Issues for the bridge community

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> Short Club Demand Bid?
John M/ USA
Posted since your last visit  Posted: Sep 3 2003, 01:47 AM


While playing in a weekly party bridge club, my partner bid a short club. I only had 4-5 points at most, and I passed. He informed me that I could not pass a short club bid because it normally is an artificial bid. He said that if I had a bust hand, that I should respond with a 1 diamond bid. He then has a chance to rebid and put it where he feels he has the best chance of making a good partial score. Is this correct? Where can I find information on responding to this bid?

Along the same line, I play a preferred minor, where I bid my best minor suit, looking for a fit in a major suit. However, since I bid my best minor, I tell my partner he can pass if he has a poor hand. Is this correct / acceptable?
Posted since your last visit  Posted: Sep 3 2003, 03:21 AM

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I think they are both correct systems, but the short club system has to be alerted, and not many play it anymore. This is strictly a partnership agreement issue.

One thing is for sure, both partners have to be playing the same thing. That is a requirement. happy.gif wink.gif

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Posted since your last visit  Posted: Sep 3 2003, 06:33 AM

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I agree with JoAnneM, but would just add that playing a "convenient" minor, it's quite OK for responder to pass with a poor hand, in fact he should do so.
Posted since your last visit  Posted: Sep 3 2003, 06:11 PM

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I assume ACBL, given the name of the original poster :-)

Many systems are allowed, but they have to be properly explained to the opponents.

1. Standard American is "convenient minor" - 5cM, 3cM, 3D only if 4=4=3=2 outside of NT ranges. Usually partner is safe passing with 0-5; but Fred Gitelman's line "if opponents want to play 1Cx or 1Dx, they're probably right" is accurate.

2. In the late 50s, Experts of the time had a problem. They had these strong 2 bids (before 2C artificial and weak 2s) that were *really strong*, and often got passed out in their 1 bids with a game on, because the hand was too weak for a 2 bid or 2NT, but partner passed with a 5 count. They also noticed that because they might have to bid a "short club" (with 3 remember - they played 4-card Majors), partner was afraid of passing 1C in case they had done so. So, they started bidding 1C with those "inconvenient strong hands" - "knowing" partner wouldn't pass. Somehow this got filtered down to the rank and file, who didn't know how to handle the auctions as well as the experts. Even Experts had trouble with this one - as Kaplan and Schienwold pointed out in their system book.

3. When people moved to a 5-card major basis, the "club stigma" stuck - and people decided to play 5cM, 4cD, so occasionally 1C could be on 87. Then they were Really Scared to be left in it, so it became really *forcing* - with all the disadvantages of 2. above, and even less knowledge of what partner had. And partner could never raise, in case you had 2, and...the club suit disappeared.

4. I don't know of any experts who play this "phoney, almost forcing club" now - standard has changed so that there aren't as many of those "dangerous, but not good enough for 2C" hands, and 2/1 (or at least the forcing 1NT) makes a difference, as well. However:

5. I know several expert pairs who play Precision, with a 2+ (or even 1+ or 0+) 1D call. You do have to be a bit cautious about it, but people pass this call (or raise it, with 5) all the time. Of course, again, we don't have the worry of "too strong" a hand, because 1D is limited to a bad 16, but there's no reason to be uncomfortable passing a potentially 2-card suit, just because it's a 2 card suit. That way lies madness, especially in standard where the most common rebid when you cheat and bid with sub-minimum values is 2NT 18-19!

6. There are many systems where 1C *is* potentially artificial (but maybe clubs) - Polish Club being the most common. Sure it works, but there's a *lot* of agreements afterwards to resolve things safely, and (at least in Duplicate) a lot of Alerts. If you wish to play that style (or partner insists) - make sure the opponents know (that is your requirement by Law and custom) and talk about how partner shows the strong hands, and how you show a standard, natural, good 1D call.

That's one of the wonders of this game - there are always different ways of using the limited language of bidding to explain your hands and get to the right contract. And they're all correct - at least if both members of a pair are playing the same thing!


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