Brozel Defense to 1NT
There was a time in bridge when an opening bid of one notrump always went
uncontested, but no more. Today, aggressive defenders look for almost any
excuse to interfere with a notrump bid. That's not to say they use foolhardy
methods, but seldom will they stay out of the auction when they hold a
distributional hand. Many conventions have been devised to for this purpose,
and below is one of the easiest to remember and play.
Keep this phrase in mind...
Most bids are two suited, and with Brozel the pivot suit is hearts.
This is the agreement:
A bid of 2 or
2 shows that suit and hearts.
A bid of 2 has both hearts and spades.
A bid of 2 indicates spades
and an unspecified minor.
(Partner can bid 2NT to ask about the minor.)
To show both minors, you must overcall 2NT.
A double shows a single suited hand.
When the overcall is a double, showing a single-suited hand, partner must respond
2 to allow the overcaller to bid the long suit.
(Partner is allowed to pass the double if she thinks a long suit in your hand and her
high card points are enough to beat declarer.)
When Bernard Zeller first devised the Brozel convention, he decided that a jump
to the three level should show a three-suited hand with a high level of strength.
This hand would qualify for a jump to 3
The probability of a hand pattern of 4-4-4-1 or 4-4-5 is slightly better than 3%
so don't expect this to happen very often.
Because two-suited hands occur far more frequently, a better method is outlined below...
The Brozel convention allows you to show two suits, but occassionally you get a hand
that is also very strong. How would you like to hear your RHO open one notrump, either
weak or strong, when you are holding this hand?
If you bid 2 showing diamonds and hearts, partner may pass,
and you certainly don't want that.
Here's my suggestion: Start with a double to force partner to respond.
Your partner will alert and tell them that you have a single-suited hand, and then will
respond by bidding 2
Now you can jump to 3 which by agreement is diamonds
and hearts - the Brozel structure, but with a forcing hand. Partner must choose
one of your suits and cannot pass.
What are you giving up to use Brozel? You no longer have a penalty double
when you hold 15-18 HCP and a balanced hand, but how often does that happen?
Is there a better method?
Ask a dozen players their opinion and you are likely to get at least a half-dozen
answers. Their method is best!
My opinion is that a convention called HELLO is the best, but Brozel is
probably the easiest to learn and it works as well as the others.
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