5 Conventions (And Why They’re Called That)

This week, it was time to get back to bridge conventions. While looking them up, I wondered just why these conventions are called what they are in the first place – and I’m sure I’m not the only player out there who has wondered.

Sam Stayman

Here are 5 conventions and why they’re called that.

The Stayman Convention

  • Stayman finds a 4-4 (or 5-3) fit in the right suit.

The initial inventors of the Stayman convention are agreed to be Jack Marx (in 1939) and George Rapee (1944), but it was eventually named after bridge player Sam Stayman.

Why is it named after Stayman?

While he didn’t invent it, he published this convention before everyone else – and eventually, everyone was just in agreement that this one would be called Stayman and that was it.

Easely Blackwood

The Blackwood Convention

  • Blackwood is used when asking for Aces.

How the Blackwood convention came to be is a pretty straightforward story, really: it’s named for Easley Blackwood, a player who devoted the majority of his life to the game of bridge – and served as executive secretary of the ACBL from 1968 to 1971.

His son is Blackwood Jr, and happens to be a classical musician.

Now you know!

John Gerber

The Gerber Convention

  • Gerber is also used when asking for Aces – and usually uses the 4♣ to do it.

The Gerber convention was first described by William Konigsberger and Win Nye.

Obviously, it was not named after either of them.

It was eventually named for John Gerber, a bridge player from Texas who made this convention popular. In 1998, Gerber was included in the ACBL Hall of Fame.

See? It has nothing to do with the baby food brand.

The Cappelletti Convention

Michael Cappalletti
  • Cappelletti is used against a 1NT opening.

The Cappelletti convention just sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? Like it’s going to annihilate you.

Getting back on topic, it was named after Michael Cappelletti. Born in Rhode Island and educated as a lawyer – he was also very well known as a bridge and poker player.

How much did he love bridge? More than 24, 000 Masterpoints worth, apparently. Not bad.

The Meckwell Convention

Rodwell and Meckstroth
  • Meckwell is used as a defense against a 1NT opening.

Again, if you’ve ever wondered how we got to Meckwell, this convention is named after the successful bridge partnership of Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell.

Hence the name, Meckwell.

Because Strothrod wouldn’t really have taken off.