After Our One-Heart Opening

by Denis Lesage

In a Bridge World article (Artificial Hearts), I propose a method whereby, after a one spade opening and a one-notrump response, a partnership could bid more precisely when they had a heart fit using the Gazzilli principle of a forcing and partially-artificial rebid of two clubs. The same principle can be used after a one-heart opening to reach spade fits. Players who raise responder's one-of-a-major response only with four cards risk missing a good four-three or five-three fit; those who often raise on three reach undesirable four-three fits. Under this proposal, opener can raise on three or four but responder will know opener's trump length before deciding whether to make a game-try. The proposed method assumes that opener, with 15=17 HCP and 5-3-3-2 will open one notrump; the usual general meanings of the one-spade and one-notrump responses are switched (the Kaplan Interchange); and a two-spade response to a one-heart opening shows a six-card suit and 5-10 HCP (after which a good contnuation method is opener's two notrump asking for Ogust-like replies). The method is also playable without the Kaplan Interchange.

Opener's Rebids After a One-Notrump Response

After a one-notrump response (which shows four-plus spades), opener's rebids from two hearts upwards are mostly standard, but a two-heart rebid denies three spades if the six-card heart suit is poor, a two-spade raise shows four-card support, three hearts and three notrump show six hearts but deny three spades.

A two-diamond rebid is limited to a minimum-range opening with fewer than three spades. It may be 2=5=3=3, but otherwise it shows four-plus diamonds.

A (Gazzilli-like) two-club rebid shows (a) any hand with which opener would have rebid two clubs in standard methods after a natural one-spade response; or (b) extra values with a standard two-diamond rebid; or (c) a minimum-range hand with (i) 3=5=3=2, (ii) 3=5=2=3, or (iii) four or five diamonds and three spades; or (d) a hand suitable for a standard two-heart rebid but with six weak hearts and three spades.

Responder's Rebids after Opener's Two-Club Rebid

After one heart - one notrump - two clubs, responder bids:

Two diamonds: artificial, unlimited, five spades [opener bids: two hearts = minimum with five hearts and four plus clubs but fewer than three spades; two spades = any minimum-range hand with three spades, after which a two-notrump game-try asks for longer minor; three clubs | three diamonds | three hearts | three spades = extras with: clubs but not three spades | diamonds but not three spades | six hearts with three spades | clubs or diamonds with three spades; three notrump = six hearts and three spades, game-forcing]

Two hearts: minimum, four spades, two or three hearts [opener may pass;, invite game with a suit bid at the three-level, with the same meanings after responder's two-diamond rebid; or bid two spades with the top range of a minimum, after which responder's two notrump asks for longer minor]

Two spades: minimum, four spades, singleton or void in hearts [opener may pass or bid two notrump as a puppet to three clubs, which opener may pass or correct to diamonds; with extras, opener bids as after his two-diamond rebid].

Other bids are standard.

Opener's Rebids After a One-Spade Response

After a one-spade response (which denies four-plus spades), opener rebids one notrump on any minimum-range hand with 5-3-3-2 or 4=5 majors with 2-2 or 3=1 minors; two clubs, two diamonds or two hearts with a minimum unbalanced hands, at least five-four if two-suited; ;two spades with a two-suited hand with extras or a game-force with 4=5 in the majors; two notrump with a balanced hand and 18-19 HCP; a three-level bid with the standard requirements after a forcing one-notrump response. Note that with 4=5 majors and 15-16 HCP, opener will choose from among one notrump, two hearts, two spades, and two of a minor on a three-card suit--if none of these are satisfactory, he can open one notrump on 4=5=2=2.

After one heart &emdash; one spade &emdash; two spades, two notrump requests clarification; with extras, opener bids his four-card minor or three hearts with four=five majors; with game-forcing strength and four=five majors, opener bids three spades. Over two spades, responder's bids of three clubs, three diamonds, and three hearts are not forcing.

Gains and Losses

Losses include the inability to play in two clubs after one heart - one notrump, and handling a minimum 2=5=3=3 after one heart - one-notrump (a two-diamond rebid may lead to a three-three fit).

Benefits include often avoiding the three-level when opener's rebid announces a minimum, defining the size of the spade fit, with two minimum hands exploring for a spade fit without bypassing two hearts, and the option of showing or denying three-card spade support when opener shows a strong heart one-suiter.


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