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.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

HD Systems - Gemini and Spry

Mike Bell in a comment mentioned:

I really like Gemini (1C strong, 1D four spades, 1H unbal 4+H, 1S five+ spades, 1N weak denies 4S, 2m nat unbal no 4M) for the 1beach sequences
(1beach was a term I coined in a previous post to mean 1 bid each only)

Gemini is close to ETM Spry ( - See the BridgeMatters main page to download the FD card for Spry, provided by Rajan Iyer - thanks!)

Gemini and Spry can be considered HD systems (see last post). Let's look Gemini:

The range for 1NT is not given, but it really needs to be 11(12-14) to work. Certainly Gromov-Dubinin ( won the Spingold playing a 12+ to 15 1NT in 1st/2nd, but anybody who plays the (12)13-15 ranges soon grows to hate it - inviting on those 10 counts where the opponents are safe in 1NT - having to pass 12s where the first strike effect of opening works.

If 1NT is (11)12-14, that means 1C is handling the 15-19 balanced - the Kokish 1H relay works here (1C-1D;-1NT with 15-17, 1C-1D;-1H-1S;-1NT with 18-20), but the problem is when the opponents interfere, the range is not easy to distinguish - meanwhile the 15-17 Notrumpers are in a comfortable spot.

Thus a HD system may overload a 1C big opening with balanced hands. It's a concern, but not something that would cause a system to be abandoned.

Now let's look at Gemini's HD openings:

1D: Exactly 4Ss - well I love this - the ACBL may be attempting to rescind their allowance for 1D to be catch-all by saying "exactly 4Ss" is not "catch-all" - thus, in ACBLland it may necessary to define 1D as exactly 4Ss or eight or longer minor.

1H: 4+Hs, unbalanced. Here we lose the exactness of the 1H opening that promises 5.

1S: 5Ss - proven workhorse - when limited you gain the nice 1S-4S 1Beach sequence on hands that have game going values.

1NT: Balanced, not 4Ss. Not having 4Ss increases the number of 1NT-3NT 1Beach sequences, but now the opponents have a better read on declarer's hand.

2m: Natural, no 4cM. These are proven, but are less-effective than some think - that is my studies show they are essentially neutral (neither gaining or losing over the long haul).

Given the last note, it is not surprise that the 1D nebulous opening continues in extensive big club use. Let's twist Gemini and Spry around here:

1C: Big, 15+ unbalanced with minor, 16+ with a major, 17+ balanced

1D: 11-13 balanced or 11-14 unbalanced without 4Ss unless 4-4 majors

1H/S: (10)11-15 five card major

1NT: 14-16

2m: 10-14 with 5+ minor and 4 spades.

Now the 2m openings are deadly, 1C is not overloaded, and 1H is that wonderful Precision/precise opening. However the 1D return to NebulousVille means we have unwinding sequences involved in the 1D structure. The 1D opening is well suited to Reverse Flannery By Responder (1D-2H showing 5+S & 4+Hs less than invite, 1D-2S showing same hand type with invite values), and 1D-1H being natural and/or GF relay (as seen in the Viking Club).

Now for another turn, let's run with a semi-big 1H opening:

1C: Big, 15+ unbalanced with minor, 18+ any

1D: (10)11-14 with 4Ss (can have longer second suit) or no 4cm and one or both minors

1H: 15-17, balanced and/or with 5+Hs (legal in new mid-chart)

1S: (10)11-17 5+Ss

1NT: (11)12-14 without 4Ss

2m: 10-14 with 5+ minor and 4 hearts

2H: 10-14 with 5+Hs, fewer than 4Ss, unbalanced

Now the 2m openings can bounce to 4H, but that is not as nice as the 4S bounce of the previous system. 1D has a nice 2S bounce - 1D-2S is to play if opener has 4Ss - if opener instead has a 6+ minor it is bid, or with both minors 2NT offers the choice. 2H gives up the weak two, a loss. One can't bounce as much to 4S after opening 1S, since 1S now climbs up to 17. An idea could be to change the 2m openings to allow 4m+5Hs, if the heart suit was weak - this is still ACBL legal.

As we adjust systems and move hand sets around we don't suddenly come out of a jungle of bids and arrive in the clearing of system utopia (or find a Monty Python film crew or two). We gain some stuff, have some tradeoffs, and then have to evaluate where we are now. The spot to reach for a partnership is not what is theoretically ideal, but what the partnership is comfortable and happy with. For example, Gromov-Dubinin, even with the poor 12+-15 1NT opening, are quite comfortable holding the Spingold trophy.


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