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Why use a short club with transfer responses?

Source: sieged.blogspot.com.ar

I like to show whether a hand is balanced or unbalanced at the first opportunity – it clearly benefits the bidding of the latter and simplifies auctions for the former, so I won’t bid two suits on a balanced hand (unless raising partner). To try to avoid missing a 4-4 major fit, a minimum responder shows a 4 card major even with 4 or more diamonds. Using this style, you miss the 4-4 spade fit when responder has both majors, and the 1 and 1 responses are much more frequent than 1 – a waste of bidding space. Much better is to have the cheapest responses, 1 and 1, assigned to hearts and spades, with 1S showing 5+diamonds and denying a 4 card major unless invitational or better opposite a weak NT. «Completing the transfer» to a major suit is used to show a minimum hand, either unbalanced with 3 card support or balanced with 2-3 card support, while a 1NT rebid shows a strong balanced hand.

This is a fairly simple modification to a normal 5 card major structure, whatever the 1NT opening range – the only change necessary is to always open 1 with the strong balanced type. However, as usual, I prefer to make things more complicated…

I believe that showing which of your minors is longer on a balanced hand isn’t terribly useful – on a lot of hands, it will help the opponent’s defence more than it will our bidding. I prefer to put all of the balanced hands into the 1 opening, which frees up a 1NT rebid after opening 1 – Siege puts it to good use having opened 1 on unbalanced hands with 4 diamonds and longer clubs. Removing these hands from the 1 opening helps greatly, both in contested and uncontested auctions –

  • Opener can show the general nature (balanced or unbalanced) of his hand at his second call, without giving up on 4-4 spade fits. Most structures require you to choose which of these objectives to fulfil (i.e. whether to rebid 1 or 1NT after 1:1 when holding a balanced hand with 4 spades)
  • When opener has 11-13 balanced and responder has a two-suiter with 5 hearts, responder can offer opener a choice of part-scores without giving up on Checkback.
  • 17-19 balanced can be shown at the 1 level. This allows responder to bid on few values and leaves more room for investigation.
  • Opener can always show a minor two-suiter without distorting the relative lengths of his suits. Similarly, he can show a two-suiter with primary diamonds and secondary hearts.
  • The 1 response to 1C can preempt the opponents out of the majors, and showing the 5th diamond immediately can be useful in competition
  • There are many sequences where, having opened 1, a diamond rebid cannot be natural. The most obvious is 1:2, 2. We use 1:1, 2 as a reverse into hearts and 1:2, 3 as a good-or-bad raise. Similarly, 1-P-1-2; X cannot be pure takeout as opener cannot have the standard shapes for a takeout double (1=3=4=5, 2=2=4=5, 1=2=4=6) so is used to show «values» (typically the 17-19 balanced hand, which would otherwise be difficult to show)
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