Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Defenses to Big Clubs

A few days ago I posted various defenses to a big one (and two) club opening, but I saved my favorite for today: Suction.

Suction (aka Cyclone) is a little complicated, but a lot of fun. Basically, in Suction, you're showing either a one-suiter or a two-suiter, all in one bid. The bid of a suit shows either the next suit up or the other two (never the suit you've bid). For example:

2D = Hearts or Spades + Clubs
3H = Spades or Clubs + Diamonds
1S = Clubs or Diamonds + Hearts

So all one-suiters can be shown in Suction by bidding the suit below the real suit. Touching two-suiters are shown by bidding two suits below the lower of the two. That only leaves non-touching two-suiters: clubs - hearts and diamonds - spades. With these two combinations you bid some number of notrump.

Over all of these bids, responder makes a "pass or correct" bid, usually as high as he can preempt safely. So let's say you have

QTxxx x Jxxx Txx

Your LHO opens 1C (strong, artificial, and forcing). Partner jumps to 3C, showing either long diamonds or both majors. Since he could've just bid 2C showing the same suit combinations, he must have lots of distribution. So what's your bid?

I bid 4S! We either have an eleven-card diamond fit (if partner has diamonds only, he should have 7 since he forced to 3D) or a ten-plus-card spade fit (partner should be at least 5-5 if he has both majors).

Remember: You can't bid your own suit here. You're responding to your partner's suit (or suits). If there's a big misfit, get out as low as possible!

Some enterprising souls play Psycho-Suction. This throws lots of confusion into the auction for both the big club side and the defensive side. Psycho-Suction is just Suction, but one step lower -- so if you have a one-suiter, you're bidding that suit. This has the advantage that responder, hoping partner actually has the suit he bid this time, can pass the Suction bid, but that's not much of an advantage when overcaller actually has the next two suits! Psycho-Suction should only be played by those with a lot of practice with Pass or Correct bids and a good sense for when and how to get out of trouble.

The king of confusion is Inverted Psycho-Suction. With IPS a bid shows either that suit and the next suit up or the one above that! So, over a big 1C, 2D shows either both red suits or spades. To play Inverted Psycho-Suction, the two criteria above are still in place, but you also need both partners to have a very good sense of humor!

1 comment:

Noble Shore said...

The problem with using Suction for jump bids is that you are giving responder a free double if he has a good hand. You won't be playing in the bid that was doubled, so responder can double on balancedish hands short in your suit, or long in your suit. Then by the time you have bid your real suit, opener and responder are already in a forcing auction, which gives both players a chance to take a swing at you and also simplifies their bidding and gives them a lot more options.

If responder wants to penalize a natural preempt then he has to pass, which is always a gamble since there's no guarantee opener won't pass also.

Now the nice part about Psycho Suction at higher levels is that virtually of the time, you'll have the suit you're bidding. Thus it retains the advantage of natural preempting. The problem with Psycho Suction is that sometimes advancer will pass overcaller's bid assuming he has the one suiter when he really has the two suiter. This can be a big problem vulnerable. Thus I really only recommend using Psycho Suction if you're NV and you can afford to pay 50 a trick for down 6.

Bottom line: Suction is a nice method at low levels for all of the reasons laid out in the OP. However, natural preempts are more effective at higher levels than Suction one suiter preempts. Since you will pretty much always bid your two suiters at lower levels anyway (for safety), you aren't really losing anything by playing natural methods (or Psycho Suction) at higher levels.