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Random Part 2: Evolution of bidding systems.

Ok, this isn't really a directors' forum post, but I can't think of anywhere else to post it, and if I really try hard I might be able to make it blue book* related.

As stated in the other post about randomness, computer dealt hands are much more varied than hand dealt ones, which tend to be flatter.

Most bidding systems were designed when hand dealing was the only way to deal. Thus they were made to work best with flatter hands and so suffer when we come to some of the more extreme deals.

Has anyone seen any evidence of bidding systems developing to cope with computer dealt hands? Do you think this will happen? Does the Blue Book need to be revisited to account for and allow some of the more innovative developments? (*There, I did it!)


  • On one event (Saturday night I believe) one partnership played

    2C = 4+ clubs and 5+ in an unspecified major (Weak - Lucas Style)
    2D= Strong (I suspect)

    Against a player who was playing with a robot. I have no idea whether the partnership played more standard systems against humans. It came up two boards in a row.

    The player (johnd777) was not amused to get two bottoms and called me asking if the system was 'kosher' - I was only too pleased to advise him that it was a legitimate system under level 4. So: an innovate development.

  • We earlier had a discussion about systems designed for beating robots here – your example seems like another example of that sort of thing!

    As for systems designed to take advantage of hands biased towards being flatter / unbiased and therefore tending to be more extreme, I have a suspicion that it doesn't make too much difference in practice – when very extreme hands are involved, much of the bidding system goes out of the window anyway because you tend to get wild pre-empts and speculative jumps. I think it's more likely that it'd end up affecting judgement rather than system, e.g. maybe with modern deal generators, it makes sense to be a little more cautious about bidding games because the odds of running into bad breaks are higher.

  • Interestingly, I came up with a system about 8 years ago with the sobriquet Major Cocktails. I called it this because it concentrates on the majors and is a mixture of existing systems. I used two probability charts which I took from the web-site BridgeHands.com. One shows expected distributions and the other point count probabilities. The system has had some enhancements but seems to work quite well.
    In essence, because the most common distributions outside of balanced hands have a 5/4 or 5/5 distribution or a 6-card suit, the 2-level bids are as follows:
    2NT = 20-24
    2H/S = 5H/S and 4+ minor - 10-14 points. 2NT asks about minor and strength.
    2D = 6-card major 10-14 points OR 23/24NT. 2H is pass or correct and 2NT asks about strength and major.
    2C = 54 or 55 in the Majors 10-14 points OR a GF. 2D is used first to ask about suit length and a 2NT follow-up asks about strength and shape.
    At the one level, 1S/H can be a canape with a longer minor. If a canape, then the point range is 10-14 points. 1NT response shows 10+ points and fewer than 3 of the major.
    1NT is 12-14 and has standard balanced distributions even if holding a 5-card Major.
    There is obviously more to the system and there have been some interesting innovations included in the system I play.
    If you look at the two tables suggested above you will see that with computer dealt hands you should be picking up the most common distributions and hand strengths quickly and getting to the correct level also quickly. If you analyse any of your score cards you will find that over 80% of the scores are either in NTs or the majors.
    Minor suit opening are as per ACOL if a canape can't be used.

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