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
ALTERNATE TWO LEVEL BIDS 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
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.
THREE LEVEL PREEMPTS
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
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.
FOUR LEVEL PREEMPTS
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
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
Leads of the 10 or 9 from internal sequences (KJ10, K109,Q109)
Third and fifth best leads vs. suits
Fourth best leads vs. no trump
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)
Upside down attitude signals (low card encourages)
Defense against No Trump
Double = Clubs or Diamonds or both majors (2H rebid)
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
2NT = FORCING
OPENER’S ANSWERS TO 2NT
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.