One Club

The 1 Opening is used to show most hands that contain 16 or more HCP, whatever their distribution. In this system the only exception to this is: The 1 Opening says absolutely nothing about Opener's Clubs and is unconditionally forcing for one round. In the event of a positive response the opening is game-forcing. The use of the 1 Negative does not commit the partnership to play in a part-score, of course.

Initial Responses

In response to the 1 Opening, partner bids as follows:-
1 - 1 The "negative" response, showing 0-7 points. In practice a hand containing 3 Controls (an Ace and a King) is usually shown as a positive unless balanced.

After the negative response continuations are generally natural and non-forcing. Responder should bear in mind that Opener may be considerably stronger than 16 points and keep the bidding going where appropriate.
-1 A positive response in Hearts, promising 8+ points and a 5-card or longer suit. Unconditionally game-forcing.
- 1♠ A balanced positive response, promising 8+ points and either 4333 or 4432 distribution, or 5332 with a 5-card Minor. The latter are normally shown as balanced but maybe shown as a suit (See 1-2 and 1-2 below), if Responder is 12+ and it's a decent suit. Unconditionally game-forcing.
- 1NT A positive response in Spades, promising 8+ points and a 5-card or longer suit. This response is unconditionally game-forcing. If using Asking Bids then this response kicks off an Asking Bid sequence.

Note: The 1♠/1NT inversion of a 1 Opening disappears over any interference by 2nd-in-hand, including a Double of the 1 Opener (You have turn it off after an overcall of 1♠ or greater anyway). It is open to Pairs to agree differently following a Double, 1 overcall or a 1 overcall, but in the interests of keeping the system as simple and uniform as possible, the system standard is to turn the inversion off after any interference.
- 2 A positive response in Clubs, promising 8+ points and a 5-card or longer suit. Unconditionally game-forcing.
- 2 A positive response in Diamonds, promising 8+ points and a 5-card or longer suit. Unconditionally game-forcing.
- 2 Shows 4144 shape (Singleton Heart) and 8-11 points. Unconditionally game-forcing.
- 2♠ Shows 1444 shape (Singleton Spade) and 8-11 points. Unconditionally game-forcing.
- 2NT Shows 4414 or 4441 shape (Minor-suit Singleton) and 8-11 points. Unconditionally game-forcing.
-3♣ A positive response showing 12+ points and exactly 4414-shape with a singleton Diamond. Unconditionally game-forcing.
-3 A positive response showing 12+ points and exactly 4144-shape with a singleton Heart. Unconditionally game-forcing.
-3 A positive response showing 12+ points and exactly 1444-shape with a singleton Spade. Unconditionally game-forcing.
-3♠ A positive response showing 12+ points and exactly 4441-shape with a singleton Club. Unconditionally game-forcing.
No responses other than the above are permitted. If not using Asking Bids then bidding proceeds entirely naturally, with cue-bids and RKCB available when/if a suit has been agreed as trumps.

Natural Continuations in 1 Sequences

If not using Asking Bids and in all cases where the One Diamond Negative is used, bidding proceeds naturally.

Positive 4441 Responses

4441 shape hands present Precision with something of a problem and almost always require special handling because they are not balanced but do not contain a 5-card suit. Since all the normal "Positive" responses in a suit show a 5-card or longer suit, but we cannot show 4441 shape hands as "balanced" it leaves this shape in something of a limbo. Classic Precision employs a device known as the "Impossible Negative" whereby Responder initially bids the 1 Negative response, but then takes action inconsistent with that on the next round of bidding.

As of January 2013, the System has changed and we no longer show any 4441-shape positive hands by means of the old "Impossible Negative". The scheme for showing 8+ 4441-shape hands is now as follows:
Showing 4441 Positives after Interference
The provisions below only come into effect after interference by 2nd-in-hand over the 1 Opening. If 2nd-in-hand passes, then Responder has always been able to show their hand-type. If 2nd-in-hand bids:

Strong balanced Hands

General Considerations
Where Opener opens 1 and ends up rebidding 1NT (whether directly or via the Cambridge Heart Complex) then the scheme of responses is exactly as for a normal 1NT Opening, including the use of Stayman, Transfers and the 2-Way 2. For further details please see the 1NT Page.

Where Opener opens or ends up rebidding 2NT (or 3NT in which case one level higher) to show a strong balanced hand, the scheme of responses is as follows:


Note:
A fairly recent suggestion, which I really like, is that where the sequence commences 1-1-1-1♠-1NT (ie: showing a 19-21-HCP balanced hand), the 3♣ response (currently used as invitational with a long suit), would be better utilised as game-forcing Puppet Stayman. That takes a lot of pressure off Opener holding a semi-balanced 19-21 with a 5-card Major. Hitherto they have to hide their strength or hide the Major and this treatment bridges that gap nicely.
Cambridge Heart Complex

After the sequence 1-1 a rebid of 1 by Opener is either natural, promising a 5-card or longer Heart suit or showing a strong balanced hand. In either case it asks Responder to rebid 1♠ unless they have one of the special hand-types listed below. Over Responder's 1♠ bid Opener now clarifies their hand-type and range, rebids in NTs promising strong balanced hands and any other bid being 100% natural and confirming the Heart suit.


The full scheme for showing balanced hands is as follows:

1NT shows 10-12 balanced (Non-vulnerable)
1-1x-1NT shows 11-12 balanced (Vulnerable) or 13-15 balanced (Non-Vulnerable)
1NT shows 13-15 balanced (Vulnerable)
1-1-1NT shows 16-18 balanced
1-1-1-1♠-1NT shows 19-21 balanced
1-1-2NT shows 22-23 balanced
1-1-1-1♠-2NT shows 24-25 balanced
1-1-3NT shows 26-27 balanced
1-1-1-1♠-3NT shows 28-29 balanced
Note: The Complex System has additional means to show balanced hands in the 30-33 hcp range that do not involve the Cambridge Heart Complex.
Exceptions
Over the sequence 1-1-1 Responder with a normal negative can refuse to bid 1♠ in only 2 precisely defined situations:

In these situations Responder bids as follows:
1-1-1 - 1NT shows 5-card Hearts with a Minor suit singleton. Now:
- 2 asks the location of the singleton, and:
- 2 shows a Club Singleton, while
- 2 shows a Diamond Singleton.
- 2 shows 0-4 with long Clubs.
- 2 shows 0-4 with long Diamonds.
- 2 shows 5-card Hearts with a Spade singleton.

Captaincy of the Hand

Who is the Captain of the Hand?
This is of critical importance in any bidding sequence, not just sequences that start with a 1 opener. The Captaincy of the Hand determines who is deciding whether bidding should continue and in what direction it should take. The Captaincy of the Hand can change several times during the course of an average auction. There will even be some occasions when there is effectively no "Captain", mainly when either nobody has made a bid that takes charge, and neither partner has limited their hand. An example of this might be in a cue-bidding sequence). It is very important that you recognise the occasions when Partner is the Captain of the Hand, though, and this is almost certainly more important than recognising when you are in control. There are certain guiding principles that will help determine this:
What does Captaincy affect?
The most critical things that are affected by the question of "Who is currently the Captain?" are as follows:
  1. Am I allowed to pass partner's bid (ie: is it forcing)?
  2. Am I allowed to pass if RHO intervenes (ie: is partner's bid only forcing to the extent that I must bid if RHO passes)?
  3. Am I obliged to pass this bid? (ie: Partner's bid is strictly "to play")
  4. If I am being forced to bid, am I in a strict sequence where there are limitations on what I can bid? (eg: am I being asked a question here, as in Stayman, RKCB, Asking Bids etc?)
  5. Are there constraints on what I can bid even if partner's bid isn't strictly forcing?
These questions are particularly important when Partner is the Captain of the Hand. In most instances you will already deal with these issues automatically on a common-sense basis, but there are frequently instances where someone who is not the Captain makes a unilateral decision that wrests the Captaincy of the hand away from partner and this is almost always wrong.

An example of this might be making a trial bid and when partner declines the invitation you bid game anyway. When you made the invitation you handed partner the Captaincy of the hand (whoever had it up to that point). It is up to partner to evaluate your invitation and make a decision. If you had no intention of abiding by their decision then you shouldn't have issued the invitation in the first place, but should simply have bid game without making the trial bid.
Handing over the Captaincy
Besides the instances mentioned above where a bid effectively gives partner the Captaincy of the Hand, there are a few specific situations where there is a specific way of handing over the Captaincy in a forcing way (ie: Partner must continue, but is free to decide how). This is most often the case in 1 sequences where partner has made a positive response and no good fit has been found below the level of 2NT. In these situations a bid of 2NT by Opener specifically hands the Captaincy of the Hand to Responder and announces that Opener wishes Responder to take the initiative, perhaps by showing a second suit, or by showing a partial fit for one of Opener's suits where support has previously been denied. This does not normally mean that Responder is free to pass the 2NT bid, since the positive response has made the sequence game-forcing, but how Responder continues is for them to decide. In some sequences the 2NT bid effectively shows 16-18 balanced or semi-balanced without good support for Partner's suit but nothing better to suggest (eg: 1-1♠(8+ balanced)-2NT, 1-1NT(8+ with Spades)-2(Beta)-2(3 Controls)-2NT, or 1-1-1NT(Beta)-2(3 Controls)-2(Gamma)-2♠(No Top Honour)-2NT).

In Asking Bids Sequences when the Captaincy is handed over like this, Asking Bids automatically lapse and bidding proceeds naturally unless and until a trump suit is explicitly agreed by natural means, after which 4♣/4 Beta is available, but Epsilons are generally not used.

Intervention in Natural Sequences

Immediately over the 1 Opening
Responder
Positive Responses are bid just like normal (potentially including a positive response of 1 over an intervening Double).

An immediate jump-shift shows any positive 4441 hand, always bidding the suit below the shortage (but see also the 4441 section above). If Opps double the 1 Opening, then redouble shows 5-7 points, as above.
After 1-1
If Opps intervene over the 1 Negative, then Opener generally passes with any minimum 1 Opener. A double by Opener is strictly for takeout, including by responder in the protective position where it becomes effectively a negative double showing 4-card interest in any unbid Major.
Lebensohl
Lebensohl sequences are available in either of the above situations. Immediate bids at the same level are essentially competitive. Fast bids at the next level are forcing whilst slow bids at the next level are invitational or competitive depending on whether or not they could have been bid at the 2-level. "Slow" and "Fast" cue-bids have the same meaning as in normal Lebensohl. In Responder's case "fast" bids at the next level tend to be invitational whereas "slow" bids at the next level tend to be "to play".

Direct raises of Opener's suit by Responder are pre-emptive (slow raises being invitational). Immediate raises of Responder's suit by Opener agree the suit and ask if a shortage is held (Responder bidding the suit below). (If this seems inconsistent, it is for a good reason: At this stage the 1 Opener has not limited their hand, whereas we are always talking about situations where Responder is in the 0-7 range. Thus raises by Responder fall into 2 categories (pre-emptive and invitational) whereas Opener's raises fall into two different categories, invitational and forcing. The slow raises by either partner are invitational, but the fast raises differ, as stated).

Positive Responses

Which Positive:
Responder should always endeavour to describe their hand as accurately as possible. A 5-card suit should generally always be shown, except that lower range positive 5332 hands with a 5-card Minor are normally shown as balanced. If Responder has two 5-card suits, then Responder should generally show the cheapest or higher-ranking one first, even if the more expensive or lower-ranking suit is "stronger" (eg: Spades before Hearts, any Major before any Minor, Diamonds before Clubs). With 6-5 distribution, Responder should normally show the 6-card suit first, except that it is normally better to show a strong 5-card Major before a weaker 6-card Minor.

Note: The 1♠/1NT inversion of a 1 Opening disappears over any interference by 2nd-in-hand, including a Double of the 1 Opener (You have turn it off after an overcall of 1♠ or greater anyway). It is open to Pairs to agree differently following a Double, 1 overcall or a 1 overcall, but in the interests of keeping the system as simple and uniform as possible, the system standard is to turn the inversion off after any interference.

Game Forcing:
Once a positive response has been given the sequence becomes game-forcing and Asking Bids are firmly established unless Opener hands over the Captaincy with 2NT at some stage, returns to an agreed trump suit at game-level or above, signs off in No Trumps at game level or above, or jump-shifts into a new suit at or above game level, all of which are always "to play" unless obviously invitational.

Jump-Shifts
As regards jump-shifts into a new suit in the middle of an Asking Bid Sequence, this is a commonly-used tactic. For reasons of convenience, opener will sometimes find it necessary to "agree" one suit (eg: Responder's) so that Epsilons etc become quickly available, whilst all the time concealing a long solid suit of their own. When the time is right, they may jump-shift into their suit, which is always "to play".


Third Epsilon
Similarly, a third bid in a suit in which Opener has already made two Epsilon Asks is always "to play" unless Responder has shown a singleton or void in that suit and their exact number of controls is not yet known, in which case the bid is Beta.
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OCP System Change Log
Reorganisation of 4441 Positives (07-Feb-2014)
Prior to this change, OCP used the Classic Precision semi-positive responses of 2, 2, and 2NT, and also used the Impossible Negative to show lower-range 4441 positives. This change scrapped all of that, so that 1-1 was always showing 0-7 HCP. The semi-positive responses were binned, and in their place:
  • 1-2 showed 8-11 hcp with 4144 shape (singleton Heart)
  • 1-2 showed 8-11 hcp with 1444 shape (singleton Spade)
  • 1-2NT showed 8-11 hcp with 4414 or 4441 shape with a Minor suit singleton.
  • 3-level suit responses to 1 all showed 12+ 4441 hands, bidding the suit below the singleton.
Over all of these Eta Asks by Opener were the norm. A special scale for Eta was created over the 2NT response which has an extra step showing that Opener had hit Responder's singleton.