Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hyper-Natural?

At times, I wonder what people are thinking.  I mean, they also wonder what I am thinking (or smoking), but a recent discussion has me convinced that people have lost their minds.

Playing Walsh, the auction starts:

1C-P-1D-P-
1NT-P-???

The discussion concerned what to do with four of a major and 5+ diamonds with GF values.  2M seemed to stand out to me, since that seems like the whole purpose of bidding 1D first with Walsh.  However, one set of good players noted that they promise 6+ diamonds when bidding the major at this point.  With exactly 5-4, apparently they start with either "new minor forcing" or "two-way new minor forcing."

Huh?

First of all, suppose that you in fact have six diamonds and four hearts.  If you start with 1D, and then bid 2H, the auction to this point is:

1C-P-1D-P-
1NT-P-2H

So, you have four hearts and 5+ diamonds.  What call, precisely, will partner make that causes a problem?  If he bids 2S, 2NT, or 3C, you can NOW bid 3D and show that sixth diamond.  If he raises diamonds, or raises hearts, all is good.  So, what's the problem?

In contrast, to cater to the ability to show 4-6 immediately (which makes the 2M call less common), a goal that seems random and pointless, Responder has to forfeit something much more useful.  If the approach is "new minor forcing," I am at a loss as to which minor is "new," as both have been bid.  But, suppose that clubs is deemed "new."  Now, you cannot bid 2C naturally.  If both minors are "new," this is even worse.

So, when our side has bid both minors, and nothing more, we dedicate 2C and 2D as artificial calls, to for some reason allow distinguishing 4-5 from 4-6 more rapidly?  That just seems weird to me.  The only two suits that you cannot bid naturally are the only two suits that we are known to have.  Yeah -- that makes sense.

This type of nonsense seems to happen a lot these days.  Artificiality is great when a problem exists.  But, why is artificiality becoming the default?

Back on February 26, I posted on this exact same topic.  The opening bid was again 1C, again with a 1D response.  In that discussion, Opener rebid 1S, Responder bid 2C (thankfully at least that was natural), and the discussion was whether 2H showed something in hearts or asked a question.  Again, however, "natural" solved all problems better than the funky and apparently mainstream "2H as asking a question" treatment.

What is this obsession with asking and artificiality and structures, when just plain bidding what you have works perfectly fine, if not better?

I mean, I love structure and intricate artificial methods when they make sense.  It just seems like folks are grabbing artificiality as if it has some benefit in and of itself or something.