Branford-Madison Bridge Club
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Your Directors

Don Brueggemann - - 203-415-6600

Sarah Corning - - 203-215-3963

Rick Seaburg - - 203-915-5987

Rick Townsend - - 860-249-6266

Bill Segraves - - 475-900-6797

Document Library

Documents Listed:

  • Convention Chart for Our Club - ACBL Basic Convention Chart
  • ACBL Alert Procedure
  • Psychic Bids
  • Zero Tolerance





Effective November 22, 2018 there are 4 new convention charts – Basic, Basic+, Open and Open+. The new convention charts are available for download at On Basic and Basic+ convention charts bidding agreements are disallowed unless they are specifically allowed. The Basic and Basic+ convention charts list allowed bids, while the Open and Open+ convention charts list what is disallowed. Lead and carding agreements are the same on all 4 convention charts.

Clubs are free to use whatever rules they want. Traditionally the Branford Bridge Club has utilized the General Convention Chart (GCC) as the rule governing bidding and play in this club. The new convention chart most like the GCC is the Basic Convention Chart. Because our club has a number of “novice” and non-LM players, and beginning players are encouraged to come and play, the authorized chart will be the Basic Convention Chart. Please note that all the conventions and systems permitted on the “Basic” chart are all the systems and conventions that are used by almost all players that play in Branford. If your conventions are not authorized on the Basic Convention Chart, please discuss your bids with the director.

Basic Chart – Legal opening bids:

  • At least 10 HCP or meets the “Rule of 19” (HCP + length of the 2 longest suits must be 19 or more)
  • Short Club
  • Precision Club
  • Flannery
  • Mini-Roman
  • Weak and standard No Trump (10+ HCP, range not greater than 5 HCP)
  • 4 card majors (or 5 card majors)
  • Weak 2 bids (at least 4 HCP, range not greater than 7 HCP)
  • Namyats
  • Gambling 3 No Trump



  • Any natural response
  • Forcing 1 No Trump
  • 2/1 game force
  • Stayman and transfers
  • Jacoby 2 NT
  • Bergen raises.
  • Drury (an artificial 2C or 2D by a passed hand showing a raise of Opener).
  • Any artificial negative response to a strong opening bid.

Overcalls and Competitive Bids:

  • All natural overcalls
  • All doubles and redoubles, and all calls by both sides after a double or redouble.
  • All artificial cuebids (by either pair), except a cuebid that could be weak must show at least one known suit. All responses to a cuebid are allowed.
  • A 2NT overcall showing at least 5/4 distribution in the minors or in the two lowest unbid suits.
  • After partner’s natural 1NT overcall, and artificial advance.
  • After an opponent’s natural NT opening bid or overcall:
    • An artificial 2C having any meaning.
    • An artificial bid showing 2 known suits with 4/4 length or better.
    • An artificial bid showing a known 5+ card suit.
    • A natural bid showing 4+ cards in the suit bid and another known or unknown suit of 4+ cards.
  • In response to partner’s overcall showing an unknown suit or suits, any call asking for partner’s longest or cheapest unknown suit (e.g., “pass or correct” calls).
  • An artificial NT overcall at any level for 2-suited or 3-suited takeout. A 1NT bid in this category must show at least Near-Average strength (at least 8 HCP).
  • After opponent’s Artificial opening bid, any Artificial defense.

Lead and Carding Agreements (the same on all 4 convention charts).

  • Encrypted signals are never allowed when leading, following suit, or discarding.
  • Opening lead – any method can be used on opening lead (leading low from doubletons must be pre-alerted).
  • First discard – Any method may be used on the first discard.
  • Except for the first discard, only high-to-low or low-to-high ordering strategies are allowed when following suit or discarding.


Any opening bid, response, or overcall in a suit at the 1 level is “natural” if it shows 4 or more cards in the suit bid, except for 1 Club and 1 Diamond, which can be based on a 3-card holding (in a 4-4-3-2 pattern, 1 Club can be “natural” with only 2 cards). Methods are generally allowed unless they are expressly prohibited within the chart.

Whether intentional or not, the definition for a No Trump opening bid has been changed in the new chart definitions. The new definition states, “A NT opening bid or overcall that contains no voids, no more than one singleton, which must be an Ace, King or Queen, and that does not contain 10 or more cards in two suits combined.”

If you have questions about the new convention charts send an email to (don’t ask me).


The ACBL Board of Directors unanimously approved a comprehensive update to the ACBL Alert Procedure at their November meeting, the first major overhaul in 20 years. The new procedures go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. The full document is available here.

Bridge has never been a game of secret agreements. Your opponents are entitled to know just as much about what your bids mean as you do. Alerts have always been about making that process easier. Whether or not a call requires an Alert, you have an obligation to explain all of your partnership understandings related to that call upon the request of an opponent.


The first changes are at the beginning of the round. As before, you must pre-Alert the opponents if you play canape methods or different systems depending on seat or vulnerability (but not just because you play different ranges for opening 1NT). Additionally you now are required to pre-Alert if you play a system that includes at least one one-level opening bid that is not natural or that is forcing. This can be as simple as saying, “We play a strong club” or “We play 1♣ could be short.” You are no longer required to pre-Alert if you lead low from small doubletons. However, if you play this, it must be included in your answer when a declarer asks about your leads and carding.

Alert changes

The new Alert procedure starts from the principle that natural calls are not Alerted, and that artificial calls are Alerted. It then gives the deviations from that principle, spelling out the natural calls that must be Alerted (for example, a response to a one-level opening bid that is not forcing), and the artificial calls that do not require Alerts (for example, Stayman). The most common calls that have had their Alertability changed are as follows:

  • In an uncontested auction, no natural jumpshift (whether weak, intermediate or strong) requires an Alert.
  • A direct cuebid that is not Michaels (showing both majors over a minor, or a major and an unspecified minor over a major) requires an Alert.
  • Support doubles and redoubles no longer require an Alert.
  • An opening 2♣ bid that does not meet the definition of Very Strong requires an Alert. (This tends to apply to partnerships who agree to open 2♣ on hands with good playing strength, but many fewer high cards than normal. See the Convention Chart for the exact definition to see if it applies to you.)

Announcement changes

There were also a few changes to Announcements, with the biggest change for transfers. Instead of saying the word “transfer,” the Announcement is now the name of the suit being transferred to. For example, in the auction 1NT–2♥, where partner’s 2♥ showed spades, instead of Announcing “transfer,” you will now Announce “spades.”

This Announcement is used in any situation where your partner is showing length in a specific other suit, as well as for doubles or redoubles that show the next suit up. For example, if you play that 2♠ shows clubs in the auction 1NT–2♠, then you would announce “clubs.” However, if you play that 2♠ shows either minor in the auction 1NT–2♠, then you must say “Alert,” even if the 1NT opener is expected to always bid clubs.

An example of the rule for doubles is if you play that after a 1♣ opening is overcalled with 1♦, that a double shows hearts (and says nothing about spades as a traditional negative double would), then you would announce “hearts” when your partner doubled. Traditional negative doubles are never Alerted or Announced.

Instead of saying “could be short” for a non-forcing minor-suit opening that might contain fewer than three cards, you must say the minimum number of cards in the suit, as in “Could be one.”

If you have the agreement to routinely bypass a four-card spade suit to bid a forcing or semi-forcing 1NT over 1♥, then you add “could have four spades” to the “forcing” or “semiforcing” Announcement. This is most likely applicable to pairs playing Flannery.

Delayed Alerts

The rules for delayed Alerts have slightly changed, with the main difference being that at the end of the auction, the declaring side should explain any delayed Alerts and point out any control bids that were made during the auction without a requirement for the defense to ask about them. By having the declaring side explain these calls without prompting, there should be fewer cases of the person not on lead asking about calls before they should.

Learning curve

In any time of change, there will be people who make honest mistakes trying to apply the new rules, and there are no automatic penalties for making a mistake. As with the old rules, be guided by the principle that the goal of the Alert procedure is to let the opponents know what you play.

"Psychic" Bids

"Psyche" Bids - I was asked about a policy for Branford Bridge Club concerning "psyche" bids. The definition of a "psyche" bid is an intentionally misleading call which departs from accepted partnership agreements and is designed to confuse the opponents. The ACBL policy on psychic bidding is that if a player makes more than 2 psychic calls per session he will have the burden of proving that he is not using frivolous or unsportsmanlike bidding and can be barred from making any future "psyche" bid. Note that the partner of the "psyche" bidder must also be as "psyched" by the bid as the opponents, if the partner is not "psyched", then there will be a score adjustment. If there is an UNintentional misleading call, even if the opponents are confused by the bid, it is NOT a "psyche" bid and there will be no score adjustment. This policy was previously published by me in a handout to the Branford Bridge Club in 2017. 


"Zero Tolerance" - Players at the Branford Bridge Club are supposed to practice "Zero Tolerance" in their actions during play. I encourage everyone to "play nice". It is important that you value your partner (your partner is the only one in the room on your side) - save your analysis and lessons for the postmortem. Behavior which should not be tolerated in Branford is badgering, rudeness, intimidation, profanity, negative comments concerning opponents' or partner's play or bidding, constant and gratuitous lessons, and analysis at the table. Call the director if you encounter any of this behavior.

How to Find a Partner

There are several ways to find a partner on this website, and one way to register for a game.

1. The "Calendar Month" menu will show if there is any player looking for a partner in a specific event. To contact that player, click on the player’s name to send an email and set up a partnership. 

2.To list your name on the “Calendar” for a Partner or to Register for a game sign in to the “Membership” menu item.

a. To access this area, you must enter a password which you do the first time you access this site. If this is the first time that you are visiting the “Members Only” site, click “Set/Reset Password. Note – the “Register” button is for non-members that are interested in joining the club and need a special code.

b. On the site is a list of available tournaments on the schedule, and you will see 3 potential boxes (not all boxes are set for all games). The 3 boxes are PR for "Partner required"; NP for "Unavailable" (Not Playing) and PL for "Playing".  Place a check mark in a box to indicate that you need a partner or that you are registering to play in an event - in that case enter your partner's name, and this will be entered on the “Calendar”.

c. Then click the “Confirm” button – one is located at the top and bottom of the page.

d. Requests for a Partner or to place a Reservation for a game will show in the Calendar and can be removed using the same technique.

3. Another option is to click on the "Find a Partner" button in the menu. You will see a list of all the people looking for partners - sorted by game date. There is also a “link” to the Calendar where you will see who is looking for a partner and where you can enter a request for a partner for a particular game.

4. Choose your prospective partner and send an email by clicking on partner’s name.

5. Removing your “Find a Partner” or "Registration" listing. You are the only person who can remove your entry.

a. To remove the entry, log into the "Membership" area and follow the instructions above for "Posting a request".

b. Remove the checkbox you created. 

c. Click the Confirm button (at the top and bottom of the page).