# BBO Discussion Forums: 4 card majors, strong club - revisited - BBO Discussion Forums

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## 4 card majors, strong club - revisited Keeping the 4cM and the 5cM apart

### #1MickyB

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Posted 2006-August-09, 05:23

A while back, I started a couple of threads based upon the idea of a 1/ opening showing either 4 cards or 6+cards in the suit opened, with (most of) the 5 card majors being opened elsewhere. The idea was to put responder in control of the auction - he can choose whether to raise to the 2 level on a 4-3 card fit and he can choose how high to preempt without worrying that his partner, with a 5th trump, will have a difficult decision when the opponents compete. This is a sharp contrast with many modern strong club/4 card major systems, which play a single raise as precisely 3 trumps and promising some values, the aim being to put *opener* in control of the auction.

Along these lines, here is the system I am working on -
1 = 16+ or rule of 25 (EBU regulations )
1 = 10-15, any hand with precisely 4 spades
1 = 10-15 unbalanced (45+minor or 6+) or 10-12 balanced
1 = 10-15, 5+
1NT = 12-15, denies 4. 13-15 if 4.
2 = 11-15, unbal, no 4cM (so either 6 or 54)
2 = as 2
2 = 11-15, 54+minor
2 = weak
2NT = 10-15, at least 5-5 minors, offensive

I think I am correct in saying that Blue Club opens 1 with 4-5 and 5-4 in the majors. This seems sensible, to allow both suits to be shown, but means that the 1 opening is much more frequent than 1, which feels wrong. It also leads to some ambiguity over which suit is the longer. This structure solves this - you always show spades at the first opportunity, but there is no later ambiguity. Intuitively the 1 opening here feels like it shouldn't be frequent enough, but I think it is the most frequent of the limited openings (24% of hands have precisely 4 spades). Also, the extra room is needed both to look for 4-4 heart fits and to sort out the wide balanced range. My idea for responses:

1 = enquiry, either weak or a full invite. Now 1 = would have raised a natural 1 response (either 4 bal or 3 unbal), others natural. Opener only starts jumping around with an exceptional hand.
1 = enquiry, either mildly invitational or GF. Now 2 and above are used for showing run-of-the-mill maxima.
1N->2 = transfers (2=inv+ with )

The 1 opening can occasionally be 5 cards - 10-12 5332 will be treated as a 4 card suit, while max 5-5s and decent 5-6 shapes can open 1 intending to jump-shift over a 1NT response or bid on if raised. I need to think more about continuations here, but a couple of structures seem reasonable -

1 = 5+
1N = nat NF
2m = GF (possibly 2 as some kind of relay)

1 = general enquiry, any strength
1NT = 5+ NF - or it could be F1 if opener is to raise on 2533 and 24(34)
2m = nat NF

I like removing the hands with 4 spades from the weak NT, these are the ones that rate to lose out when you bury your fit, whereas when you bury your heart fit you may bury the opponents spade fit at the same time. It will help responder judge some competitive auctions, and eliminates the need for garbage stayman - 1N:2, 2:2M is now obviously invitational with a 5 card suit.

[This paragraph added later] With the possible exception of hands with 5+, this structure should have a positive expectation after making a limited opening. The biggest loss, in comparison to similar systems, is the need for 2 and 2 to show intermediate hands instead of weak hands.

In case anyone is interested in the older ramblings -
Strong Diamond
Strong Club

I'm still fond of the strong diamond idea - it would have allowed very light opening bids - but I couldn't find anywhere to put the major two-suiters comfortably. I briefly considered using 1 as any 14-16 and 1 as 17+ any or 10-13 both majors, but it seems that the 1 opening would be much more vulnerable than a Swedish Club, because the weak hand is of lesser frequency and having both majors decreases the chance that your opponents have game.

This post has been edited by MickyB: 2006-August-09, 13:06

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### #2keylime

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Posted 2006-August-09, 06:58

I am using with my national pard canape club, thusly the minor-major hands vice versa are no problem.

We treat the two suiter major hands as in standard. We also raise on any honor-third and have almost no restrictions on suit quality for opening 1M (this weekend I tabled 1H on 9875).

Our 2 bids are:

2C - natural club, no major.
2D - Romex FC opening
2H/S - the balanced 5 card major hand.
2NT - both minors, weakish (am having rethink after hrothie's excellent post).
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### #3hrothgar

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Posted 2006-August-09, 07:13

1. The Blue team never really agreed what to do with both majors. In particular, there seemed to be a lot of debate whether a 4432 should be opened 1 or 1. I think that either method is playable, but you need to spend some time thinking about things.

2. Might want to use 3 rather than 2NT to show two suited hands with both minors. Its VERY easy to defend against the 2NT variant.

3. You're losing a LOT of preemptive bids..
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### #4MickyB

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Posted 2006-August-09, 07:39

hrothgar, on Aug 9 2006, 02:13 PM, said:

1. The Blue team never really agreed what to do with both majors.  In particular, there seemed to be a lot of debate whether a 4432 should be opened 1 or 1.  I think that either method is playable, but you need to spend some time thinking about things.

2.  Might want to use 3 rather than 2NT to show two suited hands with both minors.  Its VERY easy to defend against the 2NT variant.

1. Oh, I naively assumed that the Blue Club played by a couple of the English Juniors was the only variant around I can see that this is an interesting decision in Blue Club, but I think it is clear to show the spades first in my suggested system.

2. Yes, good point, unfortunately anything that gets opened 2NT is easy to defend against Hmm, maybe 2NT as +a red suit. [Edit: Of course, that would still rather open 3...]
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### #5glen

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Posted 2006-August-09, 10:21

For something somewhat close see:

ETM Storm System

1: Big 15+ without a five card or longer major, or 17/18+ any.

-- 1) 4s & 10-14, can have longer second suit (if 5+s maximum of 13), not balanced if 13-14
-- 2) 5s & 10-13, too balanced for 2 opening
-- 3) 5s & 4s exactly, 10-11

1: Natural
-- 1) 5+s, 11-17, if shape for a 2 opening then more than a 2 opening (13/14-17).
-- 2) 4s and 11-14 with 4+s but without 4s. If balanced can decide to open 1NT instead

1: Natural 5+s, 12-17 or 10-11 with 5-5+/6-4+ in majors. If shape for a 2 opening then more than a 2 opening (13/14-17).

1NT: Weak 11/12-14 balanced, can be a 5-4-2-2 with a five card minor

2: Natural 5+s, 10/11-14, not 4+s, not 5+s, if just 5s a 5-4-3-1 shape

2: Natural 5+s, 10/11-14, no four card or longer major, if just 5s either 3-1-5-4/1-3-5-4 or 5-5 in minors

2, 2: Natural 5 or longer in M, 9/10-13, not 4+ in OM, if just 5 in M then 5-5+ or a 5-4-3-1/5-4-4-0 shape with shortness in OM.
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### #6the hog

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Posted 2006-August-09, 21:35

Interesting, Glen. Can you explain the rationale behind this structure? Far too often people invent something without a logical structure. Please note that I am NOT suggesting this about this system; I know you put a lot of thought into what you do.
Ron
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### #7glen

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Posted 2006-August-09, 22:37

In general with the frequent 11-14 range, the system describes a key nature of the hand so that responder is in good position to take the right steps forward. The primary focus is on possible major fits, both finding ours and trying to be an obstacle to the opponents finding theirs.

The mini-spades 1 opening is to:
1) Get 10-12 with 4s into the bidding
2) With 5s and 2/3s allow for our fit to be found
3) Have a limited opening so responder can move to the best spot quickly.

The 2/2 openings try to get to the right spot ASAP, and block out an overcall in the other major as much as possible.

The 2 and 2 deny 4+s, so we open at the two level to block out a possible overcall as much as possible, while limiting the hand and showing opener’s longest suit.

The 1 opening is a full-bodied opening, though limited – responder is well placed to judge prospects while the opponents are at risk if they enter the bidding. For example 1-2-Pass-Pass;-Double shows 13/14-17. so responder can make a penalty pass with less than in standard. Since 1 is not a flat minimum, responder can bounce to 4 on 10-13 counts and 3+s, forcing a tough decision on the opponents if they have a hand that might need to compete, while also not revealing much so that the lead and defense to 4 will not be easy (compare to the 1-1NT;-2x-3;-4 auction of 1NT forcing).

The 1 opening can have 4s if 11-14 with 4+s – this means that the opponents cannot count on a true fit after 1-Pass-2 and must be careful coming in, while if opener is active in later bidding then it promises 5+s.

Weak notrump is used since it fits the overall structure. 13-14 balanced with 4s needs to open 1NT since 1 cannot handle as wide a range as 10-14 balanced and still have okay rebids.
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### #8MickyB

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Posted 2006-August-10, 06:28

Interesting indeed. I was going to try to work out the rationale myself, but Ron's idea of asking was much quicker and almost certainly more successful! Keeping your major suit openings sound is quite a contrast with the majority of strong club systems.

You touched on the biggest issue that I had/have, the inclusion of 10-15 balanced in the 1 opening. My "solution" was to focus on responder's strength immediately (when a suit suitable for transferring into is not held) but I'm sure this will sometimes cost in competition.
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### #9Gerben42

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Posted 2006-August-10, 07:21

If you want to play Strong Club with 4-card majors I think the Auken - von Arnim system is the way to go.
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### #10glen

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Posted 2006-August-10, 07:24

Gerben42, on Aug 10 2006, 01:21 PM, said:

If you want to play Strong Club with 4-card majors I think the Auken - von Arnim system is the way to go.

I told them in Chicago that I loved their system and wish they would publish it.
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### #11the hog

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Posted 2006-August-10, 21:13

Thanks Glen.
Re Aukin von Arnim, I have tried to reconstruct as miuch as possible from system cards and I actually played what I thought it resembled with my pd. Unfortunately I do not have the notes with me here in Thailand. I do remember though that we felt there were some serious holes in the system after the 1D opening. Quite possibly this is just due to the fact that my reconstruction was incomplete.
Ron
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### #12Gerben42

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Posted 2006-August-11, 02:36

Anyone positively serious about studying the system of Dany & Sabine contact me privately please.

1 is: Normally 3+ cards (exc. 3-3-2-5, 12-15 HCP NV, 11-13 HCP VUL), 4-card major only if 5 or more + 4-card major and MAX (13-15 HCP)

responses

1: Natural or relay
1 up to 2: natural
2NT: Both minors 8 - 11
3: Both minors 0 - 7

1 - 1 - ?

1:Both minors, not 5 - 5 and max.
1NT: Balanced
2: 6 max
2: 6 min
2M: 5 4M max (with min open 1M)
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### #13whereagles

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Posted 2006-August-15, 08:21

I've played once against a pair who was using strong club with a 1M "4 or 6" structure, with 5 card majors being opened 1. The pair was part of the Dutch team... the senior one, that is. They were like 80 years old.. draw your own conclusions
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### #14dustinst22

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Posted 2011-May-27, 09:43

Gerben42, on 2006-August-10, 07:21, said:

If you want to play Strong Club with 4-card majors I think the Auken - von Arnim system is the way to go.

I've been trying to source the full system notes for their system. Do you still have these?

- Dustin
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### #15kenrexford

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Posted 2011-May-27, 09:59

In MICS, the 4/6 structure is for the most part used. As noted, the obvious exception is the 5-5 majors hands (and some tweaking as to 5/4 ot 4/5 or 4/4, with even some discussion of 4/3 and 4/2 and 2/4 and 3/4 issues). Also, the 1 opening as often 5-card in a major is included.

On key to unwinding a lot as to major holdings, IMO, is to dedicate 1NT rebids to some major unwinding, as well as to have a somewhat strange repeating canape approach in 2/1 sequences. If you want a full explanation, write the check! LOL

One of my favorite sequences is the one where you open a major with 5-4-3-2 in the suit. After a 2/1, you repeat the suit with some patterns. After a 2NT clarification, you repreat the suit again with some patterns. This always seems funny to open, rebid, and rebid yet again a suit potentially headed by the 5.
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### #16dustinst22

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Posted 2011-May-27, 10:03

kenrexford, on 2011-May-27, 09:59, said:

In MICS, the 4/6 structure is for the most part used. As noted, the obvious exception is the 5-5 majors hands (and some tweaking as to 5/4 ot 4/5 or 4/4, with even some discussion of 4/3 and 4/2 and 2/4 and 3/4 issues). Also, the 1 opening as often 5-card in a major is included.

On key to unwinding a lot as to major holdings, IMO, is to dedicate 1NT rebids to some major unwinding, as well as to have a somewhat strange repeating canape approach in 2/1 sequences. If you want a full explanation, write the check! LOL

One of my favorite sequences is the one where you open a major with 5-4-3-2 in the suit. After a 2/1, you repeat the suit with some patterns. After a 2NT clarification, you repreat the suit again with some patterns. This always seems funny to open, rebid, and rebid yet again a suit potentially headed by the 5.

Hey Ken, I just recently started reading your book on MICS...a lot of interesting ideas. I also really enjoyed your book on Itallian cue bidding.

My partner is set on us using Aunim Club, but I have been unable to find their complete system notes.
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### #17kenrexford

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Posted 2011-May-27, 11:10

dustinst22, on 2011-May-27, 10:03, said:

Hey Ken, I just recently started reading your book on MICS...a lot of interesting ideas. I also really enjoyed your book on Itallian cue bidding.

My partner is set on us using Aunim Club, but I have been unable to find their complete system notes.

Thanks!
"Gibberish in, gibberish out. A trial judge, three sets of lawyers, and now three appellate judges cannot agree on what this law means. And we ask police officers, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and citizens to enforce or abide by it? The legislature continues to write unreadable statutes. Gibberish should not be enforced as law."

-P.J. Painter.
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