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Proposed New Signal Bidding System
#1
I've been thinking a lot about Mick's quest to find an improved signal bidding system that mitigates some of the shortcomings of CABS.  When I played single-deck partnership pinochle, there was a simple bidding system where even bids meant meld and odd bids meant power or you wanted the hand.  This was for bids below 25; after 25, bids had specific meanings.  Anyway, I used that principle and some of the comments and discussion about CABS (specifically the inability to indicate aces around after someone has opened the bidding) to devise the recommended bidding chart below.  The rationale behind the chart is pretty simple - even bids are meld bids; the more meld you have, the higher you can bid to signal - as long as your partner has indicated that he wants the bid; and if your partner has indicated that he wants the bid, the "take" bid (one bid higher than the signal) should be roughly no more than your meld plus 20 to save plus 20 meld from your partner (if your partner wants the bid, the assumption is he at least has a run, which would be 15.)

To further improve this, there could be some fine-tuning of the "Strong suit" bids in the chart to indicate strength of playing hand (for example, maybe 51 opening bid indicates an estimate of 8-9 tricks playing, 53 opener means 10-11 tricks, etc.) but I haven't gone that far yet.

Anyway, without further ado...here is my proposed bidding signal chart:

   
I welcome any and all comments to help improve this chart or - if this simply will not work - to develop a better one.  Please let me know what you think.
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#2
P.S. - the only exception to the "even meld / odd power" rule is with double aces around and the current bid at 56 or less. This is consistent with Mick's proposal, which I think is good since it doesn't automatically inflate the bid...just in case your partner dumps the bid on you and you don't have a marriage or for similar situations.

Also, I haven't gone through the logistics of odd bids, but I think this system will allow for distinguishing between "save" bids (which would be one step over the meld bid) and "I want the bid" bids (which could start at 3 steps over the meld bid).
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#3
IMO this is seriously confusing, and the sometime-reversal between the 'aces around' and 'strong bid' meanings is useless.  Over any prior bid, the first 2 steps are always being used here for these two meanings.  Why not ALWAYS assign one to the 'strong bid' and one to the aces bid?  And the secondary requirement for bidding 54 over 52 is not clear to me, AND seems very likely to be overly restrictive.


You have MASSIVE ambiguity.  With a weakish hand over a 54 bid, 60 means anything over 26.

You force each partner to think.  50 - 52 (by opp) - 58...that's showing 30.  50-51-58 would be 40.  There's no natural progression involved.

You have no meanings whatsoever for 55 and 57 in most cases, for no good reason.  This contributes to the problems above.

There's no way to show a 'bad 20' like an aceless roundhouse and a 'good 20' like a kings around, a couple marriages, a pinochle, and 5 aces.  There is, in fact, no way (other than the aces bid) to show a good *support* hand.  To be sure, CABS has this too, but it's a big hole, and it's not entirely filled by saying, ok, count the aces as points.  The notion that, yes, partner, I do have some tricks for you, can be *very* valuable...any time his hand isn't particularly good.  The problem is that such a system may become too complex.

The whole table concept is, IMO, a failure, because HOW you reach certain points in the bidding is critical and it's ignored.  The 3rd bids in these example sequences SHOULD be different:

North  50 (aces, by the table)
East 51
South ?

60 is a critical *tactical* bid with something like

AC TC TC KC KC QC JC AD KD KD JD JD AS TS KS JS JS TH TH KH

South wants to shut West out.  Similarly  52-53-60 is needed for a little better playing hand with NO run.  These situations are specific enough to be a bit unusual, but I think the South hands that want to make the shutout bid here, are more common than the ones that want to use the table's 60 meaning.

a decent playing hand lacking a run.  60's perfect.

#2:
North  51
East 53  (CABS, showing 20)
South 60

I HATE shutout bids here, so having 60 be some kind of meld-showing is fine.  A HUGE difference is that North has asked for captaincy with his first bid.  THEREFORE, the bidding structure should make as many bids as possible available. 

#3:
A necessary note is save bids.  A core flaw of a table approach, IMO, is that it tends to promote a simplistic thinking pattern, rather than a rational one.  North bids 52;  East passes.  South holds, say,

AC AC AC KC QC QC JC AD TD KD JD JD AS KS KS QS JS TH QH QH

South can't pass;  this is a perfectly reasonable hand.  53 should make most of the time, and clubs is QUITE likely to be the best trump suit for N/S.  A bidding table has a tendency to put shutters over South's eyes, tho;  he can't bid ANYTHING by the table, so he has to pass.

Now:  tables to illustrate things, is not a bad idea...the problem is trying to canalize everything into 1 table.
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#4
(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  IMO this is seriously confusing, and the sometime-reversal between the 'aces around' and 'strong bid' meanings is useless.  Over any prior bid, the first 2 steps are always being used here for these two meanings.  Why not ALWAYS assign one to the 'strong bid' and one to the aces bid?  And the secondary requirement for bidding 54 over 52 is not clear to me, AND seems very likely to be overly restrictive.

I don't think it's that confusing at all.  The first basic principle of this system is that EVEN bids show meld, and ODD bids show a strong playing hand.  The amount of bid above the previous bid indicates the degree to which you have MELD or POWER.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  You have MASSIVE ambiguity.  With a weakish hand over a 54 bid, 60 means anything over 26.

The 60 bid isn't necessarily a "weakish" hand.  If your partner has not yet indicated that he wants the bid, it's kind of silly to bid 110 over 54 with 70 meld, so you bid 60.  If necessary, you clarify it with a follow-up bid if your partner shows interest.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  You force each partner to think.  50 - 52 (by opp) - 58...that's showing 30.  50-51-58 would be 40.  There's no natural progression involved.

I don't agree.  58 is three even steps above 52 (54, 56, 58) but 4 above 51 (52, 54, 56, 58), so it is intuitive.  It'll probably take some time to adjust to, but I think over time it will be easy to figure out.  There is a pattern in the logic; you just have to understand it.  Again, the basic idea is that EVEN = MELD and ODD = POWER.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  You have no meanings whatsoever for 55 and 57 in most cases, for no good reason.  This contributes to the problems above.

55 and 57 would be used to indicate "I want the bid."  ODD = POWER.  (I didn't specifically put these in the table because I was focused more on the "signaling" aspect of bidding - informing oyur partner about your hand.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  There's no way to show a 'bad 20' like an aceless roundhouse and a 'good 20' like a kings around, a couple marriages, a pinochle, and 5 aces.  There is, in fact, no way (other than the aces bid) to show a good *support* hand.  To be sure, CABS has this too, but it's a big hole, and it's not entirely filled by saying, ok, count the aces as points.  The notion that, yes, partner, I do have some tricks for you, can be *very* valuable...any time his hand isn't particularly good.  The problem is that such a system may become too complex.

I think this should be considered in the decision to make a specific bid, just as it is in CABS.  For example, I don't always give a 20 meld bid with only 16 (using CABS) but there are situations where it would be appropriate.  For most bids above 30, my general assumption is that my partner has meld only and will not contribute during trick play.  The same will hold true in this system.  The big advantage of this system, however, is that it is now possible to first give an aces bid even if someone else has already bid.  So if you have aces plus 30 meld, you can give an aces bid first (indicating some degree of power) and then follow up with a 30 meld bid.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  The whole table concept is, IMO, a failure, because HOW you reach certain points in the bidding is critical and it's ignored.  The 3rd bids in these example sequences SHOULD be different:

I think "failure" is a bit drastic.  I'm trying to take a different perspective and eliminate some of the shortcomings of CABS.  After giving this system some thought, I think it does that; in which case, it isn't a failure at all.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  North  50 (aces, by the table)
East 51
South ?

60 is a critical *tactical* bid with something like

AC TC TC KC KC QC JC AD KD KD JD JD AS TS KS JS JS TH TH KH

South wants to shut West out.  Similarly  52-53-60 is needed for a little better playing hand with NO run.  These situations are specific enough to be a bit unusual, but I think the South hands that want to make the shutout bid here, are more common than the ones that want to use the table's 60 meaning.

a decent playing hand lacking a run.  60's perfect.

If South can only handle 60, then this *may be* a problem.  (In my proposed system, the "lockout" bid would be 65.)  However, I'm not convinced the bad outweighs the good.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  #2:
North  51
East 53  (CABS, showing 20)
South 60

I HATE shutout bids here, so having 60 be some kind of meld-showing is fine.  A HUGE difference is that North has asked for captaincy with his first bid.  THEREFORE, the bidding structure should make as many bids as possible available. 

Although I didn't indicate specific odd bids in the table, if South had a POWER hand but didn't want to go to 65, he could bid 55, indicating that he wants the bid.

(10-24-2014, 05:39 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  #3:
A necessary note is save bids.  A core flaw of a table approach, IMO, is that it tends to promote a simplistic thinking pattern, rather than a rational one.  North bids 52;  East passes.  South holds, say,

AC AC AC KC QC QC JC AD TD KD JD JD AS KS KS QS JS TH QH QH

South can't pass;  this is a perfectly reasonable hand.  53 should make most of the time, and clubs is QUITE likely to be the best trump suit for N/S.  A bidding table has a tendency to put shutters over South's eyes, tho;  he can't bid ANYTHING by the table, so he has to pass.

Now:  tables to illustrate things, is not a bad idea...the problem is trying to canalize everything into 1 table.

The table isn't really necessary; I just used it to illustrate concept.  (I'm also not sure how this system can be both "confusing" and "simplistic.")  Again, EVEN bids denote meld; ODD bids denote power; the number of steps above the current bid indicates the DEGREE of meld or power.  I think there is room for save bids if necessary; this would just shift the "I want the bid" bids up one notch in that situation.  So in the situation you presented, 53 would be a save and 55 would indicate something stronger - "I want the bid."

The bottom line is that no bidding system is going to be perfect, but I think this proposed system offers more flexibility and more opportunities to communicate about your hand.  I'd like to explore this proposed system more and try it in a couple of game situations to see how it works.  It would also be interesting to run a few bids using CABS and the same bids using this method to see how they compare.
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#5
Your meld-showing bids have awkward, inconsistent steps.  That's the confusing part.  You make no allowance for variations of circumstance.  That's the simplistic part.


You want to dedicate half the bids (the odd bids) below 60, where flexibility exists, ALL to describe the same hand *which is asking partner to describe.*  I have no issue with 51 being an ask...but if that's the case, then how much need is there for 53 and 55 and 57 to say the same thing?  *When the auction is at very low levels* CABS dedicates far too many bids to very low-frequency hands;  as opener or over a basic 50 by an opponent or partner, CABS has 4 bids to show the VERY uncommon situation of 50+ meld.  Wouldn't it be nice to use those bids, if plausible, to differentiate between at least 2 levels of dummy support?  I doubt 3 would be possible, but 2 wouldn't be.  

To create 1 specific case, in a *totally hypothetical* bidding approach...and note that I'm building this off the top of my head on the fly.  Details could be adjusted.
Partner, North, opens 50 in first seat.  East passes.
Then South bids:

51 -- asking for captaincy himself.  Promises a notably better playing hand than North's 50 bid.
52 (53,54,55) -- shows 20 (30, 40, 50+) but is weak to average.  18 meld, 3 aces would fit here for 52.  
56 (57,58) -- shows 20 (30, 40+) with strength.  A roundhouse with 6 aces (but not around) would be a 57.

The advantages are fairly clear.  
1.  When North has a fairly good hand, and South shows a stronger hand, he can foresee a good chance at pulling 31 with just a moderate hand e.g.

AC TC TC KC KC QC JC JC AD XD XD XD XD XS XS XS XS AH XH XH

31's not out of the question by any means, even though North has only 7 tricks, if South is showing 5+ tricks.

2.  When North is pretty minimum and South shows a weak-to-average hand, North knows to NOT push.

3.  South's bids have the same meanings in any of these situations:

South bids first...50 is to play, 51 is aces, 52-58 is as above.
North 50, East pass
East 50
East pass, South's call. 

The last 2 cases can be crucial for North.  Being able differentiate between a weakish hand and a pretty good hand can be crucial.

The major disadvantage:  extending this to auctions that are even a bit higher...say, that start like

West 52
North 53
East 55

I'd *prefer* the following:

56:  to play.  The ONLY bid that is to play. 
57,58,59 shows the weakish 20-40 meld.
60, 65 and 70 show 20-40 strong meld.

Even the jump to 70 isn't even close to an overbid, with, say, queens around, a double pinochle...and 5 aces.  But realize that North may well be forced to compete all the way to 85.

Looking at it...if the auction's below 55, there's enough steps...even an auction like this:
West 50
North 52
East 55

Any 'showing' bid by South puts North in a pretty darn good position.

But North/South would have to work out when the Weak steps stop, and the Strong steps begin.

Another disadvantage, of course, is the inability to show those double queens and double kings.  Well, with a whole heckuva lot of meld like that, the plan might be to normally bid twice, making a jump bid on the 2nd round to show "a lot more meld than I showed first time."  I'd probably argue that it shows 30 more than your prior bid, because it's looking like the meld bids have a 20 meld range.  So a sequence might be this:

North 50    (pard, got meld?  I wanna play it)
East 53
South 58  (the strong-20 bid)
West 65
North 70
East pass
South 80 (ooohhh...not a strong 20, a strong *50*)

And note that if West bids 75, and North 80, then South's jump to 90 would still show 50.  The principle is, South had an easy bid to show the strong 40 on his last turn, so this is the minimum.  If North could bid 80...even if he's stretching some...then 95 will be a *breeze* for him.

Finally, the big, big disadvantage is, this system probably requires an established partnership which has spent the time to cover most sequences, or disasters await.  It's not a good system for beginners.
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#6
BTW, the main point in bringing up this 'alternative approach' is to recognize that you don't construct a bidding approach in a vacuum. There are core, philosophical principles at play here.

1. Try to establish captaincy ASAP.
2. Captaincy bids want to leave as much room as possible. A captaincy bid asks partner to provide information in order to make the final decision. Partner needs flexibility to accomplish this, so the more bids available, the better.
3. As much as possible, each bid needs to be clearly different from the alternatives. Don't define 2 bids as pretty much saying the same thing. One example would be

North 53
East 58

I've played with a lot of players who would say that South's 60 and 65 would be to play. NO, not IMO. That 3rd principle comes into play. If South wants it...59. Every bid 60 and above *shows meld* of varying amounts. Nothing else makes sense. Special exceptions might exist that *refine* the story (like 100 to show double aces) but the root storyline remains the same.
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#7
(10-24-2014, 10:28 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  Your meld-showing bids have awkward, inconsistent steps.  That's the confusing part.  You make no allowance for variations of circumstance.  That's the simplistic part.

I think as with CABS there are situations where you would go *outside* the "normal" patterns shown in the table above.  If you have, say, 14 meld and six aces and your partner has already shown interest in taking the bid, you might give a 20-meld bid.  At the same time, if you have 18-20 meld but no support, you may decide to *not* give a meld bid at all.

(10-24-2014, 10:28 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  You want to dedicate half the bids (the odd bids) below 60, where flexibility exists, ALL to describe the same hand *which is asking partner to describe.*  I have no issue with 51 being an ask...but if that's the case, then how much need is there for 53 and 55 and 57 to say the same thing?

Again, although I did not get into specifics regarding the odd bids, they are NOT the same.  For example, East opens at 52.  I, as South, would bid 53 if I had a decent hand but needed meld from my partner.  If I bid 55, that would indicate that I have a strong playing hand and decent meld and/or enough tricks to make the bid comfortable.  A meld bid would not be needed but nice in case I had to stretch.  57 would indicate that I have plenty of meld and power.

Another example would be partner dealt, East passes to me.  In this case, 51 would be the requisite save bid.  53 would be "I can play it but give meld if you have it (assuming West stays in)."  55 and 57 would be as above.



I'll have to review the rest of your post, let it sink in, and respond later.
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#8
Another thing...I think using this system allows for bidding on strength of hand, more so than CABS.  I've been involved in too many bids where my partner opens at 60 or 65, and I'm sitting there with something like
AC  AC  AC  TC  TC  KC  QC  QC  JC  JC  AD  AD  QD  QD  AS  AS  QS  JS  KH  JH

Without enough meld, I usually wind up deferring to my partner, only to find out I have a stronger playing hand and he's got a boatload of meld.  My proposed system will allow him to indicate whether he's got a moderately strong hand (say open at 51 or 53 - 51 may even indicate a generally good "support" hand), a strong suit (55), or an absolute powerhouse (57 or 65).  There may also be room for meld bids after bids that show power if, say, my partner and I both have decent power.  (This sometimes works in CABS but more often than not the "bid efficiency" suffers.)  For example - I'm South.

North - 53 (strong suit)
East - 55 (CABS bidder showing 20 meld)
Me - 57 (strong suit but not enough to go 65 without meld from P)
West - 65

Now my P can bid 70 if he has, say, 30 meld.  I already know he has a decent suit so if I don't have a hand similar to the one above, I can just pass.  Most likely East and West will drop out and my partner would get it for 70 with his 30 plus (assuming) 13 extra for a run, and plenty of power.  We make the bid.  If I do have the hand above, I take the bid for 75 and we have at least 45 meld, so we'd have to pull 30.  I have 12 tricks, which is 28 - plus 2 for last, so we should make it even without any help from my partner.
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#9
A lot of ToreadorElder's critique makes logical sense.
Some of his language, specifically "failure" and "useless", come across as offensive and unnecessary to a mature discussion.

Do not spend too much time defending your theoretical bidding system's awkwardness.  TE has made the same judgment of my theoretical bidding system.  If we're being really honest, CABS IS AWKWARD at points.  However, if you spend your life practicing something awkward, if becomes not awkward after a while.

rakbeater and I had a pretty exciting skype discussion about a week ago.  He revealed his theoretical bidding system to me.  I will not dare to steal his thunder, as he isn't done with it and I don't know what he is planning to do with it when it is complete.  The reason I bring up the discussion is because I was dealt an Aha! moment ...or maybe more accurately a Duh! moment.

HALF OF THE GAME IS SCORING YOUR POINTS, THE OTHER HALF IS NEGATIVELY IMPACTING YOUR OPPONENT POINTS.

My earlier attempts at a theoretical bidding system fail to play half the game!  I scoffed at the relevance of the Single Aces Around Bid and omitted it.  My justification was that Single Aces Bids only confirm your hand as "average" since Single Aces Around literally conveys 4 Aces ...AND 16 Aces (Double Deck) evenly split four ways makes 4 Aces per hand! I evicted the Double Aces Around Bid and forced it to emigrate to 100 because Double Aces were too rare to consider and most of the time you want to be Declarer anyhow.

Raised on CABS (or my family's version of it) I thought the golden number was 20.  The minimum to save.
There is another golden number, IMO it's more golden, 31.  The minimum to shutdown the opponent.

I started writing some principles, some of which have been posted in this thread while I am still typing this post. I shall offer some principles on a utopian bidding system.  Hopefully they will inspire.  A system that satisfies all the criteria, should swiftly replace CABS.  A system that gets close will have merit to compete with CABS as a popular bidding system.

A Utopian Bidding System:
#1: offers zero ambiguity with ALL bids.
#2: every possible numerical bid MEANS something (no voids in the bid grid).
#3: gives adequate representation to meld points, trick points, and trump strength.
#4: never silences a bidder who has something useful to say (at least not under 60).
#5: uses optimal bid economy and rarely forces a bidder to exceed bid limit to make the desired bid (minimizes Bid Inflation, not just to the individual but also to the partnership).
#6: is comprised of memorable bid instructions


p.s. I haven't thought about my theoretical bidding system attempts for a while.  However, I am absolutely certain that they don't satisfy all of the above.
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
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#10
If we're having a 'mature discussion' then recognize that 'useless' is being critical of the idea.  It might be incorrect if it is an overstatement...but if it is fairly accurate, then it is necessary.

CABS doesn't speak to how you evaluate;  that's a completely separate issue.  CABS can use pure meld, or my method of adjusting, effective meld (count +1 meld for each ace you have), or other variants...like maybe +2 meld for each ace after 2.  mick offered one that I think slightly OVERSTATES the value of aces, but probably is reasonably close.  14 meld with 6 aces *is* enough for me to give 20...14+6.  18 meld, no aces, I do often pass.  This isn't 'stepping out of the box'...it's using a better-detailed box.  I know I mean effective meld, always.  I think mick generally means adjusted meld...but it's not made explicit here.

Let's look at your sample auction with that monster South hand.

Quote:North - 53 (strong suit)

East - 55 (CABS bidder showing 20 meld)
Me - 57 (strong suit but not enough to go 65 without meld from P)
West - 65

Now my P can bid 70 if he has, say, 30 meld.  I already know he has a decent suit so if I don't have a hand similar to the one above, I can just pass.

If you don't have a hand BETTER than his 53 bid promises, in terms of offense, then why did you, South, bid in the first place?

And I think you missed a big point.  In CABS, first seat bids 50 with any hand as a captaincy request.  Most of the time, partner accedes, giving meld and captaincy...at which point all decisions are in the captain's domain.  In this scenario, there is no point in the captain telling his partner ANYTHING, so there is no need to have multiple captaincy request bids.  Same with the responses;  1 bid, and the cheapest bid at that, for 3rd seat to make his own captaincy request.  Therefore, the maximum number of bids is left to provide distinction *in the most common auctions* and for the greatest utility.  Your proposals eat up a heckuva lot of space in too many cases when the system can really use it.

I'm also not sure you understand the significance of captaincy...but it's something of an intermediate-level bridge concept not too often seen in pinochle discussions.  The captain makes the decisions, including how high to bid.  His partner supplies information to improve this.  North's 53 asked for captaincy;  South's 57 asked for it back.  By your system, North's 70 SHOWS meld, therefore conceding captaincy to South.  South CANNOT pass;  this is a violation of trust that is inherent in his captaincy request.

One thing that is necessary:  every captaincy request must be fairly well defined.  You've got several, which *could* help resolve the thorny problem when each partner has a big playing hand.  You selected 53 for North as a 'strong suit' bid...in order to understand the auction, how is this different from 51?  Trump quality?  Meld?  You say you're trying to focus on 'signal bids'...but you can't do that in isolation.  But the whole context needs to be explored, because of mick's 6th principle...the system being 'memorable' I take to mean 'the bids are well differentiated, and can be readily applied fairly consistently across multiple variations.'  Much of the commentary in that longer post that introduced a 2-tier, strength-showing hypothetical system was seeing whether it satisfied this condition...and it does OK, but one can hardly consider that I exhausted even the common situations, so one has to grade this out as Incomplete.  In bridge, some bidding systems are *extremely* complex;  one of the best pairs in the world goes by Meckwell, a contraction of their last names.  Their system has been under development at the very, very top levels, for about 30 years.  Their full system notes, run, IIRC, about 250 *pages*.  THEY can keep track of it...but for most?  Forget it. Smile  It's not casually, or even seriously, 'memorable';  it requires a professional-level commitment to get it all down.  Yeah, well, those guys charge 4 figures if you want to play with them;  bridge *is* their profession, and has been for some time;  these guys are on par with a Phil Mickelson in golf.

The principles mick's offering are fairly sound guidelines, and certainly a good place to start looking at system building.  There might be more that arise as discussion continues, as well, and probably some rewording for better expression...how often do we really nail the concept first time out of the box? Smile  Short rephrasing...the sound byte versions...might be:

1.  Clarity
2.  Completeness
3.  Descriptive
5.  Concise.  Note that my points about establishing captaincy ASAP and at a low level, are corollaries of this.
4 is, I think, a side-effect of 5.  The better you succeed with conciseness, the more room you have to make further effective bids.
6.  Memorable  (can't think of a better 'sound byte' term right now, but it's approaching 2 am...silly me....)

Hmm...here's 2 more:

7.  Applicable.  Cover common hands first, as best you can.  The point I made about CABS devoting 4 bids to 50+ meld hands, is based on this.  Those hands don't get dealt very often at all, so if they can't fit into a basic structure below 60, that can be OK.

8.  Extremism.  Extreme bids should demand extreme hands.  An extreme bid is one that violates principle #5, conciseness, and especially its corollary, #4.  Conversely, extreme hands suggest extreme bids.  Take Tigre's monster hand;  that's extreme.  COULD North have a better hand?  MAYBE, but it's massively unlikely;  South's hand is probably worth 4 tricks as dummy, MAYBE 5;  I'm not sure South can count *1* trick from clubs if they're not trump, and 2 would be optimistic.  2 club aces will commonly cash, sure, but that first one will often not be one of South's.  Conversely, South's hand is 13 tricks in clubs...cash the spades and diamonds, then exit with a TC .  You now have the 4 top trump.  The only way to lose a 2nd trump trick is if someone started with AC TC UC UC UC UC ...VERY unlikely.  So there's about an 8, maybe 9 trick difference in this South hand between its value on defense and on offense.  For North to do better, HE has to have at least a 9 trick difference.  This is gonna happen, what...one hand in 200?  One hand in 500?  Heck, just ask yourself how often you see a hand as good as this South hand.  20, 30 games ago?

So this hand justifies an extreme bid, like opening 65 in first seat.  It's justified...a slight gamble, but justified.  And while this is a monster among monsters, stepping down just a bit to, say,

AC AC AC TC TC KC KC QC JC AD AD TD TD QD JD  TS QS QH JH JH

should be playing the hand in clubs *most* of the time.  And this hand shows up...sometimes.  Not all that often, but in this and related guises, often enough.  It's actually even more extreme in its offense/defense gap, if not as totally rock-solid in its tricks.

So:  extreme bids is fairly simple when acting before partner;  one needs to construct principles for saying, yes, I have an extreme hand.  The converse is:  the system needs to leave some room for extreme hands in its bidding structure.  We've covered the case where we're bidding BEFORE partner...so we have to study the situations where partner bid first.  If he gave meld...fine.  He offered captaincy, we were gonna insist on captaincy, he's gonna shut up no matter what we do.  So the only issue is when HE asked for captaincy first.  Note that in my 2-tier strength-and-meld responses, I said that ONLY the cheapest bid was a captaincy request.  That doesn't allow for extremism.  We may well have a clash of competing principles;  if so, then one will have to win out over the other, or force adjustments to the system.  That's ok;  we're inherently dealing with low-frequency situations, and in any case, the default approach (just make the captaincy request) will be effective reasonably often anyway. 

Finally:  there are special circumstances...the score plays a role at times;  2nd seat has to adjust the requirements to give meld at times because of the save bidding situation;  3rd and 4th seat have to tread warily whenever partner passes in front of them.  The score changes how aggressive the hand captain should be...the final decision, but also ONLY the final decision.  Not the system meanings of the early bids.  The other situations are all about evaluation, more really than system.  The system itself is really NOT impacted.

mick's principles, by and large, should give testability.  Define your meanings/agreements.  Work through auctions and variations.  Test against the principles.  My extensions may well not be checked on the first pass.  And that's really good;  you can find the issues and the holes...or recognize that the principles themselves are NOT going to be treated equally by every player.  You'll live with a weakness *here* to gain advantages *here* and *here.* 
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