OCP System Change Log

OCP is a living system that is constantly under scrutiny by the people who use it. It is continually evolving with small tweaks here are there, and sometimes a major change, such as the introduction of Relay Beta and Sigma, and the change to the 2 Opening and responses. The more recent changes are shown here. If you are aware of any small changes that should be shown here but are not, please contact Oliver by email
OCP System Change Log
Introduction of PESKY (26-May-2017)
PESKY is a suggestion for use after a 4th-in-hand penalty double of our 1NT Opening (ie: 1NT-(No)-No-(x)-??. PESKY concentrates on Opener's actions over the Double, and closely mirrors Responder's actions in INTRO. Opener is 2nd-in-hand over the penalty double and therefore a forcing pass is an option for them.

With PESKY, Opener bids with a 5-card Minor and redoubles with 4333, both showing lower to mid-range hands (Responder normally passes if Opener bids something, and wriggles upwards over a redouble). A Pass by Opener shows either a maximum hand or a lower to mid-range hand with 4432 distribution. Responder now redoubles with a hand just short of an invitation, and wriggles upwards if they can't afford to play in 1NTXX even opposite a maximum hand. If Responder redoubles, Opener passes with a maximum hand and wriggles upwards themselves with a 4432 hand not prepared to chance 1NTXX.

See the INTRO section of the 1NT Page for full details.

(Pages Affected:1n.php)
Interference over 2 Openings (07-Apr-2017)
Completed documentation of interference immediately after Responder makes a 3-way Transfer, and also immediately after Opener either completes or denies a 2-way Transfer. This had never been fully documented before, so not repeated here. See the section on Interference on the Simple 2 page.
(Pages Affected:2d.php, Eta.php, Gamma.php)
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.

(Pages Affected:AskingInterference.php, Beta.php)
Omitting 'Impossible' steps in Sigma responses (23-Mar-2017)
If Teller has showed a balanced hand (as Opener or Responder) or if, as Opener, they've made any intermediate Opening that denies possession of a 5-card Major (eg: 1 or 2), and we subsequently agree a Major by means of Alpha, then, if Asker uses Sigma, any response that would show a 5-card holding in the Major is omitted from the response scale (because Teller cannot, by definition, possess a 5-card Major if they've shown a balanced hand). Thus in the sequence 1-1-2-3-3(Sigma)-???, now the 2-step response to Sigma, showing Hxxxx and the 4-step response, showing HHxxx, are both removed from the scale, and the stepped responses show Hxxx, HHxx, and HHHx respectively.
(Pages Affected:Sigma.php)
Gamma if Opener has a setup 6+-card suit (20-Mar-2017)
When the bidding has started 1-1NT-2NT(setup 6-card suit)-3(Gamma) or 1-1NT-2NT(setup 6-card suit)-3(Gamma), it makes no sense to use any normal scale for Gamma, because Opener is always showing a suit such as AKQxxx (or perhaps very rarely KQJ10xx). In these circumstances, however, we still need Gamma (1) to set the trump suit and get us into an Asking Bid sequence, and (2) to check on Opener's length.

The scale for Gamma that we now use is identical with the Repeat Gamma scale used when Opener has shown no top honour, ie: 1 step shows 6-card length, 2 steps shows 7-card length etc etc.

(Pages Affected:Gamma.php, 1h.php, 1s.php)
Sigma after 2NT Alpha or after Interference (16-Mar-2017)
Clarification of when a bid is Sigma: The rationale behind whether Sigma is a Relay or a repeat of the trump suit is based solely on the cheapness of a repeat of the trump suit. After a 3 or 4-step response to a "normal" Alpha (made by bidding the trump suit itself), a repeat of the trump suit is cheap, but over a 5-step or greater response to Alpha, that is not necessarily the case. The fundamental rule for Sigma is that if a repeat of the trump suit is within 2 bids (ie: it's the relay or the next bid above that), then a repeat of the trump suit is Sigma. If, however, it is not within 2 bids of the Alpha response (or any interference over the Alpha response), then the cheapest possible action by Asker is Sigma (include a Pass over interference).

Thus is in the sequence 1-1NT-2NT(Alpha in )-3-???, now 4 is within 2 bids of the Alpha response, so that is Sigma and, in this instance 4 would be Relay Beta (and 3NT Natural). Similarly in a sequence such as 1-(X)-1NT-2(Alpha)-3-(4)-???, now, because of the interference, a repeat in Spades is not within 2 bids, so now Pass would become Sigma (cheapest action), and Double would be Relay Beta.

(Pages Affected:Sigma.php, Alpha.php)
Responses to Two Diamond Opening (16-Dec-2016)
This is a major overhaul of the Simple System 2 Opening:
  • The 2 Response and continuations are largely unaffected, except that some hands that would originally have bid 2, now do something else.
  • The 2 Response now shows any 0-4 single-suited hand. Opener bids 2NT with a lower-range hand, but Oliver's Twist at the 3-level with an upper-range hand.
  • The Responses from 2NT through to 3 are now all 2-way transfers, showing either:
    1. 0-4 HCP with any any touching 2-suited hand or even 4333 or 5332 where the suit above their 4+-card suit is at least 3-card in length, or
    2. 14+ with any 2-suited hand, normally transferring into the cheapest or lower-ranking suit, but optionally into the high-ranking.
    Opener completes the transfer with a 4-card holding in the transfer suit and relays in the suit above with a singleton in the transfer suit. If Opener bids the transfer suit, Responder normally passes with any 0-4, but with 14+ treats the bid as Gamma. If Opener skips the transfer suit, again Responder normally passes with 0-4, but with 14+ bids their second suit as Eta (Cheapest bid in NT's normally is Gamma in the suit Opener actually bid.
  • For full details, please see the re-written 2 page.

(Pages Affected:2d.php, Gamma.php, Eta.php, OpeningBids.php)
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
1-1
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.

(Pages Affected:Sigma.php, Alpha.php, Beta.php)
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.

(Pages Affected:1c.php, Eta.php)
Eta After Stayman (07-Apr-2013)
In the interests of symmetry and consistency, the sequence ...1NT-2-2-3, which had been treated as natural and invitational in Hearts, will now be treated as Eta in Spades. This will mirror the sequence ...1NT-2-2-3, which was always Eta in Hearts.
(Pages Affected:1n.php, Eta.php)
Super-Accepts over 2-way 2 (07-Apr-2013)
Over the sequence 1NT-2, Opener always assumes Responder is transferring into Hearts. If they have a hand worth a super-accept of Hearts, they bid as follows:
  • With any 4432 shape and a 'worthless' doubleton (xx or Jx), they bid the suit below it (ignoring No Trumps and Hearts).
  • With 3433 Shape, they bid 3 instead of 2.
  • With any 4432 shape where the doubleton is not 'worthless', they bid 2NT rather than 2
This gives Responder a better idea how well the hand is fitting, and particularly how to proceed when they have less than 4-card Hearts themselves.

(Pages Affected:1n.php)
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. (Pages Affected:AskingInterference.php, Gamma.php, Beta.php)
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.

(Pages Affected:Beta.php)
Sigma (01-Aug-2007)
Sigma was created in August 2007 to cater for enquiries about trump solidity after a positive response to Alpha. Up till that point, Asker had had no way to check on trump solodity after a positive response. (Paradoxically, they could find out exactly what Teller had after an initial negative to the Alpha Ask.
(Pages Affected:Sigma.php, Alpha.php)
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