The Drury convention is a bridge convention, used to show a game-invitational major suit raise by a passed hand while guarding against a light opening by partner in third or fourth seat. It is initiated by an artificial and forcing 2♣ response by the passed hand to a 1♥ or 1♠ opening by partner. The 2♣ bid shows at least 3-card support for opener's suit with 10-12 support points and asks opener to clarify the strength of his opening hand.
Origins and purpose
The convention was originated by Canadian Douglas Drury (1914-1967) to manage his then playing partner Eric Murray's (b1928) propensity to open light in third seat.  Opening light (i.e. with marginally less than normal values) in the third seat is a common and effective bidding tactic because the player in the fourth seat may well have the best hand at the table and be poised to open the bidding given the opportunity. A third seat light opening, especially in a major suit, will act preemptively to make it harder for that player to enter the bidding. However, this creates two problems:
- a simple change of suit is no longer a forcing bid and
- responding partner, already a passed hand, is unsure if his opening partner has a normal or light opening and any jump response could get the parthership too high.
The traditional method for showing good support for opener's suit is to jump to the 3-level (e.g., 1♥ - 3♥). On those occasions when partner has opened light, this may result in an overly ambitious contract, despite the good support. Drury allows responding partner to learn if his opening partner has opened with a normal opening hand or has a light opening hand. If it is a light hand, or even a minimal normal opening hand, the contract can be set at the 2-level, whereas non-Drury partnerships, with the same hands, would have to sign-off at greater risk at the 3-level. Owing to its role in the competitive bidding of part-score contracts, Drury is advantageous primarily in match point scoring events.
Original Drury convention
The convention was first published in The Bridge World in January 1957. Murray's presentation of the original convention included the following features:
- The Drury Two Clubs is an artificial one-round force by a passed hand responding to partner's third or fourth-hand major suit opening bid
- With a normal opening bid, opener rebids normally but with a light opening hand, he negatives with 2♦
- With a distributional hand containing length in opener's major but with less than 9 HCP, responder prempts by jumping to 3 in opener's suit
A rebid of 2♦ shows a full opening. While not universally accepted, a bid of 2♥ by opener after opening 1♠ is also a weakish bid showing 5 spades and 4 hearts (or better). With a good hand (say 15 or more points) opener may simply jump to game (4 of the major suit). Other bids tend to be natural and descriptive, in effect a game try. With an excellent hand, opener may be interested in a slam and will bid accordingly.
Responses by the Drury bidder after the sequence 1M-2C-2D
After opener confirms a full opening hand, the following sequence of rebids is helpful to allow opener to decide if game is possible. The Drury bidder responds to 2♦:
- 2♥ - I have a minimum Drury hand
- 2♠ - I have a maximum Drury hand but only 3 trumps
- 2NT - I have a maximum Drury hand with 4 trumps
In this variant, the passed hand with 10+ points responds 2♣ to show exactly 3-card support and 2♦ to show 4-card support or better. This may help opener evaluate the probability of a successful game contract.
Real club (or diamond) suit
If the passed hand has 10+ points and a real club suit (or a diamond suit, when playing two-way Drury), this cannot be shown naturally at the 2-level. One possibility is that a jump to 3♣ (or 3♦) shows this hand. An alternative is to use the forcing notrump. A third possibility (and the one recommended when the convention was introduced) is to bid 2♣, then rebid three of the minor. If this last approach is used, opener must be careful about jumping in own suit without extra length.
Variation for 4-card major systems
The above examples are suitable for use with 5-card major systems such as Standard American. Variations are required for use with 4-card major systems such as Acol.
- Frey, Richard L., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor (1964). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (1st ed.). New York: Crown Publishers, Inc. p. 139. LCCN 64023817.
- Drury moved from Toronto, Canada to San Francisco, California in the late 1950's
- Hughes, Roy (2007). Canada's Bridge Warriors: Eric Murray and Sami Kehela. Toronto: Master Point Press. ISBN 978-1-897106-21-1. On page 44 Murray is quoted: "We invented the convention to handle my light third hand openings."
- Manley, Brent, Editor; Horton, Mark, Co-Editor; Greenberg-Yarbro, Tracey, Co-Editor; Rigal, Barry, Co-Editor (2011). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (7th ed.). Horn Lake, MS: American Contract Bridge League. ISBN 978-0-939460-99-1. Page 40 of the Biographies and Results CD.
- Kearse, Amalya (1990). Bridge Conventions Complete (Revised and Expanded ed.). Louisville, KY: Devyn Press, Inc. p. 127. ISBN 0-910791-76-7.
- E. Rutherford Murray (January 1957). "The Drury Two Clubs (Another Convention)". In Alphonse Moyse Jr. The Bridge World (New York: The Bridge World) 28 (4): 6.
- Bergen, Marty (1985), "Reverse Drury", Better Bidding With Bergen: Uncontested Auctions 1, Louisville, KY: Devyn Press, ISBN 0-910791-36-8
- Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Fifth Edition (1994). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (5th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. p. 119. ISBN 0-943855-48-9. LCCN 96188639.
- Hardy, Max (1989), Two Over One Game Force, Louisville, KY: Devyn Press, ISBN 0-910791-35-X
- Lawrence, Mike (2011). The Complete Guide to Passed Hand Bidding (2nd ed.). Toronto: Master Point Press. pp. 67–111. ISBN 978-1-897106-82-2.
- Root, William S.; Pavlicek, Richard (1981), "Reverse Drury", Modern Bridge Conventions, New York: Crown, pp. 51–53, ISBN 0-517-88429-1