On technical considerations the Multi should be a Brown sticker convention as it lacks an anchor suit. However it is hugely popular over the anglophone areas of Britain Australia and New Zealand, and in Holland; less so in the ACBL jurisdiction.
As such the opening is given fairly free licence over much of the World. It is "midchart" in ACBL land where a cut-down 'weak in one nominated major' flavour is permitted. WBU and EBU generic regulations would permit in more general competition as specifying a suit whenl weak avoids the browns sticker.
So we are left with a "brown sticker" opening getting special dispensation for use right down to local club level. EBU permit just 2 but a Multi 2 is acceptable elsewhere (including WBU events).
Multi coloured 2 Diamonds
Defined Britain's popular EBU "level 3" of competition is essentially there
to allow the Multi. Definition is very specific, enforcing the
multicoloured characteristic. There must be several flavours, and your
mélange must contain at least two options chosen from
Furthermore at least one of your strong flavours must be "reasonably frequent". It would be unacceptable to include only a 28-30 NT (this would make the opening 99.9% weak) but a 24-26 balanced has been cleared by EBU directors. Regulations define "strong" as rule of 23+, but my own preference is to play close to game force, to provide clear space between weak and strong flavours in subsequent competitive auctions.
Furthermore you may not psych a Multi, and partner must explore game if this is possible opposite any of your strong "colours". EBU allow him to pass at his own risk with a poor hand and lots of diamonds This is very generous - Bridge Law 40a gives any player this right anyway! L&EC have ruled in 2004 that psyches after the original 2 are all right (subject to fielding etc). Indeed the auction in some hands might now resemble high stakes poker.
EBU's rules have been compared to a camel. It seems there were two strong camps when it was discussed and a camel is of course a horse designed by a committee. Other jurisdictions are more permissive, for example Holland, and ACBL (higher levels) permit weak only multi's or combos that include only one major. You can legally get close to a weak only version in Britain by making a shrewd choice amongst the strong inclusionsResponses - curiously "anything" is permitted and Reese's original scheme was quite strange. Typically in 2000's Britain ...
If you choose rarer inclusions then opener may rebid naturally with big major hands.
4441 hands are in my view not a good idea. A whole gamut of conventional rebids are needed to define the singleton and range. More importantly thus type is difficult to express should your opponents get into the auction.
I like to express strong 4441's via strong 2 and 2NT rebid
Pro points Multi bundles several hand types into one bid may free 2/ for something more exotic. It requires judgement to defend, but really very easy once you understand the opening.
Against If opponents butt in ... it is we who need judgement!
Defence There are as many defences to the Multi as it has colours - see link for separate page.
Note At the 2000 Olympiad atempts were made to play the brown sticker Wilkosz opening as Multi using Muiderberg as its weak inclusion (5-5 only - Wilkosz always has a major) This took advantage of absent WBU requirement for strong types. The directors would have none of this nonsense.
Correspondent Ruthanne Williams has reported a "Multi" 2 showing length in any suit (Turkey/internet), but this is perhaps just Terrorist preempt in another guise.
Sidestepping the UK regulations
There seems to be a classic Catch 22 in the UK rules. Although you might wish to pass 2 holding length in the suit, you are forced to bid on with any minimal values - because of the obligation to "explore reasonable game possibilities opposite a possible strong type".
Writing in r.g.b England International Frances Hinden gets round this rather neatly by making her only strong inclusion a 'solid suit' Acol two in diamonds! With the poor hand illustrated she can then pass, hoping for an 8 card fit in diamonds rather than risking partner correcting to spades. Frances credits the idea to Jeffrey Allerton.
There are of course further tactical possibilites in any hand with one or more diamond top and the style becomes similar to a weak only multi. Somewhat incredibly, senior EBU TDs have endorsed a 24-26 balanced inclusion as "reasonably frequent" - the solid diamonds type is more common than this, so don't worry. It certainly makes passing our example hand easier.
Alternative method using lebensohl 2NT, and minor enquiries
Frances also posted this nice response scheme using the lebensohl puppet method..|
Strong 2 suited - filling in a system weakness
Piotr Radzikowski of Krakow chooses to include awkward strong 2 suiters
"We generally play a variation of Precision club, so 1 and 1 openings are limited to 10-15 HCP. 2NT is a preempt (either very weak minor or a constructive major, usually 7+ cards) or 24-25 balanced. 2 is weak Muiderberg"
Most is standard, but after a 2 pass/correct ..
Tayloring in with your system
John (MadDog) Probst of London plays another Precision optimised version, prefering to
include a strong 4441 type, and with hearts as the only the weak option.
EBU restriction of this (to level 4) was relaxed in 2005. John kindly sent his notes ..
John uses his now spare 2 bid for the Precision short diamonds type, gaining on the cloverleaf strong hands. I did warn you that 4441 sequences could be complex. If you are into asking bid for three suiters then I would offer my own approach which can be adapted by any competent systems buff.
An alternative 4441 method
I too am a beliver in keeping 4441 strongs out of normal bidding (I go via my 2).
In a Multi, the following approach should work but has only been tested at the table wrt the 3 suiters. It
maintains both majors as inclusions together with the awkward 4441's. My strong preference is to value
4441's by losing count rather than points as this makes it very easy for responder to assess the right
level for play. I have also found a way to find out about that trump suit queen for grand slam. I agree
with John (and the Blue team) that A=2 K=1 bulk control showing works just fine.
2 - 2 = pass/correct, as ever
What can we now include and still sort out later? The problem is 2-2NT, but as that should show 12+ we should be safe to game level. I'd suggest:
2 - 2NT = forcing enquiry, as ever
Over the 2/ response, a 2NT rebid shows the 4441 type. Then 3 enquiry and continuations exactly as above. To sort out opener's 3="long major" reply to 2NT - You'll need ParadoX again, as you want to pack the sequence efficiently and perhaps still play in 3M.
2 - 2NT
It's up to you whether you want opener to always call game with a maximum, depending on this and how you play the 2NT response you might code (and remember!) futher options.
There is no room to fit in a massive no trump inclusion as well, but should the auction become competitive your high level decisions are all the simpler. If you play your multi "hearts only" you could probably pack in a strong no trump too, but will have to write your own coded sequence ....
Early history of the Multi
The Multi emerged in England, somewhat dubiously during the 70's. The EBU's rules and ethics comittee minutes
first mention it as a failed application from Terence Reese.
16 December 1970 - Multi-coloured Two Diamonds An application from Mr J T Reese for this system, which covers weak two bids in the majors, a very strong 2NT opening or a Roman 2 diamond bid was refused any type of licence by a vote of seven to one.
Stan Collins of Harrowgate tells me that his partner John Rumbelow had proposed what was virtually the Multi method to EBU from Singapore in 1972. Again this is minuted as "declined". Minutes do not detail exact method or reason, but perhaps their chosen epithet of "RumCol" didn't help. There is also a report of multi ideas from Northern Ireland. What is clear is that this was a major area of thoretical debate in the late '60s.
The convention was finally given a restricted 'A' licence in 1974 under somewhat dubious circumstances. A tediously long R&E committee meeting on 4th December had failed to complete its agenda. The eight members present agreed to adjourn to 19 December - that's just before Christmas. Not surprisingly attendance was poor (5 apologies), but given that new conventions were supposed to undergo a formal proposal and acceptance process and that this meeting was barely quorate, the four who made it somehow felt able to agree the following astonishing minute (quoted verbatim)
19 December 1974 - (3) Multi-coloured 2D opening bid In view of the numbers of applications received for the licencing of this bid, the fact that it is now widely played in international events and the amount of publicity which it has received, the committee decided on its own initiative to give it and "A" licence for a strictly limited period until the 31st December 1975. This was voted by a majority of 3 to one. Details :- It covers three types of holdings. A weak two bid in the majors; Balanced hand of either above or below a 2NT opening bid, by decision of the partnership; Roman 2D type, with 4-4-4-1 shape, with 17-20 points if the singleton in the minor suit and with 21-23 if singleton in the major suit. Responses Always assume opener has weak two bid. 2H = negative; 2S = prepared to play in 2S or 3H; Opener passes 2S if that is his suit, rebids 3C to show a maximim weak 2H, rebids 3H to show a minmum weak 2H. 3C/D/H/S to play. 2NT forcing, over which opener rebids 3C = maximum weak 2H; 3D = maximum weak 2S; 3H = minimum weak 2H; 3S = minimum weak 2S.
A rebid in no-trumps shows the balanced type of strong hand. The Roman 2D type is shown by bidding the "odd man out", ie 4H = single S; 4S = single H; 4C = single S; 4D = single C.
The licence was extended in October 1975. Multi then really took off in the late 70's led by the Reese/Flint partnership, who promoted it as a constructive opening It seems likely that Multi's generally Anglo-Saxon distribution may reflect the celebrity of these two English players during that era. There is a minuted "protest" from a lady in Cumbria.
An April 1976 minute asked C D Dixon to summarise defenses to be published in the May EBU quarterly, and the "Dixon defence" is still the most popular in this country. There is also an undefined reference to "Acol type Multi 2D" in that year. Perhaps a strong two.
In 1978 a "blanket" Multi licence permitted the following inclusions
Such was the popularity of the Multi that a later L&E comittee was instructed by Council to create a special competition category for it during the move to generic licences. EBU 'level 3' at inception was almost identical to level two, with Multi added restricted as above. In practice this quickly became the default regulation for most UK club and congress bridge.
From 1st April 2005 there will be a further relaxation to allow a Multi in which the only weak option is a long heart suit.
As for the name - "colour" is a term used in many European languages for suits: hearts, clubs etcetera. However in England we don't use this word and I doubt that Multi a reference to heart/spade ambiguity. The musical "Joseph's Technicolour Dreamcoat" was a London hit in the 70's and this might have been an influence. I guess it reflects the multiplicity of strong and weak options, as well as the major ambiguity.
www.chrisryall.net/bridge/weak.two/multi-2d.htm © Chris Ryall 1987-2008