Herbert Negative by Advancer

This conventional method was developed and devised by Mr. Walter Herbert, (born 1902 - died 1975), who was born in Germany, but who became a citizen of the United States. He lived in San Diego, California, United States, where he was also the Artistic and later General Director and Conductor of the San Diego Opera. He was also a member of the Austrian Team, which won the first World Championship in 1937.

Clarification of the Concept

The concept behind the Herbert Second Negative conventional method was adopted by many in the bridge community and was also incorporated in the Vienna Bidding System as a main feature, and which was developed and published by Mr. Paul Stern of Vienna, Austria. Mr. Herbert Werner is also pictured in the above photograph.

There are several partnership agreements which cover the responses to a forcing opening on the two level. Fundamentally, most partnerships include the artificial strong, artificial Two Club opening. The responses to such an opening, however, differ among the partnership agreements. Most partnerships agree that a response of Two Diamonds shows a weak hand with fewer than 7 high card points.

The Herbert Second Negative concentrates on this rather large range of 0-7 points to show whether the responder is closer to null high card points or has closer to 7 high card points. The following should illustrate the usefulness of this convention.

Opener   Responder Meaning
2   2 Shows 0 to 7 high card points, first Negative Response.
2     The opener shows his preferred suit.
    2 The responder shows minimum values with the Herbert Second Negative.
Opener   Responder Meaning
2   2 Shows 0 to 7 high card points, first Negative Response.
2     Opener shows his preferred suit.
    2 NT Responder shows minimum values with the Herbert Second Negative.

By making the cheapest possible bid over the rebid of the opener, the responder can show that his values are closer to null and very weak. The rebid by the responder contains no information about his Spade holding. The Herbert Second Negative is completely artificial.

However, in the case that the responder does hold a very good Spade suit, such as the following, then the response methods are changed.

Opener   Responder Meaning
2   2 Shows 0 to 7 high card points, first Negative Response.
2     The opener shows his preferred suit.
    3 The responder jumps to show a weak, but distributionally long Spade suit.

The danger in deciding to continue the bidding with such a distributional holding is quite evident. With such weak values, the partnership is now committed to game in the case that the opener is short or even void in Spades, and is completely single-suited in one of the other three suits. This is a matter of partnership agreement whether or not to show distributional values with very few high card points.



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.