Last Updated on 21 September 2017

At BridgeClubLive, we allow all bidding systems and conventions that are permitted either under “WBF Category 3” or “EBU Level 4”. This means that we do not permit use of “Brown Sticker” Conventions or “HUMs” unless a Brown Sticker convention is specifically permitted under EBU Level 4.

This means that for the vast and huge majority of players, you are able to play all the conventions that you normally play at f2f (face to face) events.

The rest of this page beyond these opening paragraphs is extracted from the Systems Policy page on the WBF web site and defines the Brown Sticker conventions and HUMs and non-permitted “Random Openings” under Clause 2.6.

The current EBU Level 4 is available in the latest version of its Blue Book which may be found on the EBU web site in the “Laws and Ethics” section.

If you would like any advice on permissions, please e-mail

Those who use agreements that are near the limit of permissibility should note that we expect you to provide good disclosure. If we were to be made aware of any significant number of disclosure issues, we would to review what we permit. What we strongly recommended is that if you have a match due for a Special Competition event, you offer your opponents notes of your system so that they can devise defence without taking up time at the start of a match.


From the WBF Systems Policy:  

2.1 General

Average Hand

a hand containing 10 high card points (Milton Work) with no distributional values;


high card strength below that of an average hand;


high card strength a king or more greater than that of an average hand;


a call or play that is not a convention [“special partnership understanding” as defined in Law 40B1(a)];


three cards or more;


two cards or less;

2.2 HUM Systems

For the purpose of this Policy, a Highly Unusual Method (HUM) means any System that exhibits one or more of the following features, as a matter of partnership agreement:

  • A Pass in the opening position shows at least the values generally accepted for an opening bid of one, even if there are alternative weak possibilities
  • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level may be weaker than
  • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level may be made with values a king or more below average
  • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level shows either length or shortage in a specified suit
  • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level shows either length in one specified suit or length in another.

EXCEPTION: one of a minor in a strong club or strong diamond system

2.4 Brown Sticker Conventions and Treatments

The following conventions or treatments are categorised as ‘Brown Sticker’:

a.   Any opening bid of two clubs through three spades that:

could be weak (may by agreement be made with values below average strength)


does not promise at least four cards in a known suit.

EXCEPTION: The bid always shows at least four cards in a known suit if it is weak. If the bid does not show a known four card suit it must show a hand a king or more over average strength. (Explanation: Where all the weak meanings show at least four cards in one known suit, and the strong meanings show a hand with a king or more above average strength, it is not a Brown Sticker Convention.)

EXCEPTION: a two level opening bid in a minor showing a weak two in either major, whether with or without the option of strong hand types containing 16 high card points or more, or with equivalent values. Defensive measures are permitted for opponents as in 6 below.

  1. An overcall of a natural opening bid of one of a suit that does not promise at least four cards in a known suit

EXCEPTION: A natural overcall in no trumps.

EXCEPTION: any cue bid suit that shows a strong hand.

EXCEPTION: a jump cue bid in opponent’s known suit that asks partner to bid 3NT with a stopper in that suit.

  1. Any ‘weak’ two-suited bids at the two or three level that may by agreement be made with three cards or fewer in one of the suits.
  2. Psychic bids protected by system or required by system.
  3. None of the foregoing restrictions pertain to conventional defences against forcing, artificial opening bids or defences against ‘Brown Sticker’ or HUM.
  4. For the avoidance of doubt an opening bid of one club which may be made on a doubleton or singleton club and which is ostensibly natural and non-forcing should be regarded as natural and not .

2.6 Random Openings

It is forbidden to open hands which, by agreement, may contain fewer than 8 high card points and for which no further definition is provided.

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