1) Jump shift bids
On normal opening bids:- First and foremost feature is jump shift bids which is forcing bid for game showing just 5 cards of bids suit
on 1D/1NT/2C/2D opening bids seeking 3 cards support of opener where as it is a splinter bid on 1H/1S
opening bid showing min 4 cards support
and bid suit singleton.(However after reply of point range showing bid it show just 5 cards suit & game force).
First and foremost feature is RELAY which is a forcing bid for min.1 round. There are various types of relays but most common being Distribution Asking Relay. This is used mostly after partner has made an opening bid of 1D/1H/1S/2C/2D showing 11-15 pts & min. 5 card suit (except 1D).
Next immediate higher suit bid i.e. 1H/1S/INT/2D/2H respectively by the responder is Relay bid. By using series of relays, Responder is in position to know opener's distribution (without revealing his hand) and accordingly bids most appropriate final contract. This makes opponent's task little difficult by way of interference bidding or finding correct defence. The biggest advantage of relays is it allows in-depth investigation of all possibilities by responder below game level in order to reach most suitable final contract.
Philosophy of relay:-
Once the partner has made an opening bid of 1D/1H/2C/2D, you know his pts. range & min. 5 card-suit (except 1D). Now, in case you are searching game or slam contract then, instead of showing your suits to find the support from the opener as it is being done in all other systems, you just find out the opener's distribution by relays (e.g. 5-4-3-1, 5-4-2-2,5-3-3-2, 5-4-4-0, 5-5-2-1, 5-5-3-0, 6-4-2-1, 6-3-3-2, 6-4-3-0, 6-5-1-1, 6-5-2-0 etc.) so that you will know where the fit exits or not and accordingly bid the final appropriate contract. By relay (i.e. next higher suit) you are able to keep the bidding at low level & most of the times, you are in a position to explore all the possibilities below game level.
3) Locating of singleton
Another salient feature, which is most important and useful is locating of singleton (void) in opener's hand or/and Responder's hand, so that many times slams are bid on 22/28 pts with certainty. There are four different routes for finding out singleton (void).
- Simplified Jacoby 2NT:
First route is simplest via Jacoby 2NT on one level 5 card Major suit opening. Jump to 2NT is asking opener's singleton, if any. For support, min. 3 card (& not 4 cards as in original convention) are required. Reply of any other suit shows singleton (in case of void, it will be jump reply). In case there is no singleton, then return to bid suit shows 6 card suit & 14/15; jump to game shows 11/13 (can have 6 card suit) and bid of 3NT shows 14/15. However, while playing, it was found that singleton need not be always rags. Sometimes it will be an honour card also. After some experience, I innovated to identify the singleton by using relay i.e. next higher suit bid. Step 1 reply will show rags, step 2 reply Queen, step 3 reply King and step 4 reply Ace. Use of simplified Jacoby 2NT is limited only on two occasions viz. opening bid of 1H/1S P 2NT and 1C P 1S P/2NT.
- Simplified Splinter Bid:
Second route is again simplified Splinter bid by giving single jump shift bid on partner's any 5 card suit, (major or minor) and at any level (or for that matter even on 4 card major or minor suit provided splinter bidder has generally min. 5 cards support). In original convention double jump shift is required because single jump shift shows strong hand. But in this system strong hand is shown by relays hence single jump shift is utilised for showing singleton where as double jump shift shows void which is an useful additional advantage not available in original convention.
Further I have innovated by introducing responses by the partner of splinter bidder. If he has no wasted values in splinter suit, then he can also show his singleton (void), if any, by bidding that suit on partner's splinter bid (in case of void he jumps). Now splinter bidder can further re-assess his hand in light of this additional information and if required he takes over the control by 4NT/5NT as the case may be. Thus with suitable hands even with 22/26 pts, you can bid slam/grand slam with certainty. Singleton shown by this bid is generally rags only but never A or K. This bid has much more occasions for using it. Any level, Any suit (i.e. Major or Minor) and on 5 cards suit ( & even on 4 cards suit also).
- Showing Singleton After Major Matching:
This route has very limited application. On single raise of Major (i.e.1H/1S 2H/2S) showing 6-8/9 pts and min. 3 cards support, I play game try, by short suit, in case opener has 14-15 pts and some singleton (naturally rags only) by bidding that singleton suit. In case responder has no wasted values in singleton suit, then he bids game (as all his 6-8/9 pts becomes working pts), otherwise he bids 3 of agreed major. I have extended this principle to other similar occasions also. For example on IC opening if responder bids 1S or 2H and if opener support the suit immediately then responder bids his singleton, if any, by bidding that suit.(Jump in case of void). After major matching, there is no use of showing other long suit because if his partner has support or no support in that suit, it is useful in both cases. This convention is helpful sometimes when you are not able to show singleton by route (a) or (b).
- Series of Relays:
Last route is series of relays by responder. After opener has made opening bid of 1D, 1H, 1S, 2C or 2D, Responder using series of relays finds out opener's dist. and thus locates opener's singleton (void), if any. For example opener showing
Down side of this route is you cannot identify the singleton as in above three routes.
- 6-5-1-1 or 6-5-2-0
4) Strength showing reply on 1C opening
On IC opening (artificial, forcing ,showing 16+ pts with any dist) there are two replies viz.
- Negative by 1D (artificial) showing less than 8/9 pts irrespective of any dist.
- Positive by natural bid of 1H/1S/1NT/2C/2D showing 8/9+ pts and min. 5 card suit or bal.
Recently I have further divided positive reply in two categories viz.
- Positive but limited showing 8/9 - 11 pts by natural bid of 1S/1NT/2C/2D/2H and
- strong reply showing 12+ pts by artificial bid of 1H irrespective of any dist.( Earlier I used to play natural jump bid to show 12+ pts but this used to deprive us lot of bidding space resulting into not able to describe fully each other's hand below game level). I have innovated 1C opener's rebid on strong reply of 1H showing (12+ pts). If 1C opener has 19+ pts , he rebids 1S(artificial) irrespective of his dist. All other bids show 16-18 pts. This helps in informing each other at one level itself that there is slam/grand slam or not .Further you are not afraid to cross game level, if required, to describe your hand in more detail.