The Little Major is a bridge bidding system devised primarily by Terence Reese.
The concept for "the Little Major" was born late in 1962 while Reese was en route to a tournament in the Canary Islands with Boris Schapiro. First with Schapiro and then with Jeremy Flint, Reese created the bidding system as "an Awful Warning of what might happen if every country playing international championships were to arrive with its own wholly artificial system". That project was soon overtaken by events and the system "was found in itself to be extremely interesting".
Reese promulgated three general principles:
As the system evolved, it was awarded an 'A' licence by the English Bridge Union (EBU) which meant that it could be played in certain restricted events. It was first used in 1963 in international competition by Schapiro and Reese at the 23rd European Team Championships in Baden-Baden, Germany. That created a great deal of interest. Flint and Reese used the Little Major in the 1964/65 world team championship at Buenos Aires.
The meanings of opening bids are as follows:
The Little Major was described in Bridge Magazine on two occasions, the last in the August 1989 issue.
The Little Major was abandoned entirely when its two-year EBU 'A' license was withdrawn "on the grounds that not enough players were playing the system". The entry for the Little Major in the 1971 edition of the Official Encyclopedia of Bridge had already noted that it was "now obsolete".