Monday, April 12, 2010

2♣ Opening in Canapé Systems

So, about a week ago I bought Ken Rexford's book on his Modified Italian Canapé System. If you know me at all as a bridge player, you are well aware of my interest in canapé bidding systems for a number of reasons, mainly that is fun and while it is actually a very natural system, it still confuses the opponents by frequently concealing your best suit for the first round of bidding. So, I spent a good bit of time thinking about how to improve my system, which I use with Sean and Ramesh but am interested in teaching it to and playing it with anyone else who is interested. There are definitely a few kinks that I have yet to work out but lately I've had more and more success with it. Anyway, if you are interested in a good book on the theory of canapé, check out this book.

There are some things I dislike about Rexford's system, mainly the fact that the 1 opening could be on a void. In my canapé system, the 1, 1, 1♠, and now 2♣ openings are the same: either one-suited in that suit or 4 in that suit with a longer side suit. hands with 5M and 4♣ are awkard to bid after opening 1M because of the difficulty of accurately showing the second suit (having to treat it like a one-suiter or a balanced hand), so I finally gave in to testing the effectiveness of 2♣ being a possible canapé hand instead of just single-suited with clubs, and the problems seemed to be relatively few.

The structure Sean and I came up with yesterday for how to bid over 2♣ as 11-16 hcp with either a canapé hand with a 5+ card major or single-suited with clubs is as follows:
2: artificial 1 rd force, may be any strength; if game-forcing, no 5 card major
     2M: 5 card suit
          raise: invitational
          cheapest bid in other major: mixed raise
     2N: max w/ long clubs
     3♣: min w/ long clubs
2M: 5 card suit, constructive but not forcing, usually tolerance to play 3♣ opposite a one-suiter
2NT: artificial game force w/ a 5 card major
     3♣: no 3 card major
     3: at least 1 3 card major
     3M: 5 card suit

The other option for dealing with the 5M and 4♣ hands in canape is to use 2M openings to show these hands, which really is easier to handle, but the value of a 2M preempt is too good to use for something else. Now, if we could use 2 as a weak 2 in either major, then I wouldn't be opposed to this treatment, but then this wouldn't be a general convention chart system.

Edited Sept 1, 2010:
The rest of our opening bids are now:
1♣: balanced 12-14, any 17+ unbal, any 18+ bal.
1//♠ :11-16, 4+ card suit, could have longer side suit (1M could be 4441 w/ shortness in other major)
1NT: 15-17
2: 11-16, 4-4-1-4 or 4-4-4-1
2/♠: good weak 2 (9 to 12) in 1st and 2nd seat. 3rd seat much less disciplined
2NT: 5 to 10, 5-5 minors

Please see my other atricles on canape bidding.


  1. When did you start reading bridge books? I should actually amend that to books :-)

    and I hate it that 2D as a weak major is not GCC. Just doesn't make sense.

  2. I've read a several of Victor Mollo's menagerie books and a couple of books by David Bird about the Abbot. Their books are quite entertaining, but this is the first one I've picked up on bidding.

  3. All I do these days is read bridge books.

    The best one I've read is "Adventures in Card Play" by Kelsey and Ottlik. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Also Reese's "over the shoulder" books.

  4. I too am interested in 4 card major systems. Originally I planned to learn the Aunim Club system, but couldn't find the full system notes for it. I'll check this book out.