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Eastern Scientific

A version of “Eastern Scientific” as played by Richard Pavlicek in casual partnerships. This outline follows the ACBL convention card. All conventions are according to “Modern Bridge Conventions” by Pavlicek/Root unless stated differently here.

General Approach

Eastern Scientific

Strong forcing opening: 2 C


Notrump Opening Bids

1 NT = 15 to 17 HCP

C = Stayman. Then if followed by:
 2 H = weak (correctable); at least 4-4 majors
 2 S over 2 D = sign-off
 2 S over 2 H = exactly 4 spades (checkback); F
 2 NT = invitational; no major-suit interest
 3 C or 3 D = game forcing
 3 other major over 2 M = artificial slam try with fit
 4 X over 2 M = splinter

Jacoby transfer

S = minor-suit Stayman (at least invitational)

Minor-suit transfers (2 NT = clubs; 3 C = diamonds)
 Must be one-suited hand (weak or GF)
 New suit rebid = splinter

D = 5-5 majors; GF (opener sets strain)

H or 3 S = splinter (3-suiter); slam try

Texas transfer (also in competition thru 3 C)

After a double: System on; rdbl forces 2 C to rescue

Lebensohl (direct denies)

Negative double at 3 level (also after 2 NT)

2 NT = 20 to 22 HCP
 Jacoby; Texas; 3 S = both minors slam try

3 NT = Acol; 16-21 HCP with running minor
 4 C = general slam try (no rescues), then
  4 D = Gerber (5 D rebid asks for kings)
  4 NT = minimum
 4 D = Gerber (5 D rebid asks for kings)


Major Openings

5+ cards; may be strong 4 cards in 3rd/4th if light

1 NT = 6 to 14 (forcing)

Two-over-one GF unless responder rebids same suit

2 NT = 15+ (11-12 in competition)

Double raise = limit (also after overcall)

3 NT = forcing raise; no splinter; max of 14 HCP

Splinter bids (in competition must be a jump cue)

Reverse Drury (does not promise fit)
 Opener must bid 2 D with normal opening, then:
  3 C = natural, NF
  Other = natural, promises fit

Preemptive reraises

Relay game try (2 S or 2 NT) then dummy bids:
 New suit (2 NT = spades) = secondary values
  Opener may relay again, then:
   3 of major = minimum
 3 of major = minimum; no side secondary values
 Raise of relay = maximum; flat; suggests 3 NT
 4 of major = maximum; no side secondary values

All game tries must begin with the relay, so a new suit at 3 level (including a jump to 3 S) is a natural slam try. Relay game try applies any time we raise a major from 1 to 2 (unless an opponent bid after our raise).

Minor Openings

3+ cards

Inverted minor raises (also in competition)

1 NT = 6 to 10

2 NT = 15+ (11-12 in competition)

3 NT = 13 to 14

C over 1 D = 11+ points, then:
 2 D = artificial; any minimum, then:
  2 NT or 3 C = natural; NF
  Other = natural; GF
 Other = natural; GF

After a 1 NT overcall, raise = artif.; weak major T/O


Two-Club Opening

Strong (typically 23+) and artificial

D = 0-7 HCP; may be waiting with awkward hand

Other responses = 8+ HCP; suit bids at least Qxxxx

Cheaper minor (3 C or 3 D) second negative

Weak Two-Bids

5 to 10 HCP; 5 or 6 cards; undisciplined but sensible

New suit response = NF (usually constructive)
 Opener should bid again with a useful hand

2 NT only force; then (after 2 D):
 3 C = 5 card diamond suit
 3 D = minimum hand
 3 M = maximum; stopper in major bid
 3 NT = maximum; no major stopper
(after 2 M):
 3 C = 5 cards in major bid, then:
  3 D = artificial relay, then:
   3 M = minimum; 3 NT = maximum
 3 D = average or maximum hand, then
  3 M = invitational
 3 M = worst hand (implies others would not open)
 3 other major = natural (4 cards)
 3 NT = AKQ or AKJ


Other Conventional Calls

Weak jump shifts (always). In competition all unbid suit jumps are weak (splinters in enemy suits only).

Invisible cue-bid (cheaper = raise; higher = 4th suit)

Responder’s 2nd-round jumps and raises to 3 of a minor are forcing by an unpassed hand (unless enemy has bid, then invitational).

New minor, 4th suit or 3rd suit forcing = 11+ points

After NMF, FSF or TSF, if opener bids at or below 2 NT he confirms minimum values and responder may pass. Responder’s third bid sets the strain and if a nonjump shows invitational values (NF).

After the sequence: 1 HS; 2 DC, opener must rebid 3 D on any minimum without 3 card spade support (this does not show 5-5 as it sounds); then responder will pass if he is inviting in diamonds.

After FSF, if opener rebids 2 S when his second bid was 1 S, this shows 4 spades and a 5 card minor (not 5-6 as it sounds).


Special Doubles

Negative thru 4 D (or 4 H after minor opening)

Responsive thru 4 D

Competitive thru 3 S (only if opponents imply a fit)

Maximal (only if both opponents acted and no game trial bid is available)

Direct NT Overcalls

1 NT = 15 to 18 HCP (10 to 15 in passout)
 Respond as to 1 NT opening

2 NT nonjump = 16 to 19 (14 to 17 in passout)
 Respond as to 2 NT opening

2 NT jump = unusual for two lower unbid suits

3 NT = natural; may be unbalanced with long minor
 All responses natural (except a cue-bid)

Simple Overcall

Typically 8 to 17 HCP

Jump raise = weak

Cue-bid = 1-round force

Jump cue = limit raise; 4+ trumps

Vs. All NT Openings

Double = 14+ HCP; optional (penalty oriented). If an opponent runs, the next double by either of us is for takeout (hence, trap pass for penalty).

Astro (all positions):
 2 C = hearts + either minor
 2 D = spades + any other suit
 2 H, 2 S, 3 C, 3 D = natural; 1-suiter
 2 NT = both minors


Jump Overcall

Weak; usually based on “rule of 2, 3 or 4”

Respond as to same opening (weak two-bid structure applies).

Over Opp’s T/O Dbl

New suit = forcing at 1 level

2 NT after major = limit raise

2 NT after minor = natural with fit; invitational

Redouble implies no fit

Opening Preempts

Light; usually based on “rule of 2, 3 or 4”

Vs. Enemy Preempts

Double = takeout thru 4 D

Double of 4 H, 4 S, 5 C or 5 D = optional

4 NT over 4 S = all suit takeout

4 NT over any other major bid = minors

Jump to 4 C = clubs + highest unbid

Jump to 4 D = 2 highest unbid



Never initial actions

Occasional tactical bids

Direct Cue-bid

Michaels at 2 or 4 level

Strong 1-suiter at 3 level. Responses:
 3 NT = stopper in enemy suit
 Cheaper minor = artificial; weak (NF)
 Higher minor = artificial; at least an ace and a king
 Major = natural; good 6+ cards; GF

Slam Conventions

Roman key-card Blackwood (regular responses)
 Key suit is highest raised suit, or last bid if no raise
 Cheapest unplayable suit rebid asks for queen then:
  Return to trump suit denies
 5 NT rebid asks for specific side kings

D-0-P-I over Blackwood interference

Gerber 4 C/5 C (must be a jump after we bid NT)
 Exception: after 3 NT opening, use 4 D/5 D


Opening Leads vs. Suits

Ace from A-K (thru 4 S only)

Other honor leads standard

3rd best even, low odd

Low from three small

Opening Leads vs. NT

Ace asks for unblock or count

Queen from K-Q-10-9-x (partner must unblock jack)

Other honor leads standard

4th best

High from three small (except in partner’s suit lead low if you have not raised)

Subsequent Leads

After the opening lead (at a suit or notrump) the lead of the jack, ten or nine shows zero or two higher


All signals show count except:
 King or Queen against NT asks attitude
 Ace at 5+ level or after opening lead asks attitude
 Suit pref. at trick one if 3rd hand showed 5+ cards

Discards (9 or below) show count and tend to be negative attitude

Honor discards (10 or above) are standard

Present count on 2nd round (if count not shown on 1st round)

Suit preference applies after count


© 2013 Richard Pavlicek