The california club system overview

strong hand always becomes declarer if 4/4

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strong hand always becomes declarer if 4/4

major fit is found.

*Weak hand avoids bidding NT- strong hand

declares almost all 3NT contracts

* NT rebids by responder(otherwise avoided) show

4441, 9+ HCP or good raise
1C – 1D 3C=2nd negative-0-3 HCP,no K,

2S=strong 2 in CLUBS may be passed

? 3D = 4-8 HCP,no 5-card major

3H = 5+ spades (4-8HCP)

3S = 5+ hearts (4-8HCP)

3NT = good club raise (7-8 HCP)

4C = nat club raise(4-6), can

also bid 3D-aiming for 3NT)

2NT - shows ALL 9+ 4441 hands.3C asks

singleton; 3D, 3H,3S, 3NT(clubs) show it.

1C - 1D

2NT= strong 2 in DIAMONDS 3C-2nd neg.(0-3) (3D by opener

can be passed)

3D = 4-8 HCP, no 5-card major; may

be start of 4-6 HCP raise

3H= 5+spades (4-8 HCP)

3S = 5+hearts (4-8HCP)

3NT (diam.) 4C, 4H, 4S = 9+,4441

4D = nat. diam raise (7-8 HCP)

Since a jump to 3C or 3D is not needed for the 22+ HCP type hand, we can

assign those bids a specific meaning. That would be a hand that is in the minimum

1C range but has 8 or 9 running tricks. Examples would be:

♠x ♥ Kx ♦ AJx ♣ AKQJxxx ♠AK ♥ x ♦ AKQxxxxx ♣ Kx

These bids would be more likely to be made in a minor, but could also be

useful and descriptive in a major.

1C – 1D

3C/3D/3H/3S-----probably only 17-20 HCP, but VERY good suit,

8-9+ tricks



So far we have only seen 1D responses from the partner of the 1C opener.

Believe it or not, it is legal for responder to have a decent hand. Your partner may never have anything, but some players do occasionally hold 9 or more points. In this system, that constitutes a positive response. In the next several sections, we will go through the various positive responses to 1C. In some cases the positive response is just one part of a two-way bid. We will have to go through both meanings of those bids as a single entity.

In general, the following statement holds true for every one of the bids we are about to discuss : A positive response to a one club opening bid shows at least a very good eight to nine high card points and is essentially forcing to game. After an auction that starts with such a response, jumps are unnecessary unless they are used to show very specific holdings.

Several of the responses are designed to allow the strong club bidder to declare the most likely contracts. This is done by using transfer bids whenever this can practically be done without unnecessary distortion of the auction. Taken together , the bids that follow can describe a high percentage of possible responding hands with a high degree of precision.


The response of one heart or one spade shows at least a five card suit. It shows 9+ HCP, although an extremely good 8 HCP hand with a strong suit (say AKJ10xx) may qualify. This last comment should not be taken as approval for the current craze for “upgrading” at the slightest excuse. If responder has an eight point hand, there is nothing wrong with starting with a negative 1D bid and then following up with a bid that shows 5-8 HCP.

When the auction goes 1C-1H or 1C-1S, opener has three basic options. 1) He can raise responder’s suit. 2) He can bid a suit of his own. 3) He can find out more about responder’s hand before making a decision.

Option number one should always be the last choice. He can always support responder’s suit later. Besides, as we shall see, an immediate raise is conventional and often is not appropriate. Option number two should be used judiciously. It should be reserved for a 1S rebid over 1H or for some unbalanced or semi-balanced hands with long clubs or diamonds. The best choice is option number three.

The two one-level bids which accomplish this objective are a rebid of 1S (over 1H) or 1NT(over either 1H or 1S). With 5+ spades, opener can rebid 1S. Responder then has a set of rebids which allow opener to judge whether there is any slam potential in the hand.


With five or more spades, opener rebids 1S. Responder now has several natural rebids and a couple of important artifical bids which define his hand more precisely. First of all, he can raise opener’s spades in several ways. He can bid 2S to show three card support and 9-12 HCP. He can bid 1NT to show four card support and 9-12 HCP. He can jump to 3S to show four card support and 13+ HCP. And he can use an artificial 2C bid and a delayed raise to show three spades and 13+ HCP. He also has two natural rebids in his own suit. A simple rebid of 2H shows 6+ hearts and 9-12 HCP. A jump to 3H shows a good six card suit and 13+ HCP. A jump to 2NT is natural and shows 13+ HCP. Finally, jumps to 3C or 3D are natural, showing 5-5 distribution and 9-12 HCP. (note- The reason responder’s 1NT is not used

as a natural bid is to avoid having the weak hand play eventual no trump contracts. The natural 2NT rebid is strong enough that we don’t worry about guiding the contract into the stronger hand.)

This leaves two artificial bids to cover remaining possible hands. Two clubs shows any hand with 13+HCP that is not covered by any of the major suit rebids. The hand may have a delayed raise, a side minor suit, or 5-3-3-2

distribution. Two Diamonds covers some of the same types of hands with

9-12 HCP. It is basically a waiting bid. It denies three spades or six hearts and will have a side minor suit or 5-3-3-2 distribution.

1C-1H or 1S-1NT

With any balanced hand (even if it contains three or four cards in responder’s suit) and with many semi-balanced hands, opener should rebid 1NT. That is for three reasons. First, it ensures that all no trump contracts will be declared by the strong hand. Second, it takes up very little bidding room. Most importantly, just as with the 1S rebid, when opener rebids 1NT the system provides a set of continuations by responder that the opener can use to immediately judge whether the partnership should be looking for slam or merely trying to settle on the best game contract.

In each case the key continuation is a completely artificial 2C bid. If responder’s first rebid is 2C, it shows at least 13 HCP and indicates that slam is at least worth exploring. All other non-jump rebids show 9-12 HCP. When responder makes one of these bids it usually means that slam is not likely. Unless the 1C opener has extra strength or the distribution provides extra trick-taking potential, the auction will merely be a search for the best game.

The continuations after both the 1S and 1NT rebids include several similar bids . Rebids of responder’s major show 6+ card suits. Raises are basically natural. Double jumps in new suits are splinter bids.

Both schemes feature the artificial 2C rebid to show 13+ HCP. They have two other artificial bids in common. The 2D bid is a waiting bid.After opener’s 1NT, it shows four cards in the opposite major. A bid of the opposite major is a waiting bid that denies four cards in that major. This use of 2D and the other major is not a whimsical affectation. It means that the strong hand will be the declarer any time there is a 4-4 fit in that suit. Suit bids after a waiting bid show 4-card suits or stoppers for no trump.

Transfers are used in both schemes to show second 5-card suits in hands with 9-12 HCP. That is, a 2NT bid shows 5+ clubs, a 3C bid shows 5+ diamonds, and 3D shows 5+ hearts (only if responder’s first bid was 1S.) Responder can then make a third bid to show his short suit, completing an accurate description of his hand. We can use transfers here because the 1C opener has already bid no trump, and all no trump contracts will be played by the strong hand. One special feature of these secondary transfers is the ability of responder to make a transfer back into his own suit at the three level. This shows a semi-solid suit and 13+ HCP. A natural jump in his suit can now show a solid suit and 13+ HCP. This is slightly altered when the auction goes 1C-1H-1S. Then we have to use the 2D waiting bid to handle a secondary 5-card diamond suit, using a natural 3C bid to show 5+ clubs. This gives up the transfer into diamonds in order to keep the jump rebids in hearts consistent with those in spades. These two bids are more likely to be helpful in finding find a good game or slam than a transfer into diamonds.

Here is the complete rebid scheme:


1C 1H

1NT ? 2C**** 13+ HCP

2D**** 4+ SPADES (4/4 spade fits now

are played from the strong hand)

2H = 6+ hearts, 9-12 HCP, as above


2NT = transfer; 5+ CLUBS, 9-12 HCP

3C =transfer; 5+ DIAMONDS, 9-12 HCP

3D =***13+ HCP, 6+ HEARTS, semi-solid suit

3H = 6+hearts,solid suit, 13+ HCP,as above

3S/4C/4D=Splinter, 6+GOOD hearts, 13+ HCP
After opener accepts the 2NT transfer to 3C or the 3C transfer to 3D, responder

next bids his short suit.

AFTER 1C-1S-1NT, the bidding is essentially identical to that which

follows 1C-1H-1NT.

1C 1S

1NT ? 2C*** artificial, 13+HCP

2D*** 4 HEARTS (2D = 4 of other major, 9-12)

2H***=waiting bid; DENIES 4 hearts

2S = 6+ spades,9-12 HCP

2NT = transfer; 5+ CLUBS; 5/5+, 9-12 HCP

3C = transfer, 5+ DIAMONDS, 5/5+, 9-12 HCP

3D = transfer, 5+ HEARTS, 9-12 HCP

3H = 6+ semi-solid spades, 9-12 HCP

3S = 6+ solid spades, 13-16 HCP

4C,4D, 4H = splinters; 6+ GOOD spades, 13+ HCP

After 1C -1H – 1S, the scheme is very similar, but not identical.

1C 1H

1S ? 1NT- 4-card spade raise, 9-12 HCP

2C***-artif., 13+ HCP

2D*** waiting bid, 9-12 HCP, DENIES

6+ hearts, 3+ spades, may have 5+ diamonds

2H = 6+ hearts, 9-12 HCP

2S = 3-card spade raise, 9-12 HCP (with 3 spades

and 13+ HCP, you bid 2C ,then support)

2NT = 4-card spade raise, 13+ HCP

3C = 5+ hearts, 5+ clubs, 9-12 HCP

3D = 6+ semi-solid hearts, 13+ HCP

3H = 6+ solid hearts, 13+ HCP

3S = ALERT!!! Splinter, 6+ hearts, 0/1 spades - see 4C, $D

4C, 4D- also splinters- 6+ hearts, 13+ HCP, shortness

in bid suit

Here are some example hands and auctions:
A.♠ AQxx ♠ Kxxx 1C 1H (5+hearts,9+HCP)

♥ Kx ♥ Jxxxx 1NT 2D (4 of opposite major)

♦ AJxx ♦ x 2S 3S

♣ KQx ♣ AJx 4D 4S

B.♠ AQxx ♠ xx 1C 1H

♥ Kx ♥ AQxxxx 1NT 2H (6 hearts,9-12 HCP)

♦ AJxx ♦ x 2S 3C

♣ KQx ♣ AJxx 3D 3H

4C 4D

4NT 5S (2 KC+Q)

6H or 6NT
C.♠ AQxx ♠ xx 1C 1H

♥ Kx ♥ AQxxx 1NT 2NT (5H, 5C - 9-12 HCP)

♦ AJxx ♦ x 3C 3D (shortness)

♣ KQx ♣ AJxxx 4C(1430) 4S (2 KC)

D.♠ Kx ♠ AQxxx 1C 1S

♥ KJxx ♥ Axxx 1NT 2D (4 of opposite major)

♦ AQxx ♦ xx 2H 3H

♣ AQx ♣ xx 3NT (slam try) 4H (no extras)

E.♠ K10x ♠ AQJxxx 1C 1S

♥ Ax ♥ xxx 1NT 3H (6+ spades, 13+ HCP)

♦ AKxxx ♦ xx 4D 5C

♣ Kxx ♣ AQ 5D 5S

5H 6C

F.♠ xxx ♠ AKQxxx 1C 1S

♥ AKx ♥ xx 1NT 3S (solid spades, 13+ HCP)

♦ Ax ♦ Qxx 4C 5C

♣ AQ10xx ♣ Kx 7S

G.♠ AQxxx ♠Jx 1C 1H

♥ Kxx ♥ AJ10xx 1S 2C (13+ HCP)

♦ AKJxQx 2D 2NT

♣ x ♣ AKx 3H 4C

4NT 5H

6H P or 6NT

H.♠AJxxx ♠x 1C 1H

♥ Qx ♥ AKJ10xx 1S 3S !!! splinter !!

♦AQxx ♦ Kx 4NT 5D (3 KC - hearts assumed)

♣KJ ♣ Axxx 7H



Earlier, I stated that a direct raise of opener’s suit should be the last choice

of the 1C opener. This was not because I think it is a bad idea to support

partner. It is because Precision asking bids are a part of the system. A direct

raise of partner’s 1H or 1S bid asks for a description of his trump holding.

This provides great information about possible trump losers, but it contributes

nothing at all to a much more important question-do we belong in slam?

There are some hands where information about the length and strength

of our trump suit is all we need to know in order to bid six, but those are a

small minority. Most of the time we need to know more about responder’s

overall strength and distribution before we can make an intelligent decision .

Therefore a direct raise of responder’s suit (TAB) wiil usually be a poor

choice.Whenever possible, opener should rebid 1S or 1NT in order to find

out more about responder’s hand. To this end I created a modified version of


responder has had a chance to give a better description of his hand, a

bid of his suit by opener is DTAB. Responder then gives his trump length

and honor strength. Opener can then ask about a second suit. He is not

committed to slam; he is merely checking out the possibility. He can still sign

off at the four or five level.


Sartor DTAB(delayed trump asking bids)

As in the Precision Club, a DIRECT RAISE of responder’s first bid

suit is a trump asking bid.The answers to the raise follow the

following pattern: 012123. DTAB may use the same answers as long as

responder’s length has not been clearly established (see below)

1st step = 0 of 3 top honors / 5+ card suit (no exact length)

2nd step = 1 of 3 top honors / 5 card suit

3rd step = 2 of 3 top honors / 5 card suit

4th step = 1 of 3 top honors / 6 card suit

5th step = 2 of 3 top honors / 6 card suit

6th step = 3 of 3 top honors / 5+ card suit (no exact length)

After the answer,when opener bids a 2nd suit, that asks for controls

as follows:

1st step = no control (3+ cards, no Q, K,or A)

2nd step = 3rd round control (Q or doubleton)

3rd step = 2nd round control (K or singleton)

4th step = 1st round control (A or void)

5th step = 1st and 2nd round control (AK or singleton A )

A follow-up rebid of the same suit asks whether the control represents

distribution (1st step) or a high card (2nd step.)

Here are a couple of DTAB situations:

1C 1H 1C 1H

1NT 2C**(13+HCP) 1NT 2D**(4 spades)

2H***(DTAB) 2S***(DTAB)

In the first case , DTAB uses the same answers as TAB(see above).

Responder’s heart length is uncertain. In the second case, responder’s

length in spades is known. Therefore, DTAB is merely concerned with

top honors. The answers are very simple: 1St step = 0 2nd step = 1

3rd step = 2 4th step = 3

Whenever responder has shown a 6-card suit or 5-5 or 5-4 distribution the

simpler set of answers is used.

After opener has made a DTAB inquiry in one suit, he may make a second

inquiry in a new suit, just as with TAB. The answers are the same as those

in response to a second TAB bid. 3NT and game bids in one of responder’s

suits are signoffs.

To avoid a trump asking sequence, opener must bid NT or a suit of his

own at his first and 2nd bids. After that, bidding is natural.
Here are some example auctions:
A.♠ Axx ♠ KQxxxx 1C 1S (9+ HCP)

♥ KQxxx ♥ Ax 1NT 2S (6+spades,9-12 HCP)

♦ Ax ♦ xx 3S (DTAB) 4D (2 honors)

♣ KQx ♣ Jxxx 4H (DAB) 5D (1st round control)


B.♠ Qxx ♠ Kxxxx 1C 1S

♥ AKx ♥ Qxxx 1NT 2D (4 in opp. major, 9-12 HCP)

♦ AKJxx ♦ x 2S (DTAB) 3C (5 spades, 1 top honor)

♣ Kx ♣ AJx 3S 4C (or 4S)

4D 4S

C.♠ KJ10xxx ♠ Qx 1C 1H

x ♥ Kxxxx 1S 2D (waiting)

♦ AQx ♦ Kxx 2S 3S

♣ AKJx ♣ Qxx 4S

D.♠ QJ10 ♠ AKxxxx 1C 1S

♥ Ax ♥ Jxx 1NT 2C (13+HCP)

♦ KQJx ♦ Ax 2S (DTAB) 3S (6 spades, 2 top honors)

♣ AQxx ♣ Kx 4C (ask) 4S (2nd rd. control)

5D (ask) 6C (1st rd. control)

REBIDS OF 2C and 2D AFTER 1C- 1H or 1S

When opener has a long minor suit and 17+HCP and gets a positive response of 1H or 1S to his 1C opening, he has a choice of rebids.

With only a five-card suit, a 1NT rebid is generally the best choice,

assuming at least a semi-balanced hand.Even with 5-4-3-1 distribution

and a singleton in responder’s suit, a 1NT rebid may be the best way to

get useful information on responder’s hand and may also right-side any

no trump contracts.

A rebid of 2C or 2D, therefore, tends to show at least a six-card suit.

After a lot of exploration involving relays and other artificial continuation

schemes to describe responder’s distribution and point range, I finally came back to one that is fairly natural. It will use the cheapest second bid by responder (2D over 2C; 2H over 2D) as a waiting bid. Most other non-jump

bids will be natural, and a few jump bids will show specific hands.

Responder usually will not try to indicate extra values immediately since he is in a game-forcing auction, He will have later opportunities to indicate slam interest (by supporting opener’s suit at the four level, cue-bidding a side suit, making a splinter bid, etc.). He can rebid his suit with six, bid a second four or five card suit, or support opener’s minor with three.The waiting bid will be used for many hands in the 9-12 HCP range. It will be used for any hand with no second biddable suit, no rebiddable six-card major, and less than three-card card support for opener’s minor. A rebid of 2H over 2D be may simply show a 5-3-3-2 hand with nothing else to bid. Another heart bid is needed to guarantee a six-card suit.

There are basically only three immediate strong second bids available to

responder. One is 2NT. This will guarantee honors in all suits outside

opener’s minor and show at least 13 HCP. Opener will be able to ask for

the exact range (in steps) by bidding 3C (1st step= 13-14, 2nd= 15-16,

3rd=17-18, etc.). The second strong bid is a jump rebid in opener’s major, which shows at least 13 HCP and a very good six or seven card suit.

The third is an immediate splinter , showing at least good three-card support for opener’s suit, shortness in the bid suit, and enough strength to invite slam..

These bids may not be very sophisticated, but they should cause almost no

memory strain.

1C- 1H or 1S- 2C REBID
Here are some example hands:

A. ♥ Ax ♥ Qxx 1C 1H (9+ HCP, 5+ hearts)

♠ x ♠ KQxxxx 2C 2H (6+ hearts, 9-12 HCP)

♦ KQx ♦ Ax 2NT 3NT

♣ AKJxxxx ♣ xx P

B. ♠ Kx ♠ Qxx 1C 1H (9+ HCP, 5+hearts)

♥ ♥ KJxxx 2C 2H ( waiting )

♦ AQxx ♦ Kxx 3C 3D (feature or suit)

♣ AKJxxxx ♣ xx 3NT P

C.♠ xQJxxx 1C 1S

♥ KQxx ♥ AJxx 2C 2H

♦ A ♦ Qx 3H (DTAB) 3NT (1 top honor)

♣ AKJ10xxx ♣ xx 4NT (1430) 5C ( 1 )


D.♠ Ax ♠ QJx 1C 1H

♥ Kx ♥ QJxxx 2C 2D ( waiting )

♦ KQx ♦ Jxx 2NT 3NT

♣ AQ10xxx ♣ Kx

E.♠ ♠ Qxxxx 1C 1S

♥ KQxx ♥ AJxx 2C 2H

♦ Ax ♦ Qx 3H (DTAB) 3N (1 top honor)

♣ AKJ10xxx ♣ Qx 4C (control?) 4H (3rd round control)

5C (honor or xx?)5H (honor- Q )


F.♠ x ♠ AQxxx 1C 1S

♥ Ax ♥ QJx 2C 3C

♦ KQx ♦ Ax 4NT (1430) 5S (2 KC + Q of clubs)

♣ AKJxxxx ♣ Q10x 5NT 6C

7C (at worst on 4-3 spade split-

heart finesse is bonus backup)

G.♠ Kx ♠ AQJxxx 1C 1S

♥ Qxx ♥ x 2C 3H (splinter,13+HCP)

♦ AQ ♦ Kxx 3S (DTAB) 4S (6+ spades, 2 of top 3)

♣ AQ10xxx ♣ Kxx 5C (control?) 5S (2nd round control,

6C or 6S almost certainly the king)

1C- 1H or 1S- 2D REBID
Here are some example hands:

A.♠ Ax ♠ KQxxxx 1C 1S

♥ x ♥ Qxx 2D 2S

♦ AKJxxxx ♦xx 3S(DTAB) 4S(6+spades, 2 of top 3)

♣ KQx ♣ Ax 4NT 5S


B.♠ ♠ Qxx 1C 1H

♥ Kx ♥ AJxxx 3D*(solid 7+ suit) 3H

♦ AKQxxxxx ♦ xx 4C 5C

♣ Axx ♣ Kxx 5H 6D

C.♠ KQxx ♠ AJxx 1C 1H

♥ ♥ QJxxx 2D 2S

♦ AKJ109xx ♦ Qx 3S (DTAB) 4C ( 1)

♣ Ax ♣ xx 7S

D.♠ Ax ♠ QJxxx 1C 1S

♥ Kx ♥ QJx 2D 3D

♦ AQ109xx ♦ Kxx 4D(1430) 4H (1 KC )

♣ KQx ♣ xx 4NT P

E.♠ KQxx ♠ Axxxx 1C 1S

♥ ♥ AJxx 2S (TAB) 3C (5 spades,

♦ AKJ109xx ♦ xx 7S * 1 top honor)

♣ Ax ♣ xx *(could ask about diamonds first)

F.♠ Ax ♠ KQxxx 1C 1S

♥ x ♥ Kxx 2D 2NT (13+)

♦ AQJxxxx ♦ Kxx 3D 4D

♣ AQx ♣ Kx 4H**(Redwood) 4S (1 KC)

5C**(kings?) 5D (0 or 3)

6NT ( 0 impossible)

** depending on agreement, 5H might be

the king-asking bid

One of the major design flaws of the Precision Club is the use of 1C-1NT to show a balanced hand with 8-10 HCP. Of course, Precision was designed for simplicity, and this bid is simple and easy to remember. Unfortunately, 1NT is probably the most likely positive response in the whole system. The result is that a great number of no trump contracts are declared by the weak hand, with the strong hand exposed as dummy. There is a solution for this

problem, which will be explained in the next section. Suffice it to say,we have a better way to bid balanced 9-12 HCP hands.

Our new improved 1NT response to a 1C opening shows a balanced hand with 13-15 HCP.With that much strength, there should be no concern about responder declaring the hand. Our main problem will be deciding if slam is a good idea.

The continuations are quite straightforward. Opener bids 2C as Stayman.

Bids of 2D, 2H,and 2S are all natural, showing 5+ card suits. A 2NT bid shows a 5+ card club suit.

At this point any number of continuation schemes will work quite nicely.

One is simply to make all of responder’s bids natural, with no attempt to artificially define strength or trump quality. My preference is to try to get some useful information about responder’s holdings in prospective trump suits. This involves making opener’s natural suit bids double as asking bids. Responder’s answers most closely resemble the Ogust convention’s method of describing weak two bids.

When opener bids 2C (Stayman), responder’s reply will either be a

transfer showing a 4-card suit or a bid denying a major but describing his hand’s strength. To be specific, a 2D reply shows four hearts. Responder may also have a second suit. 2H shows four spades. It denies four hearts, but the hand may have a four card minor. 2S shows no major and a minimum (13-14 HCP) The hand will have one or two minors. 2NT shows four clubs, no major and a maximum (15 HCP). 3C shows four diamonds, a maximum, and necessarily 4-3-3-3 distribution. If opener has a fit for responder’s guaranteed suit he bids it. This bid also asks about the quality of the agreed suit. If no trump fit is found in the transfer suit, opener bids a different suit. This asks about responder’s holding there. If no suit fit can be found, opener can sign off or try for slam in no trump.

The same inquiry process takes place when when opener bids a 5+card suit instead of bidding Stayman. Responder’s reply indicates his holding in the suit. Depending on the response, his exact strength may be established later if necessary.

The instruments for all this investigation are modified versions of the Ogust convention. Unfortunately, three slightly different versions are needed- one for suits in which responder has guaranteed 4-card length and two others for suits in which his length is unknown. I have tried to make the answer schemes are as similar as possible to minimize memory strain.

You’ll notice that I haven’t given the exact definitions for responder’s answers. That’s because Ogust is somewhat subjective. It uses terms like “good hand/bad hand” and “good suit/bad suit”. In general, our responder will describe his support as “poor”, “fair”, “good”, or “excellent”. He does this in steps. Those terms will have slightly different definitions in our three versions of the answers. The pattern will be very similar. The steps will begin with the worst possible hand and culminate with the best. There will also be a follow-up method to get more exact information if slam is in the picture.

The definitions I list here will reflect my own ideas about what constitutes

“poor”, ‘fair” or “good” support. Others are free to use their own standards.

First,when there is a known 4-4 fit:

1st step = poor support (Jxxx or less)

2nd step = fair support (Qxxx, Kxxx, Axxx)

3rd step = good support (QJxx,KJxx, AJxx)

4th step = excellent support (KQxx, AQxx,AKxx)

When opener bids a different suit, needing 4-card support:

1st step = lacking 4-card support

2nd step =poor 4-card support (Jxxx or less)

3rd step = fair 4-card support (Qxxx, Kxxx, Axxx)

4th step = good 4-card support (QJxx, KJxx, AJxx)

5th step = excellent 4-card support (KQxx, AQxx, AKxx)

When a 4-4 fit is established, opener can ask about responder’s overall strength by making the cheapest continuation bid. The first step shows a minimum(13-14 HCP);the second step shows a maximum(15 HCP).

When opener bids a 5+ card suit:

1st step = poor support (xx, Hx,)

2nd step = fair 3-card support (xxx,Hxx)

3rd step = poor 4-card support (xxxx)

4th step = fair/good 4-card support (Hxxx)

5th step = excellent 4-card support (HHxx)

H = high honor- A, K, or Q

When the support is poor , opener can ask about support in a second suit.The same answers would apply.

When responder’s answer establishes at least an eight card trump fit, opener can use the next cheapest bid to ask about general strength. In assessing strength, “minimum”should mean 13 to an average 14 HCP. “Maximum” should mean 15 or possibly a very good 14 HCP-a hand with lots of 10’s and 9’s.

If opener denies four of responder’s suit but shows a four card suit of his own, the same basic standards apply. However, responder hs not guaranteed

four card support. Therefore, the first step denies four cards in the bid suit.The other responses all show varying degrees of four card support.

When there is no hope for a 4-4 fit but slam in no trump is possible, opener can bid 2NT instead of a suit.(If responder bids 3C to show four diamonds, he can bid 3H) This bid asks about strength only. The answers are simple:

1st step =13 2nd step= 14 3rd step=15 If you’re into upgrading, you can add A fourth step for a “super 15” with lots of intermediates. You can also promote a lower answer one step, but only with very good intermediate cards.

When opener bids a 5+ card suit rather than bidding Stayman, our answers have to be adjusted. Responder may have only two cards in our suit. The first step has to account for that holding. We then have to have responses for three card and four card support. The response chart shows those responses.

Here are some sample auctions:

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