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New solutions to old problems:

Experiments with systems and conventions

Gordon Bower

Ever since I first learned to play bridge, I've always enjoyed experimenting with my own bidding systems. This page will present my latest and greatest ideas — as well as preserve some things I've tried in the past.

New bidding articles

Uncontested auctions:

Finding slams after 2NT openings:
Part I: Superaccepts after Jacoby Transfers
Superaccepting after 2NT is very different than after 1NT: we aren't expecting competition and getting Law of Total Tricks protection: we need to actually be able to make 4 or 4 opposite a terrible responding hand.
Part II: The Third Round after 2NT-3-3-3NT
Opener typically just passes or corrects to 4. But he should make use of those idle 4, 4, and 4 bids, in case his partner has a hand with some slam interest if a spade fit is found.
Part III: After responder bids two suits
Opener can show both which suit he likes and whether his hand is suitable for exploring for slam, without going past game in either of responder's suit, with a simple artificial tool. I call it "Last Train From Spokane," after its similarity to Last Train to Clarksville.

Competitive auctions:

Guildenstern: halfway between a Rosenkranz double and a support double
A tool to help you decide what strain to compete in. As an extra bonus, it eases your memory load, saving you from remembering different conventions in a half dozen different situations.
Lead-Deflecting Doubles:
In an auction like (1)-2-(2)-P-(3)-X-3NT, partner is usually going to lead your suit anyway. There is a better use for doubling this cuebid than just confirming "yes, partner, I really have a diamond suit."

And coming soon:

A revamped version of my old article on Michelangelo
An alternative to Michaels Cuebids that focuses on 4-5 and 4-6 problem hands, instead of the 5-5 hands which are are comparatively easy to bid naturally.

Somewhat later, you might see the bidding notes for several Polish Club variations I have been experimenting with. In the meantime, you'll have to write and ask, if you share my interest in Polish Club and An Unassuming Club.

Older bidding articles:

My partial record of my specialized agreements with Michael Schmahl (my regular partner from 1998 to 2011) were preserved in a set of articles called The Bidding Playground on the previous version of this website; I hope to find time to revise these where my more recent thinking has changed, and move them up above. Sometime. Shoot me an email to hurry me up.

If you are really curious, you can read about my first full-scale system experiment that I tried in real life, the Arctic Club (variation on Polish Club), courtesy of the Wayback Machine. I played this from 1996 to 1998, and did very well with it in sectionals and regionals.

This page last edited 01.10.18