Monday, May 08, 2006

Canapé, pro en cons

As you can see, MOSCITO uses 'possible canapé', which means all 5M-4m and 4M-5m hands are opened the same.

When partner is strong (invite or better), and opponents are quiet, it's easy to find out if opener has a 4 or 5 card M: he just relays, and if opener responds with 2 or higher, he has at least 5M.
When partner is weak, he just don't ask and lets opponents in the dark. He supports 2M on a 3 card and 3M on a 4 card. This has the advantage that opponents can't use the LOTT, because they don't know if we're playing in a 7 or 8 card fit. Only opener knows this. Fact is that opener has around 60% chance of having a 5+ card M, so for us it's quite safe.
If partner bids 1NT, opener knows his partner doesn't have a 3 card support for his Major, and he can easily rebid 2m with 4M-5m. These hands can be quite hard in natural systems!
'Possible canapé' sometimes causes trouble in competitive bidding, when partner has a 3 card M with invitational strength, and he wants to find a 5-3 fit. If opponents intervene high enough, then relays are off, and it's trying to find the best way of showing your hand.

In 3rd and 4th seat, we play 1// as 2-suited where canapé is ensured, except when the second suit is . This is a lot easier in competitive bidding, since opener can just bid his 2nd suit and there's no ambiguity. With longer we bid NT, when we bid the opening suit is longer.

Canapé definetly has advantages over the normal way of bidding suits. First of all, it's harder to defend against. You know there's (or might be) a 5 card suit somewhere but you don't know which, and you may want to play in opener's 4 card suit which is quite hard if you don't have the right tools.

An example hand from competition: JTxx-xxx-x-AKQJx. According to the system, this is a 1 opening showing 4+. 2 shows a 3+ card support. The bidding went:
1* - Dbl - 2* - pass
pass - Dbl - pass - 3
pass - 3NT - pass - pass
If you pass, partner will lead for sure, so you Double and hope for a lead. Can opponents still run somewhere? Probably 5, but they're not sure if that's a better action. On this hand, they even had 6!

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