On page 59 of the January 1998 issue of Bridge Bulletin, it informs the reader about some "changes in the work" which, if approved, could have an impact on your play at tournaments. Mr. Gary Blaiss, who wrote the article, states specifically that:
The General Convention Chart is more restrictive in two areas. Defenses to natural No Trump openings and overcalls have been restricted to the extent that direct bids above 2 Diamonds must have a known suit. Split-range 1 No Trump openers, Woodson for example, are no longer permitted. In events played under the Mid-Chart or SuperChart, however, any constructive defense to No Trumps and Woodson-like split-range 1 No Trump openers is permitted.
Following is a review of Woodson Two-Way No Trump.
This convention, named after Mr. William Woodson, permits an opening bid of 1 No Trump with any balanced hand and can contain 10-12 high card points or 16-18 high card points. Mr. William Woodson reasoned that the opponents would have a more difficult time entering the auction if confronted by a 1 No Trump.
Using this convention the responder of the 1 No Trump bidder does not know: 10-12 or 16-18 high card points. Therefore, with 15 high card points or less, the responder assumes 16-18 high card points and bases his calls upon that assumption, and actually tries for game with 8 high card points or more.
With 0-7 high card points and a sort of balanced hand, the responder should pass, hoping that the opponents do not decide to balance. With 0-7 high card points and a 5-card plus suit besides Clubs, the responder bids this suit. The 1 No Trump bidder should pass this bid, unless he actually has a maximum in the 16-18 high card point Range. If he does, then trying for game is not out of the question.
If the responder does have 14/15 plus high card points and a balanced hand, then striving for game is the best option, even with the 10-12 high card point range of the No Trump bidder. If the No Trump bidder has 16-18 high card points, then slam is possible.
The sequence: 1 No Trump - 2 No Trump is game invitation
The sequence: 1 No Trump - 2 No Trump - 3 Clubs is slam invitation
As you can see, the responder is put into an unsound position. He does not know the strength of his partner. But Mr. William Woodson compensated for this. He devised the following, if his partner should have 8 plus high card points and would like to find out more about the strength of the 1 No Trump. The following chart clarifies Mr. William Woodson's convention.
1 No Trump
2 shows 10-12 HCPs, less than 4 Hearts
2 shows 10-12 HCPs, 4 Hearts
2 shows 16 HCPs, 4 Spades
2 No Trump shows 16 HCPs, less than 4 Spades
3 shows 17-18 HCPs
From this point on, the responder has to think logically. The responder now has a better clarification of his partner's hand. He combines this knowledge with the length and strength of his own hand, and then makes the appropriate bid. As you can see, there will be a lot of "ifs and thens" in the following auction. However, please remember that the Woodson Convention has been targeted and has been banned on the General Convention Chart.
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.
Claus and Raymond
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Opening No Trump
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