This variation of the Astro conventional defense method following a 1 No Trump opening bid by the opposing side is credited to Mr. Matthew Granovetter, and therefore the designation of Grano-Astro. The Astro conventional defense method was devised by Mr. Paul Allinger, Mr. Roger Stern, and Mr. Larry ROsler.
Note: This variation is compared by bridge theorists to a class of conventions such as Pin-Point Astro and Brozel. In a promotional web page for the award-winning bridge software Jack 3, developed by Kuijf & Kuijf Software, the conventional defense method of Lionel, authored by Mr. Lionel Wright, is considered a version of the Grano-Astro conventional defense method.
Note: In comparing such defense methods to / against each other following an opening bid of 1 No Trump by the opposing side Mr. David Stevenson uses the designation of Wright, Grano-Astro, and Lionel as one classification.
The Astro defense method consists of only two overcalls following the opening bid of 1 No Trump by the opposing side, namely 2 Clubs to show a 5-card Heart suit and an unspecified 4-card Minor suit, and 2 Diamonds to show a 5-card Spade suit and an unspecified 4-card second suit, called the anchor suit.
The authors of the Astro defense method did not include the concept of the double to communicate information to the advancer. Most variations or modifications of the original Astro defense method employ the double to be used as a call to provide the advancer with a more descriptive idea of the shape of the holding.
Note: In the evolution of the game of bridge more experienced players and bridge theorists concluded after many years of recording certain aspects of the bidding process that one could easily postulate that penalty doubles of 1 No Trump opening bids are seldom profitable. Thus it was only a natural evolutionary process that the call of double in this bidding sequence should convey information rather than be used for penalty. Mr. Danny Kleinman presents a convincing online summary of this postulate and generally accepted principle.
The Grano-Astro defense method is presented below. This variation expands also upon the original version not only with the employment of the double but also with the expansion of the number of possible overcalls.
As with other defense methods to a 1 No Trump opening bid by the opposing side a partnership agreement must be established regarding the length of the two suits. In this regard the state of vulnerability is generally the deciding factor. The most employed guideline is that a 5-5 shape should be held by equal and non-favorable vulnerability. By favorable vulnerability most partnerships agree to permit a 5-4 shape in order to compete more frequently. All agreements should include the fact that most of the working values be included in the two suits so as to be most effective in winning tricks.
Note: One possible partnership agreement is also that the distribution may even be as low as 4-4, especially if the shape is 4-4-4-1 or even 5-4-4-0. This agreement, however, would be an individual partnership agreement.
It is important to realize that some partnership agreements demand a range generally between 14-17/18 points. Other partnership agreements accept the range of 12-14 points. The partnership adapts and accommodates the principles of the Grano-Astro defense method according to the announced No Trump range.
All overcalls outlined below are permitted overcalls of the Grano-Astro conventional defense method.
Opener Overcaller Meaning 1 NT Shows agreed range. Double Promises Spades and any lower-ranking suit. 2 Shows the bid suit (Clubs) and Hearts. 2 Shows the bid suit (Diamonds) and Hearts. 2 Promises a one-suited holding with Hearts. 2 Promises a one-suited holding with Spades. 2 NT Shows both Minor suits. Additional Optional Overcalls 3 Promises a one-suited holding with Clubs. 3 Promises a one-suited holding with Diamonds.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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