With the Bocchi-Duboin split, it's interesting to see what Duboin has agreed to play with Sementa. We find:
- Duboin is longer playing 2C as 18-19 balanced - instead they are playing 2D as the 18-19 balanced (Mexican 2D like teammates Lauria-Versace, though LV include some 20s) - 2C is now the standard 22+ balanced or any game force.
- Duboin is no longer using transfers over the 1C opening, which is 2+.
- 1D was 5+Ds or a 4-4-4-1 with 4Ds with Bocchi - now it says 4+Ds, not clear if all balanced 12-14 with 4Ds open 1D.
- 1M-2C was the usual Italian methods of natural or asking, with relay replies allowing responder to find out about opener's hand. With Sementa 1M-2C is natural 2/1.
- 1m-2H is 5+Ss & 4+Hs, becoming popular (Reverse Flannery by Responder) - the range here though is quite light - 3 to 7
- Duboin is no longer using the Kaplan Inversion - 1H-1S to show a "forcing NT" with 0 to 4Ss, 1NT to show 5+Ss.
- Duboin is no longer using 1S-2D to show 5+Hs, 1S-2H to show 5+Ds.
- The Italians like 1NT as a "semi-forcing" response - that is opener can pass the 1NT response with a minimum flat hand. They take hand types out of 1M-1NT so less bad things happen if opener passes 1NT. In particular 1M-2NT is a limit raise with 3+ trumps (no need to bid 1NT with a 3 card limit raise), and 1S-3C is artificial, a game invite or close to it hand with 6+Hs. 1M-3D is any splinter, 9 to 13 (a nice Lauria-Versace treatment), 1H-3C and 1S-3H is a mixed raise: 4+ trumps, constructive or close to it.
- After 1m-Pass-1M-Double-?:
--> 1NT is 3 card raise in M unbalanced max 15
--> 2OM is 3 card raise unbalanced 16+
--> 3OM is 4 card raise game force
--> Redouble is no fit
Hamman continues to surprise me by his willingness to vary methods when he could just impose his methods.
- Hamman is not playing a big club system, is using 5 card majors, and has transfer responses to 1C (1D=Hs, 1H=Ss, 1S=Ds or single raise in Cs) that can be light - was this their coach (bidding guru Kokish) suggestion or something out of Compton, Hamman or an influence of Zia in the new Hamman-Zia partnership.
- 1C is opened with 4-4-3-2 exactly and 12-14 or 18-19
- 2D continues to be Flannery (he played this with Soloway and Lall)
Interesting note on Compton-Hamman cc "we do not like to signal on defense; may be random" - Soloway liked perfect carding, not random but Hamman-Soloway still followed the top expert practise of signalling "what partner needs to know". I'm still surprised we don't see more partnerships with defined neutral carding - signals that deliberately showing nothing special.
Sweden is one of the first countries I look at as their cc's are always fascinating. Here we see Axdorph-Ostberg (Ostberg has two dots on the O but special characters don't work well in basic blogs) with a two-way 1C - either 11-13 balanced or 16+ any. The gap here is a touch small for a two-way 1C (between 13 and 16, although 1C will be 17 if balanced) but the opening will be fun to play.
They use "five card majors" and mean it: 1M is usually just 5, not the typical 5+. These are 11-15 (or a poor 16).
2D uses an approach I called TIM (The Intermediate Multi) - I doubt they picked this up from me as the Swedes invent stuff often before I do. 2D is 11-15 with a 6+ card major or 22-23 balanced.
2M is 5-5+ 11-15 (not weak!), and this handles the 6-5s (2S, and not 2H, is opened with both majors) - I don't like 2NT as 5-5+ minors 11-15 - given the style of 2D and 2M, it would be better to play 2NT as 6-5/5-6+ in the majors 10-15.
1D is 12-16 natural 5+Ds or 4Ds in any 4-4-4-1. If 4-4-1-4 exactly 1C will be opened if 11-13, 1NT (14-16) if 14-15.
2C is 5+Cs (has a 4 card second suit if just 5Cs), 12-16.
This will be entertaining to watch in the matches from Beijing in October.