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Bidding Like Music: Camouflage, Waiting Bids Krzysztof Martens

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Posted 2011-April-14, 13:44

I almost didn't buy this book. IT has three chapters, and chapter 3 is "2 Waiting bid in Polish Club", and I don't play polish club, so I couldn't see spending 20 bucks for a book a third of which would not interest me. However, chapter 3 is only 20 pages out of 175, so it turns out not to be such a large percentage. And interestingly, after reading chapter three, I am now considering polish club as understanding he 2 rebid makes the whole system so much more understandable. But for the most part, it is the first two chapters that will be interesing to people here.

Basically, he describes things we are all familar with in one context or the other. For instance, he includes a version of xyz, a version of gazilli, and some different treatments of fourth suit forcing. While thinking I wouldn't learn much from this book, actually the opposite it true. He does a great job of describing when it advantages to use waiting bids, and more specifically how to follow up in subsequent auction. That is, he goes several bids deep in almost every auction he gives.

I use to play something from Steve Robison called Troika (wrote about it bridge world) where the meaning of some bids at three level were reversed after 1H-1S-2H so that the responder can invite and force in both spades and hearts. In Troika, the meaning of some bids at the three level are reversed,

In Troika

3D = hearts at least invitational
3H = spades at least invitational
3S = diamonds, at least invitational

Martens handles this differently. He keeps the three level bids as natural, and uses the natural sounding 2NT as the waiting bid. Over this waiting bid, opener shows shortness.... or rebids 3 with 3=6=2=2 or rebids 3NT with 2=6=3=2 or 2=6=2=3

Such that

2H-2NT (wait)

3C = short club
3D = short diamond
3H = short spade
3S = three card spade support, no short
3NT = doubleton spade, no short

Both methods give up something, but Troika is more likely to be forgotten by one of the other parnter, and the waiting bid given by Martens is in keeping with other auctions where he uses the next step bid as a waiting bid (including 2NT).

Another thing I lliked about this book, is that his treatments, even for something as simple as gazilli or xyz, or nmf are different and in each case, seem to be superior to the standard treatements I am much more familiar with. I can say that I took his methods and compared to problem hands I had using the same hand and ran into trouble with to verify this seems to be true.

There are few things in the book that did surprise me. For instance, he used 5NT as roman key card blackwood a few times. I don't recall ever seeing that before.

With the indepth study of fourth suit forcing, new minor forcing, xyz, and gazilli auctions that he gave, he seemed to have forgotten to cover this simple auction:
1D - 1H
2C - 2S

Also in a couple of places, he seems to start over with an auction that was already discussed as if it hadn't been mentioned yet. The treatement is the same in these cases and the example hands are different, it is just a little jarring to re-read the very same description of an auction you just read.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the topic of waiting bids. For people who prefer all natural bidding, you can give this book a pass and the rest of us will steal matchpoints from you at the table. :)


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Posted 2011-April-15, 03:50

This is one book from Martens which I didn't like that much. There is not much new in it at least for someone familiar with polish style of bidding (2NT waiting you mentioned for example is 25+years old convention which is basically standard in Poland).
There are still some interesting things but I was a bit dissapointed especially after other great books from the author.

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