I am pleased to announce that I am currently in the process of completing a project with Master Point Press to release a new book describing a serious way of handling strong bids through two separate openings, 2D for hands with 4+ spades and 2C for hands without 4+ spades (one exception -- very strong balanced hands).
I have mentioned this idea several times over the past year or so (see here and here), as I worked on developing some of the finer details of that approach, both in actual practice at the table and in the lab of the mind. I ran through a large set of vugraph archives and current event vugraphs to test out the approach. I am extremely pleased with the end product.
The beauty of this new idea, at least in my opinion, is that it solves many and almost all of the problems faced by strong 2C bidders, and in a way that may even be superior to a 1C system in many respects (including preemption insurance), but most importantly in a way that should be accessible to even intermediate players. One key aspect of the approach that needed worked out was to ensure as much parallel structure as possible, to assist in the memory load when learning anything new.
Also, however, the approach works extremely well in that it provides space for people to "gadget up" as they so desire, with of course some very detailed ideas I already have.
So, the goal, then, was an approach that solves all of the strong hand problems in a way that is easy to learn but also very malleable for tastes, whether simple natural or wildly complex. I cannot solve how to describe 0-9-4-0 pattern below 3NT yet, but I've covered quite a bit of real-world territory, including:
-showing both minors below 3NT
-finding major fits before leaving the two-level
-exploring 4-4 minor fits below 3NT when Opener is balanced
-describing all 4-4-4-1 hands without any problems
-having no problem finding any fit below 3NT even when partner has 5-4-3-1 shape (any order)
-being able to show hearts below 2NT even after a 2H double negative
The approach is also more preemption-resistant than any strong openings I know of. For example, consider that if 2D promises four spades (or more), Responder has no problem finding the right strain after a 5H preempt. How would you like to hear a standard 2C-5H-? or 1C!-5H-? with only four spades?
I'll update folks when I get a release date.