SALON  Introduction

from Pik­ier 9, 1982

What is natu­ral bid­ding ?

There are few peo­ple in Po­land who can sensi­bly answer this question – and we should not be very sur­prised – be­cause al­most no­body has tried to. Thus, the situation can be de­scri­bed briefly: ig­no­rance, lack of knowl­edge, and a completely er­rone­ous view.

In „The Lambda Weak Opening Sys­tem” [1975] I wrote:

“This, among oth­ers, is the re­sult of low cul­ture of our bid­ding (sic!) caused by domi­na­tion of The Com­mon Lan­guage Sys­tem and de­par­ture from natu­ral meth­ods”

Weak Open­ing Sys­tems:

Sys­tems which open the bid­ding with the most fre­quent zone of strength  8–12 HCP.    

Common Lan­guage (Pol­ish club):

A pseudo–natu­ral sys­tem com­monly (90% of play­ers) used in Po­land sice 1964. Main fea­ture = a three way 1§ (natu­ral, short, strong (18–21)) with nega­tive 1¨ re­sponse. Plenty de­tails and pe­cu­li­ari­ties. No gen­eral prin­ci­ples and in­te­grat­ing rules.

And today, I still up­hold fully that state­ment:

The dev­astation caused by the „Com­mon Lan­guage Style” in minds of bridge players in Po­land is colos­sal. Primitiv­ism, sche­ma­tism, some rudi­men­tary, ap­par­ently true rules – all this has been ad­vertised as a „modern natural sys­tem”, alleg­edly more pre­cise than others – and has been wrongly identi­fied as the es­sence of natu­ral meth­ods. Only few real­ize that The Com­mon Lan­guage (also called „The Pol­ish Club”) is only a lo­cal, pro­vin­cial prod­uct, al­most un­known, and rarely used by the world bridge com­mu­nity.

   Mean­while, the bridge world (West­ern) culti­vates natural meth­ods and un­der­stands them much bet­ter than the bridge Poland. It is clearly seen in pub­lished analy­ses of bid­ding prob­lems: sim­plic­ity, elegance, sub­tlety, and – un­no­ticed at first glance – accu­racy. This ap­proach to natu­ral­ity seems, however, to be more in­tui­tive than rea­soned. I have not found in the world bridge lit­era­ture any at­tempts to present a syn­the­sis of natu­ral­ity.

For in­stance:

the only en­try re­fer­ring to natu­ral­ity in „The Of­fi­cial En­cy­clo­pe­dia of Bridge”:

NATURAL CALLs:  Calls which re­flect the char­ac­ter of the hand and sug­gest a pos­si­ble fi­nal con­tract. A natu­ral call is con­trasted with Ar­ti­fi­cial Call. How­ever, some bids which have ar­ti­fi­cial mean­ings can be used as natu­ral bids.

Not even roughly outlined like the one I pub­lished in „Intro­duc­tion to WOSs” and in „The Lambda Weak Opening Sys­tem” (1974–1975):


What has been bid – is a con­tract to make (ie it has strength as­surance of mak­ing )


Driving the bid­ding high is a positive sug­ges­tion (strength),
while keep­ing the bid­ding low is a nega­tive sug­ges­tion (weak­ness).


Bidding a suit sug­gests length and con­cen­tra­tion of honors in this suit.


Bidding no trump sug­gests bal­anced distri­bu­tion (within the in­for­ma­tion trans­mitted so far), disper­sion of hon­ors and stop­pers in un­bid suits.


Exchanging in­forma­tion with partner is a posi­tive sug­ges­tion,
while avoid­ing such an ex­change is a nega­tive sug­ges­tion.


New suit car­ries a posi­tive sug­ges­tion, while old – a nega­tive one.

It is funny that the only at­tempt to eluci­date the es­sence of natu­ral­ity ap­peared in publi­ca­tions on WOSs – the sys­tems com­monly re­garded as very ar­ti­fi­cial and ex­tremely com­plex. An opin­ion – I must add – com­pletely un­founded, be­cause only the fun­da­men­tals are ar­ti­fi­cial, while the relay style of sub­se­quent bid­ding (ex­ces­sively used by many „non–pass­ers”) is usu­ally not re­quired.


If a NATURAL BIDDING STYLE exists (and it does!), it is much more ex­plicit in the WOSs (es­pe­cially in Lambda) than in The Pol­ish Club or in The Pre­cision Club. These two sys­tems are only al­leg­edly natural.

The pre­sented out­line of natu­rality re­flects my ex­peri­ences with Lambda, and it has been cre­ated, I pre­sume, out of my lazi­ness which forced me to look for univer­sal, yet simple and aes­thetic so­lu­tions.

I fully un­der­stand Zacha­rias Lich­ter, who said that:

In­tel­lect al­ways has an ob­ses­sion of fun­da­men­tal, struc­tural, and prin­ci­pal prob­lems, lead­ing back to sources. A real in­tel­lec­tual may be rec­og­nized  by the fas­ci­na­tion he has for what is sim­ple and ele­men­tary; his mental ef­fort being an inte­grat­ing factor, he searches for a prin­ci­ple, or meta­phori­cally, an ideal key fit­ting all the se­cret doors of the Uni­verse. The de­sire to find a unique solu­tion to a prob­lem is not a func­tion of stu­pidity, the strength of which de­pends on a fact that it can ac­cept any the­ory, even a de­mon­stra­bly bad one, pro­vided good prac­ti­cal result can be ob­tained us­ing it.

and I dare to supple­ment the prin­ciples of con­structing sys­tems with something which has been long observed in my re­search:


Maximal Aes­thetics Prin­ci­ple




The sim­pler and more beau­ti­ful some­thing is – the more true it is.


However, ideol­ogy is not the only rea­son be­hind my af­finity to natu­rality.

I consider the Natural Bidding Style to be a su­per­precise one !! (if only one is able to grasp its es­sence) and the only gen­er­ally true method !!

To grasp the es­sence of natu­rality!...

In Poland, and abroad, a group of polled ex­perts give sev­eral dif­fer­ent rec­om­men­da­tions „what to bid with this hand in this situa­tion”, each answer be­ing sup­ported by a dif­fer­ent pre­sump­tion (sic!).

For exam­ple:



because A



because E



because X




because B !


4¨ !

because F


5§ !

because X !




because C !!


5¨ !!

because G


2© !!

because X !!




because D !!!


6¨ !!!

because H


pass !!!

because X !!!

and so on...

Their pre­sump­tions are usu­ally vague and only touch the sur­face of vari­ous as­pects. One may say that ex­perts „watching – see eve­rything sepa­rately”.  Why ? Be­cause they only have a num­ber of su­perficial pre­sump­tions at their dis­posal, without any logi­cally syn­the­si­zed set of the most im­portant can­ons of natu­rality.





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