and coined the name Michaelangelo, suggesting the blend of Michaels and Roman Jumps.


According to the approach there are only five overcalls, which are different from the standard overcalls employed in the Michaels Cuebid convention, and they are as follows:

Opponent   Intervenor   Meaning
1   2   The Michaelangelo approach is initiated. This cuebid overcall promises precisely 4 Spades and 5 plus cards in either red suit, either Hearts or Diamonds.
1   2   The Michaelangelo approach is initiated. This overcall promises precisely 4 Hearts and 5 plus cards in the Diamond suit.
1   2   The Michaelangelo approach is initiated. This cuebid overcall promises precisely 4 cards in either Major suit, either Spades or Hearts, and 5 plus cards in the Club suit.
1   2   The Michaelangelo approach is initiated. This overcall promises precisely 4 Spades and 5 plus cards in the Heart suit.
1   2   The Michaelangelo approach is initiated. This cuebid overcall promises precisely 4 Spades and 5 plus cards in a Minor suit, either Clubs or Diamonds.
1   2   This is the Michaels Cuebid promising a minimum of 5 cards in Hearts and 5 cards in either Minor suit, either Clubs or Diamonds.

The author qualifies the overcalls in the following manner, which is excerpted:

1-2 and 1-2 are non-forcing, and show approximately normal overcall strength, 7 or 8 loser hands usually. The long suit is always either 5 or 6 cards. A stronger hand can overcall in the long suit and be prepared to reverse.

The cuebids never end the auction, so overcaller's strength can be wider-ranging, as can his distribution: 4-5, 4-6 and 4-7 are all perfectly acceptable. Since overcalling and reversing is still an option, we use the cuebid with weak-moderate hands and with very strong hands, but not with above-average hands.



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.