Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sometimes the Problem with Natural Bidding... that people often don't understand how to bid naturally.

I have been in a posting battle in BBF as to what I think to be a simple sequence.


The debate concerns what 2H means.  I say, "bid where you live," meaning that 2H shows a value in hearts.  Maybe this is a start to a pattern description with 4-3-1-5 or 4-2-1-6 shape.  Maybe it is a card from perhaps 4-2-2-5 pattern with interest in 3NT.  Maybe a blend of the two.

The contrary view is that 2H asks about a heart stopper.  I don't understand that, because to me a 2D rebid and a 3C rebid each suggests a lack of a heart card, the former not as clearly because notrump has not yet been abandoned.

I included an insanely long post on the topic a few minutes ago, so I am not inclined to do this again here.  However, my purpose here is to encourage people to think through some auctions to decide whether artificiality is really needed.  Sometimes, I think what is needed is a bit more flexibility as to what is meant by "natural."  his is a good case in point.

To me, Opener's option of bidding 2H (or 2D for that matter) is not one that is limited somehow to 3-card heart suits and 4-3-1-5 pattern.  Why does "natural" have to mean "the maximum amount of cards that I already denied" in this sequence? 

I mean, sure.  If Opener has 4-3-1-5 pattern and interest in bigger things, 2H stands out.  But, what about a heavy HCP hand with 4-2-2-5 but only Kx or Ax (or maybe Qx?) in hearts?  If we are not looking to play hearts, then why is having three hearts more important from a "natural" or "bid where you live" perspective than holding, say, Kx?  If your purpose happens to be to explore 3NT, which is worse if partner thinks you have H-x-x in hearts -- 4-3-2 in hearts as your actual holding or K-2 as the holding?

The entire discussion on BBF is probably (if you agree with me LOL) worth reading.

It took Ken Eichenbaum a while to bang this one into my head, admittedly.  For years, I developed a lot of theory into artificiality and asking bids and the like.  These have their distinct place, and having lots of sexy agreements is certainly something I like.  But, I missed the deeper natural game, if that makes sense, until much later.

Some auctions don't need artificiality -- they need understanding of how to bid.  A situational discussion as to what the natural inferences are in a given sequence can, at times, be more intricate and complex than any gamma asking bid sequence or structured cuebidding sequence,especially if this is foreign to you (at least to the level to which one can actually develop "natural" thinking).  You might THINK that you need artificiality in some sequences because you have not thought through what all the "natural" sequences should ideally mean.

To a degree, "Cuebidding at Bridge" was somewhat of an exploration of natural slam bidding, if you think about it.  It may have seemed to those who read the book that a lot of it was extremely artificial, but I bet that if you think about it, and certainly when you bid this way for a while, it is actually more natural than initially one would think.  Not the surface "natural," but a deeper natural, if that makes sense.

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