By Alan Fraser Truscott

It has become popular in the bridge community that partnerships employ strong, artificial opening bids, generally a 1 Club opening. The opponents or defenders need a means of entering the auction, either as bidders for the final contract or to prepare for a sacrifice, and/or to obstruct the auction of the opening partnership.

Within the bridge community, there are several methods of defending against a strong, artificial opening bid, which are based on the concept that the defending side can justifiably enter the auction to its benefit when holding either a one-suited or two-suited hand.

One method, devised by Mr. Alan Fraser Truscott, by which the defending side is able to show a one-suited or two-suited holding, is that a jump overcall is natural and a simple overcall shows length in the bid suit and the suit that ranks just above it.

     

Immediate Overcall

When the overcall is an immediate overcall, then the following method is recommended by Mr. Alan Fraser Truscott.

Opener   Overcaller   Meaning
1   1   Promises Diamonds and Hearts.
    1   Promises Hearts and Spades.
    1   Promises Spades and Clubs.
    2   Promises Clubs and Diamonds.
    Double   Promises Clubs and Hearts.
    1 NT   Promises Spades and Diamonds.

Not an Immediate Overcall

When the overcall is not an immediate overcall, then the following method is recommended by Mr. Alan Fraser Truscott.

Opponent   Overcaller   Opponent   Advancer    
1   Pass   1   Double   Promises Diamonds and Spades.
            1 No Trump   Promises Clubs and Hearts.

Expanded Version

The original version of the defense method of Mr. Alan Fraser Truscott has been also expanded. This expanded version also carries the designation of the Truscott Conventional Method, although this is only a simplified designation. The expanded version is outlined below and also addresses the possibility of competing against bidding systems, which employ a strong, artificial 1 Club opening bid, otherwise generally known as Big Club Bidding Systems.

The concept is based generally on the idea that a suit overcall promises a two-suited holding, normally the bid suit and the next higher-ranking suit. In order to communicate information about a two-suited holding with non-touching suits, whereby one of the suits is the suit bid by the opponent, then the overcaller first doubles to show this distributional pattern.

If the two non-touching suits does not include the suit bid by the opponent, then the correct overcall is No Trump. The following schematic shows the guidelines for such overcalls:

Opener   Overcaller   Meaning
1   2   Promises Clubs and Diamonds.
    1   Promises Diamonds and Hearts.
    1   Promises Hearts and Spades.
    1   Promises Clubs and Spades.
    Double   Promises Clubs and Hearts.
    1 NT   Promises Diamonds and Spades.

The inclusion of the direct overcall of the strong, artificial 1 Club opening denies the partnership of promising both Major suits by overcalling 2 Clubs, which would normally be understood as a Michaels Cuebid.

The expanded version continues with a bidding sequence, whereby the immediate player following the opening of a strong, artificial 1 Club opening bid passes, allowing the responder to bid. After the responder has bid, then the player in rotation can also enter the competition by bidding in the following manner to communicate information about a two-suited holding.

Opener   Defender   Responder   Defender   Meaning
1   Pass   1   1   Promises Hearts and Spades.
            1   Promises Clubs and Spades.
            Double   Promises Diamonds and Spades.
            1 NT   Promises Clubs and Hearts.
            2   Promises Clubs and Hearts.
            2   Promises Diamonds and Hearts.
            2   By jumping the overcaller promises a one-suited holding in Hearts.
            2   By jumping the overcaller promises a one-suited holding in Spades.
            3   By jumping the overcaller promises a one-suited holding in Clubs.
            3   By jumping the overcaller promises a one-suited holding in Diamonds.

Note: This expanded version also offers the possibility of showing a one-suited holding by jumping one level. This jump in a suit promises a minimum of 6 cards in the bid suit in addition to a certain trick-taking capability of the holding as agreed upon by the partnership based on the state of vulnerability and the chances for a positive sacrifice.

 

 

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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