## Denial Cuebids

Denial Cuebids (invented by David Cliff) are an efficient way to cuebid controls. George Rosenkranz calls them Spiral Scan Cuebids (or just Spiral). The book on the Ultimate Club calls them Variable Cuebids. Denial Cuebids are used after relays (See Intro to Relays - A 2D Relay Stayman) have been used to show responder's (relayer's partner) exact (complete) distribution. Denial may also work well when responder has not shown his/her exact distribution, and in non-relay bidding systems (see the end of this article). Also, Amalya Kearse's Bridge Conventions Complete shows a completely different convention which is also called Denial Cuebids.

With some relays for other purposes (depending on the system), responder has shown his/her exact distribution (2-5-3-3 perhaps). Relayer then relays repeatedly (or just once or twice) and responder cuebids controls. The relay bid is the cheapest possible bid, except 3NT, 4H, or 4S which are natural signoffs. If one of these bids is cheapest, then the next cheapest bid is the relay. With each response, responder shows or denies control in one or more suits. And these suits are shown with longest first, second longest second, etc. If there is a tie, then the higher ranked suit is shown first. In our example distribution (2-5-3-3), hearts are shown first, then diamonds, then clubs, then spades.

Let's say that we are beginning to cuebid controls. Relayer bids the cheapest bid (perhaps 4C was last bid; so 4D is cheapest), which is a relay, and shows nothing about his/her hand, except a desire to cuebid controls. The relay asks about aces (or maybe aces and kings or even any high honor depending on your cuebidding style). In our example, responder's distribution was 2-5-3-3, so he/she shows hearts first, diamonds second, etc. He/she bids the cheapest bid (4H) to deny a control in hearts. With a control in hearts, and no control in diamonds, he/she skips a bid and bids 4S. With controls in hearts and diamonds, and with no control in clubs, he/she skips two bids and bids 4NT (denies the third control). Responder can show all four controls. If there are still controls left to be shown or denied in this round (if there are still suits not shown) then the next relay asks about further controls of that round. After a round of controls has been shown, the relayer can then ask about the next round of controls. Third and fourth round controls can be shown or denied, if there is bidding room.

In the above example (2-5-3-3) we can ignore spades (which has only two cards) after two rounds of controls have been shown or denied. In other situations, we can ignore singletons after one round of controls. And of course, there is no need to show or deny a void. To summarize:

• Step 1=denies control in first (longest) suit.
• Step 2=shows control in first suit, and denies control in second suit.
• Step 3=shows control in first two suits, and denies control in third suit.
• etc.

An alternative to Denial Cuebids is to relay while responder cuebids controls normally, as in non-relay bidding. This is more efficient than normal cuebidding (as relays conserve bidding space), but less efficient than Denial (usually).

It would seem that Denial Cuebids can be used in non-relay systems, when responder's exact distribution is unknown. However, a few changes must be made to the idea. The suit order is still from longest to shortest. If responder has shown a long heart suit (and not any other suit, so relayer does not know which suit is second longest), then the order is hearts, spades, diamonds, clubs. Voids and singletons should probably be shown as controls. In a non-relay auction, the first cuebid would not necessarily be a relay. If one of the players is obviously the captain, then the first cuebid by the other hand should probably be a Denial Cuebid, even without partner's relay.