Puppet Without Garbage

by Denis Lesage

In order to use a two-club response to one notrump as a form of Puppet Stayman with responder's invitational-strength hands in a way that enables a partnership to locate four-four and almost all five-three major-suit fits, it is necessary to abandon Garbage Stayman and a two-spade response as a range-ask (or long clubs).

Avoiding Garbage Stayman gives the opponents an additional opportunity to get the opening side out of trouble--nowadays, few players use penalty doubles of strong notrump openings, which reduces the risk of paying out a big penalty. When one notrump is doubled and responder passes, opener has a chance to run. If a reopening double is passed around, responder can bid two hearts with both majors or bid a five-card minor. Using two spades as a range-ask can land the partnership in two notrump whether or not there is a wide open major, and it strand the partnership there when there is a five-three major-suit fit when both hands are minimum. Using a two-spade response only with a long minor (or perhaps with both minors and a slam-try) simplifies those auctions; if the opponents find a spade fit, opener will know that responder will almost always have at least a six-card club suit (which may enable opener to compete over three spades).

Under the proposed method, responder bids two clubs with any invitational-strength hand except one with five hearts (with five hearts, responder starts with a transfer to hearts), with game-forcing strength and five-four in the majors, or with slam possibilities and either four of a major and five of a minor or both minors. With other game-going hands, responder transfers or responds at the three-level. With a long minor and either a weak hand or game-forcing strength force hand, or with five-five-plus in the minors and either a weak hand or at least slam-try strength, responder bids: (a) two spades showing either long clubs (weak or strong) or both minors with slam interest [Opener bids two notrump with slam-orientation, otherwise three clubs. Responder bids or passes three clubs to play there, or bids three diamonds with both minors slam aspirations, or bids three hearts|three spades|three notrump with long clubs and shortness in diamonds|hearts|spades.]; (b) two notrump showing a weak hand with either both minors or long diamonds or a game-force with long diamonds [Opener shows a minor-suit preference. With a weak hand, responder passes or corrects to three diamonds; with a strong hand, responder bids three hearts|three spades|three notrump with shortness in clubs|hearts|spades.

After one notrump -- two clubs -- ? opener bids: two diamonds with either five hearts or neither a four-card major nor five spades; two hearts with four hearts (and possibly four spades); two spades: with four spades and fewer than four hearts; two notrump|three clubs with five spades and minimum|maximum

After one notrump -- two clubs -- two diamonds -- ? responder, with invitational strength, bids: two hearts with five spades [Opener can raise spades, or, lacking three spades, bid two spades with five hearts or two notrump|three clubs with minimum|maximum.]; two spades with three-plus hearts [Opener can raise hearts or bid two notrump|three clubs with minimum|maximum; two notrump otherwise (so at least one four-pluscard minor) [Opener may bid three clubs with both minors.] If opener shows a maximum, the bidding is forced to game. Any bid not mentioned is natural.

After one notrump -- two clubs -- two hearts -- ? responder, with invitational strength, bids: two spades with four or five spades [Opener can raise spades with four, or bid two notrump|three clubs|three diamonds with two or three spades minimum|three spades maximum|two spades maximum (the three=five fit will be missed when opener has a minimum); two notrump with no four-card major; three hearts with four hearts. If opener shows a maximum, the bidding is forced to game. Any bid not mentioned is natural.

After one notrump -- two clubs -- any -- ? responder can bid: three of a minor with invitational strength (natural, except over three clubs, where three diamonds may be based on either minor--opener can relay with three hearts, then three spades|three notrump shows clubs|diamonds; three of a major to force to game with four of the bid suit and five of the other major; three notrump|four clubs|four diamonds|four hearts|four spades with slam interest and five-four in the minors| four hearts and longer clubs |four hearts and longer diamonds|four spades and longer clubs|four spades and longer diamonds.


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