The 2+ card "1 Club" Opening bid (also known as "Short Club" Opening bid)
The 1 Club opening is a very ambiguous bid. You may have as few as 2 Clubs in your hand or you may have 4, 5 or even more. Your partner will not know until you have made your second bid.
The bid is more revealing in what it denies than in what it promises.
It reveals :
- you have no 5+ card major suit (Hearts or Spades)
- you have no 4+ card Diamond suit
With only 2 Clubs in your hand you obviously don't have the slightest wish to end up in a Club contract. Therefore, at your next turn in the auction :
- you bid Hearts or Spades you show exactly 4 cards in that suit.
- If on the other hand you bid Clubs again you show unambiguously a genuine 5 card Club suit or longer.
- If you have neither of the above, you will probably bid NT, showing a balanced hand, or perhaps raise your partner's suit if you have trump support.
The "better minor" Opening bid
The common procedure generally adopted worldwide (when having no 5 card Hearts or Spades) is to open your "better minor" (your longest minor suit).
With for example 4 Spades, 4 Hearts, 3 Diamonds and 2 Clubs in your hand you would open 1 Diamond.
Now you have two instead of one ambiguous opening bids.
Whether you have 2 or 3 cards in a suit makes really no difference. You would not want to play a contract in either one.
To me this has never made much sense.
I strongly recommend, especially for beginning players, to use the 2 card "1 Club" opening approach.
This keeps the ambiguity confined to just one single suit (Clubs). And when you open with 1 Diamond you show a genuine 4 card Diamond suit (or longer), which your partner can confidently support if he has nothing else he can bid in reply.
(With 4 Diamonds and 4 Clubs in your hand, always open 1 Diamond.)
Copyright © 2006 Michael Furstner (Jazclass).