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The Neapolitan Club: Outline

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by esme 08The ideas of system – The Neapolitan Club comes mainly from H. S. Vanderbilt  s Strong Club (1926)  and from the Culbertson  System (1934).   It employs sound openings and overcalling, and fully protected 3NT contract. As logical corollary for such sound system, it obeys the principle “first double”: it’s better to punish opponents instead of looking for our own game contract.

 Contested auction – Middle strength jump overcall: 12-15 points with a good six or more card suit. Standard double, takeout up to 4. 2NT overcall: clubs and lower rank free suit, reverse strength. Direct cue-bid: game forcing.

When LHO overcalls at one level, the double is punitive. When LHO doubles, the redouble is forcing up to game or at least to level 4 in a minor.


1♣: 17+, but 21-22 balanced and full protected (2NT).

1, 1♠: 12-16. Natural 4+ card suit.

1: 12-16, sometime by 3 cards. It can happen when the opener has only clubs or when he has not a biddable suit. “Biddable” in the opening bidding is a four card suit headed at least by Q9 or J10, or any five card suit.

1NT: 13-16, balanced or semi-balanced one suited in clubs.

2♣: 5+ clubs, 12-16. One or two suited.

2, 2, 2♠: Weak one suited.


On 1♣: controls by steps up to 2 (six or more). Weak jump from 2to level three.

On 1, 1, 1♠: natural responses. Strong jump. 2NT and 3NT responses are very strong balanced (respectively: 17-18 or 16), without support in opening suit.

On 1NT (remember: it’s always one suited in clubs), all the responses are natural: 2♣ and 3♣ are support. Just 2, is a relais; the opener will bid 2 and the responder will explain his hand.


Neapolitan Club does not employs 5CM nor Long Suit First systems. It follows the  Principle of Preparedness, i.e. “The idea, originally called Anticipation, of looking forward to the next round of bidding when selecting a bid…(ACBL Official Encyclopedia , VI ed. Page 362). Because of this Principle, the length of the suits is undefined. The only exception is when the opener has a reverse two suited hand with less than 17 points (with 17+ the opening is 1♣). In this case the reverse will be made bidding the short suit first (Albarran’s Canapé ). Examples:

a) 1♠-1NT; 2…Rank order bidding, not strong. The suits are 4-4, 5-4, 4-5 or longer.

b) 1♠-1NT; 3…Strong jump: four spades and five or more diamonds.

c) 1-1NT; 2♠…Reverse rank bidding: four or more diamonds and five or more spades.

The responder employs the Preparedness Principle as well, and without limits, also in reverse.


Paolo Enrico Garrisi


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