Gerry Fox, the coordinator of bridge activities for Oceania Cruises, is a bridge expert and has taught the game full-time for more than 40 years. He is an ACBL Diamond Life Master and the author of several books on the subject. Last month, Gerry shared some myths about minor suites. Below, he shares his best tips on the short club.
Tips on the Short Club
- This is a bid of convenience made necessary by playing 5-card majors. When the only long suit is a 4-card major, one commonly must open a short or convenient club instead.
- Typically, a 1C opener that has just three cards is based on a balanced hand that is too weak to open either 1NT or 2NT, either 12-14 or 18-19 HCP.
- The advantages to the short club are a) it keeps the bidding low to start, and b) when the opener rebids a major, his/her partner knows it is likely to be just four cards
- The disadvantages to the short club are a) it creates ambiguity about the promised length of the clubs, and b) it is easier for the opponents to compete at the 1-level.
- Some rules of the road: With three clubs and three diamonds, always open 1C.
- With three clubs and four diamonds, always open 1D.
- With only two clubs, never open 1C.
- 1C is not forcing. Your partner with 0-5 HCP will pass.
- 1C does not ask partner to bid a 4-card major but to describe his/her hand naturally.
- If the opener rebids 2C or 3C, typically he/she promises six or more cards in the suit.
- If the responder raises 1C to 2C or 3C, he/she shows five or more cards in support.
- As the responder, always assume that 1C is a real suit. If it isn’t, that becomes the opener’s problem to correct later, when necessary.
Improve your bridge game on one of our Signature Sailings featuring an American Contract Bridge League accredited master instructor. Be sure to check back next month for more of Gerry’s great bridge tips!