OF BIDDING FREEDOM AND WEAK OPENING SYSTEMS
IN DUPLICATE BRIDGE
First in Polish 1978 Translated by Roman Smolski 3000 distributed in 1980 “The Bridge World” Aug. 1980
Is the game of bridge just a matter of playing the cards well and choosing the best available bid within confines of some standard system?
No! Certainly NOT.
Bridge is also a contes between bidding systems, depending on the invention of your own conventios, which in the long run will hopefully prove superior to those of your opponents:
AN INTEGRAL PART OF BRIDGE IS COMPETITION
IN THE DEVELOPEMENT OF BIDDING SYSTEMS
Inventing and testing bidding systems is not just one aspect of the game.
It is also an incredibly stimulating intellectual pastime! You can develop your own theories and immediately test them at the bridge table!
That is why players the world over invent their own conventions.
That is why nearly all serious bridge players begin their cereers by inventing their own bidding systems.
That is the way the author of this booklet began some 20 years ago, and in spite of lack of major successes he has not become disillusioned with bridge – precisely because he was able to test his theories.
There is therefore no doubt that:
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR INVENTING AND TESTING OF BIDDING SYSTEM AND CONVENTIONS
IS ONE OF THE NAIN ATTRACTION OF BRIDGE
Imagine the following situation: – a youngish player has invented a bidding system and has decided to try it out.
Where is he to do this?
Not in teams–of–4 match, because if his system lets him down, his teammates will be soewhat annoyed – and rightly so.
That leave a pairs tournament, where his only resposibility is to his partner, and a poor performance will not eliminate him from further events.
From this it follows that:
THERE SHOULD BE NO RESTRICTIONS ON BIDDING SYSTEMS AND CONVENTION AT TOURNAMENTS AND CONGRESSES
At this point, some people might say that all these “inventions” are practically useless, and that one should stick to the old, tried and trusted bidding methods.
Suppose, then, that all new conventions have been banned and everyone uses identical (or nearly identical) system.
1. Boredom sets in.
3. Smaller attendances at tournaments.
3. Bidding theory stagnates!
Let us not forget that new ideas are born from experiments!
Don’t disparage the players who use systems which at first sight appear totally senseless. Without them we would be bidding the way we did 50 years ago.
So we see that:
FREEDOM TO USE ANY BIDDING SYSTEM IS VITAL
TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF BIDDING THEORY
The possibility of developing and testing bidding systems is a characteristic of the game of bridge, distinguishing it from all other intellectual sportS.
Why, then, should we diminish the game by imposing on its players laws which make bidding less interesting?
THE BIDDING FREEDOM IS ADVANTEGOUS FOR BRIDGE
THE ADVANTAGES OF WEAK OPENING SYSTEMS
As recently as 10 years ago, almost everyone used the same basic bidding methods; only a handful of players used Weak Openings Systems.
There were many traditional systems, of course, but in relative terms these differed only slightly, and this is still true today.
However, Weak Opening Systems are something completely different: they destroy the foundations on which the traditional systems are built and erect new ones in their place.
Are Weak Openings Systems good or bad for bridge?
Let us examine the matter.
The main characteristic of Weak Opening Systems are:
1) A high frequency of opening bids (80% of hands)
3) Opening the bidding with weak hands
3) Unusual nethods of describing distribution
These characteristics make bridge a much more interesting game, as:
YOU DON’T GET BORED!
You enter the bidding on nearly every hand – even with a yarborough.
OPPONENTS’ BIDDING BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT!
And this merely because you have opened the bidding (it is well known that defensive bidding is difficut, even for experts).
YOU ARE INTELECTUALLY STIMULATED!
The unusual and original nature of Weak Opening Systems makes them an interseting intellectual pastime, providing you with freshness and novelty.
Hence, it is obvious that:
WEAK OPENING SYSTEMS MAKE BRIDGE
A MORE INTERESTING GAME
The attraction of Weak Opening Systems has resulted in a constant growth in their popularity, to such an extent that in Poland at present day are seriously challenging orthodox systems.
Weak Opening Systems are rarely mantioned in the bridge press, no experts use them at the highest level of the game, and yet in Warsow alone there are over 200 players who use them!
And the majority of those only became interested in bridge after they discovered Weak Opening Systems!
From this we can draw the conclusion that:
WEAK OPENING SYSTEMS HELP TO RECRUIT
NEW PLAYERS FOR DUPLICATE BRIDGE
Should you doubt the added interest of Weak Opening Systems, remember the last time you found yourself in this situation:
It’s one of those days when you seem to pick up the same 5 or 6 count on every hand; you continually pass with ever–increasing despondency. Not only you are bored to tears, but worse, you have no control over your results, and are reduced to hoping opponents have a bidding accident or pull the wrong card out.
It’s different with Weak Opening Systems!
More than ever, the result of a tournament becomes independent of how good your hands are.
This is because:
1) You open the bidding very frequently (always if you get a chance)
2) The meaning of opening bids is often unusual, though easy to comprehend.
In effect, the opponents are reduced to bidding defensively, difficuLt even for experts.
Thus, Weak Openings Systems deprive seasoned players of the advantage they would normally enjoy due to their experience.
They have to play as well as they can, with great care. They cannot sit back and relax, counting on beating their inexperienced opponents without much effort.
DUPLICATE BRIDGE BECOMES
EVEN MORE OF A TEST OF SKILL
Weak Opening Systems are a new stage in the evolution of bridge theory – new axioms, new methods, a new style of bidding.
15 years ago they were germinating: now they are overrunning Poland, and germinating abroad; and in 15 years time they will conquere the world!
Not because they are better than traditional systems, but above all because, thanks to them, bridge becomes a more interesting game:
You don’t get bored when you hold poor cards!
You’re always in the bidding!
You can compete effectively with top players!
WEAK OPENING SYSTEMS ARE GOOD
FOR DUPLICATE BRIDGE
In the past, bridge administrators have often tried to ban various new systems.
Who knows what Culbertson would have done, had the organisation of the game been the same as it is now?
Perhaps he would have been banned from opening 1♠ with a suit weaker than AKQxx?
The law–makers produced numerous arguments, such as:
– unusual system come as surprise to opponents
– it is difficult to agree an ad hoc defense to them
– it is harder to detect cheats ... and so on.
All these pales into insignificance beside the arguments for being able to use any bidding system.
So I repeat:
ANY RESTRICTION ON BIDDING SYSTEMS
IS HARMFUL TO DUPLICATE BRIDGE
Let us not deprive players of one of the main attractions of bridge, and the reason it is the forefront of intellectual games – the chance to invent and test one’s own conventions and systems.
If you had intended to introduce (or maintain) restrictions on bidding systems, please re–read the foregoing texr and consider whether are you plaing into the hands of people who are smugly satisfied with the status quo and are to lazy to use their brains.
Remember also that these restrictions produce a chain reaction – if you introduce themother will too, citing you as the precedent.
If in spite of this you decide to introduce a restriction on bidding systems in your tournament, do not be ashamed to publich this fact in your brochure.
Do not subject players who in many cases have travelled a long way to play in your tournament to indiginity of finding out about these restrictions only when they pull their cards out of the first board.
From “System Policy” by World Bridge Federation in 2000:
“The objectives [...of restriction... ] affording proper consideration to progress and innovation [...]”