Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Clear Direction?

An irony.

So, a post on BBF noted a commentary about the difference in theory between a splinter auction and a Jacoby 2NT auction, as it pertains to captaincy.  It makes sense.  A splinter call is a very descriptive call and hence yields captaincy almost entirely to partner.  Conversely, a Jacoby 2NT call seeks description and is almost entirely, therefore, a captaincy grabbing call.

I tend to agree.  As a result, I tend to be pure in my "type" for splinter actions, and I (ironically) hate Jacoby 2NT auctions.  The irony is that I have been accused in the past of masterminding or of not being partnership-oriented in my bidding.  My take, however, and fairly easily argued, is that my usual "error," if anything, is in being "too partnership oriented."  In other words, I often go way out into the netherworlds of theory to make calls that cater to partner having maximal description or that cater to partner's various (but sometimes remote) possible hand patterns.  This often catches a partner unaware of "WTF."  To me, though, this is the ultimate in partnership bidding rather than "masterminding."

To me, a masterminding call is something like bidding 3NT too early while hiding a fit or blasting a slam (or signing off) because you think you know better than partner.  In contrast, consider the type of call I often make that is not made by many.  For example, partner bids Stayman and then 3NT when you show hearts.  If you have both majors, do you make a call on route to 4S in case partner was borderline, or do you just bid 4S?  If you make those 4C calls, they might be revealing too much, or too pie in the sky at times, but these are CLEARLY partnership-oriented calls and not masterminding calls.

In any event, back to the captaincy idea.  To me, I love 2/1 sequences precisely because commitment to captaincy is deferred.  I consider this critical in circumstances of impure holdings, but I also consider it difficult but appropriate partnership-oriented bidding. 

So, I would group three types of sequences.  Ones that seize captaincy, ones that yield captaincy, and ones that defer captaincy.  I prefer the last, because I trust partners more than I trust structures (whether that trust be warranted or not).  Which category do you fall into?  Yielders?  Seizers?

This is also perhaps why I disliked pure relay structures so much.  The worst of all possible worlds seems to be pre-determined captaincy rules.  Having three options in any given situation (I'll seize, I'll yield, or I'll defer) seems ideal for those random and unexpected new situations that arise.  Developing structure with a pre-determined default captaincy before the deal even hits the table seems horrible to me.  But, to each his own.

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