## Saturday, June 2, 2007

### For those who like 4441 openings

A post of mine from BBO Forum took a while and may be of interest, so I copied it here:

For about ten years, I used an idea initially in a strong-diamond canape system, later in a modified minor-suit structure precision system, and then later yet in a strong-club canape system, that handled three-suiters very effectively, both for game-inquiry and for slam-inquiry auctions. It will not directly help the 2♥ start (from the post the induced this one), but some parallels might be useful for your own approach.

The idea was for 2♣ to show a three-suited hand, with 2D as the initial asking bid. This is Part I.

In response to 2D, Opener would bid 2♥ with a minimum and a hearts suit (4414/4441/1444, or possibly the 5440 possibilities with hearts and a five-card minor). 2♠ showed a minimum without hearts (4144/4045/4054).

With maximums, Opener bids one-under the stiff (i.e., 2NT=4441, 3♣=4414, 3D=4144, 3♥=1444).

This resolved much of strength/shape relatively low, meaning not bypassing the "normal" signoff levels when Responder would have escaped but has just enough to think about game, and low enough for more interesting slam auctions.You will see that 2♣-P-2D-P-2♥ is unresolved. With disinterest, Responder can pass, convert to a pass-or-correct 2♠, try 2NT (optional), or try 3♣ (minors). Some difficult hands are handled with an immediate 2NT. With stronger values, Responder can bid 3D after the 2♥ rebid, Opener bidding 3♥=1444, 3♠=4441, 3NT=4414. Thus, again sort of one under.The one-under's also gain from occasional passing. Thus, one might pass 2♣-P-2D-P-3♥ if Responder needed a maximum, heart support, and shortness in a minor, or something like that.

Anyway, back to slam. The one-under bidding allows transfers, starting with the short suit, setting trumps.

For example, 2♣-P-2D-P-2NT(4441)-P-3D = transfer to hearts. This can be passed, if 3♥ is now the limit of the hand, of course.

Example #2 ("starting with the short suit" explained): 2♣-P-2D-P-2♠(4144)-P-? 3♣ = to play. 3♥ = transfer. 3♠ = transfer (♣).If Responder rebids after the transfer, this is a slam try.So, you could have, for example, 2♣-P-2D-P-2NT(4441)-P-3D(tr)-P-3♥-P-3♠(Q)-P-3NT(serious)... "Serious" might most logically mean a void, if 5440 is possible. However, perhaps in some auctions "non-serious" makes more sense, meaning without a void, when the known pattern is minors plus a major, allowing 4♣ or 4D to define a void and define which suit has the fifth card.

Your range can be larger than a two-step range, BTW, if 2♣ is the opening. Imagine 11-15 extended to 11-17. With 11-13, minimum. With 13-15, maximum. With 15-17? Two options:

If 2D asking, bid above highest answer (3♠+ = 15-17). If you want to avoid bypassing 3NT without both majors, bid the stiff (or the other minor) above 3NT, with 3♠ being 4144 and 3NT 1444. Or, limit the 15-17 hands to 44 majors. Something like that.

If simple pass-or-correct (e.g., 2♥), bypass the "correct" option (2♠) to bid next-up (2NT) with a non-fitting maximum, or above that with a fit, describing type(e.g., 3♣ = fit plus short club, 3D = fit plus short diamond, 3♥ = fit plus short spade).

The high option can also be much higher, a split-range (e.g., 11-15, or 19-21, whatever).You can also, alternatively, change the responses to 2D to handle a split range or larger range:

2♥ = same
2♠ = same
2NT = high range (3♣ asks for one-under shortness, Opener responding 3♠ for short clubs or 3NT for short diamonds)
3♣/D/♥ = same
3♠ = short clubs.

This alternative allows even more depth. You can also change the 3♣ option (short diamonds) to 3NT, allowing 3♣ to instead show an even higher range (11-19, or a higher possibility). 3D would ask for the shortness. You can avoid bypassing 3NT after the 3D call by having 3M show shortness in the other major and 3NT show both majors, 4♣ after 3NT then asking which minor is short. You also would need to slightly modify Opener's options after a sign-off pass-or-correct option.

The options are relatively unlimited. The first version I played featured 2♣ as 4441, any three, 5-card minor possible, with 10+ (unlimited) HCP's. 2D asked, with somewhat step responses in roughly 3-HCP ranges, tied more closely to LTC than to HCPs. This worked very well, even in the rare case of competition.

Compare that with Mini-Roman 2D, with a 2NT asking bid, a hopeless idea.

I mean, we even had the ability to play a correct 2NT quite often. Who can do that after a 4-by-1 opening????

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