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Giorgio Duboin talks about … (interview – second part)

Posted on 23 November 2010

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(Second Part) – We take advantage of your kindness for talking yet together on Bridge technique. Neapolitan Club has read and reviewed the book on Bocchi-Duboin System, edited few months ago by Mursia. A system that looks quite difficult, true to tell… Here I must stop you at once. It is clear that the system is not for beginner or lower intermediate players.

 But if two intermediates want to form a pair and work together a bit, it is much easier, for them, to adopt a very conventional system, rigid and with fixed schemes – as the one I played with Norberto – than a natural one crammed by conventions that always demand for personal choices.  Using a conventional system there is always room for personal decisions, of course, but in some sequences we are more often routed into fixed tracks. Then it is easier; the difficult can be, rather, in the storing the system. But if one studies and test it, then he will learn it and the results will be sure better. The Bocchi-Duboin is a system that everyone can play. Two top players play good bridge whatever system you put in their hands. Two intermediate players, instead, must search a system that suits for them: more a tailored made one than a pret-a-porter. A rigid system, with very repeating conventions isn’t difficult. It’s enough to enter in the system’s philosophy. It could help very much for making the jump between the intermediate and the expert player.

 Who has borne the idea of a book?

It actually happened in a rather extemporaneously way. Norberto and me wouldn’t ever write this book because our laziness. Our friend Gianantonio Castiglioni have worked at it: we have met many times with him for talking on the system. Without him we couldn’t be able to publish the book.

 Is an English edition foreseen? Many of our readers have asked about it.

The Editor is working on it. As I know the translation has been already made, but there are problems in coming to an agreement with some stranger editors.

 About the system you’re playing with Antonio Sementa, I ask on the weak 2’s. Let me explain. In your system, the openings 2 and 2♠ are one suiter hand in 5-10 HCP range. In Neapolitan Club the range is instead 7-12, that is constructive. Jason e Justin Hackett, the Manchester’s twins, play it 3 to 10, and downright 3-13 when in third place, that is a very wide range and destructive weapon. Are three different styles: then, who’s right?

Yes, we play it old fashioned. It is not of being right or wrong: it is just a style matter. But let’s tell straight away that our 5-10 is only theoretical. We are very “censured” for this, and we are named “the purists”. We open very rarely with a 5-10 one suiter (not even 50%), because once the suit is poor, once I have AJx in spades and it annoys me to open 2 with spades…let’s say that we are very much in standard canon. It is clear that, being love, with five points and a suit sixth by KQ, we too open. We open because we know that over there they shall open, then we do the same. But we don’t make destructive openings: on the contrary I can say that our weak opening style is very constructive and close enough to that of Neapolitan Club, the system with which I have just started to playing bridge. I well know the Hacketts, they are two very nice boys and dear friends. Their bridge is right  immediate, that is they can do anything. Sometimes, in fact, they are very sound and conservative and play a bridge that looks constructive. But you meet them the next time and they fire a broadside every deal. It depend on their mood.

 As already done with other champions, I submit to you too the Lawrence’s “perfect hand” for takeout double. You well know it, but I’ll report for our readers. Michael Lawrence wrote that the “perfect hand” for the double is the 4441, and with this shape 11 HCP are enough for enter the auction on any opening at one level. South has opened 1; as West, Lawrence doubles with:

♠A1094 6 K982 ♣K1094: ten high honour points and with “body” (tens and nines). [Michael Lawrence, The complete book on takeout doubles – 1994 Magnus Books, Stamford, Connecticut.]

Personally, I adopt a more old fashioned style. With ten points, being love, and with a three suiter I double, of course. Being vulnerable, it does not even come in my mind! Until a certain strength, say, my style is to double anyway with the shape and points. Often I’m been censured for passing with some hands, sometimes with a balanced one by 13 points I don’t double because I haven’t the shape. It is evident that having the singleton right in opener’s suit can lower slightly the level for doubling. Clearly, if the opponent would have opened at 2’s level, enter by double just for the singleton would become a madness.

  When I have submitted this hand to him, your friend Bocchi has replied: “It’s not matter of points: the good players don’t count points but look at shape. Also with few points, in this hand are three heads and the three suiter hand: where’s the problem?”

It must be a matter of balance. It always need try to do the less dangerous action. The less dangerous thing sometimes may be to call and the more dangerous to pass. The Bridge is a probability play, and like in all probability play it need dare depending from the award. It always need take in account how much it could be better. That is to ask ourselves: if I go wrong, what do I miss? And if I go well, what do I gain? Expressed in mathematical terms it is very easy, and it seems very trivial: but it is clear that only the experience teaches you to do the right thing. Sometimes you shouldn’t count the points but take in account only the shape. But more than in the hands of takeout double, it is more logic to think it in the hands were it must be dare a two level overcall: for example, if I have an one suiter hand I don’t interfere, if I have the 6-4 two suiter I do, because if I don’t bid now maybe I couldn’t do it later. It is true that I could be set and pay 800 if I bid 2♣, but it’s also true that I could gain 300 by 5♣. It is always a probability matter between the risk and the advantage. Coming back to informatory double, the points anyway must be considered. It is clear that in a suit competition the points count little, but when I double and the partner has enough to bid 2NT or 3NT, there the points count, isn’t it? A 3NT with 21 points and two balanced hands does not work.

 It has been so pleasant to talk with you that I like to end our interview inviting you to attend again on Neapolitan Club, right for reflecting upon other themes linked to bidding and playing.

Thanks, I willingly accept, but isn’t that you’re going to submit me to a too demanding job?

 Of course…I’m going to do


read the First Part >>

by Laura Camponeschi (consultancy Paolo Enrico Garrisi)

November 23, 2010




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