Matthew Johnson

Page Body

General Swiss

General swiss is a slam try system that checks for both first- and second-round controls and can stop in 4-major rather than 5 with insufficient controls. It's based on a control-point-counting system in which an Ace is worth 2, a King is worth 1, a non-trump singleton is worth 1 and the Queen of trumps is worth 1.

There are a total of 13 control points available. With all 13 you should be bidding a grand slam. With 12 you are missing a king or the queen of trumps and can clearly bid a small slam. With 11 you are either missing an ace and no kings, or two kings and no aces. This again should be good for a small slam (even if it needs one of two finesses). With only 10 you can be missing AK in the same suit, so you will settle in game. This does mean you don't play in slams with A and K missing in different suits, which may be on a finesse. The only further difficulty is the problem of your 11 points including a king or a singleton in the same suit, which is addressed in the continuations.

General Swiss is intiated by either bidding 4♣ or 4. This generally will apply in any situation that both 4♣ and 4 are a slam try agreeing the same suit.

  • 4♣— 4 or 6 control points
    • Trump suit—0–4 CPs (sign off)
    • 4—5–6 CPs (relay)
      • Trump suit—4 CPs (sign off)
      • Other suits—6 CPs (accept), lowest king/singleton (checking for duplication)
    • Other suits—7 or 9 CPs (accept), lowest king/singleton (checking for duplication)
    • Small slam—8 CP (to play)
    • Grand slam—10+ CP (to play)
  • 4— 5 or 7 control points
    • Trump suit—0–3 CPs (sign off)
    • 4—4–5 CPs (relay)
      • Trump suit—5 CPs (sign off)
      • Other suits—7 CPs (accept), lowest king/singleton (checking for duplication)
    • Other suits—6 or 8 CPs (accept), lowest king/singleton (checking for duplication)
    • Small slam—7 CP (to play)
    • Grand slam—9+ CP (to play)

While cueing kings/singletons, 4NT shows a singleton or king which can't be shown below 5 of the trump suit (usually diamonds over clubs) and asks partner to signoff appropriately depending on duplication.

If you find duplication in kings/singletons subtract one CP and sign off at the appropriate level. If your partner signs off and you have 2 as-yet unshown CPs, raise one level.

Very strong or weak hands

If the hand bidding Swiss has shown a GF (opening a strong 2- or 3-level option, 1 and a jump rebid, or 1 and a 2NT rebid), add 2 to all numbers. If it has shown a weak hand (opening a weak 2- or 3-level option or giving a 0–7 response to 1 or opening 9–11 1NT), subtract 2 from all numbers. Direct swiss over a 3-level bid that may be weak or strong assumes weak for counting control points.

The numbers given for responses obviously vary by two in the other direction.

The problem with hearts

There is a small problem if you have 7 CPs and are agreeing hearts, since in that case, there is no available next step. In this case you may wish to show 6 CPs and ignore one point of duplication.


After interference direct over the start of General Swiss:

  • Pass—would sign-off in game (forcing)
  • X or XX—next-step
  • Suits—Accepting the slam try and checking for duplication as normal
  • Slams—to play

After interference direct after a non-signoff response to Swiss:

  • Pass—would sign-off in game (forcing)
  • X or XX—a second-round control in that suit
  • Suits—a second-round control in that suit
  • Slams—to play

Back to bridge systems