In standard Precision, the responses to the strong 1 opening of 1,1,2 and 2 are all natural showing 8+ HCP, and a 1NT response shows a balanced 8 to about 13. The result is that a large proportion of hands that would be declared by opener after a strong no trump opening and transfer sequence are played by the weaker of the two hands, which is usually disadvantageous, as well as creating undesirable swings at match point play. Another disadvantage in a strong club system is that after a sequence starting say 1-P-1-P, opener has to start describing a hand with hearts as the main suit at 2, losing a round of bidding in comparison to standard bidders. In the system played by Eric Rodwell and Jeff Mecksroth (which we will call Meckwell) a unique system of switched responses and rebids are used which save bidding space and allow the stronger hand to play the majority of contracts. Superficially the method is more complicated than a natural approach, but since there are only a few frequently repeated concepts involved, it is not that difficult to learn.
The 1 Club Opening
The 1 opening is normally 17+HCP with a balanced hand, or 16+ with an unbalanced hand. All responses other than 1 are game forcing and promise 8+HCP.
1 - artificial negative, 0-7HCP, may be any shape
1NT - shows, 5+ clubs, 8+ HCP.
1NT - shows, 5+ clubs, 8+ HCP.
2- shows 5+ diamonds, 8+ HCP
2 - balanced hand, 8-10 HCP.
2 - balanced hand, 14+ HCP.
2 - three suited hand, with specifically 1444, 4144, 0445, or 0454 shape, 8+ points
2NT - three suited hand, with specifically 4414 or 4441 shape
3 to 4 - show specific 3 suited patterns (4441 or 4450) and strengths, not including a 5 card major (5M4x4y hands always respond to show the major).
The response structure is such that in all but a few cases, opener can arrange to play game or slam in his own long suit or responders suit or no trump. Three suited hands or 8+ HCP were handled in the original Precision system by initially responding 1 and then making a special jump rebid (the impossible negative or unusual positive). Meckwell handle these cases with an immediate positive three suited response from 2 thru 4. Although these responses are unique to Meckwell, conceptionally the transfer principle is used in main other systems in responding to 1.
What is really unique is the rebid structure by opener. If you are willing to accept artificiality, the advantages of using switch rebids immediately becomes clear. Let us first consider openers problems after a 1 response (spades or 11-13 balanced). If opener is balanced (or semi-balanced with no weak doubleton or singleton other than perhaps spades, he can rebid 1NT. This method is economical and efficient with pattern that include say 4 hearts and a 5 card minor and limited values. If openers main suit is spades, or he has some kind of spade fit, he can rebid 1 (leaving plenty of room to show any two or three suited hands. The remaining hand types include mostly one suiters or two suiters in the minors or hearts. Since it is normal to show the higher ranking suit first with two suiters, a natural rebid of 2 would include more hand types than a 2 rebid showing clubs. This is an inefficient use of bidding space, it is better to use 2 to show hearts (plus a possible second lower suit) and a 2© rebid to show clubs (nearly always one suited). Note that in this auction the declarer for all club and heart contracts has already been determined, so that is not a consideration in the design of a rebid structure. We are left with the following:
1 - 3+ spades
1NT - balanced or semi-balanced, denies 5 hearts or interest in a spade contract.
2 - shows 5+ hearts and asks support
2 - shows 5+ diamonds, rebids can focus on confirming real spades or showing the balanced 11-13 hand
2 - shows 6 clubs, or rarely 5 (as with 0544 shape).
2 or higher - can be used for some special purpose (asking controls, setting trump suit or showing special 3 suited patterns)
A similar analysis applies to the rebids after the other transfer positive responses .
After 1-1 showing hearts opener can rebid 1NT with most semi-balanced or balanced hands, 2 to show 5+ spades, 2 to show 5+ diamonds, 2 to show a heart fit or heart length (also setting the declarer), and 2 to show clubs.
After 1-1NT showing clubs, opener can no longer rebid 1NT to show semi-balanced or balanced hands, and since this is the most frequent case, a rebid of 2 is assigned that meaning (with emphasis on responder showing second suits or singletons). The next most frequent hand type includes 5+ spades, so with those hands the rebid is 2, followed by 2 (showing hearts), 2 showing diamonds and 2NT (showing clubs). Bids beyond 2NT can then be assigned special meanings.
After 1-2 showing diamonds, the space saving switched responses are no longer particularly effective, it is probably better to retain all rebids of 2 thru 3 as natural (getting the majors played by the normal hand), leaving a rebid of 2 to show either balanced hands that have no desire to declare, 3 suited hands with short diamonds, or hands with diamonds and slam interest.
After 1-2 (balanced 8-10) there is also little to be gained by switched responses, so rebids of 2 thru 3 should all be natural, with the suit bids asking for trump support.
RM uses complex acceptance bids after a transfer suit positive. Normally,
opener readily accepts the transfer at their first turn, either by bidding
the known suit, or using a bid that shows a second suit in passing. By implication,
simple acceptance of the transfer shows a balanced hand, or a hand that needs
little to get into slam.
The One Diamond Opening
The responses are somewhat generic in scope:
1 of a major - 4 (RARELY 3 carder)+ in length, unlimited.
1NT - 7-11 HCP
2 - 5+ spades, 4+ hearts, LESS than invitational
2 - 5+ spades, 4+ hearts, invitational
2NT - 11+-12 HCP
3 - minors, LESS than invitational
3 - preemptive
3NT - to play
4 - minors, invitational
The rebids after
a one level response is as follows:
2 - (54)+ in the minors, OR 1-4-(53) OR (1444) after
a 1 response
2 - natural
2 of the supported major - natural, promising 4 in length
2 of the OTHER major - (65)+ two suiter OR limit
major raise with 3 or 4 card support
3 - limit raise with short OTHER major
(Nota bene: After 1 -2 MIN, 2 = balanced hand. Other rebids are artificial.)
Over a natural overcall OTHER than double or 1NT, the usual complement of doubles are used. Negative free bids are implemented as well (to show a 2/1, double THEN free bid).
Over a takeout double, RM uses a unique responder scheme based on transfers of mostly unlimited strength:
1 - 4+ spades
Opposite the micro NT opening, two-way Stayman is used, with 2 being forcing to at least 3NT in nature. Responder does NOT have to promise a major with the bid. 2 of a major directly is constructive and normally to play (can be raised). Responder shows a short suit forcing hand by bidding 2 , then bidding 3 over the 2 level response to force opener to bid 3 . Minor suit slam tries are shown by 1NT-2 -2X-3 to force opener to bid 3 .
- non-forcing, 5+ in length
2NT - forces opener to bid 3 (can be passed OR FG 2 suiter)
3 - forces opener to bid 3 (can be passed or FG one suited hand)
After 2 - 2 , opener answers as follows:
2 - artificial, promising at least one major (2 by responder asks for which
2 - artificial with extras
2NT - natural with extras
3 - minimum hand
- 56+ hand
After 2 - 2NT - 3 , responder shows the FG two suiters this way:
3 - diamonds and hearts
3 - majors
3 - spades and diamonds
In competition, negative doubles are used up to 3 . Over a takeout double 2 is still an asking bid. The rest of the time, natural bidding commences.
3NT - maximum spades
After 2 - 2NT - 3 , 3 of a major is pass or correct with a 3 response asking opener to bid the major they do NOT possess.
Case Three: Any Other Bid
Here like above RM uses two openings depending on seat. In 1st/2nd seat, it’s a three suiter short in diamonds, 10+ to 15 HCP. In 3rd/4th seat it’s a standard preempt.
- 3 then asks for fragment:
-3 of major - 3 cards in suit
-3NT - 4414 exactly
RM uses a two-way two spade opening, depending on seat. In 1 t/2nd chair, it’s a club preempt that is poor in quality or a 3 preempt of any quality (in these seats, 3 is a good club preempt). In 3rd/4th seat it reverts to a standard preempt in spades.
Pass - long spades
2NT - asks with values
3 , 4 of a minor, 5
- pass or correct
3 - forces opener to bid 3 (can be signoff, or bid 3 to invite, or make a forcing bid in a minor)
3 - minor suit slam try
4 - ace asking
4 - both minors, weak in nature
Over 2NT - 3 , opener bids their five card major. Otherwise it’s an automatic 3 responses. At this point, responder bids 3NT to show both majors, 3 to show 4 spades OR NO major, and 3 shows 4 hearts but DENY four spades. 4 of a minor shows a 5-5 with hearts and the bid minor. 4 hearts shows a 5-5 black two suiter and mild slam interest. 4 spades shows a 5-5 pointed two suiter and mild slam interest.
/ - natural
2NT - one suited hand
3 - clubs and hearts, 5-5 or better
3 - diamonds and hearts, 5-5 or better
3 - majors, 5-5 or better
3 - spades and diamonds
By a passed hand,
the strong NT defense is used.
B. Defense Against Strong Openings
Nothing exotic here at all. RM uses Mathe over both 1C and 2 openings. Double shows the majors, 1NT the minors, and all bids are natural.
RM has NUMEROUS slam treatments. They use 4 of a unbid (on their sheets the word “unfocused” is used) major as RKC for a minor. They use Kickback. They use 0314 RKC Blackwood for the last natural suit if none is clearly agreed to. However I want to focus on two of the major ones, Serious 3NT and Last Train (both created by Mr. Rodwell).
Step 2: First round control of the LT suit AND 0 or 3 keycards
Step 3: First round control of the LT suit AND 1 or 4 keycards
Step 4: First round control of the LT suit AND 2 keycards with NO queen
Step 5: First round control of the LT suit AND 2 keycards with queen
6 of the agreed major: 2nd round control of LT suit
- upside down carding, including attitude, count, and suit-preference
- relatively standard honor leads with some minor tweaks
- there exists an shift principle along the lines of Obvious Shift
- some coded 9’s and 10’s
- reverse Smith Echo vs. NT and reverse trump echo for suit preference
- lead 2nd through declarer at NT
This treatment is used only when RM
are non-vulnerable versus vulnerable. It shows either a standard strong NT
OR it shows a single suite hand that is similar to a weak jump overcall. Advancer
assumes that it is strong. The overcaller may pass the Stayman ask and/or
the Jacoby transfer bids if that is their suit. Over the 2 inquiry, the overcaller
either bids 2NT to show the strong hand or jump in their suit.