Mar 042003

Dear Dr. Robert:

Could you explain, for us Gee-novices, the difference between Gee’s treatment of unusual and unusual unusual notrump? Is it possible that a third level, an unusual unusual unusual notrump, could clarify certain differences in interpretation?

—Dazzled in Duluth

Dear DD:

I’m glad to see that novices in the master’s way are reading my column along with the more seasoned. Share the wealth, is my philosophy, and I am always glad to cover simple bidding problems as well. Remember, the only way I know what to write about is when you, the faithful reader, write in and tell me! So keep that feedback coming — especially the negative feedback. Some of that is pretty damn funny.

As to your questions, Gee does indeed extend the theory of unusual notrump beyond the comprehension of the mere STCP™. While you and your next door neighbor are of course familiar with a jump to 2 notrump to show the lower unbid suits, or perhaps the minors for some of you old fogies out there, Gerard has explored strange new worlds in which the unusual notrump has many more uses. These are some, though by no means all, of the more expert treatments:

  • The unusual-unusual notrump. The most comprehensive of his advanced ideas. The main advantage to this method can be seen when opponents attempt a countermeasure. Most people counter the normal unusual notrump with a method called “unusual vs. unusual.” But to counter this method people would have to play “unusual vs. unusual-unusual” and clearly the single unusual of the opponent would be no match for the double unusuals of Gee. This is a useful weapon for any player to add to his or her bidding arsenal.
  • The really freaking weird notrump. Here we take unusual to the next dimension, or possibly the next universe. Examples of this treatment abound on Aaron’s website, for instance here, and here, also here and here and over here, not to mention my personal favorite. Even his partners have been known to employ it. Any 2NT bid that no one else has ever thought to use in such a fashion fits this category.
  • The rightsiding notrump. Hand hogging, though familiar to many of us, has been raised by Gerard to an art, all for the sake of the partnership of course. I mean, if you were on a basketball team with Michael Jordan and Tonya Harding, who would you want to have the ball? Exactly. Closely related to this is
  • The Burger notrump. Can’t decide what to bid? Nothing fits your hand exactly? All bidding systems struggle with this problem, except Gee’s. Just bid 2NT and let partner figure it out! Although this doesn’t always produce superb results at the table, it is highly effective in the post mortem, where it really counts.

Gee’s innovative ideas will shape the face of bridge for years to come, and everyone from the slack-jawed yokel of the Midwestern plains to the sex-crazed bonobo monkey of the lush plains of Africa can reap the windfall. Well, not the monkey, and maybe not the yokel either, but you catch my drift.

PS — Apologies to all my dear fans, as I shall be racking up the masterpoints in Philadelphia for a while. I’ll report in upon my return.

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