Interference over 1C 16/17+ Strong, Artificial and Forcing

When our Auction Starts with 1 (16+ or 17+) and the OPPs immediately interfere (over 1), systems have traditionally developed so that Responder can now show three strength levels of hands: 1) Complete bust (0-3/4 in terms of points); 2) Something middling (4-whatever is Game Force in terms of points); and 3) Game Forcing (partnership has at least 25 points in terms of points).

There are many different ways to approach Responder's problem of defining strength with his first call. However, the foundation of all of them is the "three bucket" approach -- bust, competing, game forcing. Once we agree on 3 buckets, we can easily define methods to show which bucket we hold to our stronger partner and help her make good decisions.

For now, I have been using a split system in my strong club partnerships. Low level interference up to 2 is treated with one method. Interference 2NT and up uses different methods.

Up through 2: x = a complete bust (0-3/4); PASS = middling (or better) with no clear direction and forcing 1 round; BIDDING A SUIT = Game or near game values; BIDDING NT = Balanced, Game Forcing and Stoppers.

At the level of 2NT and above: PASS = not ready to GF; Bidding a suit or NT (necessarily at the 3 level) = GF; x = convertible values, not necessarily penalty, but would not be sad if partner PASSed.!

If the OPPs interfere after Responder has made a negative bid (1 - 1 or 1 - 1 depending on system), Opener just bids naturally. Opener's first x is for takeout (at least through 2) and subsequent x's are penalty. Responder's x's tend toward penalty and are at least convertible.

I am not saying that this is theoretically best. It is just what some partners and I have cobbled together over the past few years with some input from others. As usual, having agreements, even if they are not the best agreements is better than not having agreements.

The following auction came up on 2/7/20 (Board 2, AFT Common Game): 1* (1) and our overt agreement here was that transfer responses were off, PASS showed values with no clear direction, x was a bust. With QJxxxxx in s QJx in s and another J, I tried jumping to 3 as a "semi-positive"** and I think that is still best for jumps but again I am open to discussion as to best approaches. I am also open to criticism that perhaps my 7th upgrades all these Qs and Js to a GF response.

* 1 = 16+ in this partnership

** A semi-positive is a jump over the 1 opening showing a good 6 card or longer suit with not much outside, not enough values to GF.