At Bridge Club Live, we allow all bidding systems and conventions that are permitted under

“World Bridge Federation (WBF) Category 3”
“English Bridge Union (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 want to review what we permit. What we strongly recommend 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 defences without taking up time at the start of a match. We may require some pairs to do this.


Extracts from the WBF Systems Policy:

2.0 Preamble
3. References to High Card Points in this document are Milton Work Points.
4. In the following ‘Weak’ means 9 points or less and ‘Strong’ means 16 points or more.
2.1 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:

    • By 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 Pass
    • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level may be made with 7 High Card Points or less
    • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level shows either three cards or more, or two cards or less in a specified suit
    • By partnership agreement an opening bid at the one level shows either three cards or more in one specified suit or three cards or more 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’:
Any opening bid of two clubs through three spades that:
could be made on 9 High Card Points or less
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 with 13 High Card Points or more. (Explanation: Where all the weak meanings show at least four cards in one known suit, and the strong meanings show a hand with 13 High Card Points or more, 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.
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.
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.
Psychic bids protected by system or required by system.
None of the foregoing restrictions pertain to conventional defences against forcing, artificial opening bids or defences against ‘Brown Sticker’ or HUM.
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 artificial.
2.4 Encrypted Signals
Additional to the restrictions on bidding methods and conventions above, players may not use signaling methods by which the message or messages conveyed by the signals are hidden from the declarer because of some key available only to the defenders (i.e. encrypted signals are not allowed).
2.5 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.


This page updated 30 June 2020

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