This slam bidding method was devised and originated with Mr. Norman de Villiers Hart and Sir Norman Bennett. This method evolved during the early pioneer days of the game of organized bridge. This particular method was incorporated into the Vienna Bidding System. The conventional method is also known as the Norman Four No Trump method. The concept was named for Sir Norman Bennett.

Mr. Norman de Villiers Hart was born in the year 1888 and died in the year 1976, and was of London, England. He was a bridge suthor, who published the following bridge-related books: Daily Telegraph Book of Contract Bridge, Bridge Players' Bedside Book. He also co-authored Right Through The Pack, Vienna System of Contract Bridge, and also Quintessence of CAB, which initials stand for Two Clubs, Ace-asking, and Blackwood.

Note: Any additional information about either Mr. Norman de Villiers Hart or Sir Norman Bennett would be greatly appreciated. Any contributed photographic material would also be sincerely credited.


The concept behind the Norman conventional method is that the first response shows both the number of Aces and the number of Kings, as opposed to other methods, which show only one or the other. This is accomplished by assigning each individual response a control number. The normally accepted guideline defining controls are employed, which is that an Ace equals 2 controls and a King equals 1 control.

The following bids show the possible options:

Bid Possible Controls   Possible Controls   Possible Controls   Possible Controls
5 : At most 2 controls:   1 Ace   2 Kings    
5 : Shows 3 controls:   1 Ace and 1 King   3 Kings    
5 : Shows 4 controls:   2 Aces   4 Kings   1 Ace and 2 Kings
5 : Shows 5 controls:   2 Aces and 1 King   1 Ace and 3 Kings    
5 NT: Shows 5 controls:   3 Aces   2 Aces and 2 Kings   1 Ace and 4 Kings
6 : Shows 7 controls:   3 Aces and 1 King   2 Aces and 3 Kings    
6 : Shows 8 controls:   4 Aces   3 Aces and 2 Kings   2 Aces and 4 Kings


The following auction and responses should illustrate the employment of the Norman conventional method of asking for controls and establishing the final contract:

South   West   North   East   Meaning
1   Pass   3   Pass   North shows a game-forcing raise.
4 NT   Pass           South initiates the Norman Convention and asks for the number of controls.
        5       Shows 3 controls: either 1 Ace and 1 King, or 3 Kings.
        5       Shows 4 controls: either 2 Aces, or 4 Kings, or 1 Ace and 2 Kings.

Once the asking partner knows the number of controls held by partner, then the asking partner is able to fill in the missing possible Aces and Kings. Once this information has been communicated, then the asking partner is able to establish the final contract. This feature of the concept eliminates the necessity for any secondary inquiry.

Strong, Artificial 2 Clubs Opening Bids

Mr. Norman de Villiers Hart and Sir Norman Bennett decided to extend this concept of showing controls with the very first response also to the first response following a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening bid, which is one-round forcing. Since the responder is, by necessity, short in values, then the responder can show also via certain bids either a singleton Ace or two Kings.

The bridge student should remember that only the Ace and King are considered, not Queens and Jacks or point count.

South   West   North   East   Meaning
2   Pass           Shows a strong holding based on high card points.
        5       Shows either zero or 1 King.
        5       Shows 2 Kings.
        5       Shows 1 Ace.

This particular extension of the Norman conventional method includes only these three possible responses since the conventional method, at that time, was based on the fact that a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening required that the held values be above half of the working values in the deck, namely 20 plus high card points. The necessity, therefore, to show additional strength in the holding of the responder was not deemed to be a deciding factor in establishing the final 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.