OCP System Change Alert
Beta when Positive 1 Response Doubled (03-Apr-2017)
In one specific sequence, it makes sense to abandon the normal rules for interference over a positive response to 1. The guidelines when Responder has shown a balanced positive state that Pass is Beta if Opps interfere over the positive. When the exact sequence is 1-1-(X)-???, however, we lose nothing by retaining 1NT as Beta and gain considerably by keeping Redouble and Pass as Alpha Asks in the red suits, considerably cheaper than they would have been without the interference.

Note this is the only sequence where this applies.


Beta is the most commonly used Asking Bid of them all. It is potentially available in any hand whether or not Asking Bids have been established and whether or not a trump suit has been agreed. Beta is Precision's equivalent to Ace-Asking conventions in other systems, but it asks about Controls instead. In this respect it is often much more efficient than, for example, Blackwood, since it asks about Aces and Kings all in one go, and Opener can often tell immediately exactly what combination of Aces and Kings Responder has and often the exact cards. Sometimes, however, the first response to Beta shows a range of Controls rather than a precise number, and in those situations a second Beta Ask if sometimes required if space permits.

What are we Counting?
An Ace is equal to 2 Controls and
A King is equal to 1 Control.

Queens and Jacks are worthless where Beta is concerned. Similarly, for the purposes of Beta singletons and voids are not considered, but see the Epsilon Ask where they are counted as a degree of control (as are Queens and doubletons).

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we do not count a singleton King as 1 Control unless Partner has shown strength there (eg: an earlier trump ask in that suit) or we know they are strong balanced (and so are likely to have one of the adjoining honours).

When is a Bid Beta?

The number of different places where a bid is Beta is almost limitless because besides the general situations specified below, a large number of Openings and subsequent sequences make specific provision for Beta Asks that do not fit neatly into any of these categories. For details of these special provisions for Beta see the individual Openings or pages. A bid is always Beta, however, in the following situations:

Scales for Beta

Altogether there are six different scales for Beta (only 4 of which occur with any frequency in the Simple System. As with Asking Bids, there is never any doubt as to which scale is in force:
Normal Scale
The Normal scale for Beta is used in the following situations:
  • When Responder's strength is unknown, or
  • When Responder is known to be Intermediate (ie: has made an 11-15 Precision Opening).
The stepped responses for the Normal scale are:
  1. : 0-2 Controls
  2. : 3 Controls
  3. : 4 Controls
  4. : 5 Controls
  5. ...etc etc (open ended)
Weak Scale
The Weak scale for Beta is used in the following situations:
  • When Responder is known to be in the 0-10 hcp range (ie: Passed hand, Weak 2 Opening, Negative Response to 1 (but see the Special Weak Scale below)
  • When Responder is known to have less than 4 Controls (ie: 1 or 3-step response to Alpha, or a 1-step response to a previous Beta or Zeta Ask, showing 0-2 Controls.
The stepped responses for the Weak scale are:
  1. : No Controls
  2. : 1 Controls
  3. : 2 Controls
  4. : 3 Controls
  5. : 4 Controls
Special Weak Scale
The Special Weak scale for Beta is used only in the following situation:
  • When Responder is a passed hand and Opener uses a Low-level Beta over a positive response to 1
The stepped responses for the Special Weak scale are:
  1. : 0-1 Controls
  2. : 2 Controls
  3. : 3 Controls
  4. : 4 Controls
Strong Scale
The Strong scale for Beta is used in the following situations:
  • When Responder is known to be in the 16+ hcp range (ie: 1 or 2 Opening, Splinter over 1 or 1 Opening, etc)
  • When Responder is known to have 4 or more Controls (ie: 2 or 4-step response to Alpha.
  • When Responder has shown a 14+ 2-suiter using a 2-way Transfer over a 2 Opening.
The stepped responses for the Strong scale are:
  1. : 0-4 Controls
  2. : 5 Controls
  3. : 6 Controls
  4. : 7 Controls
  5. : 8 Controls
  6. : etc etc (open ended)
Super Scale
The Super scale for Beta is used in the following situations:
  • When Responder is known to be in the 24+ hcp range. In practice this can only happen when Delta is used, but Opener subsequently hands over the Captaincy and Responder ends up using Beta (Extremely rare)
The stepped responses for the Super scale are:
  1. : 0-6 Controls
  2. : 7 Controls
  3. : 8 Controls
  4. : 9 Controls
  5. : 10 Controls
  6. : etc etc (open ended)
Range Beta
Range Beta is used in the following situations:
  • Simple System: Only after a Major suit Opening, 2/1 response, Rebid in a different suit by Opener, and now a 3-level raise in Opener's Major by Responder is Range Beta
  • Complex System Various places, but particularly after Opener's rebid shows any 4441 hand-shape
The stepped responses for Range Beta are:
  1. : Lower Range
  2. : Upper Range, 0-2 Controls
  3. : Upper Range, 3 Controls
  4. : Upper Range, 4 Controls
  5. : Upper Range, 5 Controls
  6. : etc etc (open ended)




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OCP System Change Log
Beta after a Repeat Sigma at Game Level (28-Nov-2016)
If Asker uses Sigma after a 3-step positive response to Alpha, and then makes a Repeat Sigma Ask, this will often be at game level rather than below, which means the bid is ambiguous (ie: Teller may treat it as a sign-off if poor for their bidding so far). If Teller responds to the ambiguous Repeat Sigma, they are suggesting they are good for their bidding to date, and therefore we assume they have 2-3 controls rather than 0 or 1. If Relay Beta follows the Repeat Sigma Response, therefore, we retain the Normal Beta scale rather than switching to the Weak Beta Scale (as would be normal given the initial Alpha response). So
2-3 =Alpha / Support with 0-3 Controls
3-4 =Sigma / Hxxx
4- 4NT =Repeat Sigma / Jack of Hearts held
5-5 = Relay Beta using Normal Scale / 3 Controls

If the original Alpha response was 4 steps, Teller will almost always treat the game-level Repeat Sigma as such, and any subsequent Beta will continue to use the Strong Scale, as normal.
Interference over a Positive Response to 1 (01-Oct-2009)
The use of D1P2/R1P2 and backwards Asking dates back to the original description of OCP in the late 1980's. Opener's action after interference immediately over a Positive response to 1, however, has always been somewhat different. Prior to 2009, there was a long list of what Opener should do depending on what the Positive response showed, and what the interference was and what it showed. This was difficult for everyone to learn and remember.

In 2009, following the advent of Relay Beta in 2008, that list was scrapped and replaced by four simple rules:
  1. If Responder showed a balanced hand, then over the interference, Pass was Beta and Double an Ask in the suit below the last suit bid.
  2. If Responder made a Positive showing a 5+-card suit, then over the interference, Pass was Gamma in Responder's suit and Double an Ask in the suit immediately below the last suit bid.
  3. If a cheap Gamma was available as a relay over the interference, then that was used for Gamma and Pass was an Ask in the suit two below the last suit bid.
  4. In the event of pre-emptive interference overthe positive response, then Pass was reserved at Lebensohl (forcing a Double), and Double was now Gamma or Beta, depending on whether Responder had shown a suit or not.
    1. Relay Beta (14-Sep-2008)
      The original description of OCP, created by Oliver with Jason Hackett, allowed for a relay over the response to a Gamma Ask to be Beta in a sequence such as 1♠♦-2(Gamma)-3-3(Relay Beta). This was only when Gamma was a relay over Opener's rebid over a Forcing 1NT response to a Major suit Opening.

      In 2008 we decided to extend this, so that whenever trumps were agreed by means of an Asking Bid sequence, a relay in the next bid up over the response that set the trump suit would be Relay Beta. The only riders to this were as follows:
      • Sigma and Repeat Sigma take precedence over Relay Beta, so if there is ever a potential conflict, Relay Beta gets 'bumped' by one step.
      • If Gamma is used to agree a Major and the response shows no top honour or only 1 top honour with 5-card length, then, if 2NT or 3NT is in the relay position, those are reserved as HoC and a natural sign-off respectively and 3 or 4 become Relay Beta.
      • If we have agreed a Minor, then if a bid in No Trumps is in the Relay position, that is always reserved as a natural bid and a bid in the other Minor is Relay Beta.
      • In the event of interference over the trump ask response that sets the trump suit, then generally Relay Beta is the cheapest possible action that Asker can take. The only time this is not true is when Sigma takes precedence.