Bridge World Standard

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rod
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Bridge World Standard

Post by rod »

Bridge World Standard is a "consensus of experts" system of bidding and play curated by The Bridge World magazine. It is updated using polls of expert players. It's useful as a foundation for building your own system with your favourite partner, and for defining methods that you may use as "standard" in the absence of other agreements, while having some assurance that they are accepted and battle-tested by top players.

The general approach is 2/1 Game Force with a semi-forcing 1NT response to a major opening.

The purpose of this thread is to clarify and summarize important aspects of the system and should be read in companion with the full system description. My goal is to make the system easier to learn and understand, in part by providing examples.

This concerns the 2017 version of BWS which is the latest as of this writing. Before that was a 2001 version.

I'll write a separate post (or more) for each main chapter.
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I. Definitions

Post by rod »

So yeah, 5-4-3-1 means any combination of suits with those lengths, and 5=4=3=1 means specifically 5 spades, 4 hearts, 3 diamonds and 1 club. The other items seem obvious enough.

I would add a definition for "sandwich position", referring to the player next to bid after an opening bid on their left, pass by partner, and a bid on their right.

First chapter done!
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II. General Understandings and Defaults

Post by rod »

Artificial bid doubled: For example, 1NT - Pass - 2 - Dbl - 2 is weaker than Pass (Pass is therefore mildly encouraging).

Bypass rule: This seems an example of BWS favouring Unusual Notrump interpretation of notrump bids that otherwise seem illogical.

Conversions: Here is the example from poll question #217:

1♠        Pass      2♠        Pass
Pass      Dbl/2NT   Pass      3♣
Pass      3

The double in this sequence suggests more in high cards and not a preferred suit. But more interesting to me is the implication that a balancing takeout call with 3 unbid suits could be missing support for the lowest such suit, intending to "convert" to the next higher suit if partner bids it.

Doubles subject to no explicit agreement: No further comment.

Five notrump: Choice of Slam is top priority without another specific agreement.

Forcing vs. nonforcing: This seems mostly common sense, but be sure to read it all. An important point is that in competitive auctions the focus is more on winning the contract than reaching game; don't punish partner for competing!

Form of scoring: The system is the same in matchpoints vs. IMPs, but of course judgement decisions will vary.

Four notrump: Top priority is RKC or Blackwood, or takeout if competitive.

Interpretation priorities: Doesn't say much.

Jumps: 1 - 4 is to play, but 1 - 5 is Exclusion KCB.

Lead-directing doubles: The only poll question I see on this topic is #214 which doesn't say much. (a) seems fine but the rest talks confusingly about when doubles are not lead-directing without saying when they are. It's probably safe to say that a double of a non-sacrifice suit slam calls for an unusual lead (likely based on a void). And of course doubles of artificial bids tend to be lead-directing.

Opposing doubles: Applying common sense when our forcing bid is doubled.

Passed-hand situations: More common sense.

Passes over redoubles: Examples of penalty passes are:

2    Dbl   Rdbl  Pass

1    Pass  Pass  Dbl
Rdbl  Pass

1    Pass  1♠    Pass
2/♠  Pass  Pass  Dbl
Rdbl  Pass

Examples of takeout passes are:

1    Dbl   Rdbl  Pass

1    Pass  1♠    Dbl
Rdbl  Pass

Honestly I don't see much rhyme or reason to this and the memory burden seems severe.

My recommendation: No passes of redoubles require takeout.

Redoubles: Looks reasonable, though the second case of takeout redoubles seems to be a subset of the first.

Splinters vs. Fragments: It's not clear when fragment bids are ever used. Splinters seem to be preferred.

Suit jumps: When in doubt it's natural.

Two notrump: If it could reasonably be natural, it is. Otherwise without another specific agreement, Unusual.
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III. Slam-Bidding Methods

Post by rod »

This chapter should be studied carefully.

Ace- and Key-Card-Asking: 1430 is popular, but BWS says 0314.

Agreed Suit and Number of Keys: A supported suit, if there is one, takes priority as the agreed suit. 6KCB applies only when two suits have been supported.

First Slam-Try: For example:

1    1♠
3♠    4♣

shows a club suit. However:

1    1♠
2    3
4♣

shows a control in clubs.

But what is responder supposed to do in the first auction if they don't have a second suit?

My recommendation: Slam tries should show controls. This was a cornerstone of the Blue Team Club system.

Kaplan Control Principles: Examples:

1    1♠
3♠    4♣
4♠

discourages slam but does not deny a diamond or heart control. However:

1    1♠
4♠    5♣
5♠

denies any red-suit control.

Last Train: Sacrifices a control-showing bid when it's your last chance to invite slam without going beyond game.

Mild and Serious Slam-Tries: So a non-nump 3NT is a mild slam try when committed to game in a major, and failing to do that adds strength to other slam tries. Interesting!

Open suit: OK but seems pointless without also defining what bids ask for control of the open suit.

Asking follow-ups: Yep.

Grand-Slam Force: OK.

Interference: DOPI and DEPO, which conveniently are often the same call.

Pass and Pull: Yes a forcing pass followed by pulling partner's double is stronger than making the same bid directly.

Slow arrival: I have no idea where this might apply. Other parts of the system seem to contradict it.

My recommendation: Play that a jump to game discourages continuation where lesser forcing bids are available.

Voids: OK but only if bidding that high makes sense.
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IV. Partnership-Bidding Methods

Post by rod »

A. Opening-Bid Requirements

Strength for opening one-bids seems very standard; Charlie Goren would approve. The 2♣ opening is basically game-in-hand when unbalanced, which I like because these auctions can get high very quickly.

B. Choice of Suit

Note BWS rejects 1♣ openings on 2 cards, so 1 could be a 4=4=3=2 hand.

C. After Our Preempt

There are very specific conventions to remember here.

D. After Our Two Clubs

Good, nothing too complicated! What BWS calls Birthright is also known as Kokish.

E. After Our Two-Notrump-Family Opening

This looks pretty normal. Again, Fast Arrival applies in notrump auctions (i.e. Texas is weaker than Jacoby followed by a self-raise).
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IV. Partnership-Bidding Methods (continued)

Post by rod »

F. After Our One-Notrump Opening

Example sequences will help to remember this.

1NT   2♣    Stayman
      2/  Transfers
      2♠    Clubs or range inquiry
      2NT   Diamonds
      3♣    Both minors, weak
      3    Both minors, strong, 2-2 majors
      3/♠  Both minors, strong, showing singleton or void
      4♣    Gerber
      4/  Transfers

1NT   2♣
2          No major
2          Hearts or both majors
2♠          Spades, denies hearts

1NT   2♣
2    2    Weak with both majors, opener passes or corrects
      2♠    Invitational with 5 spades and 4 hearts
      2NT   Invitational
      3♣/  Natural, forcing
      3/♠  Smolen (5 cards in other major)
      4♣/  6 hearts/spades and 4 of other major

1NT   2♣
2    2♠    Invitational with 4 spades
      2NT   Invitational
      3♣/  Natural, forcing
      3    Invitational
      3♠    Slam try in hearts with unspecified splinter (next step then asks*)
      4♣    KCB for hearts
      4    Slam try in hearts with no short suit

1NT   2♣
2♠    2NT   Invitational
      3♣/  Natural, forcing
      3    Slam try in spades with unspecified splinter (next step then asks*)
      3♠    Invitational
      4♣    KCB for spades
      4    Slam try in spades with no short suit

* First step is short clubs, 2nd is short diamonds, 3rd is short in the other major.

1NT   2
2    2♠    5 hearts, 4 spades, invitational or better**
      2NT   Invitational
      3♣/  Natural, forcing
      3    Invitational, nonforcing
      3♠/4♣/ Splinter
      3NT   Choice of games
      4    Slam interest, nonforcing

** Then with a minimum opener may only bid 2NT or 3 of a major.

1NT   2
2♠    3    5-5 majors, forcing

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IV. Partnership-Bidding Methods (continued)

Post by rod »

G. After Our Major-Suit Opening

The 1NT response to one of a major is "semi-forcing", at most game-invitational strength, and may conceal a 6+ card suit or a game invitation with 3-card support. Therefore passing it carries some risk and may be done only with a bare minimum opener, at most 12 HCP.

1    1♠    4+ cards, 6+ points
      1NT   As noted above
      2♣/  Natural, game force
      2    6-9 points, 3+ cards
      2♠    Natural, good 5+ cards and 16+ points
      2NT   Game-forcing raise, 4+ trumps
      3♣/  Natural, invitational, not forcing
      3    About 10-12 points, 4+ trumps
      3♠/4♣/ Splinter raise
      3NT   Weak preemptive raise with some defensive strength
      4    Weak preemptive raise with no defensive strength
      4♠    To play
      4NT   KCB
      5♣/  Exclusion KCB

1    1♠
1NT         12-14 HCP
2NT         18-19 HCP
3NT         Long solid hearts
4♣/        Splinter raise of spades
4          To play but not with AKQ

1    1NT
2♠          Forcing
2NT         Invitational
3♠/4♣/     Splinter for hearts as trump

1♠    1NT
2NT   3♣// Transfer to next higher suit

1    2
2♠/3♣       Natural, reverse showing extra values

1    2
2♠/3♣/     Game try showing values in the bid suit
2NT         Game invitation in hearts
3          Preemptive

1    2NT
3♣//♠      Singleton or void
3          Slam interest, no short suit
3NT         Moderate extra values, no short suit
4          Minimum, no short suit

1    3
3♠          (or 1♠ - 3♠ - 3NT) asks for shortness
3NT         Cue-bid showing a spade control

1    1NT
2♣/  2♠   Good raise of the minor, forcing to 3 of the minor

1♠    1NT
2    3    Artificial strong raise of diamonds

1    1NT
2♣    3    Good hand with diamonds improved by the 2♣ bid

1/♠  1NT
2/3  4♣    Control-showing in support of opener's 2nd suit

1♠    1NT
2/3  4♣/  Control-showing in support of opener's 2nd suit

1♠    1NT
2♣    2    Bart convention, artificial, maximum, a natural rebid will clarify
            (for this specific sequence only)

Pass  1/♠ 
1NT         Same as by unpassed hand
2♣          Artificial strong raise (not further defined, assume reverse Drury)
2/3♣       Natural, nonforcing
Other-JS    (not 4♣) Strong raise of the major with length in the suit bid
Double-JS   Splinter raise of the major

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IV. Partnership-Bidding Methods (continued)

Post by rod »

H. After Our Minor-Suit Opening

To be continued...
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