Colin Lee — The Lee Club

Reverse Flannery responses to 1m

So I thought I post today about reverse flannery responses to 1 of a minor.

Flannery was created in response to a problem hand – 5and 4♠ with an opening bid – if partner responds 1NT over 1 then opener, with an unbalanced hand – ends up bidding their 5 card suit or a 3 card minor or something else equally unappetizing.  Flannery opening shows your hand in one bid and partner can respond.  Opponents of this convention say “when partner doesn’t have 4♠ you don’t care that you lost the spade suit when they bid 1NT” – I pretty much agree with that and I have better uses for 2 so… I’m not a Flannery player – but I can see where some people would really like it.

Reverse Flannery was equally created to solve a problem hand – a weak hand with 5♠ and 4as a response when partner opens 1♣ or 1.  There are all sorts of situations that can occur but let’s take the most problematic:

You hold:

♠K9842 QT52  8  ♣Q52

1     1♠

2       ?

So do you bid on?  2 is forcing so if you bid it – you better be prepared to play 3 if partner has a 1363 hand or something along those lines.  However – what if partner is 2461 or something like that?  Say: Qx AJxx AKxxxx x - 4 is where you want to be – can you get there?

So how about 2 over 1 showing 5♠ and 4 and a minimal hand (a hand that is not invitational over a minimum opening).  This bid – reverse flannery – solves this bid nicely and compactly.  What have we given up?  A strong, preemptive or a fit jump.  Let’s look at each in turn:

Yes, it’s nice to make a strong jump when you have it; however most of time it doesn’t come up AND if it does you can always bid 1 and force to game later.  Preemptive – not much preempting to do when partner already has shown an opening bid and again you can show this hand by just rebidding 2 after bidding 1.  Finally a fit jump – really?  You want to make a fit jump into a minor?  Why?  Please let me know and I’ll respond to it… but showing this hand is really easy anyway through normal bidding.  So – I don’t think you’ve really given up anything at all and you’ve gained a nice extra bid that solves a real problem hand.  Now you can bid:

1♦    2

and over partner’s response they can set the contract.  There’s some great variations on this too.  Now:

1     1♠

2     2

is an invitational hand at a minimum and you can play IJCB (see last entry) over 2 to help with slam exploration; though perhaps natural is better.  I don’t bother playing double invitation hands – so 3 really should be game forcing – personally I think anytime one player invites the other should either accept or decline – asking them whether they had a good invite or a bad invite is just silly.  Hey partner – do you have enough for game?   Maybe – did you have enough to invite?  It’s just silly.  So – imho – if partner shows an invitation hand and opener raises it – it’s a game force.

There’s lots of things you can play over it; but simple is usually best in a lot of these cases:

2♠ to play

2NT natural – no fit; invitational to 3NT or rebid 3m

3♣ not forcing – to play if 1♣ or pass or correct if 1

3 forcing if 1♣ or to play if 1

3/ 3♠ – forcing; sets trump

3NT to play

4m – IJCB – could also be played as natural and forcing

Other things you can use to combine with reverse flannery:

1m – 2♠ as 6♠ and 4 weak hand – similar concept but promises 6♠ and makes 2 shows exactly 5♠.  I’m not really sure I like that.

Currently I play 1m – 2♠ as a constructive raise of the minor – maybe I’ll go over the structure we play over 1m and why we play it that way.  While I don’t think it’s the best – there are definitely some things that can help in certain auctions.

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