Bruce Scott asks a great question in comments yesterday on the post Speculation: Fantoni-Nunes will be off the Italian team?:
You've mentioned the Fantunes methods a few times in this blog and in your system notes. I wonder whether you might comment on the possibilities for trying to make the system ACBL GCC legal. The system is intriguing to me as a good fit for a potential new partner (who likes very sound 1 bids and Trent two bids). It seems like it might not be possible to make it legal, however. 1NT systemically with 4-4-4-1 hands is verboten. I can open some of them 1NT with stiff honors and downgrade some of them to passes. With bad 12 counts, this doesn't bother me. I can upgrade the 14s. What do I do with the good 12s and the 13s? If I open them 1m, I dilute the minimum strength of the bid.I can decide to only shade the 1D openings, but then 1D only promises 1 card. You lose the competitive advantage of knowing that opener has either a good suit or a good hand or both. If you play the opening as forcing but allow run-of-the-mill 12 counts to open 1D, then you do run a real risk of getting too high. If you change the opening to nonforcing, you have to do something else with the very good diamond hands. 2NT and 3NT could be used to cover various gameforcing hands with one or both minors relatively easily, I think.Otherwise, I can give up one of the minor suit 2 openings to play as a three suiter. This does not particularly appeal.
The multi-meaning 2/1 bids do not seem to be legal either. You used some creativity to get to semi-natural (guaranteeing 3+ cards and natural or balanced) 2m/1 sequences in a few of your system designs, but this would leave out some hands (e.g. the good diamond raises without three clubs after a 1D opener). Do you see 1D-2D (NF bad hand with 5 spades and 4 hearts) as legal? It names a potential strain, and raising with shortage is certainly common enough over preemptive openings. Not sure the TDs will see it that way. Too many obstacles to start with, making the system a nonstarter in ACBL land?
Oh, and I am aware of Gerben Dirksen's Every 2nd Hand an Adventure system at http://www.geocities.com/gerben47/bridge/#systems
This does give me some of the elements that I like, but loses parts of Fantunes that I would like to have. For instance, the 4-4-4-1 hands are included in the minor suit openings. This means that I will not be allowed transfer responses to 1C in ACBL GCC (because the 1C opening doesn't promise 15 HCP).
One of the things Fantoni-Nunes (abbreviated Fantunes) changed in last few years was their handling of both majors. Previously they had:
1M: 5+, good 13 or better
2M: 5+M, (9)10-13, can have the other major, can be weaker in 3rd seat
They found that 2M was preempting themselves out of fits in the other major (leaving them in a poor 2M contract if only 5 in M). Thus they changed to:
1M: 5+, good 13 or better, OR 5-4/5-5 in majors (4-5 if 1H) and 12-13
2M: 5+M, (9)10-13, not 5-4/4-5 in majors if 12-13, can be weaker in 3rd seat
I suggest piggybacking on their change to make the system ACBL legal:
1H: 5+, good 13 or better, OR 4-5/5-5 majors and 12-13 OR 4-4 majors 12-14 (balanced only if 13+-14)
The 4-4 majors balanced 13+-14 is put into 1H since 4-4 majors now already in 1H, and this is a dangerous hand to open the 12-14 notrump, because a maximum weak notrump opening with 4-4 majors risks missing a good major suit contract.
The 4-4 major hands will pass after 1H-1NT;-? (1NT is 0-9, no 4cM). Thus all rebids by opener over 1NT will promise 5+Hs (note that minimum 4-5 majors already pass the 1NT response in Fantunes). If you open 1H with 12-14 and 4-4-5-0 or 4-4-0-5 you have to be willing to pass the 1NT response with a void (otherwise make the normal system opening).
One continues to raise 1H to 2H on minimum hands with just 3Hs: this may get to a 4-3 fit, but the opponents will often need to bid as they might have the points for game.
The two 4-4-4-1s not able to open 1H are 1-4-4-4 and 4-1-4-4. I would pass with 12, and open these 1D if 13+.
The other change I would make would be this:
2C: 10+ to 14, 5+Cs, never light in 3rd seat
1C: 15+, balanced or clubs
With 1C 15+, the ACBL allows transfers and all other gadgets over the 1C opening. The price is playing the 2C opening up to 14 - this means not opening all 10s, and having to open some good playing value 14s with 2C. However if 2C has good playing value due to long clubs, the opponents are likely to compete over the 2C opening, often giving opener another chance to bid.
For the Fantunes 1D-2D response, which now shows 0-6 5+Ss, 4+Hs, in ACBLland, I would switch 2D and 2H:
2D: GF, 5+Hs *
2H: 0-6 5+Ss, 4+Hs
* GF responses are legal, even if artificial. The ACBL GCC reads, under Responses and Rebids:
3. CONVENTIONAL RESPONSES WHICH GUARANTEE GAME FORCING OR BETTER VALUES. May NOT be part of a relay system.
Thus as long as you define a response as a game force it can be whatever you want it to be.
One advantage of all these adjustments is that they can be quickly undone if an event does all the full Fantunes treatment.
If others have additional ideas, please add them first as comments to this post, and then I will add them inline to this post after this:
-- 1 comment and 1 reply (so far) --
Interesting thoughts. I haven't ever even played it, but I'd miss the ability to bid 1D-2D nonforcing with the responder's reverse flannery busts. It seems like you might get to play some 2D contracts when nobody else does. (Who wants to balance against that sequence?)
When Fantunes allowed weaker openings as part of 1M if they contained the other major, they also made some 2/1 sequences no longer GF, right? 1NT was 0-9(10) and 2C was 10+ and natural, balanced, or a raise. This used to be GF, but after the change to allow both majors and a minimum hand to open 1M, there were sequences that stopped short.1S-2C-2H (or, I think it was actually 2D--which showed hearts) could stop short of game. If we allow stops short of game, then we can't bundle multiple meanings into 2C. Now we go back to needing at least 3 clubs to make the call. Then we have to recruit the 2D call as well for those hands that have 3 diamonds but do not have 3 clubs. Too steep a price for me, I think.
By placing more hands still into the 1H opener, aren't we making it so that we either have to expand the range of the 1NT response or potentially get too high opposite our 10 count responders? 1H-2C now gets hairy for opener with the 4-4 majors minimum. (Try to stop in 2NT, or play 3NT with 13 opposite 10.) The sound 1M openings were a plus; now we are losing them (and making 1H even wider-ranged than the standard 5cM 1H opener).
Something more radical? Perhaps we can sacrifice the 1D opening's precision in order to bring the 1M openers back up to previous sound standards. 1C=15+ and clubs or balanced. 1M as 14-value+ and 5+ cards, forcing. 2-level bids as before (with the buffed up 2C opener). Now use 1D as a catchall opening incorporating either good hands with diamonds (not balanced) or any 3-suited (<14) or 2-suited with both majors (<14). These are the hands that are less than 14 and can't be shown with the 2-level openings or the sound 1-level openings. I think you can probably unwind this in noncompetitive auctions. You might be okay in competitive auctions too. Opener will be able to use takeout doubles frequently with the minimum hands and might be able to bid on naturally with the big hands. Responder can make pass or correct calls, perhaps with an artificial 2NT to distinguish between real values and competitive ones.
--- reply by Glen ---
"I'd miss the ability to bid 1D-2D nonforcing with the responder's reverse flannery busts"
I like it too but it does not have high enough frequency to be concerned about having to move it.
"If we allow stops short of game, then we can't bundle multiple meanings into 2C (Note: 1M-2C). Now we go back to needing at least 3 clubs to make the call. Then we have to recruit the 2D call as well for those hands that have 3 diamonds but do not have 3 clubs. Too steep a price for me, I think."
2C having 3+ Clubs is not that steep a price. Right now 2C is GF Clubs or Balanced or Major Support. However, even though the Fantunes cc for the 08 Worlds claims it is a GF, it is not if the 2C response finds opener has the "less than 13 both majors" hand opposite.
Lets look at the cases when holding less than 3 clubs:
2C as clubs: N/A
2C as balanced, no fit for opener's major: if just two clubs, has five in a new suit: no problem, bid the five card suit instead
2C as a major fit: if the fit is only 3 cards, then bid either a 4+ diamond suit or the five card other major. Thus 1M-2D promises 5+Ds or 4Ds and 3+ in M. If 4+ major fit, it helps to have a bid like 1M-3NT to show 4+ in opener's major, fewer than 3Cs, not 4+Ds, not 5+ in other major.
"The sound 1M openings were a plus; now we are losing them"
Since Fantunes lost them we are just going their direction.
"Something more radical? ... use 1D as a catchall opening incorporating either good hands with diamonds (not balanced) or any 3-suited (<14) or 2-suited with both majors (<14)"
Not really Fantunes anymore but interesting nonetheless. I would define 1D as:
1) 13/14+ diamonds, not balanced, can be 13 if 4-1-4-4 or 1-4-4-4 exactly
2) 10-12, 5-4/4-5/5-5 in majors
3) 11-14, 4-4 in majors
This catch-all 1D would be hard on both sides, but will make the rest of system function smoothly, assuming 1C is 15+.