Monday, October 26, 2009

Reasons I Like Canape-style Openings

I am strongly in favor of a bidding system that is easy to follow. Standard American and 2/1 game forcing are relatively simple but lack a lot of things. The most obvious fault with Standard American is making slam tries because it is too hard to create a game-forcing auction. The main problem with 2/1 is in showing invitational hands without support for partner?s major suit opening. Previously I decided to use jump shifts from 1M to 3m as invitational with a long minor but then realized a lot of these hands are still better off in the major or notrump. And big club systems can get complicated quickly if you put in a whole bunch of gadgets. So, I will attempt to describe why I like a simple precision system with canap? style openings.

I began creating this bidding system a couple of years ago with Ramesh, taking bits and pieces from other canap? systems that have system notes on the internet. Some things are still a bit fuzzy like how to bid 5-5 hands and how responder can use canap?. I wanted a system that would be good for matchpoints since that is my favorite type of scoring (well, BAM actually is my favorite but those games have gone out of style for the most part).

Anyway, back to what I like about this system. It is largely a natural system. Opening 1D/H/S promises a 4 card suit at least. Bidding a different suit at your next bid show 5 in the 2nd suit and exactly 4 in the first suit. This has kind of a preemptive effect as you more frequently shut the opponents out by bidding his 5 card suit. I love the auctions that go 1H-1S-2D-P and the opponents have an 8 card heart fit. While at standard bidding tables, it may go 1D-(1H)-X-(2H)-all pass or something similar. Responder rarely has to take a preference back to the first suit because the second suit is guaranteed to be longer than the first. So opener can ?reverse? with any hand safely. With 5 hearts and 4 diamonds, we open 1D, then over the expected 1S response, we can bid 2H even with a minimum and not miss out on a 5-3 heart fit. We learn about 4-4 major fits sooner than in standard bidding and the 5-3?s are still easy to find because we are not afraid to reverse into a 5 card suit at the 2 level. There isn?t much use for 2/1 game-forcing since opener is limited to 11-15 hcp. Responder will have a much better idea of slam prospects that opposite a regular opening with a 12-21 point range.

The weak notrump is also something I like a lot, even though 12-15 is a bit of a large range. But, again, it is effective at shutting the opponents out of the auction. I tried for a while to use an 11-13 NT range and use the 1D opening for the 14-15 or 14-16 range, but we found ourselves opening 1D much more than anything else and ideally, you would like all the opening bids to be used about the same amount.

Our big club structure is effective and mostly natural. 1D response is 0-7hcp. 1H through 2D responses are transfers, showing a game forcing values with 5 cards in the next suit. Opener only accepts the transfer with support. 1S over 1C shows any balanced hand with game forcing values. That way opener can bid 1NT and then responder can use puppet stayman. After 1C-1D, 1H is any 20+ hcp and responder rebids 1S with a real bust hand (no A or K or 2 queens). If they overcall, we play stolen bid through 1S, otherwise double is 5-7, pass is 0-4 hcp or a trap pass.

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