Swiss raises are artificial 4C and 4D raises of a 1H or 1S opening bid. According to the Encyclopedia of Bridge, they show a game-forcing 13-15 HCP with 4+ card support.1 The meanings of 4C/D vary - below are some playable treatments. In each style, 4C shows a better hand than 4D.

Trumps

In this approach, clubs and diamonds show different levels of trump strength:

  • 4C shows 4 trumps with at least two of the top three honors, OR 5 trumps with the ace or king.
  • 4D shows lesser trump strength.

Controls

Using this method, clubs and diamonds distinguish the quality of controls:

  • 4C shows 3 controls (i.e. 3 aces OR 2 aces + the trump king)
  • 4D shows fewer controls.

Value Swiss

Instead of 13-15 HCP, the raises may be distinguished by points. The following approach is outlined in Bill Root and Richard Pavlicek's "Modern Bridge Conventions".2 This treatment was part of the Aces Scientific system, played by the former 1960s and 1970s Aces teams in the U.S.:

  • 4C shows 14-16 HCP, balanced, with 4+ card support.
  • 4D shows 12-14 HCP, balanced, with 4+ card support.

However, Aces founder Ira Corn originally defined the point ranges more narrowly 3:

  • 4C shows 15-16 HCP, balanced, with 4+ card support.
  • 4D shows 13-14 HCP, balanced, with 4+ card support.


In Competition

Swiss raises are on if 4C and 4D are jump bids.


Example

The following is from Victor Mollo's pantheon of delightful bridge players that include the Hideous Hog and the Rueful Rabbit.4 It features a bidding accident rather than a success, but is worth sharing for entertainment value. Note that in this deal, Swiss is intended to show a singleton, not a balanced hand.

"We are going to let the Hideous Hog tell the full story of today's hand. He had been asked why he was so unkind to the Rueful Rabbit.

"He replied, 'Let me tell you what happened to me the other day. The Rabbit met me on the way to the club and said he wanted to play that new Swiss gadget where the jump response of four clubs to a major opening showed a good fit, a couple of aces and a singleton. I begged him not to play it. I said that I was unfamiliar with it and did everything in my power to discourage him to no avail. He had read about it, liked it and was going to play it.

Rabbit
J
-
WestQJ42East
T9864QJT87652532
AT9J653
653HogAK97
93SAKQ7A4
HKQ8742
DT8
CK

West

Pass
All Pass
Rabbit

4

East

Pass

Hog
1H
4D

Opening lead - D3


"'I cut him the first rubber... I picked up this nice hand and opened one heart. The Rabbit bid four clubs and everything looked fine. His Swiss gadget had come up and it just might work. I bid four diamonds to mark time and West asked "was that the Swiss Convention?"

"'No one answered but when the Rabbit turned several shades of purple I knew we were gone. Things looked even worse when he passed.

"'East took his ace and king of diamonds [and led a third round]. I discarded my king of clubs and led dummy's queen. My only hope was that the heart and club aces were split and that whoever took the club ace would lead a spade, not a heart. Sure enough, East took his ace of clubs and led a spade. I let it ride to dummy's jack, drew the last trump and made my contract.'"

References

1 Manley, Brent (Ed.). (2011). The Official ACBL Encyclopedia of Bridge.

2 Root, B. and Pavlicek, R. (1995). Modern Bridge Conventions.

3 Corn, Ira G. (1970, December 1). Bridge. The Evening News, p. 3B.

4 Jacoby, O. and Jacoby, J. (1967, September 22). Win at Bridge. Indiana Evening Gazette, p. 18.

See also

  • Jacoby 2NT
    A 2NT response to 1/ showing game-forcing support.

  • Splinters
    A double-jump shift to show unbalanced, game-forcing support in response to a major suit.

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