15 October 2010

System Hijinks

I've played a bit of bridge lately and the one thing that is more frustrating than anything else is when the pair you sit down against bids a contract that's better than average. There was nothing you could do; they bid 4H when everyone else stopped in 3 or they bid 2S on a 4-3 fit when everyone else is in 1NT. You end up with 15% of the matchpoints and a strong desire to play a game that wouldn't do this to you.

1C 16+ any

One strategy to get around this is super aggressive overcalls on the theory that if you're constantly bidding at them then maybe they'll slip up. However, most pairs that play regularly can deal with normal interference and while jump overcalls on 4 card suits are fun and can be effective they're just too exciting to use in a serious game.

1NT   12 - 15 balanced

The problem lies in the fact that all experienced players can bid a reasonable contract after their partner has opened with pretty high accuracy. In order to stop this we need to get in first and stop them opening. Bidding and making game after the opponents have opened is always more work than if you get to open yourself. We want to make the opponents work as much as possible.

2CDHS 12 - 15, 5 card, unbalanced

So the goal of this system is to open as many hands as is possible under the current rules. Taking inspiration from the Fantoni-Nunes style system I'm currently playing lets open at the 2 level with 12-15 highs, 5 cards in the suit and an unbalanced hand. So anytime anyone else opens 1X we'll be opening 2X, that should make it harder. Next we'll add a weak NT so that we don't have to open the poor 3253 13 counts 2D. We're going to need something to do with strong hands so make 1C 16+ which leaves us with an attractive 8 - 11 range for 1D, 1H and 1S. 8HCP sits right on the current NZ regulation of yellow as "a king below average" and if we only insist on 4 card holdings then almost any hand with 8+ can be opened.

1DHS 8 - 11, 4 card

I'll be trying this system out this weekend in a small local tournament. Whether it works or not it should be fun to play and I'll be sure to post some of the interesting situations can't help but arise.

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