I always insist that my partners bid to my system. This involves a " prepared club " which only they are obliged to use. This means I can always open one spade, but they must refrain from doing so, opting instead for the ambiguous 1C opener. As a result I, as responder, can bid spades first on as little as 3 small. This has a double whammy effect : either I end up as declarer in a spade contract, or if partner has no spades I keep the opposition from finding their spade contract. Is that brilliant or what ? Another part of my system is that partners must never respond 1/2 NT to an opening suit bid of mine under any circumstances. They must choose their best minor suit no matter how bad it is. Moreover, there must never open 1/2 NT, choosing instead the artificial and available 1C/2C bids. The crucial objective is that I must be given every opportunity going to bid no trumps first. Indeed, my partners are obliged to follow the general guidelines of making a suit bid, where they have little or no desire to end up as declarer in that suit.
So allow me now to give you a wonderful illustration of how my system triumphs over all others:
Partner ( West ) Holds : AKxxx.....xx.....AQx....QJx
Sitting East I Hold : xxx.......AQ10x....Jx.....K10xx
The bidding correctly goes 1C ( spade bid is forbidden ) , 1S ( showing 3 or more in the suit ), 3D ( good hand, better minor, jump confirming good spades ), 3NT ( first there, over to you partner to make final decision ), Pass. On a heart lead I wrapped up 10 tricks taking 4S, 2H, 1D, 3C despite both red kings being off-side. Using other biding systems most Wests end up in either 3NT or 4S, struggling to make the former and going one off for certain in the latter ( losing a trick in every suit ).
The beauty of the compulsory 1C opener from partner is that you are in control, and are well place to play over 70% of the contracts. Indeed, really good partners, who really get into the spirit of anti-hog bidding, boost that figure to almost 80%. Jesus, I didn't take up serious bridge just to become a dummy !
So allow me to give you one more example :
Partner ( West ) Holds : xx.....Ax....QJ10xx.....AK10x
Sitting East I hold : xxxx...Qx....Kxxx.........Qxx
Partner yet again is obliged to open 1C. Naturally, my first response is 1S showing at least 3. Now comes 2H from partner ( indicating no spades, useless heart suit, but two good minor suits by inference ). 3D by me ends the auction. As expected I received a heart lead allowing me to make 10 tricks, losing 1D and 2S tricks only. Elsewhere, other East/West players were only making 9 tricks in diamonds or going off in frisky no trump contracts. For further details about my system and how to really hog the bidding (and the contracts ) turn to chapter 46.....