Monday, November 27, 2006

HEEMAN after 1NT

After a 1NT opening, many players play Stayman and transfers (usually 4 suit transfers). There are some discussions if you should use 2NT as invite without Majors or not, do you have to go via Stayman to invite if you play 4 suit transfers,... What do you do with invites with 4M and 5+m, 5M and 4+m,... And what with GF hands? Do you include 5 card Majors in your 1NT opening, and how do you search for them? Can you show a weak hand with BOTH minors? How about both Majors? How can you have a decent slam approach?

Many more questions arise, and no system is perfect. One day I found HEEMAN and I immediately like it! You can find a full writeup in English at There's a Dutch writeup here:

The main advantages imo are:
- it has lots of possibilities and is VERY easy to remember!
- opener usually plays and there's not much known about his distribution.
- many invitational sequences are possible.
- you can find weaknesses which will cause 3NT fail. So you'll be able to play a better contract.
- easy for slam auctions, and there are many ways to show slam interest.
- you can show 5-5M below 3NT.
- because responder shows his hand, opener can deviate from the normal NT distribution.

The biggest (and only) disadvantage imo: you usually can't find a 5 card Major in opener's hand. The only possible time is when responder shows an invitational hand with the other Major. Now opener can bid 3M with a maximum hand only.
This however is not that bad, but sometimes you go down in 3NT while you had 4M, and sometimes you make 3NT while 4M goes down...

I play this with my Fantunes-partner, where 1NT (11-14) can be all 4333/4432/5332/4441/5422/6m322 shapes! I haven't had much problems, but sometimes it's not easy to know what bids will work out best.

We've made one little adjustment:
1NT - 2
2 - 2
(responder shows an invite+ hand with at least 4-4 in the Majors)
Here we show immediately if we have fit or not:
2NT = minimum without fit
3 = maximum without fit
3 = maximum with fit
3 = minimum with fit
3 = minimum with fit
3NT = maximum with fit
This makes it easier for responder to try for slam or not.

We also don't like the super accepts, because I don't see the reason why you have to play at least 3M when you have a minimum hand with a good 4 card support, or a 4333. We only super accept with maximum hands and show our shortness (so no super accepts with 4333's).

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