Gerber - A slam convention using the bid of 4 Clubs to ask partner to
disclose the Aces held. Also see
Super Gerber, which requires a
Club jump to initiate Gerber. The most common usage of Gerber to investigate
Ace "controls" is when the partnership has not found a suit fit and have bid Notrump.
While some players reserve Gerber to only include 1 or 2 Notrump opening bids,
many others allow auctions where responder first bids Notrump.
Gerber Slam Bidding - Part 1
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Gerber, Day 1 - Introduction
Part 1 (login to Blog to see Part 2 and 3)
Gerber, Day 2 - Details inside Blog
Part 1 (login to Blog to see Part 2 and 3)
2N - 4C
1N - 2C; (Stayman)
2H - 4C
| 1S - 3N;
responses to the Gerber 4 Club inquiry are:
0 or 4 Aces
Mini Max Gerber
Note: Many advanced players use "keycard" responses instead of the
traditional "Blackwood-like responses" (0314 or 1430). Sometimes
referred to as "Mini-Max Gerber", the third step shows minimum hand, with
the fourth step showing a maximum hand.
If, and only if, the partnership holds all four Aces, the
4 Club Gerber bidder
may next bid 5 Clubs to make a similar inquiry about partner's King
holdings. Conversely, if the 4 Club bidder discovers a partnership
holding of less than four Aces, the player makes a signoff bid of 5 Notrump.
Voids are not considered controls and should
not be bid as Aces.
With a useful "working"
void (not in partner's long suit), Gerber responder may bid:
- 5C with an even number of Aces (5th step)
- With an odd number of Aces, if the void suit is Diamonds or Hearts, and
the trump suit is above the void suit, bid the void suit
Otherwise, bid trump at the
6 level (showing an unspecified void). Partner is left to deduce
the void suit.
see books on
Slam and other slam conventions:
Grand Slam Force,
Jacoby 2 Notrump,
Key Card Blackwood,
Last Train, NAMYATS,
Pick a Slam,
Quantitative Notrump Bid,
Serious 3 Notrump,
Slam Try - Stayman,
Strong Jump Shift, and legacy treatments as
Roman Asking Bids,
Roman Gerber. Slam
also include interference of
an overcall by opponents, as
Negative Slam Double,
The ACBL nominated John Gerber to the "Hall of Fame", offering the
John Gerber won fame as a player, as a strong team captain and as
the inventor of the ace-asking 4 bid that bears his name. A more
important legacy to bridge may be found in the lives he influenced
and continues to influence.
“Chances are that I wouldn't be playing bridge today if it hadn't
been for Gerber,” says Sidney Lazard, considered one of the
all-time greats of the game.
Bobby Wolff, another legendary bridge figure, calls Gerber “a
father figure.” Gerber, Wolff says, “may have had the most
influence on me when I first started to play.”
Gerber (1906–1981) was a strong captain of North American teams
and a fine player in his own right. He won four NABC titles, was
nine times a runner-up and won many regional events. He
represented North America in the Bermuda Bowl in 1961.
In recognition of these achievements, Gerber has been elected
to the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame, the fourth Texan to be so honored
(Wolff, Oswald Jacoby and Jim Jacoby are the others)
Lazard recalls playing with Gerber early in his own career. “I
had about five mentors and he was certainly one of the main ones.
The two strengths of my game — defense and tactics — I learned
from Gerber. “His offensive bidding might have left something to
be desired, but he was a fine defensive player and fine tactical
Gerber was one of the first to realize that if an opponent
discarded a suit and there were four of that suit in dummy, the
opponent likely had five or more. “And that was more than 30 years
ago,” adds Lazard, “long before anyone else even thought about
Wolff recalls kibitzing Gerber. “He had a tremendous feel for
the game. I remember kibitzing once when the bidding went
1–Pass–2–Pass; Pass and he balanced with 3?. He was vulnerable and
if the opponents had stopped to double him, he would have gone
down a bunch.
“Instead, they went to 3 and went down themselves. I asked him
later why he had taken such a risk and his reply was: ‘Did you
check to see what our matchpoint score would have been for minus
110'?” Wolff says Gerber was “a dynamic matchpoint player. It
seemed his score was always 200-plus with 156 average.”
Gerber was no slouch at board-a-match play either. His team
(Mervin Key, Harold Rockaway and Paul Hodge) won the 1964
Reisinger, averaging 71% over four sessions.
His regular Texas Team — Hodge, Ben Fain and George Heath — was
“a very fine team in the Fifties and early Sixties,” recalls Dan
Morse, a fellow Texan who now represents District 16 on the ACBL
Board of Directors.
He also remembers Gerber, an early riser, sitting in the hotel
lobby at NABCs “willing to give advice. He was better at giving
advice than taking it.”
Morse, who has enjoyed considerable success as a non-playing
captain, notes that Gerber was npc of North American teams in
Bermuda Bowl competition in 1962, 1963 and 1965.
In New York in 1962, he split the partnerships of Bobby Nail–Mervyn
Key and Lew Mathe–Ron Von der Porten, putting Mathe and Nail
together as partners in an unusual move that worked well and
almost captured the title from Italy. Gerber, says Morse,
“believed in good card play rather than long-established
June 16, 2006 - EMAIL from Mervin Key to BridgeHands:
Worked well you
say? A little research would have told you that, at the time
Gerber played God by splitting Nail-Key, they had played only
one session, the first, against Italy. They played that
session was against Garozzo-Forquet and, when it was over, NA
led by a substantial number of victory points. Believe me -
I’ve still got the hand records. [clip]
I don’t think
that Dan meant to demean my card play by his add-on remark. In
1962, I was known as being able to play the cards on a par
with anyone – ask Al Roth – ask Ledeen - ask Stucker – ask
Lazard – ask Weed. I wish that Nail, Rockaway, either Jacoby,
Carter, Hubble, Schenken, Crawford, Rapee, Leventritt, Ogust,
Stone, Sobel, Fain,
Hodge, Heath and/or whomever I’m temporarily forgetting were
still around to be asked.
I’ll close by signing my name, but spelled correctly.
The next year in St. Vincent, Italy, he again broke up a long
established partnership, pairing Nail with Howard Schenken and
benching Peter Leventritt and Jim Jacoby. This move was not
successful and may have cost the Americans the championship.
It followed a little known incident that occurred at the time
Gerber arrived at the Grand Hotel Bilia. An anonymous letter
written in Italian was delivered to him. He secured a translator,
but after the first paragraph was read to him, he asked the
translator to stop; to deliver the letter to Italy's captain,
Carl' Alberto Perroux and to explain that Gerber had listened only
to the first paragraph.
The writer had accused the Blue Team of cheating. Perroux,
after reading the letter to his team, suggested that the match be
played with screens running across the tables (this was 12 years
before present-day screens were employed) - but Gerber would have
none of it.
The goodwill engendered by this exchange inspired Perroux and
his team to present their championship trophies to Gerber and the
American team in what was described as the greatest act of
sportsmanship in bridge history.
When Gerber's daring move to pair Schenken with Nail backfired,
he faced a lot of flak, but the Board nevertheless appointed him
captain of the next Bermuda Bowl team in 1965. That was the time
when 2 members of his team brought cheating charges against a
Gerber spent 10 minutes in the grandstand watching the famous
British pair who were accused of using finger signals to tell each
other how many hearts were held. The 10 minutes were enough to
convince him and he became one of the strongest witnesses against
the pair when the World Bridge Federation suspended them.
A very strong captain, Gerber was a great player in his own
right. He represented North America in the Bermuda Bowl in Buenos
Aires 1961 and won the Chicago (now the Reisinger) 1964, Master
Mixed Teams 1964, Men's Pairs 1959, Men's Teams 1953 and placed
2nd in the Spingold 1954, 67; Chicago 1957, 59; Men's Pairs 1957,
Master Mixed Teams 1967, Mixed Pairs 1953, 68; Life Master Men's
Pairs 1974. (See BUENOS AIRES AFFAIR)