Join Bridge Winners
LC Standard -- Major Openings (part 1)
(Page of 2)

We've finally left behind the annoying 1NT section. In comparison, the rest of the convention card will be a breeze.

In this article, we will cover the items in the upper half (as shown) of MAJOR OPENING.

Five-card majors

Of course, LC Standard uses 5-card majors. In 3rd or 4th seat, however, I recommend occasionally ("rarely" is probably a better word) opening with a good 4-card major. For example, after two passes, I like1(not1), holding: KQJ9 J52 A32 J32. The hand could easily belong to the opponents (since partner already passed) and I want a spade lead. Opening1has more preemptive value than opening1. I'm not in too much danger of partner burying me by getting me too high in a 4-3 fit (again protected by his passed-hand status). As to the exact parameters for opening a 4-card major, that's up to the individual (and vulnerability-dependent), but it always has to be a good suit (lots of honors). I would never open a 4-card major as the dealer or in 2nd seat.

Major-Suit raises

While Bergen raises are popular, they are not part of LC Standard. For one, they are hard to memorize in and out of competition. Also, there are many variations out there. Most importantly, I prefer to use the 3-level for something else, to be discussed at the end of this article.

A raise from 1M (1-of-a-Major) to 3M (3-of-a-Major) is shown as plain-old Invitational. "Invitational" means approximately 11-12 points counting distribution. Typically this immediate raise promises 4 (or more) trump. With a 3-card limit raise, we respond 1NT (more on this next month). A raise to 2M is a decent 7 to 10 (with 6 to a bad 7, start with 1NT).

In Competition:

In the modern style (and LC Standard style) the double raisein competitionis weak. This means that if the opponents overcall or double, a jump-raise shows 4+ trump andlessthan 7 points in support.

Examples:

East
KJ32
42
J1087
543
W
N
E
S
1
X
3

East
654
QJ98
10983
32
W
N
E
S
1
2
3

Of course, vulnerability and valuation (honors in the trump suit are more attractive than in the opponent's suit) are key factors. For more, readIntroduction to the LAWorTo Bid or Not to Bid, the LAW of Total Tricks.

The next page covers conventional raises and 3-level jump shifts.

Conventional Raises:

Jacoby 2NTis very popular and certainly part of LC Standard. Make sure you and partner choose whether or not you are playing the standard version (opener's 3-level bid shows shortness in that suit).

Example:

West
AKJ65
AQ3
2
J765
W
N
E
S
1
P
2NT
P
?

Bid 3, showing shortness.

Also be aware that this convention isnotplayed by a passed hand, nor in competition. After the opponents overcall, 2NT is natural. [Example: 1 (1) 2NT]

After a double [1(X)] , 2NT is the Jordan convention (more on this next month).

A 3NT response shows a 4-3-3-3 hand and 13-15 HCP. The four-card suit is usually a minor. The 3NT bidder shouldn't be all prime (that is, aces and spaces). Opener can pass 3NT with a flat hand, or go back to four of his major. With slam interest he can control-bid or useRKC.

Splinterbids are part of LC Standard. They are a jump to above 3-of-opener's major. So,1-3is asplinter,as is1-4.Splinterbids should be limited to at most 15 points in support. I prefer not to have a singleton ace or king, but sometimes theSplinterBid is better than an alternative. I prefer aSplinterBid (if in range) toJacoby 2NT.

Other 3-level responses

One of the best parts of LC Standard is thejump to 3-of-a-lower suit. I've had great success using these responses for the otherwise-hard-to-show invitational hands. Such jumps show a 6+ card suit and not quite enough for a2/1 GF.

Examples:

East
K2
43
52
AQ109873
W
N
E
S
1
P
3

East
532
AKJ1054
Q765
W
N
E
S
1
P
3

These jumps are alertable (in red).They are not used in competition. If the opponents double or overcall the 1M opening, then jump-shifts are weak (not invitational). They will be discussed in another section of the Convention Card.

Next time, we will wrap up the 1-of-a-major section.

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