Saturday, May 13, 2006

Trying not to be the person who...

My desire to be helpful is not extraordinary. People like to be helpful. That's why we hold doors even for people we don't know, and point out when someone's shoe is untied. Unlike the door situation I think a helpful beginner is a dangerous thing. I still remember (this example may be a bit extreme mind you) when I found out that after you bid your weak two there's more to the whole weak two treatment. I remember I stared opened mouthed, squinting supiciously at the person who said (irritably) "You can't pass. 2nt asks for a feature!" Because, well, no one had ever told me. In fact my earliest bridge education came from a man named Paul who would say before five minutes before the game began, "OK and tonight we'll play weak twos, gambling nt, supersonic three spades of death and killer reverse illuminati" "How are we going to do that Paul?" "Easy Deb, if you have a six card suit and a weak hand bid on the two level, if you have a long strong suit with no outside entries bid 3nt, if you have a slam going hand bid three spades and wink, and if you think the opps are enemy agents try mind control." "Alright Brain but what should I do with all the jelly jars? Narf!" (Sorry tangent) And then as we were already late we'd run to the table and I'd have no idea what we were doing and hope like anything I'd get only weak hands with six card suits so I could bid at the two level. I cried a lot at the table and eventually gave up bridge for about ten years.

Still, I think Paul was really trying to be helpful. I try for the most part not to be the helpful person doing more damage than good. I recognize that I'm not ready to start giving lessons. But ...

What happens in a partnership where you'd like to try a method you think is superior and p doesn't know it? In the age of the internet happily there are a great many good articles floating around. You can email your notes when you have them. You can find essays by the great bridge minds and give them the links. For the most part I'm not put into the position of playing teacher, which makes me far happier and more comfortable, and no doubt leaves my friends better informed than if I tried to explain things to them.

I have a partner who doesn't bid Italian cues. I really think they should, and tell them so repeatedly. Finally they yelled at me, or at least typed at me in capital letters: I DON"T KNOW HOW! And I wanted to say "look you can bid your first or second round controls as you go up the line. so if you have the king of clubs and the ace of diamonds, cue your clubs first, or you're denying the king of clubs. It's really simple. As for figuring out if it's an ace or a king you bid well if it really looks like we have slam, rkc is going to clear up any residual confusion." But I don't ever want him to be the person with the open mouth squinting supiciously at the person saying, "Didn't you know with italian cues you must..." And I can't find anything really substansive on Italian cues when I google.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bridge perspective includes the idea that there are no absolutes (except Rule of Eleven, and that's predicated on the lead ACTUALLY being 4th!.) It also includes the idea that any conventional technique added interfere's with something already in operation, or messes something else up. What would the impact be of adding Italian Control Cuebids? Would that interfere with RKC? Would it mess up splinters? What's the complete picture, not just the obvious points? What's going on out of sight that puts the expression on Mona Lisa?

2:56 PM  

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