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Defending Against Precision




In most versions of precision today, the opening bids that are different from Standard American or 2/1 are


The one club opener which is strong (16+), artificial (can show virtually any shape) and forcing (for one round)


The one diamond opener which can show any of a number of hands. Typically, this is the opener for all hands that cannot be described any other way. For pairs that play two diamonds as other than standard precision, two clubs as guaranteeing six, and five card majors, this could guarantee as few as zero diamonds


The two club opener is usually about 11 to 15 points with at least 6 clubs, or 5 clubs with a side 4-card major


The two diamond opener is typically 3-suited, limited and short in diamonds



Some Probabilities


What are the typical hand types for a precision 1C opener? Better than 85% of the hands opened 1C (discounting freak distributional hands with fewer than 16 HCP) have from 16-19 HCP. And, 47.6% of the hands with 16 or more HCP will be balanced (4x3, 4-4-3-2, or 5-3-3-2). So, when your opponents open 1C, better than 40% of the time, they will have a 16-19 no trump, and, when they donít they will be balanced or semi-balanced (adding in the 5-4-2-2, and 6-3-2-2 hands) about 65% of the time.


Philosophy of Defending Against 1C Openers


So, when your opponents open 1C, more often than not, they will not have shortness, and, most of the time, they will have between 16 and 19 HCP. This tells us that it is highly likely that your side does not have a game, and you should devise your defense to a 1C opener based on that. Most pairs playing against strong no trumps are not looking to find the best GAME when their opponents open 1NT, so neither should you when your opponents open a strong 1C.


So, it is probably best to use your defense to do things: interfere with a constructive auction, and compete for part scores based on fit.


Truscott vs 1C


Bids at the 1-level show a 2-suiter (recommended by A.T. as at least 5-5) as follows


T††††††††† Dbl = clubs and hearts

T††††††††† 1D = reds

T††††††††† 1H = majors

T††††††††† 1S = blacks

T††††††††† 1NT = diamonds and spades


Crash vs 1C


There are many different versions of CRASH depending on which suits you want to be able to show naturally. I present one of them below. Since neither the opponents nor your partner will usually know what you have, the idea is to compete aggressively for part scores especially at favorable vulnerability.


T††††††††† Dbl = reds or blacks (4-4 or better) .... color

T††††††††† 1D = majors or minors (4-4 or better) ..... rank

T††††††††† 1H = hearts

T††††††††† 1S = spades

T††††††††† 1NT = pointed suits or rounded suits (4-4 or better) .... shape

T††††††††† pass = relatively square hand or values (but no major)

T††††††††† 2 bids natural


an example hand:  white vs red,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† †††††††††††† †††† Qxxx

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† †††††††††††† †††† xx

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† †††††††††††† †††† xx

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †† †††††††††† ††††† Kxxxx


1C - 1D (pard) - x (5-7, almost any shape) - ?


I recommend 2S. Either your partner has spades or clubs, and if you believe in the Law of Total Tricks, you are certainly willing to compete to the 2-level in spades or the 3-level in clubs, so get it off your chest, and bid your hand.


A further modification of Crash is that some people play 2C to show 3-suiters, so, advancer, then bids to the level he is willing to play if pard has the wrong stiff.




T††††††††† x = hearts and values to overcall

T††††††††† 1D = spades and values to overcall

T††††††††† 1H = reds or blacks (4-4 or better)

T††††††††† 1S = majors or minors

T††††††††† 1NT = rounded or pointed

T††††††††† 2C = diamonds or majors (5-5 or better)

T††††††††† 2D = hearts or blacks (5-5 or better)

T††††††††† 2H = spades or minors (5-5 or better)

T††††††††† 2S = clubs or reds (5-5 or better)

T††††††††† 2NT = rounded or pointed (5-5 or better)


Over the 2-level bids, advancer puppets to the presumed single suit. Over other bids, proceed as in Crash.



Note: Many partnerships play similar systems over 1C-p-1D(weak)





Defending against the 1D opener


Category 1: 1D shows at least 2 cards. In this situation, diamonds are usually natural or the no trump range not covered by the 1nt opener. Here, my preference is to defend against 1D as natural ... it usually is.


Category 2: 1D can show as few as 0 diamonds. Here, I want to be able to show all suits naturally and still show a major 2-suite, so I recommend the following structure:


T††††††††† 1H is natural, but may be weaker than usual

T††††††††† 2D = diamonds

T††††††††† 2H = Michaels, however you normally play Michaels

T††††††††† 2NT = minors or hearts and clubs (your preference)


Defending Against the 2C opener


The 2C opener is problematic for both sides. While it does have some preemptive value, it also preempts the openerís side. I recommend


T††††††††† x = cards, takeout

T††††††††† 2D, H, S natural, about a king better than a 1-level overcall of a SA 1C opener

T††††††††† 2NT = 14-18 balanced, clubs well stopped

T††††††††† 3C = Michaels

Defending Against the 2D Opener


The 2D opener is much like a ďmini-romanĒ, but both sides know what the short suit is. Overcalls in direct seat should be sound. The reason is that doubles by responder are negative, and can cause you to go for a number. So, 2D-2H-x (neg) - all pass can be very dangerous. 2NT should show a strong NT, double should be either 12 to a bad 15 or 18 plus (if doubler has the big hand, they must bid again (either raise or new suit).




Some Random Examples


You are playing TWERB, all white, and the auction proceeds 1C (prec) - 2H (spades or minors) - X (5-7) and your hand is


x, Kxxx, Qxxx, J10xx ... what do you do? Well, the double has gotten you off the hook. Partner can now bid the expected 2S, or surprise you with 3C showing the minors. If pard surprises you, you have very little defense, and surely the opponents have a spade game, so bid either 4NT or 5C at your next opportunity.



You are white against red, and the auction has proceeded 2C (prec) - P - 2D(invitational or better and asking 4-card major), and you hold


K10xx, A9xx, xx, Akx. What do you do? You have a good hand.


Pass, in tempo. You will get another opportunity. You are not strong enough for 2NT (your partner rates to be broke) and you donít have a suit.


Finally, all white, RHO opens 1C (prec) and you hold


Akx, Aqx, Kxx, Qxxx .... what do you do? PASS. You have a good hand, but there is no reason to disclose that now. By waiting for LHO to bid, you can learn a lot, AND, you are going to get another chance ..... so the auction proceeds


1C - P - 1H (5+ hearts, 8 + pts, GF) - P

2H (4 or more hearts agrees suit) back to you. What have you learned? First, there are too many points in the deck, so LHO has probably upgraded a hand with a bunch of hearts. Your partner has a shapely Yarborough (heís short in hearts) .... just sit back and relax, listen to the auction and get ready to defeat their contract, since they donít know how your points are divided.


The Multi 2 Diamonds




This is a fairly standard convention for the 2D opener in most of the world, except, of course, the ACBL. It shows either a weak 2 in an unspecified major, or one of several strong hands (most pairs use only 1 or 2 of these strong definitions, some use none at all) ... a big 4x1, 20-22 balanced, a 1940s Goren 2C or 2D opener. The ACBL has provided two defenses against the Multi (you can refer to this or any other defense during the auction, but if you use a written defense, they may refer to it as well). You can find the ACBL defenses at


If you look at these defenses carefully, you will notice several things Ė they are complicated, they are long (especially Option 2), and they are boring. But, the fact is that you can look at them on your own, and if you do, you will know as much about them as I do.


So, we are going to look at a few other defenses.


Nilsland vs Multi


X = weak NT or 17+

††††††††††† X by advancer is responsive

††††††††††† suit by advancer is constructive

††††††††††† jump by advancer is forcing


††††††††††† suit rebid by doubler = 17+

††††††††††† 2NT = 20-21 balanced

direct overcall = 11-16

2NT = balanced 15-18


advantages: defenders can bid a part-score or a game when both hold decent hands

disadvantages: difficult to show 2-suiters or to exact penalties


Forrester vs Multi


X = takeout of spades, or power double

2H = takeout of hearts, advancer can pass with good hearts and bad hand

2S = natural

2NT = 15+ to 18 balanced

3C, 3D = natural

3H, 3S = natural and strong

4C = decent unspecified 5-5

4D = good unspecified 5-5


If intervener comes in as a passed hand, it shows similar hands, but weaker

Granovetter over Multi


X = at least a 5-card major and a minimum overcall, or balanced 23+

2H = 5+ clubs and 14+ points

2S = 5+ diamonds and 14+ points

2NT = balanced 16-19

3C = 8-13 points and a decent 6-card or longer or suit

3D = 8-13 points and a decent 6-card or longer or suit

3H, 3S = invitational, at least a 7-bagger

3NT = balanced 20-22


delayed double, i.e., 2D-p-2h-p .... P (hearts) - x = light takeout of hearts

doubles by advancer are responsive


Kleinman over Multi


X = takeout of 2h opener

2NT = takeout of 2s opener

2H = hearts and a minor

2S = spades and a minor

3 bids = natural

4 minor = suit plus hearts, strong

pass, then

††††††††††† X = 16+ balanced

††††††††††† 3 minor = 5 minor, 4 of a major

††††††††††† 4 minor = suit plus spades, strong


in 4th seat, bids are natural, and the double in 2D-p-2H-X = takeout of hearts


Multi over Multi



††††††††††† X = 1 major, 13+

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2 major = no support in bid major, invitational or better in other

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2nt asks

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3c = good w/ hearts

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3d = good w/ spades

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3h = hearts

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3s = spades

2D-X-2M-X = takeout, all others are lebensohl style

2H or 2S overcall = 8-12 HCP natural

3C or 3D = natural and good

3H or 3S = strong jump overcall like over a weak 2

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