Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I guess everyone has heard about the Italian pair Fantoni-Nunes, aka "Fantunes". They play a special system which has a lot of theoretical strengths. We all know the best way to bid with strong hands is to stay low, and preferable bid natural before opponents mess up our auction (relays are only great if opponents keep quiet).

The base of their system is in the 1-level openings: they all show 14+HCP (unlimited, so forcing for 1 round) and are natural in a 5M4 system. The 1 opening shows balanced hands (no 5M) or hands with . So all strong hands start natural and very low (and use low relays to show their extra strength)! This also means they don't need an artificial opening for any strong hand (except the balanced ones).
The 2-level openings are used for hands with 10-13HCP, basicly the normal minimal distributional openings. They are all unbalanced, so they have some playing strength. They usually enter the bidding on the par score contract, so the opponents have to guess what to do, which they usually don't do quite well.
1NT openings show 12-14HCP with most hands which just look like a NT distribution. It includes 5422's, 6m322's, and these days even 4441's. This way their 2-level openings have a 5+ card suit and almost always have a singleton or void.

The system works great (I sometimes play a version from a few years ago online), but the 2-openings tend to randomize the result from time to time. Luckily in the long run, they earn a lot more imps than they lose!
- Here's an example where opponents guessed wrong: I held Q72-AKJ54-Q942-5 and opened a systemic 2. LHO had 14HCP with a 4333 and decided to double, partner passed and RHO bid 3. Partner's pass wasn't necessarily weak, so I doubled (takeout) and that was the end of the auction. It was obvious that partner only had 1 or 2 so we started with a ruff, and eventually they went -4 on a partscore deal!
- Problems arise when you have a misfit: you're higher than normal and can't do much to get to the right strain since many bids are forcing, invitational, or even have a special meaning... Sometimes you have to play in a 5-1 fit, or a level higher than the others. The key principle which seems to work is that opponents have to guess, even after 2X-p-p-? they don't know what partner holds. It's one hell of a preempt although it's constructive.

They also use another kind of slambidding. The first time I read about it, I thought it was near impossible to draw the right conclusions. After playing some hands however, I've found out that it's almost as accurate as a relay system! A combination of frivulous 3NT, last train, Turbo 4NT, and 5NT denying the trump Q, together with 1st and 2nd round controls does wonders. It's basicly some sort of cuebidding where one of the players first tells if he has serious slam interest, later on will one of the players show an odd or an even number of keycards (just to make sure you don't end up in slam with 2 keycards missing), and even later on you can figure out about the trump Q in various ways. Let me demonstrate:
I held AQ94-AKJ-T7632-9.
The bidding went (opponents quiet):
1 - 2*
2 - 3
3NT - 4
4NT - 5
Almost nobody found the slam. Partner's hand was KT32-Q3-AKQ4-J76.

2 showed GF with balanced/ support/; 3NT denied slam interest; 4NT showed a control , a control and an even number of keycards. Now partner didn't have A but still was looking for slam, so he was clearly asking for Q, so I bid the small slam since I knew we had to lose a .

We've noticed that -slams are the hardest to find, since the Turbo is just one step under 5. -slams are quite hard sometimes, but most of the time it's still easy. Major slams are very easy!

If anyone has their latest notes, let me know. ;-)


Kan-Chen said...

Do you have the Fantunes system currently play by Fantoni and Nunes?
I was searching through web sites but failed :(

Free said...

No I don't have their current notes. They keep them private.

Note that they tweak their system a lot, especially relay structures after the 2-level openings, and specific auctions like 1C-1D-1H and 1C-1H-1S.

Daniel Neill has reversed engineered some of the system (probably outdated by now), you can find it at:

Kan-Chen said...

Thanks, it's very useful

Doc said...

We have recently gone into Fantunes in a big way and thrown out our complex strong club system. We play a version strongly based on O'Neill's notes without (some of the later relays!). One major problem remains.

1M - 1N when opener is 11-13 both majors seems impossible to deal with.

O'Neill's notes leave no room to bid at all! There is no mention of the 11-13 hand (perhaps some of this was written when 2H/S openers could be both majors??) If you make 1S - 1N - 2S up to 17 it is impossible to continue.
As responder could have a lot of H, you need to be able to bid 1S - 1N - 2H when 11-13.

Has anyone sorted this out or even got any ideas at all?

Any ideas welcome!

It is playing very well locally. We get the big test this weekend at our major inter-county competition :)