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Preparatory But for what?

#1 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-11, 18:18


Be Prepared! - so says Tom Lehrer - http://bit.ly/Preparatory
I've been playing in tournaments recently where players will sometimes alert their opening bid as "preparatory".
I've never heard of this term, but it seems to be fairly popular.
It seems to mean "an artificial bid with ~16+ HCP any shape".
Yesterday with this hand, East passed, and when asked about it later, they said it was "prep".
I suspect it was actually: "forgot" or "misclick".
Responder and prep finally got their act together and reached 6.
Possibly the 4NT bid was a clue that East had a bit more than they were originally letting on.
So, my question is: How common is the term "preparatory"?
And, can NS find 6H, which is optimal - when East passes - making a weak overcall by South impossible?

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#2 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2021-May-11, 18:38

Prepared club (or "voorbereidend" in Dutch, literally "preparing" but maybe "prepared" is a better translation) is a weird term, but since Dutch people say "1 preparing for Spades" if they play 5443 and "1 preparing for hearts or spades" if they play 5542, I think the idea is that they used to play 4-card major but now that they can't open a 4-card major, they open 1, hoping to get to mention their major suit in the next round.

This terminology isn't, AFAIK, used by anyone who has a good understanding of bidding theory. It's kinda like a exonym, a term used by 4-card majorites to try to explain 5-card majors.

A prepared pass as in this hand, or a prepared 1 showing 16+ as you also mention, is not a thing AFAIK. It sounds like a misconception coming from a 4-card major player who is mixing up Precision with standard 5cM.

This pair may be playing a strong pass system, but given the weird "prep" explanation they more likely are just messing around, maybe landing on their feet by accident or (less likely) cheating.

The reason I doubt that they are cheating is that if only E was cheating he would probably not have risked the non-forcing 2NT, while if both were cheating the 5 bid by West is a bit weird.

So most likely they are just Rueful Rabbits.

(Deleted some nonsense about the initial pass arranging for W to declare. That doesn't matter, of course).

This post has been edited by helene_t: 2021-May-11, 19:08

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#3 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-May-11, 21:18

Way back in the dark days Charles Goren wrote with disdain about the "short club" as the bane of bidding - no doubt because he was a strong 4-card advocate. The so-called short club was nothing more than opening a 3-card club suit as a convenient bid with 4333 but was incorporated into 5-card major systems. I seem to remember the "short club" being called a prepared opening bid but I may be misremembering.
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#4 User is online   paulg 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 01:30

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-May-11, 21:18, said:

Way back in the dark days Charles Goren wrote with disdain about the "short club" as the bane of bidding - no doubt because he was a strong 4-card advocate. The so-called short club was nothing more than opening a 3-card club suit as a convenient bid with 4333 but was incorporated into 5-card major systems. I seem to remember the "short club" being called a prepared opening bid but I may be misremembering.

My recollection, despite living 7,000 km from Winstonm and in a bridge world dominated by 4-card majors, is the same. A lot of club players played 'prepared club', typically when they held a poor four-card major and they were out of their no trump range.

Many of these players typically self-announced 'prepared club' when it was prepared and said nothing when they had a decent club suit. No wonder that they struggled if they went to a tournament.
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#5 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 02:53

Pilowski 'Be Prepared! - so says Tom Lehrer. I've been playing in tournaments recently where players will sometimes alert their opening bid as "preparatory". I've never heard of this term, but it seems to be fairly popular. It seems to mean "an artificial bid with ~16+ HCP any shape". Yesterday with this hand, East passed, and when asked about it later, they said it was "prep". I suspect it was actually: "forgot" or "misclick". Responder and prep finally got their act together and reached 6. Possibly the 4NT bid was a clue that East had a bit more than they were originally letting on. So, my question is: How common is the term "preparatory"? And, can NS find 6H, which is optimal - when East passes - making a weak overcall by South impossible?'
++++++++++++++++++++++
Presumably rather than "Pass", East opened 1, as in the amended diagram on the left.
Many players open a "prepared" 1, with a balanced hand, outwith the range for a 1N opening, to avoid rebid problems.
Even if East passes, it's hard for NS to reach 6, confident that it is a sacrifice, and anyway, it's no great bargain.


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#6 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 03:46

View Postnige1, on 2021-May-12, 02:53, said:

Pilowski 'Be Prepared! - so says Tom Lehrer. I've been playing in tournaments recently where players will sometimes alert their opening bid as "preparatory". I've never heard of this term, but it seems to be fairly popular. It seems to mean "an artificial bid with ~16+ HCP any shape". Yesterday with this hand, East passed, and when asked about it later, they said it was "prep". I suspect it was actually: "forgot" or "misclick". Responder and prep finally got their act together and reached 6. Possibly the 4NT bid was a clue that East had a bit more than they were originally letting on. So, my question is: How common is the term "preparatory"? And, can NS find 6H, which is optimal - when East passes - making a weak overcall by South impossible?'
++++++++++++++++++++++
Presumably rather than "Pass", East opened 1, as in the amended diagram on the left.
Many players open a "prepared" 1, with a balanced hand, outwith the range for a 1N opening, to avoid rebid problems.
Even if East passes, it's hard for NS to reach 6, confident that it is a sacrifice, and anyway, it's no great bargain.




Oddly no, the file was only altered to change the names.
East passed as I said originally.
Afterwards, I wondered if the pass - if it really was forcing (unlikely given the colours) was a psych, but decided it was simply an error.
If they had opened 1 and I overcalled 1 we might have found the (slightly) profitable 6 sac. - even doubled - it's still -1100.
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#7 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 04:09

When my grandfather taught me to play in the 1970s he called his 3 card club opener a "phoney club" which I then discovered most people called a "prepared club" when I started playing bridge elsewhere,
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#8 User is online   nullve 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 09:38

English language question:

If a call A is made in preparation of a call B, isn't it then correct to say that A (but not B) is preparatory and B (but not A) is prepared?
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#9 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 10:36

I feel like I would say that I bid 1NT preparing *for* a 3M raise next round. But I hate this term in bridge anyway, it's straight jargon. The meaning of a "prepared club" is defined, and bears none but a casual relationship to the general English meaning of the word prepared.

There's always a problem when a field has given a "normal" word in the language a jargon meaning (or it has evolved into that jargon meaning) that varies significantly from the "language meaning". When talking to people out-field (and, I guess, out-language), it is very easy to mean one thing and be saying another to your audience.

Every field has this - the law is famous for it. It's why these terms are explicitly defined somewhere, and care is taken not to *introduce* words with unexpected meanings (usually. There's a couple of terms in the ACBL convention charts that are deliberately defined differently than the standard bridge meaning for them, and, while I understand why, it has caused the expected issues).
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#10 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 12:11

easts explanation is BS. simple as....

if this was in a club/tournament a director would be called. except if east/west were using the Polish strong pass system - I know of but do not know the system - then easts pass is a misclick only. any other explanation is garbage!
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#11 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 13:08

View Postnullve, on 2021-May-12, 09:38, said:

English language question:

If a call A is made in preparation of a call B, isn't it then correct to say that A (but not B) is preparatory and B (but not A) is prepared?


Yes (been waiting to say only that in a post for some time :) )
But if you don't mention what agreements say about the hand which makes call A, then you are not playing bridge.
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#12 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 13:16

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-May-12, 12:11, said:

if this was in a club/tournament a director would be called.


Not always, unfortunately (referring to the explanation "Preparatory" in general, not the odd auction presented here).
And even more unfortunately, the director might side with the miscreants.
See paulg's diplomatic last comment above.
Many such pairs assume and enjoy impunity to reassure each other (at least f2f) while offering pseudo-explanations to the opponents.
"Please explain the auction so far" and "please explain the agreed meaning of that call in terms of actual holding" are two pertinent and legitimate questions.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 13:29

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-May-12, 03:46, said:

Oddly no, the file was only altered to change the names.
East passed as I said originally.
Afterwards, I wondered if the pass - if it really was forcing (unlikely given the colours) was a psych, but decided it was simply an error.
If they had opened 1 and I overcalled 1 we might have found the (slightly) profitable 6 sac. - even doubled - it's still -1100.


If the pass was an error then the 1 response makes no sense. At least one of the two has to be unexplained artificial, if not worse.
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#14 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 15:47

View Postnullve, on 2021-May-12, 09:38, said:

English language question:

If a call A is made in preparation of a call B, isn't it then correct to say that A (but not B) is preparatory and B (but not A) is prepared?


Interesting question.
I googled about a bit and did manage to find one reference to the "prepared club"
and found this in Wikipedia:

Quote

Prepared opening bid

In the game of bridge, a prepared opening bid is a bid which is not usual in the sense that it does not bid the longest suit first. The most common example of this is the better minor or short club opening bid.

Another example refers to a principle of bidding in bridge popularized by Howard Schenken in bridge columns that he wrote during the 1960s. In his book "Big Club", Schenken refers to the principle as "The Principle of Anticipation (or Preparedness)".[1] The principle states that when choosing an opening bid, a player should be prepared for the possibility that his partner could respond in the opener's shortest suit; he should choose his opening bid and have an appropriate rebid ready for that eventuality. The "Principle of Preparedness" was originally used by Ely Culbertson in the 1930s and is referred to by various writers from that period.


The "phoney club" or if you want to spend $20 (Australian), "The phoney Club: the Cleveland club system" - David Marsh-Smith is (according to Tim Bourke - of Bourke relay fame - another method I don't know)

Quote

A little club system that uses a one diamond negative response, with other one level replies limited and two-level bids forcing to game. Advocates some oddities, such as passing 1D response with a minimum 3343 in shape! Converts high card points into winners to determine whether a hand is worth an intermediate two bid in a suit other than clubs.

From this link on Paul Lavings website: http://www.bridgegea...lub-system.html

And from this Forum in 2016! https://www.bridgeba...-prepared-club/
Where someone asserts that: "I believe most bridge teachers in the US teach to not bypass a four card spade suit to bid 1NT (i.e. would bid 1S on 4-3-3-3.)".
Many of the commentators from that thread appear here.

And this on the "Prepared Club Opening Bid" from the Raunds Bridge Club UK https://www.raunds-b...pared-club.html

I had heard of short, big, strong, and now prepared and phoney; the poor club seems to carry a lot of weight.

The opponents in this auction were not from Australia or the UK - I suspect that the word "preparatory" has crept into their argot.
The only place that refers to "preparatory club" is Italian (pescetom?): in "a few words with Valerio Giubilo" from the Neapolitan Club (the magazine).

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#15 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 16:22

I would say both opponents were well "prepared".
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#16 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 16:50

6 by East is cute, hoping for S not to find the lead of a low heart.
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#17 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-May-12, 17:23

View Postjohnu, on 2021-May-12, 16:22, said:

I would say both opponents were well "prepared".


As Louis Pasteur remarked: "Fortune favours the prepared mind".
Perhaps he went to preparatory school.
Maybe he was A "trèfle" trop préparée.
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#18 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2021-May-13, 00:29

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-May-12, 17:23, said:

Maybe he was A "trèfle" trop préparée.

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Posted 2021-May-13, 01:38

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-May-12, 15:47, said:

Interesting question.
I googled about a bit and did manage to find one reference to the "prepared club"
and found this in Wikipedia:


The "phoney club" or if you want to spend $20 (Australian), "The phoney Club: the Cleveland club system" - David Marsh-Smith is (according to Tim Bourke - of Bourke relay fame - another method I don't know)

From this link on Paul Lavings website: http://www.bridgegea...lub-system.html

And from this Forum in 2016! https://www.bridgeba...-prepared-club/
Where someone asserts that: "I believe most bridge teachers in the US teach to not bypass a four card spade suit to bid 1NT (i.e. would bid 1S on 4-3-3-3.)".
Many of the commentators from that thread appear here.

And this on the "Prepared Club Opening Bid" from the Raunds Bridge Club UK https://www.raunds-b...pared-club.html

I had heard of short, big, strong, and now prepared and phoney; the poor club seems to carry a lot of weight.

The opponents in this auction were not from Australia or the UK - I suspect that the word "preparatory" has crept into their argot.
The only place that refers to "preparatory club" is Italian (pescetom?): in "a few words with Valerio Giubilo" from the Neapolitan Club (the magazine).



This is nothing to do with the OP (sorry Pilowski) but the phoney club goes back to the 1930's. The Austrians won a world championship playing Vienna Club. 1 was 1+ , 1 1 and 1 were all 5+. And 1NT was a strong hand, any distribution.

Some of the top Austrians escaped to the UK before WW2, including their captain, Paul Stern, and Rixi Marcus. That's why Vienna Club was popular in the UK in the 40's and 50's. I used to play a modernised version in the 1970s and 80's. It was OK.





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#20 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-May-13, 03:42

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-May-12, 15:47, said:

I had heard of short, big, strong, and now prepared and phoney; the poor club seems to carry a lot of weight.
Since 1 is the cheapest call (other than Strong Pass methods, which are HUM), it is the bid that benefits the most from artificiality. After all, it leaves opener maximum space to explain which of the options was held (see also the Polish club).
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