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Light Opening Canape Bids
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There have been two recent discussions on light opening bids, first a discussion of transfer openings and  a current thread on if they are "against the spirit of the game". As I play light opening bids in the majors in all positions I though I would explain why I play them.

1-Light opening bids create a rebid problem. This is why they are generally used in 3rd seat. Responder has limited his hand. The bid is a preempt. not a psyche. The bid forces 4th hand to employ defensive bidding.

2-Four card Majors create a bidding problem. That is why the vast majority of U.S. players employ 5 card majors. Even forcing club players prefer 5 card majors.

3-Canape openings create a bidding problem. This is why they are rarely used in the U.S. anymore in favor of nebulous minor suit openings which may or may not be a true suit.

So why do I play them and how do I solve the inherent bidding issues?

Our solution to the bidding problems is to limit the range of opening Major one bids. The result of doing so requires the rest of the bidding system to employ unnatural acts that require 100 pages of system notes where every bid is an alert BUT the result is much like opening light in 3rd seat except opener, not responder, is limited.

We open one of a major with virtually all hands that contain 8-11HCP and a four card (or longer) major in 1st or 2nd seat. The hand may open one of a major with xxxx in the major and AKQxxx in a side suit the only caveat being that hands with a six card suit and 10-14HCP may open on the two level. While bidding judgment is always permitted if a hand is not opened partner will assume you don't have that hand and bid accordingly.

So why do I bid this way? Simple. It is an effective preempt as virtually all good players know which is why light 3rd seat openers are normal for most. Additionally, almost any hand with 8-11HCP and a 4 card major, even it it has a longer suit is a high probability occurrence so our opponents are treated to a "3rd seat opener" in 1st or 2nd seat rather frequently. 

We use a canape structure. Part of this is forced because all other opening bids show more than 10HCP but part of the reason is the inherent advantage of a canape opening. First, if opener has a second suit, overcaller may well have a bidding problem. Second, if responder happens to fit opener's suit an immediate jump to an appropriate level is warranted.

Overall the light canape major possesses inherent advantages. It is not a psyche. Nobody is fooling anybody.

 

Tom

Note: We rarely play at a club and we over disclose. The only required pre-alert is the canape structure and the entire system is GCC. Although not required we do provide suggested defenses to the rest of the system if asked. The only good defense to the major opening is sound defensive bidding judgment.

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