Blue Club is a bridge bidding system, developed mainly by Benito Garozzo. It was used by the famous Blue Team and became very popular in the 1960s and has been in decline since.
The main features are:
- Strong club system: 1♣ opening promises 17 or more HCP, with step answers showing controls (K=1 and A=2 controls) or HCP. 1♦ being negative showing 0-5 HCP and 1♥ showing 6-12 HCP but with no more than 2 controls, 1♠ showing 3 controls, 1NT showing 4 controls etc.
- Four-card majors: 1♥ and 1♠ and 1♦ openings are limited (12-16 HCP),
- Canapé. With two-suited hands, the opener's second bid is in the longer suit, whereas other more popular systems bid their shorter suit second. However, unlike the "fellow" Roman Club, there are many exceptions to this rule in Blue Club.
- 1NT ranging from 13-17 high card points. It can be either 13-15 points, which is essentially a replacement bid for a balanced club suit with two specific shapes, 3-3-3-4 and 3-3-2-5, or 16-17 pts and balanced. A more modern treatment is to play the lower range as 13-14, and the upper range as 15-17, this removes some of the strain on this bid.
- Blue Club gave significant advances in finding safe slams, which other systems of that time could miss.
- Non Blue Club players consider the system to be complicated and artificial but practitioners know that it is relatively natural.
- The 1NT has a wide range (13-17), which has an advantage of forcing defenders to wait for one round before knowing whether it is the strong or the weak NT, which can make their competing for a part score difficult.
- Canapé bidding on moderate hands has the advantage that the opener typically bids the second and strongest suit at the 2 level.
- In particular, Blue Club is purpose built, whereas other systems such as Standard American have steadily evolved to enable players to compete against other modern systems. This evolution has had the effect of making such systems much more complicated and convoluted at higher levels. The Italian team captain, Carl Alberto Perroux, is quoted as saying, "a standard Ford, however much jazzed up, won't beat a Ferrari."
- The wide ranging 1NT opening can lead to responder having to probe for game more often and is not always easy in competition. The more modern treatment seems to be to play 1NT as either 15-17 balanced or 13-14 with the club hands (but not both).
- Due to inconsistent canapé, responder has no idea which is the long suit with sequences that go 1X−1NT−2Y.
- As with all strong club systems, the 1♣ opening is vulnerable to preempts, especially at unfavorable vulnerability.
Blue Club is less fashionable these days but it was still used by a few pairs in the 2013 World Bridge Olympiad: VanProoijen-Verhees of the Netherlands, BScornell-Bach of New Zealand and Newell-Reid New Zealand.