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Natural w/ strong diamond

#1 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2018-November-19, 16:14

It is a bit sad that the activity in this forum is so low, so I'm starting another thread :) In a few months I'm playing with a new partner, who likes "exotic systems". He said that I should create something crazy, and he'll learn it.

Regarding system design most of the new ideas I get are pretty "boring", mostly focusing on constructive methods rather than destructive ones. Anyway, one idea which I kind of like is the following opening structure:

1C = (10)11-14 NT (including 4441 and all 5332) / natural. If natural then extras if two-suited (15-21 if major, 18-21 if diamonds), 11-14 or 18-21 if single-suited.
1D = Strong. 15+ but excluding many strong hands.
1M = 5+ major, unbalanced and less than GF (about 10-21). If single-suited then 11-14 or 18-21.
1NT = Multi. 15-17 NT or weak two in a major.
2C = 10-14, both minors.
2D = 10-14, 6+ diamonds.
2M = 10-14, 4M and 5+ minor.
2NT = Not quite sure yet. Perhaps 6+ clubs and 4 diamonds.

Much inspiration is taken from Ulf Nilsson's (ulven) system design. The idea is to have natural bidding with most unbalanced hands, even when strong (especially so strong two-suited hands). I'm considering if all single-suited 15+ hands should be included 1D, but I haven't decided. The two-level opening bids are hands which usually open 1m, and now they're much tougher to bid against (but also harder to have a constructive auction, ofcourse). What I'm aiming for is:

- Using the natural system as a base, but removing some awkward hands (especially for the minors).
- Having a less overloaded nebulous minor opening, compared to systems like strong club (most of them) and 5542.
- Having less hands in the strong minor, compared with strong club, which hopefully makes competitive auctions easier.

The hands included into 1D are:

- 18+ NT.
- 15+ with diamonds as the longest suit.
- 15-17 single-suiters (maybe 15+, haven't quite decided).
- 15-17 with 5C and 4D (could perhaps be included in 1C, but these hands can be hard to bid in the natural system).
- Any GF.

Using the 1NT opening as "multi" is probably a bad idea, but I've been wanting to try it and saw this as an opportunity :) I think it'll work well uncontested, but auctions will get murky when they enter the auction. It also at least gives the option of opening the weak two hands.
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#2 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2018-November-19, 16:20

Another option I'm considering:

"Best major"

1C = 15+ any.
1D = Multi. Unbalanced with a 5+ major, not 5-4 majors.
1M = Three or four card major. 11-14 NT or 4M and 5+ other.
1NT = Semi-balanced with 5(+)M.
2m = Natural, no major.
2M = Weak.

More towards the crazy side :)
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#3 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2018-November-19, 21:01

Can't say I'm a fan. All that artificiality and still even your 1M isn't well defined? What's the point?
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#4 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2018-November-20, 03:10

View PostTylerE, on 2018-November-19, 21:01, said:

Can't say I'm a fan. All that artificiality and still even your 1M isn't well defined? What's the point?


The 1M openings in a strong club system are typically very well defined. There are ofcourse many upsides to this, but I think there are lots of "modern" gadgets over wide-range 1M openings which makes them fine anyway. When playing something like 2/1 GF I've seldom encountered that the 1M openings are a weak part of the system, and when they are its usually because of poor competitive agreements (lack of Good/Bad 2NT for instance). So "the point" was to take a look at "the natural system" and use artificial methods as an inspiration to fix some issues.

- Strong club is nice when holding strong balanced hands. Having these in a natural 1m opening can be cumbersome, which is the reason that the Italians play 2C or 2D as 18-19 NT.
- Minimum unbalanced hands with a minor usually makes it easy for the opponents. They can overcall at the one level without much risk, and opener usually haven't shown the character of his hand yet (unbalanced diamond in a 5542 structure fixes the ambiguity).
- The 1C opening is very well defined compared to other nebulous minor openings, since many strong hands are removed. I'm actually thinking about having both 2m openings be "natural, no major" so you open your five card suit with 5-4 minors. If so, 1C would be like a Polish Club but without the strong option: Weak NT or 15+ with clubs.
- Even though I find natural 1M openings to work well, some hands are removed. The 1M openings are unbalanced (no 5332) which I haven't tried but have wanted to. Also some intermediate one-suited hands are removed, which I think is nice since these can be a bit hard to bid in the natural system (many Swedes play the 2M openings as 10-13 to narrow the range of the single-suited 1M hands). Also the standard system in Sweden is strong NT with four card majors, so just playing five card majors feels like a well defined bid ;)

If your question points towards the second structure, I agree that it isn't well defined. The point here was just to do something for fun. The idea of the three card majors was to have an NT range in the major opening bids, the same way Standard American have it in the 1m range. This is agressive in a similar way to a weak NT, but still lets us explore major suit fits. Having the 1NT opening as natural with 5M might be a waste.
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#5 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-20, 03:12

What a luxury to have partners enthusiastic about experimenting new conventions :)

It does seem a waste to relegate the preemptive 1nt opening to 5cM.

OT, but I fail to see why you consider the 1C opening of ordinary 5542 to be overloaded. It induces a bit of complexity (you revel in that anyway) but that is almost entirely related to disambiguation of a 1D response (infrequent) or 2C response (nebulous to many people in 2/1 anyway). The frequency of opening is almost the same as natural and the hands it represents are too.
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#6 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2018-November-20, 06:09

View Postpescetom, on 2018-November-20, 03:12, said:

What a luxury to have partners enthusiastic about experimenting new conventions :)

It does seem a waste to relegate the preemptive 1nt opening to 5cM.

OT, but I fail to see why you consider the 1C opening of ordinary 5542 to be overloaded. It induces a bit of complexity (you revel in that anyway) but that is almost entirely related to disambiguation of a 1D response (infrequent) or 2C response (nebulous to many people in 2/1 anyway). The frequency of opening is almost the same as natural and the hands it represents are too.


Yes, I'm quite lucky in that regard. My ordinary partner also like experimenting, but most updates to the system these days are minor or even that we remove infrequent stuff.

The 1NT opening in the second structure isn't really meant to be preemptive (even if it is). I'm thinking perhaps 11-14 hcp. Another option could be to open 1M with balanced and 10-12, and make the 1NT opening 13-15 (or something similar). I quite like the idea though of 1M never being a five+ suit :)

I don't think the complexity of the 1C 5542 opening is the issue. What I dislike is mixing the minimum unbalanced hand type with the minimum balanced hand type. Since the balanced one is much more common, it makes sense for partner to assume that is what you got (until proven wrong). This can lead to problems when you have the unbalanced natural hand with minimum values (with extra values you can often afford to bid again). In my main partnership we play Swedish Club and I really like the fact that NT hands are separated from other types of hands. Nebulous minor suit openings are usually fine if uncontested (especially short club with transfer responses or similar), the issues start when they enter the auction.
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#7 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2018-November-20, 14:43

View PostKungsgeten, on 2018-November-20, 06:09, said:

In my main partnership we play Swedish Club and I really like the fact that NT hands are separated from other types of hands.

I (or, rather, nullve-nullve) currently play

P = "0-10 (semi)BAL"
1 = "NAT or 11-13/17-19/26+ BAL",

in 1st seat NV, but recently I've been toying with widening the Pass range, as in

P = "0-13" (semi)BAL"
1 = "NAT or 17-19/26+ BAL",

which makes the 1 opening more natural, less overloaded(?) and also has the effect that third hand can often bid more aggressively opposite 11-13 BAL. E.g. the bidding can now go

P-(1)-2 = "WJO, frequenly 5c suit"

instead of, say,

1-(1)-X = "4+ S".

Openings in 3rd seat (i.e. responses to Pass) have to be less natural than in 1st seat, though. One idea:

P = "0-7, usually BAL"
1 = "8-10, nebulous" OR "16+, unBAL w/ primarily a minor" OR 17+ BAL (I imagine a form of T-Walsh over this)
1 = "10-15, nebulous"
1M+: more or less as in 1st seat.
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#8 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-November-20, 15:13

Sounds interesting. I think I would limit the 1M opening to about 17/18 points, though.
pretty good defense against a grand with no overtricks given away. --- johnu
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#9 User is offline   Kungsgeten 

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Posted 2018-November-22, 01:39

nullve: Removing the weak NT from your 1C opening seems like a big gain for that bid. I also admire your style of opening all unbalanced hands, not for the light-hearted! :)

helene_t: Yes, limiting the majors a bit could be possible. In that case we have to cater for them in the 1D opening though, possibly by using a "19+ any" rebid or similar. I'm honoured that you've quoted me in your signature! :D

I've tinkered a bit more: now 1C is 10-14 NT or natural 15--21. Opening 1M is still 10--21, but not 15+ single-suited. Opening 2m is 10--14 no major.

The 1D opening becomes: 15+ with diamonds, or 18+ NT, or 15+ single-suited with major, or any GF.

1D---
1H = 0-8, all others GF.
1S = Catch-all. Balanced or 5m 4 other. May also be hand that wants to ask instead of tell.
...1NT = Natural or three-suited.
...2C = 6+M or "22+".
...2D = 5D, 4+C.
...2H = 5D, 4H.
...2S = 6+D.
...2NT+ = 5D, 4S.
1NT = 5+ hearts unbalanced.
2C = 6+ m, or 5-5 minors, or 4441.
2D+ = 5+ spades unbalanced.

1D--1H;
1S = 15+ with diamonds. F1.
...1NT = Semi-positive.
......2C = Three-suited with short clubs, 15+.
......2D = 15--18, no major.
......2M = 15--18, 4M and 5+D.
......2NT = 15+ with 5-5 minors.
......3X = 19+ with diamonds, not 5-5 and not three-suited.
...2C = Take-out of diamonds, 0--4.
...2D = 0--4.
...2HS = 0--4 with six card suit.
1NT = 18--20.
2C = a) GF with clubs, b) 19+ with 6+M, c) 23--24 NT.
2D = a) GF with 5M and 4 other, b) 25+ NT.
2M = 6+M, 15--18.
2NT = 21--22.
3X = GF, 5-5 major + other.
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