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Canape hearts with possibly longer spades

#1 User is offline   cloa513 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 03:29

According to some convention card in a competition, that was what they played and noteworthly they ignored it twice. Who really plays this convention and why?
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#2 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 04:35

Do you mean an opening bid? I've seen some people open 1 with 6=5 in the majors or longer in relay-based schemes and call this 'possibly longer spades', though usually canapé refers to opening a four card heart suit in front of a 5+ card spade suit.
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#3 User is offline   cloa513 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 04:53

View PostDavidKok, on 2023-November-14, 04:35, said:

Do you mean an opening bid? I've seen some people open 1 with 6=5 in the majors or longer in relay-based schemes and call this 'possibly longer spades', though usually canapé refers to opening a four card heart suit in front of a 5+ card spade suit.



Yes an opening bid with longer spades. Canape could just mean another suit that is longer- a more reasonable limitation is only a minor suit. Why longer spades?
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#4 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 05:43

View Postcloa513, on 2023-November-14, 03:29, said:

According to some convention card in a competition, that was what they played and noteworthly they ignored it twice. Who really plays this convention and why?


While we didn't canape both majors, when I played canape 1m-1-1 wasn't canape, but 1m-1-2 was, it could be a range thing. It could be a bad/good differentiator.
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#5 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 06:40

I currently practice a strong club 4cM canapé system. It is 'full canapé', in that with 54 we open 1 and with 45 we open 1. I think it is quite possibly the best system out there, but most people shut down and run for the hills at the mention of the C-word. So I've also developed a majors-first version (open your longest 4+ card major even when holding a longer minor suit, but never a shorter suit in front of a longer major) which I think is more vulnerable to competition and has less efficient constructive auctions, but has the benefit that people don't laugh at me when I bring it up.

Canapé has a number of theoretical downsides but also a number of theoretical upsides. Under the right (or maybe I should say 'perfect') conditions I think it can be superior to natural. One simple benefit is that it is more efficient with bidding space. Standard reverses need to promise lots of extra strength in case responder wishes to take preference to the first bid suit. In canapé you rarely wish to give preference to the first suit - most of the time that you prefer the opened 4-card suit over the second-bid 5 card suit you'd have raised immediately. So reverses need not show extras, and as a result you get twice as many ways to show two-suiters. There's a number of other benefits, the biggest ones on competitive auctions. If you're curious I'd be happy to write up my thoughts on this.

View Postcloa513, on 2023-November-14, 04:53, said:

Yes an opening bid with longer spades. Canape could just mean another suit that is longer- a more reasonable limitation is only a minor suit. Why longer spades?
My experience has been that actually canapé in the majors is quite safe - when we hold both majors auctions tend to work out well. The specific style of a 5+ 1 which may be longer spades that I cited earlier is related to relay systems. I think the idea is that with 55 or longer in the majors we will bid one major, then artificially show the other, then enter the 'long two-suited' module (showing 55 or longer in our two suits). Most of these schemes require showing relevant suits in ascending order, regardless of relative length. If you wish to play something fully symmetric you might decide to do the same with both-majors 1M openings. Also 6-5 (or longer) is rare anyway, I doubt it really matters.
Edit: I just realised I misunderstood your question: if you're asking why I specifically cited longer spades in my previous comment, that was only an example. In general canapé refers to opening a 4-card suit (or any 'biddable suit') in front of a 5+ card suit (or any longer suit), regardless of their relative ranks. Some people have even experimented with opening 3-card suits to canapé into their real suit.
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#6 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 10:29

View PostDavidKok, on 2023-November-14, 06:40, said:

I currently practice a strong club 4cM canapé system. It is 'full canapé', in that with 54 we open 1 and with 45 we open 1. I think it is quite possibly the best system out there


I currently practice a T-Walsh style, with aggressive openings, variable notrump and a huge number of special agreements and think that it is one of the best systems out there😀

I think a relay based big club is probably theoretically the best approach, but the memory work is too much for me at my age.

As for canapé, I think the real reason no top pairs (I may be mistaken here but I don’t know of any) play a canapé method these days is the the opponents bid a lot. Canapé had whatever heyday it enjoyed back when it was normal to require good hands and suits in order to bid once an opponent opened. At the same time, it was normal for 3 level preempts to need 7 cards. Michaels and similar two suited overcalls hadn’t yet been invented. Few if any played negative doubles…doubles were penalty.

Based on reading Bridge World articles and tournament reports from the 1950s and 60s, there was far less competitive bidding than there has been over the past forty years.

In addition, raise structures after an opening bid, especially in a major, are far more sophisticated than back then. In my main partnership, as an example, over our 1S we have 8 different forms of raise, excluding raises in competition ( we have several more ways to raise in competition) including a fairly sophisticated jacoby structure and 3 types of limit raise. You can’t do that over a canapé 1M since the major isn’t necessarily going to be trump even opposite good support. You need to devote some of your response structure to identifying opener’s real suit.

Again, competition matters. After 1M we and most other pairs can get to the 3 level (or higher) immediately with a weakish hand as responder with 4+ support. That is a problem for 4th seat who may hold a big hand. It’s not as safe for canapé players to do that since they may only be on an eight card fit plus the suit responder is most worrieD about may be opener’s main suit.
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#7 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 10:45

View Postmikeh, on 2023-November-14, 10:29, said:

I currently practice a T-Walsh style, with aggressive openings, variable notrump and a huge number of special agreements and think that it is one of the best systems out there��
I played this, and perform better with the canapé system (our NT ranges were 9-12 first/second NV, 9-14 third NV, 15-17 otherwise. Optionally we considered playing 12-14 in fourth seat). That doesn't mean that much by itself, but it is noteworthy.

View Postmikeh, on 2023-November-14, 10:29, said:

I think a relay based big club is probably theoretically the best approach, but the memory work is too much for me at my age.
Personally I fiercely disagree, I think relay methods are blown way out of proportion, all the way to mythical heights. I've played a number of them and currently do play a number of relays, either in concession to partner or as a necessary evil to make other parts of the system work.

View Postmikeh, on 2023-November-14, 10:29, said:

As for canapé, I think the real reason no top pairs (I may be mistaken here but I don’t know of any) play a canapé method these days is the the opponents bid a lot. Canapé had whatever heyday it enjoyed back when it was normal to require good hands and suits in order to bid once an opponent opened. At the same time, it was normal for 3 level preempts to need 7 cards. Michaels and similar two suited overcalls hadn’t yet been invented. Few if any played negative doubles…doubles were penalty.

Based on reading Bridge World articles and tournament reports from the 1950s and 60s, there was far less competitive bidding than there has been over the past forty years.

In addition, raise structures after an opening bid, especially in a major, are far more sophisticated than back then. In my main partnership, as an example, over our 1S we have 8 different forms of raise, excluding raises in competition ( we have several more ways to raise in competition) including a fairly sophisticated jacoby structure and 3 types of limit raise. You can’t do that over a canapé 1M since the major isn’t necessarily going to be trump even opposite good support. You need to devote some of your response structure to identifying opener’s real suit.

Again, competition matters. After 1M we and most other pairs can get to the 3 level (or higher) immediately with a weakish hand as responder with 4+ support. That is a problem for 4th seat who may hold a big hand. It’s not as safe for canapé players to do that since they may only be on an eight card fit plus the suit responder is most worrieD about may be opener’s main suit.
This is the meat of it, so feel free to disregard my above comments. Canapé has an advantage on competitive auctions, not a disadvantage compared to standard. It is a very different style of play and takes getting used to (I get the bridge equivalent of whiplash every time I swap between my Dutch Doubleton agreements and my canapé system agreements), but the canapé system is well ahead on competitive auctions. Opener gets to pattern out lower despite interference, responder has more freedom to bid and to pass, and we apply much more pressure along the way. I need a hundred gadgets in standard (e.g. transfers in competition, good/bad 2NT, scrambling 2NT, frequent reopening doubles and waiting bids, as some examples) to match the all natural canapé auctions. There are hand types where we lose, but many more where we win big.
I think it is very accurate to say that modern bidding is far more sophisticated than the canapé bidding of the 50's and 60's. As a result the canapé style is at a significant disadvantage - most of the systems trying to play canapé are hopelessly outdated and incompatible with modern bidding ideas. More standard systems, even the strong club 5cM systems, can slap on any of the modern treatments and do well, whereas canapé bidders have to work everything out from scratch or accept a 60 year deficit. But I believe the principle is sound, it just needs to be dragged to the 21st century (kicking and screaming, if need be). Ken Rexford's "Modified Italian Canapé System" did just this, though in a manner that was slightly different from the way that I prefer. Nevertheless his book was a great source of inspiration, and with a modest effort I could find a system that did almost everything I wanted with only a limited number of downsides.

I chose a canapé system (instead of a majors-first system or a Precision-esque system) precisely because it holds up better than anything else I've ever played on competitive auctions. The more the opps bid, the more I wish I was playing canapé.
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#8 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2023-November-14, 17:17

Long time strong club and canape player here - for several years in two of my partnerships we would bid with 5-4 and 6-4 in the majors in classical style (long suit first).

However, for the past 3 years we have reverted to canape in the majors which works well for 5-4 hands (responder raises the 4-cd suit with Hxx and a singleton with a minimum hand).

For 5-5 major hands we bid the stronger suit second so partner can pass with a weak hand.
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C3: Copious Canape Club is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded, PM for notes)

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#9 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2023-November-15, 17:38

View PostDavidKok, on 2023-November-14, 06:40, said:

I currently practice a strong club 4cM canapé system. It is 'full canapé', in that with 54 we open 1 and with 45 we open 1. I think it is quite possibly the best system out there, but most people shut down and run for the hills at the mention of the C-word.

In classic Blue Team Club, you always open the higher ranking suit, in this case, 1 with a non-reverse hand (within strong club context). With a reverse hand, you open the shorter suit and reverse into the higher ranking suit, or jump into the lower ranking longer suit.

My issue with full canape is that in an auction like



you've shown the longer spades, but partner doesn't know if you have extra strength.
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#10 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2023-November-15, 19:14

True, but 1NT denies Limit Raise values and if opener had a 5-loser hand he would jump rebid.

This works well (best) IMHO in a strong club context.
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: https://bridgewithda...19/07/Ultra.pdf
C3: Copious Canape Club is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded, PM for notes)

Santa Fe Precision published 8/19. TOP3 published 11/20. Magic experiment (Science Modernized) with Lenzo. 2020: Jan Eric Larsson's Cottontail . 2020. BFUN (Bridge For the UNbalanced) 2021: Weiss Simplified (Canape & Relay). 2022: Canary Modernized, 2023-4: KOK Canape.
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#11 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2023-November-16, 05:24

In a strong club structure the opening bid, and therefore all future rebids, are limited. The ascending canapé auctions are fine (though not amazing), e.g. 1-1NT; 2 showing 11-15 with 4(+)5(+). It is quite comparable to a standard auction with Gazzilli - different in a few ways, but similar. With a sixth spade you often have a jump rebid of 3, so the playing strength of the rebid is somewhat limited. Without the strong club I would not recommend canapé, wide-ranging natural openings just don't suit it very well in my opinion. As an aside what I personally prefer is, I think, noticeably different from the structure Larry mentions.
All this creates its own problems, but on balance I believe I'm well ahead.

Italian Blue Team used the strong club to split (approximately) 17+ from 12-16, and then chopped the 12-16 range into three(!) smaller ranges, each of which had their own rules for opening and rebidding. This meant the system had many sequences with ambiguous relative lengths, showing suits one way around if minimum or the other way around if maximum (or more complicated, even). Personally I think this approach is hopeless - poor partner is left with a blind guess on every competitive auction. Also bidding systems simply aren't good enough to have two-point ranges at the 2-level, and there's no extra credit for trying anyway. But all of this is not core to the idea of a strong club canapé system, and I think that by slapping on a number of common modern approaches (a strong notrump, a shape first approach to bidding rather than emphasising suit quality or playing strength, plenty of raises in and out of competition, cheap game forcing auctions with weaker descriptive jumps, lots of takeout doubles in competition and more) we arrive at a really good and surprisingly simple system. Except for the whiplash, of course.
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#12 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2023-November-16, 10:39

View Postmikeh, on 2023-November-14, 10:29, said:

As for canapé, I think the real reason no top pairs (I may be mistaken here but I don't know of any) play a canapé method these days is the the opponents bid a lot.

I surveyed the Ecats site for Convention Cards listing canapé and found none in the past 5 years that were truly a canapé design. There were a few that used canapé into a 5-cd minor after opening 1M or from 1 into a 5-cd major (2 pairs) or after a 1 - 1 - 1M auction with a strong club (made popular by Johnson and Berkowitz).
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: https://bridgewithda...19/07/Ultra.pdf
C3: Copious Canape Club is still my favorite system. (Ultra upgraded, PM for notes)

Santa Fe Precision published 8/19. TOP3 published 11/20. Magic experiment (Science Modernized) with Lenzo. 2020: Jan Eric Larsson's Cottontail . 2020. BFUN (Bridge For the UNbalanced) 2021: Weiss Simplified (Canape & Relay). 2022: Canary Modernized, 2023-4: KOK Canape.
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#13 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2023-November-18, 20:25

View PostDavidKok, on 2023-November-16, 05:24, said:

Italian Blue Team used the strong club to split (approximately) 17+ from 12-16, and then chopped the 12-16 range into three(!) smaller ranges, each of which had their own rules for opening and rebidding. This meant the system had many sequences with ambiguous relative lengths, showing suits one way around if minimum or the other way around if maximum (or more complicated, even). Personally I think this approach is hopeless - poor partner is left with a blind guess on every competitive auction.

Actually, for unbalanced hands, there are only 2 types of hands, reverse and non reverse. Reverse hands generally are in the 15-16 HCP range (could be less with 10+ cards in the 2 suits) with a good suit in reverse (canape) suit. A hand could have 16 HCP and not be a reverse if too many of the honor cards are in short suits and the long suit is poor quality.

There is also a distinction if one of the suits is clubs, since 1 is artificial and strong. I do agree that classical Blue Team has too many ambiguous situations. In my modern Blue Team, there are several methods used to sort out some of the ambiguities. I also thought the obscure BTC 1NT opening was especially problematic, so never adopted it and play a standard strong NT.
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#14 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2023-November-19, 02:24

Sorry, I meant specifically the 2001 version of modern Blue Team Club by Arturo Franco and Marco Pancotti. Their 106-page explanation of the system is very thorough and helpful. They split the 12-16 range in reverser (as you say, approx 15-16) and then split the remaining 12-15 (there's some overlap) into 'weak' and 'average'.
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