The magazine Bridge Today, founded by Matthew and Pamela Granovetter, is a bi-monthly publication, and its regular columnists include a variety of expert players, teachers, and writers from around the world. One of the contributors to the magazine is Mr. Christopher R. Woolsey, also known as Kit. The following is part of his articles describing the Woolsey Defense to 1 No Trump openings. Also designated as Woolsey Defense Over Opponents No Trump.

Short Biography

Mr. Christopher R. Woolsey, born in the year 1943, published author of bridge and backgammon, contributor to the game as a theorist with innovations and conventional methods such as Two-Way Checkback, developed a defense system against No Trump opening bids by the opponents. The more official designation of this concept is Woolsey Defense To 1 No Trump Openings, and was published in the above mentioned bridge magazine. Note: The photography below shows Mr. Christopher R. Woolsey in the year 1988.

Note: Mr. Jeff Goldsmith posted online on April 18, 1996, the version of this defense, originally published by Kit Woolsey in Bridge Today. This print of the article has only been archived and preserved on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

     

His publications include: Partnership Defense In Bridge, Modern Defensive Signals (Championship Bridge Series, 1985), Matchpoints (1982), and Clobber Their Artificial Club (co-authored with Randall Baron and Ken Champeney, 1983). As of 1984 Mr. Kit Woolsey has been one of the four directors of The Bridge Worlds's Master Solvers Club. As of 2005 the number of selected members has been increased to include six directors. The following outlines show the overcall after an opening by the immediate player to the right has opened the auction with 1 No Trump.

Overcalls following a No Trump Opening by Opposing Side

Double: Promises usually a 5-card Minor and a 4-card Major.
2 : Promises both Major suits. 2 response asks for preference.
2 : Promises one of the Major suits.
2 : Promises Hearts and a Minor suit.
2 Promises Spades and a Minor suit.
2 NT: Promises both Minor suits.
3 any suit: A natural bid.

Common Abuses as Described by Kit Woolsey:

1. 3-1-4-5 distributional holdings in the balancing seat regularly double, even with no 4-card Major suit.
2. Strong hands, with 19 high card points plus, start with a double and then rebid 2 No Trump (or double) to try to expose a psych bid.
3. Good 4-4-4-1 distributional holdings with a stiff Minor suit can start with 2 Clubs.
4. Single-suited Minor holdings often start with double, hoping to be able to play at the two level. These hands will pass a 2 Diamonds asking bid.

Responses To Double

2 : Pass or double. After 2Diamond, 2Heart is pass or correct.
2 : Asks for the Major suit. Non-forcing.
2 : A natural bid to play.
2 : A natural bid to play.
2 NT: An artificial bid asking for further description.

Following a 2 No Trump first response by the advancer, the intervenor has the following options to clarify the holding:

3 Promises a minimum Club holding.
3 : Promises a minimum Diamond holding.
3 : Promises a maximum Club holding.
3 : Promises a maximum Diamond holding.

Continuation of the responses to a double by the intervenor:

3 : To play.
3 : To play.
3 : A natural bid, invitational with good suits.
3 : A natural bid, invitational with good suits.
3 NT: To play.
4 : Namyats
4 : Namyats

In the case that the opponents interfere with overcalls:

A bid of 2 No Trump is an Asking Bid to pick the best Minor suit.
All other bids are natural signifying that there are no means available to find a Major suit.
A double suggests strongly that it would be better to defend.

Responses to 2 Clubs

Following a 2 No Trump first response by the advancer, the intervenor has the following options to clarify the holding:

2 : Signifies that partner should pick a suit.
2 : Is a significant preference. xxx, KQ bids 2
2 : Is a significant preference. xxx, KQ bids 2
2 NT: Is an artificial game-try.

Following a 2 No Trump first response by the advancer, the intervenor has the following options to clarify the holding:

3 Shows a minimum but better Hearts.
3 : Shows a minimum but better Spades.
3 : Shows a minimum but better Clubs.

Continuation of the responses:

3 : A natural preemptive bid.
3 : A natural preemptive bid.
3 : A natural bid, obstructive.Not invitational, showing a 5-card suit.
3 : A natural bid, obstructive.Not invitational, showing a 5-card suit.
3 NT: Is to play.
4 : Namyats
4 : Namyats

If the opponents decide to interfere, then everything is natural, including a double.

Responses to 2 Diamonds

2 : A natural bid
2 : Shows a Heart fit. Forcing to 3 Hearts.
2 NT: An artificial game-try.

Following a 2 No Trump first response by the advancer, the intervenor has the following options to clarify the holding:

3 : Shows a minimum but better Hearts.
3 : Shows a minimum but better Spades.
3 : Shows a minimum but better Clubs.

But after a 2 No Trump response, a bid of four of any Major suit is to play.

Continuation of the responses:

3 : To play.
3 : To play.
3 : Is obstructive. Pass or correct.
3 : Is obstructive. Pass or correct.
3 NT: To play.
4 : Namyats
4 : Namyats
If the opponents decide to interfere with overcalling, then:
2 NT asks partner to bid his best Major suit.
Double is a penalty double.
All other bids are considered natural bids.

Responses to Two of Either Major

2 : Is to play if the bid is 2 Hearts. 
2 NT: Is an artificial game-try. 
3 : Either pass or correct. 
3 : To play.
3 /: Of same Major.A natural, blocking bid.
3 /: Of the other Major.A natural, preemptive bid.
3 NT: To play.
4 : Namyats 
4 : Namyats 

If the opponents decide to interfere with an overcall or a double, then:

2 NT: Asks partner to bid his best Minor suit.
3 : Is a natural bid.
All other bids: Any higher bid is natural.

If the opponents decide to double an artificial bid, then unsolicited bids, performed by passing, show an interest in playing the bid suit. A pass, after interference, is to play the artificial suit. A redouble can have any interpretation according to the partnership agreement. A short cut to remembering the guidelines after an interfering overcall by the opponents is that if no long suit has been established, then a bid of 2 No Trump is an Asking Bid. All other bids are natural. Over 2 of any Major, a bid of 2 No Trump is an artificial game-try, and 3 Clubs is asking for a correction to Diamonds.

Responses to 2 No Trump

3 : Shows a minimum in Clubs.
3 : Shows a minimum in Diamonds.
3 : Shows a maximum in Clubs.
3 : Shows a maximum in Diamonds.
3 NT: Shows maximum values.

A response of 3 No Trump indicates an unwillingness to play in a partscore, and having a Minor suit holding which a response of 3 of any Major suit would not be forcing for one round.

 

 

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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