46 English Bridge August 2014 www.ebu.co.uk
Opening One of a Major
WELL, well, well - it has taken me four
articles to get on to this vital topic! This
month and in the next issue we will be
looking at some of the techniques
associated with the scheme.
By opening 1™/1´ with five cards, partner
can judge much better on several levels:
i) Partner can use the 'Level of the Fit'
principle to be guided as to how far
to raise when responding (see later).
ii) Partner can judge better how far to
compete in contested auctions.
iii) Making simple raises immediately
is much easier than in Acol where
you have to bid another suit first.
Ambiguity often then arises as to
whether the responder actually
holds real support or is just grudg ingly
giving preference at his second
turn to bid.
iv) Playing a system which is used
globally allows you to play (or at
least understand more) with all
sorts of partners and opponents at
home, abroad, or even online!
i) Lack of familiarity - trust me, it is
well worth the effort!
ii) The need to play 'prepared minors'
or 'short club'.
Before we go on, I wish to dispel one
widely held myth as totally false . . .
'If I open 1®, I deny holding a five-card
No, you don't! If you were to hold a
hand with six clubs and a five-card
major, you should still open your longest
suit first - rather than warping the hand
by open ing your five-card major. (Rant
over . . .)
by Neil Rosen
Five-card Majors Continued
Just a normal hand with at least five cards
in the major opened. Normal guidelines
should help you here (Rule of Twenty, or
whatever other judgement guide you
already use). One early point to mention is
that holding a five-card major but in the
range for a strong no-trump (15-17, re member),
I think you are much better off
long term by opening 1NT and not the
major. This is against classical Acol think ing,
I know - but it certainly is a winning
proposition. Consider these hands:
Hand 1 Hand 2
´ A Q 9 7 6 ´ A Q 9 7 6
™ 8 5 ™ 8 5
t K 4 3 t K 4 3
® Q 6 5 ® K 5 3
´ A Q 9 7 6
™ A 7
t K 4 3
® K 5 2
Hand 1: I recommend passing (except in
third seat, where opening would be fairly
Hand 2 is a normal 1´ opening in any
Hand 3 is a choice of opening 1´ or
1NT. As mentioned, I definitely prefer 1NT.
Raising the Major to the Two Level
This is usually done with three trumps (or
occasionally four with a poor/stodgy hand).
Care should be taken since rather than
requiring 6-9 high-card points, in practice
the raise to two is much more likely to
be based on 5-10 HCP.
Because the length of the suit opened
(five) is known, it makes life as responder
much easier when you have a fit. For
example, if partner opens 1™, you should
raise to 2™ with each of the following
Hand A Hand B
´ 7 6 2 ´ A J 9 6
™ K 8 5 ™ K 8 5
t Q 8 7 6 3 t 9 4 3
® J 9 ® 6 5 3
´ Q 5
™ A 7 6
t K J 4 3
® 7 5 4 2
Hand A: normal and uncontro versial.
Hand B: no need to introduce spades as
you would do in Acol, since an eight-card
fit is known (usually only bother with five
spades). If partner makes a further bid, he
can always introduce a four-card spade
suit should he have one, so the spade fit
will come to light if game is possible.
Hand C: note that a balanced 10-count
with three trumps should normally only
raise to the two level. This is very impor tant:
holding a 10-count with either a fivecard
side-suit or a singleton would make
the hand too good for a simple raise to the
Raising the Major to the Three Level
There are various approaches here. I favour
using the 'Level of the Fit' principle (you
bid to make as many tricks as you have
trumps between the two hands) to allow
you nearly always to bid to the three level
(= nine tricks) when the partnership has a
combined nine trumps, and often bid
straight to the four level (= ten tricks) when
ten trumps (or more!) are held.
For more information and lots
of exercises, please carry on read ing
online. r click