Interesting Gadgets

This chapter describes a variety of interesting gadgets you might see, or wish to adopt.

Mathe Defense To A Big Club

After a strong 1♣ opener, Mathe is the simplest commonly-used defense. In the simplest version, double is the majors, 1N is the minors, and suits are natural. A slight improvement is:

  • Double shows the majors
  • 1♦ is a transfer to hearts
  • 1♥ is a transfer to spades
  • 1N shows the minors
  • 2♣ shows clubs
  • 2♦ shows diamonds

The added transfers force the big hand to lead.

Some also use this defense over a standard strong 2♣ opening.

Lead-directing Raise Over Partner’s Preempt

When partner opens a weak two-level bid, you generally want to raise to the three level if you have three-card support and a few values, in order to be as obstructive as possible. This is called reinforcing the preempt.

However, it often happens that the auction goes something like:

2♥ - (3♦) - 3♥(you) - 3N

Now your partner is on lead and unless he has a great suit he’s leading into stoppers. Meantime you’re sitting there with the Ace of spades. If only partner knew to lead spades so you could return a heart.

We change the agreement about what a new suit by you means; it shows a lead-directing raise. Partner is authorized to correct to 3♥ for you if necessary. So in this case you bid 2♠!(heart raise, lead-directing). You also might do this for example if you had three hearts and ♠KQ52. 2N remains feature-asking but can also be used to keep the bidding open for your next bid when you really do have a good hand.

You can optionally vary this system as follows:

Over interference of a double or a two-level bid after our two-level preempt:

  • Double (redouble) is a runout. Opener bids the next suit up, pass or correct.
  • 2N! is Ogust.
  • New suits are a lead-directing raise, not forcing.

You may wish to research the “McCabe Adjunct” for more variations.