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Spawned by 'Weird Two-Bids'

The article named above has struck a chord with me. Please refresh your memory of it before continuing.

 

I sympathize with the experimenting pair. IMO the consternation generated by innovations such as these is unfounded and quite unfair, and I hope sense prevails. As long as the innovations are within the rules, any and all objections of the local area simply aren't grounded in fairness. This article hit a nerve because recently I tried an innovation to help an older player better enjoy the game (and cut down on my frustration). A former student was having some age-related issues remembering conventions. She wanted to 'play everything' but really hadn't absorbed the knowledge of such bids. She would forget to Alert, misuse the conventions, etc. Such lapses were starting to irk me and frustrate her, and she asked me for help.

 

After some thought, I came up with a system that didn't have ANY artificial bids except Blackwood and Stayman; we didn't even have a strong forcing opening. It was derived from EHAA:

1) All two-level overcalls and openings were natural and undisciplined, 5+ cards, 6-12 hcp (later amended to 5+-12-). The idea was to disturb auctions while limiting risk - 'get in and get out'. 5+ could theoretically be much longer. This had the effect of making our 1-level overcalls opening-bid strength which also had its benefits (the biggest being she couldn't overcall 1 on K9xx and six points anymore).

2) All direct 3- and 4-level actions were strong (my partner was having trouble deciding when to preempt (and how high), so I decided to simply narrow the preempts to the two level). 

 

This homemade system was quite fun to play, and it had the desired effect; my partner wasn't worrying about artificiality anymore and stayed within the system. What's more was that my partner's cardplay showed improvement, probably because the nervousness from having to remember all the conventions wasn't present.

 

After a few sessions, the stronger club players rather strenuously objected to us playing this homegrown concoction. The objections weren't grounded in reality IMO ('it's totally artificial', 'there's no defense to it' and 'it's strange' were the most common). I countered by saying: "How could one object to a totally natural system?" We pre-Alerted our 2-bids and 1-level overcalls, and Alerted the 3- and 4-level strong bids (which maybe happened twice). The stronger players would not be appeased, and we decided to scrap the system to save us from public angst. 

 

IMO the objections were simply not fair, and I confess to being rather irked at insinuations that I was doing something dishonest. This system was totally within the rules set down by the ACBL, but because it was 'different' it was 'unfair'. Whenever I see objections to something based on 'strangeness', a red flag goes up for me.

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