Of all the most useless conventions ever devised, GERBER has to one of the top 5. Not once in 21 years have I ever used the bloody thing ( and that goes for all my partners as well ). So what possessed me to have kept it on my convention card I do not know. But not now.....because I have come up with a far superior version, which as its inventor I call BIGOT-JOHNSON'S MODIFIED GERBER.
As I see it a " good " convention is one that conveys a lot of useful and relevant information, which comes into play on mumerous occasions. The Gerber 4C, which simply asks for the number of Aces held is both basic and crude. What the enquirer really wants to know is " What Aces ? "
So I have devised a far superior 4C enquiry bid, which I have recently used with great success. Ideally, it works best when the enquirer holds two Aces, but a void in another suit.....or is missing two Aces of the same colour. In some ways it is akin to the way RKCB has superceded ordinary Blackwood ( another naff out-dated and out-moded convention ). My modified Gerber operates as follows :
4C is an enquiry for RED ACES only replies being:
- 4D I have the Ace of Diamonds
- 4H I have the Ace Of Hearts
- 4S None
- 4NT Both
4D is an enquiry for BLACK ACES only replies being :
- 4H I have the Ace of Clubs
- 4S I have the Ace of Spades
- 4NT None
- 5C Both
( Nb. 1. Over any of the 4C replies, players can use 5C as an enquiry for RED KINGS using similar responses, and 5D as an enquiry for BLACK KINGS.
2. Over just 3 of the 4D replies, players can use 5C/5D enquiry bids as indicated above. However over the 5C response one can still use 5D as an enquiry for BLACK KINGS but 5H becomes the enquiry for RED KINGS. Reponses are : 5S = one red king, 5 NT = none, 6C both. )
So yes, I agree this modified Gerber can not necessarily cater for all hands, discovering every possible Ace/King holding in partner's hand....and the 4D-5C-5H-5S sequence doesn't flag up which red king it is......but there are hundreds of slam going hands that would really benefit from such an informative convention as mine. Remember, you still have RKCB in reserve. plus the usual grand slam forcing bids at your disposal. Why just the other day I was dealt AKQJxxx.....KQxx.....AQ....void, and partner held 10x.....Axx....Kxxx....Jxxx
My modified Gerber cracked 7S with both confidence and ease.
2S ( strong ) : 3D ( positive ) : 4C ( enquiry ) : 4H ( heart Ace ) : 5C ( enquiry ): 5D ( diamond King ) : 7S
I wasn't interested in the Ace of clubs. Moreover if partner only holds Ax of hearts, a heart ruff may easily be available, plus a heart discard on dummy's known top diamond.
( Footnote : So I would certainly welcome some constructive criticism and/or comment on my Modified Gerber, especially if there is scope for refinement or improvement. But first why not give it a go, because if like me you had blindly persisted with ordinary Gerber on your convention card, then the time has now come to open your eyes....and adopt an open mind about this new revolutionary slam-seeking gadget. )