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Balancing Cappellitti/Hamilton

by Mike Savage

Here is a simple tweak to increase the efficacy of Cappelletti/Hamilton in the pass-out seat – use Double to show the one-suited hand and 2C to show both minors. When you are in the balancing seat, after passing originally or even as a non-passed hand, you almost never will want to make a penalty double of a strong 1NT (or even after a weak 1NT when you’re a passed hand). If you have already passed, you obviously couldn’t have a penalty double all by yourself and if you are a non-passed hand and your left-hand opponent has opened a strong 1NT, his high-card points would be right behind yours  – and besides partner wouldn’t have a clue as to which suit to lead. So why use the double for a bid that you probably would never make – a penalty double?

A much better usage for the double in the pass-out seat would be to use the double to show a one-suited hand – instead of using the regular Cappelletti/Hamilton 2C bid for that purpose. Playing this would enable you to play in clubs at the two-level instead of the three-level. Using the double for the one-suited hand would also free up 2C to show a two-suited hand in the minors and enable your partner be able to pick his best minor at the two-level – as opposed to having to pick his best minor at the three-level over 2NT, using standard Cappelletti/HamiltonSince you would virtually “never” double 1NT for penalty in the pass-out seat, using it for another purpose has got to be an improvement. The meanings of 2D, 2H and 2S would still remain the same as in standard Cappelletti/Hamilton. 

Here is Balancing Cappelletti/Hamilton in the pass out seat :