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How to think . . . .

There are things I know about how to think about an auction that I learned from my partners (or in books or watching videos) that seem to be very simple to articulate, distill and present . . . when dealing with people that already know about these things.  And when I am working with advancing players in a structured and overt teaching environment, I start to think that I can easily present this material in a two hour format.

But it twists and turns and presents footnotes and parentheses.

So as we all know, every constructive auction attempts to establish the best strain (s, s, s, s or NT) and level (roughly: partscore, game or slam; more delicately 1, 2, etc.). Destructive or Obstructive auctions attempt to make it more difficult for the OPPs to conduct constructive auctions.

Roughly I think of the elements of bidding as:

Evaluate the strength of your hand.

Force to a certain level or for a certain number of rounds.

Agree upon a strain.

Show features in other suits.

Use conventions to pin down assets.

Counting tricks.

Thinking in English (or other natural language) first, translate into bidding.


We all know certain rules around these concepts. A=4, K=3, add 1 point for 5 card suit, 2 for 6, 4 for 7, etc.; 2/1 game force or force to 3 of R's suit. etc.; Once we bid and raise a MAJ suit, that is trump, etc.; cue bid first or second round controls, etc.; RKC 4NT, etc.; "If partner has the K and Q we can make 7NT, etc.".

I know this forum doesn't get much traffic and, in general, there are stronger players and theorists in the general forum. However, I am hoping for help getting a handle on how to present these sorts of concepts to players that have grasped the basics of bidding, usually (but not necessarily) in a 5 card MAJ, 2/1 context.  For example, I might ask, "What is 3? Is partner offering to play in s?" (usually when the answer is obviously no).

I am not trying to teach basic sequences, nor particular conventions, but rather how to think about (and plan) auctions as they unfold and emphasizing the logical necessity that a bid or sequence, even though new and undiscussed, "cannot mean x (because), cannot mean y (because) and therefore must mean z. (Or is there something I have overlooked)"

Am I too optimistic in believing that all these concepts can be taught regardless of the abilities of the student? Admitting that they do depend on students' appetites for study and hard work.

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