Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Choosing My Religion

There's the church of the nt with a five card suit, and then there's the temple of never nt with a five card suit and then the sect of the sometimes. How do you choose? Those people who always bid nt will never have a problem with a rebid, but how do they show show that fifth card? And are the people who will sometimes at an advantage because they pick their spot, or a disadvantage because their p never knows what they're holding?

I may have to learn to pass

On the BBO Forums I came across a new idea. Well, new to me. Passing because you want to defend. See.... I always thought we were passing because we didn't want to declare. No, it's not really the same thing, is it? Now, I am not willing to embrace the lure of passing to pass, but I like the idea of passing to punish.

So, this is the new blip on my mental radar, some hands are good for defense. And there's even a book about it. And theory. The Book is Robson and Segal's "Partnership Bidding in Bridge" And the theory is called the Offensvie to Defensive Ratio.

Hard to explain this but I feel like I just found a new door in my house that leads to a room or a closet I didn't know was there. Bridge is interesting.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Over !nt

I've been learning garbage stayman, serious 3nt (over 1nt auctions though I understand that you can use them once you have a trump agreement as well) smolen and four way transfers. I like this four way stuff. It means there is an extra step to get to an invitaional 2nt bid, but it's worth the trip.

I'm loving this garbage stayman. Good stuff there. Easy. 2h shows both majors and no reason to go on. P corrects to 2s when they have three of them.

The balanced slam tries are nice. But less intuitve I guess. Very different concept in hearts than spades. In spades responder bids 3h and 3s is getting out of the way. They can bid serious 3n. They can cue. But the 1nt opener can show a control rich hand by stepping up and bidding the serious 3n themself. Nice.

You don't have that option in hearts where responders 3s can be a balanced slam try or a splinter and 3n is waiting to find out what's what.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Too much information not enough

What I'm slowly piecing together is that many people play systems they have no idea how to play. I am one of these people. Months ago I decided not to try to learn any more conventions until I had a better understanding of basic bidding. I think over all a good decision. What I didn't realize was how many of the conventions and treatments I thought I knew how to play I only half knew. As I read about the things I play in theory (for example Better Bidding with Bergen) I'm faced with learning tons of stuff I thought I knew but don't. So, do I decide to play nothing and not read any books on bidding? Do I read only books written by people writing about non-systematic bidding? Do I decide that I'm going to have to learn these conventions?

Ultimately, I think I'd rather play 2/1 than standard american. But if I'm playing 2/1 the way most players of my level are playing 2/1 then does the reading help? I'm not sure that most intermediates are necessarily in a better boat than mine. I think the best solution is to find partners who are much better than I am. The only problem there is, it works for me better than it works for them.

Also, at the risk of sounding truculent, the other problem with intermediate players is that we're very critical. I hate being criticized every hand. It may be deserved, but it's damn disheartening. Shade is an excellent partner, but he's not playing often enough. Will is also one of my favorite partner's but he's not playing at all. I wonder if it's my fault. Last time we played together I believe we did terribly. I wonder if I broke him. I also like to play with Anna, but our times don't always hook up. Hopefully that will change fairly soon. Last night Han suggested that I find a regular p. I think he's right, but I'm also finding the suggestion daunting. Of course Marty Bergen doesn't have a regular partner these days, and he really knows all the systematic stuff. I think I have his email too. Maybe...
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