Intro to Precision
The Precision Club
Bidding System was invented by CC Wei, a Chinese businessman, in the late 1960s and was first used on the international stage by the Taiwan national team in 1970. Following their success using the system in the 1970 and 1971 Bermuda Bowls, Precision exploded onto the world stage when the legendary Italian Blue Team adopted and refined it as Super-Precision. The Blue Team's successes during the 1970's using Precision brought the system prominence and prestige. Although its global popularity will never rival that of Standard American, 2-Over-1 or Acol, it is generally reckoned to be more efficient that any of them and is the foremost Strong Club system in use today. Many modern experts, including multiple World Champions Jeff Meckstroff and Eric Rodwell use it as the basis of their system. The number of other Strong Club systems that have come into existence since 1970, and which use Precision as their basis, are a further testament to its power and effectiveness.
Basic System Strategy
Precision gains its biggest advantage by restricting the range of its intermediate opening bids to 11-15 points and reserving the One Club opening for almost any
hand containing 16 or more points. This contrasts with the huge range for opening bids found in most other systems of 11-20 points. The much smaller range of intermediate openings makes it much easier for Precision users to know immediately whether they are in part-score, game, or slam territory and reduces the strain on Responder to keep the bidding alive in case partner has a rock-crushingly strong hand.
Classic Wei Precision specified 5-card Majors, 11-15 Intermediate Openings, a 13-15 Opening 1NT, and 1♣ showing almost all hands containing 16+ hcp.
The main features of Standard Precision are as follows:
- 13-15 Opening 1NT Bid
- Artificial 1♣ Bid to show any 16+ Hand
- 1♥, 1♠ & 2♣ Natural showing at least a 5-card suit and 11-15 HCP
- Forcing 1NT Response to 1♥ or 1♠ Openings
- 1♦ shows 11-15 and not suitable for one of the other openings.
- 2♦ Opening shows 11-15, and exactly 4414 shape with a diamond shortage
- Weak 2♥ & 2♠ Openings.
- 2NT shows a strong balanced hand.
- Standard 3 and 4-level Pre-empts
Origins of OCP
The Precision System that I teach on Bridgebase owes much of its essential structure to the Super-Precision system I first developed with Bob Bradbury in the late 1970's and early 1980's. That early system was essentially Standard Wei Precision with the Asking Bids described by Eric Jannerstern in his excellent book on Precision tacked onto it, with a few bells and whistles.
In the late 1980's, Jason Hackett and I took that system apart and rebuilt it into what is now known as the OCP Complex System, with a totally new and non-standard set of responses to 1♦ and non-standard openings above 2♣. The 'Simple System' retains the extensive use of Lebensohl and Lebensohl-style extensions in natural bidding sequences, the extensive use of Asking Bids when one or both hands is strong, and a preference for 4-way transfers and some specialised sequences over 1NT and strong balanced openings. There are now, however, a number of pairings amongst the OCP group who regular play the whole Complex version of OCP pretty much as Jason and I used to play it, but including the more recent developments.
Beyond these features, Precision users are pretty much free to bolt on whatever other features they
like. Although, for example, Standard Precision specifies the use of 2-way Stayman rather than transfers, many Precision users opt for the latter and this can be done without affecting other areas of the system. Similarly, many Precision Pairs opt for a non-standard scheme of Openings from 2♦
upwards, but these kinds of changes do affect other areas of the system
such as the 1♦ Opening.
Asking Bids are an area that some users of the system do not touch, choosing to rely on more conventional tools such as cue-bids and Roman Key-Card Blackwood. Precision specifies little or nothing where defensive bidding is concerned.
One of Precision's great strengths is the extent to which you can adapt and extend it. It is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why it has become so popular. The successes of Precision on the world stage are a testament to its effectiveness. Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell, certainly one of the greatest Bridge partnerships
of recent times, have shown how far you can extend Precision whilst still keeping its essence intact.
OCP More Recently
OCP has not stopped being developed at any point since 1980 when Bob Bradbury and I first started actually playing the original version (which back then was pretty much standard Precision with the Asking Bids bolted on). Jason Hackett and I integrated the Asking Bids much more into the basic fabric of the system, developed a lot more of the specific enquiry sequences and streamlined slam investigation over the Intermediate Openings.
Once OCP moved into the Online Bridge sphere, OCP regained some freedom to be the system as Jason and I had planned it (since online play was free of the strictures of the EBU). Since 2000 we've added one complete new Asking Bid (Sigma) and modified most of the rest to a greater or lesser extent. Relay Beta, which Jason and I had created for use in slam investigations over Major Suit Openings, is now used system-wide. Most recently (December 2016), we've just completely re-written the responses to the Simple System's 2♦ Opening. Besides those major system upheavals, there are a whole host of smaller tweaks that have been applied over the years.