System Notes 7G39 Main

Last revision: July 21, 2020

Pavlicek System (short)

 by Richard Pavlicek

Short version for casual partnerships

General Approach

Eastern Scientific

Strong forcing opening: 2 C

Notrump Opening Bids

1 NT = 15 to 17 HCP

2 C = Stayman. Then if followed by:
 2 H = weak (correctable); at least 4-4 majors
 2 S over 2 D = sign-off
 2 S over 2 H = exactly 4 spades (checkback); F
 2 NT = invitational; no major-suit interest
 3 C or 3 D = game forcing
 3M over 2 D = Smolen (also after 2 NT)
 3 other major over 2 M = artificial slam try with fit
 4X over 2M = splinter

Jacoby transfer

2 S = both minors; invit+ (2 NT or 3m rejects)

Minor-suit transfers (2 NT = clubs; 3 C = diamonds)
 Must be one-suited hand (weak or GF)
 New suit rebid = splinter

3 D = 5-5 majors; GF (opener sets strain)

3 H or 3 S = splinter (3-suiter); slam try

Texas transfer (also in competition thru 3 C)

System on after dbl or 2 C (rdbl rescue, dbl Stayman)

Lebensohl after 2 D H S (direct denies)

Negative double at 3 level (also after 2 NT)

2 NT = 20 to 22 HCP
 Jacoby; Texas; 3 S = both minors slam try

3 NT = ace asking; good 1-suiter; 9+ tricks; F
 4 C = 1 ace; opener may then ask with 4 D:
  4 H nothing extra; 4 S something; 4 NT lots
 4 D = no ace (assumed) or 2 (must bid again); F
 4 H, 4 S = natural, 7+ (strong 6); at most 1 ace; NF
 Over a double:
  Pass = no likely trick (can stop in 4 C or 4 D)
  Rdbl = 1 ace + defensive values
  Other = same (but aceless 4 D has something)
 Over a bid:
  Pass = nondescript (opener must bid to 4; may 5)
  Dbl = penalty (trump stack)
  Cheapest suit = 1 ace (opener corrects if not suit)
  4 NT = 2 aces (slam likely); F

4 NT = minors (usually weak)

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)

Major Openings

5+ cards; may be strong 4 cards in 3rd/4th if light

1 NT = 6 to 14 (forcing)

Two-over-one GF unless responder rebids same suit

2 NT = 15+ natural (11-12 in competition)

Double raise = limit (also after overcall)

3 NT = forcing raise; no splinter; max of 14 HCP

Splinter bids (in competition must be a jump cue)

Preemptive reraises

Relay game try (2 S or 2 NT) then dummy bids:
 New suit (2 NT = spades) = 3+ cards w/K or Q
  Opener may relay again, then:
   3 of major = minimum
 3 of major = minimum
 Raise of relay = maximum; flat; suggests 3 NT
 4 of major = maximum

All game tries must begin with the relay, so a new suit at 3 level (including a jump to 3 S) is a natural slam try. Relay game try applies any time we raise a major from 1 to 2 (unless an opponent bids after our raise).

Two-way reverse Drury (2 C 3 trumps, 2 D 4+)
 Opener’s cheapest rebid = very mild interest
 Bids past 2 of major same as after single raise
  (relay game try still applies)

Minor Openings

3+ cards

Inverted minor raises (also in competition)

1 NT = 6 to 10

2 NT = 15+ (11-12 in competition)

3 NT = 13 to 14

2 C over 1 D = 11+ points, then:
 2 D = artificial; any minimum, then:
  2 NT or 3 C = natural; NF
  Other = natural; GF
 Other = natural; GF

After a 1 NT overcall, raise = artif.; weak major T/O

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)

Two-Club Opening

Strong (typically 23+) and artificial

2 D = 0-4 HCP (presumed) or 8+ or an A+K
2 H = artif; 5-7 HCP or an ace
S = artif; any 5 card suit with 2 of top 3 honors
2 NT = artif; any 5 card suit with AKQ
3X = natural; 6 cards with 2 of top 3 honors

Opener's 2 H rebid forces 2 S (Kokish)

Responder's cheapest rebid over a suit is waiting

All doubles are penalty (2 or 3 level is trump stack)

Weak Two-Bids

5 to 10 HCP; 5 or 6 cards; undisciplined but sensible

New suit response = NF (usually constructive)
 Opener should bid again with a useful hand

2 NT only force; then
(after 2 D):
 3 C = 5 card diamond suit
 3 D = minimum hand
 3 M = maximum; stopper in major bid
 3 NT = maximum; no major stopper
(after 2 M):
 3 C = 5 cards in major bid, then:
  3 D = artificial relay, then:
   3 M = minimum
 3 D = average or maximum hand, then
  3 M = invitational
 3 M = worst hand (implies others would not open)
 3 other major = natural (4 cards)
 3 NT = AKQ or AKJ

Other Conventional Calls

Weak jump shifts (always). In competition all unbid suit jumps are weak (splinters in enemy suits only).

Immediate cue-bid shows forcing 2 NT response with a stopper (opener bids notrump if he would raise 2 NT to 3 NT or pass 3 NT).

Invisible cue-bid (cheaper = raise; higher = 4th suit)

Responder’s 2nd-round jumps and raises to 3 of a minor are forcing by an unpassed hand (unless enemy has bid, then invitational).

New minor, 4th suit or 3rd suit forcing = 11+ points

After NMF, FSF or TSF, opener’s rebid of 2 NT, a previously shown suit below 2 NT, or the same suit three times, explicitly rejects game invitation (NF). Responder’s third bid sets the strain, and if a nonjump shows invitational values (NF).

After the sequence: 1 H 1 S; 2 D 3 C, opener must rebid 3 D on any minimum without 3 card spade support (this does not show 5-5 as it sounds); then responder will pass if he is inviting in diamonds.

After FSF, if opener rebids 2 S when his second bid was 1 S, this shows 4 good/decent spades and no desire to bid notrump (not 5-6 as it sounds).

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)

Special Doubles

Negative thru 4 D (or 4 H after minor opening)

Competitive thru 3 S if opponents have shown a fit, we have not shown a fit or bid notrump naturally, and doubler did not pass after bidding was opened

Maximal only if both opponents have acted and no suit bid is available as a game try

Responsive thru 2 S over anything, or 3 S if a major raise (double of 3+ minor is penalty, even if a raise)

Notrump Overcalls

1 NT = 15 to 18 HCP (10 to 15 in passout)
 Respond as to 1 NT opening

2 NT nonjump = 16 to 19 (14 to 17 in passout)
 Respond as to 2 NT opening

2 NT jump = unusual for two lower unbid suits
 Except in passout = 19-21 (system on)

3 NT = natural; may be unbalanced with long minor
 All responses natural (except a cue-bid)

Simple Overcall

Typically 8 to 17 HCP

New suit response = NF (jump invitational)

Jump raise = weak

Cue-bid = 11+ with fit or any 13+

Jump cue = limit raise; 4+ trumps

Vs. All NT Openings

Double = 14+ HCP; optional (penalty oriented). If an opponent runs, the next double by either of us is for takeout (hence, trap pass for penalty).

Modified Astro (all positions):
 2 C = hearts + any other suit
 2 D = spades + any other suit
 2 H, 2 S, 3 C, 3 D = natural; 1-suiter
 2 NT = both majors or both minors

With both majors bid 2 C with only 4 spades; 2 D with 5+ spades and 4+ hearts; or 2 NT with decent game chances (at least 5-5).

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)

Jump Overcall

Weak; usually based on “rule of 2, 3 or 4”

Respond as to same opening (weak two-bid structure applies).

In passout (or over enemy weak opening) shows good hand, 1 trick shy of bid

Over Opp’s T/O Dbl

New suit = forcing at 1 level

2 NT after major = limit raise

2 NT after minor = natural with fit; invitational
 (Note that inverted minors still apply)

Redouble implies no fit

Opening Preempts

Light; usually based on “rule of 2, 3 or 4”

Vs. Enemy Preempts

Double = takeout thru 4 D

Double of 4 H, 4 S, 5 C or 5 D = optional

4 NT over 4 S = any two suits, or 3-suiter with void

4 NT over any other major bid = minors

4-level cue = highest unbid + other

4 C jump = clubs + lower unbid major

4 D jump = diamonds + lower unbid major

Lebensohl after double of weak two-bid (direct or balancing)

No responsive doubles (penalty even if raise)

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)


Never on our initial actions

Subsequent calls may be tactical on occasion

Direct Cue-bid

Michaels at 2 or 4 level

Strong 1-suiter at 3 level. Responses:
 3 NT = stopper in enemy suit
 Cheapest minor = artificial; no ace (NF)
 Next minor or cue = artificial; 1 ace
 Next minor or cue = artificial; 2 aces
 Major = natural; good 6+ cards; GF
 4 NT = king stopper + 1 ace; NF

Slam Conventions

Roman key-card Blackwood (regular responses except 5 S response is barred with hearts key)
 Key suit is highest raised suit, or last bid if no raise
 Cheapest unplayable suit rebid asks for queen then:
  Return to trump suit denies
 5 NT rebid asks for specific side kings

Over interfering bid: D0PI (or DEPO at 6+ level)

If we have bid notrump naturally, 4 NT is always natural unless a major suit is agreed.

Gerber 4 C/5 C (must be a jump after we bid NT).

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)

Opening Leads vs. Suits

Ace from A-K (thru 4 S only)

Other honor leads standard

Spot leads low from odd, second* or third from even

*from four cards lead second best if the six or lower (J-6-3-2) or accompanied by a touching card (Q-7-6-2, 9-8-4-3) or if partner has bid the suit

Opening Leads vs. NT

Ace asks for unblock or count

Queen from K-Q-10-9-x (partner must unblock jack)

Other honor leads standard

4th best (optionally 2nd best from bad suits)

High from three small (except in partner’s suit lead low if you have not raised)

Subsequent Leads

After the opening lead (suit or notrump) jack denies a higher honor, and ten shows ace, king or queen. Hence, from 10-9 holdings lead the nine.


All signals show count except:
 King or Queen against NT asks attitude
 Ace at 5+ level or after opening lead asks attitude
 Suit pref. at trick one if 3rd hand showed 5+ cards

When giving count with four cards, consistently play second best if affordable.

Discards (9 or below) show count and tend to be negative attitude. Honor discards are standard.

Present count on 2nd round if not shown on 1st round

Suit preference applies after count

System Notes 7G39 MainTop Pavlicek System (short)

© 2020 Richard Pavlicek