Carls Lessons

I: FOUR CARD MAJORS. Opening with a SOUND 4-card major is
superior to a 5-card major system, or an artificial system. Opening
a 4-card major allows hands to be bid without distortion, and can
prepare for defense if you are outbid. Do you want a heart or a
diamond lead if you are defending 2S with Kxx KQ108 Q732 Ax ?

Open the HIGHER of touching suits consistent with III below.

II: SAFETY. Essential in ALL forms of Bridge except Board-a-
match. Better to be consistently +90 or +110 than to strive for an
ideal partial and go minus because of poor trump quality, a bad split,
or a partner overly encouraged by a "fit".
You do NOT lose team or pair games by being +90 when you could
have been +140. You lose them because you score -200, -500, or -620
(on an opening lead or shift to a poor quality suit bid by your side.)

III:SUIT QUALITY. An essential factor when opening or respond-
ing in a 4-card suit. With Axxx,KQ9x,Axx,xx open 1H. Respond 1NT to 1D
holding xxx,Jxxx,xx,AQ9x. Open 1D with AQ9x,xx,AQ9x,Jxx. Opponents
will NOT double you when your side holds the high trumps and trump
intermediates, even if your combined trump length is only 7 cards.

IV: TRUMP QUALITY. A 4-3 fit in a GOOD quality trump suit or
playing notrump is superior to a 4-4 fit in a poor quality trump suit.

Axxx Jxxx 1C-1H Kxxx xxxx
K10x AQJ9 2S-3S 1D-2N Ax KQx
Ax Kxx 3N-4C 3N-Pass AJxxx KQx
AKJX Qx 4D-4H Kx QJx

V: PRUDENCE. A known fit is safer than exploring. On a hand worth
one call, make the PRUDENT call. Partner opens 1D, raise to 2D holding
xx,Qxxx,KJ10x,xxx. Nothing worthwhile is lost if you bypass the heart
suit. Remember - your side opens GOOD 4-card majors!. Because of the
first principle, minor openings tend to show a reasonable suit. This
results in more accurate leading, defending, counting and competitive
bidding. Five-card majorites open Axxx AK109 Qxx xx with one D. Your
side opens one HEART.

By playing four-card majors, a minor opening is far more likely
to be based on a GOOD 4-card minor suit!

VI: TWO OVER ONE 10 PTS.+ (Not GF). Common hands such as
xx,Kxx,AQJxxx,xx can be bid naturally and descriptively: 1S-2D-2H-3D.
Playing 2/1 GF is flawed because it causes both responder and opener
to misdescribe their hands. Responder calls and ill-defined forcing 1NT
on xx KJx AQJ9x xxx. Opener must rebid a hideous 2C on AKJ9x,KQx,xx,Jxx
over a forcing NT. A good four-card majorite rebids 2S, which shows
five plus good spades, or six-plus weak spades.

Another flaw in 2/1 GF is the misdescription that occurs.
AKQJxx Kxx x KJx is rebid 2S over 2C, the same as Jxxxxx,AKx,Kxx,x.
The former hand has EIGHT tricks and the latter about THREE tricks
over a 2C response! Also, the question of CAPTAINCY is always
in doubt. On the first hand, OPENER wants to assume captaincy
but on other hands, RESPONDER would consider that HIS role.

VII: 1NT RESPONSE NATURAL 6-10 NF. A 1NT contract often repre-
sents the last chance for a plus. FORCING 1NT response is a fallacy
because it induces opener to misdescribe his hand by bidding a three
card minor. Thus, xxx,AKJ9x,Kxx,Qx would be rebid 2D, the same call
made with xx,Qxxxx,AKJ9x,A. What should poor responder do with cards
such as AKx,x,xxxx,9xxxx after opener opens 1H and rebids 2D after a
Forcing 1NT?

Does x AKx Qxx Or does he
Opener Qxxxx x AK109x hold THIS?
hold AKxxx xxxx Kxx <
this?> Ax 9xxxx xx

should be based on reasonable quality suits in most cases. An EXCEPTION
may be made in desperate situations. This is an extension of III.

xxxx Jxxx Jxxxx xxxx
Ax xxx xxx xxxx
AKxx Ax Ax Jxxxx
AJx KQ10x KQ10 -
Respond 2D Don't use Use Stayman. Stayman OK.
to Stayman. Stayman. Don't Transfer. (Desperation)

IX: BALANCE RARELY. Balancing is of little importance, except
perhaps in weak Pair games. Balancing is a losing proposition, because
it violates Principle V (SAFETY) and frequently turns a potential PLUS
(if you defend) into a MINUS if your side buys the hand.

X: SELDOM SACRIFICE. If you do, you should expect to MAKE your
contract 1/3 of the time, and expect to go down ONLY ONE the rest of
the time. If you DO sacrifice, you should expect that the opponents
will have NO PROBLEM making their contract. The list of event LOSERS is
rife with sacrificers, especially Phantom Savers.

XI: NEVER DOUBLE FOR A ONE-TRICK SET. You should expect to beat
them at least TWO. A rare exception is to silence partner:

Partner You
- 1S 2H P P
QJ108 Dbl 3H ? Double here MAY
xxxxx work out.

XII: DEFINED OVERCALLS. Overcalls should have both an UPPER
and LOWER limit. The upper limit is 16-17, the lower limit is 11-12.
An overcall should be good enough to be a non-vul opening bid.

If you are introducing a new suit, have at least five. You should be
perfectly satisfied to find xx as support in your dummy. Paying your
Entry Fee does not give you the right to make your partner miserable
as you rack up another -300 against nothing.

IF YOU HAVE THREE- CARD SUPPORT. The exceptions are a GOOD 5-card Major
biddable at the one-level; or a six-card suit. Be ready to PLAY your
suit opposite xx or even x. Partner should NOT rerescue without a good
Qxxx QJ9xx xx
K9xx PASS! Kxx Bid 1S Jxx Bid 2C
Jxx (1D-X) Jxx (1D-X) xx (1H-X)
xx xx KQ109xx

XV: A STRONGER 1NT (16-18) opening is preferable to 15-17.
With 16-18 N, you avoid the losing tactic of opening a flat 12 and
rebidding 1NT - which can be a -200 or -300 disaster when pard has 6.
Also, you are safer in 1NT passed out, or during exploration for
game, since with 16 your side's combined HCP expectation is 24.
With a 15-point 1NT your side's HCP expectation is only 23.33
and the opponents is 16.67, or about a half-trick less margin.

Additionally, a 16-18 1NT makes the jump-rebid to 2NT safer,
since it has 19-20 HCP. By further extension a 2NT opening is safer,
since that range becomes 21-22 rather than 20-21.

XVI: BID SOUNDLY! Do not compete on marginal values,
or overcall on trash. Your partner SELDOM will be unhappy if you
have what you showed PLUS a queen, but if he is hung out to dry
after you stretch, he will be unhappy. Bridge is NOT Poker!.

Carl Hudecek
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