System Summary Form, 2018 USBC

Team: Harris Last Updated Apr 8, 2018 at 06:21
Players: Martin Harris - Jacob Morgan

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Bids that Require Advance Preparation


1. We open 1C on all balanced or semi-balanced hands out of range for NT without a 5 card side suit.

2. Our 1D opening not only shows 5+ D, it also denies 4+ H unless Opener has 16+ HCP. We open 2D with 5+D and 4 H.

3. We do not have any strong, forcing opening bid (other than a never-comes-up 4m to show a self-sufficient Major with 10+ tricks in your own hand), so all of our 1-level openings are unlimited. They're not forcing and we do occasionally pass them, but we frequently respond very light, including 0 HCP.

4. All of our 2-level openings are intermediate and natural, 8-15 HCP:

2C = 8-15, 5+ C, not 5332 or 5422 (must be 6+ C if 8-11 HCP) (and won't have 4S if 12-15 HCP, but can if 8-11).

2D = 8-15, 5+ D and 4 H (must have 6+ D if 8-11 HCP);

2M = 8-15 HCP, 6+ card suit, denies 4+ in OM.

5. 3C opening: at least 5-5 in the minors, 8-13 HCP (10-13 if Vul.).


6. After ALL 1-level openings (not just 1C), we use TRANSFER RESPONSES to show an unbid Major:

After a 1C opening:
1D = 4+ hearts
1H = 4+ spades
1S = catchall: no 4+ major, bal or unbal.

After a 1D opening:
1H = 4+ spades
1S = 5+ hearts.

After a 1M opening:
2D = usually 6+ cards in the other Major (can be a 5 card suit if exactly inv.). This response is wide ranging: 0-13 HCP (< GF).

After opening 1H we also use Kaplan Inversion:

1S = 0-4 spades (it's like a "forcing NT").

1NT = exactly 5 spades (usually), and either < inv. (0-11 HCP) or GF (14+). Can only have 6+ S if GF. The GF hand will have lots of shape: either 6+ S or 5-5 with either minor.

7. After we open in either minor, we play Michaels (or Flannery) against ourselves!

1C - 2C: Resp has 5 S and 4+ H, with less than a GF (0-13).

1D - 2D: Resp usually has exactly 4 S and 5+ H, with less than a GF (0-13). 6 H and 4 S is common, but can only be 5-5 if invitational.

8. 1C - 2D or 2H: TRANSFER to the Major just above the suit bid. It's a two-way bid: either a WJS (5+ Major, 0-5 HCP), or a GF (exactly 4 cards in the Major, canape with a longer minor, unbal.).

9. 1D - 1NT: 6 to 13 HCP. Denies 4 S but often has 4 H. Tends to have 0-2 D but 3 is possible. Strongly tends to deny 6+ C as Resp can show 6+ C immediately with any strength: 3C (0-11) or 2S (12+).

10. 1D - 2H: inv. D raise (12-13 HCP). May have 4 H but not 4 S. Usually 4+ D (bal or unbal), can only have 3 D if unbal.

11. 1m - 2S: TRANSFER, 6+ C. After a 1C opening it's GF, but after 1D it's inv. or GF.


12. Many unusual doubles including in common, 1-level auctions. X is often NOT a Negative X. Sometimes it's a transfer; other times it shows a strong balanced hand; etc. If we alert a double, we strongly advise you to ask.

13. General philosophy: in comp, we give up many natural bids that normally would show a minor suit in order to have multiple, artif ways: (a) to raise partner's Major; and (b) to show an unbid Major. When raising PS we usually can distinguish 3 vs. 4+ trumps, as well as weak vs. mixed vs. inv+. When showing an unbid Major, we usually can distinguish both suit length (exactly 4 vs. 5+) and strength. We almost always also have some call that shows values with no Major.

14. In MANY competitive auctions our Responder uses TRANSFERS. Typically the cheapest available suit bid shows inv.+ with 5+ cards in the unbid Major (or "Jacoby Transfers" if both Majors are unbid). This applies any time we open at the 1L and you overcall 1H or any black suit through 3C.

Example, we open 1m, you overcall 1M: Responder bids 2C to show 5+ cards in the other Major, inv.+. To show C (inv.+) he'd bid 2D, while 2Q shows D ("switches").

15. We also use TRANSFERS to show inv.+ with a 5+ Major any time we've made a T/O X and the auction is at the 2L by the time it reaches our Advancer. With inv.+ and a 5+ card Major, Advancer makes a "Jacoby transfer" at the 3L. He uses our version of Leb to show values with exactly 4 cards in an unbid Major or no Major ("slow shows Major").

16. Transfer advances after we overcall 1M.

17. 1m - [1D or 1H overcall] - 1S: Responder has 12+ HCP with no Major that Opener can have, and no long minor. May or may not have a stopper. This is an example of a call that shows "values" and no Major, without showing any specific suit.

Similarly, 1m - [1S overcall] - 2H: Responder has 12+ HCP with no Major to show and no long minor. May or may not have a stopper.

18. If our auction has already created a GF, we use Pass-Double inversion. Pass = clear decision (either penalty or a slam try), while X = doubt / unsure. If we've found a fit already, the X often means, "I'm leaning toward bidding one more but I'm not sure." This does not apply if we simply bid game under pressure, only if we made a GF call below game or Q-bid to say "it's our hand."

General Bidding Style

1. We FREQUENTLY use judgment about what shape to show, as well upgrading or downgrading HCP ranges (unlike many pairs, we sometimes do downgrade). For example, with 5431 that includes a stiff honor, we might show 5422. Likewise, with Jxxxx or xxxxx in a Major, we often show it as a 4 card suit (this includes opening 1C instead of 1M, as well as choosing a response or replying to a relay).

2. The base of our system is a 5551 opening bid structure: 5 card Majors, and 1D also promises a 5 card suit. 1C can be a singleton (if 4-4-4-1), but it's usually 2+ C.

3. When our opening bid shows a 5+ card suit, we open as light as Precision pairs: our 1D and 1M openings include most 10 counts. However, our 1C opening (which can be short) generally shows at least 12 HCP (maybe a very good 11).

4. As mentioned earlier, we have no strong, forcing opening so all 1L openings are unlimited.

5. 1NT = 14 to 17 HCP (any 14). 5422 and 6322 shapes are common, but almost never a singleton.

6. 1C opening: usually it's BAL (12-13 or 18-22). Occasionally it's any 4441 or 4=4=0=5. It can be unbalanced with primary Cs and at least 16 HCP. Finally, it can be unbalanced with 12-15 HCP and primary Cs, but with most of those hands in the 12-15 range we'd open 2C (only open 1C if a convenient 1-level rebid is sure to be available if partner responds by transferring to a Major: so with 4 S or 3-4-1-5).

7. 1D opening: 5+ D. Deny 4 H unless Opener has 16+ HCP.

8. 1M opening: tends to show exactly a 5 card suit. Opener can only have 6+ M if: (a) 16+ HCP; or (b) 4+ in OM.

9. We do NOT use 2/1 methods. There's always an artif. GF response, while most 2-level responses are conventional and weaker. Lots of relays.

10. We never make control bids in slam try sequences. Instead we use asking bids to pinpoint partner's shape, HCP range, key cards, etc.

Opening Leads AND Leads in the Middle of the Hand

1. Opening spot card leads vs. NT: MODIFIED ATTITUDE (low = serious interest: 5+ cards or HHxx). From 4 cards (Hxxx or xxxx) we lead lowest spot in the 6-8 range, or the 5 if not holding any of the 6 to 8. From 3 cards or shorter we lead highest spot (even from Hxx)

2. Honor leads vs. NT:
* A and K are standard.
* Q promises a 4+ card suit with the J.
* J shows 3 or fewer, with either Q or T if 3.
* Ten promises 4+ cards with either the J or 9.
* No power card.

3. Opening spot card lead vs. suits: 3rd from even, low from odd.

4. Honor lead vs. suits: Opening lead is Rusinow (K from AK, Q from KQ, etc.), except standard: (a) in partner's unraised suit, and (b) by a preemptor. In normal situations an Ace lead denies the King. At the 5-level or higher, Ace asks attitude, K asks count.

5. After the opening lead: we lead attitude on the first round of a suit vs. both suits and NT. For later rounds of a suit we usually lead original 4th, unless bridge logic requires otherwise.

6. Coded 9s and 10s (J denies) AFTER the opening lead, but NOT on opening lead -- vs. both suits and NT.

Defensive Signals

UDCA: Attitude, count, and discards are upside-down (low encourages or shows even #). Suit preference is standard.

When partner leads: we usually signal attitude. But when attitude is obvious we may give suit preference.

When following to declarer's lead: at trick 2 it's Smith Echo vs NT (high-low encourages). We also use Smith Echo on the first round of the trump suit vs suit contracts, but only if attitude about that suit is still in doubt.

When following to declarers lead later in the hand, we usually give suit pref early in the hand and count later, but it depends on which one we think partner needs more in context. This applies vs. both suits and NT.