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Freeing Up bidding Restrictions in International Tournaments

As I commented in another thread, I recently played in the Seniors Playoffs to select Australian Seniors Team for 2017. Didn't play well enough and didn't make the team. These things happen. There were a couple of aspects about the structure of the tournament that got right up my nose, the main one of which were system restrictions which were mirrors of WBF system restrictions. Agree with this or not, I understood the ABF's rationale in mimicking WBF rules.

My purpose in writing this article is to generate discussion on these WBF system restrictions, with a view to pushing for reform, in particular, my personal view is that in international competition, most particularly for any world team championships, it be open slather without restriction, provided that full disclosure of method remains in place. Associated with this I would propose that there be no related seating restrictions nor a requirement to provide reccomended  defences. I certainly would expect that appropriate lead times for submission of system details remain in place so that appropriate responses could be developed.

I have no problem with sponsoring organisations keeping system restrictions in place for less stellar events, although some of the current prohibitions and related exemptions are clearly not logically based but pander to vested interests. How can it be okay to allow a 2D bid to be weak in either major OR a big balanced hand without restriction but declare other unanchored two and three level openings to be 'Brown Sticker' And as for allowing written defences at the table to said 2D opening at Bermuda Bowl knockout phase, this leaves me speechless.

Further, I also have no beef with the existence of logically based restrictions in pairs events and very short teams matches.

To put those of you in the picture who might not be familiar with the WBF restrictions, I have set out a couple of exerpts from their policy document.

1. ObjectivesThe objectives are to ensure that WBF Championships can be properly operated and adequately administered, with a fair and equal chance for all competitors, while at the same time affording proper consideration to progress and innovation; to ensure that players are in no doubt as to what is expected of them with regard to preparation and filing of systems material for WBF Championships.

The interesting words, from my perspective are "while at the same time affording proper consideration to progres and innovation" precisely because the remaining paragraphs of restriction after restriction pretty clearly promote anything but 'progress and innovation.'

3. Systems allowed at WBF Championships

In relation to the aspect of Systems to be allowed at WBF Championships, the eventswill be divided into three categories:Category 1: Bermuda Bowl, Venice CupFor such events all classifications of systems will be permitted in theKnock Out stages only, subject to adequate disclosure, but teams usingHUM systems or Brown Sticker Conventions must submit their SystemCards and Brown Sticker Announcement Forms (appendix 1) inadvance in accordance with the Conditions of Contest and will besubject to a reduction of seating rights, as follows:Whenever a team with one or more pairs using a HUM system opposesa team that has no such pair, the HUM systems team will be the ‘Away’team, and lines up first throughout.No special seating rights or line-up restrictions shall apply when twoteams containing HUM systems pairs (regardless of line-up) opposeone another.Category 2: Specific Teams Championships as decided by the WBF Rules andRegulations Committee:The use of HUM systems is prohibited.Up to three ‘Brown Sticker’ conventions per partnership will bepermitted, subject to adequate disclosure, but players using them mustsubmit their Systems Cards & Brown Sticker Announcement Forms(appendix 1) in advance in accordance with the Conditions of Contest.At the same time a viable suggested defence to any Brown Stickerconvention must be filed. This will be deemed to be a part of the SystemCard and may be referred to by the opponents at the table.Category 3: All other WBF Tournaments & Championships and stages of suchevents not covered by Categories 1 & 2 aboveThe use of both HUM systems and ‘Brown Sticker’ systems isprohibited.

Briefly, what I think should be in place for all World Teams championships, is anything goes, accompanied by full disclosure in advance . Let innovation reign. Let world championships be a true test of skill in bidding and play. Breathe some life into the championships on a level playing field. I happen to be a Senior and hope that innovation and progress is not beyond me. Whatever our youth counterparts think of these current restrictions doesn't bear thinking about, but I would expect that many get to wail and gnash their teeth as they get to discover that their creative new weapon is not allowed.

As it happens, I don't particularly want to play what would currently be classified as a Yellow System although I did so in international play more than thirty years ago before the current restrictive system rules came to the fore. What I do want to be able to do is play, what are common or garden methods in my part of the world, most pertinently in this context, unachored two bids [RCO/OCR/CRO] without having a prohhibition slapped on them in international trials. I have never encountered anyone request a written defence to them in state [regional] or national tournaments. Players developed generic defences to a whole raft of different sorts of two and three level openings decades ago in this part of the world.


I would be delighted to hear your views on this topic.


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