Gamma Responses

These responses to a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening were developed by Dr. Édouard Lachand of France. He also devised the Gamma System, which features a 2 Clubs opening bid being employed with two different holdings.

Note: These gamma responses are described in his publication La Longue à relais ou le Gamma: un système cohérent d'enchères, réunissant les avantages des enchères naturelles et artificielles, published in the year 1972 by Éditions de Presse spécialisée of Paris, France. Library of Congress LC: 75585447.

Note: The designation gamma is the term for the third letter in the Greek alphabet. The word also refers to the third in a series of items. In astrology it signifies the third brightest star in a constellation. It is also employed as a measurement and designates a unit of weight equal to one microgram. The reason for the employment of this particular term for his devised response method by Dr. Édouard Lachand remains unknown.

Note: Any additional information as to the person of Dr. Édouard Lachland would be greatly appreciated. Any contribution of a photograph of Dr. Édouard Lachland would also be greatly appreciated.

This presentation only includes these responses, which are explained below.

A. Holdings, by which it is essential for the responder to primarily show top honor cards in all suits and secondary show a long suit. The nature of these holdings is two-fold and is designated as: Type 1: 2 relay.
1. Holdings which contain a long solid suit and which does not require any support from partner.
2. Holdings which are completely balanced in shape.
B. Holdings, by which it is essential to look for a fit in the hand of the responder. The nature of these holdings is that they contain a long, but weak suit. They are designated as: Type 2: 2 fit.


2 : Shows zero Aces.
2 : Shows the Ace of Hearts, the bid suit.
2 : Shows the Ace of Spades, the bid suit.
2 NT: Shows two Aces of the same color: Red or Black.
3 : Shows the Ace of Clubs, the bid suit.
3 : Shows the Ace of Diamonds, the bid suit after a one-level jump.
3 : Shows two Aces of the same rank: both Major suits or both Minor suits.
3 : Shows two mixed Aces: either Red and Black or Major suit Ace and a Minor suit Ace.
3 NT: Shows three Aces.

As soon as the responder has communicated the information about his/her holding to the opener, the opener reveals then which Type of holding is held: Type 1, by making a relay or the next step above the response or Type 2, by making any other suit-bid to discover a fit.

It is an essential part of the Gamma Responses to remember that the auction may not stop short of a small slam bid by the opener or the opener has made a bid or call three steps over the last bid of the responder.

By Type 1, or the 2 relay by the opener, the responder is obligated to show by steps the following features of the holding in the following order and sequence:

1. Voids are shown by the responder in two ways: 1. a jump in the void suit, or 2. if the void is in the relay suit via a jump in No Trump. If there is no void to show, then the responder does not jump-bid.
2. Kings are shown separately and singularly by the responder after showing a void (or no void) by the second bid of the responder. If the responder has no side-King, then the responder is obligated to bid an "impossible King", meaning that the next bid shows the Queen of the suit and denies at the same time a singleton. Example auction follows:
Opener Responder Meaning
2 2 Promises the Ace of Hearts.
2 Relay.
3 No void, no King of Clubs. Promises the King of Diamonds.
3 Relay.
4 Shows no singleton. Promises the Queen of Clubs since the responder did not show the King of Clubs (the impossible King), and by inference no other King.
3. Singletons are shown by the responder, after Kings are revealed, via 1. a jump in the suit, or 2. by a No Trump bid if it is in the relay suit. If a singleton King has been shown before in the auction, then there is no necessity to repeat and show a singleton King twice.
4. Queens are shown individually by relays and steps. If the responder holds no Queen, then the responder bids either 1. the minimum No Trump, or 2. the "impossible Queen". This particular bid by the responder indicates a 5-card plus suit of the suit bid.
5. A 5-card plus suit is shown after showing Queens. If the responder does not hold a 5-card suit, then the responder bids the minimum No Trump. If the responder does show a 5-card plus suit, a relay by the opener asks for the length of the suit bid. The responses to the Asking Relay are:
1st Step: Shows 5 cards.
2nd Step: Shows 6 cards.
3rd Step: Shows 7 cards.

Super Relay

In the case that the opener does not have sufficient bidding space to ask for information in a regular, normal fashion for Voids, Kings, Singletons, and Queens, and the main interest is to discover whether or not the responder has a long suit, then the opener can initiate the super relay. This is accomplished by a bid two steps over the last bid.

This bid asks solely about the presence of a 5-card suit or longer. If the opener bids in this manner, then the responder should skip Numbers 1 through 4 of the proper sequence and provide information only about a long suit, if held. The following auction should clarify this feature of the Gamma Responses:

Opener Responder Meaning
2 2 Shows no Ace.
2 Relay.
3 No void, no King of Clubs. Promises the King of Diamonds.
3 Super Relay. The opener skips and asks for a possible long suit held by responder.
4 // Shows at least a 5-card Club / Diamond / Heart suit.

2 Clubs Fit

The 2 Clubs-Fit is initiated by the opener generally after the first bid by the responder by a bid, which is not a relay. This distinction must be recognized by the responder, who must act upon this information. Any bid by the opener, which is not a relay bid, requires the responder to provide information about the suit, which has been named by the opener. For example, in the following auction:

Opener Responder
2 2

the relay bid would be 2; the 2 Clubs-Fit bid for Spades, however, is a jump to 3. The responder communicates the information about the held fit-suit by showing the number of honors and the number of cards held in that suit in the following manner:

First Step: Shows a void or a singleton.
Second Step: Shows and honor or xx.
Third Step: Shows an honor-x or xxx.
Fourth Step: Shows 2 honors, or 1 honor-xx, or xxxx.
Fifth Step: Show 2 honors-x, or 1 honor-xxx, or AKQ.

Note that when the first bid of the responder has already indicated an Ace, then this Ace does not need to be repeated or counted again as a top honor in the fit-inquiring responses.

After the fit-showing response by the responder, the opener has several options explained below:

1. Any relay asks for Voids, Kings, Singletons, and Queens. This is necessary owing to the fact that the possible responses by the responder do not specifically clarify the holding. The responder is, by relay bids, asked to differentiate between, for example: 1. Honor-Honor, or 2. Honor-xx, or 3. xxxx as in the Fourth Step.
2. Any other suit bid asks the responder to describe the fit. The responder reveals the number of honors held and the number of cards held in the suit via the 5 Steps described above.
3. A No Trump bid, which cannot be mistaken for a relay bid, is a request for fit in the suit of the responder, not in the hand of the opener.
4. A non-relay rebid of the suit, in which a request for a fit was made is an absolute sign-off even if no game contract has been reached.

Note: It is also to be noted that the responder may pass under two conditions. The first condition is that the opener has bid a slam contract in a suit, in which the opener has looked for a fit. The second condition is that the opener has rebid, by means of a non-relay call, one of the suits he/she has asked for a fit.

Note: The Gamma Responses can be sometimes complex and both players must be aware of the information provided. These responses are generally employed among more advanced and experienced players, although the intermediate player may find some benefit in their study and application. The problem of competition must also be considered and a defense mechanism devised by the partnership. Generally, if the competition has not interfered in any fashion, as by a double for example, then the partnership continues bidding as if there had been no double.



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.