Standard American

"A nebulous term applied to the methods of bidding most commonly used in the United States." This is what I play with no partnership agreement.

Balancing after just an opening bid

  • Simple Suit shows 8 to 13 HCP
  • Jump in a new suit is a good suit and 12 to 16 HCP
  • Balancing double -- shape, 10 or more HCP (9 with good shape) and not a void in the opening bid suit.
  • 1 NT shows 11 to 14 HCP
  • Cue bid is strong. I guess is implies a void in opening bid suit

My Wish List

Defense Against Flannery

This is borrowed from a Defense to the Multi Two Diamond. Note that over a Flannery 2D, it makes no sense to bid either 2H or 2S to show a major. It makes sense to let a double show diamonds, but 3D does that too; it makes sense to let a double show the unbid suits, but doesn't 2NT do that too?

Anyway, the basic idea is that a double of 2D shows one of the majors. 2H and 2S can be used for whatever. I would suggest to show clubs and diamonds, but if you ever wanted to overcall 2NT over a Flannery 2D, you could put that in. (The suggested defense was to let 2H be the no trump overcall, but I am not much for a no trump overcall. I guess 2S could be takeout for the minors and 3C and 3D could be natural.)

This works only because the double doesn't have to be pulled my partner. It is unlikely that diamonds is the opponent's suit. If they have the strength to make it on brute force, then they can make game and 2D X is not game.

As you might guess, this fits with the "Every hand is an adventure" philosophy. There is a serious, though small, chance for a very large minus score. So it is better suited to matchpoints. Supposedly it will also stop people from playing Flannery.

Thinking more about this, it doesn't make too much sense to just try to preempt or interfere with a Flannery auction. The responder to Flannery is just too-well suited to place the contract without any further information. What makes sense is to try to punish the Flannery bidders for bidding too high without a fit (and/or points).

Responses to opening 2NT or 2C/2NT

3C is Stayman. Everything is a transfer (except 7NT). 3S is a transfer to 3NT.

The quantitative invite to small slam is 3S following by 4NT. Invite to grand slam with 5NT. Transfering to a suit (2D, 2H, 3NT, 4C) and then rebidding 4NT is invitational to small slam with help needed in that suit. If it is a major, it is a 5-card major. Accept the invitation by showing aces.

If you just want to check for aces, bid 4S and then show your aces. Partner should rebid 5NT to show all the aces. Bid the minimum to deny all the aces.

Decide on a meaning for 4NT over a transfer to 4 of a major. Slamming after a transfer of 4D or 4H shows a 6-card suit.

Responses to Weak Twos

  • Next ranking suit is forcing, instead of 2NT. Then Ogust or feature-showing, with 2NT showing a feature in the bid suit. I guess raising the bid suit shows a running trump suit, placing 3NT in the right hand.
  • In Ogust, shouldn't "good suit" mean a suit playable opposite a singleton? Or at IMPs maybe it should show a suit with 2 of the top three honors.

Responses to Two Club Openings

Well, I do have my own system.

Lebensohl Over Doubled Weak Twos

This applies when RHO open a weak two, partner doubles, and LHO passes. 2NT is weak, showing 5-6 or less. It asks partner to bid 3C, and the next bid by you shows a suit. Any bid on the three level (that is not a jump) then shows 6-9.

Trump Discards

When declarer's first task is to draw trump, the order of trump discards from small trump is rarely important. Play of a high trump first shows preference for the highest of two good choices. When partner has avoided the opening lead of our suit because he has the ace, wouldn't it be nice if an unnecessarily high card in a discard showed the king? This could apply to idle discards in whatever suit declarer is attacking at no trump.

Over Rebids of Two of a Minor

It would seem to be a common auction to open one of a minor and then rebid the minor. That presumably shows 5 or more of the suit and 12 to 16(?) points. Passing by 1NT presumably denies a balanced hand (if there has been no bidding) or a stopper in the opponent's suit or suits (if they bid).

Now what? To start in the middle, a raise to 3 of the minor obviously is not a forcing bid, but what does it mean? One possible function is preemptive (with 4 diamonds or 3 and a singleton, I guess). I don't think any of my partner's play this. As Dennis suggested, it could be 8-9 HCP, and partner bids on with top of range. It seems more functional (to me) to play it as a limit bid, showing 10-11.

However, 2NT is already available as a limit raise. Is there a need for two limit raises? One could play that 2NT shows honors in the unbid suits and the raise to 3 doesn't. The problem with this is that it is not easy to bid show both stoppers over 3 of a minor. There would be more room over 2NT. However, using 2NT to show a lack of stoppers is awkward, because it might be passed.

A final meaning is that the raise to 3 of a minor shows a singleton. Here, 3 of an unbid suit could show a stopper in the major. Then 3NT suggests that the now-bid suit was the singleton, and 4D suggests the other suit was the singleton. (Or, partnership agreement, 3 of a suit is asking.)

So, are new suits running? Or do you pass 2 of a minor with a singleton? A new suit presumably is forcing, but it might be nice to play that only jumps are forcing.