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Tag Archive | "Neapolitan Club"

Agus on Neapolitan Club (interview to Agustin Madala – Second Part)

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(Second Part) As our blog is devoted to Neapolitan Club, we took the opportunity to discuss  with Agustin Madala some aspects of the famous Chiaradia’s system which allowed  the mythical Blue Team to dominate all international competitions. As promised, Agustin, I have some questions most related to bridge. I would like to talk with you on some treatments of the Neapolitan Club. Willingly! Read the full story

Portrait of Oswald Jacoby

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by Turbin, translated by Carol Sims

OSWALD JACOBY (1902-1984) The most gifted bridge player of all times, he had an impetuous and generous nature. In 1917, at age 15, he enrolled in the US Army, lying about his age, and fought in the First World War. On December 7, 1941 he was playing, and winning, the American bridge championships at Richmond, Virginia, when the speaker made a dramatic announcement: the Japanese air force had attacked Pearl Harbor. Read the full story

Opening with clubs in Neapolitan Club

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 Strong club system need at least two alternative openings for the hands beneath the strenght limit (17 or 16 points), and containing the club suit. These openings usually are 2♣, specific with the long suit, and undefined 1: with or without clubs or diamonds. The latter often affects – or is affected by – the 1NT opening. For example:

– In the original Precision systems (1963, Charles Wei and Alan Truscott), 1 had three or more card; 1NT was a balanced hand with 13-15. Subsequent variants, of other players, upgraded the 1NT, that became 14-16 or 15-17, and, necessarily, downgraded the diamonds to two or one card suit (or even zero). This is the case of Rodwell-Meckstroth: they open 1 with two cards or a stiff honour, and 14-16 1NT (15-17 vulnerable).

– In Polish Club (e.g. Jassem-Martens), 1 grants always four cards and 1NT is worth 12-14.

– Sabine Auken and Daniela Von Arnim’s system opens 1 with three cards, or with two in the shape 3-3-2-5. They play mini 1NT (10-12), and four card majors.

A specification needs. The diamonds problem arises in Precision, in Meckwell and in Polish Club, mostly because the contemporary presence in those systems of the 5CM and the strong 1NT (15-17). Playing 4CM, as in Auken-Von Arnim, the only case in which diamonds are less than three, in fact, is the shape 3-3-2-5.



Strong 1NT is in the range 15-17 (or 16-18).

Weak 1NT is in the range 12-14.

Mini 1NT is in the range 10-12.


The Neapolitan Club System plays 4CM, however it needs great accuracy in this matter because it calls for full protection in NT contracts; this feature denies 1NT as a “container” for all that doesn’t fit the other openings; furthermore, the contract on minor is often the escaping from unprotected NT, then the uncertainty about clubs-diamonds must last as little as possible or, better, must do not exist at all. Neapolitan Club has two specific openings for clubs, 1NT and 2♣, and one less specific, 1, but not so vague as the modern systems allow.

We must also say that, as Neapolitan is a sound system, it needs good quality for the original bid. The biddable suit in the opening bid is normally any five card suit or a four one headed by K, or Q-9, or J-10. Bearing in mind these qualities – full protected NT, biddable suit, sound opening – we can sketch out the treatments and the reason of being of 1, 1NT and 2♣.


1 Opening bid

12-16 points and four or more cards, or three cards headed at least by Ace or King. The cards are three when the other suit isn’t biddable, or when it’s a club suit and the hand or the suit aren’t apt for 1NT or 2♣.


1NT Opening bid (with only clubs)

Balanced or semi balanced hand, 13-16 points. Four or five card club suit (exceptionally six), and no other suits; the shapes are 3-3-3-4 and 2(3)-2(3)-2(3)-5. All the suits must have a stopper; in 3-3-3-4 one suit can have not. Exceptions:

a) Six card club suit. The clubs must are weak and the other suits must have a good stopper.

Example: ♠QJx KJ AJ ♣Jxxxxx.

b) 3-3-2-5 without diamond stopper, but with 14-16 points (not 13).

Example: ♠AKx KJx xx ♣Axxxx.


2♣ Opening bid (always with clubs, one or two suited)

This opening originates from four kinds of hand, always with clubs:

a): one suited, 6+ cards, 11-16 points.

b): weak (11-12 points), 4M-6+ clubs.

c): 13-16 with strong five card suit. Example:

♠Axx Kxx xx ♣AKJxx. Here the clubs are enough strong that is possible avoid 1NT with the unguarded suit.

d) Two suited reverse hand with clubs


This is the way how the “Short diamond affair” has been solved in Neapolitan. It hasn’t been without a fee: the cost is the passing, sometime, with 12 or bad 13 points; such passes, anyway, are lined up with the character of the system, i.e. the soundness.

[stextbox id=”download”]Convention Cards source:[/stextbox]



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


The Roth-Stone double (Sputnik)

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In the article   devoted to the 1♣ opening , we pointed out how important is the old-fashioned punitive double when following opponent’s interference: the threat of a prompt penalty tones down West’s aggressiveness and “light” overcalls; the punitive double, we said, represents the body-guard of the Strong Club. Read the full story


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Dear reader, the article you are seeking was revised. The new one, more clear and accurate, is now entitled “The responses to Strong Club”

Giorgino Duboin’s column

Italian style 02The Neapolitan Club staff is honoured to welcome a new illustrious contributor: Giorgino Duboin. The great Italian champion will write a series of articles mostly dedicated to his international bridge activities. Duboin’s Column »

Norberto Bocchi’s column

MyWay-logoThe great Italian champion Norberto Bocchi contributes articles on a regular basis to Neapolitan Club. Norberto refers in his column ‘My Way’ to political issues which may arise in the bridge world and sometimes he describes interesting hands. Read Bocchi’s column»   Read Bocchi’s interviews»

Rhoda Walsh Notes

Rhoda_WalshWalsh No Trump Notes by Rhoda Walsh: a study on No Trump openings with their developments  in uncontested and contested auctions. Table of Contents »
Annotations by Rhoda Walsh on the 1 Notrump game forcing  response in the "2 over 1 game forcing system" (Walsh System).Table of Contents»

Simply the Best

Best articles by Paolo Enrico Garrisi: open »

Let’s talk to the Champions!

Best interviews run by Laura Camponeschi: open »

Momorizing at Bridge

Are there techniques to develop some specific memory? Could be possible to make a choice of what might be more useful to memorize? Read what the champions say: open »

Silvio Sbarigia


SILVIO SBARIGIA is a pharmacist; he was born in Rome and lives there. He has won the European championship in 1975 with legendary Blue Team, runner up at 1974’s and at Olympic games of 1976.  Sbarigia is member of Neapolitan Club Technical Commettee. His bridge problems aren’t difficult; just we need to think on a plan and to avoid the instinctive playing. Bridge quizzes by Sbarigia »

Laura Cecilia Porro

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