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Bidding developments in last 15-20 years? Precision et al.

#1 User is offline   MaxHayden 

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Posted 2019-September-03, 20:50

I've got a new partner and we need to agree on our bidding. We are using precision out of familiarity, but the details need hammering out. Our plan is to use Dan's _Standard Modern Precision_ as a foundation and LC's Standard 2/1 GF for major suit auctions.

However, the last time I learned any new (modern) bidding ideas was circa Hardy's _Standard/Advanced Bidding in the 21st Century_ and the 25 series books. From searching online, it doesn't look like there's been anything earth shattering since then.

We'll have to talk about some of the material in Dan's book and the ideas from Rodwell's _Bidding Topics_. But is there anything else from the last 15-20 years that we should look at? Especially for competitive auctions and mini notrump? What about for defensive carding?

Any other thoughts or reading suggestions on my plan?
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#2 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-September-03, 22:05

Given that most bridge books crossover information from other books, etc. one that I would recommend, although it is now nearly 30 years old and is a sometimes difficult read is "Partnership Bidding at Bridge" by Britain's foremost player Andrew Robson with Oliver Segal. It deals exclusively with the contested (competitive) auction.

Although not playing them myself both the European systems, the Polish Club and the Fantunes, have proved to be effective in top level bridge, however, with all this bidding 'stuff' (for want of a better word) various regulatory bodies such as The English Bridge Union and the American Contract Bridge League have rules and regulations what can and can't be used in various competitions.
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#3 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2019-September-03, 23:08

Some of my favorite system BOOKS: Precision in the 90s by Barry Rigal, 1997, The Millennium Club, 2002 by Lyle Poe, and Nightmare, 2001, Buratti & Lanzarotti.

Poe's new book: Transfer Responses to 1 with Relays, 2019.
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: https://bridgewithda...19/07/Ultra.pdf
C3: Copious Canape is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded)(PM me for notes)

Played a Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes-Millennium like) system with canapé, 11-14 NT with Keri Invites and Intermediate 2 bids (10-14), & 15+ 1 opener with transfer negatives @ 1-level & transfer positives @ the 2- and 3-levels. Canape after opening 1 or 1 (into a minor suit only). Played Naturelle in 2018. 2019 playing Canapé Club: 1 promises 4+ and 10+ hcp and is forcing 1 round (after George Coffin's NBC: Natural Big Club).

Playing Transfer Precision with Steve Moese, 2019.
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#4 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-September-04, 09:53

Relay bidding. You can get Viking Precision or G.U.S. in books that you can study, not someones ambiguous notes online.
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#5 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-September-04, 14:21

Here are a few that seem to have risen in popularity:

1. "Meckwell light" -- in particular the sequence 1 (strong)-P-1 showing most 8-11 hands with other responses above 1 (possibly except for 1) showing 12+.
2. Invitational natural jump shifts (i.e. 1M-Pass-3m).
3. Reverse flannery responses to 1m (1m-2 as weak 5+,4+)
4. Two-way new minor forcing (or XYZ).
5. Increasing use of transfers in competitive auctions (most basic are after 1M-(X) and after our overcalls, but I see them in other sequences too).
6. A number competitive approaches derived from Robson-Segal's book (fit-showing jumps maybe the most popular of these).
7. Rusinow leads especially against notrump (not new by any means, but seemingly on the rise these days).
8. Woolsey or Multi-Landy as a defense to 1NT.
9. Wider-ranging overcalls especially at the one-level (both the low and high ends seem to be expanding).
Adam W. Meyerson
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#6 User is offline   MaxHayden 

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Posted 2019-September-04, 20:39

View Postawm, on 2019-September-04, 14:21, said:

Here are a few that seem to have risen in popularity:

1. "Meckwell light" -- in particular the sequence 1 (strong)-P-1 showing most 8-11 hands with other responses above 1 (possibly except for 1) showing 12+.
2. Invitational natural jump shifts (i.e. 1M-Pass-3m).
3. Reverse flannery responses to 1m (1m-2 as weak 5+,4+)
4. Two-way new minor forcing (or XYZ).
5. Increasing use of transfers in competitive auctions (most basic are after 1M-(X) and after our overcalls, but I see them in other sequences too).
6. A number competitive approaches derived from Robson-Segal's book (fit-showing jumps maybe the most popular of these).
7. Rusinow leads especially against notrump (not new by any means, but seemingly on the rise these days).
8. Woolsey or Multi-Landy as a defense to 1NT.
9. Wider-ranging overcalls especially at the one-level (both the low and high ends seem to be expanding).


Thank you very much.

And thanks to everyone else too.
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#7 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2019-September-04, 21:56

I don't think it's such a good idea to use a 2/1 book for major suit follow ups in combination with a limited (10)11-15 Precision 1M opening.

In standard methods, opener needs to be able to distinguish the 16-20 hands from the 11-15 hands.
... most of the new ideas I get are pretty "boring", mostly focusing on constructive methods rather than destructive ones --- Kungsgeten
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#8 User is offline   MaxHayden 

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Posted 2019-September-05, 22:04

View Posthelene_t, on 2019-September-04, 21:56, said:

I don't think it's such a good idea to use a 2/1 book for major suit follow ups in combination with a limited (10)11-15 Precision 1M opening.

In standard methods, opener needs to be able to distinguish the 16-20 hands from the 11-15 hands.


Okay, what do you recommend instead? It seems like most precision pairs do use 2/1 GF. But if that's not right, what do they use?
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#9 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2019-September-06, 06:32

View PostMaxHayden, on 2019-September-05, 22:04, said:

Okay, what do you recommend instead? It seems like most precision pairs do use 2/1 GF. But if that's not right, what do they use?


You've had a couple of relay suggestions. It would be helpful to know if you want to use them or not. If you do want to use relays...
https://www.bridgeba...rreled-invites/

and you could also look at the following in totality or for its 1M structure...
http://web.cs.ucla.e...IMprecision.pdf

Good and popular bridge methods aren't necessarily the same thing.
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#10 User is offline   MaxHayden 

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Posted 2019-September-06, 22:56

I like the IMprecision structure that you linked, but it's more or less what I had in mind anyway. So maybe I'm using "2/1 GF" incorrectly?

I haven't used relays much at all to date.

We assume we'll need to incorporate them eventually. But starting out? No. Especially since the material for learning them doesn't seem to be that solid.

We need something straightforward we can talk through and start using.

We've both never used SAYC, and really learning it seems pretty pointless. We've both mostly played precision. (I was actually taught bidding using Rigal's book.) We just don't have a common dialect since precision isn't really standardized.

The perfect is the enemy of the good; we want to get something that works well enough and that we can gradually change as we get more familiar with each other's style.

Maybe I'm wrong and it would actually be far easier to learn symmetric relay or MOSCITO or whatever than to hash out "regular" bidding and the conventions that go with it.

We'd like to try to stay within ACBL's restrictions. Living in the US, we don't really have an alternative for tournament play. So AFAIK, that means a host of silly restrictions on relay sequences and other generally reasonable things.

But our current thinking is that we can find some system notes for a meckwell-lite precision and it'll be close to what we are familiar with. Dan's book seems pretty solid and the parts it omits aren't complicated and could be grabbed from elsewhere.

We mostly want to avoid wasting energy hashing out areas where we don't do the same thing when we can just swap in something more modern that we'll want to use eventually anyway. (for bidding and defense.)

And we want avoid painting into a corner and needing to gut a ton of work to get from good enough to legit good. (And legit good does seem to mean relays now.)

But we don't think moving to cutting edge stuff will be hard if we know what those parts look like and have a feel for what the most important changes are.

Are we wrong about all of this?

It seems like this thread has been extremely helpful and informative, but if you or anyone else disagrees, let me know. It's not like I know what happened while I wasn't paying attention. If I'm way off on what is going to be the best course of action, tell me. That's why I posted here.
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#11 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 01:17

I've never played Meckwell Lite, but I know what it is and I've read Dan's book. Some good points for its 1C structure are simplicity, the possibility of abbreviated auctions opposite 8-11, and early announcement of extras before 4th hand interference. Its main drawback is in giving shape information-which is why I don't like it. Responder can't show shape early unless holding spades or 12+, responder can't show shape efficiently (which relays could do) and responder gets in opener's way of showing his (opener's) shape.

Curious what others think of it. awm listed it and his opinion would be very interesting. I think, btw, that he is not fond of reverse Flannery or invitational jump shifts.

If you want something in a hurry, Meckwell Lite could at least be a placeholder. I think Meckwell or even a simplified version of Meckwell would be better. Meckwell Lite's club structure is altogether different.

If you're interested in relays, you might look at TOSR (Transfer Oriented Symmetric Relay) or something like it that uses transfer responses. You'll have to decide after 1C-1D whether to continue with a relay approach (like TOSR recommends) or a natural approach (like Meckwell). I would really avoid Moscito's 1C structure. For one thing, it uses a 1S double negative that severely hampers fit-finding. There's more.

As far as using 2/1 GF responses to 1M goes, I think the issue is that you should want to open 1M light but if you do so and use 2/1 GF then you will be over-utilizing your 1N response. That, I think, was the point of awm's double barreled invite idea and it was also the point of IMprecision's earlier 2/1 non-GF style. I think that Kathy Wei, too, has said that 2/1 GF responses were not meant to work with Precision.
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#12 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 02:08

For what it's worth, I'm not a fan of reverse Flannery. It occasionally gets you too high without a fit and most of the problems it solves go away if you're willing to rebid 1NT with a singleton in partner's response suit (which I am; I believe this generally leads to better results than the alternatives on 1444/1453 and such patterns). I'm also a believer in playing constructive or invitational jumps, the big advantage of which is allowing you to play 2M when responder has an invite with a six-card suit and opener is declining. This solves a lot of problems where responder has a mediocre suit and opener has potentially a singleton.

I've got no problem with invitational jump shifts; they are very good in a 2/1 GF system with wide-ranging openings. In fact, I like to play 1m-2M as an invitational jump shift too (as mentioned above). This approach is okay in a strong club also, but I slightly prefer weak jumps because I can play a wider range (like 0-9) that would be hard to cope with in a system where opener can have 17-20.

While I obviously think relays are good, I don't feel like I've seen them increasing in popularity at the upper levels. There are a few elite pairs that use them of course (maybe more in Europe than the US, which is interesting given that strong club is relatively more popular among top US pairs as far as I can tell).

There's a really big advantage in being consistently on the same page with partner, and this advantage tends to outweigh the incremental benefits of slightly better system. This may encourage pairs who play only occasionally to stick to simpler methods, and I think it's also a big factor in the popularity of using 2/1 GF combined with strong club. There are a number of alternatives but they tend to be much more complicated (my own methods included).
Adam W. Meyerson
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#13 User is offline   MaxHayden 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 03:47

Okay.Thanks again for your patient help.

Awm, do you have a write up of your stuff?

Straube, do you have a write up of Meckwell / R-M that you recommend? I've found sketches but nothing in depth. I like the response structure idea but I don't know of a full write up of the whole thing.

Is the B.U.S. System, or the stuff from HardL above good to check out?

More generally, let's attack this from the other side:

If you were starting a new partnership today and wanted a serious tournament system, what materials would you guys use? Is there something documented well enough that we could hypothetically learn it and be set in terms of modern bidding thinking? Maybe backing up from there is better than trying to navigate in.

More or less:
What is does a top tier system look like? What is a good starting spot that we can evolve in that direction? And what are the most important pieces to focus on?

In general, my, perhaps mistaken, belief is that super elaborate bidding systems only really pay off at the very elite levels where everyone's play is essentially perfect so the only marginal advantage you can get is from being much more precise with the bidding.

Maybe this problem kicks in lower than I think. But this is a new partnership and getting on the same page quickly and consistently matters. So better documentation trumps better system for now. And principles trump specialized sequences and treatments.

But we do want to know what a top tier system looks like. You always have poorly bid hands sooner or later and knowing how better players deal with it is probably a good guide for what you want to do. And we will want to make improvements. So knowing what an improvement looks like is helpful.

If people are skeptical of Meckwell lite, I can use the 1C structure from Precision today or Revision club or anything else with a solid write up.

My main issue with Revision is that I like weak NT openings and they have a super-strong one. It makes sense in contex, so maybe I should try it. It has the best write up I've found. And the logic for that strong NT is pretty solid. So maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

So, IDK, you guys can make a recommendation. I'll follow it.
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#14 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 04:10

Couple quick thoughts:

Supposed that you are lucky enough to discover notes to Uzbek Club (which, btw, is obviously the best bidding system that has ever been developed). You still need to have a good working knowledge of Acol or 2/1 or whatever else is played locally because, if not, you're never going to fully grasp all the inferences of what your competitors are doing. So, to some extent, you're going to want to start with whatever is popular around you. (It will also be easier to find books, to find partners, etc)

As a practical example, I believe that it is much easier to learn MOSCITO than 2/1 GF.
I wouldn't recommend that people ever start with this.

If / when you decide that you want to branch out and learn some other bidding system, the important thing to understand is that there is no clear consensus about what the "best" bidding system is. It all boils down to personal preference. I strongly recommend that you look at / experiment with a variety of systems and see if you can find one that is a good match for your style. Ideally, you're going to want to be able to get to the point where you summarize the key ideas that define various bidding systems in a fairly concise way.

For example, for MOSCITO I'd say that the system is based around the following concepts:

1. It's better to have a quick and uninformative auction to an adequate contract than a slow / revealing auction looking for the "best" contract
2. The strong club opening and relays are necessary enabling tools for what we really care about (light / limited openings and a lot of constructive raises)
3. Four card majors let us bash our way to 2M / 3M / 4M ASAP
Alderaan delenda est
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#15 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 10:18

RMprecision club structure (2N opening is good 19 to 21)

1D-0-7
.....use Meckwell Lite or various continuations posted by myself and others on BBO

1H-5S or 11-13 bal
.....1S-5H
..........1N-11-13 bal
..........2C-no fit, 11+
..........2D-no fit, 8-10
..........2H-fit, 11+
..........2S-fit, 8-10
..........etc-super-fits?
.....1N-balanced or interested in controls
..........2C-3 controls
..........2D-4 controls
..........2H-5+ controls
..........2S-2 controls
..........2N-0-1 controls
..........etc-11-13 and like for 1C-2D
.....2C-5+C
.....2D-5+D
.....etc-1444 in 2 pt increments

1S-5+H
.....1N-balanced or interested in controls
..........control responses like for 1C-1H
.....2C-5+S
.....2D-5+C
.....2H-5+D
.....etc-4144 in 2 pt increments

1N-5+C
.....2C-5+H
.....2D-5+S
.....2H-5+D
.....2S-fit
.....2N-bal
.....etc-4441 in 2 pt increments

2C-5+D
.....2D-5+H
.....2H-5+S
.....2S-5+C
.....2N-bal
.....3C-fit
.....etc-4414 in 2 pt increments

2D-8-10 bal
.....2H-5+ H asks 2/3/4/3/4 steps
..........2S-2H
..........2N-3H and doubleton
...............3C-relays for doubleton
..........3C-4H and doubleton
...............3D-relays for doubleton
..........3D-3H(4333)
..........3H-4H(4333)
.....2S-5+S
..........like for 2H
.....2N-asks
..........3C-4H
...............3D-asks
....................3H-4C
....................3S-4D
....................3N-3433
..........3D-4S
...............3H-asks
..........3H-4S/4H
..........3S-4D/4C
..........3N-4m333
.....3m-natural, slam interest
.....3H-5m/5m, slight interest
.....3S-5m/5m, serious interest
.....3N-to play

2H-14+ bal
.....2S-5+S, asks 2/3/4/3/4
.....2N-like for 1C-2D
.....3C-natural
.....3D-natural
.....3H-5+H
.....3S-5+D/5+C

2S-11+ with 4414, 4144 or 1444

2N-8+ with 4441

3C-8-10 with 4414

3D-8-10 with 4144

3H-8-10 with 1444

The continuations can be complicated, particularly after 1C-1M, 1N-controls. After a control-showing response the first step shows either doubleton support of the major or a fit with exactly 10 combined controls.

S1 (as just described)
.....S1-side M
..........S1-relay (doubleton in the major)
...............S1-5-4
...............S2-5-5
...............S3-6-4
...............S4-6-5
.....S2-side C
.....S3-side D
.....S4-6 of suit, no side suit
.....S5-5332, no queens
.....etc-5332 and one step for every queen

S2-gamma ask, fit agreed

S3-9 controls and fit agreed

With fit and fewer than 9 controls, bid 3N or 4M
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#16 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 10:50

View Posthrothgar, on 2019-September-07, 04:10, said:

For example, for MOSCITO I'd say that the system is based around the following concepts:

1. It's better to have a quick and uninformative auction to an adequate contract than a slow / revealing auction looking for the "best" contract
2. The strong club opening and relays are necessary enabling tools for what we really care about (light / limited openings and a lot of constructive raises)
3. Four card majors let us bash our way to 2M / 3M / 4M ASAP


it's interesting that IMPrecision (while also a relay-based system with direct semi-positive 1 responses) has very different concepts:

1. Shapely hands should act aggressively in a way that unambiguously shows the long suit.
2. Accurate partscore and game bidding is very important.
3. We strive to help partner make the best possible decisions (both in competition and without) rather than attempting to conceal information from opponents.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#17 User is offline   rbforster 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 11:43

I think there are two main benefits of a modern precision system.

First, you can open lighter if you want, say (9)10-15, and give your opponents more trouble while still handling the continuations tolerably via a 2/1 approach. Sure it will be more precise if you play 11-15 old style precision, but opening light can put the opponents into their much less precise competitive bidding methods more often and also lets you open a few lighter preempts as well (since for a fixed preempt range, you can shift everything down a bit since the 1 level openers are lighter, say 3-9 instead of 5-11). You could also play SAYC instead of 2/1, or even relays over your 1 level openers, but I have not been convinced these are meaningfully better approaches rather than just different, so if you’re comfortable with 2/1 I’d just go with that.

Second, you can play relays over your strong club. Which relay system you play doesn’t matter much, but getting responder’s full shape below 3N with an option to continue with honor scans if things look promising is quite valuable. There are many relay systems but again I think 90% of the benefit is playing any relay system, so pick whichever one you like and can remember. Symmetric relays like TOSR are easier to learn and remember, so that might be a good place to start. The transfers are also a nice feature.
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#18 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2019-September-07, 12:24

View Postrbforster, on 2019-September-07, 11:43, said:

Which relay system you play doesn’t matter much.....There are many relay systems but again I think 90% of the benefit is playing any relay system, so pick whichever one you like and can remember.


I disagree with this. There are many poorly designed relay systems.

I think a strong but not unreasonably complicated system would borrow from several systems....

1C-16+ (17+ bal)
1D-2+D
1M-5+M
1N-good 13-bad 16
2C-6+C
2D-3-suited, short D
2M-weak
2N-good 19-bad 21

For the club structure, I would model after IMprecision but the semipositives would be GF and promise 5+ queen points (A=3, K=2, Q=1).

1H-any with 4+S except 4S/5+H
1S-bal or D
1N-5+H but not 5+C
2C-6+C or 4+D/5+C
2D-4+H/5+C
2H-4S/5+H
2S-3-suited short S
etc-4H/5+D

The reason i would recommend this structure is because if the opponents interfere, responder has shown the most likely useful suit feature of his hand and can continue to describe his hand naturally. Many relay systems get befuddled after interference.

awm had a suggestion slightly better than the structure above but I can't find it (maybe he can). awm will give you good advice.

You can look at the IMprecision document for how to continue patterning the hands and how to find the number of queen points and which honors responder finally holds.

Then after 1 C-1D 0-7 I would use Meckwell (or similar Meckwell Lite) continuations because relays (which are the primary alternative used by both standard symmetric and TOSR) here are doubtful because they start too high.
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#19 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 09:12

I have had good success with these responses to a strong 1:

1 All negatives, 0-7(8)
1 5+ or balanced including poor 5-cd suits if 5332
1 5+
1NT all 5-5 and 6-5 hands or 5-4 in the majors
2 5+
2 5+
2 5440 with a 5-cd minor
2 All 4441 hands
2NT+ Transfer to 7-cd suits, weak or G.F.

Edited: 9/8/19 2 pm EDT

Or 1 = 5+ or 5+
2 = 5+
2 = 8-10 Balanced

Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: https://bridgewithda...19/07/Ultra.pdf
C3: Copious Canape is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded)(PM me for notes)

Played a Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes-Millennium like) system with canapé, 11-14 NT with Keri Invites and Intermediate 2 bids (10-14), & 15+ 1 opener with transfer negatives @ 1-level & transfer positives @ the 2- and 3-levels. Canape after opening 1 or 1 (into a minor suit only). Played Naturelle in 2018. 2019 playing Canapé Club: 1 promises 4+ and 10+ hcp and is forcing 1 round (after George Coffin's NBC: Natural Big Club).

Playing Transfer Precision with Steve Moese, 2019.
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#20 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2019-September-08, 18:46

View PostHardVector, on 2019-September-04, 09:53, said:

Relay bidding. You can get Viking Precision or G.U.S. in books that you can study, not someones ambiguous notes online.

BOOKS (as stated) not internet notes as assumed. I have looked at Viking and GUS relay methods, I prefer to design my own (transfer mostly design).
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: https://bridgewithda...19/07/Ultra.pdf
C3: Copious Canape is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded)(PM me for notes)

Played a Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes-Millennium like) system with canapé, 11-14 NT with Keri Invites and Intermediate 2 bids (10-14), & 15+ 1 opener with transfer negatives @ 1-level & transfer positives @ the 2- and 3-levels. Canape after opening 1 or 1 (into a minor suit only). Played Naturelle in 2018. 2019 playing Canapé Club: 1 promises 4+ and 10+ hcp and is forcing 1 round (after George Coffin's NBC: Natural Big Club).

Playing Transfer Precision with Steve Moese, 2019.
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