Friday, November-07-08


Hand Evaluation – ELC ( Spades )




            There is not too much literature on minimum equal level conversion since it is a Meckwell invention. They are quite secretive about their stuff & purportedly charge $100,000.00 for their system notes. Equal level conversion is based on the fact that you almost never double with a single suited hand . This means when you do double & bid a suit , equal level conversion applies ( you have another suit ) . The spade suit being the boss suit is usually thrown out with minimum equal level conversion as obviously you must have a lower ranking suit to show first. Equal level conversion is playing with the rank of suits & suit combinations with minimum hands. There is also one other basic rule with equal level conversion . When they open a minor , a double shows both majors. You may not have the unbid minor , but you can take the major support to the bank with minimum doubles.


      You hold AKJxx x  AK10xx xx & they open 1. This is not a spade overcall for a number of reasons. An overcall usually shows a single suited hand or a two suiter without defense. This is a two suiter with 4 quick tricks !  This hand is not powerful enough for the strong Micheals ( close ).  I double & jump convert clubs to diamonds so partner knows I have spades & diamonds with defense. Jump conversions are usually 5-5 ‘s . What if they open 1 ? I would break the rule of having both majors to double a minor & double anyway. Why break the rule ? The answer is because we can with a strong hand with the boss suit & no ambiguity can take place. Since they opened 1♣ & when partner bids hearts , a spade bid must show the other two suits. Due to the playing & overall strength of this hand with the boss suit , you can break rules. Do not try it though with 5-4 or 4-4 minimums in these two suits though. This sequence must show a strong two suiter.  Rules can be broken when you have the hand for it. This is a good hand to double playing the minimum equal level conversion style. Do not forget that equal level conversion was invented for minimum defensive hands as strong hands can take care of themselves by breaking rules.


      Two suits that are very difficult to show in competitive bidding are clubs & spades. They open a heart so what do you bid with AKJx Ax xx J10xxx ?  I usually overcall 1 since overcalling 2 seems ludicrous to me. However , why not double instead & pull 2 to two spades & have a canape understanding that spades are always shorter than clubs on this sequence. This way ,  you describe your defensive hand with the other major. When they open 1 , I will still overcall 1 as a double must have both majors.


      OK,  let’s get back to the fix hands. They open a major & you have defense with 4 of the other major & 6 of a minor. With diamonds , equal level conversion is easy as you double & pull clubs to diamonds. They open 1 & you have AKJx xx x Axxxxx so we are forced to overcall 2 as minimum equal level conversion does not apply with the club suit. Yes , but it does if you have the understanding that spades are always shorter canape style. When you have an offensive hand with spades & clubs with a 1 opener  KQ10x Kx x  KJ1098x just over 2 like most people will do.


       The idea behind doubling with the unbid major & equal level conversion theory in general is not missing your major games by burying a major suit with an overcall plus showing your defense measured in quick tricks.  I propose a canape style with equal level conversion with clubs & spades. Seems workable to me , as we use clubs as a bailout when we do not have a fit for the unbid major. Comments ?