This blog provides supplementary thoughts and ideas to the site. If you haven't seen the main site, there is a lot there including the Martel and Rodwell interviews, photos, and articles. This blog is focused on advancing bridge theory by discussing the application of new ideas. All original content is copyright 2009 Glen Ashton.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

5-4-4-4 systems (where 1S is 5 or longer, all other 1 level suit openings promise 4 or longer) are highly natural. However there is the problem where to park the exactly 4-3-3-3 hand type. One option is to open at the two level with all 18-19 balanced (e.g using BRASS or a Mexican 2D), and in first/second seat if 4-3-3-3 exactly to open 1NT if 14 and pass if 13. In third and fourth seat, the system becomes 5-4-4-3, allowing 3 card 1C openings on 10-14 balanced.

Here's an uber-natural snapshot design:

1C: 4+Cs, 10/11-21, balanced only if 11/12-14
1D: 4+Ds, 10/11-21, balanced only if 11/12-14
1H: 4+Hs, 10/11-21, 4Hs only if 11/12-14 and balanced without a four card minor (can be 4-4 majors)
1S: 5+Ss, 10/11-21
1NT: 14-17 balanced. 14s with a 5 card minor open 1NT, and 14 with 4-3-3-3 exactly opens 1NT in first or second seat.
2C: BRASS - usual 2C hand types or 18-19 balanced without a five card major
2NT: 20-21 balanced

In third or fourth seat, 1C: 3+Cs, 10-21, balanced only if 10-14 - 10-11s with 3Cs will open but not rebid.

Granted the 4-3-3-3 exactly and 14s will get too high sometimes by opening 1NT - however the system gains lots of 1C-3C bounces, where 3C shows four or longer Cs and less than a game invite. 4-3-3-3 exactly and 12-13 passes in 1st or 2nd seat, knowing there is a strong chance to be able to bid again, using a takeout double if the opponents open. Note that if you do open 1C with 4-3-3-3 and 12-13 (playing a standard type system), and LHO becomes declarer, your partner will often lead to your club "suit", so not opening 3 card minors has its advantages.

When balanced hands with just 4Hs are put into the 1H opening, it means that 1H-1NT can no longer include game invite hands, since the flat hand with 4Hs needs to pass 1NT even if 13-14.

Here's the core framework of a 1H response structure to handle this:

1S: 4 or longer spades

1NT: non-forcing, can be distributional

2C, 2D: Game invite with 6 or longer in the minor, or a game force 3 or longer in the minor. Opener rebids 2NT if 4Hs balanced. 3 of the minor over any of opener's rebids shows the game invite hand.

2S: artificial, 3+Hs, game invite, if just 3Hs then fewer than 4Ss

2NT: game invite, natural, 1 or 2 Hs, fewer than 4Ss, no six card or longer minor

With 5-5 minors, or if 5-4/4-5 in the minors and a bad doubleton in spades, either bid 1NT or make a game force in a minor - there is no invite for these hand types.


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