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Bidding is 80% of bridge ACBL

#1 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 12:23

I was having a discussion with a friend / partner and she said 80% of bridge is bidding.

I said that since you spent 50% of the time defending how can that be.

Bidding is what separates the top top bridge player from the rest of us however I believe that intermediate players and even most good players can best improve their game working on defense and declarer play.
I believe these come first. They are the easiest to a person to work on by himself. Better bidding will follow and might be easier at that time.
I am assuming that the basics of bidding {Stayman, transfers, blackwood, etc] should be a top priority but other things can wait.

Opinions please!!!!
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#2 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 13:00

We had a thread on this a while back. It depends on the exact question but let's say an average player can choose between being world class in bidding or card play and the question is which will improve their scores the most. Then if I remember correctly, most people chose card play and I'm sure that is correct.

I'd say bidding is no more than 40% of the game and most of that is judgment. System is at most 10-15% IMO.
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#3 User is online   Fluffy 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 13:02

if you bid randomly, (passing more often than not), you will get better results than card playing randomly but bidding perfectly I'd say.

But it is just silly discussion you can't live without one or the other.
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#4 User is offline   mtvesuvius 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 14:09

I'd prefer to be adept at both.

If I had to pick one, I'd choose cardplay. I have several friends who are impossibly horrid bidders, but incredible card players -- They balance out their ridiculous bidding with being able to play the cards well. I'd strongly prefer to just be "good" at both, than "excellent" and "bad" or "horrible"
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#5 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 15:10

Your skill at declarer play will avail you nothing if you don't find the game everyone else does.
Your skill at defending will avail you nothing if your opponents find the game no one else does.

We actually have two different games here: the bidding game, the objective of which is to reach the "right" contract, and the playing game, the objective of which is to take enough tricks to prevent your opponent from reaching his objective in the play.

Oversimplified, perhaps, but I think I covered it fairly well. :)
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#6 User is offline   rogerclee 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 15:16

There is certainly no shortage of people who would like to think that bidding is 80% of bridge.
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#7 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 15:31

Bidding is 80% of forum postings.
A poster: How would you continue?
JAllerton: I continue by inspecting the vulnerability and form of scoring. Then I remind myself of what methods I am playing.
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#8 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 15:39

View Postgnasher, on 2011-February-21, 15:31, said:

Bidding is 80% of forum postings.

Well it's easier to improve your bidding by talking about it than to improve your play by talking about it.
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#9 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 16:20

Here are more opinions: :rolleyes:

C. C. Wei in his Precision Newsletter of long ago after a study of World Championships:

Bidding 75 %
System 40%
Partnership understanding 20 %
Judgment 15 %

Play of Dummy 10 %
End play 3 in 100 hands
Squeeze 1 in 100 hands
Coups less than 1 in 100 hands

Defense 10 %
Expert: 1/2 trick per hand lost
Above Avg: 3/4 trick per board
Average 1 trick per board
Below avg 1 1/2 trick per board

Luck 5 %

Ken Lindsay in the Mafia Club, 1981:
Bidding Judgment = 50 %
Defensive Play = 30 %
Bidding System = 10 %
Declarer Play = 10 %

Wnen I became an ACBL Life Master in 2001 I kept track for 346 hands where my Precision Partner and I won or lost points playing only in pair contests:

Bidding = 46 %
Defense = 21 %
Declarer Play = 17 % (Hopefully better 10 years later, :unsure: )
Luck = 11 %
System = 4 %
Lead = 1 %

Benito Garozzo (World Class by Marc Smith, 1999):
"In pairs competition, you can effectively forget about slam bidding. You need to concentrate on declarer play and defense - that is where most of the points are lost." Added 2/23/11 @ 9 am

Ultra ♣: See Daniel's web page: http://bridgewithdan...stems/Ultra.pdf

C3: Copious Canape Club - Improved version of Ultra , notes not posted yet.

In progress: Canapé Attack System with Strong Diamond and 4-cd Major openings ...
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#10 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 16:22

lol
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#11 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2011-February-21, 22:16

Bidding may be 80% of the game in the novice section.

At the higher levels, it's defence. I've had the good fortune(?) to survive the first round of the major NABC championships a few times and watched how our next opponents dissected us as in a High School biology class.

The %$$#@#@& never dropped a trick.
The race may not go to the swift nor the battle to the strong. But that's the way to bet it.
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#12 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 00:24

yeah some suckers can be pretty good at the game lol
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#13 User is offline   Free 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 04:17

80% of the auctions are pretty simple.
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#14 User is offline   bluecalm 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 05:01

After playing around with some double dummy statistics (defence vs par result, defence after first lead after par result, declarer play after first lead vs par etc.) my opinion is that the difference in card play between elite players and average Joe (who still play in Bermuda Bowl though) is huge. I can't imagine bidding make up for this.
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 13:54

I've heard that in the top field, maybe bidding is 80% of the issue - discounting fatigue, of course. But that's because they all play the cards right, so the chance that if two plays are made in the same contract, one is clearly right and one is clearly wrong is minimal. One will work on this hand and another will not, but that's called "luck". Now, one could be clearly right on their auction and opening lead and the other one, with a different auction, will not have a clearly right path - then if the second table gets it right, it's luck. Is that play, or bidding? Yours or theirs?

But at the mere mortals level, the amount of improvement that could be reasonably made in card play (offence or defence) will offer much more rewards than the same reasonable improvement in bidding, I'm sure.
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#16 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 14:18

I think that missed opportunities in bidding/system are harder to recognize than missed play/defense opportunities. How might the bidding have gone if we were able to open light? Stay at the 2-level instead of inviting at the 3-level and going down? Might we have avoided a costly sacrifice if we had used fit-showing jumps?
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#17 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 14:37

View Postmycroft, on 2011-February-22, 13:54, said:


But at the mere mortals level, the amount of improvement that could be reasonably made in card play (offence or defence) will offer much more rewards than the same reasonable improvement in bidding, I'm sure.


Winner!

Seriously, I have often been lucky enough to often be in a situation where I was playing some regional KO against a reasonable but not great flight A teams. I would say every single time the biggest factor in beating them was that they were just outgunned in cardplay. Bidding at imps is pretty easy, you try and bid close games and not do anything stupid. If there were a close slam hand or a freak hand, I would not be happy, since if it was just partscores and games we would probably always beat those teams, slams to me just made the match more random.

The fact is, if your team is significantly stronger in cardplay, you will be a big favorite in every match, and if you are significantly weaker, you will be a big dog.

It doesn't matter whether you open aggressively or not, or preempt aggressively or not, or bid 40 % games or not, none of those things offer much edge. Maybe you are gaining .05 imps a board with a certain bid. On the other hand if you read the cards well and guess a queen better than your opponent, you might be gaining 3 imps in equity on it. It is not even close how much more important card play is. The only really big edge to be had in bidding at imps is slam bidding, but that doesn't come up that often and presumably your opps won't be completely hopeless at it even if they're inferior, so it's just not a big enough edge.

If you are ever lucky enough to play a top 8 seed in the spingold, I think it will be painfully obvious to you that the reason you lose is because your opponents are not making mistakes in the cardplay, and it's winning them a lot of game (and maybe partscore) swings. That is the bread and butter of knockout matches. I find it laughable that anyone thinks they will come away from that experience thinking "Wow, I just got outbid!" or "80 % of the imps I lost were in the bidding :("

And that is imps, MPs is even more about taking tricks.

There are 2 reasons people like to think bidding is 80 % of the game.

1) As has been said here, maybe when the blue team played the aces, or the diamond team plays the fleisher team, 80 % of the swings were bidding because their card play was near perfect. I can accept that, but that is only because they are at the very highest level and they all play the hands very well. This does not apply to you if you are not on one of the top 10 teams in the country.

2) Cardplay is harder to improve in, and it is more boring and concrete. Bidding on the other hand you can change your system all the time, make a few things more optimal, and really feel like you are making big improvements to your game. It is also more fun. It is just people lying to themselves. It is the same reason that almost all threads are about bidding and not play, no one can be proven wrong in a bidding thread, and people can debate it endlessly. On a cardplay thread we just get rainer posting the solution and everyone nodding...not that conducive to discussion, or being able to hold a view and keep thinking that you're right! It is the same reason that bridge teachers even at the lowest level teach bidding classes rather than play classes, and *cringe* teach conventions. People want to come away from a lesson feeling like they learned something, like they made some tangible gain. Going home and saying "look, I know kickback, it's going to save me so much room!" is a lot more rewarding than saying "well we went over some hands and I counted winners and losers and figured out what to do with my losers, blah, basically the same stuff I already knew..."

As roger said, there is no shortage of people who WANT to believe that bidding is 80 % of the game, unfortunately it is more like 10 %.
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#18 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 14:37

It's not clear that the question is well-posed. What does it mean to be "80% of bridge"?

Looking at a typical club field, I know a number of players who are pretty good at declaring/defending and haven't the slightest clue about bidding. These people win pretty consistently. I can't think of any pairs who are below-average declarers/defenders who win consistently, even though there are some who are decent bidders. It's true that pairs who play a developed system (especially strong club) tend to do a little better than you'd rate them on skill alone, but this seems to be a difference of maybe 5% at most in the score (and some of it comes from unprepared opponents), whereas the difference between good and bad card players is massive.

Of course, I've seen the argument that at the top levels, play and defense is "more uniform" and bidding becomes more important. There may be some truth to that, but perhaps not as much as people think. First, it should be noted that the vast majority of IMPs in top-level team matches do swing because of bidding. I could easily believe that 80% of the IMPs in those matches are due to different contracts, different auctions, etc. However, an awful lot of these are arguably random IMPs. For example, one table bids a 50% slam and the other doesn't. Hard to really argue that one pair bid better than the other, but a dozen or so IMPs will change hands on this board. This kind of thing happens a lot! I've seen various statistics, indicating that even in a top-notch field (the Spingold or whatever) the difference between a top declarer and a "just good" one is about 0.5 IMPs/board. This may not seem like much given the number of IMPs generated in these matches (which is often 4-5 IMPs/board) but if you compare it against the overall margin of victory a lot of matches are decided by less than this.
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#19 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 15:02

Bidding often seems to be the major part of the game because there's so much discussion of it in forums and bridge magazines. The Bridge World has two large sections every month devoted almost entirely to bidding: Master Solvers Club and Challenge the Champs, and the ACBL Bulletin has two similar sections. I think the reason for this is that there's lots more opportunity for discussion, creativity, and evolution in bidding. Finesses haven't changed much since the days of whist, but bidding has been advancing and changing steadily. Also, bidding problems are more amenable to those types of contests; it's hard to pose play problems in a similar format (MSC will sometimes have an opening lead problem, but it's hard to go much beyond that in the play). Declarer and defense problems tend to be relegated to a couple of pages: Kantar for the Defense and Test your Declarer Play.

On the other hand, if you read tournament reports, I think you'll see that the big swings are about evenly due to bidding issues (sometimes system, sometimes judgement) and play issues.

#20 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2011-February-22, 15:45

View Postbarmar, on 2011-February-22, 15:02, said:

(MSC will sometimes have an opening lead problem, but it's hard to go much beyond that in the play). Declarer and defense problems tend to be relegated to a couple of pages: Kantar for the Defense and Test your Declarer Play.



Last year MSC had a trick 3 defensive problem that I had submitted.
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