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Summary of Suspensor's Opening Bids in 1st and 2nd seat


all hands of 13+ points. This pass is forcing.


3 to 5 cards in each major, 8-12 HCP (similar to a weak 1NT)


all hands of 0-7 points


8-12 points, 0-2 or 6+ hearts (a suspense bid)


8-12 points, 0-2 or 6+ spades (a suspense bid)


This defence is cobbled together from Peter Gill, Murray Green and Mark Abraham, specialised for TOSR with the overcall structure.

versus Pass: (13+,any)

versus Pass - Pass - 1H (or higher)

versus 1C (8-12, 3 to 5 cards in both majors)

A scientific defense is to treat 1C as a weak NT, which it most commonly is. It can be three-suited or two-suited or one-suited, but these all lose on frequency to the weak notrump shapes.


penalties with 3+ clubs, 13+points


opening bids usually with 5+ cards


one-suiter, < opening strength, correctable responses






hearts + minor


spades + minor

This defense is based on the Cappelletti defense to a weak 1NT. The vulnerability is crucial -if they're vulnerable and you're not, you tend to double; if you're vulnerable and they're not, you tend to bid your suit. Strong hands tend to start with doubles.

Subsequent doubles are our normal shortage-based doubles.

versus 1C - Pass - 1H/1S

versus 1D (the so-called fertilizer or fert)

Double = 15+ any, others = natural 10-14 (1NT 12-14 with 'system on').

In response to your "overcall" of 1H or 1S, 1NT is forcing for one round, jumps in new suits are forcing, new suits are not forcing. Alternate: we open 1H and 1S as our normal canape openings, but with the suit opened. Step 1 is then relay, but there is no immediate min/max since weíve lost that step. In this alternate we have 2C as the 10-14 minors option, and no Ekrens.

After the 15+ double, we have our normal transfer continuations. After a double, their system notes indicate that the partner of the fert opener will pass only with 3+D and will redouble with 0-2D and no clear bid (strong hands will probably choose one of these two options). Be prepared to pass the double on occasions :-). Alternate: we can play relay responses to the double as if it is a 1C.

Against 1D - Pass - Pass

Against 1D - Pass - 1H

Against 1D - Pass - ?? (except Pass or 1H)

versus 1H (8-12 0-2 or 6+H)

The Martel defense (invented by one of USA's top experts) is that 2H by you shows 0-2 or 6+ hearts and a reasonable or better hand (i.e. a similar meaning to their bid!). They now have to expose their hand-type (i.e. the suspense is over). Responses to 2H are correctable, i.e. 3C says I want to play in 3C if you don't have hearts otherwise please correct to 3H in your 6 card suit partner. Double thus shows 3+ cards in H and opening strength, 1NT is 16-18 with a H stopper and an overcall is a normal overcall.

I think this sucks because youíll get 6223 hands where opener will pass you in 2H vulnerable for hurtingness. Alternately treat it as a natural 1H opening and have the normal overcall structure. That could be interesting.

If they raise 1H to 2H then double should be "penalty or take-out" - i.e. a two-way bid showing either 5+ hearts or 0-2 hearts - in the direct seat (1H) pass (2H) x = penalty or takeout. This forces the next hand to declare length or shortage (passing or bidding). This "raise" is short in hearts, of course.

If they bid a new suit e.g. 1H (pass) 2C then double should be takeout of responder's suit. Opener is heavy odds-on to declare a six card major now if that's what they have.

versus 1S - similar to 1H above.

versus 1NT

versus 2C or 2D

versus 2H, 2S or 2NT