This conventional defense method was devised by Mr. Fred Hamilton of California, United States. He was born in the year 1936 and is a professional bridge player and bridge instructor. Among his many wins in his bridge career he is also a World Bridge Federation Grand Master.


Hamilton Defense Method

After the opponents open No Trump, the Hamilton convention is a defensive bid either in the direct seat or in the balancing seat.

The conventional method resembles the Cappelletti defense method and the Bergen Over Weak No Trump defense method in several ways, but has added different meanings to the individual bids. The overcalls and responses are listed below. Source: OEB179.

Note: The bridge student must study the concept of Mr. Fred Hamilton as if the responder to the No Trump bidder has passed and does not compete in any manner. Competitive responses do not negate the Hamilton defense method, but the partnership should adapt and adjust the defense accordingly.

Overcaller - Intervenor Partner - Advancer
2 is a forcing bid showing a one-suiter.
Partner must bid 2. The most important thing to remember is the fact that the bidding so far says nothing about these 2 suits.
Rebids suit or pass: After the forced 2 response from his partner, the overcaller names his suit. If it is Diamonds, he may pass.
For Two-Suited Hands: Meanings
2 : Promises Spades and Hearts.
2 : Promises Hearts and unspecified Minor Suit.
If responder wants to find out which Minor, responder bids 2 No Trump.
2 : Promises Spades and unspecified Minor Suit.
If responder wants to find out which Minor, responder bids 2 No Trump.
2 No Trump: Shows both Minor Suits.
Double: Primarily for penalty; partner can pass.

Each convention used in entering the auction, after one opponent has described his hand exactly, should be studied and applied correctly. In most cases, the opponents will not reach game. Game is possible, however, since the location of the strength by the opponents is a known factor. Reaching the correct contract is the target of the overcaller and his partner, and these different conventions can be useful tools.


The origin of this variation on the core concept of Mr. Fred Hamilton is unknown. As with all defense mechanisms against an opening by an opponent there are variations of the concept based sometimes on the strength of the No Trump range, based on the individual partnership agreement, based on the vulnerability, and therefore become modifications. The following variation carries presently no distinctive designation, but is a variation of the Hamilton concept and is generally employed when the No Trump range is announced as weak.

Double: Penalty Double
2 : Promises either a single-suit in Diamonds, or Hearts and an unspecified Minor suit, or Spades and an unspecified Minor suit.
2 : Promises both Major suits.
2 : Promises a single-suit in Hearts.
2 : Promises a single-suit in Spades.

In the case that the overcaller is already a passed hand, then the overcall changes somewhat as in the following manner:

Double: Promises a single-suit in Clubs / Diamonds / Hearts / Spades and a shorter unspecified Minor suit.
2 : Promises both Minor suits.
2 : Promises both Major suits.
2 : Promises a single-suit in Hearts.
2 : Promises a single-suit in Spades.

Generally after a double, if the rebid of the overcaller is Clubs, then the Club suit is the longer, stronger suit and the Diamond suit is the second, shorter suit.

If, on the other hand, the rebid of the overcaller is Diamonds, then the Diamond suit is the longer, stronger suit and the Club suit is the second, shorter suit.

If a relay bid of 2 Clubs (totally artificial) is used by the advancer, then a raise of one level in Clubs by the overcaller promises Clubs and additional values and a game contract may be considered.

Knowing that Diamonds is the second, shorter suit, the advancer may also correct to Diamonds. If, however, the overcaller passes, then this pass promises that the single suit is Clubs and indicates weakness.

If a relay bid of 2 Clubs is used by the advancer and the rebid by the overcaller is two Diamonds, which also promises Clubs as the second, shorter suit, then the advancer may correct to Clubs as a preference.

Note: In order to discover the single-suit the partnership may employ any method. In order to show additional values, the partnership may also decide to employ jump bids. The cuebid of 2 No Trump is left to the partnership as to whether this bid should be assigned any significance. All responses are per partnership agreement.



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.