Helvic is a bidding method after your side has opened 1NT and the opponents double for penalty.

Partner Opp 1 You Opp 2
1NT X ? 

Partner Opp 1 You Opp 2
1NT Pass Pass X

After the opposing double, the "wriggle" bids are:

Bid Meaning
Pass   Requires partner to make an artificial redouble. Shows the two "non-touching" suit combinations:
  • Clubs and hearts (4-4 or better). After partner's redouble, bid 2. Partner can pass or correct to 2.
  • Diamonds and spades (4-4 or better). After partner's redouble, bid 2. Partner can pass or correct to 2.
XX Requires partner to bid an artificial 2. Shows a one-suited hand. With clubs, simply pass partner's 2 bid; otherwise, correct to 2//.

2 Shows clubs and diamonds (4-4 or better). Partner can pass with club tolerance, or correct to 2 with longer diamonds.

2 Shows diamonds and hearts.

2 Shows hearts and spades.

2 Shows clubs and spades.

Compared to other runout systems, I think Helvic is easy to remember because the two-level responses show "touching" suits, similar to touching escapes. My only concern is the 2 bid showing clubs and spades. With no spade support, partner may be forced to bid 3, a potentially precarious contract.


The Helvic Wriggle originated in the UK, where a "wriggle" system for 1NT-doubled has the same meaning as an "escape" or "runout" system in the U.S. You say football, I say soccer.

See also

  • Brozel Escapes
    An escape system based on the Brozel convention.

  • Dig-Out
    An escape system that emphasizes 2-suiters with spades.

  • Exit Transfers
    An escape system that uses transfer bids.

  • Meckwell Escapes
    An escape system used by American experts Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell.

  • Moscow Escapes
    An escape system with suit runouts very similar to the DONT convention.

  • Owen Wriggle
    An escape system (wriggle) that includes a multi-purpose forcing pass and 2 bid to show any 2-suiter.

  • Staveley Wriggle
    An escape system (wriggle) with a "multi" style 2 runout.

    An escape system by Australians Bob Sebesfi and Paul Woods.

  • Touching Escapes
    An escape system that uses suit bids to show "touching" 2-suiters.

  • Twisted SWINE
    A variation of the SWINE convention.