Source: Bocchi & Madala Big Bang Bridge

A Norberto Bocchi’s TIP:

I believe and personally I am convinced that to play a winning bridge in 2018 you need to sacrifice (only in some situations) some precision and that’s why I want to tell you a convention that I really like and it can be introduced into any bridge system in the world: the 3NT opening as gambling (closed minor) is very in disuse and is very old.
It is also technically wrong because you always play on the wrong side and moreover it happens once every Pope’s death therefore I use this opening bid to show an opening with hearts or spades much better than opening 4 hearts or 4 spades, this serves to distinguish the various types of barrage and most importantly to make the opponents speak at the level of 4, Vulnerable or Non Vulnerable, can be very useful. Of course vulnerable must be a little stronger because ‘as already’ the 4x cannot be too weak otherwise we could pay 1100 every hand.

First I will show you some hands that open 4x first: KQ10xxxx xx J10xx or QJ10xxxxx xx x xx or AQJxxxx – xxxx xx.

Well now I’ll show you hands that can open 3NT, and that normally are opened at the 1-level: AKJxxxx xx Kxxx or QJ10xxxx x AKxx Q or KQJ10XXX KQJ XX X, these are hands I like to open 3NT, a mixture between opening level-1 and level-4, the advantages are that your partner will know what kind of hand is opening the battle, and will be able to pass-correct or go to slam but above all this opening bid avoids opponents to enter the auction easily.

If I open 1 hearts and the next player has 12 points and 5 spades he will say 1 spade. If I open 3NT he certainly will not be able to show his spades so easily, practically you are sacrifying a little of precision (not too much) to the detriment of this advantage, the continuations if you like will be my next advice, if you are not too bored