The developer of the Swiss conventional method is unknown. The concept is based on the first response to a Major suit opening by partner in one of the two Major suits. The conventional response method is not clearly defined since the concept is based primarily on the acceptance of the individual partnership as to how the parameters of the two possible responses should be understood.

The concept is based on the parameters that a response of four in a Minor suit immediately following partner's bid Major suit promises a good hand and good support for the suit of his partner. This action, in general, is a strength-showing substitute used by bridge partnerships employing limit jump raises. The normal minimum amount of values necessary equals that to an independent opening bid. Otherwise, the response is based on the re-evaluation of the holding, which demands that the partnership declare a game contract.

This response method replaces the natural jump raise since it describes the holding more accurately and simultaneously liberates (frees up) the jump raise to be a limit raise.


Examples and Illustrations

What if he has 4 Hearts? Or 4 Spades?

Partner opens with 1 Heart:

Opener   Responder Meaning
1 /   4 / 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.

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

These two bids of 4 Clubs and 4 Diamonds can vary in meaning between partnerships and generally communicate the following understanding:

Trump Quality
4 : Normally, 4 Clubs shows four trump card support, which is headed by at least two of the top three honors, or five or more trump card support headed by at least the Ace or King.
4 : Normally, 4 Diamonds shows four trump card support, which is headed by at least two of the top three honors, or five or more trump card support headed by at least the Ace or King.

The partnership can agree to the above parameters or can reverse the parameters as the partnership sees fit. The partnership has several options as to how the definition of either the first response of 4 Clubs and/or 4 Diamonds should be.

Note: any bid by the opener of a game contract is viewed as a sign off and the bidding ceases. The general rule is that if the opener bids another suit besides the established trump suit, then this is accepted as an attempt at finding a possible slam owing to additional values not yet shown in the auction.


The Swiss conventional response method should be used only according to the parameters described above. It is also important to remember that neither the 4 Clubs first response nor the 4 Diamonds first response communicates anything about that particular suit such as stoppers and/or controls. These two bids are completely artificial and denies a long, strong side suit, which the responder, by partnership agreement, would be obliged to bid first to provide and communicate a better description of his holding.

There are, of course, several variations, modifications, or refinements to the Swiss conventional response method since it does effectively reduce the level of competitive bidding by the opponents. In order for the player following the Swiss conventional response to either enter or continue bidding if his partner has made an immediate overcall, then this player must do so on the four level. This is certainly disadvantageous for the opponents since the partnership has already an established Major suit fit.

The variations to this conventional response method vary and a list is provided below:

Conglomerate Major Raises: An extension of the Swiss conventional response method.
Fruit Machine Swiss: A variation of the Swiss convention showing Singletons, Aces, and Trump King.
Singleton Swiss: A variation of the Swiss conventional response method showing two Aces and possibly a singleton.
Super Swiss: A variation using a four step bidding process showing voids, singletons, and Aces.
Trump Swiss: A variation of the Swiss conventional response method with a more informative bidding process.



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.