Karmen and Denise's Forcing One Club Bidding System


This site is a reference for Karmen Armoudjian and Denise Wreede, who use a forcing one club bid as the cornerstone of their bridge bidding, but you are welcome to read about their agreements.  Some of them may appear a bit strange to you, but blame them on their mentor, Roy Wilson, who doesn't know everything about bridge, but thinks he does.  Even so, his ideas are fun to play if one can remember them.

This is an explanation of a modern and effective bidding system based on a strong and forcing one club opening bid.

A bit of history...
In the early 1920s Harold Vanderbilt devised a strong club system which came to be known as the Vanderbilt Club.  A few years later it was surpassed by the Schenken Club, which became an alternate for the Standard American system used by most players in the U.S.  In Europe the Neapolitan and Blue Team Club systems were the preferred forcing club methods.  All of these older systems were built around a strong one club opening and four card majors, although the Europeans tended to favor a canapé style of bidding where their second bid suit was longer than the first one.  Strong club systems were not a popular choice, though, in either Europe or the United States.

In 1963 an improved system was developed by Mr. C.C. Wei with some help from Alan Truscott and several friends.  It became known as the Precision Club and was used successfully by the Taiwan team for three consective years in 1967, 1968, and 1969 in the Far East Championships.  That team also reached the finals again in 1970.

C.C. Wei sponsored a number of top-level teams in the United States so he could popularize his Precision bidding system, and in 1972 the Famed Italian Blue Team came out of retirement to enter the World Team Olympiad where the entire team used versions of Precision.  Giorgio Belladonna and Benito Garozzo, the top pair in the world for many years, had a modified version called Super Precision.

Today the two highest ranked players in US history, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell, play their own heavily modified version of Precision.  Paul Soloway preferred that system also, but most of the players in the American Contract Bridge League today are using either Max Hardy's version of Two-Over-One or Mike Lawrence's slightly different version of that system.  Strong club systems are still not very popular in the world.    (Players say... Too complicated!    It's not.)

Anyway, this system is much less complicated than Precision, but very effective, and also lots of fun.


What are the advantages or disadvantages?
Primarily the major strengths of any strong club system are:
  • Highly accurate in auctions where there is a possibility of slam.  This is because the bidding starts at the very lowest level of one club and provides better methods of exchanging information.
  • All opening bids other than one club have a narrower range of points than standard forms of bidding, making judgments easier in both constructive and competitive situations.

  • And the acknowledged weakness of these systems is that opponents are prone to bid aggressively with weak hands over a 1 opening so as to take away bidding room.
  • Another problem is that since the bid of one club is reserved for strong hands, there is a lot of ambiguity when the opening bid is 1, which may be as short as a singleton.  Unfortunately, players who use a forcing club system find that perhaps as many as 40% of the hands are opened 1.
The bidding agreements described here are not Precision bids, but they do make a simple and effective system that can serve as a stepping stone to learning Precision.

Perhaps, though, the single most important reason to adopt a strong club bidding system is that it is just plain fun!

Click on this image to see the convention card we use...    


Defensive Carding and Signals


Below is a short description of our opening bids.  The suit symbols on the left side are links to more detailed explanation of each one.  Click on the convention card above also for explanations.


1-Level Opening Bids

    
       17+ HCP with any distribution - Alert as "Forcing"

       11-16 HCP and may be a singleton - Alert as "May be short"

       11-16 HCP with at least a 5-card suit - A simple raise is game forcing!

       11-16 HCP with at least a 5-card suit - A simple raise is game forcing

       15-16 HCP - Natural 2-level responses and game forcing natural 3-level responses


2-Level Opening Bids
       11-16 HCP with 5+ clubs - May have a 4-card major

       11-16 HCP with 5+ diamonds - Denies a 4-card major

         8-10 HCP with a good suit

         8-10 HCP with a good suit

5-5 Majors or 5-5 Minors - Opening Bids

These are fun bids because the opponents have never played against them before.  The are both descriptive and preemptive as well.
       10+ HCP with at least 5-5 in the majors
    A Forcing Club system does not need a 2NT bid to show 20-21 points, so there is a better use for the bid.


       10+ HCP with at least 5-5 in the minors
    (Note:  Two-suited hands occur far more frequently than hands with a long and sold suit, so this bid will occur more often than the Gambling 3NT call, which is always played from the wrong side!  (The lead should come up to the other hand.)



Practice Hands With Questions and Answers

Okay, many of these bids are new to you and may seem a bit strange, so perhaps you want to see some examples.  It's important that you are comfortable with them and understand why you use them.  These examples and practice hands should help.



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