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 – 5♥ and 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 4♥ as a response when partner opens 1♣ or 1♦. There are all sorts of situations that can occur but let’s take the most problematic:
♠K9842 ♥QT52 ♦8 ♣Q52
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:
and over partner’s response they can set the contract. There’s some great variations on this too. Now:
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.