Bidding Made Very Simple and Almost Accurate

This era of Twenty First Century is of INSTANT things like instant coffee, instant communication, instant train reservation, instant plane ticket booking, instant relief by instant pill of medicine etc. Even Bridge players wish instant result of a tournament by use of Bridge-mates. Similarly, Bridge players also want to have instant solution to bidding. To a great extent, this has been solved in bidding system called "MODIFIED PRECISION SYSTEM WITH RELAYS" evolved by me. Once one of the partner makes an opening bid, his partner instantly knows where the combined hand belongs i.e. either part-game, borderline game/certain game or borderline slam/certain slam. Against this, in standard system it requires four bids i.e. opener's bid (12-21 & 5 card suit only in case major), responder's bid (6+&min.4 card suit), opener's rebid (min.12-15; medium 16-18 or strong 19+) and responder's rebid(min.6-9/10; medium 10/11-12 or strong 13+) to know where finally combined hand belongs.

There is more or less a universal agreement among the players on the opinion that success in game of bridge depends to a large extent on how good your bidding is. In fact, pundits put it at 60% for bidding, 30% for defence & only 10% for play. Therefore I was searching a thorough system of bidding which should be accurate, simple and very easy to remember at the table while playing especially when under pressure or when you are exhausted. There are many systems being played all over the world viz. majority of players play standard system, whereas others play precision system, strong club system, club-diamond system etc. In each system also there are many variations also like Acol, SAYC, 2 over1, etc. in standard system.

Initially for so many years of my Bridge career, I played Precision system. Last several years, I have also played Standard System. In both systems I found some difficulties while bidding border line games/slams.

In Precision system, there is wide range of 4 pts. in opening bid. i.e. from 11 to 15 pts. Many times, you have to guess, with the result, sometimes you bid the game when it does not make & miss the game when it is making.

Similarly in Standard System, there is grey area when opener has 12 to 15 pts and opens one of the minor suit whereas responder has 9/10 pts having 5 cards major suit. Responder's 1st response is to be taken as 4 cards suit only. Now if opener has no 4 cards support, he will bid NT or other suit. Now responder having 9/10 pts with 5 card major, can not jump so he will repeat his suit showing 5 cards. Opener may or may not raise with 3 cards support and having 14/15 pts, thinking responder might have 6/8 pts and raising to 3 level might be risky. But if responder is having 9/10 pts, they may miss the game. However if responder jumps on his second bid with 9/10 pts, opener even with 12/13 may bid the game which may not make. Second difficulty is that, to show points range opener/responder has to jump, due to which most of the time they are not able to describe fully each others distribution below game level. Third difficulty is that as a responder if you have less than 10/11 pts but 6/7/8 carded lower suit than the opener's suit & even with void in opener's suit, you have to bid NT which may be passed out (unless there is help from opponent by way of interference bidding) resulting into missing a game or playing in wrong suit. For example, once during our local tournament, opener bid 1S and responder, having less than 9/10 pts but with 5 cards club suit had to bid 1NT. Now opener with having 13 pts & with 4 cards clubs & 5-2-2-4 dist. passed. Contract went one down whereas other pairs ,playing other system, could bid part game in club which was making up to 4C. In second example, in another tournament opener having 17 pts with 6 cards spade suit headed by AK and heart singleton, bid 1S. Now responder was having 5 pts but 7 cards heart suit headed by K & Q and singleton spade. One responder passed & they played in 1S. Another responder bid 1NT, on which opener jumped to 3S to show 16/18 pt & 6 cards suit. Here now responder passed, having singleton spade. Pairs playing other system could easily reached game in hearts and making 5H.

To overcome these difficulties, I have evolved attached "Modified Precision System with Relay" over a last 10-12 years period or so. Initially, I had started with simple things and then go on adding after identifying more and more various distributions which I came across while playing. Now it covers almost all distribution patterns.

Basically,

  1. In case of minor suit, I have divided the range of 11 to 15 into two parts (i) 11 to 13 points (sr.no.3 Bid) & (ii) 14 to 15 points (sr no.5 Bid) .Thus two level opening minor suit bids (i.e.2C/2D) shows 14-15 points with min. 5 cards of suit bid. Whereas 1D bid is reserved for 11 to 13 points with no 5 card major.

  2. In case of 5 card major suit, range is 11-15 (i.e.1H/1S, sr. no. 2) but on 1st relay of responder, opener first clarifies range of 11-13 or 14-15 irrespective of distribution. Thus responder immediately almost knows whether combined hand is part-game or border-line/Sure, game/Slam. He takes over control of the game and proceeds accordingly. If responder relays further opener has to go on describing his distribution.

  3. With 16+ pts, opening bid is 1C with any distribution (sr.no.1).

Thus almost accurately responder is in a position to arrive at final bid after investigations of all necessary possibilities.

The biggest advantage of this system is once opening bid has been made, almost in the first instance itself, his partner knows where they stand. In opening bid, strength and immediate 5 cards suit (except 1D bid) is shown and subsequent bids by the opener shows further distribution of the other suits. This can be adopted easily with your existing Precision System. In the system I have incorporated some innovative points (mini splinter, response to splinter, singleton after major matching, strength/Addl. strength showing relays on 1C Opening etc.) and many useful good points that I came across while reading various books.

Second advantage of this system is that it is the based on the distribution of the suits which is revealed by subsequent relays hence value of the hand goes on increasing/decreasing depending upon favourable/unfavourable distribution. Thus many times you will be able to bid game on combined hand having 18/21 points and slam on having 24 to 28/29 points by finding singleton, void etc.More the freak distribution, more efficient is this system. When more HCPs are there in combined hand, game/slam will be called in any system but in this system game/slam can be bid on less points depending upon required distribution for which there is full scope for in-depth investigations generally below game level. By locating singleton or void you will be in a position to judge whether there are wasted values or not. Further you will come to know easily at early stage misfit hands, mirror image distribution, duplication of strength etc.

Third advantage of this system is that chances of opening 1D bid by your side increases approx. 20 % (than in other system) which definitely disturb opponent's rhythm of bidding consequently increasing their chance of missing the game. Moreover opening bid of 1D does not have any restrictions like minimum number of quick tricks, good suit or shape-all you need only 11 points. Further you can open 1D with 10 HCP when suit is 6 carded and 9 HCP it is 7 carded. In third position you can take liberty even with 9/10 HCP when non-vulnerable, knowing fully well partner (passed hand) will not go higher level. Thus opponents are kept guessing how many points each of you, as well his partner will have.

Finally, indirect advantage accrues due to the fact that absolutely nothing is known to the opponents (to opener also) regarding Relayer's hand viz. his strength as well as his distribution (100% during the auction and almost 75% during the play because most of the time, Relayers becomes the declarer),it becomes little difficult for the opponents to interfere during auction and much more difficult to find the correct defense during the play. If opponents interfere during the auction, it gives additional information to the relayer.

Minor advantage is that many conventions become redundant like 1 over 2 bid, 4th suit forcing, reverse bid, Drury, Check-back etc. All you have to remember is (1) jump shift bids, on normal opening bids(showing just 5 cards suit in case of narrow margin opening bids whereas in case of wide margin opening bids, it is splinter bid) are game force and (2) next higher suit bid (i.e. relay) is only forcing and are two key words (Guru Mantras). As long as partner relays, you go on describing your hand further and further. While making opening bid you have to count only HCP and add one point each for suit length in excess of five cards, one point for two 5 cards suits, and one point for void.(It may be your partner's suit) Do not deduct for Aceless hand, Singleton K or Q, doubleton Q x or J x for opening, as your partner will know about your singleton/void etc. when he is relaying and he will add or subtract accordingly in the combined hand.

In match point scoring, it is not very advantageous because in match pts scoring tournament, either you are higher by 10 pts or 1000 pts, you get same match pts. For example in a particular deal you bid slam in minor in this system after locating 4-4 fit whereas other players bids 3NT in other system & make 4/5 NT but if someone makes 6NT then that pair will get almost same match points as your pair who have bid an excellent slam. But in case of IMP scoring it will be huge advantage when you bid 18/20 pts game or 24/26 pts little slam or 28/32 pts Grand slam in place of part game, game or little slam respectively bid by your opponent in other room.

Your comments regarding the system, its utility and the flaws, are requested . Your reply will be helpful in revising the system or the incorporating your suggestion in the system.