Join Bridge Winners
An exhortation. - Just open the %$^&^% bidding!!!

I am moved to write this article by yet another bidding poll where I am given some distributional collection of cards and a modest allocation of high card points, and I am sitting in some seat. The question always is. "Do you open the bidding with this motley collection?" Secondarily, it is "Do you open with a one bid, or should you choose something higher?"

Time and time and time again, I open. Very rarely do I find Pass. Meanwhile, legions of others line up to Pass, citing such reasons as, "I have too many losers," or "I don't have the boss suit," or "I would open in first seat, but not in second." The reasons, excuses, rationalizations are many and varied. 

Stop it all of you. (Or if you can't stop it at least reconsider your stance occasionally.)

The power to open the bidding is enormous. It puts the auction into your familiar systemic base and out of the opponents'. It puts your partnership initially at the helm. It gives opportunity for your partnership to declare, so, so much easier than defending. One intelligent brain controlling two sets of assets in full knowledge of those assets is so much easier than two flying blind.

I am a decent player, have been playing this game now for close on sixty years. I do not play as well to-day as I used to. Back in the mid '80s, I played on a team of talented amateurs who beat the pros in my country (Australia) to win the right to play internationally that year (1985). We all played Regres, a Forcing Pass system that opened the bidding systemically on all hands that contained 8-12 HCP and Passed (Forcing) on stronger hands..

The late Bobby Richman, a truly fine professional, who played on the team we had beaten in the playoffs, graciously bought me a beer and congratulated me on our success. Over the beer we discussed the match. I ventured the opinion that the Forcing Pass arrangements with the Relay Response Structure had contributed to some fine slam bidding and was decisive in our success.

He retorted, "No! No! No! Peter. You're on the wrong tram. The Forcing Pass, just like the 1 in Precision is the Achille's Heel of those methods. You won the match with all the eight and nine point openers. You were in our faces all the time. You took away our god given right to open the bidding. Also, we used to steal you guys blind in the partscore zone. Now your system does the work for you. Instead of the bidding going Pass (1) with us in charge it went 1 with that damn 8-12, 3 or 4 card suit  opening in front of us. Often the bidding was at the three level before our guy in 4th chair had a chance to bid. You guys had effectively balanced before we got to open." He added, "I'd have gladly given you guys a traditional opening bid on every hand so that you could Pass and we could overcall before your side could define your hands. We'd have won in a canter. Do you realize we missed game in a major three times because you guys opened that major, and with your partner responding in a non forcing natural bid at the two or three level our bidding space was destroyed?"

I am not advocating for methods such as those mentioned above. i am saying if you can find any excuse to open, do so. Throw off those Pass shackles and let your bidding soar. Risk it crashing and burning on occasions, but take those opponents, you know LHO and RHO, not that lovable CHO, out of their systemic comfort zones.

I welcome your comments.


P.S. Don't get me started on another pet theme. "Do you Double or Pass on this collection?" I think you already know the answer.

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