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What system do you recommend a novice should learn?

Poll: System for a novice to learn (45 member(s) have cast votes)

What system should a novice learn?

  1. Goren (3 votes [6.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 6.67%

  2. SAYC (13 votes [28.89%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 28.89%

  3. Standard American (not the Yellow Card) (5 votes [11.11%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  4. Acol (6 votes [13.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.33%

  5. 2/1 (9 votes [20.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  6. Precision (7 votes [15.56%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.56%

  7. Something else (2 votes [4.44%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.44%

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#41 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2014-September-30, 03:37

View PostCSGibson, on 2013-June-28, 01:46, said:

If you live in America, learn standard American as the base system. You need to know standard American even if you play 2/1, because in competition it reverts to standard American, and you should definitely play a system which you can play with lots of partners without much discussion when starting out - not only will playing with lots of people have the potential for accelerating your learning curve, but also if you are playing a standard American system, it is easy to ask questions of people who are better than you, since they also generally know the system.

If you are in Poland, learn Polish club. In England, learn Acol. In France, learn SEF. Etc.


Imho this is by far the best reply. No one can improve quick by themselves. If you all remember the times when we were rookies (well I am still rookie but that's just me) we asked, observed, watched, played with or against people who were better than us, and there were a lot of them. Even if you are playing the easiest system to learn ever, but there is no one around to walk you through the most common mistakes or downsides of the system (which I believe all systems have one) then imo you are doing wrong.

Advice of "learn the system which is most popular in your area" is correct imo.
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#42 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2014-September-30, 04:06

Agree with CSGibson and MrAce, you have to go with what most people around you play.

If I had a free choice of system to teach a beginner, I'd actually teach a variant of precision with a 4+card diamond and a 12-15 notrump as it's extremely natural, and your 1M bids are limited so you don't have to deal with the very wide range that approach forcing systems do. But very few people play this so it's pointless to teach it as your first system.
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#43 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-September-30, 04:24

View PostCyberyeti, on 2014-September-30, 04:06, said:

If I had a free choice of system to teach a beginner, I'd actually teach a variant of precision with a 4+card diamond and a 12-15 notrump as it's extremely natural, and your 1M bids are limited so you don't have to deal with the very wide range that approach forcing systems do. But very few people play this so it's pointless to teach it as your first system.

They do play something like this in Nottingham, though :)
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#44 User is offline   MrAce 

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Posted 2014-September-30, 06:15

View PostCyberyeti, on 2014-September-30, 04:06, said:

If I had a free choice of system to teach a beginner, I'd actually teach a variant of precision with a 4+card diamond and a 12-15 notrump as it's extremely natural, and your 1M bids are limited so you don't have to deal with the very wide range that approach forcing systems do. But very few people play this so it's pointless to teach it as your first system.


In fact that's how I started. My city was a precision town. Everyone was playing precision. And I had to start learning how to bid with simple precision club.
"Genius has its own limitations, however stupidity has no such boundaries!"
"It's only when a mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize there is always a way to solve problems without using violence!"

"Well to be perfectly honest, in my humble opinion, of course without offending anyone who thinks differently from my point of view, but also by looking into this matter in a different perspective and without being condemning of one's view's and by trying to make it objectified, and by considering each and every one's valid opinion, I honestly believe that I completely forgot what I was going to say."





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#45 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2014-September-30, 07:10

View PostMrAce, on 2014-September-30, 06:15, said:

In fact that's how I started. My city was a precision town. Everyone was playing precision. And I had to start learning how to bid with simple precision club.


I learned precision as a schoolboy in the mid to late 70s after winning Reese's book in a bridge event, it has been useful to know how to play it as it needs a lot less discussion than Acol, and there is one occasional partbnership in which I still play it.
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#46 User is offline   guinnypoo 

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Posted 2014-November-02, 21:54

I do agree with the posts that say to "learn what's most commonly played where you play", if finding partners for other systems would be an issue (or not knowing the local system would be a problem).

But assuming you could easily find partners for any system you wanted to choose, or say if you were teaching a group of people to play amongst themselves and so wanted the best pure choice for a beginner, I would do 2/1 or precision or any system that makes it easy for the players to figure out about how strong they are and what level they should bid to first. It's easy for beginners to figure out what level about they should bid to, and find the suit fit as they go along, knowing they should just stop in NT if they reach the strength limit and can't find a fit. It does get more difficult for beginners in competitive auctions where they'll have to guess more (and it's easier to guess into a 6 card fit that way than with a more natural bidding system in competition). I feel more natural bidding systems are harder for beginners, because even if they identify a fit they often play at a level that is totally wrong for the hands, e.g. natural systems require a lot more thought, interpretation, etc to figure out how strong each of you are. The more artificial systems have more rules to memorize, but the hands often play themselves to a pretty good contract. Perhaps because I have a more analytical mind and approach to things, I found precision and 2/1 to be much easier bidding systems to start with.
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#47 User is offline   antonylee 

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Posted 2014-November-02, 22:05

More necroing but...
I teach 2/1 for beginners, simply because it makes the F/NF distinction much easier. Re 2/1 in competition, in fact I teach that 2/1 is GF even in competition. Is this optimal? No, of course, but it is consistent with the rest, and we can always add more sophistication later.
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#48 User is offline   shevek 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 04:45

View Postshnk, on 2013-June-27, 23:32, said:

I teach 2/1 to all beginners. SAYC is more complicated and far less effective IMO. More important is to work with a partner who plays the same system.


In what way is SAYC more complicated?
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#49 User is offline   Cthulhu D 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 05:16

View Postshevek, on 2014-November-06, 04:45, said:

In what way is SAYC more complicated?


From my limited experience teaching bridge, one of the most difficult issues is, 'is this bid forcing or not?' 2/1 GF makes it a ton clearer whether strong auctions are forcing or not. Ambiguity is removed from auctions like: 1H-2C-2H (Is that forcing? I'd anticipate that you're gonna get passed a lot, despite it being forcing in SAYC). Is 1H-2C-3C forcing (it's not clear in the booklet).

It is possible that it gives it all back on 1M-1NT! auctions, as those suck, so I'm not sure it's clear cut or anything, but it is generally much clearer whether a bid is forcing or not, and that makes it a LOT easier to teach.


vvvvvvvvvvvvv: Reasonable. The 1M-2C-3C auction might be a better example then. I don't think the rule is that intuitive either, rather than '1M-2m is absolutely forcing to game forever and ever the end.'
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#50 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 05:25

I disagree with that. The rule that a two-level response promises another bid is relatively simple. Consider this auction

pass-1
2-2

You are probably not going to teach beginners two-way Drury. And you probably aren't going to teach them such a sound opening style that a 2/1 by a passed hand is a GF either. So presumably some subsequent bids can be passed, but can this specific 2 rebid be passed? I would say no, but I have had reasonably inteligent 2/1 partners pass me in that auction, and I have seen GIB passing it.

Playing SAYC, even beginners would know that it is forcing. You don't even have to mention it.
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#51 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 13:26

View PostCthulhu D, on 2014-November-06, 05:16, said:

From my limited experience teaching bridge, one of the most difficult issues is, 'is this bid forcing or not?' 2/1 GF makes it a ton clearer whether strong auctions are forcing or not. Ambiguity is removed from auctions like: 1H-2C-2H (Is that forcing? I'd anticipate that you're gonna get passed a lot, despite it being forcing in SAYC). Is 1H-2C-3C forcing (it's not clear in the booklet).

It is possible that it gives it all back on 1M-1NT! auctions, as those suck, so I'm not sure it's clear cut or anything, but it is generally much clearer whether a bid is forcing or not, and that makes it a LOT easier to teach.


vvvvvvvvvvvvv: Reasonable. The 1M-2C-3C auction might be a better example then. I don't think the rule is that intuitive either, rather than '1M-2m is absolutely forcing to game forever and ever the end.'


Yes, I agree Standard American has these annoyances. I think one should go with 5 card major strong NT stone age Acol, which means the only the following are forcing:

1) New suits by responder
2) Reverses and jump shifts by opener (And for a real beginner, not even reverses, because it's hard to understand what those are.)

Yes I realize this makes 1-2-2 and and 1-2-3 non-forcing. I think this is easier to live with than the forcing 1N.

In my experience, beginners playing "Standard American" do not know that 1-2-2 is forcing.
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#52 User is offline   antonylee 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 15:59

Actually I don't teach 1NT as forcing even in a 2/1 context. I prefer semi-forcing myself, and for beginners you may as well remove the 3-card limit raise from 1NT and bundle it into 1M-3M.
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#53 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 18:08

View Postakwoo, on 2014-November-06, 13:26, said:

Yes I realize this makes 1-2-2 and and 1-2-3 non-forcing. I think this is easier to live with than the forcing 1N.


Normally in Acol, 2/1 is forcing to 2 of the opening suit.
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#54 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 20:37

View PostVampyr, on 2014-November-06, 18:08, said:

Normally in Acol, 2/1 is forcing to 2 of the opening suit.


In old fashioned Acol. In modern Acol most play it as forcing to 2NT.
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#55 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2014-November-06, 22:42

View Postantonylee, on 2014-November-06, 15:59, said:

Actually I don't teach 1NT as forcing even in a 2/1 context. I prefer semi-forcing myself, and for beginners you may as well remove the 3-card limit raise from 1NT and bundle it into 1M-3M.


Here's what I'm worried about:

Playing Std Amer or Acol, I see many beginners and even some life novices pass hands like x xx Axxx Kxxxxx opposite a 1M opener because they know they can't bid at the 2 level without 10 hcp and think they can't bid 1N with a singleton (and a doubleton). (Also, they hate playing 1N since it's the hardest contract and are afraid to be left in it.) It may be second nature to us, but responding 1N with that hand is quite unnatural!

That's reasonably tolerable; a few games will be missed, but not many, and sometimes opponents will rescue you by balancing.

However, if beginners start passing x xx Kxxx AKxxxx opposite a 1M opener, that's a real problem.

View PostVampyr, on 2014-November-06, 18:08, said:

Normally in Acol, 2/1 is forcing to 2 of the opening suit.


I do know this. However, I think treating 1-1-2 and 1-2-2 differently is already too complicated for beginners.

The forcing/not-forcing distinction should be based on as little information from the previous bidding as possible. Keep in mind many life novices will, despite numerous honest attempts to learn, never understand what a reverse is.

Beginners need to use 110% of their brainpower just to keep track of which aces and kings have been played and how many trumps are out. They don't have any left to keep track of the bidding, even when it's sitting in front of them.
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#56 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-November-07, 06:21

View Postthe hog, on 2014-November-06, 20:37, said:

In old fashioned Acol. In modern Acol most play it as forcing to 2NT.


This has not been my experience, but perhaps none of my partners or opponents play modern Acol!
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#57 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-November-07, 06:48

Forcing to two of the opening suit is almost universal on the British islands. People open too light for f2nt to be playable.
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#58 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2014-November-10, 10:18

I don't see how and Acol 2/1 can force to 2NT given the recommendations I've seen for opening and 2/1 standards that I've seen over the years:

1) Acol is known for at least reasonably light openers in the first place

2) Old and indeed quite modern standards for a minimum 2/1 is/was 9hcp. A light opener and 9hcp will probably scrape 7 tricks in NT, not 8 (not with any regularity anyway).

3) Some more modern literature I've seen recommends upping the minimum requirement for a 2/1 to be a 10 count (much as per "Standard"). Even so, this hardly makes 2NT a comfortable resting place when opener has a non-fitting min.

From experience, if you keep your 1 level openers reasonably sound and your 2/1 showing 11hcp - or maybe an upgraded 10 - then it is workable to play a 2/1 as f2nt. This, however, is not standard Acol as far as I know.
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#59 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-November-10, 11:00

View PostNickRW, on 2014-November-10, 10:18, said:

From experience, if you keep your 1 level openers reasonably sound and your 2/1 showing 11hcp - or maybe an upgraded 10 - then it is workable to play a 2/1 as f2nt. This, however, is not standard Acol as far as I know.

It is not really playable either since opener will pass the 1NT response with 15-16 points.

But presumably you could play a sound multi/muiderberg style in combination with mandatory 1NT opening on 5M332 in range. Then 1M will be sound unless it is both majors, so 1 followed by 2 would be showing a sound opener and could be forcing. You still have to find a solution for the 10-12 Flannery hands, though.
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#60 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-November-10, 16:27

It seems to me that 2/1 forcing to 2NT incorporates the worst of both worlds. If you are going to play 2/1 forcing to 2NT, you might as well go whole hog and play it forcing to game.
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