Thursday, 12 June 2008

Soft fit, hard fit

Chilli Two makes a distinction between major and minor fit auctions, the differences being that in a minor fit 3NT is to play (rather than values for four) and three of a suit shows an empty suit (rather than a splinter).

It's clear to see that these are good variations, but we can get more mileage out of them if we make them characteristics of a soft fit. The point is that we can characterise all minor fit auctions as soft, but then add some major fit auctions that would also benefit from these variations.

The first addition is a major fit established after a suit-setter. It's clearly a good idea after such a unilateral action to let reluctant partner have a small say and be able to nominate 3NT as a sensible contract, and we can do this by making the fit soft.

An example: 1 - 1; 2 - 2; 3 - 3; 3NT - pass.

(While we're on suit-setters, we've decided to try to increase the frequency of delayed premature suit-setters by allowing them to be bid missing any single honour, not just the ace.)

The second addition to soft fits is cleaning up what is currently an exceptional rule, and that is that 3NT is to play if partner has just made a non-forcing bid of the trump suit. By defining the non-forcing bid as making the fit soft, we get the exceptional rule rolled up into the general one.

An example: 1 - 2NT; 3 - 3NT; pass.

We may come up with some other applications of soft fits. The important thing is that there must be clear and concise definitions for when the soft fit applies.

Alan Williams
June 2008

The Chilli bidding system is described and defined at

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