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A Third Bidding Approach

In the so-called natural bidding systems, one-level suit opening bids extend over the entire opening range from 10 to 21 HCP (assuming a strong and artificial 2C opening is available).

Under the Strong Club approach and in practically all the so-called artificial systems, the large opening interval is divided into two segments.

All bidding systems I know of can be classified as either one-segment or two-segment. The infamous Fantunes system, for example, is a natural two-segment system, a rare beast since all other two-segment systems are usually dubbed artificial.

A parenthesis: The scientific approach is an approach in its own right but not with the same meaning of the word approach I am using here. Scientific methods (asking bids, relays, spiral scans and what have you) can be injected into any system, be it one-segment or two-segment; or three-segment for that matter. That does not change the basic approach followed by the system. Close parenthesis.

Strong club systems are usually deemed superior to natural, one-segment systems. The superiority is attributed to the use of science over the 1C opening. I believe the gain is also due, in large part, to the division into two smaller segments since this reduces the ambiguity about opener’s strength and/or shape. In that vein, it makes sense to divide the large opening interval into three, hoping to obtain an even better definition of opener’s hand and further improvement over the existing systems.

In the three-segment approach, the large interval is divided into three segments (or regions or intervals or ranges or whatever you wish to call them): Minimum opening hands (10 to 14 HCP), intermediate hands (15 to 17 HCP) and maximum opening hands (18 to 21 HCP).

A working definition: In a true three-segment system, opening bids used for minimum opening hands cannot, should not, be used for intermediate hands. They can, however, be used for maximum hands since the rebid will easily disambiguate. Similarly, opening bids used for intermediate hands cannot, should not, be used for either minimum hands or maximum hands. In that sense, natural systems (Standard, Two-over-one GF, Acol, etc) cannot be considered to be three-segment systems even though the three intervals are implicitly omnipresent. Refer to the very first paragraph.

It seems to me that one can build several different systems that adhere to the three-segment approach. I read (past tense) the description of every bidding system available on the internet, from mosquitoes to dinosaurs. I am baffled that I could not find a single three-segment system. Does anyone know of a three-segment system (past or present)? For the curious, I invented one which you can find here: http://mb-bridge-bidding-system.blogspot.ca/ . And I like it a lot! (Don’t we all say that about our own invention?...)

This OP, however, is not about my baby or any other system; it is about the approach. I am asking the BW community for your opinion(s) about the merits of the approach from a theoretical standpoint, regardless of any specific system on can implement. Please don’t say that the resultant system is not “GCC-compliant”; that is so uninteresting. I believe there is merit behind the idea. Do you? Your feedback will be much appreciated.

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