Consider this auction:
Now, stop there and assume that everyone agrees on parameters. 2♣ established a game force, and 2♠ 100% agreed spades. Not everyone agrees with this so far, but just assume that it does.
Now, an amazing debate is ongoing on BBO Forum. The debate started as to what is best to play next. I, of course, advocate a combination of Picture Jumps and cuebidding, with cuebidding taking shape from the lack of a Picture Jump. Others (the old school) prefer pattern bidding and then cuebidding.
So, the debate seemed to be going nicely, with various positions and reasons for positions and the like. Most notably, however, Fred Gitelman decided to announce position in such a way as to induce a retort, and the heat started rising. Good stuff. The best debates don't quite result in poked eyes and pulled hair, but you really do want to get close to that, right?
Then, the most frightening thing occurred. There was a discussion about the difference for the pattern bidders between 3♣ (5413-ish) and 4D, a splinter (and, hence, 5413-ish). This seemed to be a redundancy, because there was little in the way of parameters. Fred G. noted having no agreement with partners about 4D, guessed as to its most logical meaning for him, could not understand how it would really matter much anyway, and then claimed that that kind of detail was too much memory work. The conclusion was that his method was superior because that's what folks do, at least the top-notch folks.
It amazes me. I have known for a while that the "standard pro" approach to cuebidding and slam auctions was bad. But, the ignorant arrogance astounds me. I doubt that anyone reading this would disagree that confusion about a 4D call is hopeless. Granted, we all in the past would have scratched our heads and wondered how the two bids were, in fact, different. Or, maybe no one ever bid 4D because it seemed dumb and redundant. But, I hope that y'all now find this silly. Whether you have adopted my idea that 4D is a Picture Splinter (great hearts, good trumps, stiff diamond, no club control) or some other variation that suits your style and system better, I think you'd agree that all is lost if this auction is still a mystery.
The old school is getting older, as it always does. There are new kids already winning in Shanghai and elsewhere. Such is life.
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