♣ AQx ♣Jxxx 4C (Gerber or 1430-optional) (answer-2aces/3 KC)
B.♠ Kxx ♠ Axxx 1C 1NT
♥ AQxx ♥ Kx 2C 2H (4 spades, 2-3 hearts)
♦ Ax ♦ Kxx 3C (ask) 3S ( 4-card support-Hxxx)
♣ KQxx ♣Axxx 4C (Gerber or 1430) 4S (2)
C.♠ AKJxx ♠ Qxxx 1C 1NT
♥ x ♥ AKxx 2S 3H (4-card support - Hxxx)
♦ AKJx ♦ xx 4C (Gerber or 1430) 4S or 4NT
♣ Kxx ♣ Axx 5C 5D or 5H (1)
6S or 7S
D.♠ x ♠Axx 1C 1NT
♥ KQJ10xx ♥Ax 2H (ask) 2S (poor support)
♦ KQx ♦Axxx 3H (ask) 3NT ( Hx)
♣ AKx ♣J10xx 4C (gerber or 1430) 4H or 4NT (3)
5C 5D or 5H (0)
E.♠ A ♠ Jxx 1C 1NT
♥ Kx ♥ AQx 2NT (5+clubs) 3D (fair support)
♦ KJ10x ♦ Axxx 4C (Gerber or 1430) 4H (0 or 3)
♣ AQJxxx ♣ Kxx 4S (kings?) 4NT (0)
ONE CLUB---TWO CLUBS (TWO-WAY BID)
As promised, I will now outline the better way to bid minimum positive balanced hands. In this system, they are defined as hands with 9-12 HCP, slightly stronger than the Precision equivalent.
The 2C response to 1C is the first of four two-level responses that have
more than one meaning. These extra meanings allow the description of a wide variety of hands. This is a prime example.
The 2C response describes either a hand with 9+HCP and at least five clubs OR a balanced hand with 9-12 HCP. Since the bid is forcing to game
no matter which hand it shows, there is plenty of time to determine which it is. As to why this slightly more complicated method is worth the effort, it all comes down to the same two reasons cited throughout this little treatise:
The strong club opener will declare the hand and remain at least partially hidden; the weak hand comes down as dummy.
The lead will come up to the strong hand, giving us a positional advantage.
Responder defines his hand with his second bid. A rebid of 3C is the most obvious way to show the 5+ clubs. There are some other bids which show clubs plus side suits or singletons, but 3C is the primary vehicle. The balanced hand is often shown by a raise of 2NT to 3NT or by the use of 3D as Stayman. The entire scheme will become clearer when we outline opener’s possible bids after 2C.
The simplest case is when opener has a balanced or semi-balanced hand. He bids 2NT. His point count is not important. There is no need to jump with a big hand. If responder has the balanced 9-12 HCP hand, he either bids 3D (Stayman) to find a 4-4 major fit or raises to 3NT. If he hasclubs, he almost always bids 3C. Once in a while, he may reverse into 3H or 3S or splinter at the four level with 4D, 4H, or 4S to show a big hand.
When opener has a suit-oriented hand, he bids his long suit. If his suit is diamonds, one set of responses is used. If it is a major, a second slightly different, set of bids is used. The responses follow some logical general rules that are intended to make them reasonably easy to remember. As always, they are meant to make the 1C opener the declarer in as many situations as possible.
The first general rule is that if responder bids 2NT, it has something to do with a major. Over 2D, it shows both majors. If the opener has a side 4-card major, he bids the suit and becomes declarer in any major suit game or slam.
This is one of the few situations where having responder declare no trump may actually be beneficial. With an unbalanced hand, opener may be short in at least one major, and responder should have both of them covered.
Over 2H or 2S the 2NT bid shows a 4-card raise. Responder will never be declarer in that case.
The second rule is that if responder bids a major in response to opener’s first rebid of two of a suit, he is DENYING four cards in the suit. Over 2D it shows four cards in the opposite major. Over 2H or 2S, it merely shows a non-fitting balanced hand. A corollary of this rule is that a bid of 3Din response to 2H or 2S is artificial. It SHOWS four cards in the opposite major.
The third rule is the most obvious. A bid of 3C shows 5+ clubs. It may a
be a non-fitting hand or contain a delayed raise of opener’s suit.
The fourth rule is also not rocket science. A simple raise to three of opener’s suit shows a three card raise. After both the three card and the four card raises, the cheapest bid is a form of Ogust, asking for strength and suit quality in steps. Those steps will be outlined in the system summary.
The fifth rule is that jumps to four of opener’s suit and splinter bids in new suits both show four card support and a 5+ card club suit. Obviously,
a splinter precludes any possibility that responder has the balanced 9-12 HCP hand. The jump to four of opener’s major is merely the same hand with 5-4-2-2 distribution. The simililarities between the two types of hands should make these bids easier to remember.
Finally, jumps to 4C indicate a very good suit and at least 13+ HCP. Again, this is hardly likely to confuse anyone.
Here are the bidding schemes:
2NT= 17+,HCP, balanced or semi-balanced hand
Responder now defines his hand as follows:
3C = 5+clubs (may have a 4-card major)
3D = Stayman (balanced hand with at
least one 4-card major)
3NT = balanced hand with no major
This leaves the rebids of 3H and 3S free for better than minmum
hands with 5+ clubs and a side major. I would define them as
which will make the 1C bidder the declarer in any 4-4 major fit.
So: 3H = 5+ clubs , 4 SPADES, 13+ HCP
3S = 5+ clubs, 4 HEARTS, 13+ HCP
Others may choose to make them simply natural.
Bids at the 4-level all show good 6+ card club suits and 13+ HCP.
4C shows 6+ clubs and no short suit. 4D,4H, and 4S are all splinter bids. So:
4C = 6+clubs, 13+ HCP, no short suit
4D = 6+clubs, 13+ HCP, 0-1 diamonds
4H = 6+clubs, 13+ HCP, 0-1 hearts
4S = 6+clubs, 13+ HCP, 0-1 spades
When responder uses 3D as Stayman, he defines his hand as limited to 12 HCP. If also balanced, opener will usually not try for slam unless he holds
at least 20 HCP. If responder signs off at 3NT, opener may bid a second suit at the four level, hoping for a 4-4 fit there. With no fit, responder can sign off again at 4NT. Any suit bid is a cue bid, confirming a fit in the second suit and some slam interest.
If a 4-4 major fit is found, responder can raise to four with any ordinary holding. With a maximum and slam interest, he may cue bid in a new suit rather than making a direct raise. Opener may sign off at four of the agreed major or make a return cue bid to indicate slam interest . 4NT would be ace-asking (1430).
Here are some example hands for the 1C-2C-2NT sequence:
A.♠ AJx ♠ Kxx 1C 2C
♥ Kx ♥ AQxx 2NT 3D (Stayman)
♦ AQ109 ♦ Jx 3NT
♣ KJxx ♣ xxxx
B.♠ AQ10x ♠ Kxxx 1C 2C
♥ Kx ♥ QJx 2NT 3C (9+ HCP, 5+ clubs)
♦ KJxx ♦ x 3S 4S
♣ AJx ♣ KQxxx P or 4NT (1430) - may wind up at 5S
C.♠ Kx ♠ Axx 1C 2C
♥ KJ10x ♥ Axxx 2NT 3D
♦ AQxx ♦ Jx 3H 3S (cue)
♣ AQx ♣ Kxxx 4NT (1430) 5H
6H (probably on 1 of 2 finesses)
D.♠ AKQx ♠ xxxx 1C 2C
♥ xx ♥ Ax 2NT 3C
♦ AKxx ♦ Qx 3S 4C (cue)
♣ Qxx ♣ AKxxx 4D 4H
7C or 7S 7S or 7NT
E.♠ QJx ♠ Axx 1C 2C
♥ Ax ♥ x 2NT 3C
♦ KQ10xx ♦ AJx 3D 4H (6+ clubs,13+HCP)
♣ AQx ♣ KJxxxx 4NT 5D (3 KC)
7C or 7NT
F.♠ K10 ♠ AQx 1C 2C
♥ AQJx ♥ xxx 2NT 3NT
♦ Ax ♦ Kxxx
♣ KQxxx ♣ xxx
G.♠ 109xx ♠ AJxx 1C 2C
♥ KJ ♥ Ax 2NT 3H (5+C,4S,13+HCP)
♦ AKQ ♦ xx 3S 4H (cue )
♣ Axxx ♣ KQxxx 4NT 5H
6C,6S, or 6NT
2D 5+ diamonds in an unbalanced hand.
Responder still answers as if it is a Stayman request for a 4-card major.
Note; This is certainly not the only way the three and four-card raises could
be handled. One could just as easily use 2NT for all maximum raises and raises
to three to show minimum raises. Then the Ogust answers would describe the
length of the raise and the suit quality. The scheme I have chosen is just a
TWO-WAYTRANSFERS TO LONG SUITS
The next three two-level responses to 1C all serve a particular purpose. They may have a primary positive meaning, but they all also function as ways to transfer contracts involving weak hands with long suits into the hand of the 1C opener. The concealment and lead advantages they achieve are considerable.
ONE CLUB---TWO DIAMONDS (TWO-WAY BID)
The 2D response to a 1C opening bid has two distinct functions. It shows a 5+ card diamond suit and 9+ HCP (like Precision, Schenken, etc.) OR
it shows a 7+ card HEART suit with less than 9 HCP and no more than one of the top three honors in the suit. The description I just gave of the diamond hand needs to be qualified. The 2D bid includes two specific positive diamond hands. Two other positive diamond hands are shown by the 2H response, which will be described in the next section.
Opener asks which hand responder holds with his first rebid, which is often 2H. Following our usual pattern, responder avoids bidding hearts first in almost all cases where the suit might become trump. When opener’s first rebid is 2H, that takes care of the problem. When it is 2S or 2NT, the continuations are designed to make sure that the strong club bidder almost always declares the contract.
The continuation procedure is relatively simple. If opener has a minimum or non-fitting hand for hearts, he bids 2H. If he has a better hand-one that he wouldn’t mind playing in 3H if necessary- he bids 2S or 2NT. Responder can now retransfer into 3H or even 4H if he has the heart hand. Any other bid shows the positive response in diamonds. After the definition of responder’s hand, further bidding is fairly natural. Responder does try to avoid bidding NT first in situations where he might wind up declaring NT from his side. He may, however, bid NT conventionally when he holds the 7+-card heart suit, since the contract will generally wind up in hearts.
It will be easier to describe the entire bidding scheme if I give a precise description of exactly which diamond hands are covered by the 2D response.
Responder only bids 2D to show a positive diamond response when he has
a single suited hand (usually 6+ diamonds) or 2) a hand with 5+diamonds and a 4-card heart suit. This limits the number of descriptive rebids he has to make.
Note: A hand with a exactly five diamonds and 5-3-3-2 distribution falls between the cracks of our response system. If the suit is very solid (AKJ10x, KQJ10x, etc.) I would treat it as a diamond one-suiter and bid 2D. With a mediocre suit, I would treat it as a balanced 9-12 HCP hand
and bid 2C.
Here is an outline of the entire setup:
After 1C 2D=either 9+HCP with 5+ diamonds and one of