The california club system overview

A.♠ Jx ♠ AQxx 2D 2H (willing to play 2H if weak) ♥ KQ10xxx ♥ x P ♦ xxx ♦ Kxx ♣ xx ♣ QJxxx B.♠

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A.♠ Jx ♠ AQxx 2D 2H (willing to play 2H if weak)

♥ KQ10xxx ♥ x P

♦ xxx ♦ Kxx

♣ xx ♣ QJxxx

B.♠ x ♠ AQx 2D 2S(willing to play at least 3H)

♥ AKJ10xx ♥ xx 3D (good weak 2) 4H

♦ xx ♦ KJxx

♣ J10xx ♣ A98x

C.♠ x ♠ Qxx 2D 2S

♥ KQxx ♥ Axxx 3H (1444,16-17 HCP) 4S (1430 for H)

♦ AQJx ♦ Kx 5C (3) 5D (Q of H?)

♣ AJxx ♣KQxx 6C (yes,+ K of C) 6H

D.♠ AQxx ♠ Kxxx 2D 2S

♥ AQxx ♥ x 2NT (4441,sing. C) 3C (range?)

♦ KQxx ♦ AJxx 3D (16-17 HCP) 3S (1430)

x ♣ Axxx 4H (2 KC + Q of S) 6S

E.♠ x ♠ xxxx 2D 2S

♥ AKQx ♥ J109xx 3H (1444, 16-17 HCP) 3S (1430 for H)

♦ KJxx ♦ Ax 4C (3 ) 4D (Q of H?)

♣ A109x ♣ KQx 5D (yes, + K of D) 6H

Like the 2D bid , the 2H opening bid shows one of two hands. It is either

A weak two bid in spades OR a 4441 hand with 16+ HCP and a singleton

In a red suit. Just as 2D guarantees four hearts, 2H guarantees four spades. It

also essentially serves as a transfer to spades, just as 2D does with hearts.

AFTER 2H - 2S or 2H-2NT the pattern is exactly the same, only one

denomination higher in each case. So:

2H - 2S (willing to play 2S opposite weak two bid)

Pass = weak two bid in spades

2NT = 4414,singleton diamond(lower red suit);16-17 HCP

3C = 4144, singleton heart (higher red suit), 16-17 HCP

3D = 4414, singleton diamond, 18-19 HCP

3H = 4144, singleton heart, 18-19 HCP

3S = 4414, singleton diamond, 20-21 HCP

3N = 4144, singleton heart, 20-21 HCP

4C = 4414, singleton diamond, 22-23 HCP

4D = 4144, singleton heart, 22-23 HCP

4H = etc.

4S = etc.

You don’t have to memorize all these bids-just count on your fingers.
2H - 2NT (good fit or values / willing to play at least 3S)

3C = 4414 hand, singleton diamond,any range.(3D-asks HCP,

1st step = 16-17, 2nd = 18-19, 3rd = 20-21, etc.)

3D = poor (5-7 HCP) weak two in spades

3H = good (8-10 HCP) weak two in spades

3S = 4144 hand, singleton heart, 16-17 HCP

3NT = 4144 hand, singleton heart, 18-19 HCP

4C = 4144 hand, singleton heart, 20-21 HCP,etc.

Here are some example hands:

A.♠ AQ10xxx ♠ xx 2H 2S (to play if weak)

♥ x ♥ Qxx P

♦ QJx ♦ A10xxx

♣ xxx ♣ Kxx

B.♠ KJxxxx ♠ AQxx 2H 2NT

♥ Kxx ♥ AQxx 3D (poor weak 2S) 4S

♦ x ♦ Axx

♣ xxx ♣ xx

C.♠ AKxx ♠ QJ10x 2H 2NT

♥ x ♥ Jxxx 3S ( 16-17, 4144) 4H (1430 for spades)

♦ KQJx ♦ Ax 5C ( 2 KC ) 5D ( kings?)

♣ K10xx ♣ AJx 5NT (2) 6S

Note: 4C, 4D would have been 1430 for those suits. 4H takes over for spades.

4S would be a sign-off.
D.♠ QJ10x ♠ 98xx 2H 2S

♥ AQJx ♥ Kxx 3D (18-19 HCP, 4S

♦ x ♦ xxx 4414)

♣ AKQx ♣ xx

E.♠ QJ10xxx ♠ Axxx 2H [DBL] 3S or 4S

♥ xx ♥ xx (opp. may compete to 5-level)

♦ KQxx ♦ x 5S ?

♣ x ♣ xxxxxx

F.♠ KQJx ♠ Axx 2H 2NT (he wants to

♥ AKQx ♥ x give a false impression of strength

♦ x ♦ xxx opposite a weak 2S and he knows

♣ AKxx ♣109xxxx they have a huge club fit if opener is

4144 or 4414 )

3C 3D(ask)

4C ( 22+HCP) 4D (aces?)

4NT (2) 6C (Bonzai !!)

Note: there is no way to use 1430 here. 4H, 4S, and 5C would all be sign-offs.

When that is the case, simple Blackwood should be the default agreement.

Since opener has only two aces, responder can reasonably infer he must have

all three kings plus some queens to have 22+HCP. Hence, 6C.


In introducing the 2D and 2H bids, I noted that they might be considered highly

unusual methods by some directors, who might decide to ban or restrict them.

Actually, there is a simple common-sense defense to these methods. It can be

printed on a 3 x 5 note card and explained in two minutes.

In explaining the defense, the first point to be made is that each bid has a definite

anchor suit. The 2D bid will always show hearts. The 2H bid will always show

spades. Opener will always have four of the anchor suit in a very good hand or

six of the anchor suit in a weak hand. In either case, it is very unlikely that that

the opponents are going to want to play in that suit. This actually gives them an

extra bid with which to compete effectively.

They can now use a cue bid of the anchor suit for a classic takeout double

(showing shortness in the anchor suit and good support for the other suits).

Double can now be used to show any nondescript hand with minimum (12-15 HCP) opening values.All other bids are natural. Overcalls in any suit other than the anchor

suit are exactly what they would be over a normal weak 2H or 2S bid. A direct 2NT overcall will show the usual 15-18 HCP. A double followed by a no trump bid can

show a hand too big for a 2NT bid.

If the opponents are given the following outline, there should be no way anyone

can possibly claim that that these methods place an undue burden on the opponents.
Over 2D: Double = 12-15 HCP, balanced or semi-balanced

2H = takeout double, short in hearts

2S, 3C, 3D = natural overcall

2NT = 15-18 HCP

Double, then 2NT or 3NT = 18-19+HCP

Double, then bid in suit that could have been

shown by simple overcall =18-19+ HCP

Jump overcalls = optional ( Leaping Michaels ?)

Over 2H: Double =12-15 HCP, balanced or semi-balanced

2S = takeout double, short in spades

3C, 3D, 3H = natural overcall

2NT = 15-18 HCP

Double, then 3NT = 18-19+ HCP

Double, then bid in suit which could have been

shown by simple overcall = 18-19+ HCP

Jump overcalls = optional (Leaping Michaels ?)



The two spade bid is now not needed as a standard weak two bid. It

becomes available for a special purpose- describing various good or solid

preemptive opening bids. This , in turn, allows us to give much more

definition to three-level preempts. It allows responder to pass or bid games

with a fair degree of certainty rather than merely guessing.

The 2S bid shows one of the following hands:

  1. Any seven card suit with two of the three top honors

(AKxxxxx, AQxxxxx, or KQxxxxx)

2) A seven card minor suit with all 3 top honors (AKQxxxx)

(This is essentially a Gambling 3NT, but played from the right side.)

After a 2S opening responder can :

  1. Place the contract - if he’s sure of the suit or knows that the suit

will run no matter what it is

  1. BID 2NT****-the asking bid (which incidentally

rightsides any eventual NT contracts)

a.-With only 2 of the 3 top honors , opener bids 3 of his suit

b.With AKQxxxx, opener bids 3NT, with the contract being

played from the correct side (if responder has 2 open suits,he can

bid 4C , asking partner to correct if that isn’t the correct suit.)

With game-forcing values, responder can bid 4H to ask for a singleton

or 4S to ask opener to transfer into five of his minor.

(4 NT = transfer to 5C, 5C = transfer to 5D)

  1. Jump directly to 4H or 4S to play with a strong hand and a very good

6+( 7 would be better) card suit.

** If the Sartor 2 Spade bid is used,then all opening 3-bids are limited

to 1 top honor at most.

1. In third seat (or fourth) there may be no point in differentiating between

a good and bad preempt. I would recommend using 2S only for the solid suits in

3rd and 4th seats,with standard preempts.The main emphasis in those seats should

be buying the contract and/or disrupting the opponents’ ability to bid comfortably.

The only exception might be a case where the passed hand has 10-11 scattered

points and might be able to bid 3NT if he knows dummy will provide a solid

seven card suit. The 2S bid would allow him to do that, and would also rightside

the contract.
2. I would also recommend a partnership agreement that a passed hand is not

allowed to raise a 3rd seat non-vulnerable preempt. This will allow for “creativity”

on the part of the 3rd seat bidder. Creativity (read temporary insanity) may include

making an offbeat 3-bid with a bad opening hand or suggesting an opening lead

with an audacious AQxxx and out in a minor.

3. After a 2S opening, neither regular Blackwood nor RKC Blackwood is

necessary. Opener CANNOT have an opening hand, so only 5 holdings are


He may hold a minor suit with AKQxxxx and NO SIDE ACE or KING

(With solid minor and a side card he would open 1D or 2C. With a solid seven

card major, opener would open 4H or 4S rather than opening 2S.)

After opener’s 3NT rebid, which shows this hand, responder can simply

place the contract or bid 4C (pass or correct to 4D) with 2 open suits.

Since the solid suit can only be a minor, responder can use 4H, 4S, or 4NT

(opposite minor) rebid over 3NT to ask opener to show : no control (1 step),

second round control (2 steps), or first round control (3 steps) in that suit. If he

simply wants to play 4H or 4S, he has to bid it diretly over 2S.

If opener bids 2S and rebids 3C, 3D, 3H, or 3S in response to 2NT,he can only


1) KQxxxxx with no side ace

2) KQxxxxx with a side ace

3) AQxxxxx with no side ace

4) AKxxxxx with no side ace

Any stronger hand would be a 1-bid.

Since no zero reply to an ace-asking bid is possible,the following sequences

should be used instead of Blackwood or RKB after a 2S opener and a suit rebid:

After a rebid of 3C,3D,3H,or 3S, the CHEAPEST SUIT should ask suit

description. 3NT would have to be natural, so 4C would be the asking bid

over 3S (or 3S could remain natural,with 4C used over either minor).

The answers would be :

1st step=KQxxxxx with no side ace(weakest possible holding)

2nd step=AQxxxxx with no side ace

3rd step=AKxxxxx with no side ace

4th step=KQxxxxx with a side ace (one could also use all bids from the

fourth step on to show this hand with a SPECIFIC ace if desired.)

Partnerships may alter the responses to fit their taste. A second request for

information is also possible.The SECOND CHEAPEST bid could ask for a

singleton if responder is not interested in aces. Another possible scheme

would be to ALWAYS use 4C as the suit-quality asking bid, with all new suit

bids natural or singleton asking. If a major is used as an asking bid, it could be

agreed that a rebid of that major at the four level is natural and to play. Also , a

jump to four of a major over 3C or 3D and a jump to 4S over 3H should be to play.

In fact any bid of 4H or 4S that cannot be an asking bid should be to play.

These ideas should be treated as suggestions,with partnerships encouraged to pick

and choose any they happen to like.

Here are some examples of the Sartor 2S bid:

A.♠ xx ♠ Kxx 2S 2NT

♥ KQ109xxx ♥ Ax 3H 3NT

♦Qxx ♦ Kxxx P

♣ x ♣ Axxx

B.♠ x ♠ QJxx 2S 2NT

♥ Jx ♥ Kx 3NT ( AKQxxxx ) P

♦ xxx ♦ AQxxxx

♣ AKQxxxx ♣ x

C.♠ AKxxxxx ♠ Qxx 2S 2NT

♥ Q ♥ xxxxx 3S 4D (asks singleton)

♦ xxx ♦ A 4H 6S

♣ xx ♣ AKxx

D.♠ xxx ♠ AQ 2S 2NT

♥ ♥ xxxx 3NT ( AKQxxxx) 4H (asking)

♦ AKQxxxx ♦ xx 5C (1st round control- 7D

♣ xxx ♣ AKQxx must be a void)

E.♠ AQxxxxx ♠ x 2S 4H ( I know my suit

♥ x ♥ AKQxxxxx is better than yours.)

♦ Jxxx ♦ Q

♣ x ♣ Axx

F.♠ xx ♠ QJxx 2S 2NT

♥ KQJxxxx ♥ x 3H P

♦ ♦ J10xxx

♣ Qxxx ♣ KJx

As noted earlier,the original set of two level bids was not likely to raise the ire of many ACBL directors. Should it be necessary to abandon the “fun zone” scheme in order to satisfy official objections, here is an alternative.

Two hearts and two spades become standard weak two bids, with whatever

accompanying conventions a partnership may prefer. The two diamond bid

handles all 4441 hands with 16 or more HCP.

The responses to 2D are relatively simple. The cheapest bid in a major is

non-forcing. It may even be a three card suit, if responder has a weak hand and 4333 distribution. Opener passes if it is one of his suits or makes the cheapest rebid if opener has bid his singleton. Responder will usually have a second place to play, and will either pass or bid his other suit. Opener needs a very good hand (19+ HCP) to raise responder’s 2H or 2S bid to the three level, and needs an absolute monster to raise him to game. He needs to remember he may have forced him to bid with a complete Yarborough.

The only other weak response to 2D is 3C. This necessarily shows both minors, since responder would bid 2H or 2S if he held clubs or diamonds and a major.

With decent values and/or a single long suit, responder bids 2NT. Opener then bids his singleton . He bids 3C, 3D, 3H, or 3S with 16-19 HCP. Responder can either invite game (if there is room at three level) or just jump to game . A raise of the singleton is natural, showing at leat a good six card suit.

With 20+ HCP, things are a little more interesting. A simple jump to 4C, 4D, 4H, or 4S is the easiest way to show the hand, but it is very space-consuming. For those who enjoy making things complicated, a rebid of 3NT

can be used for any 20+ hand , allowing each partner to bid suits up the line

in order to find a fit at the four level. This would allow for more leisurely slam investigation.

I’m sure any readers who have gotten this far without having their brains explode are perfectly capable of working out their own extensions and variations of this bidding scheme.

Using this simplified scheme also eliminates the 2S bid’s ability to differentiate between bad, good, and solid preemptive bids. Pairs will simply use whatever preempting style they are comfortable with. The next section describes the type of three-level preempts that are compatible with the “fun zone” bidding scheme.


Because the 2S opening bid covers all good preemptive bids (at least

all of those in first or second seat), three level bids are by definition

limited to no more than one top honor. That does not mean they are

ridiculously weak. In first or second seat, I promise a suit that I would not be ashamed to have led if my partner is on opening lead. If the lead of an unsupported king would be embarrassing, I’d rather pass. Sitting non-

vulnerable in third seat I’d rather bid a frivolous 3X with AQ10xx than

with a monstrosity like J9xxxxx. With a terrible seven card major, a 2D or 2H bid might be a better choice if you can’t bring yourself to pass.

A typical first or second seat preempt will look something like:

AJ9xxxx KJ10xxxx K109xxxx QJ10xxxx

Third seat preempts (especially non-vulnerable ) may be more creative,

as earlier noted. Six card lead-directing bids are certainly reasonable, and I have been known to throw in an occasional five card preempt when I thought it was the right thing to do. It helps if you have an ironclad agreement that your partner is not allowed to sacrifice based on your third

seat preempt.

Whatever style of preempts you settle on , knowing that you will need

a fairly substantial fit if you plan to run the preemptor’s suit in 3NT or bid a close game may improve your percentage of correct guesses in close bidding decisions.


As a matter of personal preference, I would play the Namyats 4C and 4D to show very good 4H and 4S openers, with an opening 4H or 4S showing

less slam potential.

If the idea of losing the natural 4C and 4D opening doesn’t appeal, I have a way you can have your cake and eat it too. You can simply add a wrinkle to the 2S opening bid. After 2S-2NT, a jump to 4C or 4D can show

an 8-card minor. For that matter , it would cost nothing to have the same delayed jump to 4H or 4S show a corresponding 9-card minor.

Now that I think of it, you could reverse the whole setup and use the 2S

bid and the jump to the four level for the Namyats bids, with the opening

4C and 4D bids natural. I’m afraid I can never resist the impulse to tinker.


There obviously is no official California Club defense system. I merely plan to use this section to mention a few pet ideas and conventions. It will be mercifully brief.

Transfer Advances of Overcalls

A serendipitous benefit to using the Sartor 2/1 response scheme to major

suit opening bids is that it gives us a ready-made system for advancing

overcalls of 1H or 1S. We can use transfer advances for a variety of hands

that are difficult to handle in standard methods.

The scheme does force us to make one fairly major trade-off. Advancer

can no longer make a natural response of 1NT, which in some cases may be our best contract. In exchange, however, we gain the ability to bid many otherwise unbiddable hands. We also can make lead-directing raises of opener’s suit, and show both invitational and forcing values by means of natural and transfer raises. The bids are simple and logical, and put very little strain on the memory.

Transfers are especially useful when advancer has as long suit and a weak hand. He is able to improve the contract without having the auction rise to a dangerous level. Here is an example from actual play:

LHO- 1C Partner- 1S RHO- Pass You: ♠A ♥J1098xx ♦ xxx ♣ xxx

You don’t have to be a soothsayer to predict that a 2H contract will be much better than 1S.(Your hearts will be useless in spades, but will take several tricks in hearts.) But a standard 2H response will mislead partner and get you too high. (It will also cause your partner to have serious questions

about your judgement and/or your intelligence.) A transfer advance solves the problem. You make a transfer advance of 2D and pass partner’s 2H bid.

The transfer should almost always be accepted, unless he has a VERY good suit of his own.

With a different hand - ♠ Jxx ♥AKx ♦ xxxxx ♣ xx - you could use the transfer into hearts and then pull it to 2S. This could be a raise with heart values and would get partner off to a good lead if you wound up on defense.

A pull to 3S could be the same hand with greater values. A cue bid of opener’s suit could still show a limit raise +. As a side issue, a partnership will have to decide what constitutes a transfer to hearts when opener’s suit would be the normal transfer bid. If opener had bid 1D, would 2D by you be a transfer or a cue bid? My preference is to keep it simple and always have

advances be transfers to the next suit. A “transfer cue bid’ into opener’s

suit can serve as the substitute for a standard cue bid to show a “limit

raise +”.

With at least near-opening values, good support, and a side suit which will provide a source of tricks, fit-showing jumps may be a useful adjunct to our

scheme. An alternative would be to use jumps in new suits as “mini-splinters.

Jump Overcalls
It seems to be taken for granted in modern bridge thinking that weak jump overcalls are appropriate in any situation and at any vulnerability. I beg to differ. I can think of several adjectives to describe what I think of the use of weak jump overcalls when vulnerable versus non-vulnerable opponents. The most diplomatic of these is “foolhardy”.A less polite term would be“stupid.”

Though I have no scientific research to back up my opinion, it is my personal belief that if a partnership just agreed to double every vulnerable weak jump overcall made by the opponents any time they obviously hold better than half the points in the deck and hold at least four or five of the enemy’s trumps, they would show a large profit over time.

When the vulnerabity is unfavorable, the scoring mathematics alone make the weak jump overcall a foolish gamble. If our side has enough points to make eight or nine tricks on offense, we usually have enough to inflict a one trick set on the opponents. Plus 200 gives us a better score than all the others making a part score in our direction. Even if we occasionally misjudge the situation, we’ll probably still wind up getting three tops for every bottom we receive. Of course, at IMPs we may have to let them off the hook a little more often.

The scoring advantage for doubling continues all the way up the line. Whenever we have enough for game, we are very likely to be able to set them two for 500. If they talk us out of a non-vulnerable slam, plus 1100 is often available.

This unsolicited tirade is all a way of providing a rationale for my own slightly out-of –the-mainstream approach to this area of defensive bidding.

I use weak jump overcalls, but not when vulnerable against a non-vulnerable foe. In that situation I use intermediate jump overcalls. I define these as hands with 12-16 HCP and good six card suit. These bids are very descriptive and are often helpful in getting to game when partner might otherwise hold back with mediocre trump support. They also identify a source of running tricks at no trump.

But the constructive aspects of intermediate jumps are not their most valuable feature. Their biggest virtue is quite simple. They force me not to do anything stupid when holding a weak hand and a six card suit ,vulnerable, when a non-vulnerable opponent opens in front of me. Even if I had the inclination to put my head on the chopping block with a silly weak jump bid, my partnership agreements prevent me from doing anything idiotic.

They have probably saved me thousands of points over the years.

When both sides are vulnerable, my point requirements are lower (usually 8-12 HCP) but I still require a good suit. Of course with 3-4 HCP and

QJ109xxxx I can be talked into it. When non-vulnerable , my weak jumps are pretty much like everyone else’s.

The common philosophy I try to follow is simple: Try not to do anything stupid. I just have an aversion to unnecessary self-induced disasters.

Leads and Carding
Again, there is no official California Club system of leads and carding.

The reader is encouraged to use whatever methods he finds most effective.

Among my personal preferences are:


A Rusinow honor leads (lower of two touching honors) except in suits

freely bid by partner

  1. Leads of the 10 or 9 from internal sequences (KJ10, K109,Q109)

  2. Third and fifth best leads vs. suits

  3. Fourth best leads vs. no trump


  1. Touching suit discards (2,3,4= strength in lower touching suit,

5,6,7= strength in suit discarded,

8,9,10= strength in higher touching suit)


  1. Upside down attitude signals (low card encourages)

Defense against No Trump

Double = Clubs or Diamonds or both majors (2H rebid)

2C = Clubs and a higher suit

2D = Diamonds and a major

2H = natural

2S = natural

Defense Against 2H, 2S
Double = Takeout

Overcalls = Natural

Cue Bid (3H or 3S) = Asks for 3NT with stopper-often

long running minor

4C = Leaping Michaels (5+clubs, 5+ card major)

4D = Leaping Michaels (5+diamonds, 5+ card major)

Appendix A- Natural 1C-1NT and 2NT

When responder bids 1NT in response to a 1C opening, opener’s

first rebids remain the same. Transfer responses to Stayman also still

apply. However, all subsequent bidding is natural.

1C 1NT (13-15 HCP)

2C = Stayman 2D=4 hearts

2H=4 spades

2S= 4+ clubs, no major

2NT=4+ diamonds, no major

1C 1NT

2D = 5+ diamonds

2H = 5+ hearts Responder makes natural raises,

2S = 5+ spades bids a new suit, or bids NT.

2NT = 5+ clubs

The elimination of artificial responses allows us to add 2NT to our collection of two-way bids. It shows either a natural 16-18 HCP

balanced hand OR a very weak 7+ card preempt in clubs or

diamonds. Here is how it works:
1C 2NT- forces 3C by opener

3C= forced Pass = 7+ clubs, 0-4 HCP

3D = 7+ diamonds, 0-4 HCP

3H = 4 hearts, 16-18 HCP

4S = 4 spades, 16-18 HCP

3NT = no major, 16-18 HCP
Opener accepts the minor suit signoff in most cases. The only exception would be if he had a very strong 6 or 7+ card major of his own and is willing

bid 3H or 3S or even four of his suit knowing he may be facing a totally

useless dummy.

When responder shows the big hand, the partnership is essentially forced to at least the five level. They most likely have a slam somewhere. With no

artificial Ogust bids, all raises and new suits are natural. If a suit fit is found,

4NT is 1430. If no suit has been agreed, 4NT is simple Blackwood.

Appendix B – Alternate 1D-2C Bidding Scheme

There are many workable bidding schemes that can handle the 1D-2C

sequence reasonably well. Here is one that is fairly simple and mostly natural:

Opener Responder

1D 2C

2D (waiting)

THEN: 2H or 2S = natural, 4+ card suit (not GF,

but forcing one round)

2NT = 11-12 HCP, invitational

3NT = 13-16 HCP , no slam interest

3C = 11-12 HCP,6+ clubs, invitational

3D, 3H, 3S = 13+ HCP, FEATURE, either

probing for 3NT or showing

possible slam interest (shown

by later cue bid)

1D 3C = semi-preemptive , 6-9 HCP,

7+ or 6 very solid clubs
Just about any scheme will work fairly well as long as both partners are comfortable with it.

Appendix C – Another Possible

Opening 2D ( 4441, 16+)

(When 2H,2S, and 2NT are standard)

2D = ANY 4441,16-18 or 19+HCP 2H,2S = non-forcing

(at least 3 cards in the suit )

3C = non-forcing



(asks singleton,



3C =singleton DIAM.(16-18)

3D = “ HEART(16-18)

3H = “ SPADE(16-18)

3S = “ CLUB(16-18)

3NT = “ CLUB(19+)

4C = “ DIAM.(19+)

4D = “ HEART(19+)

4H = “ SPADE(19+)

This allows easy memory - the singleton is always the NEXT HIGHER SUIT. It also allows the most efficient way to ask controls-a very cheap cue bid of the singleton. This saves a whole level of bidding compared to bidding the suit of the singleton directly and then cue-bidding that suit. Non- cue bids are now all natural, to play.

The answers to a cue bid depend on the level of the response. If opener showed 16-18 HCP, then the first step shows 0-3 controls (Ace=2, King=1) The second step shows 4; the third shows 5, etc.If opener showed 19+HCP, the first step shows 0-5 controls; the second shows 6; the third shows 7, etc.

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