How much better is your system?
How much does your bidding system really make a difference?
I was talking with various people in the Toronto Regional last weekend and the comments ranged from “it’s the biggest difference” to “not at all”. I have to admit I’m probably in the middle heading towards “not at all”.
Now, I’m not a naturalist. I don’t believe that Rubber Bridge style of bidding with basically zero system is the right way to go. But how much of a difference do different conventions make in the long run? We had a great hand for NAMYATS on the weekend:
4D showed a NAMYATS spades hand and 5D showed slam interest with Diamonds and Hearts controlled. The plus side of this auction – we got to a slam that was a little better than 50% which is fairly hard to reach on other methods. The down side – East had to guess as to whether to try to bid for a slam with one bid at the 5 level with a void in partner’s suit. The auction was hardly scientific. I’m sure there are better methods than NAMYATS in a forcing club system. Here’s the thing – for the majority of partnerships remembering sequences and discussions and complex scientific auctions takes a lot of brainpower – especially after playing bridge for 6 days straight.
I recall watching the Spingold recently where the auction went:
After tons of bridge it was a tough question for West as to whether their agreement was 4H was a splinter in support of spades or a weak 4H bid. Matches get decided on auctions like these; tired mistakes.
In my humble opinion, it’s more important to have strong agreements that you can remember than having the best, most scientific system. The more you play the same system, the more it becomes second nature, the less you worry about the simple sequences and auctions and the more you can concentrate on play, defense and bidding judgement.