Opening Bid:   One Club

An opening bid of 1 is the cornerstone of any strong club system.  The Precision system defines a strong hand as one with 16 or more points, but most of the other club systems require at least 17 points.  It's not an important distinction, but the methods described here will use 17 HCP as the criteria.  We will also use the standard 15-17 point range for an opening bid of 1NT, although 14-16 is a very popular method for many Big Club systems.

Definition:  A king is one control and an ace is valued at two controls.  Other honors are not defined in terms of controls.  There are a total of 12 controls in the deck.

Responder's first bid is artificial because it is a step bid to show the number of controls in the hand.
  • 1     0 or 1 control
  • 1     2 controls - either one ace or two kings
  • 1     3 controls - specifically one ace and one king
  • 1NT   3 controls - Three kings
  • 2     4 controls
  • Each higher step shows an additional control
That's it.  Subsequent bids by each partner are either natural or standard conventions.

Second Bid
The opening bidder's second bid is always a natural call, and if responder indicated a hand with either zero or one control, usually a weak hand, opener's rebid at the one level should be in the 17-20 point range.  With more, opener can jump to the 2-level.

Notrump Rebid
After the first response opener's rebid of 1NT shows 18-20 points.  Responder can bid 2 as Stayman and can use Jacoby Transfer bids and any other agreements, such as Texas, Gerber, etc, that the partnership normally uses after a notrump opening bid.  There is a definite advantage to being able to show a hand with 18+ points while staying at the 1-level.  A jump to 2NT would show a hand with 21+ points and is forcing for one round.

Your partner opens 1 and after your step-bid response he rebids 1NT.  Suppose you have 5-5 in the majors.  You really want the strong hand to be the declarer, right?  Use this agreement:
    Bid 2 as Stayman
    If partner has a major you have found a 9-card fit and the strong hand will be the declarer
    If partner denies a major by rebidding 2     -     Raise the diamond bid!
    Your partner will alert your 3 call as showing both majors
If an opponent doubles or overcalls you can agree to use PODI, which is an acronym for Pass-with-Zero and Double-with-One.   You can show zero controls or one control with this agreement.  If you bid, each higher step shows an additional control, starting with the first step above the opponent's overcall to show two controls.

Opponent's Mathe Bid
If you play any forcing club system you will find that your opponents often use Mathe, probably the most popular defense used against any forcing club system.  This convention was first devised by Lew Mathe perhaps 50 years ago.  They will double to show majors or overcall 1NT to show minors.  Other bids are natural.  You need a defense to a defense!  Try this:
  • If an opponent doubles for his partner to bid a major, responder can bid 1NT to show minor suits.
  • If the opponent bids 1NT to show minors, responder can double to indicate majors.

      You've turned their agreement against them.

Okay, this is not terribly complicated.  right?