Half Astro Defense Method

This is a variation on the concept of the Astro conventional method devised by Mr. David Collier of Manchester, United Kingdom. Source is his online BlogSpot. The significance of the designation is unknown.

Details of Contribution

This information has not been altered or changed except for grammatical clarity and capitalization. It has been posted and archived also on this site for future reference and for repetitive purposes only. The visitor should review the original on the BlogSpot of Mr. David Collier


Quoted Text

This is a simple defence to 1NT that I've been playing recently. It's my own invention, though given how simple it is, it would be surprising if no-one had tried it before. It works like this:

2 : Both Major suits.
2 : Shows Spades and a Minor suit.
2 : Natural.
2 : Natural.
3 : Natural.
3 : Natural.

Double is normally for penalties. (A possible variation by a passed hand, or perhaps against a strong NT opening, is to play double as showing Hearts and a minor.) And a 2NT bid would probably show the Minors, though there are other possibilities for this as well.

The advantage compared to other Astro variants is that it is easier to play. In particular, overcaller's partner is is a better position when one of the two-suited bids comes up. For example, we can compare it to 'Asptro' where 2 shows Hearts and another suit and 2 shows Spades and another suit, showing the weaker suit with both Majors. Asptro is good at finding the right Major to play in when overcaller has both Majors (unlike 'Astro' or 'Aspro). The problem is that for both 2 and 2 there are three different possibilities for the second suit, and it is not always easy to cater for all three. It is particularly difficult over 2, where overcaller's partner can be faced with problems like these:

Playing Half-Astro there are not so many hand-types to worry about: instead of three possible two-suiters in each bid, we have only one (for 2) or two (for 2). And after either of these bids, overcaller's partner can use the next step to ask which suit is longer.

Of course, what Half-Astro does not have is a way to show Hearts and a Minor. With these hands we have to bid naturally (or pass if we do not have a suit good enough to overcall). But this is not such a huge disadvantage, since showing two-suited hands without Spades is less important - sometimes when we could find a Heart fit opponents might be able to bid Spades over it.

I play this defence because it is effective and yet very simple. You could agree it with a new partner and expect not to have any mishaps. It is one of the very few conventions I have come up with which has been taken up by people who aren't my partners!



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