Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 02/24/2021
Level: All Levels
Fool’s Gold refers to an investment or something appealing at first sight, that is actually not worth what it seems.
Most fancy conventions and systems look and sound appealing, but you are better off without them.
Even experts who study and practice can often be seen having "system accidents." All it takes is for either player to forget.
Learning a new convention just to "keep up with the Joneses" is a poor idea. Let the Joneses enjoy their fancy convention card filled with ink, ultimately leading to bottom boards due to mix-ups. I know it boosts your ego when you can tell others you know the Upside Down Pineapple Convention, but what good will it do your bridge game?
It is better to come to the bridge table with a simple system. Clear head. Avoid dumb mistakes. Don't sit there with a headache trying to remember all the system-memory stuff you had to cram for in advance.
What do you think will get you a 60% game? Playing Encrypted Quantum Sweep Control Bids, Spiral Relays and Inverted Muppet Stayman? Or, concentrating on logical thinking and getting the basics right? Easy question.
Sure, it is fun when your fancy new convention works, but the saliency principle is at work. The rare spectacular successes make the newspapers. But all the accidents are forgotten.
Conventions allow your opponents to make Lead-Directing Doubles (or not make them) which helps them on defense. Science (as opposed to simple bidding) often pinpoints the way for your opponents.
There is also an analogy in card play. Too many "want-to-be experts" are concerned with squeezes, coups and fancy advanced principles. Forget all that. Get the basics right. There are too many theorists out there who can’t take a finesse.
One of the game's all-time greats uses a football analogy that I like. "Bridge is all about blocking and tackling." In other words, get the small basics right and Keep It Simple!