KISS -- again

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 09/26/2018
Level: All Levels

I couldn't name this article KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid), because I've likely used that title many times before.

I can't stress enough how this is good advice for players at all levels. Too many players clog their heads with conventions and I am sure it is a losing proposition. They forget and have about as many accidents as they have successes from fancy methods. The memory strain is just too much.

Why today's rant? I just finished broadcasting (on BBO) a 14-board segment from the 2018 World Championships in Orlando. This was Board 6:


North intended 2NT as an artificial 4-card strong heart raise. Had South been on the same page, he would have bid 4♠, an easy making game. South took it as natural and passed. After a club lead, the contract ended up down 2 for a big loss to the North-South pair.  

And, this was Board 14:


North intended 4♠ as a strong 5♠ bid.  Agreements such as these (which probably come up once a decade) are particularly impractical. No surprise, South forgot and passed 4♠, down 3. The other table played 3NT by South, making 4.

If World-Class experts can't cope with the memory required to play specialized conventions, what hope do Joe and Mary in Podunk have?