Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Brian Callaghan
1 2 3 4
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I voted for “School”, but that might give the wrong impression. At my school, the pupils were forbidden from playing card games, with the exception of bridge. And only those in the sixth form (around ages 16–18) were allowed to play bridge. The prohibition had little practical effect, and my schoolfriends and I, aged about 14, took part in a regular lunchtime game of solo whist. I don’t remember why our game of choice was solo, but it was good grounding for bridge players because it involved taking tricks, and had rudimentary bidding which included the option of playing in a partnership.

In due course, we switched to the more interesting game of bridge, greatly aided by books on the subject in my father’s collection. I already knew about duplicate, because that is what my father played. (My mother didn’t play, so any bridge in the home didn't involve the whole family.) By the age of 16 or so, I and some of my friends were playing regularly in the local duplicate clubs.

By the time I went to university, I was already a relatively experienced duplicate player, but there I fell amongst better players and realised I wasn’t as experienced as I imagined. The rest is—perhaps I shouldn’t say history, because I’ve heard said that history is bunk—legend.
Aug. 3
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I've known opponents who treated 4 as always Gerber, but none of them referred to it as Norman Blackwood. Sounds like a conflation of Norman and Blackwood, both 4NT asking bids. (I don't recall ever playing against anyone who used Norman, though.)
Aug. 2
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I've played 2 this way in one of my partnerships for quite a few years. (It's allowed in some EBUland competitions.) I think I picked up the idea from the Dutch. (It is or was fairly popular in the Netherlands.) I play after 2-2NT, that 3 shows a maximum and 3 a minimum, both with the weak diamond hand. The same treatments after 2-2 and 2-2 make some sense too. I'm afraid I've never gone into any systemic detail about what to do when holding the strong version.

One effect of playing it is that it makes it more attractive to use pass-1-2 as some sort of Drury, since a natural weak 2 by a passed hand is now rarely held. (The same is true if you play weak 2 openings, of course, but you can't do that and play a Multi 2.)

Another effect is that the opponents are much less likely to pre-empt you when you have the rare strong version, because they have to optimize against the common weak version, the popular wisdom being not to pre-empt against a weak bid. (So, I agree with Louis Dekker's comment, earlier.)
June 2
Brian Callaghan edited this comment June 2
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It's a very nice construction, David, and to drop the Q under the A as defender is certainly your best chance to get declarer to go wrong, but…

Suppose declarer now cashes a high trump from hand, crosses to dummy with a diamond, and after the A, tries the now-good J. You will have to follow with a low club, and declarer, if not on autopilot, may smell a rat and wonder at this Greek gift. He can change tack and ruff the club winner high, draw the last trump and rely on the diamond suit to break,
May 23
Brian Callaghan edited this comment May 23
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Thanks to everyone who took the time to express their opinion. I guess it's back to the drawing board. Particular thanks to Steve Moese, who not only addressed my intended subject, bidding taxonomy, but put forward a user-friendly counter-proposal.
May 19
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Or to put it another way, if you held a two-suited hand, the only way to show it using purely natural bids, is by two distinct one-suited bids.
May 17
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A one-suited hand is not synonymous with a one-suited bid.
May 17
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Natural suit bidding by definition delivers one suit at a time. I wouldn't think that classifying a natural suit bid as one-suited is particularly contentious (even if it's not what one might have previously thought of as one-suited). If a bid were classified as two-suited it couldn't be natural (because it does show a suit other than that of the bid) and if it were classified as half-suited it couldn't be natural (because it might show a suit other than that of the bid).
May 17
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The consistency I was aiming for was to be able to order some types of bid by how strictly specified what they show is. So the larger the number before -suited, the more strictly specified what a bid shows is. For example two-suited is more restrictive than one-suited, which in turn is more restrictive than half-suited (or half-one-suited). But it's not a tool for comparing one-suited and half-two-suited, which aren't the same thing.
May 17
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A somewhat belated addition. Although I wouldn't expect any bid to show half a suit, I might expect a bid described as “half-suited” to be showing its (one) suit in a mixed state—for instance half-hearts and half-spades.
May 17
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Well, if you adopt the terminology of using a fractional preface to say that there are alternatives, it's reasonable that the absence of a fractional preface should say there aren't alternatives. That's what I do.

Natural suit opening bids are prototypical “one-suited” bids, in which the suit bid coincides with the suit shown. (The opener might have another suit or suits, but they aren't shown by the opening bid.) Take three different natural openings—1, 1, and 2. Each of them would be classified as “one-suited” because each of them shows a specific one suit—the suit of the bid. But not all of them would be classified as “heart-one-suited” (or more simply “heart showing”), because not all of them show hearts.
May 17
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And the same applies to any whole number greater than one. “two-suited”, “three-suited”, and even “four-suited”, all specify their suits.
May 17
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If there is a specified suit, it is specified. Any “one-suited” bid (in my interpretation) specifies the suit.
May 17
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Let me be more explicit about my answer to your question “What's wrong with using ‘one-suited’ to mean ‘a single suit (and I’m not going to say whether that suit is defined or not)?'”

If you don't say that the one suit is defined then it means “either clubs, or diamonds, or hearts, or spades”. My proposal uses the term “quarter-suited” to mean that. (The fraction says that there are alternatives and the denominator says how many alternatives there are.) So “one-suited” under my prososal should mean “one specified suit and no alternatives”, and not “any one suit”.
May 17
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So in the example I gave earlier, a Michaels 2 overcall of an opening 1 is “one-and-a-half-suited” in contrast to a Michaels 2 overcall of an opening 1 which is “two-suited”.
May 17
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I'm using “two-suited” to mean a bid that shows two specific suits, and “one-suited” to mean a bid that shows one specific suit. That may differ from casual use.
May 17
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Well, I did say not to try and use arithmetic. “one of four two-suiters” would be “quarter-two-suited” (not equal to “half-suited”). I'll admit to that being a somewhat barbarous construction.
May 17
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I'm quite happy to use the unqualified terms “two-suited” and “one-suited” to talk about what kind of a bid a bid is, as opposed to describing what a particular bid shows to the opponents. The use of those terms aren't problems in need of a solution. I would be correspondingly happy to use a similar unqualified term to describe the kind of bid that shows either one suit or another. But I don't believe such a term exists, so a neoligism, illiterate or otherwise, would be useful. Maybe you have a literate term up your sleeve that you might reveal?

As to the “half”, it's not there to suggest that you are actually showing half a suit on any given hand. It's much like the average UK family was typically supposed to contain 2.4 children, without claiming that any particular family did. Suits come in whole numbers, but on average (approximately) each suit that a Multi (for instance) might show occurs half the time.
May 17
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Yes, thanks, that's an interesting idea. It gets at the notion of a suit being not fully promised at the time a bid is made.
May 16
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Yes. Or blacks/pointeds/roundeds. But sometimes the two suits are not completely known—for instance a 2 Michaels overcall of a 1 opening shows spades and a minor. (That would be a one-and-a-half-suiter.)
May 16
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