#6 A hand with 4-3 distribution in the majors and a BAD 5-card club suit
(avoiding a 2C opening with a bad suit)
I have a strong personal prejudice against opening a Precision-style 2C on hands such as:
♠ KQx ♥AQxx ♦ x ♣ Jxxxx or ♠ AJ10x ♥ AQx ♦ x Qxxxx
Just as we occasionally open 1D with 4414 distribution (see hand D above), we also sometimes open 1D in a hand with a bad 5-card club suit and a singleton diamond. Again, the rebids are generally very comfortable. If responder bids a major, we can make a 3 or 4-card raise. If he bids 1NT , we can bid 2C. I may have neglected to mention a very important rule. If a 1D opener pulls a 1NT or 2NT bid to 2C or 3C, responder must never correct to diamonds, in order to allow for a case like this. The odds are very high that responder has at least three clubs. Even under the worst circumstances, you’ll wind up in a 5-2 trump fit.
When opener has a maximum 1D opener and five bad clubs, he can raise 1NT to 2NT or raise 2NT to 3NT.
Finally we come to one major unique feature in this system’s handling of unbalanced hands with real diamond suits. #7 A hand with 5+ diamonds, a 4-card major and 17-20 HCP (a natural reverse or jump shift) “The One Diamond Bid With Muscles”
In most big club systems, this is just another 1C opener. When responder replies 1D, as often happens, opener bids 2D. As the auction proceeds, he often winds up bidding his major at the three level. All of this is very inefficient. It also winds up wrongsiding any diamond contract and exposing the strong hand as dummy. This is one situation where natural bidding is much more efficient and there is no good reason for not incorporating it into a strong club system. The only legitimate objection is that including these hands in our 1D opening “overloads” that bid, but I think that is nonsense. Responder does not have any extra burden when replying to 1D. He simply bids naturally as if playing Standard American. When opener shows great strength with a natural reverse or jump shift, he continues with a few conventional rebids, but they aren’t much more complex than those used by experts in standard frameworks.
Here are some typical “1D with muscles” opening bids:
A.♠ AKxx B. ♠ xx C.♠ Axx D. ♠ x
♥ x ♥ KQJx ♥ AKxx ♥ AQ10x
♦ AKQxx ♦ KQJxx ♦ AQJxxx ♦ AKJxx
♣ Qxx ♣ AK ♣ --- ♣ AQx
With each of these hands we open 1D. An obvious question occurs.
What if responder passes? The answer is simple. We play 1D, unless the opponents balance. If they do we can double or bid our major. In any case we should be in a makeable contract. If partner can’t find a bid in response to 1D it is highly unlikely we can make game. Actually, the only remote chance for us to bid game is when our superweak partner has a long major and an opponent’s bid allows us a chance to bid again and find a big secondary fit.
Here are some typical auctions that show “diamonds with muscles”:
1D-1H-2S 1D-1S-2H 1D-1NT-2H 1D-1NT-2S
We’ll discuss the continuations after forcing 2C or 2D bids later.
You may recall that in our discussion of 4441 and 5431 1D openers we said
a sequence of 1D-1H-3H or 1D-1S-3S shows a maximum limited opening bid
(15-16 HCP). So another obvious question arises. What happens if you start a planned “muscle” sequence and responder bids your 4-card major? It just so happens I have a fiendishly clever answer. We jump to 2NT, which is not needed to show a standard 18-19 point hand. Any balanced or semi-balanced hand in that range would be opened with a big club. The 2NT rebid is entirely conventional, and says “I have the 17-20 HCP hand and you bid my 4-card major!”
Continuations after the big reverse or jump fall into two groups. If the sequence is standard and natural, we will use a form of Ingerman. All suit bids are forcing one round. This allows responder to rebid his suit or support opener’s diamonds without worrying about being passed. A bid of 2NT is artificial and weak, suggesting but not forcing 3C, and allowing responder to follow with a signoff in 3D or 3 of the major. Opener may ignore the suggestion and bid 3D or 3NT with maximum length or strength.
If opener uses the artificial jump to 2NT, there is a set of artificial 3-level responses. The 3C bid is used to show any hand that has no interest in slam. It may show a very weak initial response, planning to sign off at three of the agreed major, or a hand good enough to go to game if opener has a maximum hand. All other 3-level and 4-level bids show extra values- at least enough to suggest slam. Armed
with the information from these bids, opener can try for slam or sign off in game.
Let’s start with the 3C reply to opener’s 2NT rebid. When responder bids 3C, opener simply tells how good his hand is. He bids 3D with the worst possible hand (17-bad 18 HCP), bids 3H with the medium range(good 18-19 HCP), and jumps to game in the major with a maximum (good 19-20 HCP). Responder can sign off in three of the major or bid four himself after a 3D or 3H answer to 3C.
When responder has at least some slam interest (probably requiring a minimum of 11 HCP or great distribution) he makes a conventional response other than 3C. Any bid other than 3C is game-forcing. The bids from 3D to 3NT give information about trump strength. If the combined trump holding is not likely to be strong enough to hold trump losers to one, opener will sign off in game. Any other bid indicates no more than one prospective trump loser. Here are the responses after
1D - 1M - 2NT:
1D 1H or 1S
2NT*(17-20 HCP, 3C-No slam interest;may want to sign off at 3M or 4M
5+ diamonds, 4 of 3D-some slam interest, poor suit
responder’s major) 3H-some slam interest, Q-high suit
3S-some slam interest, A or K-high suit
3NT-some slam interest, AK, AQ, KQ
Assuming the trumps are satisfactory, opener can now bid 3NT (if available) or 4D (if responder has bid 3NT) to ask for aces (simple Blackwood ). If responder’s holding in specific suits is crucial, opener can bid one of the black side suits as an asking bid. He can also ask about diamonds if 4D is not needed as Blackwood. The responses would be three simple steps – no control, 2nd round control, or 1st round control. If there’s room,a fourth step could show AK. A followup in another suit would be a second asking bid. If the answer to the first asking bid prevents a convenient ask in the other, a second bid in the same suit can be used to ask in the other side suit. A followup of 4NT would be RKCB. If opener has asked for and received information about aces or key controls and then makes the cheapest bid in the agreed trump suit, that is a signoff. However, responder can overrule the signoff if he knows the partnership assets exceed 33 HCP.
Here are some sample auctions featuring the conventional 2NT rebid:
Opener Responder Auction
A. ♠ AKxx ♠ QJxx 1D 1S
♥ x ♥ Axx 2NT(4 spades, 3H(slam interest, Q-high suit)
♦ AKQxx ♦ xx 17-20 HCP)
♣ Qxx ♣ Axxx 4C(asking bid) 4S(1st round control)
B. ♠ AKxx ♠ xxxx 1D 1S
♥ x ♥ Qxx 2NT 3C(no slam interest)
♦ AKQxx ♦ Jx 3H(18-19 HCP) 3S(bare min.-5/6 HCP)
♣ Qxx ♣ Kxxx 4S(aggressive P
C. ♠ AKxx ♠ Qxxx 1D 1S
♥ Qx ♥ xxx 2NT 3H(slam interest, Q-high suit)
♦ AKQxxx ♦ x 4H(asking) 4S(no control)
♣ x ♣ AKQxx P
D. ♠ x ♠ xxx 1D 1H
♥ KQJx ♥ xxxx 2NT 3C*
♦ AKQxx ♦ x 4H(good 19-20 P
♣ Axx ♣ KQxxx HCP)
E. ♠ x ♠ xxxx 1D 1H
♥ AQxx ♥ KJxx 2NT 3C*
♦ AQJxxx ♦ Kx 3H(18-19 HCP) 4H
♣ KQ ♣ xxx P
All of these combinations could be bid adequately by opening a strong club, but the natural reverses and jump shifts are so descriptive that it seems silly not to use
the natural bids. Besides, opponents may not be quite as frisky in competition if they know a one diamond opening might contain 20 HCP. In standard bidding,
opener might open 1D and then jump to 4H or 4S with several of our example hands, leaving only the five level for slam exploration. With our system, we can often get crucial information at the three or four level.
F. ♠ Qx ♠ xxx 1D 1H
♥ Axxx ♥ KQxx 2NT 3NT(slam interest, 2 of 3 top honors)
♦ AKQ10x ♦ xx 4C(asking) 4S (1st round control) or 4NT (AK)
♣ Qx ♣ AKxx 5C(now asks in 5D(no control)
5H spades) 5H
G. ♠ x ♠ Qxx 1D 1H
♥ Axxx ♥ KQxx 2NT 3NT
♦ AKJ10xx ♦ xx 4D(aces?) 4S (1)
♣ KQ ♣ Axxx 6H P
NON-MAJOR RESPONSES TO A 1D OPENING
So far our partner has been very cooperative. In almost every case he has responded to our 1D opening by bidding one of a major suit. Unfortunately, this will not always be the case. Partners have been known to bid 1NT or even go to the two or three level. In this section we will cover these situations.
Let’s start with a response of 1NT.When responder has a fairly balanced hand and 6-10 HCP, he has an easy response of 1NT. Opener’s rebid choices are fairly simple. He will often pass. With a long diamond suit, he may rebid 2D or even 3D with a maximum and a suit that may run in 3NT. A rebid of 2H or 2S would be the strong reverse discussed earlier. He may also rebid 2C. This would ordinarily show both minors. However, a special case occurs when opener has opened 1D with short diamonds and five clubs (say 4315 or 3415 distribution). A correction to 2D would be unfortunate, to say the least. At the risk of redundancy, let me repeat our ironclad rule. If a 1D openercorrects a 1NT response to 2C, responder must pass. Responder will almost always have at least three clubs and is a favorite to have four. Even if a better diamond fit exists , two clubs will be playable.That also applies if responder has both minors, although with five good diamonds and four weak clubs a 2D rebid would often be better. If opener has 4414 distribution he can use his judgement . I would generally pass 1NT, but 2C might be right.
Before going on to two level responses, I’d like to discuss one particularly awkward situation involving the club suit. When opener bids 1D and responder has a weakish hand with clubs as his only long suit , his choice of responses can be very unappealing. With a very weak hand and short diamonds, pass can be scary (especially vulnerable) but it is often necessary. Luckily the opponents will usually bid something and save the day. With 6-10 HCP, and 2-2 or 3-1 in the majors, the usual reponse of 1NT could put him in a terrible contract. If he has no sure side entries, he may never get a trick from his clubs. Even with 6-10 HCP, the best option may sometimes be to pass in hopes of later making a delayed 2C bid. Here is where one of my cockamamie ideas comes in. With something like 1345, 3145, 1336 or 3136 distribution, it could be right to bid a 3-card major. If opener raises you to two, a 4-3 fit may play pretty well. If he makes the most likely rebid of 1NT, you haven’t lost anything and at least his hand may get some benefit from concealment and the opening lead. If he bids 1S over your 1H,you can bid 1NT. And if a disaster occurs, you’ll have an interesting story to share. Even if you decide to ignore this possibly boneheaded idea, the suggested two-level system responses I’m going to propose do offer at least some help in this area. We will get to them presently. First I’d like to discuss all of the 2-level responses to 1D in general.
TWO-LEVEL RESPONSES TO 1D-A Basic Scheme
I will first present a rather sane, comfortable bidding scheme which should not cause anyone a great deal of mental discomfort. It is, in fact , a basic scheme I have used for years in many of my strong club partnerships.
The main features are rather simple. 1D – 2C is standard, forcing for at least one round but not forcing to game. 1D- 2D is inverted, showing 10+ HCP, 4/5+ diamonds, and denying a 4-card major. Again it is forcing for one round but not game-forcing. Jumps to 2H and 2S can be weak or strong, depending on partnership preferences. 1D – 2NT is invitational, showing 11-12 HCP and at least half-stoppers in both majors. 1D-3C is preemptive, and 1D-3D is essentially the same- an inverted diamond raise. Invitational hands can be shown by a bid of 2C or 2D followed by 2NT or a rebid of the suit. With game-forcing hands , responder has to bid a new suit at his second turn or simply bid game (usually 3NT).
After a 2C response, opener can rebid 2D, bid 2NT, or raise to 3C with minimum values. These bids are non-forcing. With maximum values and a “normal” 1D opening, opener can rebid 2H or 2S. This may be a real suit or a feature . Opener may also just jump to 3NT. Holding a “one diamond with muscles” hand he may jump to 3H or 3S. Splinter bids in support of clubs have to be delayed one round.
After an inverted 2D response to 1D, opener’s options are essentially the same. He can bid 2NT or 3D with appropriate minimums. He can bid 2H, 2S, or 3C with “normal” extra values (14-16 HCP) or just jump to 3NT. He can also jump to 3H or 3S with 17-20 HCP and a “one diamond with muscles” hand.
RESPONSES TO 1D WITH 5+ CLUBS
When responder holds 5+ clubs and 6-10 HCP, he will usually not be able to bid his long suit. He also has to realize that game is not very likely. Remember that 1D is not usually a strong opener. If balanced, it will often have only 12-13 HCP. It will rarely have more than 16 HCP. In order for us to have any higher ambitions than a nine or ten trick game responder needs a very strong hand. So his first important objective in responding to a 1D opening will be to explore for any possible major suit fit. As mentioned in the previous section, that might even involve bidding a 3-card suit in extreme circumstances. (Don’t get carried away with that ploy). If no major fit is found, one of the partners will often bid 1NT and the auction will end. A second possibility is that opener will rebid 2C or 2D and the bidding will stop in a minor partscore.
With 11-12 HCP, 5 clubs, and no major, responder may be able to invite with 2NT. With that hand and a major, responder may be able to bid his major and then start an invitational sequence with an artificial 2C over opener’s 1NT rebid. With 10-12 HCP and 4+ diamonds, he may make a direct 2D response to 1D. With no other choice he may have to bid 2C and invite by rebidding 2NT or 3C (with six). Here are some typical hands hands that will respond 1H or 1S to a 1D opening, despite holding longer clubs and 10+ HCP:
A. ♠ K10xx B.♠ x C. ♠ 10xxx D. ♠ Qx
♥ Qxx ♥ AQxx ♥ KQx ♥ AKxx
♦ x ♦ Kx ♦ x ♦ QJ
♣ KQxxx ♣ J10xxxx ♣ AQJxx ♣ J10xxx
If he has no 4-card major and scattered honors he may bid 2NT
(11-12 HCP) or 3NT (13-16+ HCP) without mentioning a club suit. With a weakish (6-10 HCP) and no major he will often be forced to bid 1NT.
Hands A and B will pass a 1NT rebid by opener. B may make a game try if raised. C will probably make an invitational bid over 1NT or 1S. Remember that both 2C and 2D are artificial and forcing over opener’s 1NT rebid. (2C is invitational; 2D is game-forcing).Hand D will force to game in either hearts or NT.
1D- 2C and 3C RESPONSES As noted, responses to 1D on hands with length in clubs need special treatment. We have already seen how many semi-balanced invitational hands may be handled. We also have reasonable methods to handle intermediate hands with four-card majors and longer club suits. What is
needed is a set of bids to handle weak, intermediate, and strong club one-suiters and strong hands with long clubs plus four or more cards in a major.
Our standard scheme will enable us to describe all of these types of hands in a fairly comprehensive manner.
The 2C response will not be game-forcing, but responder’s rebids may create a game force. The 2C responder may have a major side suit, but if so he will have game-forcing values. With less, he would bid his major first and use one of the invitational sequences described in the previous section.
-200 if vulnerable.The rules do allow you to pass.)
7-10 HCP hand with 6+ clubs-bid 1NT, OR pass, and then bid 2C if
given the chance
11-12 HCP hand with 6+ clubs- bid 2C, then rebid 3C(invitational)
11-12 HCP hand with 5 or 6 clubs, thoughts of NT game- bid 2C,
then major suit feature / pass 2NT, raise 2NT to 3NT,
or go back to 3C
11-12 HCP with 5+ clubs and 4-card major- bid major suit first,
then invite (see above)
13+ HCP with 5+ clubs and 4-card major- bid 2C, then bid 2H or
13+ HCP with 6+ clubs, no singleton-bid 2C, then 2H or
2S (feature) over a 2D rebid. Opener will never raise
to four since the auction is game forcing.If he
raises to three, you may bid 3NT to indicate you
just bid a feature. Over a rebid of 2NT a new suit at
the 3-level is natural, so you just raise to 3NT
unless you want to try for slam.With a slam –
invitational hand you can bid a suit feature and then
bid 4NT or another suit later
13+ HCP with 6+ clubs, singleton-bid 2C, then jump to 3H. 3S, or
3NT (singleton diamond) over opener’s 2D rebid
If opener rebids anything else, splinters would only
apply at the 4-level.New suits at the 3-level are
natural and game-forcing.
Here are some example hands with long clubs. Opener bids 1D and rebids 2D over 2C.
E. ♠ x F. ♠ x G. ♠ AQ H.♠ x I ♠
♥ Kxx ♥ Kxx ♥ xx ♥ QJxx ♥ AJx
♦ J ♦ KJx ♦A10x ♦ xx ♦Kxxx
♣ KQ10xxx ♣ AQxxxx ♣ KJ10xxx ♣ AKQxxx ♣ AQJxxx
With E, bid 2C, then rebid 3C. With F, bid 2C, then 3S. With G, bid 2C, then 3D (2S is too likely to get raised). With H, bid 2C, then 2H. With
I, bid 2C, then 3D, then 4H. An immediate 4S (void) is also reasonable.
Other Invitations and Game-forcing Sequences
With no major, the bidding may be as simple as 1D-2NT (invitational) or 1D-3NT.With game-forcing values and a 4-card major, responder can choose one of three routes. Unless in slam range ,he will check for a 4-4 major fit first. If 5422, he can bid the major first, then use the artificial 2D to get to game after a 1NT rebid, or simply jump to 3NT if no 4-4 major fit is found. If more distributional or very strong, he can bid 2C first and then bid his major , showing a genuine second suit. This route would tend to suggest slam interest. When responder has 6+ clubs and a 5-card major he must bid 2C, 2 of the major, and then later rebid the major. This sequence merely shows opening values, not super strength. Here are some hands which show those situations:
Here are some more examples:
J. ♠ KQx K. ♠ Kxx L.♠ KQ M.♠ x N. ♠ x
♥ KJxx ♥ AJ ♥ K109 ♥ AKxx ♥ AJ9xx
♦ x ♦ xx ♦ Ax ♦KJx ♦ Q
♣ AJxxx ♣ A10xxx ♣ QJxxx ♣ AKJxxx ♣ AK109xx
With hand J responder will start with a 1H bid and then force to game, probably 4H or 3NT. With no major, hand K is a simple jump to 2NT. Hand L. is stronger, but slam is unlikely. A jump to 3NT is probably best. Hand M is a hand that can be shown by bidding 2C and then 2H or 3H. A later bid of 4D or a splinter to 4S (if space allows) will describe the hand beautifully. On hand M, a 2C bid followed by 2H, and then a subsequent rebid of hearts would show the 6-5 distribution.
INVITATIONAL AND WEAKER ONE-SUITED HANDS
As previously mentioned, a 2C response does not promise the world’s fair.We can use it to show two kinds of one-suited hands with less than game-forcing values.
One type is an invitational 11-12 HCP) one-suited hand which would offer a good shot at 3NT if opener has a decent fit. With this hand we simply bid 2C and rebid 3C. The second type has long clubs with scattered stoppers making it suitable to declare a NT contract. With this hand we can bid 2C and rebid 2NT. With either of these one-suitors some partnerships may want to require a certain minimum suit quality. Others may choose to leave it to the bidders’ judgement. Opposite the invitational hand, the 1D opener can look at his fit in clubs and his chances of stopping the other three suits and either pass or try 3NT.. Three no trump should usually have at least fair chances when responder has the 11-12 type hand.
Finally, we have the kind of problem hands we discussed earlier - those with long clubs that need to be played in the suit but lack the values for a 2C response to 1D. There is a simple solution, but it needs to be used judiciously. We will describe
subpar hands (3-9 HCP) with 6+ (preferably 7) card club suits with an immediate jump to 3C. The bid should be used with careful consideration of vulnerability and suit quality. Trying it with Q9xxxx vulnerable is not recommended with a possibly homicidal partner.
Here are some example weak and invitational one-suited hands with long clubs:
O.♠ x P.♠ Qx Q. ♠ xx R. ♠ x
♥ Jxx ♥ xx ♥ xxx ♥ xx
♦ Jxx ♦ KJx ♦ K ♦ J10xx
♣ AK109xx ♣ KQ10xxx ♣ Q10xxxxxx ♣ QJ109xx
With hand Q, responder should bid 2C, and then follow up with 3C. If opener has Qx of clubs, 3NT is a good bet. With hand P, responder will bid 2C and then rebid 3C (11-12 HCP). With hand Q, he can make a weak jump to 3C, assuming reasonable vulnerability conditions. With R, a pass of 1D is probably best, though an adventurous 3C might work.
INVERTED DIAMOND RAISES OF A 1D OPENING Diamond raises of a 1D opening are inverted. The 2D raise shows 10+ HCP and denies a 4-card major. It should usually guarantee a 5-card suit, but sometimes must be made with four. The raise to 3D is a little more risky than in other systems, since opener may occasionally have only one diamond. It should show from 5-9 HCP and a 6-card suit, though a decent 5-card suit may do in a pinch. It is not a good idea to get too frisky with the 3D bid, especially when vulnerable. Better to pass 1D than to go for 800 versus an opponent’s partscore.
An area to discuss carefully is the meaning of opener’s rebids after the inverted raise to two diamonds. Two hearts or two spades after 1D-2D shows good values in a “normal” 11-16 HCP hand and a stopper, not necessarily a suit. Those bids usually show 14-16 HCP. We have no choice but to jump to 3H or 3S in order to to show the big 17-20 HCP hand. The sequence 1D-2D-2NT shows the 12-13 weak NT opener, but does not absolutely guarantee sure stoppers in both majors. 1D-2D-3D shows a minimum with at least three,and probably four, diamonds. It also hints strongly that opener’s majors may have weaknesses. It is non-forcing, as is 2NT. 1D-2D-3C should show values in both minors, and is again non-forcing. It is often up to responder to place the contract in 3NT if he is the one with the major suits under control and better than a minimum response.
Here are some typical auctions:
♠ Kx ♠ Axx 1D 2D (10+ HCP)
♥ Kxx ♥ xxx 2N( 12-13 balanced) P or 3NT
♦ Axxx ♦ KQxxx
♣ Kxxx ♣ Qx
B. ♠ x ♠ Kxx 1D 2D
♥ KJxx ♥ Qxx 3D(minimum with P
♦ KQxx ♦ Axxxx 3+ diamonds)
♣ Axxx ♣ Jx
C. ♠ AQx ♠ xx 1D 2D
♥ x ♥ KQx 2S(stopper, 14+HCP) 3NT
♦ AQxx ♦ Kxxxx P
♣ Kxxxx ♣ QJx
D. ♠ x ♠ xxx 1D 2D
♥ Axx ♥ Kx 3C(minors,extra values) 3H(stopper)
♦ KQxxx ♦ Axxxx 4S(splinter) 4NT(RKCB)
♣ AKxx ♣ QJx 5C(0 or 3) 6D
The raise to 3D shows less than 10 HCP and a long diamond suit. Because the 1D bid may be short, responder should have a 6-card suit vulnerable and a decent 5-card suit non-vulnerable. It may sometimes be preferable to bid 1NT or pass, hoping to bid diamonds later, rather than commit to a 3D contract.
These are possible 3D responses:
E. ♠ x F. ♠ xx G. ♠ x
♥ Qx ♥ xxx ♥ xx
♦ QJxxxx ♦ KQJxxx ♥ KQ109x
♣ xxxx ♣ xx ♣ xxxxx
Inverted raises do not apply in competition. The simple raise to 2D over an overcall or double is standard. A cuebid shows the good raise over an overcall. Over a double, 2NT and 3D are available as limit and preemptive raises.
This scheme is relatively simple and has proved quite effective over the years. If the reader does not belong to the “Mad Scientist Fan Club”, he may want to just accept these methods as the default choice for the system and skip the next few pages. If , however, the discovery of a new convention or treatment causes you to salivate uncontrollably like Pavlov’s dogs, you may be open to the alternate suggestions I am about to propose.
ALTERNATIVE TWO-LEVEL RESPONSE SCHEMES
PROPOSAL #1 I will start with the simpler of my two possible improved schemes for two-level reponses to 1D.
The changes start with the jumps to 2H and 2S. I think they can be very useful if they are used conventionally rather than as natural (whether weak or strong) jump shifts. Natural weak responses in a major can be handled by simply bidding the suit and then cheaply rebidding it at the two level. Strong jump shifts can be handled by bidding the suit at the one level and then using whatever artificial or natural bids are available to establish a game forcing auction (i.e. a game-forcing 2D after opener’s 1NT rebid).
The 2H and 2S jumps can then be used as INVITATIONAL BIDS IN THE LOWER AND HIGHER MINORS. That is, a 2H (the lower major) jump response to 1D would show an invitational bid in the lower minor-clubs. A 2S (the higher major) jump would show an invitational bid in diamonds (the higher minor). Jumps to 3C and 3D would retain their meaning as weak and preemptive. Opener could bid 2NT or 3NT or sign off in 3C or 3D.
The most significant benefit would be that a 2C responder could now make a game forcing rebid of 2NT or 3C at his second turn. He would no longer have to invent a feature in a new suit to create a game force.
The remainder of the basic scheme outlined earlier would remain exactly the same. These changes should present no significant memory problems to anyone familiar with the “unusual vs. unusual” defense against two-suited overcalls. The lower-lower / higher higher correspondence is a fairly easy concept to grasp even if you’ve never encountered it before.
PROPOSAL #2 – TWO-WAY INVERTED 2D RAISE / MAJOR SUIT TRANSFERS
Some say I just can’t leave well enough alone. I prefer to think of myself as full of new ideas. My friends seem to agree. They’re always telling me I’m full of it. At any rate, I have another unconventional idea for two-level responses to a 1D opening.
This particular brainstorm came to me as I was going over the two-way two-level responses to a 1C opening. As you will see in the section on big club auctions, these bids allow responder to transfer into long suits while allowing the opening bidder to declare the contract and keep his hand hidden. Why, I asked myself (there was no-one else in the room to talk to at the time), wouldn’t it be possible to build some long suit transfers into the responses to a 1D opening bid ? Not hearing a plausible reason from myself as to why it wouldn’t work, I came up with another one of my “fiendishly clever” schemes.
By making the forcing 2D response double as a relay to 2H and using a 2H response as a transfer to spades, responder can transfer into either major, showing a long suit and a weak hand. Opener should accept the 2H transfer with any ordinary I D opener. The only exceptions are when he has an unusually strong opener (either a maximum 15-16 HCP hand with 4 hearts or a “1D with muscles” type hand with 17-20 HCP ) or a heart void and extreme length in the minors. Opener will almost always accept a 2H transfer to 2S, since it usually shows little prospect of game.
When the 2D responder has a “real” 2D bid, his next bid will show it. I will describe the continuation scheme in a minute. In most cases the auction will end in 2H or 2S when responder uses the transfer with the long major.
Since weak hands with long majors will be shown by bidding 2H or 2S, this allows the 2S response to be used for a special purpose- a preemptive response in either minor. Opener should usually accept the transfer by bidding 3C (unless he has no tolerance for clubs and very long diamonds). Responder then passes 3C or corrects to 3D.
The conventional use of the 2S response has a domino effect- It frees direct 3C and 3D responses for new meanings.We can now make our 3C,3D, and 3H responses very similar to those over a 1C opening – invitational 7-card transfers with two of the top three honors. 3S will be AKQxxxx in either minor , strongly suggesting opener bid 3NT. We won’t have a transfer invitation for clubs, but we can still invite in clubs by first responding 2C.
or something like 5D, 4H, 3-4 C ,aiming for 5C or 5D)
3S- same as 3H- 17-20 HCP, 5+D,4S
1D 2NT ( 11-12 HCP, bal.) –should have at least
partial stopper in both majors- otherwise might bid 2D)
1D 3C (transfer-7+ diamonds, 2 of 3 top honors)
3NT- A, K, or Q of diam., partial or full stoppers in other suits
1D 3D (transfer- 7+ hearts, 2 of 3 top honors)
3H- to play
3NT- see above
1D 3H (transfer- 7+ spades, 2 of 3 top honors)
3S- to play
3NT- see above
1D 3S (solid 7-card minor – AKQxxxx )
3NT- taking a shot
4C-pass or correct
All of these should work brilliantly as long as the opponents cooperate and don’t interfere with our auction. Occasionally some rude person will throw in a bid and mess things up. Other than giving him a dirty look, you have very little recourse except to be ready with some competitive agreements. We should try to keep them simple.
With direct interference over 1D, simple standard methods apply. With 10+ HCP and 5+ diamonds we can bid diamonds naturally. With any long suit, natural preemptive jumps apply.
The area where we need to avoid confusion is when RHO comes in after our 1D-2D auction. I think the best solution is for opener to double if he is willing to have responder compete in hearts and to pass with any “normal” 1D opener lacking a great heart fit. Assuming there is space, responder can then double or bid 3C with the 10+ HCP diamond raise, and bid 3D as a transfer with long hearts. If the opponents bidding passes 3C, any bid or double would show the constructive hand, while a pass would show the weak heart preempt. Other schemes are certainly possible.
If neither of my “imaginative” proposals seems appealing, the reader may certainly choose the original dull, sensible, prosaic set of bids described at the outset of this section. It will indicate either his lack of the spirit of adventure or his firm grip on reality.