B E T T E R   T H A N   M A T H E
Defense to a Strong Club

Defense Against a Strong Club
Your opponents are using either Precision or some other form of a strong club opening and you want a method of showing a two-suited hand...

Opponent     Overcaller     Meaning
    1Double Shows both majors
    1NT Shows both minors
Any other bid is natural

The Mathe convention is simple, easy to remember and makes it easier to defend against a strong and artificial club opening.   There's not a great deal wrong with it, but it's not complete.

Why?  Because although you can bid both majors or both minors, there are four combinations of major-minors with no way to show them using the Mathe convention.

Better than Mathe
Opponent     Overcaller     Meaning
    1Double Shows both clubs and hearts
    1 Shows diamonds and hearts
    1 Shows hearts and spades
    1 Shows spades and a minor (1NT to ask)
    1NT Shows both minors
Jump overcalls at any level are natural and one-suited

Some players believe that the structure should be reversed and that one-level overcalls should show single-suited hands and jump overcalls should use a modified version of the agreement above to show two-suited hands.  There are good arguments for both methods, so if you decide to play this you have a choice.

Not many players are willing to overcall a standard 2 bid showing 22+ points, but this Better than Mathe convention might be what you are looking for when you have that rare two-suited hand and want to compete.

If you would like a more complete explanation of the Mathe agreement try:  

Roy Wilson