Artificial Bids can MisfireMay 9, 2013
(Written some years back and reproduced now for benefit of newer generation)
The question crops up every now and then whether “Scientific” bidding systems are superior to “Natural” systems. Since the majority of experts use “scientific” systems, the answer should be “Yes”. A point to remember, however, is that sophisticated conventions can sometimes lead to hilarious results.
Benito Garozzo played the above deal from the World Top Pairs tournament in The Hague, in a suit contract on a 3-0 fit. Garozzo, West, opened 4 (South African Texas), A strong 4 opening. Billy Eisenberg, his partner passed! The contract went six down.
Baldursson and Jorjensen, the Island pair, were in 6, with East as declarer. Rodwell lead 4. Jorjensen won the Q with the K , ruffed out the A and made all the thirteen tricks.
The Brazilians, Chagas-Branco played 6 from the natural side, got a lead and made the contract, but were not given the slam bonus because of a ruling against Chagas for hesitation.
In a Bermuda Bowl encounter between Great Britain & USA, both sides used artificial bids on this giant hand, with results which are unimaginable outside expert circles.
North passes 5 under the impression that what was wanted was trump support. A cold Grand Slam went out of the window.
The Americans did one better :-
Among those who watched on VuGraph was Mrs Ross.
Our final exhibit is from the Bermuda Bowl match between Iceland and Poland in Yokahama.
Bidding by Polish East-West:
6 went only 4 Down on poor defense, for -1100. The 2NT was set 2 down for -200. One marvels at the ingenuity that was displayed at both tables to avoid the only makeable contract of 3.
These are accidents to which experts are prone. Lesser mortals whose repertoire of artificial bids is confined to Stayman, Blackwood and the like have to be wary of one danger. When a partner holding a rock-crusher tries to rouse his partner to action with takeout double, followed by a fusillade of cue bids in the opponents’ suits and other fancy stuff, the partner with a collection like what cat brought may let him stew in his own juice by dropping him on 1-0 fit.