The Tangerine Club

The name is actually Clementinklover in Swedish.

Jan Eric Larsson
To Anu

Palo Alto, California,
April 24th, 1995

 

Preface

Which of all opening bids is the least efficient and causes most trouble in the subsequent bidding? A strong 1 Club? A Roman 2 Diamonds? A 0-7 points 1 Diamond?

My opinion is clear: the opening bid one of a suit in the standard system is the worst of all bids. Opening one of a suit, I tell my partner that I have somewhere between 11 reasonable points and almost a game on my own hand. In one fell swoop, I have managed to half the total span of possibilities! With partner holding around 12 points, we may have trouble making a part score, or a grand slam may be easy.

Strong 1 Club systems remedy the main disadvantage with the "standard" systems, the wide point range of the one level openings. The opening 1 Club is used to show stronger hands, usually from around 16 points and upwards. This allows the rest of the opening bids to be limited and the subsequent bidding becomes both easier and more precise.

It is my opinion that strong 1 Club systems are superior to standard systems, especially if the opponents let the partnership bid without interference after 1 Club, which they shouldn't but usually do. Even the good Goren has the following to say about Precision and other strong 1 Club systems:

"Except for 1 Club opening, which is conventional, similar to 2 Clubs in standard methods, almost all other Precision bids are also played as part of Standard American. Therefore, it is easy to learn. But the player who adopts the Precision System enjoys the enormous advantage of knowing, often from the very first bid, whether the partnership is in part score, game or slam territory."

Goren, C. H., "Goren's New Bridge Complete",
Doubleday, Garden City, New York, p. 287, 1985.

In addition, the 1 Club bidding may use asking bids and other special slam methods. The potential weakness of strong 1 Club systems is the 1 Club opening itself. There are two slightly different reasons for this. First, opponents using systematic weak overcalls will decrease the bidding precision. Secondly, many opponents use "psychic" overcalls. The latter may not be a particularly good idea, but it will take away lots of reliability in the bidding.

The idea of weak/strong 1 Club systems is to remove the reason for destructive and psychic overcalls of the 1 Club opening. This opening now shows either the strong variant,or a weak hand, typically a balanced or semi-balanced hand around 10 points. If an opponent interferes with a psychic bid, he risks to sabotage the subsequent bidding for his own side.

Tangerine was born out of my distrust for the "standard" system. I had some inspiration from other systems, the Neapolitan Club, the Blue Team Club, Precision, and the Swedish system Hjortron, (Cloudberry). Tangerine was invented at the same time as Cloudberry, and precedes the weak/strong Carrot Club with more than five years. All in all, Tangerine is nothing new, though, only a simple, systematic version of a weak/strong 1 Club and light 4 card suit openings.

I have had great times playing it, though. Together with Sooren Romare, (who hereby is acknowledged as a co-author of the system), we ended up in 6 Hearts doubled and vulnerable, resulting in 11 tricks and 3200 points out, in a pairs competition in Lund, Sweden, but over the years we found literally hundreds of slams that no one else even suspected to be there. In short, Tangerine can improve your bidding a lot, in both pairs and teams competitions, because it is simple, aggressive, and good at finding games and slams.

So read and be inspired. Maybe you can find some idea to borrow and improve, or maybe you will even want to play Tangerine. Now it has been presented in English, and you may do with it whatever you want. Hopefully you find it interesting and inspiring, or at least a nice piece of history. "And that was the main reason why we wrote this book, aside from wanting to become so wealthy that we shall routinely leave motor yachts as tips," to quote Dave Barry from his book about American history, "Dave Barry Slept Here".

Finally, I would like to dedicate this work to Anu Uus, my life companion, wife, and best friend.

Palo Alto, April 24th, 1995
Jan Eric Larsson

 

About the Author

I was born in Sweden in 1959, and I'm currently working as a Postdoctoral Fellow, (i.e., a researcher), in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University in California. During my student and Ph. D. years in Lund, Sweden, I played Bridge in local clubs. For a while, I belonged to the junior elite of southern Sweden, and later I played on an average club level.

Copyright: 1995 by Jan Eric Larsson. All rights reserved

The Table of Contents has not been included.

 

Tangerine Opening Bids

The Tangerine Club is a Bridge bidding system based on a weak/strong 1 Club opening, followed by simple but efficient asking bids, light opening bids of one of a suit showing 10-14 points and at least 4 cards in the suit, a 1 No Trump opening of 12-14 high card points and a balanced hand without five card majors, a natural 2 Clubs opening showing 10-14 points and at least 5 clubs, and weak two openings of 5-9 points and at least 5 cards in the suit. Tangerine is based on the following principles:

1. It is a tactical advantage to open as often as possible. In Tangerine, the one-level opening bids, (except 1 Club), show 10-14 points and a 4+ card suit. The 10 points limit for opening comes from the fact that at 10 points, you have a hand of at least average strength. In addition, the weak two openings are very aggressive. All these light opening bids gives a tactical advantage on almost every board played. Few systems in the world are as aggressive as Tangerine.
2. Tangerine uses high card points and distributional points. Of course, you may your own favorite point count method to evaluate your hands.
3. The use of a strong 1 Club opening combines two advantages. It enables the rest of the opening bids to contain a narrower point-range, making most auctions easy to control, and it allows for "Italian-style" asking bids, which are easy to use but quite efficient in finding, (and avoiding!), slams.
4. A strong 1 Club opening may be a tactical weakness, at least when it is only moderately strong, as in Tangerine. Opponents are often eager to use "psychics," which tend to make the bidding more random than usual. In order to avoid this, Tangerine has an ambiguous 1 Club opening, showing either 8-9 points and a balanced or semi-balanced hand, or 15+ with any shape. If the opponents try any psychics, they risk fooling themselves.
5. Tangerine adheres to standard, natural bidding principles as often as possible. Thus, you can play most of Tangerine using your knowledge and experience from other systems. The bidding after 1 Diamond, 1 Heart, 1 Spade, and 1 No Trump may follow most standard methods.
6. Tangerine never acknowledges the 4-4-4-1 distribution. Instead, such a hand is treated either as a 4-4-3-2 or 5-4-4-0, (usually with the "5" card suit in a minor).

 

Tangerine Opening Bids

1 : 8-9 high card points Shows balanced distribution.
  15+ high card points Shows any shape.
1 : 10-14 high card points Shows 4 plus Diamonds.
  10-11 high card points Shows exactly a3-3-3-4 distribution.
1 : 10-14 high card points Shows 4 plus Hearts.
1 : 10-14 high card points Shows 4 plus Spades.
1 NT: 12-14 high card points Shows a balanced distribution and no 5-card Major suit.
2 : 10-14 high card points Shows 5 plus Clubs.
2 : 5-9 high card points Shows 5 plus Diamonds.
2 : 5-9 high card points Shows 5 plus Hearts.
2 : 5-9 high card points Shows 5 plus Spades.
2 NT: 0-9 high card points Shows a 7-card plus suit.
3 any suit:   Preemptive opening bid.
3 NT:   Shows a solid 7-card plus Minor suit.
4 any suit:   Preemptive opening bid.
4 NT:   Preemptive promising both Minor suits.

Note: In third seat, the opening bid range is 8-14, in fourth seat it is 11-14, and the 1 Club opening is unambiguously strong, (15+). Since a hand that has passed does not have strength enough to try for a game against an 8-14 opening bid, the third seat openings may be psychic, and if the local Bridge laws allow it, this is part of the Tangerine system.

 

The Opening 1 Club

The responses to 1 Club are either negative, semi-positive, or positive. A positive response is game-forcing against a strong opener, and the response 2 No Trump is forcing against the weak variant.

Responses to 1 Club

1 : 0-9 high card points Shows any shape.
1 : 10-16 high card points Shows 5 plus Hearts.
1 : 10-16 high card points Shows 5 plus Spades.
1 NT: 10-16 high card points Shows a balanced distribution.
2 : 10-16 high card points Shows 5 plus Clubs.
2 : 10-16 high card points Shows 5 plus Diamonds.
2 : 6-9 high card points Shows exactly 6 Hearts.
2 : 6-9 high card points Shows exactly 6 Spades.
2 NT: 17+ high card points Promises any shape.

 

1 Club and Negative Response

After 1 Club - 1 Diamond, the bidding is natural, but the opener's jump in a suit is a support asking bid. Note that the bids 1 Heart and 1 Spade do not clarify whether opener is weak or strong. They can be made with both variants.

Bidding after 1 Club - 1 Diamond

1 NT: 15-17 high card points Shows balanced distribution.
2 NT: 20-21 high card points Shows balanced distribution.
1 / 1 : 8-9 high card points Natural, non-forcing.
15-19 high card points Natural, non-forcing.
2 / 2 : 15-19 high card points Natural, non-forcing.
2 / 2 : 20+ high card points Promises 5 plus cards; Support Asking Bid
3 / 3 : 20+ high card points Promises 5 plus cards; Support Asking Bid

After a sequence like 1 Club - 1 Diamond; 1 Spade, the bidding is similar to that which follows the openings 1 Diamond / Heart / Spade, but with different point limits. Responder's weak limit and 1 No Trump shows 5-7, 1-over-1 shows 5-9, and strong limit and 2-over-1 shows 8-9.

 

1 Club and Positive Responses

After 1 Club and a positive response, the opener shows the strong hand with the relay bid, (the closest bid in suit or No Trump), which is also a top control asking bid, (asks for Aces and Kings). He may also jump in a suit, showing an independent suit, (which does not need any support), and asking for top controls. Other bids show the weak hand, with natural continuations.

Bidding After 1 Club and a Positive Response

Relay: 15+ high card points Top Control Asking Bid
No Trump:   8-9, 15-17, 20-21, etc.
Raises: 8-9 high card points Natural.
Suit: 8-9 high card points Natural.
Suit Jumps: 15+ high card points Top Control Asking Bid
    Independent Suit

The relay is a top control asking bid. Responder answers by showing the number of top controls, (Ace 2, King 1), by bidding a certain number of steps,(the first step shows 0-2 top controls, the second 3, etc.). After this answer, a bid in a new suit is a support asking bid with a five card suit, a jump in a new suit is a support asking bid with a six card suit, and a bid in responder's suit a trump asking bid. After a negative response to a support asking bid, a new suit is a support asking bid with a four card suit. After a positive response to a support asking bid or a trump asking bid, a new suit is a control asking bid.

 

Examples

Here are a couple of examples of Tangerine slam bidding after a 1 Club opening. The following hands have only 26 points between them, but with asking bids it is easy to find the small slam:

North
Ax
Axxxx
x
KQxxx
 
South
KJx
KQxx
Axxxx
x

In Tangerine, the bidding might go as follows:

North East South West
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 Pass 5 Pass
6 Pass Pass  Pass

South's 1 No Trump shows 10-16 and a balanced hand. North's 2 Clubs asks for top controls, and 2 Spades, (3 steps), shows 4. North sees that the partnership holds 9 of 12 top controls, which may be enough for a small slam. His 3 Hearts asks for heart support and 4 Clubs, (3 steps), shows Txx+ in Hearts. North's 4 Diamonds asks for Diamond control and South's 4 No Trump shows a first control. North's 5 Clubs asks for Club control, and when South shows none with 5 Diamonds, North knows that South has the Ace in Diamonds and Kings in the majors, and bids 6 Hearts.

The next example shows a grand slam on 34 points:

North
KQxx
Kxx
AKQ
AKx
 
South
Axxxx
Ax
xxxx
xx

Here, the bidding might go:

North East South West
1 1  
1 NT 2  
2 3  
3 4  
4 4 NT  
5 5  
6 6  
7    

South's 1 Spades shows 10-16 and 5+ Spades, and North's 1 No Trump is the relay, after which South's 2 Hearts shows 4 top controls. Thus, North can see that the partnership holds all 12 top controls. His 2 Spades is a trump asking bid, and South's 3 Clubs, (2 steps), shows Txxxx. North can now see 12 tricks, and a Queen in either Clubs or Hearts or doubletons in both would give a 13th. North first asks for Heart control with 3 Hearts, well aware that South will show his Ace with 4 Clubs. North's 4 Hearts is a repeated control asking bid, and South shows a third control with 4 No Trump. North now asks for Club control with 5 Clubs, and South denies a first or second control. After the repeated asking bid 6 Clubs, South shows a third control, and North can bid the grand slam. Also note that North can keep asking for controls on a very high level. Only bids in Spades and No Trump would be final contracts.

 

1 Club and Semi-Positive Responses

After 1 Club and the responses 2 Diamonds and 2 Spades, the bidding proceeds as after a weak two opening.

 

Bidding after Weak 2 Hearts and 2 Spades

Raises: Final Contract
Suit: 5+ cards, forcing
Jump in a Suit: 6+ cards, invitation
2 No Trump: Trump support, forcing

After 1 Club - 2 Hearts / 2 Spades; 2 No Trump, responder bids three of his major with minimum, and anything else with maximum. He may show features, i.e., three card suits with a couple of high cards, or bid 3N with an almost solid 6+ card suit. After this, opener's bid in a new suit is a control asking bid.

 

1 Club - 2 No Trump - Forcing to Game or Slam

When responder is very strong, he responds to 1 Club with 2 No Trump, which is forcing to game against the weak hand, and (almost) forcing to slam against the strong hand.

 

Bidding after 1 Club - 2 No Trump

3 : 8-9 high card points followed by natural bidding
3 : 15+ high card points no strong suit
3 / 3 : 15+ high card points 5+ cards, support asking bid
3 NT: 8-9 high card points completely balanced
4 / 4 : 15+ high card points 5+ cards, support asking bid

After 1 Club - 2 No Trump; 3 Diamonds, responder's suit is a support asking bid with a five card suit. The sequence 1 Club - 2 No Trump; 3 No Trump shows a completely balanced hand, i.e., a hand with no five card suits and no four card majors. After this, 4 Clubs is a distribution asking bid.

 

1 Club and Preemptive Responses

With preemptive hands, responder bids according to the opening bids after 1 Clubs. After this, a new suit from opener is a control asking bid, assuming slam interest with responder's long suit as trump.

 

Interference over 1 Club

The ambiguous 1 Club opening usually means that the opponents have sound hands and suits when they interfere. However, it is possible that an opponent will try a psychic overcall. For this reason, Tangerine always allows a partner to show the suit bid by an opponent, in order to "reveal psychics." The general rule is that a double is a negative double, while a double followed by a cuebid reveal psychics. The system does not demand the partners to know whether the interference was natural or psychic.

After interfering bids up to and including 1 No Trump, both partners simply "ignore" the bid. A double means that responder would have made the opponent's bid, while lower suits are shown a level higher.

 

Responder's Bid after Interference up to 1 No Trump

Pass: 0-9 high card points Shows any shape.
Double: 10-16 high card points should have bid opponent's suit.
Suit: 10-16 high card points Shows a 5+ card suit.
1 NT: 10-16 high card points Shows balanced distribution.
Cuebid: 17+ high card points Shows any shape.

For example, after 1 Club (1 Spade), the bidding goes as follows:

Bidding after 1 Club (1 Spade)

Pass: 0-9 high card points
Double: 10-16 high card points Shows 5 plus Spades.
1 NT 10-16 high card points Shows balanced distribution.
2 / 2 / 2 : 10-16 high card points Shows a 5+ card suit.
2 : 17+ high card points Shows any shape.
2 NT: 17-19 high card points Shows completely balanced distribution.

Thus, after interference up to 1 No Trump, the two level is used for showing 10-16 and 5+ card suits.

If the intervening bid is higher than 1 No Trump, the difference is that the double shows interest for unbid suits or a balanced hand without a stopper. The lower of 2 No Trump and cuebid shows 17+, and the other 17-19 completely balanced.

 

Responder's Bid after Interference - 2 Clubs - 2 Spades

Pass: 0-9 high card points Shows any shape.
  10-16 high card points with opponent's suit.
Double: 10-16 high card points Shows interest for unbid suits.
Double + Cuebid 10-16 high card points "revealing psychics"
Suit 10-16 high card points Shows a 5+ card suit.
Cuebid 17-19 high card points Shows completely balanced distribution.
2 No Trump 17+ high card points Shows any shape.
After an overcall of 2N or higher, the responses are:

Responder's Bid after Interference over 2 Spades

Pass: 0-9 high card points Shows any shape.
  10-16 high card points with opponent's suit.
Double: 10-16 high card points Shows interest for unbid suits.
Double + Cuebid: 10-16 high card points "revealing psychics"
Suit: 10-16 high card points Shows a 5+ card suit.
Cuebid: 17+ high card points Shows completely balanced distribution.

Opener uses doubles and cuebids in the following way:

Opener's Rebid after Interference

Pass, XX: 8-9 high card points Shows any shape
Double: 15-19 high card points Shows interest for unbid suits
Double + Cuebid: 15-19 high card points "revealing psychics"
Suit: 15-19 high card points support asking bid
20+ high card points if responder passed
Cuebid: 15+ high card points top control asking bid

In all forcing situations, opener's relay shows 8-9, the next bid 15+ and no good suit, and lowest notrump, (if not one of the previous bids), 8-9 completely balanced. Other suit bids are support asking bids with a 5+ card suit.

 

1 Club in Third and Fourth Seat

The 1 Club opening is unambiguously strong in third and fourth seat, which makes the auction more sensitive to psychics, and responder has passed, which limits him to 0-7 points.

Responses to 1 Club in 3rd and 4th Seat

1 : 0-4 high card points Shows any shape.
1 : 5-7 high card points Shows 5 plus Hearts.
1 : 5-7 high card points Shows 5 plus Spades.
1 NT: 5-7 high card points Shows balanced distribution.
2 : 5-7 high card points Shows 5 plus Clubs.
2 : 5-7 high card points Shows 5 plus Diamonds.
2 : 2-4 high card points Shows exactly 6 Hearts.
2 : 2-4 high card points Shows exactly 6 Spades.

After these responses, opener's suit is natural and non-forcing, a jump in suit is a support asking bid with a five card suit, a raise is invitational, and a double raise is a trump asking bid.

 

A Relay Slam System

Tangerine's asking bids are good enough to find most slams, but some type of hands can cause troubles. Here is an example:

North
AQxxx
KQxx
x
AJx
 
South
Kxx
Axxx
Axx
xxx

With asking bids, the bidding might go:

North South
1 1 NT
2 2 NT
3 4
4 5
5 5 NT
6  

South has shown 10-16, balanced, with 5 top controls, and a Txx+ support, (which obviously must be Kxx+), for North's Spades. After control asking bids in Hearts and Diamonds, the bidding ends in a doubtful 6 Spades, which may go down one, while 7 Hearts is fine with normal breaks. In cases like this, it is often better to play with the more evenly distributed suit as trump, and use the other suit for discarding losers. However, with asking bids, there is no way of finding out about the Heart suit above. In order to solve this kind of problem, Tangerine provides a relay system that you may want to use after 1 Club.

 

Relays after 1 Club

After the opening 1 Club, a positive response, relay, and top control step response, a new relay asks responder to show his exact distribution, using the following relay principles:

1. Show 4+ card suits and extra lengths in ascending bid order.
2. Show 3 card fragments in descending bid order.
3. The shape relays end when responder's shape is known, and above 4 Clubs.
4. Opener's next relay sets responder's longest suit as trump, (the higher of equal length suits), while the bid above the relay sets the next longest suit, etc. These bids also ask for control relays.
5. Responder denies control of a suit by bidding it, while passing a suit shows control in it, so called denial cuebids.
6. Responder's notrump always replaces the highest suit bid, both during shape and control relays.

The use of this relay system is best explained by an example. Here are the previous trouble hands again:

North
AQxxx
KQxx
x
AJx
 
South
Kxx
Axxx
Axx
xxx

With the relay system, the bidding might go:

North South
1 1 NT
2 2 NT
3 3
3 4
4 5
7  

The first four bids are the same as before. North's 3 Clubs is the first shape relay, and South's 3 Hearts shows a 4+ card suit, and denies 4 Diamonds, (since South passed 3 Diamonds). Thus, North now knows that South's distribution is 4-4-3-4, (1 No Trump showed a balanced or 4-4-4-1 hand). The 3 Spades bid is a second shape relay, and South's 4 Diamonds must be a 3 card fragment, (South denied 4 Spades by passing 3 No Trump, and 4 Clubs by passing 4 Clubs, and has already denied 4 Diamonds). Thus, South's distribution must be exactly 3-4-3-3, and the shape relays have ended. North's 4 Hearts, (the lowest bid after 4 Diamonds), sets South longest suit, (Hearts), as trump and asks for denial cuebids, (4 Spades would have set Spades as trump). South bids 5 Clubs to show Spade and Heart control, but no Club controls, (the controls concerned are the same Aces and Kings as where shown in the top control step response). North now knows South's exact hand and can bid the 7 Hearts grand slam.

A couple of extra points about relays:

1. A relay auction may not stop below the 5 level. Thus, when there is a possible ambiguity, 4 Hearts / 4 Spades is a relay and not a final contract, (unless the major is already set as trump, of course).
2. If the relayer breaks out early, i.e., does not bid the relay bid, this other bid is either a final contract, (if game), or a control asking bid. Thus, as soon as the relayer knows enough about responder's distribution, he may end the relay sequence and use control asking bids instead.
3. When using relays, the first shape relay will often replace a trump or support asking bid in the relay suit. The lowest notrump bid should be used as an asking bid in the relay suit.
4. The relay system will improve over asking bids only seldom, will sometimes fail where asking bids work, and is more complicated and difficult to use. Thus, it may be skipped in favor of the simpler asking bids system.

 

The Strong 1 Club

It is possible to skip the weak variant of the 1 Club opening. The reason may be that the ambiguous version is not allowed where you play, that the opponents seldom interfere destructively, or that you just don't like the ambiguous version. When 1 Club is unambiguously strong, the system is called the Cranberry Club.

Responses to Strong 1 Club

The changes needed to use a strong 1 Club are few and simple. Experience has shown that it is probably best to let the positive responses be unlimited, rather than trying to use higher bids to limit responder. The asking bids will usually discover responder's extra strength anyway. Thus, the 17+ variants are omitted. Of course, if opener makes a few asking bids and then settles in game, while responder holds 17+ points, he should continue the bidding and show the extra values.

Responses to Strong 1 Club

1 : 0-9 high card points Shows any shape.
1 : 10+ high card points Shows 5+ Hearts.
1 : 10+ high card points Shows 5+ Spades.
1 NT: 10+ high card points Shows a balanced distribution.
2 : 10+ high card points Shows 5+ Clubs.
2 : 10+ high card points Shows 5+ Diamonds.
2 : 6-9 high card points Shows exactly 6 Hearts.
2 : 6-9 high card points Shows exactly 6 Spades.

The bidding after a positive response changes very little with the strong 1 Club. The main difference is that opener's suit on lowest level, (except for the relay bid), now is a support asking bid instead of the weak hand. However, it is often better to start the slam investigations with the relay bid anyway.

 

Bidding after Strong 1 Club and a Positive Response

Relay: top control asking bid
No Trump: 15-17, 20-21, 22-23
Suit: support asking bid with 5-card suit
Suit Jump: top control asking bid or independent suit

When using the unambiguously strong 1 Club, a passed hand may contain up to 9 points, and the responses to a 1 Club opening in third or fourth seat uses the limits 0-6 for 1 Diamond and 7-9 for the positive responses.

 

Interference over a Strong 1 Club

After the unambiguously strong 1 Club, opponents may use psychic overcalls, but Tangerine's system of responses are designed to handle this. The direct cuebid is the only bid that has a different meaning:

Responder's Bid after Interference up to 1 No Trump

Pass: 0-9 high card points Shows any shape.
Double: 10+ high card points Should have bid opponent's bid.
Suit: 10+ high card points Shows 5+ card suit.
1 NT: 10+ high card points Shows a balanced distribution, with a stopper.
Cuebid: 10+ high card points Shows a balanced distribution, no stopper.

After overcalls higher than 1 No Trump, double shows interest for un-bid suits. Opener's rebids are almost unchanged, except that a pass shows a 15-17 balanced hand instead of the 8-9 variant.

 

Opener's Rebid after Interference

Pass: 15-17 high card points Shows a balanced distribution.
Double: 15-19 high card points Shows interest for unbid suits.
Double - Cuebid: 15-19 high card points "revealing psychics".
Suit: 15-19 high card points support asking bid.
20+ high card points if responder passed.
Cuebid: 15+ high card points top control asking bid.

 

The Openings 1 Diamond / 1 Heart / 1 Spade

The bidding after the opening of one of a suit follows natural principles, based mainly on the style of the Swedish Modern Standard system. Since the opening bids are limited to a smaller range, a Tangerine auction is often easier to control. With a strong hand, responder may use asking bids. With 5-5, opener bids the higher suit, with 4-4 the order of preference is Hearts, Spades, Diamonds. These "light" opening bids is the most important tactical weapon of Tangerine, and you should always open on 10 points. For example:

South
Kxxx
Qxx
Axxx
xx

is an ideal hand for opening 1 Spade. The bid is both constructive and preemptive.

Responses to 1 Diamond / 1 Heart / 1 Spade

Single Raise: 9-12 high card points Shows trump support
Double Raise: 13-14 high card points Shows trump support
1-over-1: 9-14 high card points Shows 4+ cards, forcing
2-over-1: 13-14 high card points Shows 4+ cards, forcing
1 NT: 9-12 high card points Shows a balanced shape or a lower suit
2 NT: 15+ high card points trump asking bid
3 NT: 15-17 high card points Shows a balanced shapes, 3 card support
Jump Shift: 15+ high card points support asking bid

Higher responses are final contracts. The diamond limit raises are reversed in all auctions, which means that 2 Diamonds shows 13-14 while 3 Diamonds shows 9-12. A third seat opening may be psychic. In this case, responder shows good trump support with 1 No Trump.

Single raises of majors can and should be made with 9-12 points and Jxx or better in trump. In this way, Tangerine will have almost the same constructive advantage as a system using 5+ card major openings, while being more aggressive. The probabilities are for that opener has a 5+ card suit:

 

Suit Length Probabilities

    3   4   5+
1   6%   18%   76%
1       37%   63%
1       28%   72%

As can be seen, 1 Diamond and 1 Spade shows a 5+ card suit almost three out of four times, while 1 Heart shows 5+ cards two times out of three. Thus, it makes sense to raise with Jxx or better, unless there is another good, descriptive bid for responder's hand.

 

Opener's Second Bid

When opener rebids, he shows minimum, (10-11), with bids on the lowest level, and maximum, (12-14), with jumping bids or reverse. Repeating a suit shows 6+ cards, while bidding a new suit shows 54+. After 1 Heart and 1 Spade, a jump in notrump shows 12-14, balanced with a 5 card major, while after 1 Diamond it shows 12-14 and 5-5+ in the minors.

The subsequent auction is natural, with responder's fourth suit as a conventional forcing bid. It asks for additional values, additional length, or a stopper in the fourth suit. A jump in the fourth suit shows a two-suiter, 5-5+, in the bid suits.

 

2 No Trump Asking Bid

After the opening bids of one of a suit, 2 No Trump shows trump support and forces to game. It is also a trump asking bid. After opener's response, 3 No Trump is a final contract, the relay bid is a top control asking bid, and new suits are control asking bids. Here is an example:

North
Axx
AKxx
xxxxx
x
 
South
x
QJxx
AKJxx
  Axx

In Tangerine, the bidding might go as follows

North South
1 2 NT
3 3
4 4
5 6
6 7
Pass  

South shows trump support with 2 No Trump, and North shows xxxx+ in the trump suit with 3 Clubs. The 3 Diamond bid asks for top controls, and North's 4 Clubs, (4 steps), show 5. South's 4 Hearts asks for heart controls and 5 Diamonds shows AK or AQ, (South knows that it must be AK). Since North has five controls and AK in Hearts, South can deduce that he also holds the Ace of Spades. His 6 Clubs asks for a club control, and 6 Hearts shows a second control, (which must be a singleton). South can now bid the grand slam.

 

Jump Shift Support Asking Bid

After the opening bids of one of a suit, a jump in a new suit forces to game and is a support asking bid with a five card suit. After opener's negative response, a new suit is a support asking bid with a four card suit, and a delayed raise of diamonds a trump asking bid. After a positive response, 3 No Trump is a final contract, the relay is a top control asking bid, and a new suit a control asking bid.

North
Kxx
Kxx
Axxx
xxx
 
South
Axx
Axxxx
KQxxx
   

The bidding might go as follows:

North South
1 2
3 3
3 NT 4
4 6
Pass

South asks for support with 2 Hearts and North shows Txx+ with 3 Clubs, (3 steps). From now on, Hearts is the agreed trump suit. The relay 3 Diamonds asks for top controls, and 3 No Trump shows 4. South now checks the clubs suit with 4 Clubs, and North denies first and second control with 4 Diamonds. South now knows that North has the Ace of Diamonds and Kings in the majors and bids 6 Hearts.

 

Interference over 1 Diamond, 1 Heart, and 1 Spade

Tangerine uses negative doubles after interference, if the overcall is a natural suit bid up to 4 Diamonds.

After Opponent's Interference

Double: interest for unbid suits
Double + Cuebid: natural, "reveals psychics"
Double + Suit: natural and forcing
Suit: natural and non-forcing
2 No Trump: balanced invitation with stopper
Cuebid: trump support or asks for stopper

Thus, a double plus suit is stronger than a direct bid in the suit. After a takeout double, Tangerine tries to act as preemptively as possible:

 

After One of a Suit and a Takeout Double

Pass: weak, (or strong balanced)
Redouble: 15+
2 No Trump: trump support, invitational
Suit: invitational
Suit Jump: final contract
Raises: final contract

After an overcall showing a two-suiter, (unusual 2 No Trump, colorful cuebid, etc.), Tangerine uses the lowest cuebid to show trump support and invitational strength, the next lowest to show support and game-forcing strength, and jumping cuebids to show support, slam interest and a singleton. For example, after 1 Spade (2 No Trump), (where 2 No Trump shows 5-5+ in the minors), responder bids:

After 1 Spade (2 No Trump)

Double: interest for unbid suits
3 : invitation with Spade support
3 : game-forcing with Spade support
4 / 4 :

slam interest with singleton
Other: natural

 

The Opening 1 No Trump

The 1 No Trump opening bid shows 12-14 high card points and a balanced hand without a 5-card major. Tangerine's system is based on double Stayman, which matches well with a weak notrump.

Responses to the Opening 1 No Trump

2 : non-forcing Stayman
2 : game-forcing Stayman
2 NT: invitational
2 / 2 : final contract
3 any suit: final contract
4 / 4 : transfer to Hearts / Spades
4 / 4 : final contract

The response 2 No Trump is used as an invitation when responder has no interest in majors. The bids 4 Clubs / 4 Diamonds are used to transfer the contract to the balanced hand. If opener has a very good fit, he bids 4 Diamonds / 4 Hearts. The transfers may be used to start slam investigations; for example, 1 No Trump - 4 Clubs; 4 Hearts - 4 No Trump is Blackwood.

Responses to 1 No Trump - 2 Clubs

2 : no 4-card Major
2 : 4 Hearts
2 : 4 Spades, but not 4 Hearts

Responder uses the non-forcing Stayman with either a weak hand, when he knows that opener's rebid will be a better contract than 1 No Trump, or when he wants to make invitations to game. He may or may not have an actual interest in opener's major holdings.

Responder's Bidding after 1 No Trump - 2 Clubs

2 / 2 :   Shows a 5-card suit, invitational
2 NT:   Shows 4 cards in the other Major, invitational
3 / 3 :   Shows a 5+ card suit, invitational
3 / 3 :   Shows a 6+ card suit, invitational

The sequence 1 No Trump - 2 Diamonds is game-forcing Stayman. Here responder is in command, and the bidding may not stop below game.

Responses to 1 No Trump - 2 Diamonds

2 :   4 Hearts
2 :   4 Spades, but not 4 Hearts
2 NT:   completely balanced
3 / 3 :   5-card suit

After 2 Hearts and 2 Spades, responder's 2 No Trump asks for 4 card Minors, and after 2 No Trump, 3 Clubs is a distribution asking bid. Opener does not have any 4-card Major or 5-card Minor, so he can describe his exact distribution.

Distribution Responses

2 :   4 Hearts
2 :   4 Spades, but not 4 Hearts
2 NT:   completely balanced
3 / 3 :   5-card suit

 

Interference over 1 No Trump

Since the Tangerine 1 No Trump is weak, good opponent's will often interfere. If so, the following methods are used:

Bidding after Interference over 1 No Trump

Cuebid:   asks for 3+ card Major
2 NT:   13+, asks for 4-card suits and stoppers, 13+, asks for 4-card suits and stoppers
Suit:   final contract
Suit Jump:   invitational

When the Opponents Double 1 No Trump

Tangerine's 1 No Trump opening is weak, and sometimes the opponent's will double for penalties. In these cases, Tangerine uses a system based on SOS redoubles to find a 7+ card trump.

Bidding after the Opponent's Double 1 No Trump

Suit:   final contract
2 NT:   strong unbalanced hand
Redouble:   2 Spades
Pass:   transfers to redouble

After the transfer to redouble, responder can pass on a strong hand. Otherwise, both partners pass on 4-card suits, bid 3-card suits, and use redouble to force partner to continue. If the opponent's fail to double, both partners will pass.

North   East   South   West
3-4-4-2       4-4-2-3    
1 NT   Double   Pass   Pass
Redouble   Pass   2   Double
Redouble   Pass   2   Double
Pass   Pass   Redouble   Pass
2   Double   Pass   Pass
Pass            

Here, responder passes and opener must bid redouble. When opener redoubles 2 Clubs, responder knows that he should play in opener's best major. Thus, he bids 2 Diamonds and then redoubles, forcing opener to escape to his best major.

 

Bidding after 2 No Trump

The sequence 1 Club - 1 Diamond; 2 No Trump shows a balanced hand, which may contain a 5 card major. Here, the following responses are used:

Bidding after 2 No Trump

3 :   asks for Majors
3 :   transfer to Hearts
3 :   transfer to Spades
3 :   transfer to Minors

After the transfer bids, responder can either bid game, (final contract), or continue towards a slam with Blackwood and cuebids. After 2 No Trump - 3 Spades, opener bids 4 Clubs and responder may correct to 4 Diamonds. These sequences are weak. With slam interest and both minors, responder uses 3 Spades to transfer to 4 Clubs and then cuebids a Major. With a single Minor, he begins with 3 Clubs and then bids his suit on the 4 level.

Responses after 2 No Trump - 3 Clubs

3 :   5-card Major
3 :   4 Hearts
3 :   4 Spades, not 4 Hearts
3 NT:   no 4-card Major

After these responses, all bids from responder are natural and invites to slam.

 

The Opening 2 Clubs

The opening bid 2 Clubs shows 10-14 points and 5+ Clubs. Responder may use the relay bid 2 Diamonds when he has at least invitational strength.

Bidding after 2 Clubs

2 :   relay
2 / 2 :   5-card suit, weak invitation
2 NT:   weak invitation
3 any suit:   5-card suit, strong invitation
Raises:   final contract

When responder is strong or needs to know more about opener's hand, he uses the 2 Diamonds relay.

Responses after 2 Clubs - 2 Diamonds

2 / 2 :   4-card suit, minimum
2 NT:   balanced, minimum
3 :   unbalanced, minimum
3 any suit:   4-card suit, maximum
3 NT:   unbalanced, Clubs, maximum

The maximum responses are forcing to game, while after the minimum responses, opener may pass on responder's bid. The subsequent bidding is natural.

 

The Openings 2 Diamonds / 2 Hearts / 2 Spades

The bidding after the weak two openings proceeds as after the semi-positive responses to 1 Club.

Bidding after a Weak Two Opening

Raises:   final contract
Suit:   5+ cards, forcing
Jump in Suit:   6+ cards, invitation
2 NT:   trump support, forcing

After 2 Hearts / 2 Spades - 2 No Trump, opener bids three of his Major with minimum, and anything else with maximum. He may show features, i.e., three card suits with a couple of high cards, or bid 3 No Trump with an almost solid 6+ card suit. After this, responder's bid in a new suit is a control asking bid.

 

The Opening 2 No Trump

The 2 No Trump opening shows a long suit not good enough for a preemptive bid on a higher level. The following responses are used:

Bidding after 2 No Trump

3 :   sign off
3 :   5-5+ in Hearts + Spades
3 / 3 :   6+ suit, invitational
3 NT:   natural, sign off
4 :   preemptive
4 :   game forcing

 

An Alternative 2 No Trump

If the destructive 2 No Trump opening above is not allowed where you play,or if you simply don't like it,you can use the following variant instead, where the opening shows 5-9 and 5-5+ in the Minors.

Bidding after 2 No Trump Minors

3 / 3 :   sign off
3 / 3 :   6+ suit, invitational
3 NT:   natural, sign off
5 :   asks for void
5 :   asks for TT in trump
others:   final contract

For responses to 5 Hearts / 5 Spades, see bidding after the opening 4 No Trump.

 

Preemptive Openings

Tangerine's preemptive opening bids are sound, calculated after the number of tricks a hand will probably make, plus 1, 2, or 3 tricks depending on vulnerability. The bidding after preempts is natural. Raises and games are final contracts, a new suit is natural and forcing on the three level, and a cuebid if higher.

 

The Opening 3 No Trump

The 3 No Trump opening bid shows a solid 7+ card minor with no or few values outside the suit. If responder has some values, he may pass and hope that opener will make 3 No Trump. If he is strong, he has some asking bids at his disposal.

Bidding after 3 No Trump

4 : weak, opener passes or bids 4 Diamonds
4 : asks for singletons
4 NT: asks for length

After 3 No Trump - 4 Diamonds, opener bids a singleton suit, or 4 Hearts with a void, after which 4 Spades from responder asks for the void suit. After 3 No Trump - 4 No Trump, 5 Clubs shows a 7 card suit, 5 Diamonds 8 cards, etc.

 

The Opening 4 No Trump

The opening bid 4 No Trump shows a preemptive hand with both Minors.

Bidding after 4 No Trump

5 : asks for void
5 : asks for TT in trump, invites to grand slam

After 4 No Trump - 5 Spades, opener bids 5 No Trump and responder shows the intended trump suit by 6 Clubs or 6 Diamonds. If opener holds two of AKQ in trump, he bids grand slam. After 4 No Trump - 5 Hearts, opener shows voids.

Responses to 4 No Trump - 5 Hearts

5 : void in Hearts
5 NT: void in Spades
6 : no void

 

Romex Invitations

After the sequences 1 Heart - 2 Hearts and 1 Spades - 2 Spades, Tangerine uses a simple version of the Romex system's invitation bids.

relay relay suit negative invitation
    trump negative in passed suit
suit     positive invitation
raise     final contract

After 1 Heart - 2 Hearts, 2 No Trump is a positive invitation in Spades. A positive invitation is ideally made with a 4+ card suit and split honors such as KJxx, and the best fit is a similar suit. A negative invitation should be made with x, -, or xx, and the best "fit" is something like xxx, Axx, xxxx, or Axxx.

 

Slam Conventions

Tangerine has a number of slam bidding tools, both "classical" ones that are used in the natural bidding after the limited opening bids, and special asking bids, mostly occurring after 1 Club.

The basic assumption is that asking bids are easy to use and efficient, often better than classical methods like Blackwood and cuebids. In some systems most of the forcing bidding is natural, and specific asking bids are deferred until the last moment. This is not the case in Tangerine. As soon as there is enough points for game, a slam investigation can be started using the asking bid machinery. This may seem simple-minded, but experience has shown that it works very well. Playing Tangerine will give you an advantage on most slam boards.

If you want, you may also add the relay system described described earlier to the slam convention arsenal.

 

Blackwood

In a natural auction, 4 No Trump is used as Blackwood and asks for 5 aces, including the trump King.

5 :   Shows 0 or 4 Aces
5 :   Shows 1 or 5 Aces
5 :   Shows 2 Aces
5 :   Shows 3 Aces

After the responses, a relay in a non-trump suit means that the asking partner wants to play 6 No Trump.

 

Cuebids

Tangerine uses Italian cuebids, i.e., second controls may be shown before first controls. A new suit is natural on the 3 level and a cuebid if higher. Direct jumps after opening bids are preemptive, however.

 

Free 5 of a Major

In a natural auction, a raise to 5 of a major trump suit invites to small slam and asks for either control of the suit bid by the opponents, control in the only remaining unchecked suit, or the quality of the trump suit, whichever is possible.

When a suit has been bid by the opponents, or exactly one suit remains unchecked, partner should bid small slam if he has second round control of the suit in question, 5 No Trump is he has a guarded king, and a cuebid to show a first round control.

If no or several suits remain unchecked, the free five bid asks for trump quality. Partner should bid small slam if he holds two of AKQ. If holding AKxxx+, he bids 5 No Trump. With a solid trump suit, he should consider a grand slam.

 

Free 5 No Trump

In a natural auction, a bid of 5 No Trump invites to a grand slam and asks for the quality of the trump suit. Partner should bid the grand slam if he holds two of AKQ. If he has all true controls, (Aces and Kings, as opposed to voids and singletons), he bids 6 No Trump.

 

Trump Asking Bids

The trump support asking bid occurs after the opening 1 Club and a positive response showing a 5+ card suit. After a relay, opener makes the trump asking bid by bidding responder's suit. For example, 1 Club - 1 Heart; 1 Spade - 2 Diamonds; 2 Hearts is a trump asking bid. Also, 1 Diamond / 1 Heart / 1 Spade - 2 No Trump is a trump asking bid. Partner now describes his trump suit by step responses, (where T means A, K, or Q). Pass and X/XX are used in the step scale if the opponent's interfere.

Responses to a Trump Asking Bid

1st step: -
2nd step: T
3rd step: TT
4th step: TTT

After this, a new suit is a control asking bid, while a rebid below game is a repeated trump asking bid.

Responses to a Repeated Trump Asking Bid

after - / TTT after T after TT
1st step: - Q KQ
2nd step: 1 extra card K AQ
3rd step: 2 extra cards A AK

 

Support Asking Bids

Support asking bids occur after the 1 Club opening, when opener bids new suits before a trump suit has been found, and as jumps in a suit after the openings 1 Diamond, 1 Heart, and 1 Spade.

Responses to a Support Asking Bid

1st step: -
2nd step: support
3rd step: support, T
4th step: support, TT
5th step: support, TTT

In most cases, the first support asking bid is made with a 5+ card suit, and xxx+ is a valid support. If the first asking bid is answered negatively, (1 step), a new suit is a support asking bid in that suit, now assuming a 4+ card suit. If the response is positive, a new suit is a control asking bid and a rebid below game is a repeated support asking bid, answered according to the same principles as the repeated trump asking bid.

 

Control Asking Bids

New suits after a positive response to a trump or support asking bid are control asking bids.

Responses to a Control asking Bid

1st step: -
2nd step: second control, (King of singleton)
3rd step: first control, (Ace or void)
4th step: AK or AQ

After a control asking bid, a new suit is a control asking bid in that suit, while a rebid, (immediate or later), is a repeated control asking bid.

Responses to a Repeated Control Asking Bid

1st step: -
2nd step: third control
3rd step: also a second control
4th step: single Ace

 

Top Control Asking Bids

After the opening 1 Club and a positive response, the relay shows the strong hand and asks for the number of top controls, (Ace 2, King 1). Also, after opening one of a suit and either a trump asking bid or a positively answered support asking bid, the relay is a top control asking bid.

Responses to a Top Control Asking Bid

1st step: 0 -2 top controls
2nd step: 3 top controls
3rd step: 4 top controls
4th step: 5 top controls

 

Distribution Asking Bids

After some bidding sequences it is known that one hand is completely balanced, i.e., it has no 4-card Major nor 5-card Minor. In this case the next bid, (the closest Club bid), is a distribution asking bid. For example, after 1 No Trump - 2 Diamonds; 2 No Trump - 3 Clubs asks for the exact distribution of the balanced hand; the other case is 1 Club - 2 No Trump; 3 No Trump - 4 Clubs.

Distribution Responses

3 : 3-3-4-3 distribution
3 : 2-3-4-4 distribution
3 : 3-2-4-4 distribution
3 NT: 3-3-4-4 distribution

 

Defensive Bidding

Bridge systems devote much effort to undisturbed bidding, while in practical play, more often than not, both sides compete for the final contract. Several conventions go out the window as soon as the opponent's enter the auction, and should they use anything but natural methods, most systems offer no help. As a remedy, Tangerine contains a well-specified defensive bidding system, as well as special defenses against most kinds of artificial bids.

 

General Defense Principles

In Tangerine a double is for penalty in the following cases:

If higher than 4 Diamonds

Under game force, (pass is forcing)

After two takeout doubles

When three suits have been shown

If our side has made a notrump bid showing a balanced hand

When we have doubled a natural No Trump bid

In all other cases, a double is for takeout, and shows interest for unbid suits.

If a suit shown by the opponents may commonly be shorter than 4 cards, X plus cuebid shows a natural suit, while double plus a jumping cuebid shows a strong hand. This defense is used against possibly short openings, for example, Precision's 1 Diamond.

Only bid defensively if you have real hopes of competing for a contract or cause serious trouble by preempting. Weak overcalls often serve no purpose but will tell the opponents about the distribution.

 

Defense against One of a Suit

Here a general rule is that it is important to be as aggressive as possible. If you have a weak hand, don't bid just because you can. You will only help the declarer's opponent. On the other hand, if you have 10+ points or a good distribution, to what you can to compete or preempt.

Defensive Bids after One of a Suit

1 NT: 15-17 high card points balanced with stopper
  5-9 high card points 6+ card suit
suit: 10-14 high card points 5+ card suit
suit jump:   based on trick count
2 No Trump: 10+ high card points 5-5+ in two lowest unbid suits
cuebid: 10+ high card points 5-5+ in highest and another suit
jump cuebid: 17+ high card points one or three-suiter
double: 10-14 high card points 4-4-3+ in unbid suits
  15+ high card points any shape

After a suit overcall, a cuebid from responder shows trump support or asks for a stopper, while other bids are natural and non-forcing. After the 2 No Trump overcall, a cuebid from responder is forcing, and after a cuebid, 2 No Trump is forcing.

The Comic 1 No Trump shows either a 15-17 balanced hand or a long suit too weak for a normal or jumping overcall. Partner bids as follows:

Responses to Comic 1 No Trump

Redouble:   final contract against strong variant
2 :   invitation against strong variant
Cuebid:   forcing against weak variant

After 2 Clubs, the 1 No Trump overcaller passes or corrects with the weak variant, and cuebids with the strong.

The jumping cuebid shows a strong one- or three-suiter with at least 8 playing tricks. Partner bids 3 No Trump with a stopper, lowest minor with minimum, the other Minor with 3+ top controls, or a 6+ card Major, (forcing to game).

 

The Takeout Double

Tangerine uses takeout doubles showing either 10-14 points and at least 4-4-3 in the unbid suits, or 15+ and any shape.

suit: 0-7 high card points natural
suit jump: 8-12 high card points natural
1 No Trump: 8-12 high card points balanced, stopper
2 No Trump: 13-14 high card points balanced, stopper
3 No Trump: 15-16 high card points balanced, stopper
cuebid: 13+ high card points forcing
jump cuebid: 13+ high card points 4-4-4-1 distribution

After a takeout double, partner bids his best suit on the lowest level with minimum. After this, the doubler bids as follows:

Bidding after 1 (any suit) - Redouble

Cuebid:   natural, forcing
Jump Cuebid:   top control asking bid
Suit:   15-19, invitational

On the top control asking bid, responder's first step shows 0 top controls, the second step 1 top control, etc. After a jumping cuebid answer, (showing 4-4-4-1 with shortness in opponent's suit), a cuebid from the doubler asks for the densest suit, (most T's).

Doubler's suit is a sign-off after a notrump bid. A responsive double shows interest for unbid suits but denies 4+ card Majors. After strong responses to a double, the doubler's cuebid is a top control asking bid and starts an artificial bidding sequence.

If an opening bid may commonly be made on a suit shorter than 4 cards, double plus cuebid shows a natural suit, while double plus a jumping cuebid is forcing. In order to pass for penalty on a takeout double, you need a 5+ card trump and 3+ tricks.

 

Delayed Takeout Doubles

In Tangerine, most doubles are negative, meaning that they show interest for unbid suits and asks partner to bid again. For example, here is a delayed takeout double:

North   East   South   West
1   Pass   2   Pass
Pass   Double        

The East was not strong enough to double at the first opportunity, but now it seems like the bidding is going to end. Therefore he uses a delayed takeout double.

The following is a repeated takeout double:

North   East   South   West
1   Double   2   Pass
3   Double        

Here, East is strong and still interested in the unbid suits, so he repeats his takeout double. The following is an example of a takeout double after own suit:

North   East   South   West
1   1   2   Pass
Pass   Double        

Here, East has some interest for unbid suits, and thus makes a takeout double after his own overcall.

Here we see a responsive double:

North   East   South   West
1   Double   2   Double
3   Double        

West has a positive and fairly balanced hand.

Finally, here is an example of a competitive double:

North   East   South   West
1   2   2   3
Double        

Here, North's competitive double shows an invitation to 4 Spades, while 3 Spades would be just for competition.

 

Defense against 1 No Trump

Tangerine's defensive methods after the opening 1 No Trump is borrowed from SMP, the Swedish system Super Mixed Precision. It allows you to show all one- and two-suiters.

 

Bidding after 1 any suit - Double

Double:   Diamonds or Clubs and Hearts
2 :   Hearts or Diamonds and Hearts
2 :   Spades or Hearts and Spades
2 :   Clubs or Spades and Clubs
2 :   Spades and Diamonds
2 NT:   Major and Minor, game forcing
3 :   Clubs and Diamonds
3 any suit:   preemptive
3 NT:   Hearts and Spades, game forcing

The response 2 No Trump is forcing. After a weak 1 No Trump, (maximum 13-15), double is for penalties, while 2 Spades shows Diamonds or Spades + Diamonds, and 3 Clubs shows Clubs + Hearts. To double a weak 1 No Trump, you need 12+ points and a good suit, or 15+ and mixed strength.

Partner bids as follows:

Bidding after 1 No Trump - Double - Pass

Pass:   any balanced hand
2 any suit:   weak with 6+ suit
2 NT:   invitation with two-suiter
3 any suit:   invitation with one-suiter

If partner doubles and you have a balanced hand, it is better to pass than to try and escape, no matter how weak your hand is.

 

Against Weak Two Openings

Weak two openings are among the most difficult and important bids to defend against. Tangerine uses reversed meanings of Double and 2 No Trump against weak 2 Hearts / 2 Spades, (but not against 2 Clubs / 2 Diamonds, where double is a takeout double).

Defense against Weak 2 Hearts / 2 Spades

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: 11-16 high card points 5+ card suit
2 NT: 11-16 high card points takeout
17+ high card points any shape

 

Against Weak Two Transfers

These are weak two openings where opener bids a suit lower than the one he has based the preempt on, for example, 2 Diamonds showing a weak hand with 6 Hearts. This helps the defenders, since they can now use the cuebid, (a bid in the shown, not the bid suit), to show a two-suited hand, and they may wait one round and then double with interest for unbid suits.

Defense against Weak Two Transfers

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: 11-16 high card points 5+ card suit
Cuebid: 11-16 high card points any two-suiter
Pass + Double: 11-16 high card points takeout
2 NT: 17+ high card points any shape

 

Against Multi 2 Diamonds

This convention means that the opener has either a weak hand with Hearts or Spades, or some strong version, (20+ balanced, forcing hand with diamonds, etc.). The defense is similar to that against weak two transfers.

Defense against Multi 2 Diamonds

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: 11-16 high card points 5+ card suit
Pass + Double: 11-16 high card points takeout
2 NT: 17+ high card points any shape

 

Against High Openings

Here are Tangerine's recommended defenses against different higher level opening bids.

 

Against Strong 2 Clubs

After a strong 2 Clubs opening, it is highly unlikely that we can play any constructive contract. Thus, all bids aim at showing a lead or a sacrifice.

Defense against Strong 2 Clubs

Double:   Clubs
Suit:   based on trick count
2 NT:   5-5+ in Minors

A similar defense can be used against other strong two openings, for example, Acol Two openings. If the strong opening shows a natural suit, a double shows a "take-out" distribution. Against a strong 2 No Trump, use the 1 No Trump defense.

Defense against Strong 2 Clubs

Some systems use one or two opening bids to show three suited hands, for example, the Roman 2 Clubs, Roman 2 Diamonds, and Precision 2 Clubs. The defense is similar to that against Multi 2 Diamonds.

 

Defense against Three-Suiters

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: 11-16 high card points 5+ card suit
Pass + Double: 11-16 high card points takeout
2 No Trump: 17+ high card points any shape

 

Defense Against Flannery

Flannery 2 Diamonds shows 11-15 with 5 Hearts and 4 Spades. The Tangerine defense is as follows:

Defense against Flannery 2 Diamonds

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
2 : 11-16 high card points three-suited takeout
2 : 11-16 high card points Minor takeout
2 NT: 17+ high card points any shape

Note: Some systems use 2 Hearts to show the Flannery hand:

Defense against Flannery 2 Diamonds

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
2 : 11-16 high card points Minor takeout
2 NT: 11-16 high card points three-suited takeout
17+ high card points any shape

 

Against Unusual 2 No Trump

The "unusual 2 No Trump" opening shows a weak or intermediate hand with 5-5+ in the Minors. Tangerine's defense is as follows:

Defense Against Unusual 2 No Trump

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: 11-16 high card points 5+ card suit
3 : 11-16 high card points Major two-suiter
3 : 17+ high card points any shape

 

Against Alternative Two-Suiters

Some systems use weak two bids which show alternative two-suiters, for example, 2 Hearts roundeds or pointeds, 2 Spades blacks or reds, and 2 No Trump Majors or Minors. Tangerine's defense is simple:

Defense against Alternative Two-Suiters

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: 11-16 high card points 5+ card suit
Low Cuebid: 11-16 high card points takeout
High Cuebid: 17+ high card points takeout
2 No Trump: 17+ high card points any shape

Usually, it is possible to guess which two suits opener holds. Based on this, one or two cuebids may be available, and if so, they are used as a weak and strong take-out. If the opener's partner must bid, you may pass and then double for takeout. A direct doubling shows a strong, balanced hand, and 2 No Trump shows 17+ if it is available.

 

Against Gambling 3 No Trump

The Gambling 3 No Trump shows a solid 7+ card suit. The defense is:

Defense against Gambling 3 No Trump

Double:   15-18, balanced
4   Heart two-suiter
4   Spade two-suiter
Suit:   based on trick count

 

Against Preempts

Here, Tangerine has no new ideas. A double is for take-out up to 4 Diamonds and just shows strength above that, (which usually means that the doubler has a strong balanced hand).

Defense Against Preempts

Double:   takeout or optional
Suit:   based on trick count

 

Against Transfer Preempts

The idea is of course to let the other hand play, but transfer preempts give the defenders a good opportunity to use the cuebid in the shown suit, (not the bid suit), to show a strong hand.

Defense Against Transfer Preempts

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Suit: based on trick count
Pass + Double: 11-16 high card points takeout
Cuebid: 17+ high card points any shape

 

Artificial Openings

In order not to give users of artificial systems any unnecessary advantages, Tangerine provides systematic defenses to most artificial bids. With knowledge of these defenses, it is usually simple to select the appropriate methods against any artificial system or convention.

 

Against Strong 1 Club

A good defense against a strong 1 Club is very valuable. Tangerine's methods are on the limit of being destructive, but have proven to be effective. They will take away much of the precision from a strong 1 Club exchange.

When playing in the (sadly conservative) USA, you are not allowed to use conventions where the primary purpose is to be destructive. You may not be allowed to use the Tangerine defense. If so, you may use the forcing pass defense instead.

Defense against Strong 1 Club

Pass: 0-10 high card points weak hand
Suit: 11+ high card points any shape
Double: 0-10 high card points blacks or reds
1 any suit: 0-10 high card points maximum 2 or 5+ cards
1 NT: 0-10 high card points roundeds or pointeds
2 any suit: 0-10 high card points natural
2 NT: 0-10 high card points Majors or Minors

With a strong hand, pass and bid again on the next round. Otherwise try to bid something, at least at the one level. After the ambiguous bids, partner guesses what hand it is and tries to bid as high as he dares. In this way, the opponent's will regularly have to start their constructive bidding on the two level or higher. Note that there is no reason for responder to try and be extra preemptive. The system shown will cause regular trouble anyway. It is intended for use against an ambiguous 1 Clubs opening too, (like Tangerine's), but there are no practical experiences of this idea.

 

Against Forcing Pass

A forcing pass usually shows 13+, any shape, or something similar. Here, the "opener's" side is at a potential disadvantage, since most other pairs will have given the same strength information but also mentioned a suit.

Defense Against Forcing Pass

Pass: 0-7 high card points any shape
Suit: 13+ high card points any shape
1 any suit: 8-12 high card points natural
1 NT: 0-9 high card points 4-4+ in Majors
2 any suit: 5-9 high card points 5+ cards
2 NT: 0-9 high card points 5-5+ in Minors

If the passer's responder may pass, 1 Club shows 13+ while the other bids are unchanged. This defense can be used against strong 1 Club too. In this case, a double shows 0-9 and 5-4+ in a Major and a Minor.

 

Against Weak 1 Club, 0-7

Some artificial systems use 1 Club as the weakest opening bid, showing 0-7 points. This is probably a bad idea, since it does not preempt the opponents at all, while giving them a chance to double for penalties.

Defense against Weak 1 Club

Double: 15+ high card points
Others: not changed

As can be seen, the 1 Club opening does not disturb at all. However, after (1 Club) Double (pass) it may be a good idea to pass with a strong balanced hand and some clubs, if the vulnerability is right.

 

Against Weak 1 Diamond / 1 Heart / 1 Spade, 0-7

The opening bid 1 Diamond with 0-7 points and any shape is often used together with a forcing pass of 13+. Here it is important not to be "preempted" away from good contracts, while keeping the chance of doubling for penalties. Some systems instead use 1 Heart or 1 Spades as the weak bid.

Against Weak 1 Diamond / 1 Heart / 1 Spade

Double: 12+ high card points balanced or 4+ in opening suit
1 / 1 : 10-14 high card points 4+
1 NT: 10+ high card points 5+ Clubs
2 : 10+ high card points 5+ Diamonds or Hearts
2 : 10+ high card points 5+ Hearts or Spades
2 : 10-14 high card points 4-4-4-1 / 5-4-4-0, short opening suit
2 : 15+ high card points 4-4-4-1 / 5-4-4-0, short opening suit

After (1 Diamond) Double, partner assumes that the doubler holds a balanced 12-14 hand and uses the standard No Trump bidding. He may pass for penalties with 8+ points and 4+ trumps, (the doubler always has at least 2), or, if the opponents are vulnerable, with 3 trumps and good defensive values. New suits and No Trump are weak, while jumps to 2 Hearts / Spades are positive. The responses 2 Clubs / Diamonds are Stayman as usual. If partner escapes to 1 Heart / Spade / No Trump, the doubler can use 2 Clubs as a general force, with 2 Diamonds as negative response.

After the transfer bids, partner's new suit is forcing for a round and 2 No Trump a general game-force, while simply accepting the transfer shows a weak hand. Transfer to a suit that could be bid naturally on the one level shows 15+ points. After the three-suited bids, a bid in the short suit is used as a general forcing bid.

 

Against Transfer Openings

Some artificial systems have transfer openings. An example is Aron-Rosa's 1 Club, which shows 8-12 points and 5+ hearts. Here 1 Heart is a takeout, 2 Hearts is a cuebid and shows a two-suited hand, and Double is 15-18 balanced, while 2 Clubs is a natural suit.

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
Cuebid: 10+ high card points, takeout
Jumping Cuebid: two-suiter
Other: not changed

 

Against Short Openings

Some systems use opening bids where the suit can be shorter than 4 cards. The most common example is Precision's 1 Diamond. In these cases, Tangerine treats the opening bid as natural, while Double + Cuebid is used to show an interest to play in the opponent's suit.

 

Against Artificial Openings

Some systems use shortness openings, (Delta and other Polish forcing pass systems), where the shortness is usually a singleton or void. Other systems use ambiguous opening bids, (in the Polish system Lambda, 1 Heart shows 8-12 points and 5-4+ in either Club+Heart or Diamond+Spade). It is also possible that openings like 1 Heart or 1 Spade show a balanced hand or Minors.

In Tangerine, all these bids are treated like very weak No Trump bids. Overcalls on the one level are natural, a double shows a strong balanced hand, (see the defense against weak 1 Diamond / Heart / Spade for responses), and 1 No Trump shows a 4-4-4-1 with short opening suit. All other bids are according to the SMP defense against 1 No Trump.

Defense Against Artificial Openings

Double: 15-18 high card points balanced
1 any suit: 10-14 high card points 4+ card suit
1 NT: 10-14 high card points "takeout" distribution
Other: 10+ high card points according to SMP

 

Psychics

In Tangerine, there are some obvious situations where "psychics" can be useful. If allowed, these are a part of the system. In addition, some situation allows for psychics but are not special to the Tangerine system.

 

System Specific Psychics

After passing, the opener does not have strength enough to try for a game against a limited opening bid. Limited openings and overcalls may thus be psychic in third seat. Since sacrifices are often possible in these situation, the opener should not be afraid to respond. The partner knows that he is limited. Good trump support is shown with 1 No Trump, (so that the opener who happens to be without the opening suit can pass in a reasonable contract).

With a bad support and an long suit, you may raise a third seat opening. Thus, the bidding may go:

North   East   South   West
Pass   Pass   1   Pass
2            

while neither hand has a proper Spade suit.

With a very weak hand in third seat, a good psych is to start with 1 Club, in the hope of finding something reasonable before the fourth hand realizes that he has most of the board's strength. Note that it is forbidden to psych with artificial bids in many places, though.

 

General Psychics

There are some good situations for psychics that are not specific to Tangerine. For example, assume that you hold:

xx
xx
AQJxxxxx
A

Here, you are most probably going to end up in 5 Diamonds doubled, as a sacrifice against 4 Hearts or 4 Spades. Instead of opening high with Diamonds, you may try to fool the opponents away from a possibly good suit by opening 1 Spade. The worst that can happen is that partner starts bidding spades. If so, you will have to repeat Diamonds over and over again, until you end up in 5 Diamonds doubled.

Tangerine's preemptive bids are based on trick count and quite sound. For example:

xx
KQJxxxx
xxx
x

is a good 3 Heart bid at favorable vulnerability. However, you should sometimes make a preemptive bid on, say:

xx
Qxxxxxx
xxx
x

Normally, you should pass or maybe open 2 No Trump. Opening this as a normal preempt may fool the opponents away from game or slam, and it will also keep them aware that your preemptive openings cannot always be trusted. Of course, you may fool partner too, so do it seldom.

Assume that the bidding goes:

North   East   South   West
2   2 NT   pass   ?

The 2 Spades is weak and as East you hold:

x
x
AQx
AKQJxxxx

Since partner showed a strong takeout with 2 No Trump, you can almost certainly make 6 Clubs but there is probably a loser in Spades, so 7 Clubs may not work. What is your best bid?

Bid 7 Clubs! If you bid the correct 6 Clubs, the opponent's will almost certainly sacrifice in 6 Spades, while now, they will sacrifice in 7 Spades.

Instead assume that the bidding goes:

North   East   South   West
1   4   pass   5
5   6   ?    

and as South you hold:

Qxxxx
Jxxxx
void
Qxx

Your partner opened 1 Club and could bid 5 Hearts on his own. You have an excellent support for him, so 6 Hearts is almost certain and 7 Hearts may be there. What should you bid?

Pass! Your partner has a very strong hand and will double the opponents. Then you bid 6 Hearts. In this way you may avoid that the opponents sacrifice in 7 Diamonds, which they otherwise certainly would do.

Now for a competitive game example. Assume that the bidding goes:

North   East   South   West
1   1   2   2
?    

and as North you hold:

x
AQJxxx
xx
Axxx

Your obvious bid is 4 Hearts, and the opponents will certainly sacrifice themselves in 4 Spades, (and they may even make it). You can confuse the situation a little by bidding 3 Diamonds. In this way, when you later bid 4 Hearts, you seem more reluctant to do it, as if you had a weaker hand. Maybe the opponents will not sacrifice themselves, if they think that 4 Hearts is doubtful. Also, by bidding Diamonds, you may avoid a lead in that suit.

In short, whenever you suspect that the opponents have a good sacrifice against your sound bid, look for possibilities to bid less solidly, like if you had a weaker hand and were more hesitant. And vice versa, if you think you should make a doubtful sacrifice, bid it at once and confidently, and do not be forced upwards in steps.

Remember, psychic bids are only effective if they really manage to fool the opponents. Therefore, use them seldom, and only in situations where the system will make them harmless for your side.

 

Variants of the System

Tangerine has been played in several versions, and the one presented here is just one of them. Some comments:

In an older variant, 2 Diamonds was multi with weak Hearts or 20-21 balanced, 2 Hearts was weak Spades or 22-23 balanced, and 2 Spades was weak Minors or 24-25 balanced.

In another variant, (actually the one most played), 2 Diamonds was weak Hearts or Spades, or 20-21 balanced, and 2 Diamonds and 2 Spades were weak 5-5+ in the bid suit and a lower one.

The opening 1 No Trump according to Carrot fits excellently into the system. If used, 1 Diamond will always show 4+ cards. The Carrot No Trump is good because it is frequent and thus has a preemptive effect. Note that the subsequent bidding is troublesome, and that the Carrot 1 No Trump has lost popularity in recent years, (the Carroters themselves have stopped using it).

Another convention that has been part of Tangerine is strong pass after 1 No Trump. If used, pass show 7-10 points and a fairly balanced hand. With less, responder must bid after after 1 No Trump. Responses on the two level after the non-forcing Stayman are weak instead of inviting. The advantage is that responder may immediately be active if the opponent's interfere, (which they often do).

There is also a version with relays after one of a suit. The relay shows either 9-15 or stronger hands. After this, some bids from responder are trump and support asking bids.

Of course, it is possible to use the opening 2 Diamonds for 4-4-4-1 and 5-4-4-0 hands, like in Precision. This is, however, not in line with Tangerine's standard approach of ignoring 4-4-4-1 distributions, and it is the author's experience that these 2 Diamonds bids are not very good anyway.

Two artificial versions of the system also exist. In one, called the Mandarine Club, the meanings of the opening bids pass and 1 Diamond are exchanged. Thus, pass shows 10-14 and 4+ Diamonds, while 1 Diamond is weak, 0- 7, with any shape. In the other version, the Diamond Heart, this idea is taken even further. Here pass shows 10-14 with 4+ Diamonds, 1 Diamond 10-14 with 4+ Hearts, and 1 Heart shows the 0-7 hand. The advantage of these versions is that the weak bid is difficult to defend against. The 0-7 1 Heart can be dangerous to use, though, and one possibility is to use the Diamond Heart when non-vulnerable and Mandarine when vulnerable.

Finally, when 1 Club is unambiguously strong and 2 No Trump shows 5-5+ in the minors, the system is called the Cranberry Club.

 

Choices to Make

If you want to play Tangerine according to these notes, you must agree on a few choices with your partner. The ambiguous places in the report are:

The opening 1 Club may be 8-9/15+ or just 15+.

You may use or skip shape and control relays in the 1 Club bidding.

The opening 2 No Trump may be a destructive preempt or 5-5+ in Minors.

You may want to use Double + Cuebid as a natural suit bid against "convenient minors," i.e., 3+ card Minor openings in a 5+ card major system.

 

Some Statistics

A system's bidding aggressivity (degree of aggressiveness) can be measured by its mean opening, i.e., how high on average the opening bid is, (counting pass as 0.0, 1 Club as 1.0, 1 Diamond as 2.0, etc.). The mean openings for some different systems are:

Mean Openings  
Culbertson 1.10
Precision Club 1.24
Swedish Standard 1.69
Standard American 1.70
Acol 1.72
Cranberry 2.96
Tangerine 3.07
Diamond Heart 3.12
Mandarine 3.13

The general idea is that the higher the average opening, the better, since the opponents have to start their competitive bidding on a higher level. This is far from the only way to rank systems, of course.

As can be seen, Culbertson has the lowest mean opening, (a bit above 1 Club). Standard American gains from its weak two openings and Acol from the 12-14 No Trump and 4+ card Majors. Tangerine is clearly more aggressive, the average opening being above 1 Heart. In fact, there are only a few systems in the world more aggressive than Cranberry and Tangerine.

Of course, partner will be as "preempted" as the opponents, so if the high mean opening makes the system less precise, it does not reflect the overall strength of the system. However, Tangerine is as precise as or better than the other systems, so the high mean opening reflects a definitive advantage.

Here are the opening bid frequencies for Tangerine, (with destructive 2 No Trump):

 

Tangerine Opening Bids

Pass: 11.28    
1 : 30.95 2 : 6.11
1 : 8.37 2 : 3.93
1 : 12.08 2 : 4.05
1 : 10.11 2 : 4.18
1 NT: 8.22 2 NT: 0.73

In a standard system, you pass on almost 50% of all hands, while in Tangerine, you pass only 11.28% of the times in first or second seat.

The 1 Club opening consists for two intervals, and the following table shows how often you have the weak or the strong variant.

Tangerine 1 Club

8-9 80.9 26%
15+ 22.86 74%
total 30.95  

Thus, the 1 Club opener has the strong hand almost exactly three times out of four, which may be useful to know sometimes. Of course, if the opponents have bid, you must take this information into account to. Of course, you don't have to tell your opponents about these probabilities if you don't want to.

Finally, here are the opening bid frequencies for Cranberry, (with 2 No Trump as 5-5+ in the Minors):

 

Cranberry Opening Bids

Pass: 19.57    
1 : 22.86 2 : 6.11
1 : 8.37 2 : 3.94
1 : 12.08 2 : 4.22
1 : 10.11 2 : 4.36
1 NT: 8.22 2 NT: 0.17

In a standard system, you pass on almost 50% of all hands, while in Cranberry, you pass only one in five of the times in first or second seat.

 

Short Openings

Many systems demand 5+ card suits to open one of a Major. Here are the length frequencies for Standard American's 1 Club / Diamond and Precision's 1 Diamond:

Suit Length Probabilities

  2 3 4 5+
SA 1 - 15% 26% 59%
SA 1 - 4% 39% 57%
Precision 1 10% 19% 29% 42%

As can be seen, in Standard American, (and most other standard systems with 5+ Major suit openings), the Minor openings usually show a 5+ card suit, and only in 15% and 4% of the cases, the opened suit is shorter than 4 cards, (assuming that a Minor 4-4 is opened 1 Diamond and a 3-3 1 Club). Thus, a special defense is not needed.

This is not the case with Precision's 1 Diamond. This opening contains fewer than 4 Diamonds in 29% of all cases; almost a third of the time. In Match Point Precision, Super Precision, and other modern variants, 1 Diamond covers even more shapes, and thus it will contain less than 4 Diamonds even more often. Tangerine's defense, where Double plus Cuebid shows a natural suit, is clearly useful here.

 

 

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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