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Drury ... one of many seemingly natural systems

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 05:58

Hi all

GiB 2/1 is describes as a simple natural system

However can anyone explain how a system with so many complex systems from Drury to Lebensohl to Smolen etc, and so many quirky bid meanings is any way simple and natural

Below is a shorthand list of possible second bids in Drury

2D Invite to game (13+)
2H Not full opener 12-13 pts
2S 4+ s (18-22 pts)
2NT 5 hearts with stops in all and 12-22 pts
3C stop clubs, forcing 13-14pts
3D 1 diamond 18-22 pts
3H 19-22 pta forcing
3S 1 spade 18-22 pts
3NT 6 hearts with plus stops 12-22
4C 1 club 18-22 pts
4D 0 diamonds
4H sign off 14-18 pts
4S 0 spades 18-22 pts
4NT Blackwood

What isn't clear to me is my bid if I have specifically 0 clubs and 18-22 pts

I do actually quite like Drury or reverse Drury - whatever - the principle - but you could just bid a limit in hearts and proceed from there

BTW I also love lebensohl and the way the guy it was attributed to was able to totally disown it :)

What happened to simple natural bridge

#2 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 06:16

This is what not natural and mot simple looks a bit like:
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.

#3 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 06:57

Standard 2/1 is natural by definition - not because of the meaning of any bids, but because 'natural' is a protected term describing which agreements are allowed, and 2/1 has a sufficiently large lobby that it needs to be natural. This is only slightly tongue-in-cheek.

#4 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 08:34

David's comment, while "slightly" over the top, isn't wrong. "Natural" means "what we've always played". It's natural to us, same as the weirdnesses in English are "natural" to native speakers.

But if you want a good definition, a "natural" system is one where:
  • Openings show the suit bid (or a balanced shape for NT) "almost always", and
  • Most bids say something, rather than ask.

So things that make a system "not natural" are 1-level Strong openings (which are frequent enough, unlike 2 in "standard", to break "almost always"), relay or asking bid systems, transfer openings (less so, transfer responses), unbalanced NT openers, and the like.

A "simple natural" system has a bunch of holes in it, which are papered over with conventions, making it either less "simple" or less "natural", depending on how you want to look at it. As those conventions become "standard", they are welcomed into the "natural" fold. This includes the move to 5-card majors, and now "unbalanced diamond", so now "opening a 3=3=5=2 18 count in the shortest suit should be considered Natural" - which makes no sense, out of context. Hence David's "natural means 'what we play, not all that weird stuff you play' " comment.

As far as "Novice and Beginner" is concerned, if one can understand why Drury, or Cappelletti, or RKC, or... fine, use it. If not, don't. But GIB is too stupid to know how not to play them, so better to play with a N/B than a robot that is singleminded. As far as the world is concerned, Bridge Is Hard, and even the simple stuff is complicated. This is a fact, and there's nothing that can be done about it. It is a barrier to entry, and it is a barrier to progression; and is quite possibly a major factor in its eventual demise. It's also one of the joys of the game, if you get past those barriers.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)

#5 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 09:12

These days, the expression "natural" is more of a branding exercise than anything else.
As the Possum and other's note, so called "natural" systems require enormous amounts of support from conventional understandings.

I'll note in passing that in many parts of the world (such as China) novices get taught systems like Precision because these are believed to be more simple / more logically consistent and this is viewed as more significant than whether or not the system is "natural".
Alderaan delenda est

#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 10:39

View Posthrothgar, on 2021-December-30, 09:12, said:

I'll note in passing that in many parts of the world (such as China) novices get taught systems like Precision because these are believed to be more simple / more logically consistent and this is viewed as more significant than whether or not the system is "natural".

Even in Italy where natural is almost a religion and both 4 card and 5 card major systems have less quirks than most equivalents, many novices are taught strong club systems first because they are easier to learn.

#7 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 14:17

‘Natural’ bridge ended by 1940 at the latest. I collect old books on bridge, with the great majority of them published before 1940, including quite a few from before contract bridge. So I have a number of books on bridge using methods which were as close to natural as one can imagine.

Every call meant what it sounded like other than the early use of the ‘informative’ double of an opening on one’s right, which was takeout, and a direct cue of a bid on one’s right, which was usually very strong….but giving zero information about distribution.

As late as the 1960s The Bridge World held challenges between proponents of convention-heavy bidding (known as the Scientists) and those who claimed to be natural bidders. However, even the natural bidders used conventions such as stayman and Blackwood…but not the disdained methods such as negative doubles or weak two bids.

The fact that the champions of natural bidding used conventions is amusing but goes to show that it’s impossible to compete against even average bidding without conventions.

In, iirc, 1979 I played with a good friend in the midnight game at the Reno regional….then held the last week in December, with the midnight game on New Year’s Eve.

We were young and out for fun (ok, it’s a bit weird to imagine playing bridge to have fun). We agreed that we’d play ‘stone age’. No conventions. No stayman, no Blackwood, no negative doubles, etc.

We started against two older friends, who were non-drinkers, which was relevant because each table started with two bottles of California bubbly…so naturally we each had a bottle. And then found the area where surplus bottles were. In any event, we eventually played against Meckstroth, which was shortly pre-Rodwell.

He opened 1S, partner doubled, responder bid 1N, Meckstroth 2c, partner doubled again and responder corr3cted to 2S….and partner doubled again. I was very inebriated and passed because it seemed right with my stiff spade 2 and a zero count.

I don’t recall the play but at one point Meckstroth ruffed a club in dummy with the 3 and I underruffed with my deuce.

Meckstroth said…’things are looking up’ and called for dummy’s last trump. I showed out…Meckstroth folded his cards and said ‘800’.

He was really good about it, laughing as I apologized. I explained that while we were playing no conventions, I hadn’t realized that this meant that the double of 1S was penalty😀. Even back in 1928, that double would have been takeout

Despite the top we scored on that board, I think we were below average and I’ve never played Stone Age again.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari

#8 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 15:23

The reason for Drury is to allow your partner to be aggressive in opening 3rd/4th seat hands. If your partner opens a trashy 11 count and you raise to 3x with your decent 10 count, going -1 or 2 may not do well when you can make a 2 level contract. As far as what to do with 18-22 with a club void, look at the 2s/3d/3h responses. If you have a club void, you either have a second suit or long hearts.

#9 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2021-December-30, 16:13

View Postthepossum, on 2021-December-30, 05:58, said:

However can anyone explain how a system with so many complex systems from Drury to Lebensohl to Smolen etc..

You're mixing up system with convention.



Bidding systems can be classified into two broad categories: natural systems and artificial systems. In natural systems, most bids (especially in the early phase of the bidding) denote length in the suit bid. In artificial systems, the bids are more highly codified, so that for example a bid of 1♣ may not be related to a holding in the club suit.

Natural systems can have plenty of artificial bids. Even Fantunes is considered a natural system.

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