Opening Bid: One Club
An opening bid of 1 is the cornerstone of any strong club system. Although the Precision system defines a strong hand as one with 16 or more points, Our club system require at least 17 points. It's not an important distinction, but the methods described here will use 17 HCP as the criteria. We do not use the standard 15-17 point range for an opening bid of 1NT, although that range 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.
That's it. Subsequent bids by each partner are either natural or standard conventions.
The opening bidder's second bid is always a natural call, and if responder indicated a hand with either zero or one control, which is 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 and Stayman
After the first response opener's rebid of 1NT shows 16-18 points. Responder can bid 2 as Stayman and can also use Jacoby Transfer bids or Gerber. Opener's jump to 2NT would show a hand with 19-21 points.
If partner opens 1 and after my step-bid response she rebids 1NT we have a method to show 5-5 in the majors. We really want the strong hand to be the declarer, so we use this agreement:
If partner has a major we have found a 9-card fit and the strong hand will be the declarer
If partner denies a major by rebidding 2 we will raise the diamond bid!
Partner will alert the 3 call as showing both majors - It's not a diamond suit
If an opponent doubles or overcalls we will use PODI, which is an acronym for Pass-with-Zero and Double-with-One. We can show zero controls or one control with either a pass or a double. If we bid, each higher step shows an additional control, starting with the first step above the opponent's overcall. The first step shows two controls.
Opponent's Use the Mathe Bid
Any player who uses a forcing club system will find that the 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. We need a defense to a defense! This is what we agree to:
Okay, this is not terribly complicated. right?