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Walsh No Trump Notes by Rhoda Walsh: Chapter 1

Posted on 29 January 2014

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Rhoda_WalshRhoda Walsh, attorney, is a bridge theorist and champion: she’s WBF Grand Master and ACBL Grand Life Master; also she places 7th in all time masterpoint list for women. With Paul Soloway, John Swanson, and her ex-husband Richard Walsh, in late sixties Rhoda developed the Two-Over-One Game Forcing System, formerly known as Walsh System.

The “Notes” of Rhoda Walsh – much more than simple notes – make up a wide ranging sight on modern bidding; it is a feat which is at the same time guide for intermediate players and analytical survey for champions.

The Walsh Notrump Notes is the study on No Trump openings with their developments in uncontested and contested auctions. We have parted it in ten chapters; the first is presented here today; the others will be published later. In “Terminology”, which opens the first chapter, there are also concise explanations of some conventions which will be unfolded in the proper chapter but might be quoted earlier.

 

 

 Walsh No Trump Notes

 

by Rhoda Walsh

 

Chapter 1

 

I. 1NT opening – Stayman and Smolen

 

I.1. Terminology.

I.2. Overview. Opening and initial responses

I.3. 1NT-2♣. Stayman

I.4. The Smolen Convention after Stayman

 

I. 1. Terminology

 “To play” vs “signoff”: “Signoff” indicates that the bidder intends and expects his partner to pass. “To play” indicates that the bidder intends his bid as a signoff, but his partner may continue to bid.

“PSP”: Acronym for “playing strength points”, i.e. HCP plus distributional points.

Numbers in brackets: I.e. “[4]-[3]-5-1”. The numbers in brackets are interchangeable with other numbers in brackets. The numbers not in brackets indicate the precise number of cards held in the indicated suit. In the example shown, the hand contains either four spades and three hearts, or vice versa; it has precisely five diamonds and one club.

“RKCSG”: Acronym for “Roman Keycard Super Gerber”, a 5♣ Gerber bid used when 4♣ Gerber is unavailable.

“NRINN”: Acronym for “No Room at the Inn”. I.e. the bidder is unable to show his hand accurately because the bidding space is unavailable.

“lo-hi”: Acronym for “lo matches low suit – hi matches high suit”.

FITS: “FITS After Stayman” is a conventional means by which Responder to partner’s notrump opening bid or overcall shows slam interest in the major shown by Opener’s response to Stayman. Examples:

1NT-2♣; 2-3♠/4: FITS bids.

1NT-2♣; 2♠-3/4: FITS bids.

3♠ above (and 3 below), shows heart (spade) support, slam interest and distributional hand; 4 shows the same and balanced hand.

 

Delayed Texas Transfers:

1NT-2♣; 2-4: Delayed Texas. 6+ hearts & 4 spades. G/F+. No slam interest.

4 by Opener: Mandatory bid. Signoff.

1NT-2♣; 2-4: Delayed Texas. 6+ spades & 4 hearts. G/F+. No slam interest.

4♠ by Opener: Mandatory bid. Signoff.

 

Walsh Relay: it is the Responder’s response 2♠ after transferring to 2. The sole purpose of the Walsh Relay is to provide a means for Responder to partner’s 1NT opening bid or overcall to make either a game try or a slam try when holding a six+ card minor. The standard sequence: 1NT-2; 2-2♠: Relay to 2NT (cancels Transfer). After 2NT, Responder rebids:

3♣/3 = Six+ card club/diamond suit with one of the top three honors. 7 to 8 HCP. Game invitational.

3/3♠ = Six+ card club/diamond suit with one or two of the top three honors.  14+ HCP. Slam invitational.

3NT= Any six+ card suit (i.e., minor or major) with all three top honors. Approximately 14 to 15 HCP. Slam invitational.

 

I. 2. Overview. Opening and initial responses

1NT Opening Bid: good 14 to 17 HCP.

– Majors: Open 1NT with [3]-5-[3]-[2] distribution and a five card heart suit. Open 1♠ with a five card spade suit. Rationale: Opener has no available rebid over 1-1♠; Opener has no problem over 1♠-1NT.

Exception: Open 1NT with ♠Jxxxx or worse and 5-[3]-[3]-[2] distribution.

Note: Do not open 1NT with five-four distribution, if the five card suit is a major.

 

– Minors: Open 1NT with [3]-[2]-[6]-[2] and a six card minor. With a good six card minor, open 1m and rebid 3m.

 

– “Good 14”: Five card suit headed by two of the top three honors or AJ10 or KJ10.

– Responder’s Revaluation: When raising notrump, Responder adds 1 HCP for a five+ card suit headed by two of the top three honors or AJ10 or KJ10.

 

Responder’s Initial Responses

– 1NT-2♣: Stayman, Extended Garbage Stayman, or Drop-Dead Stayman. Responder has a four card major, unless planning a 2NT rebid.

– 1NT-2♦/2: Jacoby Transfer. Note: The 2♦ Transfer may be the start of the Walsh Relay.

– 1NT-2♠: Minor Suit Stayman. Either a club-diamond bust or (five+)-(four+) minors game forcing.

– 1NT-2NT: Forces 3♣. Either a club bust (sign-off) or 4-4-4-1 (game forcing+).

– 1NT-3♣/3: Six+ clubs/diamonds. 7-8 HCP. Game invitational with two of the top three honors in clubs/diamonds.

– 1NT-3: 5-5 or longer majors. 7 to 8 HCP. Game invitational.

– 1NT-3♠: 5-5 or longer majors. 9 to 13 HCP. Game forcing.

– 1NT-3NT: Natural. 10 to 15 HCP. Signoff.

– 1NT-4♣: 1430 Min/Max RKCG.

– 1NT-4/4♥: Texas Transfer. Forcing to 4/4♠.

– 1NT-4♠: Mini-quantitative. 16 HCP. Nonforcing. Slam invitational. Note: Only applicable if a “clean” notrump auction, i.e. no suits have been naturally bid and Stayman or Jacoby have not been employed. Exception: 4♠ Mini-quantitative remains on after a Stayman auction if Opener responds 2.

1NT-4NT: Quantitative. 17 HCP. Nonforcing. Slam invitational.

1NT-5NT: 20 to 21 HCP. Forces 6NT and invites 7NT.

1NT-6NT: 18 to 19 HCP. Signoff.

1NT-7NT: 22+ HCP. Signoff.

 

I. 3. 1NT-2♣. Stayman

 

In general

– Opener never jump responds to 2♣ Stayman.

– Responder typically has one or both four card majors. However, with 8 to 9 HCP and no four card major, Responder utilizes Stayman on his way to a game invitational 2NT rebid.

– Holding 4-3-3-3, Responder bypasses Stayman. Exception: With 9 HCP, Responder utilizes Stayman as a means of inviting 3NT via a 2NT rebid. With 8 HCP, Responder passes partner’s 1NT opening bid.

 

Opener responds 2: No four+ card major

Responder’s Rebids (after 1NT-2♣; 2…):

…Pass: Drop-Dead Stayman. Five+ diamonds. Singleton or void club. At least [four]-[three] majors. 0 to 7 HCP. Signoff.

…2: Garbage Stayman: Four+ hearts; four+ spades; side singleton; 0 to 7 HCP; or Extended Garbage Stayman: Three spades; four hearts; singleton or void diamond; five or six clubs. Pass or correct. Note: Holding 0 to 3 HCP, Responder bids Garbage Stayman with or without a side singleton. Follow-up: With three hearts, Opener passes. With two hearts and three spades, opener rebids 2♠. If Opener has two-two in the majors with a six card minor, Opener rebids three of his minor. All Opener’s rebids are nonforcing.

…2♠: Five spades and four hearts. 8 to 9 HCP. Game invitational.

…2NT: Natural. 8 to 9 HCP. May have none, one or both four card majors. May have five hearts and four spades. Game invitational. Follow-up: If accepting, Opener bids a three card heart suit. Forcing to 3NT or 4.

…3♣/3: Natural. Five+ clubs/five+ diamonds and a four card major. Game forcing+.

…3[3♠]: Smolen. Four hearts-five+ spades [four spades-five+ hearts]. 9+ HCP. Game forcing+.

…3NT: 10 to 15 HCP. Signoff.

…4♣: 1430 Min/Max RKCG. Follow-up: 5♣ asks specific kings.

…4[4]: Delayed Texas Transfer. Six hearts-four spades [six spades-four hearts]. Forcing to 4[4♠].

…4♠: Mini-quantitative. 16 HCP. Nonforcing. Slam invitational.

…4NT: Quantitative. 17 HCP. Nonforcing. Slam invitational.

 

1NT-2♣: Stayman. Opener responds 2: Four+ hearts

Responder’s rebids (after 1NT-2♣; 2)

…Pass: Drop-Dead or Garbage Stayman. Four or five hearts. 0 to 7 PSP. Signoff. Note: May be only three hearts if Drop-Dead Stayman.

…2♠: Four spades. Denies four hearts. 8 to 9 HCP. Game invitational.

…2NT: Natural. 8 to 9 HCP. Denies four hearts and four spades. Game invitational. Note: Opener accepts on all 16’s unless 4-3-3-3.

…3♣/3: Natural. Five+ clubs/diamonds and four spades. Denies four hearts. Shows a side singleton, or two-two in the unbid suits, lacking an honor, queen or better in one or both doubletons. 9+ HCP. Game forcing+.

…3: Four hearts. 8 to 9 PSP. Game invitational. Note: If Responder is 3-4-3-3 with 9 HCP, he rebids 3, not 2NT. Follow-up: If Opener is accepting the invitation and is 3-4-3-3, he’ll rebid 3NT. Responder passes 3NT if 3-4-3-3 and rebids 4 otherwise.

…3♠: Artificial. Distributional FITS. Four+ hearts. Side singleton or void. 15+ PSP. Slam invitational. Follow-up: 3NT by Opener asks for singleton. Responses: lo-mid-hi.

…3NT: 10 to 15 HCP. Shows four spades. Denies four hearts. Pass or correct.

…4♣: 1430 RKCG in hearts.

…4: Artificial. Balanced FITS. Four+ hearts. 15+ PSP. Slam invitational. Forcing to 4.

…4: Four+ hearts. 10 to 14 PSP. Signoff.

…4♠/5♣/5: 0314 Exclusion RKCB in hearts.

…4NT: Quantitative. Shows four spades. Denies four hearts. 16 to 17 HCP. Slam invitational.

 

Opener’s Response to quantitative (1NT-2♣; 2-4NT…):

– 5♣: Zero aces. Accepting slam invitation. Forcing to 5♠.

– 5: One ace. Accepting slam invitation. Forcing to 5♠.

– 5: Two aces. Accepting slam invitation. Forcing to 5♠.

– 5♠: Four spades. Minimum hand. To play.

– 5NT: 16 HCP. Denies four spades. Three+ aces. Return slam invitation. Nonforcing.

– 6♣/6/6: Five card suits. Three+ aces. 16+ HCP. Pass or correct.

– 6♠: Four spades. 16+ PSP. Three+ aces. Signoff.

– 6NT: Denies four spades. Three+ aces. 17 HCP. Signoff.

 

1NT-2♣: Stayman. Opener responds 2♠: Four+ spades. Denies four hearts.

Responder’s rebids (after 1NT-2♣; 2♠…)

…Pass: Drop-Dead or Garbage Stayman. Four or five spades, 0 to 7 PSP. Signoff. Note: May be only three spades if Drop-Dead Stayman.

…2NT: Natural. 8 to 9 HCP. Denies four spades. Neither shows nor denies four hearts. Game invitational.

…3♣/3: Natural. Five+ clubs/diamonds and four hearts. Denies four spades. 9+ HCP. Game forcing+.

…3: Artificial. Distributional FITS. Four+ spades. Side singleton. 15+ PSP. Slam invitational. Follow-up: 3NT by Opener asks singleton. Responses: Natural.

…3♠: Four+ spades. 8 to 9 PSP. Game invitational.

…3NT: 10 to 15 HCP. Shows four hearts. Denies four spades. Signoff.

…4♣: 1430 RKCG in spades.

…4: Artificial. Balanced FITS. Four+ spades. 15+ PSP. Slam invitational. Forcing to 4♠.

…4/5♣/5: 0314 Exclusion RKCB in spades. Note: The 4 bid is an exception to the general rule that Exclusion RKCB starts at the 4♠ level.

…4♠: Four+ spades. 10 to 14 PSP. Signoff.

…4NT: Quantitative. Shows four hearts. Denies four spades. 16 to 17 HCP. Slam invitational.

 

Opener’s Response to quantitative (1NT-2♣; 2♠-4NT…):

– 5♣/5/5: Zero/one/two aces. Accepting slam invitation. Forcing to 5.

– 5♠: No systemic meaning at this time.

– 5NT: 16 HCP. Three+ aces. Return slam invitation. Nonforcing.

– 6♣/6/6♠: Five card suits. 16+ HCP.  Three+ aces. Pass or correct.

– 6NT: 17 HCP. Three+ aces. Signoff.

 

 

I.4. The Smolen Convention after Stayman: 1NT-2♣; 2-3[3♠]

Application:

– Applies at the three and four levels.

– Applies after a 2 or 3 response to Stayman, in or out of competition, whenever both majors are available to Responder for rebid at the three level.

– Applies over 1NT, 2NT, and 2♣ followed by 2NT.

 

Rebids:

1NT-2♣; 2-3 [3♠]: Smolen. Five+ spades and four hearts [five+ hearts and four spades]. 9+ HCP. Game forcing+.

– 3NT: Doubleton spade [heart]. To play.

Over Opener’s 3NT: 4♣/4 by Responder: club/diamond Splinter. Singleton or void club/diamond. Six spades-four hearts [six hearts-four spades]. Slam invitational. Note: With six-four majors and only a game forcing hand, responder bids Delayed Texas Transfer directly over Opener’s 2 response.

Opener’s responses to 4♣/4:

– 4♠[4]: Signoff, i.e. Responder’s longer major. The only signoff.

– 4♦/4[4♠]: Control-Bid, indicating slam interest with an uncontrolled side suit.

– 4NT= 1430 RKCB in spades [hearts], i.e. Responder’s longer major

 

1NT-2♣; 2-3: Smolen. Five+ spades and four hearts. 9+ HCP. Game forcing+.

– 3♠: Three spades. Extra values. Forcing to 4♠. Follow-up: With slam interest, Responder control-bids up-the-line or rebids 4NT, 1430 RKCB in spades.

– 4♠: Three spades. Minimum hand. To play.

 

1NT-2♣; 2-3♠: Smolen. Five+ hearts and four spades. 9+ HCP. Game forcing+.

4♣/4: Control-bid up-the-line. Three hearts. Extra values. Forcing to 4. Follow-up: With slam interest, Responder control-bids up-the-line or rebids 4NT, 1430 RKCB in hearts.

4: Three hearts. Minimum hand. To play.

 

***

Walsh No Trump Notes by Rhoda Walsh.

Edited by Paolo Enrico Garrisi

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