The Drury Convention


The Drury Convention is an artificial 2C response that's used by a passed hand after partner opens 1H or 1S in third or fourth seat. It shows 3+-card trump support and maximum playing values (10+ support points). Drury is a very valuable convention that comes up frequently, is easy to remember and can dramatically improve your bidding accuracy. Here's the type of problem it solves:

J43 A75 KQ532 64 -- You pass and partner opens 1S in third seat. Without Drury, you have a choice of four possibly disastrous responses:

1 - You make a limit-raise to 3S and go down because partner opened light.

2 - You raise conservatively to 2S, partner passes, and you make 10 tricks because he had a full opener. 

3 - You bid 1NT (forcing or standard), partner passes, and you get a poor score because the rest of the field is playing in their 8-card spade fit. 

4 - You try a "temporizing" 2D, partner passes and you get an even worse score.

A Drury 2C response shows your support and strength right away, allowing you to bid your hand's full value without getting too high. It gives you a built-in safety valve if partner has opened light and it helps opener evaluate chances for game.

Drury is used only when you're a passed hand and partner has opened 1H or 1S in third or fourth seat. If you have 6-9 points, you make your normal raise to 2 of the major. If you're stronger, you use the Drury 2C response, which always shows:

1 - At least 3-card support for partner's major.

2 - A maximum passed hand (10+ support pts.).

Two-Way Drury

Some pairs use a modification called Two-Way Drury, where a 2C response shows exactly 3-card support and a 2D response promises 4+-card support. This takes away your ability to make a natural 2C or 2D response, but the information about the extra trump can often improve opener's ability to evaluate game chances.

Yet another treatment is Two-Way Reverse Drury, where 2C shows the 4-card raise and 2D shows the 3-card raise. This approach seems inferior for a number of reasons. One is that if you're going to use up the extra bidding room with 2D instead of 2C, it ought to tell opener something extra about your hand. This bidding space may be needed when opener has a full, but minimum opener (12-13 pts.). If you use "normal" Two-Way Drury and bid 2C with 3-card support, opener has a 2D bid available to show this hand. But if you use 2D to show 3-card support, opener will have to rebid 2 of his suit with minimum and sub-minimum hands. If responder has extra playing strength, he'll have to guess about whether or not it's safe to bid on.

Evaluating your hand

A Drury 2C response is encouraging, but it doesn't promise a strong game invitation. To use Drury, you should have something better than just a maximum high-card-point single raise, and you'll often have to come up with a descriptive rebid to pinpoint your strength. Here are some examples of responding hands after partner opens 1H:

AK43 1097 J10864 -- Bid 2C. This is only 8 high-card points, but it evaluates to 10 support points.

963 Q102 KJ84 KJ4 -- Bid 2C. This is a dead-minimum Drury bid, and you'll show it by making a minimum rebid in hearts at your next turn (or by passing if partner rebids 2H).

Q874 AJ954 K43 -- Bid 2C (or 2D if you play Two-Way Drury). This is a fairly strong Drury hand, and you plan to bid 4H if partner's rebid shows he has a full opener. But don't hang him for opening light -- if partner rebids 2H to show a sub-minimum, you should pass.

KJ3 842 Q754 QJ4 -- Bid 2H. This is a flat 9 pts. with poor trumps, so just make a simple raise.


Opener's Rebids

Opener's rebid over 2C shows whether or not he has a "full" opening bid. A popular treatment (called "Reverse Drury") uses the rebid of his suit to show the bad hand. Most other bids are natural and show at least a full opener. The meanings are:

Other rebid strategies

You and your partner can assign any meanings you like to opener's rebids. My friend Tom Oppenheimer of St. Louis uses a modification of opener's 2NT and 3NT rebids that can be especially valuable for finding short-point slams. Here's how it works:

After a Drury response (regular or two-way), opener's rebid of 3NT shows the strong notrump hand (15-17 high-card points, balanced distribution). Opener's rebid of 2NT is artificial and asks responder to further describe his hand. Responder does this with a set of rebids that are identical to those used by opener over the Jacoby 2NT convention. After 1S - Drury 2C/2D - 2NT, the meanings of responder's rebids are:

Choosing your rebid

You open 1S in third seat and partner bids 2C (Drury). What is your rebid?

AQJ54 1032 J2 K64 -- Bid 2S to show a sub-minimum. Partner will almost always pass.

KQJ73 102 AQ1065 -- Bid 4S. There's no point in bidding 3C, which will only serve to give the opponents information.

Q10975  AQ7 AJ96 3 -- Bid 3D, which shows a game-try (or better) and will help partner evaluate his hand. You have only 13 high-card pts., but if partner has fitting honors in diamonds, you should have good chances to make 4S.

KJ9543 32 AK3 Q5 -- Bid 3S to invite game. If partner has more than a minimum Drury response, he'll bid 4S.

KQ653 AQ QJ2  A103 -- Bid 3NT to offer a choice of games. Partner can pass with balanced strength or go back to 4S if he has a ruffing value.

AKJ842 A94 KQ5  4 -- Bid 4C, a splinter showing a singleton club and slam interest. If partner has his high-card strength outside clubs, he'll cooperate with a cuebid. If he bids 4S, he probably has wasted club honors, and you'll pass.

A9875 KQ103 A10 74 -- Bid 2H. This shows a full opener and a 4-card heart suit, but it doesn't necessarily promise extra strength. If partner raises to 3H, you'll bid 4H. If he retreats to 2S, he has a minimum (and probably wasn't encouraged by your heart bid), and you can pass.

K8543 A62 AQ3 54 -- Bid 2D. This tells partner you have a full opener, but that you aren't strong enough to accept a normal game invitation. If partner has maximum playing strength, this provides some encouragement. If he has a balanced minimum, he can retreat to 2S and you can pass.


Copyright   Karen Walker