The Unbalanced Major
Yesterday, one of Canada's top players, Allan Graves, commented on a posting from November - since that's an older posting and a long one, where readers could miss the "1 comment" marker at the end of two miles of system frameworks, I've reposted it here:
I recommend the unbalanced major point of view and simply use 1C as weak NT or clubs with transfer responses, 1D as natural usually unbalanced with 5 plus, 1NT 14+ to 17 frequently with 5332 major, 2D 18 -19 bal, not 5 card major.In a draft of the comment, Allan notes:
This leaves Major opener as usually not 5332 11-17 unless third or fourth seat , a competely natural diamond and 1C 11 + natural unbalanced or a weak NT including 5332 major.
I think this separation of hand types is the cleanest and recommend Nilsson's article in the November Bridge World . Please email me allangraves _AT_ me _DOT_ com if you have system ideas etc. around this structure.
- Nilsson … is highly regarded Swedish international with impressive resume of performances
- transfer responses as per Swedish methods
- 2D 18-19 balanced per Lauria Versace
- This is a simple yet very powerful approach for non big clubbers.
For replying to Allan, you can email him, or you can comment on this posting, or email me at email@example.com with your system ideas and permission to post, and I'll post your email as a blog post here.
The ETM Gold system was based on these types of ideas, especially influenced by Swedish and Italian approaches. Put simply it is:
1C: Natural or weak balanced (can have a five card major).
1D: 5Ds & unbalanced hand, or 4=4=4=1 exactly, or 1=4=4=4 exactly with extras (15+), or with 4Ds & 5Cs and 17+. Forcing.
1H/S: Natural, 5+ major, never a 5-3-3-2.
1NT: 14/15-17 balanced, can have a five card major.
2C: 17/18-21 balanced, can have a five card major.
2D: Any game force, can be 24/25+ balanced.
First, note that one has to park the 4=4=4=1 (4-4-4-1 exactly) shape somewhere. Thus 1D unbalanced includes that hand type. In addition I moved some unbalanced and extras with just 4Ds into 1D to take advantage of the bidding room available there.
For the 2C/2D split, I went with a modified Bocchi-Duboin approach instead of Lauria-Versace. In the Bocchi-Duboin methods, 2C was 18-19 balanced, while 2D was 23+ balanced or any game force. I increased the range of 2C since it had sufficient room to unwind a wider balanced range. The 2D opening eats bidding space, but true game forces, even balanced, or relatively infrequent compared to 18-21 balanced - in bidding design one can send a rarer hand type to Siberia in order to keep the rest nice and cozy besides the wood stove of low level bidding.
Several years later I invented Brass, which combines the 2C and 2D hand types into just 2C, freeing up 2D for other duties. Using Brass, 2C would be 18-19/22+ balanced or any game force. One option is to then play 2D as mini-Roman but never short in diamonds (11-14, a three suiter not short in Ds), and thus the 1D opening is always 5+Ds if less than 15, and the 1C opening will have 5+Cs if minimum and a singleton/void in a major.
For transfers over 1C, I did not include that in the base version of ETM Gold, as it is not ACBL GCC legal. Instead I went with a modified version of Kokish's Montreal Relay, since older rock n' roll is ACBL allowed. In the Gold Premium methods transfers over 1C is in one of the modules: Premium 1C Response Structure Including Transfers, starting on page 160 of the ETM Gold notes.