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I DO not know who suggested the following idea, but it seems to have advantages over the traditional methods.

The original scheme, proposed by Alan Truscott, was that, if the bidding was opened with One of a suit and the next hand doubled, any natural raise to Three of partner's suit was replaced by a bid of 2 no- trumps, and Three of partner's suit was pre-emptive. Fine when the opening bid was in a major suit, for then it would be unlikely that the best final contract would be in no-trumps - it would be either Three or Four of the agreed major.

But if the agreed suit was a minor? No problem if the opening bidder intended to play in that suit, but if 3 no-trumps was the best final contract? Surely it would be better played by the stronger hand when the doubler would be on lead?

Take this deal: South opened One Diamond, West doubled and, with a raise to Three Diamonds, North dutifully bid 2 no-trumps. Now 3 no-trumps is the only final game contract (if played by South). Here it was played by North and was easily defeated after East's natural lead of !10.

So, what is the suggested improvement? That a raise to Three of a minor is natural, with the stronger hand being declarer if the final contract is 3 no-trumps, while 2 no-trumps replaces the pre-emptive raise in the minor. On this deal, 3 no-trumps by South cannot be defeated . . . Yes, if you are playing a Strong Club system this only applies to diamonds but, even so, it is worth bearing in mind.

Love all; dealer South


48 4

!A 7 2

#Q J 8 5 2

2K 5 2

West East

4A J 9 7 410 6 3 2

!K J 5 3 !10 9 8 4

#7 #9 6

2A 8 4 3 29 7 6


4K Q 5

!Q 6

#A K 10 4 3

2Q J 10