Symmetric Relay 1986

Mr. Hugh Grosvenor and Mr. Ian Robinson

INTRODUCTION

This is an adaption of methods developed in New Zealand over the last few years. It is a strong club system, similar in many ways to Precision Club but using relay continuations over all of the openings.

Opening Bids:

1 :

16+ high card points and any shape

or

17+ high card points, if balanced

1 :

11-15 high card points and no 5 card Major suit,

 

not 14-15 high card points and balanced

 

nor single suited with 6+ in a Minor, not 6 and 4 .

1 :

11-15 high card points, 5+ Hearts,

 

may have a longer Minor suit,

 

but not 5+ Spades

1 :

11-15 high card points, 5+ Spades,

 

may have a longer Minor suit,

 

but not 5+ Hearts

1 NT:

14-16 high card points and balanced

2 :

11-15 high card points, 6+ Clubs,

 

no outside 4-card Major suit,

 

could have 4 Diamonds.

2 :

11-15 high card points, 6+ Diamonds,

 

no outside 4-card suit

2 :

11-15 high card points, at least 5-5 in the Majors suits

2 :

Weak Two Bid

2 NT:

At least 5-5 in reds or Major suits,

 

and less than opening values

3 NT:

Minor preempt at Four Level

4 :

Transfer to Hearts

4 :

Transfer to Spades

4 :

To play

4 :

To play

4 NT:

Ace-asking bid

1 Club Opening and Responses

The 1 Club opening is the only strong opening in the system. It shows either 16+ high card points and unbalanced or 17+ high card points and balanced holding. Holdings with exceptional playing strength may be upgraded to open 1 Club. However, this should only be done with discretion.

Responses:

1. A 1 Diamond response is any negative response. To qualify for a positive response, a hand must contain 2 controls and at least 8 points. All higher responses show positive responses.
2. A 1 Heart response may hold 4+ Spades.
3. A 1 Spade response may be balanced, as in any 4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2 distribution or at least 5-4 in the reds suits, either of the two possibilites.
4. A 1 No Trump response indicates 4+ Hearts, but denies 4+ Spades and 4+ Diamonds.
5. A 2 Club response indicates 5+ Diamonds or three-suited with both Minor suits.
6. A 2 Diamond response indicates 5+ Clubs and single suited.
7. A 2 Heart response indicates 4 Diamonds and 5+ Clubs.
8. A 2 Spades response promises at least 5-5 distribution in both Minor suits.
9. A 2 No Trump response promises 4 Clubs and 5+ Diamonds.

Notes:

1. It is important that the positive responses be kept up to strength since all auctions following a positive response are forcing to game. Stronger hands with less than 2 controls can still force to game having started with 1 Diamond, since a change of the suit by the responder after a negative response is forcing for one round.

2. Suits are in general not bid naturally in the hope that the described hand will not end up being declarer. In general, suits are shown in the order Spades-Hearts-DiamondsClubs. For example, with a 6-card Heart suit and a 4-card Spades suit, the bidder will bid 1 Heart to show the Spades first. The exceptions to this are with balanced hands, which bid 1 Spade, and three-suiters with both Minor suits, which bid 2 Clubs.

Relay Continuations after a Positive Response:

In general, after a positive response, the opener will bid the next suit as an artificial relay. This will continue until the opener has sufficient information to place the contract.

There are various basic divisions into which hand types can be placed when describing them through this relay method. These are as follows:

Single suited:

5+ cards in one suit, no other 4+ card suit

Balanced:

any 4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2 shape

"Long-legged" 2-suiter:

two-suited hand with 5+ cards in both suits

"Short-legged" 2-suiter:

two suited hand with one 4 card suit and one 5+ card suit

Three-suited hand:

any 4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0 shape
Single Suited Hands:

The suit is shown by the first response as detailed above. When the partner relays with the next suit up, any bid of 2 Spades or higher shows a single-suited hand in the suit already shown. The next piece of information that must be conveyed is which suit is shortest or whether the hand has equal shortages. The method is outlined below:

2 :

High Shortage

2 NT:

Middle shortage

3 :

Equal shortage

3 :

Low shortage 5-3-3-2

3 :

Low shortage 6-3-3-1

3 :

Low shortage 7+ card suit with void

3 NT:

Low shortage 7+ card suit with singleton

The terms High, Middle and Low relate to the ordinary ranking of the suits, for example Spades are highest, and Clubs the lowest. What suits each term refers to depends upon the suit in which length has been shown. Where high shortage or middle shortage has been shown the next relay asks for further clarification of the hand pattern. These resolve at the same steps as the direct resolution with low shortage. For example a 6-3-3-1 type hand with high shortage will bid 2 Spades first to show high shortage and then over partner's 2 No Trump relay will bid 3 Hearts to show 6-3-3-1 pattern. This is an example of the symmetric nature of the system. The same hand shapes always resolve at the same level and it is only the way in which you have arrived at that level that describes the rest of the hand.

The hands with equal shortage are 6-3-2-2 patterns and 7-2-2-2. It is most efficient to divide these up into two groups, and for half of them to bid 3 Clubs directly and for the others to show high shortage by bidding 2 Spades first, then show equal shortage by bidding 3 Clubs. The natural way to divide them is for the 6-3-2-2 with 2 cards in the highest ranking suit to go via 2 Spades and the 7-2-2-2 and the 6-3-2-2 with the high three card suit to go directly to 3 Clubs.

To illustrate how this all works, following are complete charts showing the resolution of single-suiters with Hearts:

1 1 NT shows Hearts      
2   shortage      
2 NT shortage     Relay  
3 Equal shortage   Relay Equal  
3 3-5-3-2 Relay 3-5-2-3 2-5-3-3 Relay
3 3-6-3-1 2-7-2-2 3-6-1-3 1-6-3-3 2-6-2-3
3 7+ , void in 3-6-2-2 7+ , void in 7+ , void in 2-6-3-2
3 NT 7+ , singleton in   7+ , singleton in 7+ , singleton in

There are various principles demonstrated in this structure which are central to the Symmetric Relay method. It is important that they are understood at this stage, otherwise the rest of the system will be far more difficult to learn. Once the basic principles are learned, it is fairly easy to derive the meaning of a sequence from first principles. This saves a lot in terms of memory work.

1. We always show length from the bottom and shortage from the top. This means that when disclosing length in a suit we will always start from the lowest ranking suit while if disclosing shortage we will start from the highest ranking suit.
2. In many situations the last alternative is shown implicitly by going on and answering the next question. For example 3 Diamonds and up in single suited hands only really show hand patterns. Normally we go via either 2 Spades, 2 No Trump or 3 Clubs to explicitly clarify the shortage. However, if we do not go via any of these bids, but bid it direct, we have implied low shortage. This principle occurs in almost all relay situations.
3. The least likely hand shape is shown at the next to last step. In general the hand shapes are ordered in order of decreasing frequency (the most frequent at the lowest level), because the most efficient auctions should be the ones that come up most frequently. The exception to this is the least frequent shape which resolves at the second last step rather than the last. The reason for this is that the sequences that resolve at 3 Spades are the least efficient since 3 No Trump is never treated as a relay but is always to play. This means that to relay over 3 Spades opener must bid 4 Clubs.
4. A consequence of the implicit bidding principle described above is that when responder holds the last possible shape in any sequence (e.g. 6-4-3-0 for short legged two-suiters), he will often immediately show the number of controls held. In other words, by bidding beyond the second last shape he is implying the last shape and actually showing controls. This is sometimes referred to as zooming.

Since final hand patterns will sometimes zoom past 3 No Trump, the relayer should take some care that he does not accidently become overboard particularly after intervention where the structure has been displaced. Sometimes this will be unavoidable, however judicious use of weak relays can often avoid the problem.

Balanced Hands:

Balanced hands are all bid via 1 Spade. This allows the strong and undisclosed hand to be declarer in the most likely contract of 3 No Trump. Throughout the system some effort is made to avoid the disclosed hand becoming declarer.

The continuations are as follows:

1   1
1 NT    

2 :

Hearts and Diamonds, at least 5-4 either way

2 :

4-4-3-2 two suits of the same color

or

4-3-3-3 with a 4-card Major suit

2 :

4-4-3-2 and two suits of the same rank

2 :

4-3-3-3 and a 4-card Minor suit

2 NT:

2-4-3-4

3 :

4-3-4-2

3 :

3-4-2-4

3 :

4-2-4-3

The balanced hands are bid along slightly different principles to the other types of hands. We do not adhere to the length from the bottom rule but rather follow the mnemonic CRO. This stands for Color, Rank, Odd and refers to the way in which the 4-4-3-2 distributions are shown. First the parity of the suits is determined i.e. same colour, same rank or odd and then the doubleton is shown. In the case of odd suits the doubleton is shown directly and it is implicit that the long suits are of odd parity. The doubleton is shown by bidding the suit of the doubleton except in the case of spades in which case we bid 2 No Trump.

4-3-3-3 type hands are all bid via 2 Spades. With a 4-card Major we get to 2 Spades via 2 Diamonds, while with a 4-card Minor, 2 Spades is bid direct. One way to remember this is that by bidding the Major via 2 Diamonds the undisclosed hand will become declarer in a Heart contract.

The full structure for balanced hands is listed below:

2 Color or 4-3-3-3 Major suit
2 Rank     Relay  
2 4-3-3-3 Minor   Relay 4-3-3-3 Major  
2 NT 2-4-3-4 Relay 2-3-4-4 2-4-4-3 Relay
3 4-3-4-2 3-3-3-4 4-4-3-2 3-4-4-2 3-4-3-3
3 3-4-2-4 3-3-4-3 4-4-2-3 4-3-2-4 4-3-3-3
3 4-2-4-3   3-2-4-4 4-2-3-4
Two Suited Hands:

General:

With two suited hands, first the two suits must be identified, then their relative lengths, then the shortage clarified, and finally the exact hand shape. The principle of bidding suits in a non-natural way still applies in an attempt to stop the disclosed hand from becoming declarer.

We have already seen that Minor two suiters bid 2 Hearts or higher directly after the 1 Club opening. This is another example of implicit bidding. No suits have been explicitly shown so the Minors have been implied. The red two-suiters have also been shown to go via 1 Club-1 Spade-1 No Trump-2 Clubs. All other two-suiters contain a Major and hence go via either 1 Heart or 1 No Trump.

The structure is as follows:

1   1
1    

1 NT:

4 plus Hearts

2 :

4 plus Diamonds

2 :

4 plus clubs and 5 plus Hearts

2 :

5 plus Clubs and 4 Hearts

2 :

and higher shows a single-suiter
1   1 NT
2  

2 :

4 plus Clubs and 5 plus Hearts

2 :

5 plus clubs and 4 Hearts

2 :

and higher shows a single-suiter

Where two suits have been shown it is then necessary to sort out their relative lengths, 2 Hearts always shows 4 cards in the higher ranking suit and 5+ cards in the lower ranking suit (length from the bottom), 2 Spades shows at least 5-5 (long-legged) and 2 No Trump and up resolve shortage and implicitly show 4 cards in the lower ranking suit and 5+ cards in the higher ranking suit.

Note that this principle still exists with two-suiters with Clubs and a Major, although it is not intuitively obvious. The two auctions in question are listed below:

1 1  
1 2 shows 5 plus Spades, 4 plus Clubs
2 shows 5 plus Clubs, 4 plus Spades
1 1 NT  
2 2 5 plus Hearts, 4 plus Clubs
2 5 plus Clubs, 4 Hearts

This area of the system has consistently proved difficult to remember. The best way to consider these sequences is that 2 Diamonds simply shows that Clubs is the second suit, while the spare step (2 Hearts) runs on to show the first type of two-suiter. As with all other short-legged two-suiters, 2 Hearts shows 4 cards in the higher ranking suit and 5+ in the lower.

The full structure is shown below for Major two-suiters:

1 1        
1 1 NT            
2 2 5+ Hearts, 4 Spades     Relay    
  2 5 + Hearts, 5 + Spades        
  2 NT Diamond shortage   Diamond shortage  
  3 Equal shortage Relay Equal shortage Relay
  3 5-4-3-1 Relay 5-4-1-3 4-5-3-1 Relay 4-5-1-3
  3 6-4-2-1 7-4-1-1 6-4-1-2 4-6-2-1 4-7-1-1 4-6-1-2
  3 7-4-2-0 5-4-2-2 7-4-0-2 4-7-2-0 4-5-2-2 4-7-0-2
3 NT 6-4-3-0   6-4-0-3 4-6-3-0   4-6-0-3
Long-Legged Two-Suiters:
1 1    
1 1 NT      
2 2      
2 NT 3 Diamond shortage    
  3 Equal shortage   Relay
  3 5-5-2-1 Relay 5-5-1-2
  3 5-5-3-0 5-6-1-1 5-5-0-3
  3 NT 5-6-2-0   5-6-0-2
4 6-5-2-0   6-5-0-2
Three Suited Hands:

Three suited hands are divided into two categories; Minor three-suiters and Major three-suiters.

The Major three-suiters are shown via the sequence:

1 1
1 1 NT
2 2

Two suits have been shown, however the sequence stops short of 2 Hearts where two-suited resolution starts.

The Minor three-suiters are shown via the sequence:

1 2
2 2

One suit has been shown, however the auction stops short of 2 Spades where single-suited resolution starts.

This is one area of the system where the symmetric nature breaks down and really the only way to handle the sequences is by counting steps. The first step shows high shortage and all subsequent steps show low shortage. 4-4-4-1 distributions are shown first and then five-card suits from the bottom.

The full structure for Major three-suiters is shown below:

1 1    
1 1 NT    
2 2    
2 2 Diamond shortage  
  2 NT 4-4-4-1 Relay
  3 4-4-5-0 4-4-1-4
  3 4-5-4-0 4-4-0-5
  3 5-4-4-0 5-4-0-4
3   5-4-0-4

The structure for Minor three-suiters is entirely analagous, however it starts one step higher.

Extreme Shapes:

The structure given above allows for about 99% of the distributions that will be encountered. The other one percent are the extremely distributional hands which occur very rarely. When they do occur, usually it is not after a strong Club opening, or if it is, the opponents intervene. In the rare instances where one is allowed to relay with these hands, it is important to be able to describe them, since they often have extreme playing strength.

The method adopted is to describe the hand as a more normal distribution and then when partner asks for controls, add one full level to the response. Partner should always be able to determine that this shows an impossible number of controls and should be able to work out the approximate distribution. If the partner does not ask for controls, then the responder must decide whether to move.

Below are listed extreme shapes and the equivalent normal shapes that would be described:

6-6-1-0 5-5-2-1
7-6-0-0 6-5-1-1
7-5-1-0 5-4-3-1
8-4-1-0 6-4-2-1
8-5-0-0 7-4-1-1
8-2-2-1 5-3-3-2
8-3-2-0 6-3-3-1
9-2-1-1 6-3-2-2
9-2-2-0 7+ void
9-3-1-0 7+ singleton
10-1-1-1 7-2-2-2

With the one-suited hands there is some discretion as to whether to treat the hand as an extreme hand or to just treat it as 7+. This will depend upon such considerations as quality of hand.

Control Showing:

The next relay after the full shape has been determined asks for controls. Where partner has shown a positive, the first step shows two controls, after which they go up in single steps. If the responder has shown a negative, then the first step shows 0 or 1. If the opener relays over this, the first step shows 0 and subsequent steps go straight into denial cue-bidding.

Singleton Kings are not counted as controls. This method seems to be right on the majority of hands, although sometimes it can cost where this card is required to solidify opener's suit.

Control Showing in Situations where Run-On is Possible:

In situations where the last hand-shape is held, sometimes controls will be shown immediately. The hands that will zoom are determined by the type of hand. With the more extreme hands, the responder will zoom with fewer controls than with less extreme hand types. The principles governing this are as follows:

Single-Suited Hands:
3 No Trump shows 2-4 controls
4 Clubs shows 5 controls
 
Short-Legged 2 Suited Hands:
3 No Trump shows 2-3 controls
4 Clubs shows 4 controls
 
Long-Legged 2 Suited Hands:
3 No Trump shows 2 controls
4 Clubs shows 3 controls
Denial Cue Bidding (DCB):

After the number of controls has been shown, the next step begins a denial cue sequence. This is a method suited to the relay style which allows the placement of honor cards to be determined.

The basic idea is that responder considers the suits in descending order of length (highest ranking first if equal) and either bids the step or skips the step according to his holding in the suit in question. Each suit is considered one less time than the number of cards in the suit. This means that singletons are never considered and doubletons are only considered on the first sweep through the suits. On the first sweep, the responder stops with either neither of the top two (i.e. no control card in the suit) or all three of AKQ. He skips the step with one or two honor cards. On the second sweep, his action depends on what he did on the first round. If he stopped with no control card, then he will now stop to deny the Queen and skip holding the Queen. If he stopped with AKQ, then he now shows or denies the Jack. If he skipped the first time, then he will skip again to show two of the top three honors. This process can contine until Jacks and maybe even Tens have been located.

Note that neither singleton Aces nor singleton Kings are located. Singleton Kings are not counted as controls so there is no way to identify them. Singleton Aces should be picked up during the denial cueing.

The step is always the relay in this situation except at the 6 level. Any bid at the 6 level is to play.

Queen Ask:

In a situation where the responder has shown 5 or more controls, DCB often becomes less efficient since the opener is likely to know most, if not all, of dummy's control cards and is only really interested in Queens. When the responder has shown 5 or more controls, a bid of 4 No Trump is a Queen Ask. The responses are as follows:

5 :

None

5 :

Queen

5 :

Queen

5 :

Queen

5 NT:

Queen

6 :

2 Queens of the same color

6 :

2 Queens of the same rank

6 :

2 odd Queens

6 :

3 Queens

6 NT:

4 Queens

If the responder's response to the control ask, showing 5+ controls, is 4 Spades, then 4 No Trump is Queen Ask and 5 Clubs is relay. If the responder's response to the control ask is 4 Spades, but this shows less than 5 controls (rare), then 4 No Trump is to play and 5 Clubs is the relay.

Weak Relays:

Weak relays apply in situations where the opener is only interested in moving towards slam opposite a good hand which could not be discovered by the normal relay method or would be found too late. The weak relay takes the form of a two step bid below the level of game by the relayer. It will usually occur either instead of, or immediately after, the control ask. Occasionally it will occur during the resolution of hand shape.

In response to the weak relay, the responder is expected to bid the step with a poor hand and to continue to describe his hand with a good hand. The definition of a good hand and a bad hand depends upon the circumstances.

If the weak relay is made immediately after the shape has been determined, then a good hand with 4 controls or any 5 controls is required to bid more than the step. This means that step plus one shows a good hand with 4 controls etc.

If the weak relay is made after the control ask, then the responder should move with a hand with good intermediate cards and texture.

If the weak relay is made during the resolution of hand shape, then this warns the partner not to zoom past 3 No Trump showing controls unless he has 5 or more. This is a fairly rare circumstance since it presumes quite a lot of foresight on the relayers part.

Note that a bid of more than two steps below the level of 3 No Trump asks for a stopper in that suit.

Continuations After the 1 Diamond Negative:

As mentioned earlier, the 1 Diamond response covers all hands with less than two controls and all hands with less than 8 points. This means that some hands that bid 1 Diamond always intend to force to game. Opener's continuations are as follows:

1 :

Artificial and forcing. 20+ balanced, good 19+ unbalanced

1 :

5+ Spades, 16 to bad 19, occasionally only 4 spades

 

if 5-4-3-1 with a five card Minor

1 NT:

Semi-balanced 17-19

2 :

5+ Clubs unbalanced, 16 to bad 19

2 :

5+ Diamonds unbalanced, 16 to bad 19

2 :

5+ Hearts unbalanced

2 :

Forcing, Sets spades

 

A hand that wishes to bid naturally

2 NT:

Minor two-suiter at least 5-5. Good playing strength

3 :

Forcing. Solid Clubs. New suits show stoppers.

3 :

Forcing. Solid Diamonds. New suits show stoppers.

3 :

Forcing. Sets Hearts.
A hand that wishes to bid naturally.

3 NT:

To play. Normally based on running suit.

4 :

To play. Weaker than 3 Hearts.

4 :

To play. Weaker than 3 Spades.

After the 1 Heart relay, the responder must decide whether his hand is worth a semi-positive, or a second negative. The second negative in principle shows something like 0-4, maybe 5 balanced. It should be remembered that the semi-positive is in principle forcing to game (it is absolutely forcing on responder). It is often better to underbid slightly at this stage and then invite if partner tries to sign off. With a second negative, the responder bids 1 Spade. With a semi-positive, the responder makes his normal relay response but starting at 1 No Trump rather than at 1 Heart. This means that the whole structure is up two steps. The opener can now relay out shape in the normal way.

After 1 Club-1 Diamond-1 Heart-2 Clubs: 2 No Trump by the opener is an attempt to reserve the declaration. The responder continues in the following way:

3 :

Staymanic, guarantees at least one 4-card Major.

3 :

Reds, longer Diamonds, only four Hearts.

3 :

Reds, longer Hearts usually only 4 Diamonds.

3 :

Extreme reds. Not a poor hand.

3 NT:

Flat and no interest in the Majors.

Over the Staymanic 3 Clubs, 3 Diamonds denies a Major, 3 Hearts shows Hearts, 3 Spades shows Spades and denies Hearts.

Over the 1 No Trump rebid by the opener (17-19 semi-balanced) we play Stayman, transfers and 2 Spades range enquiry as per opening 1 No Trump, however the structure is modified to cater for the possibility of having 5 Hearts. After the opener bids 2 Hearts, showing 4 or 5 Hearts, 3 Clubs by the responder is an enquiry asking for further description. Now, 3 Hearts shows 5 Hearts, 3 Spades shows 4 Spades and 3 Diamonds shows neither.

Continuations after the other rebids are basically natural. After 1 Club-1 Diamond-1 Spade, 1 No Trump is constructive.

Continuations After 1 Club-1 Diamond-1 Heart-1 Spade:

In this position, 2 Clubs is a game force. Other bids are basically natural. Jumps are forcing. 1 No Trump shows 20-22 (Lavings and transfers), 2 No Trump shows 23-24 (5-4 Stayman and transfers) and 3 No Trump is to play (not necessarily a balanced hand).

5-4 Stayman:

3 Clubs asks for 5-card Majors. In response to this, the responder bids 3 Diamonds with no 5-card Major, bids a 5-card Major, or 3 No Trump to show either 5-card Minor. Over 3 Diamonds, the responder bids his lowest 4-card Major until the situation is clear. Over the 2 No Trump rebid, 3 Spades shows 5 Spades and 4 Hearts.

In response to the forcing 2 Clubs, 2 Diamonds shows any balanced hand (4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2). 2 Hearts and 2 Spades are natural 5 cards. 2 No Trump shows any 4-4-4-1 and thence 3 Clubs asks for the singleton (bid singleton or 3 No Trump with singleton Club). 3 Clubs and 3 Diamonds are natural and 5+ cards. 3 Hearts and 3 Spades are natural and 6 card suits. Over 2 Diamonds, the relay structure for balanced hands continues (up two steps).

Intervention After 1 Clubs Opening:

One of the weaknesses of playing a strong club system is that it is fairly difficult to handle interference and preemption after the 1 Club opening. Our basic philosophy is to try to ignore the intervention as much as possible and not go out of our way trying to penalise them. There are fairly frequent positions where it is nevertheless quite possible to catch them.

We attempt to keep the relay structure intact wherever possible. The basic rule is that we can relay as long as the structure has not been displaced by more than two steps.

We will handle the different situations separately:

The opponents double the 1 Club:

This actually increases the amount of space available, however it is often the springboard for a preemptive jump so it is important to get as much information across as possible. The responses are:

Pass:

0-4 any shape. Second negative.

Redouble:

Any hand with 8+ high card points but not 2 controls.

1 :

5-8 any shape. Semi-positive.

1 :

1 Heart of higher become normal relay responses.

We continue to relay over all but pass, where the bidding is natural. For exampe, over 1 Diamond, 1 Heart is game forcing and now 1 Spade shows 1 Heart response as per uninterrupted auction over 1 Club.

They overcall below the level of 1 No Trump:

This usually takes away some space but can just be managed. The method is that we double with any second negative, pass with any positive and make a relay response with semi-positives. The amount of disturbance of the relay responses depends on the level of the overcall. The relay is only off over the double showing the second negative.

They overcall above the level of 1 Spade:

This is too high for the relay to continue. Bids at the two level are natural and non-forcing. Double shows values but no clear bid, less than game forcing. Bids of 2 No Trump and higher are transfers based on Rubensohl principles. These are at least invitational, so the opener must do more than accept the transfer if he wants to accept the invitation. A transfer into their suit is Staymanic with game going values, 3 Spades shows values for game but no stopper, 3 No Trump shows values for game and a stopper.

Developments in these auctions depend on the exact level of the overcall. Following are some examples of specific auctions:

Opener Overcall Responder  
1 2 3 Pass

In this situation, the responder has shown values for game and interest in the Majors. The opener should bid a five card Major or bid 3 No Trump with a stopper and no 4-card Major. Other hands would accept the transfer. If the opener accepts the transfer, the responder bids 3 No Trump with neither Major and no stopper, or bids his lowest Major. Note that:

Opener Overcall Responder  
1 2 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
3 NT    

shows no Major and no stopper.

Opener Overcall Responder  
1 2 3 Pass

The opener would bid 3 Spades with a 5-card suit and 3 No Trump without a 4-card Spade suit and with a stopper. Otherwise he would normally bid 3 Hearts. The responder will now bid 3 Spades with no stopper and 3 No Trump with a stopper.

Where the responder makes a non-forcing bid at the two level, a change of suit by the opener is forcing.

They intervene in a relay auction:

Usually this gives extra space since it normally takes the form of a lead-directing double. In a forcing situation, if the intervention is in front of the relayer, then pass is the relay, Double or Redouble (whichever is appropriate) is for penalties. If the interference is in front of the responder, then pass is the first step, double is the second etc. This only applies if there is sufficient space for the relay to continue.

They double the 1 Heart second force:

If they double the 1 Heart second force, then the extra space is used to further define the negatives. Redouble shows 0-2, Pass shows 3-4, all other responses show 5-8 relay style. This means that the structure is down one step for semi-positives and the range of the bad hands has been further defined. Over Pass, Redouble is a relay with the structure displaced only one step. Over Redoulbe, 2 Clubs is an artificial game force, continuations as per normal uninterrupted auctions of 1 Club-1 Diamond-1 Heart-1 Sspade-2 Clubs.

ONE DIAMOND OPENINGS AND CONTINUATIONS

The 1 Diamond opening shows 11-15 high card points and denies the ability to make any other opening bid. This means that the hand will contain no 5-card Major and will not contain a 6 card Minor in a single-suited hand or 6+ Clubs and 4 Diamonds. If the hand is balanced it will be in the 11-13 range. Balanced 11 point hands will only be opened if they contain a 5-card suit or if they have only 7 losers.

Some tactical variations may be allowed however they are not covered by the system.

This means that the relay continuations must deal with a variety of different hands:

1. Balanced hands in the 11-13 rang

2. Three-suited hands.

3. Two-suited hands with a four card Major and a longer Minor.

4. Two-suited hands with both Minors (not 6 Clubs and 4 Diamonds).

At the same time it must be possible to bid naturally on weak hands. The solution to this is to play the 1 Heart response as a two way bid showing either any hand which wishes to relay or a hand with a natural 1 Heart response (4+ Hearts).

The responses to this relay are geared so that when the responder has the weakish hand with hearts, this can be determined and a part score can be reached.

Responses to 1 Diamond:

1 :

Either any game going hand.

 

any hand with a natural 1 Heart.

 

Can sometimes be a hand which will

 

try to invite if given the chance.

1 :

Natural and in principle non-forcing.

 

In practice opener will usually bid.

1 NT:

6-11, no four card Major.

2 :

8-12, reasonable 5+ card suit.

2 :

8-12, reasonable 5+ card suit.

2 :

Weak jump shift (then 2 No Trump Ogust).

2 :

Weak jump shift.

2 NT:

At least 5-5 minors, non-constructive.

3 :

Intermediate jump shift.

3 :

Intermediate jump shift.

3 :

or higher bid is Preemptive
Initial responses after 1 Diamond - 1 Heart:

1 :

Either balanced or at least 5-5 in the Minors.

1 NT:

Either three-suited with both black suits or

 

two suited with 4-spades and a longer Minor.

2 :

4 Diamonds and 5 Clubs precisely.

2 :

4 Clubs and longer Diamonds.

2 :

4 Hearts and longer Clubs.

2 :

Three-suited with both red suits.

2 NT:

or higher, 4 Hearts and longer Diamonds.
Continuations after 1 Diamond - 1 Heart - 1 Spade:

1 NT:

4+ Hearts, weakish, to play.

2 :

Forcing relay.

2 :

Invitational relay with 4-card Major.

2 :

Invitational relay with 4-card Major. 2H 6+ Hearts.

 

Better than 1 Diamond - 2 Hearts.

2 NT:

Invitational, no 4-card Major.
Continuations after 1 Diamond - 1 Heart - 1 Spade - 2 Clubs:

2 :

Any 4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2.

2 :

5-3-3-2 with 5 Clubs.

2 :

Minors 5-5. Relay.

2 NT:

2-3-5-3. Relay 2-3-3-5.

3 :

3-2-5-3. Short Spades 3-2-3-5.

3 :

3-3-5-2, 2 controls. Even shortage 3-3-2-5, 2 controls.

3 :

3-3-5-2, 3 controls, 2-1-5-5, 3-3-2-5, 3 controls.

3 :

3-3-5-2, 4 controls, 3-0-5-5, 3-3-2-5, 4 controls.

3 NT:

3-3-5-2, 5 controls, 2-0-5-6, 3-3-2-5, 5 controls.

4 :

3-3-5-2, 6 controls, 2-0-6-5, 2 controls, 3-3-2-5, 6 controls.

Note that 6 controls are the maximum that can be held by a hand in the 11-13 range. This means that responses from 4 Clubs and up run on to denial cue bidding.

Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 2    
2 2    
2     4-4-3-2, same color or 4-3-3-3, 4-card Major.
2 NT     4-4-3-2, same rank.
3     4-3-3-3, 4-card Minor.
3     2-4-3-4.
3     4-3-4-2.
3     3-4-2-4.
3 NT   4-2-4-3.

Note that this is the same as the balanced hands structure over a 1 Club opening except everything is up two steps. As a consequence of this, the hands with doubleton Hearts do not run on for controls. The continuations are analagous to those in the sequences over 1 Club.

Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
1 2    
2     Minimum 4 Hearts.
2     Minimum 4 Spades, not 4 Hearts.
2 NT     Minimum no 4-card Major.
3     Minimum 5-5 in Minors.
3     Maximum 5-5 in Minors.
3     Maximum 4 Hearts.
3     Maximum 4 Spades, not 4 Hearts.
3 NT   Maximum no 4-card Major.

When the opener shows a maximum, all auctions are forcing to game. When the opener shows a minimum, all auctions are droppable.

Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
1 NT     Spades and Minor or black 3-suiter.
  2   Relay.
  2   Weakish with both red suits.
  2   6+ Hearts. Better than 1 Diamond - 2 Hearts.
  2   To play. Weakish hand with Hearts and Spades.
3   6+ Hearts (usually 7), highly invitational.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
1 NT 2    
2     Three-suiter with short Hearts.
2     4 Spades with longer Clubs.
2     Three-suiter with short Diamonds.
2 NT   or higher, 4 Spades with longer Diamonds.

The relay continuations follow general symmetric principles, and in the case of the two-suiters is at the same level as two-suited resolution after a 1 Club opening. The only point to note is that when resolving the three-suited hands it should be borne in mind that 5-card Majors are not possible. This means that the resolutions after the following auction 1 D - 1H - 1N - 2C - 2D - 2H are as follows:

1 1    
1 NT 2    
2 2    
2     4-1-4-4.
2 NT     4-0-4-5.
3     4-0-5-4, 2 controls.
3   4-0--5-4, 3 controls.

whereas after the following auction, the continuations are:

1 1    
1 NT 2    
2 2 NT    
3     4-4-1-4.
3     4-4-0-5, 2 controls.
3   4-4-0-5, 3 controls.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
2     Minor two-suiter, 4 Diamonds, longer clubs
  2   To play in 2 Diamonds.
      Weakish hand with both red suits.
  2   To play in 2 Hearts.
  2   Relay.
  2 NT   Invitational to 3 No Trump.
  3   Preemptive.
3   Preemptive.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
2 2    
2 NT     Spade shortage.
3     Equal shortage. Relay.
3     3-1-4-5, 2 controls. Relay. 1-3-4-5, 2 controls.
3     3-1-4-5, 3 controls. 2-2-4-5, 2 controls. 1-3-4-5, 3 controls.
3   2-2-4-5, 3 controls.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
2     Minor two-suiter. 4 Clubs, longer Diamonds.
  2   To play in 2 Hearts.
  2   Relay.
  2 NT   Invitational to 3 No Trump.
  3   Preemptive.
3   Preemptive.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
2 2    
2 NT     Spade shortage.
3     Equal shortage. Relay.
3     3-1-5-4. Relay 1-3-5-4.
3     2-1-6-4, 1-1-7-4, 1-2-6-4.
3     2-0-7-4, 2-2-5-4, 2 controls 0-2-7-4.
3 NT   3-0-6-4, 2-2-5-4, 3 controls 0-3-6-4.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
2     showing 4 Hearts and 5+ Clubs.
  Pass   Weak hand with Hearts.
  2   Game forcing relay.
  2 NT   Invitational, flat hand, without 3 Hearts.
  3   Invitational, 3 Hearts, Club tolerance.
  3   Stopper ask, game forcing.
  3   Invitational with Hearts.
3   Stopper ask, game forcing.
Continuations after following bidding sequence:
1 1    
2 2    
2 NT     Short Spades.
3     Equal shortage. Relay.
3     3-4-1-5. Relay 1-4-3-5.
3     2-4-1-6, 1-4-1-7, 1-4-2-6.
3     2-4-0-7, 2-4-2-5, 2 controls 0-4-2-7.
3 NT   3-4-0-6, 2-4-2-5, 3 controls 0-4-3-6.
Alterations to the structure after interference:

If the opponents intervene directly over the 1 Diamond opening the relay is off in all cases except after a take-out double. If the opponents double, redouble by responder replaces the relay. The relay now continues as long as three steps have not been lost.

When the opponents intervene over the 1 Heart response, we attempt to continue the relay. The exact method depends upon the level of the intervention.

If they double 1 Heart:

Opener Overcaller Responder    
1 Double Pass   11-13 balanced.
    Redouble   5-5 Minors.
    1   Spades and a Minor or black three-suiter.
    1 NT   Hearts and a Minor or red three-suiter.
    2   4 Diamonds and longer Clubs.
    2   4 Clubs and longer Diamonds.
    2   Minor Two-suiter with 3 card Heart fragment.
Continuation:
Opener Overcaller Responder Opponent    
1 Pass 1 Double    
Pass Pass Pass   A Pass is for Penalty.
  Redouble Pass   Relay.
1         Balanced.
1 NT         5 Clubs
2       or higher shows 5 Diamonds (resolving shape)
Continuation:
Opener Overcaller Responder Opponent    
1 Pass 1 Double    
Pass 1 Double     Takeout Double.
    1 NT     4+ Hearts, limited hand, Spade values.
    2     Game forcing relay.
    2     Relay (at least invitational).
    2   5+ Hearts, limited hand.
If the Opponents bid 1 Spade:
Opener Overcaller Responder Opponent    
1 Pass 1 1  
Pass         11-13 and balanced.
Double         Hearts and a Minor or red three-suiter.
1 NT         Spades and a Minor or black three-suiter.
2         4 Diamonds and longer Clubs.
2         4 Clubs and longer Diamonds.
2         Minor two-suiter with 3-card Heart fragment.
2       Minors or better.
Continuation:
Opener Overcaller Responder Opponent    
1 Pass 1 1  
Pass Pass Double     Takeout Double. Limited hand with 4+ Hearts.
    1 NT     Limited hand with 4 Hearts and Spade values.
  2     Game forcing relay.
    2     Relay (at least invitational).
    2   5+ Hearts, limited hand.
The Opponents bid above the level of 1 Spade:

The relay is off and Double is unlimited Takeout. In the first instance this should be treated as a limited hand with 4+ Hearts, to be clarified by the subsequent auction.

Continuations after 1 Diamond - 1 Spade:

1 NT:

11-13 balanced, 3-suited, short Spades or 5 Clubs-4 Hearts.

2 :

Both minors, 5-4 either way or better, but not 6-5

2 :

4 Hearts, longer diamonds (5+).

2 :

4 Hearts, longer Clubs (6+).

2 :

Raise, no extra values.

2 NT:

5 Clubs-6 Diamonds.

3 :

6 Clubs-5 Diamonds.

3 :

7 Diamonds-4 Hearts, good hand.

3 :

Good raise.
Continuations after 1 Diamond - 1 No Trump:

2 :

Natural, 5+ Clubs (often 6).

2 :

Natural, 5+ Diamonds (often 6).

2 :

Good hand with 4 Hearts and 6-card Minor.

2 :

Good hand with 4 Spades and 6-card Minor.

2 NT:

Good hand, at least 5-5 in the Minors.

3 :

Good hand 6+ Clubs, 4 Diamonds.

3 :

Good hand, 6+ Diamonds, 4 Clubs.
Control showing responses:

The first step in response to the control ask shows 2 controls. If the hand has been opened with 1 control, the only way out of the predicament is to only show that one control in denial cue bidding.

ONE HEART OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 1 Heart opening shows 11-15 high card points and at least 5 Hearts. The hand may have a longer Minor but may NOT have 5 Spades. 1 Spade is the relay and is either game-forcing, or invitational with a balanced hand without four card Heart support, or invitational with 5+ Diamonds or Spades. All other bids are limited by the failure to relay.

Responses:

1 :

Relay. Either GF or invitational (without 4+ Hearts).

1 NT:

Natural, 5-10.

2 :

5+ Clubs, 8-12 high card points.

2 :

5+ Diamonds, 5-10 high card points.

2 :

Weakish raise.

2 :

Weak jump shift.

2 NT:

Limit raise with 4 Hearts (could be three by passed hand).

3 :

Intermediate jump shift (fit showing jump by passed hand).

3 :

Intermediate jump shift (fit showing jump by passed hand).

3 :

Preemptive.

3 :

Splinter, little slam interest.

3 NT:

12-15 balanced with Heart support.

4 :

Splinter, little slam interest.

4 :

Splinter, little slam interest.

4 :

To play.

4 :

To play.
Continuations after 1 Heart - 1 Spade:

1 NT

  Any minimum.

All higher responses show more than a minimum:

Continuations after 1 Heart - 1 Spade:
1 1    
2 2  
2     Any 3-suiter.
2     At least 5-5 in Hearts and Clubs.
2 NT     And higher: 5+ Heart, 4 Clubs, a la symmetric.
Continuations after 1 Heart - 1 Spade:
1 1    
2 2  
2 2  
2 NT     0-5-4-4.
3     4-5-0-4.
3     4-5-4-0, 2 controls.

All other auctions continue along symmetric principles.

Continuations after 1 Heart - 1 Spade - 1 No Trump:
1 1    
1 NT 2   Game forcing relay.
  2   Invitational hand with 5+ Diamonds.
  2   Limit raise with only 3-card support.
  2   Invitational hand with 5+ Spades.
  2 NT   Invitational hand.
  3   Invitational fragment,
  3   Invitational fragment, 3 Hearts, singleton Spade.
  3   Invitational fragment, 3 Hearts, singleton Club.
  3 NT   3N To play.

Over 1 Heart-1 Spade-1 No Trump-2 Clubs the relay structure continues up two steps.

Note that weak relays do not now apply after a 1 Heart opening. This means that relay breaks at the Three Level are all asking for a stopper.

Continuations in Limited Auctions:

Game Tries:

The option of playing either long or short suit game tries is available after a simple raise in Hearts. The structure is as follows:

After 1 Heart - 2 Hearts:
1 2    
2     Puppet to 2 No Trump, beginning a short suit try sequence.
2 NT     Long suit game try in Spades.
3     Long suit game try in Clubs.
3     Long suit game try in Diamonds.
3     Preemptive.
After 1 Heart - 2 Hearts:
1 2    
2 2 NT    
3     Short suit game try in Clubs.
3     Short suit game try in Diamonds.
3     Short suit game try in Spades.

Where there is a choice between making a long suit try or a short suit try a short suit try should almost always be preferred. This means that a long suit try would effectively deny a singleton or void. The rational behind this is that it is generally easier for responder to evaluate his hand opposite a short suit try than it is opposite a long suit try.

This same structure applies in other situations where Hearts has been agreed. These are as follows:

1. In cue raise auctions below the level of two Hearts.
2. Where an overcall has been raised.
Alterations to Raise Structure After Intervention:

1. After Take-Out Double:

1 Double 2   High card raise to 2 Hearts or 8-9 raise.
    2   Weak raise.
    2   Weak (equivalent of a weak 2 opening;
        2 NT is Ogust.
    2 NT   Limit raise or better.
    3   Preemptive.
    3   Preemptive.
    3   Preemptive.
        As weak or weaker than 2H but more distribution.
    3 NT   Raise, 12-15 balanced.

Note that:

1 Double 2 Pass    
2 Pass 3     shows 8-9 raise.

The Auction:

1 Double 2 NT Pass

a new suit would be a long suit game try opposite a limit raise.

After intervention at the One Level:

This only occurs in one specific sequence:

1 1 2   Normal raise.
    2   Cuebid. May not necessarily show support.
    2 NT   Limit raise.
    3   Preemptive raise.
    3 NT   Balanced raise (12-15).

Note: Long and short suit trials apply after 2 Hearts. Long suit trials apply after 2 No Trump.

After intervention at the Two Level:
1 2 Double   Takeout. Could commence strong raise.
    2   Normal raise.
    2 NT   Natural.
    3   1. forcing by non-passed hand;
        2. limit raise by passed hand.
    3   1. Preemptive raise by passed hand,
        2. limit raise by non-passed hand.
    3 NT   Balanced raise (12-15).
1 2 Double Pass    
2 Pass 3     is a strong raise, forcing to game.
ONE SPADE OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 1 Spade opening shows 11-15 high card points and at least 5 Spades. The hand may have a longer Minor but may NOT have 5 Hearts. 1 No Trump is the relay and is either game-forcing, or invitational with a balanced hand without four card Spade support, or invitational with 5+ Hearts. All other bids are limited by the failure to relay.

Responses:
1 1 NT    
  2   5+ Clubs, 8-12 high card points.
  2   5+ Diamonds, 8-12 high card points.
  2   5+ Hearts, 5-10 high card points.
  2   Weak raise.
  2 NT   1. Limit raise with 4 Spades.
      2. 3 Spades by passed hand.
  3   1. Intermediate jump shift.
      2. fit showing by passed hand.
  3   1. Intermediate jump shift.
      2. fit showing by passed hand.
  3   1. Intermediate jump shift.
      2. fit showing by passed hand.
  3   Preemptive.
  3 NT   12-15 balanced with Spade support.
  4   Splinter, little slam interest.
  4   Splinter, little slam interest.
  4   To play.
  4   To play.
Continuations after 1 Spade - 1 No Trump:

2

  Any minimum.

All higher responses show more than a minimum:

2 :

4+ Clubs or 3-suiter.

2 :

4+ Diamonds.

2 :

4 Hearts.

2 NT:

And higher: Single-suiters following symmetric principles.
Continuations after 1 Spade - 1 No Trump:
1 1 NT    
2 2  
2     Any 3-suiter.
2 NT     At least 5-5 in Hearts and Clubs.
3     And higher: 5+ Spades, 4 Clubs a la symmetric.
Continuations after 1 Spade - 1 No Trump:
1 1 NT    
2 2  
2 2 NT  
3     0-5-4-4.
3     4-5-0-4.
3     4-5-4-0, 2 controls.

All other auctions continue along symmetric principles up one level.

Continuations after 1 Spade - 1 No Trump - 2 Clubs:
1 1 NT    
2 2   Game forcing relay.
  2   Invitational hand with 5+ Hearts.
  2   Limit raise with only 3 card support.
  2 NT   Invitational hand.
  3   Invitational fragment, 3 Spades, singleton Diamond.
  3   Invitational fragment, 3 Spades, singleton Heart.
  3   Invitational fragment, 3 Spades, singleton Club.
  3   Limit raise 4-3-3-3.
  3 NT   To play.

Over:

1   1 NT
2   2

the relay structure continues up two steps.

Note that weak relays do not now apply after a 1 Spade opening. This means that relay breaks at the Three Level are all asking for a stopper.

Continuations in Limited Auctions:

Game Tries:

The option of playing either long or short suit game tries is available after a simple raise in Spades. The structures are as follows:

1 2    
2 NT     Puppet to 3 Clubs, beginning a short suit try sequence.
3     Long suit game try in Clubs.
3     Long suit game try in Diamonds.
3     Long suit try in Hearts.
3     Preemptive.
1 2    
2 NT 3    
3     Short suit game try in Diamonds.
3     Short suit game try in Hearts.
3     Short suit game try in Clubs.

Where there is a choice between making a long suit try or a short suit try, a short suit try should almost always be preferred. This means that a long suit try would effectively deny a singleton or void. The rational behind this is that it is generally easier for the responder to evaluate his hand opposite a short suit try than it is opposite a long suit try.

This same structure applies in other situations where Spades has been agreed. These are as follows:

1. In cue raise auctions below the level of two Spades.
2. Where an overcall has been raised.
3. After a 1 Diamond or 1 Heart opening, where Spades are agreed in a non-forcing auction.

Alterations to Raise Structure After Intervention:

1. After Take-Out Double:

1 Double 2   High card raise to 2 Spades or 8-9 raise.
    2   Weak raise.
    2 NT   Limit raise or better.
    3   Preemptive.
    3   Preemptive.
    3   Preemptive. As weak or weaker
        than 2 Spades, but more distribution.
    3 NT   Raise, 12-15 balanced.

Note that:

1 Double 2 Pass    
2 Pass 3     would show 8-9 raise.

Over:

1 Double 2 NT Pass

a new suit would be a long suit game try opposite a limit raise.

2. After intervention at the Two Level:
1 2 Double   Takeout. Could commence strong raise.
    2   Normal raise.
    2 NT   Natural.
    3   1. Forcing by non-passed hand;
        2. limit raise by passed hand.
    3   1. Preemptive raise by passed hand,
        2. limit raise by non-passed hand.
    3 NT   Balanced raise (12-15).
1 2 Double Pass    
2 Pass 3     is a strong raise, forcing to game.
1 NO TRUMP OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 1 No Trump opening shows 14-16 high card points and basically denies a five-card Major. The only exception would be a hand with a very weak 5-card suit and a 5-3-3-2 type pattern.

Responses:
1 NT 2   Stayman. Promises a four card Major.
  2   Transfer to Hearts.
  2   Transfer to Spades.
  2   Range enquiry.
  2 NT   Transfer to Clubs.
  3   Transfer to Diamonds.
  3   Natural and slammish.
  3   Natural and slammish.
  3   Natural and slammish.
  3 NT   To play.
  4   Transfer to Hearts.
  4   Transfer to Spades.
  4   To play.
  4   To play.
  4 NT   Blackwood.
Continuations:
1 NT 2   Range enquiry.
2 NT     Minimum.
  3   Staymanic, showing a hand with slam interest.
  3   4+ Diamonds, not 4+ Clubs.

and so on, up the line.

1 NT 2   Range enquiry.
2 NT 3   Staymanic, showing a hand with slam interest.
3   No Major.
3   4-card Heart suit
3     4 Spades, not 4 Hearts.
1 NT 2   Stayman. Promises a four card Major.
2     No 4-card Major.
2     4 Hearts, may have 4 Spades.
2     2S 4 Spades, not 4 Hearts.
1 NT 2   Stayman. Promises a four card Major.
2     No 4-card Major.
  2   Weak with 5 Hearts and 4 Spades.
  2   Weak with 5 Spades and 4 Hearts.
  2 NT   Invitational.
  3   Invitational with 5 Clubs and 4-card Major.
  3   Invitational with 5 Diamonds and 4-card Major.
  3   Invitational with 5 Hearts and 4 Spades.
  3   Invitational with 5 Spades and 4 Hearts.
  3 NT   To play.
1 NT 2   Stayman. Promises a four card Major.
2     4-card Heart suit.
  2   Invitational with 5 Spades and 4 Hearts.
  2 NT   Invitational with 4 Spades.
  3   Invitational with 5 Clubs and 4 Spades.
  3   Invitational with 5 Diamonds and 4 Spades.
  3   Invitational.
  3   Splinter agreeing Hearts. Slam interest.
  3 NT   Values for game, 4 Spades, not 4 Hearts.
1 NT 2   Stayman. Promises a four card Major.
2     4-card Spade suit.
  2 NT   Invitational with 4 Hearts, not 4 Spades.
  3   Invitational with 5 Clubs and 4 Hearts.
  3   Invitational with 5 Diamonds and 4 Hearts.
  3   Splinter agreeing Spades, Slam interest.
  3   Invitational.
  3 NT   To play.

After slammish three level bids by the responder,the opener bids 3 No Trump with no interest and doubleton, else relay cues.

Continuations after transfers:

A new suit is forcing to game and generally shows some slam interest. After a transfer followed by a new suit, a new suit by the opener is a cuebid agreeing responder's second suit. A bid of responder's first suit below game level is stronger than bidding game immediately. A bid of 3 No Trump shows little interest in either of responder's suits.

Action After Double of 2 Clubs Stayman or Lavings:

When the Double Shows Club

1 NT Pass 2 Double

1. Redouble shows 4+ Clubs. Interested in playing in 2 Clubs Redoubled.
2. Pass shows that the opener would have responded 2 Diamonds if there had been no interference, not 4+ Diamonds.
3. 2 Diamonds is natural, showing 4+ cards.

1 NT Pass 2 Double
Pass Pass Redouble  

This bidding sequence shows 4+ Clubs and attempts to play in 2 Clubs redoubled.

When Double is Takeout:

1. A Redouble shows a good hand with 4 cards in 2 of 3 suits.
2. Pass is natural showing no further information forthcoming.
3. 2 Diamonds is natural, showing 4+ Diamonds (usually 5 card suit).
4. 2 Hearts shows a 4-card Heart suit (denies penalty type hand).
5. 2 Spades shows a 4-card Spade suit (denies penalty type hand).

Summaries of Control Showing and No Trump Structures:

No Trump Structures:

1. 1 NT- 2 Clubs is Stayman. 2 Spades is Range Enquiry.
2. 1 Club-1 Diamond-1 NT- 2 Clubs is Stayman.
3. 2 Clubs-2 Hearts-3 Clubs checks for 5 Hearts.
4. 2 Clubs-2 Hearts-2 Spades checks for range.

1. 1 Club-1 Diamond-1 Heart-1 Spade-1 NT is Lavings and transfers (2 Spades to Clubs).
2. 1C-Overcall-Double-1 NT. No Stayman. No Transfers. Bid of their suit is natural. 2 NT is invitational.
3. 1 NT- Overcall-Lavings, Swine, transfers (2 Spades to Clubs).
4. 1 NT-reopening. As per 1 NT opening. Stayman, transfers, no Swine.

2 CLUBS OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 2 Clubs opening shows 11-15 high card points and at least 6 Clubs. Generally the hand will be single suited, although hands with 6+ Clubs and a 4-card Diamond suit also open 2 Clubs.

Responses:
2 2   Relay. Generally forcing to game.
  2   5+ Hearts, invitational values.
  2   5+ Spades, invitational values.
  2 NT   Natural and invitational.
  3   Basically preemptive.
  3   9-11 high card points, good 6-card suit.
  3   9-11 high card points, good 6-card suit.
  3   9-11 high card points, good 6-card suit.
  3 NT   To play.
  4   Preemptive.
  4   Splinter. Only mild slam interest.
  4   To play.
  4   To play.
  4 NT   Roman Keycard Blackwood agreeing Clubs.
5   To play.
Continuations:
2 2   Relay. Generally forcing to game.
2   4 Diamonds.
2     High shortage.
2 NT     Middle shortage.
3     Even shortage.
3     3-3-1-6.
3     7+ Clubs and singleton.
3     7+ Clubs and void, 2 controls.
3 NT     7+ Clubs and void, 3-4 controls.
4     7+ Clubs and void, 5 controls.

Note that the structure changes slightly due to the lack of a 5-3-3-2 shape. This has the effect of changing the last two shapes around as well so that the least likely shape is still the one that resolves at 3 Spades.

2 2   Relay. Generally forcing to game.
2 2    
2 NT     High shortage.
3     Even shortage.
3     2-1-4-6.
3     3-0-4-6.
3     2-0-4-7, 2 controls.
3 NT     2-0-4-7, 3-4 controls.
4     2-0-4-7, 5 controls.
2 2   Relay. Generally forcing to game.
2 2    
3 3    
3     1-1-4-7, 2 controls.
3     1-1-4-7, 3 controls.
3 NT     1-1-4-7, 4 controls.
2 DIAMOND OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 2 Diamond opening shows 11-15 high card points and at least 6 Diamonds in a single suited hand.

Responses:
2 2   Relay. Generally forcing to game.
  2   5+ Spades, invitational values.
  2 NT   Natural and invitational.
  3   9-11 high card points, good 6-card suit.
  3   Basically preemptive.
  3   9-11 high card points, good 6-card suit.
  3   9-11 high card points, good 6-card suit.
  3 NY   To play.
  4   Splinter. Only mild slam interest.
  4   Preemptive.
  4   To play.
  4   To play.
  4 NT   Roman Keycard Blackwood agreeing Diamonds.
  5   To play.
Continuations:
2 2   Relay. Generally forcing to game.
2     High shortage.
2 NT     Middle shortage.
3     Even shortage.
3     3-3-6-1.
3     7+ Diamonds and singleton.
3     7+ Diamonds and void, 2 controls.
3 NT     7+ Diamonds and void, 3-4 controls.
4     7+ Diamonds and void, 5 controls.

Note that the structure changes slightly due to the lack of a 5-3-3-2 shape. This has the effect of changing the last two shapes around as well so that the least likely shape is still the one that resolves at 3 Spades

TWO HEART OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 2 Hearts opening shows 11-15 high card points and at least 5-5 in the Majors. The main reason for this is to simplify the relay structure over 1 Heart and 1 Spade openings.

Responses:
2 Pass   Preference for Hearts.
  2   Preference for Spades, to play.
  2 NT   Relay, and game forcing
      but natural by passed hand.
  3   Natural and forcing.
  3   Natural and forcing.
  3   Invitational.
  3   Invitational.
  3 NT   To play.
  4   To play.
  4   To play.

Continuations after the 2 No Trump relay are exactly the same as long-legged two suited auctions after a 1 Club opening, since they start at exactly the same level.

TWO SPADE OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 2 Spades opening shows 6-10 high card points and a 6-card suit. It would not be normal for the hand to have a void or a 4-card Heart suit. The opening may be shaded somewhat at favourable vulnerability. In general we would attempt to be disciplined in this area of the system.

2     6-10 high card points and a 6-card suit.
  2 NT   Ogust.
3     Weak suit, weak hand.
3     Strong suit, weak hand.
3     Weak suit, strong hand.
3     Strong suit, weak hand.
3 NT     AKQ to six and out.

New suits are non-forcing. 3 Spades is preemptive (all invitational hands would go via Ogust).

Ogust followed by a new suit is forcing. Ogust followed by 4 Clubs is a control ask.

4 Clubs in response to 2 Spades is natural and forcing. 4 Diamonds is a splinter agreeing spades.

TWO NOTRUMP OPENING AND CONTINUATIONS

The 2 No Trump opening shows a weak hand with at least 5-5 in Hearts and Diamonds OR Hearts and Spades. In principle, values will be concentrated in the suits. The strength of the hand depends upon the vulnerability and the position, but the hand will normally contain 4+ zeeps (A=3, K=2, Q=1).

3 Clubs is the only forcing action. It will always show a hand which has at least game interest opposite a maximum. In response to 3 Clubs, the opener bids 3 Diamonds with reds and 3 Hearts with Majors. All corrections are invitational. If responder bids 4 Clubs over the response to the enquiry, this is a zeep-ask; the first step shows 0-4. After first step by the opener, the next step is a re-try and next step would show 0-3 zeeps.

After the number of zeeps has been shown, the next non-signoff step will ask for outside distribution: first step showing lower singleton or void, 2 steps showing higher singleton or void.

All bids other than 3 Clubs are correctable. They basically say that this is the contract if partner has this suit, otherwise the opener should correct.

PREEMPTIVE OPENINGS AT THE THREE LEVEL

Openings at the Three Levels are fairly standard preempts. They are generally fairly aggresive, and can be made on a six-card suit if not vulnerable. Note that 3 Hearts can often be on a six-card suit since no Weak Two opening is available.

If there is no intervention, a change of suit is forcing and invites support on doubleton or better. A new suit by the opener is either a high card feature or a distributional feature. It will only be a distributional feature in the case where the opener later supports responder's suit.

If the opponents Double or bid, a new suit by the responder is non-forcing.

SLAM BIDDING AGREEMENTS IN NON-RELAY SITUATIONS

4 No Trump:

In non-relay situations when a suit has been agreed, a jump to 4 No Trump is always Roman Keycard Blackwood. In many situations, a jump to 4 No Trump will be RKCB implicitly agreeing partner's suit. If a cue-bidding sequence has started, then 4 No Trump is never RKCB. This will always be on-going and will usually deny the next relevant control in Clubs (relay cue style). In auctions where no suit has been agreed (i.e. in No Ttrump sequences, etc.) 4 No Trump is standard Blackwood.

Roman Keycard Blackwood:

The responses to RKCB are based on 5 Aces, being the four Aces and the King of the agreed suit, and the Queen of the agreed suit. Responses are as follows:

4 NT 5   0 or 3 Keycards.
  5   1 or 4 Keycards.
  5   2 Keycards, no Queen of trumps.
  5   2 Keycards, Queen of trumps.

When the responder shows the two way options, and has the greater option, he cannot allow the auction to stop below slam.

The next non-signoff step asks for clarification of the trump Queen or for Kings if the trump Queen is known. In response, the first step shows no Queen and higher responses run on to Kings outside the agreed suit.

Relay Cues:

In situations where a suit has been agreed and a cueing auction is possible, relay cues are played. This means that 3 No Trump and 4 No Trump are waiting bids denying the next relevant control in Clubs. Bids below the next level of No Trump are normal cue bids. Bids above the next level of No Trump deny any controls that could be shown below that level of No Trump and show all controls back to that level of No Trump. Naturally it denies the next relevant control.

COMPETITIVE AGREEMENTS

Negative Doubles:

We play negative doubles of overcalls up to and including 3Spades. The only exception to this is in the case of strong jump overcalls at the Three Level. In this case, we double for penalties. The hands on which we will make negative doubles are either standard negative double hands with length in unbid suits and moderate values, or strong hands which wish to make a forcing bid. Free bids are non-forcing up to and including 3 Spades.

1 2 Double   Negative, can be start of
        strong raise by non-passed hand.
    2   Natural and non-forcing.
    2   Weakish raise.
    2   Natural and non-forcing.
    2 NT   11-12 balanced with Club stopper(s).
    3   Forcing. Always a raise by passed hand.
        Never a raise by non-passed hand.
    3   Slammish.
    3   Limit Raise by non-passed hand.
        8-9 raise by passed hand.
    3   Splinter agreeing Hearts.
    3 NT   To play.
    4   Splinter agreeing Hearts.
    4   Splinter agreeing Hearts.
    4   To play.
    4   To play.
1 2 Double Pass    
2 Pass 2     Weakish with heart tolerance, 4 Spades.
    2     Natural and forcing.
    2 NT     11-12, stopper, 4 Spades.
    3     Values for game, no support, no stopper.
    3     Natural and forcing.
    3     Natural and forcing.
    3 NT     Values for game, stopper, 4 Spades.
Grand Slam Force:

This will normally only apply in competitive auctions since otherwise relay would handle this. The responses to some extent depend upon the agreed suit. 6 No Trump always shows 2 of top 3. 7 of agreed suit always shows 3 of top 3. Other responses are listed below:

Clubs agreed:

6 : 0 or 1

Diamonds agreed:

6 : 1
6 : 0

Hearts agreed:

6 : 1
6 : 1 with extra length
6 : 0

Spades agreed:

6 : 1
6 : Queen with extra length
6 : Ace or King with extra length
Slam Doubles in Sacrificing Situations:

These doubles only apply where it is clear that we are saving, a suit has been agreed and a sacrifice seems to be viable. Specifically, it does not apply at adverse vulnerability.

In the direct seat:

Double:

  Shows 0 tricks.

Pass:

  Shows 1 or more tricks.

In the passout seat:
After Pass:

Double:

  Shows 0 tricks.

Pass:

  Shows 1 or more tricks.

After Double:

Pass with 2+ tricks.
Save with 0 or 1.
Lebensohl:

Lebensohl applies when they compete after our 1 No Trump opening and when we double their Weak Two opening.

A new suit at the Two Level is to play. A new suit at the Three Level is forcing. Bidding 2 No Trump, then a new suit at the Three Level is to play, unless that suit could have been bid at the Two Level, in which case it is invitational. All strong balanced hands with a stopper go via 2 No Trump. All strong balanced hands with the other 4-card Major go via the cue bid of their suit.

Rubens Advances after 1 Major - Takeout Double:

After we have opened 1 of a Major, if they make a Takeout Double, we now play that bids of 1 No Trump up to the suit below the suit opened are transfers. The complete method is shown below:

1 Double 1   Natural.
    1 NT   Transfer to Clubs.
    2   Transfer to Diamonds.
    2   Good raise to 2 Hearts.
    2   Weak raise.
    2 NT   Good raise to at least 3 Hearts.
    3   Preemptive.
1 Double 1 NT   Transfer to Clubs.
    2   Transfer to Diamonds.
    2   Transfer to Hearts.
    2   Good raise to 2 Spades.
    2   Weak raise.
    2 NT   Good raise to at least 3 Spades.
    3   Preemptive.
Action After Double of 2 Clubs Stayman or Lavings:

When the Double Shows Clubs:

Redouble shows 4+ Clubs. Interested in playing in 2 Clubs Redoubled. Pass indicates that partner would have responded 2 Diamonds, if no interference, not 4+ Diamonds. 2 Diamonds is natural showing 4+ cards.

After 1 No Trump - Pass - 2 Clubs - (Double):

Pass - Pass - Pass - (Redouble) shows 4+ Clubs and attempts to play in 2 Clubs redoubled.

When Double is Takeout:

Redouble shows a good hand with 4 cards in 2 of 3 suits. Pass indicates that partner has nothing to say. 2 Diamonds is natural and shows 4+ Diamonds (usually 5-card suit). 2 Hearts, 2 Spades show a 4-card suit (denies penalty type hand).

Miscellaneous Competetive Agreements:
1. (1 ) Pass (1 NT) Pass    
  (2 ) X(1)       (1) Penalties
             
2. (1 ) Pass (1 ) 2  
  Pass 2 Pass 2 NT  
             
  Pass 3 Pass 3 (1)   (1) Asks for 2nd Stopper
  (X) Pass(2)       (2) Denies 2nd Stopper
             
3.   1 (1 ) X   (1) Responsive, not 4 Hearts
  (3 ) X(1) Pass 4 (2)   (2) Minors
             
4. Pass 1 (2 ) X    
  Pass 2 Pass 3   shows equal length in /
        3   with longer
        3   with longer
             
5.   1 (2 ) 2   Non-forcing
        3   Slammish
        4   To play
             
6. (1 NT) (1) Pass Pass X (2)   (1) 15-17
            (2) Penaltyish, direct double slightly more
             
7. (1 ) 1 (X) XX   General Strength
        2   Cue raise
             
8. 1 NT Pass Pass X    
  Pass Pass XX     For Takeout. Two-suiter
             
9. 1 NT (2 ) X     Penalties
             
and 1 NT Pass Pass (2 )    
  Pass Pass X     Also penalties
             
10. 1 NT Pass Pass (2 )    
  Pass Pass 2 NT     Minors
             
11. 1 Pass 2 X    
  Pass 2 2 NT     natural and shows an invitational
            hand and a spade stopper
but: 1 Pass 2 X    
  Pass 2 2 NT     take-out because 2
            never shows invitational hands

DEFENSIVE BIDDING

The Takeout Double:

The takeout double will generally show either the traditional shaped takeout with at least three card support for the unbid suits, or a strong single suiter, or a strong balanced hand (19+ high card points). Obviously there will be some hands that will not suit this approach and will have to fudge.

In response to the takeout double, a minimum bid shows 0-7 high card points, a jump shows 8-11 high card points, 1 No Trump shows 7-10 high card points, and a cuebid of their suit shows 12 high card points plus and is forcing to game.

When partner has made a takeout double and the opponents either raise or bid a new suit at the one level, double is responsive (take-out). This will show moderate values and no clear bid. If there is only one unbid Major, the responsive double will deny four cards in that suit. If both Majors are unbid, then it will tend to show equal length in the Majors.

(1 ) X (1 ) X   Takeout, Minor oriented
      1 NT   Values and stoppers (7-10)
      2   Forcing
      2   Natural and forcing (5+ Spades)

It should be remembered that this is a situation where many better players may operate with a weak hand and a fit for partner's suit. Since double is for takeout, it must be possible to bid responder's suit naturally. Similarly, the take-out doubler should protect in the pass-out seat after:

(1 ) X (1 ) Pass
Pass      
The Simple Overcall:

To make a takeout double and then bid a new suit shows something close to a traditional strong jump overcall. This means that we overcall on hands up to about 16 high card points. It is important that the responder should bear this in mind, and should generally raise with support even on weakish hands.

In response to an overcall, a change of suit by the responder is forcing for one round.

The 1 No Trump Overcall:

The 1 No Trump overcall shows 15-18 high card points in the immediate position, unless both opponents have bid naturally i.e. 1 Diamond - Pass - 1 Spade. Under these circumstances, it shows the other two suits and a weak distributional hand.

The strong 1 No Trump overcall may include a five-card Major in a balanced hand and hence 2 Clubs is now a Lavings enquiry. This always shows at least invitational values. The responses are as follows:

(1 ) 1 NT Pass 2   Lavings enquiry
Pass 2       15-16, no 5-card Major
  2       15-16, five Hearts
  2       15-16 five Spades
  2 NT       17-18, no 5-card suit
  3       17-18, 5 Clubs
  3       17-18, 5 Diamonds
  3       17-18, 5 Hearts
  3       17-18, 5 Spades

After the 2 Diamond and 2 No Trump responses, 3 Clubs is Baron and 3 Diamonds is Stayman.

After the 2 Diamonds response, the bid of a Major by the responder is non-forcing, attempting to locate a 4-4 fit.

Other responses to the strong 1 No Trump overcall are listed below:

2 :

Transfer to Hearts

2 :

Transfer to Spades

2 :

Transfer to Clubs

2 NT:

Transfer to Diamonds

Responses at the Three Level are natural and forcing, showing slam interest.

If the strong 1 No Trump overcall is doubled, Swine applies. The general principle of Swine is that a Pass by the responder forces overcaller to redouble. The full structure is shown below:

(1 any) 1 NT (X) Pass   Forcing Pass
Pass XX      
      2   shows Clubs and Hearts.
      2   shows Diamonds and Spades.
      2   5+ Hearts.
      2   5+ Spades.
      2 NT   Distributional game-force.
(1 any) 1 NT (X) Pass   Forcing Pass
Pass XX Pass Pass   For Penalties
      2   shows Clubs and Hearts.
      2   shows Diamonds and Hearts.
      2   Hearts and Spades.
      2   Spades and Clubs

The immediate redouble by responder shows a single suiter and forces partner to bid 2 Clubs. The responder then passes or corrects as appropriate.

Note that in Swine rescue sequences Redouble is never to play.

1 NT (X) XX Pass    
2 (X) XX     take-out for the other 3 suits

If the 1 No Trump overcall is doubled in the passout seat, redouble by the responder is for takeout showing more than one suit.

1 No Trump in the passout seat shows 11-14 high card points. It does not guarantee a stopper in their suit, but usually would have half stopper at least. We play as per 1 No Trump opening over this. No Swine.

Michaels Cue Bids:

If the opening promises three or more cards in the suit bid, then the cuebid of that suit shows a 5-5 type hand. In the case of a Minor suit opening, it shows both Majors. In the case of a Major suit opening, it shows the other Major and one Minor. Usually the hand will be weak and preemptive with the values concentrated in the suits. The idea is to have good offensive potential rather than two Aces and empty suits. Occasionally it will show a strong hand which is basically prepared to force to game opposite nothing. Basically, with the weak hand the opener takes no further action. With the strong hand he will raise or cuebid.

The 2 No Trump Overcall:

This shows similar hand types to the Michaels Cuebids, but in the two lowest-ranking suits available. The principle of requiring three cards in the suit for a bid to be considered natural still applies.

Defence to their 1 No Trump Opening and Continuations:

For the purposes of this defence we will consider any No Trump opening that includes 14 high card points as a weak No Trump, all openings with a minimum of 15 high card points or greater will be treated as strong.

Strong No Trump:

Double Brozel style. A single suited hand with a good suit and an outside entry. Invites partner to convert to penalties.

(1 NT) 2   Minors.
  2   Diamonds and a Major.
  2   Both Majors.
  2   Spades and Clubs.
  2 NT   Extreme two-suiter,
      and forcing to game.

Double of a Transfer after a Strong 1 No Trump Opening shows a 5-card suit in the suit bid. Overcall type strength.

Weak No Trump:

Double Penalty oriented.

(1 NT) 2   Transfer to Diamonds.
      Possible weak hand with both Majors.
  2   Transfer to Hearts.
  2   Transfer to Spades.
  2   Transfer to Clubs.
  2 NT   5-5 both black suits.
  3   5-5 Clubs and Hearts.
  3   5-5 Diamonds and Spades.

All transfers are Canape style. This means that the hand may be single suited in the suit transfered to, in which case the transferer will pass, or may be two-suited with a longer second suit and a good hand. In this case the transferer will now bid that suit. A further option is that it may be a 5-5 type two-suited hand in the suit transfered to and the suit below. In this case the transferer will rebid 2 No Trump.

Double of a Transfer after a Weak 1 No Trump Opening:

This shows the same values as a double of the 1 No Trump in the direct seat. This means that it is basically for take-out.

Defence to Strong Club Opening:

NOT Vulnerable:

Double:

Hearts and another

1 :

Spades and a Minor

1 :

Hearts or 3-suiter with short Hearts

1 :

Spades or 3-suiter with short Spades

1 NT:

Minors or Majors

The three-suiters included in the 1 Heart and 1 Spade openings would be weakish hands, with at least three cards in all of the relevant suits. When responding to a 1 Heart, 1 Spade or 1 No Trump overcall, the responder should make a limit bid in the best fit presuming the worst case.

Vulnerable:

As above, except overcalls in the Majors can not have the three suiter.

Defence to 2 Clubs, 2 Diamonds Game Force:

Double: Reasonable overcall strength in that suit. 2 any suit: Reasonable overcall strength in that suit. 2 No Trump: Minors.
Jumps: are weak.

Defence to Acol Twos (Specific):

Double: Michaels (Major-Major or Major-Minor).

Defence to 2 Diamonds European Multi
(including Weak Two in either Major):

Double: General values, 12-15 direct (11-13 passout) or 20+. 2 Hearts: Takeout Double of weak 2 Spades (then Lebensohl). 2 Spades: Takeout double of weak 2 Hearts (then Lebensohl). 2 No Trump: 16-19 direct, 14-16 passout. 3 Clubs: is now Staymanic. 3 Clubs: Clubs. 3 Diamonds: Diamonds. 3 Hearts: Natural and strong. 3 Spades: Natural and strong.

Defence to Multi 2S:
where Major option is Weak Two in next suit:

This will mainly apply over Myxo 2's.

2 :

1. shows weak Spades

 

2. or strong Hearts

 

3. or 5-5 Minors.

Double:

General strength, 12-15.

2 :

Takeout double of 2 Spades.

2 NT:

16-19 high card points, 3 Clubs is now Staymanic.

3 :

Natural.

3 :

Natural.

3 :

Natural.

3 :

Natural.

To pass at the first opportunity and then double the Weak Two bid is for penalties since the immediate bid of 2 Spades would be takeout:

(2 ) Pass (2 ) Pass    
Pass X       Penalties

2 No Trump in the passout seat would be a balancing takeout where double would be penalties.

Defence to 2 Diamonds Flannery:
(2 ) Double Pass 2   12-15 high card points, general strength
  2   Distributional takeout.
  Pass 2   Game force.
  2       Strong takeout.
  2 NT       16-19 high card points.
  3       Natural.
  3       Natural.

Defence to 2 Hearts Flannery:

(2 ) Double   General strength, move towards penalty double.
  2   Takeout for the Minors (Lebensohl applies).
  2 NT   16-19 high card points, balanced.
  3   Natural.
  3   Natural.
Defence to Klinger 2 No Trump:
(Clubs and another):

Double: General values, some interest in penalties.
3 Clubs: Takeout.

Defence to 2 No Trump for the Minors (opening):

Double: 12-15 high card points and general strength.
3 Clubs: Takeout 16+, 3 Diamonds: is now general game force.
3 Diamonds: Takeout 11-15 high card points. Generally more distributional.
3 Hearts: Natural.
3 Spades: Natural.

Defence to Marston Style Forcing Pass:

This is a generalised defence to forcing pass systems based on Marston's FPR. Some alterations may be needed to handle specific systems.

Over Pass (showing 13+):

1 Club: Natural overcall or poor 3-suiter with short Clubs.
1 Diamond: Natural overcall or poor 3-suiter with short Diamonds.
1 Heart: Natural overcall or poor 3-suiter with short Hearts.
1 Spade: Natural overcall or poor 3-suiter with short Spades.
1 No Trump: 15-18 high card points, balanced, Lavings, Transfers and Swine apply.

Bids at higher levels are preemptive. Over Two Level bids, 2 No Trump is Ogust. 2 No Trump overcall is Minors.

With strong balanced hands or moderate balanced hands pass and balance later.

Over the two way bids at the One Level, all bids are semi-signoff, i.e. a limit raise opposite the less desirable of the options. The overcaller is expected to correct and is compelled to correct if partner is doubled in a SSO bid where overcaller holds the other option.

Over 1 Club (showing Hearts 8-12):

Double: Limited take-out of Hearts (9-14)
1 Diamond: Overcall
1 Heart: Take-out of Hearts, 15+ high card points or any strong hand. 2 Hearts is now a game force. Jumps: are invitational.
1 Spade: Overcall.
1 No Trump: 14-17 high card points, balanced, Lavings and Swine apply.
2 Clubs: Overcall.
2 Diamonds: Intermediate.
2 Hearts: Michaels.
2 Spades: Intermediate.
2 No Tump: Minors.
3 Clubs: Intermediate.
3 Diamonds and higher: Preemptive.

Over 1 Diamond (showing spades 8-12):

Double: Limited take-out of spades (9-14)
1 Heart: Overcall
2 Spades: Take-out of Spades 15+ high card points or any strong hand. 2 Spades is now a game force. Jumps: are invitational.
1 No Trump: 14-17 high card points, balanced, Lavings and Swine apply.
2 Clubs: Overcall.
2 Diamonds: Overcall.
2 Hearts: Intermediate.
2 Spades: Michaels.
2 No Trump: Minors.
3 Clubs: Intermediate.
3 Diamonds: Intermediate.
3 Hearts and higher: Preemptive.

Over 1 Heart (showing 0-7):

Double: 16+ high card points, any. 1 Spades is now a negative (0-7), and other responses are relay structure plus two steps (game forcing).
1 No Trump: rebid after negative shows 16-19 (Lavings and transfers).
2 No Trump: rebid is 20-22 (54 Stayman).
3 No Trump: rebid is 23+ high card points.
Jumps: after negative are strong. If they intervene over the Double then same structure applies as over 1 Clubs and intervention (i.e. natural and Rubensohl).

1 Spade: Constructive overcall.
1 No Trump: 12-15 high card points, balanced. Lavings and transfers.

CARDING AGREEMENTS

Signals:

Our basic carding style is to give natural attitude and natural count each in appropriate situations. We give present count having been forced to play an honor on the first round of a suit. Within this structure we try to give suit preference signals in secondary situations. We give suit preference signals in trumps. We tend to give attitude on opening leads and switches and count most of the rest of the time. On 4th best opening leads we give count if we can not beat the card played from dummy. Against suit contracts we play Wenseslas if there is a singleton in dummy in the suit led. This means that odd cards are encouraging and even cards are suit preference. Against slams the play of a jack on the opening lead demands a switch. We do not give count from honor doubleton against No Trump contracts, but we do from Jx and 10x when looking for a ruff.

Suit Preference Signals in Trumps:

The first card played in trumps is suit preference. The order that the next cards are played dictates how strong the preference is. The natural action is to play the cards up-the-line, so this is used to show no strong desire for a switch. When the remaining cards are played down-the-line this suggests a good holding in the suit indicated and asks partner to lead it as soon as possible.

As an example, suppose Spades are trumps and your holding is 654. The various meanings of the sequence played are:

6-5-4

  Requests Heart switch.

6-4-5

  Values in Hearts, only switch if you think it right.

5-6-4

  Requests Diamond switch.

5-4-6

  Values in Diamonds, only switch if you think it right.

4-6-5

  Requests Club switch.

4-5-6

  Values in Clubs, only switch if you think it right.
The significance of Falsecards:

If incorrect count is given in a suit, then this will normally have some significance. We would rarely give incorrect count unless we wish to draw partner's attention to some action that is required.

Leads:

We underlead honor sequences including interior sequences. The exceptions to this are in the suit of the partner and against slams. During the play we overlead. We lead fourth highest from length, middle from three, second highest from four or more small cards (next card is present count). Top from doubletons.

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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