# Conventions: Short Club or Better Minor?

#### ByAna Roth

Mar 25, 2015

Source: Aussie Youth Bridge Bulletin

Playing a natural system, a common question arises as to which minor-suit openings to play. Which is better? Better Minor or Short Club? Is there a difference? There is a subtle difference, but in reality, not by much.

#### SHORT CLUB

Let’s take a look at Short Club first. Short Club is where a 1 shows 2+’s and a 1 opening shows 4+’s. Essentially, any hand with four diamonds (unless you have longer clubs or a five-card major) will be opened 1. 4=4=4=1, 3=4=4=2, etc, you name it. This means that whenever you open 1, you will generally have at least three clubs. (43)33 would be opened 1, as is 4=4=2=3. The only time that you will have a doubleton club is when you have an exact shape of 4=4=3=2: if you think about it, if you have a doubleton club with any other shape, you must have a fivecard major or 4+’s, so you will be making some other opening bid.

#### BETTER MINOR

Better Minor essentially means that both 1 and 1 openings show a minimum of 3 cards. When you have 3-3 in the minors, some like to have choice between either opening depending on suit quality (i.e. AK2 984 would be opened 1). However, I believe that to get the maximum usage out of Better Minor, it is more beneficial to open 1 any time you are 3-3 in the minors. This would mean that your 1 opening would generally have at least four diamonds, and the only time that you will have only three diamonds is when you have an exact shape of 4=4=3=2. This would help out your competitive auctions: whenever your partner opens 1, you can safely compete in diamonds knowing that partner will most likely have four of them.

#### So what’s the difference between both styles?

Not much really! Both ways are essentially the same, but the underlying focus is knowing what to do with that dreaded 4=4=3=2 shape. What you want to do is to look at it from a competitive auction’s point of view. If the auction goes 1-(1) or 1-(2), or 1-(1) or 1-(2), would you rather be absolutely certain that the 1 promises at least four cards, or would you prefer that the 1 promises at least three cards? Of course, you should generally always assume that partner has 3+’s for the 1 opening and 4+’s for the 1 opening, since the chance of having an exact 4=4=3=2 shape is about 3%. Furthermore, when you have interference from the opponents (especially when it’s an overcall of a major suit), the chances of partner having a 4=4=3=2 greatly diminishes! The choice, ultimately, is up to you and your partner.