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X Y Z

A 21st Century Replacement for New Minor and More A version that includes Modified Two-Way New Minor, presented by Mike Savage

Basics  XYZ is somewhat similar to New Minor Forcing or Two-way New Minor Forcing. Here is how it works: Over any (x-y-z) sequence of bids when opener rebids at the 1-level, responder invokes XYZ by bidding an artificial 2C to show all invitational hands and 2D with most game-forcing hands.     XYZ begins the checkback process over a 1H or 1S rebid by opener and this version also includes playing the same basic continuations after a 1NT rebid by opener as well (the continuations after a 1NT rebid are often called Modified Two-Way Stayman). X and Y can both be minors, both can be majors, or (most frequently by far) X will be a minor and Y will be a major. In this composite version of XYZ, you can play the same basic checkback structure over any Z – whether Z is 1H, 1S or 1NT.

XYZ has many advantages over New Minor such as you can make an invitational bid in a major and if partner doesn’t accept, still be at the 2-level. You also can show six diamonds and a four-card major with invitational values by bidding 1D over 1C, followed by bidding 2C over Z and then bidding your major over the forced 2D rebid. Another advantage of this version is that you can early on distinguish between various types of game-forcing hands – which you can’t if you play New Minor Forcing.

Here is the basic structure after any one-level rebid by opener if you play this version of XYZ:

2C = Forces opener to bid 2D which responder may pass or follow up with an invitational bid

2D = Game forcing, responder’s hand pattern is not yet disclosed, leaving a lot of bidding space. After 1X-1M 1Z-2D: opener should show 3-card major support or without it, bid 2NT, if appropriate 2H or 2S = Not invitational if responder is rebidding his major or bidding 2H after having bid 1S

2NT = Invites 3NT

3C = It’s always to play – a signoff bid whether it’s opener’s minor or not

3D, 3H, 3S = Game forcing, good suit quality with slam potential whether a new suit or a suit rebid

To invite game in opener’s suit after bidding his own, responder rebids 2C over Z and after the forced

2D response by opener, responder bids two of opener’s suit with support and invitational values

To invite game in his major, responder rebids 2C over Z and after 2D by opener, he rebids two of his suit with a fair to good 5-card (or poor to fair 6-card) suit and jumps to three with a good 6-card suit

Here are some ways with game forcing hands to show if responder has good suits or if he doesn’t  

To force to game in opener’s suit when either responder’s suit or his support is not great, after bidding his own suit responder rebids 2D over Z and supports opener’s first suit on his next turn to bid

To force to game in opener’s suit when responder has a very good suit of his own with very good support for opener’s suit, over Z responder jumps to three of opener’s suit (except in clubs)

To force to game in his own suit when his suit isn’t great, responder must first bid 2D then rebid his suit on his next turn. If responder’s suit is a major, suit bids by opener now are cuebids; 3NT/4M are to play

To force to game in his own suit when it is very good, responder simply jump-rebids three of his suit. If responder’s suit is a major this sets trump, opener cuebids with slam interest and bids 4M without

To force to game with two suits and both of them are not very good, responder rebids 2D and then bids his second suit (usually at the three-level) on his next turn to bid

To force to game with two very good suits, responder simply jump-shifts into his 2nd suit on his rebid

Other Possible follow-ups

Passed Hand and One-Level Interference

Some partnerships play that the XYZ 2C invitational relay sequences are still “on” by a passed hand

XYZ might be played over 1-level interference but if so, needs partnership discussion and agreement

Suggestions as to when you could chose to break the 2C-2D relay – and what it might show:

1C-1H 1S-2C3C = Shows a solid 6-card or good 7-card suit and is an offer to play.

1m-1H 1S-2C2H = Shows almost jump-shift strength and 4-3-1-5 or 4-3-5-1 distribution

1m-1H 1S-2C2S = Might show 6-5 (might be 5-5 with clubs and spades) and no extra values

1m-1H 1S-2C3S = Might show six of the minor, five of the major, looking for honors in those suits 

Some suggested meanings for continuations after XYZ. Some partnerships may assign other meanings:

1m-1Y-1Z-2NT = Natural and invitational and denies 4-card support for opener’s minor

1m-1Y 1Z-2C 2D-2NT = Natural and invitational with at least 4-card support for opener’s minor

1m-1Y 1Z-2C 2D-3m = Invitational with at least 5-card support for opener’s minor and is shapely

1C-1M 1NT-2C 2D-3D = Shows five of the major and five diamonds with invitational values

1H-1S 1NT-2C 2D-3D = Shows five spades and five diamonds with invitational values

1m-1S 1NT-2C 2D-2H = Shows five spades and four hearts with invitational values

1m-1S 1NT-2C 2D-3H = Shows five-five in the majors with invitational values

1m-1M 1Z-3NT = To play and doesn’t show a five-card major

1m-1M 1Z-2C 2D-3NT = Shows a five-card major and a balanced hand (giving a choice of games)

1C-1D 1S or 1NT-2H = Game forcing with four hearts and five or more diamonds

1C-1D 1S or 1NT-2C 2D-2H = Invitational with four hearts and six diamonds 

1C-1D 1Z-2D = Game forcing and can have various hands. For instance it could be made with long

diamonds and slam interest or could have both diamonds and club support with more interest in game or slam in a minor than in 3NT or could have support for either one of opener’s suits and slam interest

Splinters by responder:

A direct splinter by responder when opener rebids 1NT is always in support of opener’s suit, responder

must go through the 2C-2D relay in order to make a splinter with his own suit as trumps. Examples:

1C-1H 1NT-3S = This is a splinter raise of opener’s suit (clubs in this case)

1C-1H 1NT-2C 2D-3S = This is a splinter raise of responder’s own suit (hearts in this case)

If opener rebids one of a suit (not 1NT), a direct splinter by responder is in support of opener’s 2nd suit

To make a splinter in opener’s first suit, responder must go thru “forth” suit first. Examples:

1D-1H 1S: 4C = This is a splinter in support of spades

1D-1H 1S-2C 2D: 4C = This would be a splinter in support of diamonds

Suggested tips for partnerships that often bypass diamonds to bid a major:

If you bypass five or six diamonds to bid a major unless you have opening values then bidding 1H or 1S over 1D guarantees five clubs with a shapely hand (unless you are 4-4-1-4) so it is suggested that you don’t play XYZ after 1C-1D 1H or 1S but play that bidding 2C now is just natural and to play.

A possible corollary of this is that after 1C-1D-1H, you could play 1S now as artificial (sort of 4th suit), only requiring minimal to invitational values. Opener would rebid 1NT with 3-4-1-5 distribution (perhaps 2-4-2-5) and a spade stopper (right-siding notrump) with minimal or mildly extra values and would jump to 2NT with a good 17 or 18/19 HCP. Responder could pass 1NT or invite game with 2NT.

Some experts might use 1S (after 1C-1D-1H) as natural and forcing or for different artificial purposes.H

XYZ is basically a simple convention used after opener has rebid at the one-level. Its structure keeps the bidding low in order to more precisely explore the best part-score or game contract while facilitating slam bidding after a game force is established at a low level. In some expert partnerships there are different (often more complicated) meanings to some of the continuation subtleties suggested above. Your partnership needs to agree on what meanings for these continuations seem best to you.