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The “Standard BBO Italia” System by Mario Martinelli (6) Sputnik double

Posted on 18 February 2012

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In today’s article we publish the fourth and last part of chapter about Sputnik double in Standard BBO Italia System by Mario Martinelli. In previous articles we published the preface by Fulvio Fantoni and a 13 bullet points summary. In the next days we’ll publish the chapter aboout Jump shift responses. The Italian version of  “Standard BBO Italia” System by Mario Martinelli is edited by Paolo Enrico Garrisi. The English version is edited by Laura Cecilia Porro.

 

The Sputnik double

Fourth  part

 

How does opener bid after a negative double

Apart from the case in which both majors have been bid, opener has to show his four-card major first. The resulting bidding sequence does not show a reverse nor makes the opening suit longer.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2

South’s sample hand: ♠K92 AQ87 762 KJ8

In this sequence South’s 2 bid shows minimum support for North’s hearts.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

3

South’s sample hand: ♠K92 AJ42 5 AK873

As if North responded 1, opener jump “raises” hearts in order to show a four-card fit and an invitational unbalanced hand, non forcing. With an even better hand South would have jumped to 4, or could have cuebid 2♠, delaying the heart support.

 

South West North East

1 2 Double Pass

2♠

South’s sample hand: ♠10743 K10642 KQ4 A

With the other four-card suit, South has to show it first of all. The two-level bid shows a minimum opening bid and does not show a reverse.

 

South West North East

1 2 Double Pass

2♠

South’s possible hand: ♠Q1074 K6 AJ86 Q54

South cannot know which major partner showed with his double (the 2♣ overcall after 1 opening creates this ambiguity), but he still has to show his four-card major.

Let us end as we started: opener’s first duty after a one or two-level negative double is to bid a four-card major if he has one.

 

Alternative opener’s rebids

When opener does not have a four-card major to bid, after the negative double, he rebids naturally and according to logic. A low-level bid shows a minimum opening hand (with only one exception discussed in the last example of this paragraph), a jump in NT shows a balanced hand with 18-19 points, while a jump suit rebid is a strong invitation, but not strictly forcing. In order to force to game, opener can cuebid opponent’s suit.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

1NT

South’s sample hand: ♠K532 AQ 762 K1085

Opener has a weak balanced hand (12-14) without 4 hearts and normally with a stopper in opponent’s suit (sometimes only half a stop).

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2NT

South’s sample hand: ♠Q102 AJ4 AK4 KQ85

Normal NT reverse, with a 18-19 balanced hand and at least one stopper in opponent’s suit.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2

South’s sample hand: ♠QJ2 A AJ9864 1085

Long diamonds (better if six, but sometimes five when no better bid is available), no four hearts, minimum opener.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

3

South’s sample hand: ♠96 105 AKQ1042 AQ10

Good single suited hand, with at least six diamonds, invitational, but not forcing. With a game forcing hand South would bid 2♠ (cuebid).

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2♣

South’s sample hand: ♠A5 Q4 KQ986 K1085

Natural, non forcing, minimum opening.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

3♣

South’s sample hand: ♠2 A4 KQJ53 AJ965

Clearly invitational, with a good opener, but not game forcing. With a game forcing hand, South would bid 2 (cuebid).

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2

South’s possible hand: ♠A42 6 KQ75 AK1094

In this sequence the 2 bid certainly shows a strong hand, because North’s double promises heart but not diamonds. With no certainty that there is a fit, South’s ascending sequence 1♣-2 has the typical non-economical feature of all reverses. Whether 2 is forcing depends on partnership agreements, without which it is best to take it to be forcing for one round.

 

Cuebid of opponent’s suit

If opener has a particularly strong hand, which is worth game even opposite a minimum double, he can cuebid opponent’s suit.

 

South West North East

1 2 Double Pass

3♣

South’s sample hand: ♠KQ95 AQ10 KQ862 A

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2

South’s sample hand: ♠AJ2 74 A3 AKQ1042

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2♠

South’s sample hand: ♠A5 AQ94 AKQ83 102

In all these sequences South cuebids opponent’s suit in order to show any very strong hand, whose shape is going to be described on the next round of bidding. Since the cuebid is game forcing, both South and North can cheaply bid their suits, without jumps or fear to be left in a part score.

 

Alternative conventional bids

Of the three possible overcalls at the one level (1, 1, 1♠), 1♠ does not trigger any artificial methods, since double is necessary to show hearts. 1 and 1 overcall on the other hand leave space open to bid a major suit at the one level and thus permit to assign conventional meanings to the negative double.

 

The French “collante”

According to a popular convention amongst Majeure cinquième [ Translator's note: this means "five-card majors" in French]  players, the negative double over a 1 or 1 overcall shows exactly four cards in the next suit up (the “collante” suit, i.e. next in rank). This means that after a 1 overcall nothing changes compared to the standard treatment described on page 5: double shows four spades and 1♠ promises at least five.

On the 1 overcall, the “collante” convention becomes different: double shows exactly four hearts (next suit up), 1 promises at least five cards, and 1♠ shows four or more spades. This method gives up on showing both four-card majors, but is more precise in describing the heart suit’s length. This choice is due to the fact that hearts is the most vulnerable of the two major suits, because it is easier to lose it when opponents bid the other major. Another advantage of this method is that if there is a 4-4 heart fit, opener will be declarer and thus the overcaller will be on lead. The following three examples, all about the 1 overcall, are taken from Michel Lebel’s original text:

 

South West North

1 1 Double

North: ♠K82 Q1097 A8 J962

The double shows exactly four hearts and at least 6 points, without an upper limit.

 

South West North

1 1 Double

North: ♠A1098 KQ106 82 ♣K109

Four hearts aside, responder may have four spades, but not five.

 

South West North

1 1 1

North: ♠K8 KJ1097 63 ♣J962

1 response shows at least five hearts and at least 6 points, without an upper limit.

 

Spade-double swap over 1 overcall

Let us take the second method to handle the 1 overcall described on page 6, according to which 1♠ response shows four or more cards as if there was no interference, while double artificially denies four spades. Let us now swap the meanings of 1♠ and double. The resulting method is as follows: double shows four or more spades, while 1♠ denies four spades. The major advantage of this agreement is that spades contracts or NT will be declared from opener, which puts overcaller on lead (which is statistically good for declarer).

Moreover opener can differentiate between a partial support of three cards (1♠) and a normal support (2♠ or more).

 

South West North

1 1 Double

North: ♠K862 J1097 A8 962

Double shows four or more spades, without an upper strength limit.

 

South West North

1 1 Double

North: ♠AKQ84 1062 AJ64 2

Double shows four or more spades, without an upper strength limit.

 

South West North

1 1 1

North: ♠Q82 A4 K5432 742

1♠ response artificially denies four spades.

 

Players that adopt this convention often use the double with four or five spades, and show six spades in other ways. A simple solution is to use a natural jump to 2♠ with a weak hand and the 2 cuebid with an invitational hand or better.

 

South West North

1 1 2

North: ♠KJ10532 1062 K86 2

The jump to 2♠ shows a six card suit in a weaker hand than a game invitation (roughly up to 8 points).

 

South West North

1 1 2

North: ♠KJ10532 1062 AK6 2

The 2 cuebid shows six spades with at least invitational values (from 9-10 points without upper limit).

 

A more sophisticated method has 2♠ as forcing (11+) and 2 as weak or invitational, up to 10 points (Lauria and Versace’s system 2011).

 

Transfer responses after 1 overcall

After the 1 overcall one can obtain a similar result to the one described in the previous paragraph using double as a transfer to hearts (four or more cards); thus the 1 response shows four or more spades and 1♠ response denies a four-card major. It is easy to see that thanks to these artificial responses, both when a fit is found, and when the hand is played in NT, it is more likely that opener will be declarer, and that overcaller will be on lead. Furthermore, there is more space available than with the natural responses, and this lets opener bid at the one level with partial support (this shows either a 3-card fit or a 4-card fit in a weak balanced hand) or bid at the two level with a full support and a better-than-minimum hand, in points or distribution.

 

South West North

1 1 Double

North: ♠A7 K10954 A764 2

Double over 1 overcall artificially shows four or more hearts, unlimited strength.

 

South West North

1 1 1

North:K832 94 A54 J542

1 response over 1 overcall artificially shows four or more spades, unlimited strength.

 

South West North

1 1 1

North: ♠K83 J104 J42 ♣A542

1♠ response over 1 overcall artificially denies any four-card majors, and is NT oriented.

 

South West North East

1 1 1Pass

1♠

1 shows spades, 1♠ shows a 3-card support, or 4-card support in a minimum balanced hand.

 

South West North East

1 1 Double Pass

2

North’s double shows hearts, 2 guarantees a 4-card fit in a maximum balanced hand or minimum unbalanced hand.

***

The “Standard BBO Italia” System by Mario Martinelli. Edited by Laura Cecilia Porro for Neapolitan Club.

February 18, 2012

 

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