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Adopting New Methods


Before you adopt new methods, like the ETM methods, believe this:

“What methods you use don’t matter.  What matters is how well you use them.  What system you play doesn’t matter.  What matters is how well you play it.  The convention doesn’t matter.  What matters is the agreement --- and how well you understand it.  How complicated your methods are doesn’t matter.  What matters is how comfortable you are with them.”

Zeke Jabbour, ACBL August 2000 Bulletin


The ETM advice: select methods that your partnership likes, understands and remains comfortable with - methods that give your partnership confidence – non-complex methods that come up often and are mostly successful when they do – methods that are easily practised, remembered and used.  In other words methods that help you play well and win.


Frequently asked question at this point:

Q. If methods don’t matter, why read about or use ETM methods? 

A. If you are a system or convention designer it helps to see and borrow some of the ideas of other designers; certainly the ETM methods are derivative of other systems and conventions.  If you are shopping for new bidding approaches, ETM offers individual conventions and complete systems that may be a better match for you than your current ones.  Whether a method is popular or not, it may work for or against a partnership depending on the understanding, comfort level, and confidence with the method.  Select the methods that work for your partnership and discard the rest. 


Some considerations in adopting methods:

v     Even if you play all natural methods you are still playing a method, and all methods will have a set of problem hands for the method – part of understanding your methods is knowing how to handle the problem hands.

v     It helps to play methods with a reference source such as a book or set of notes – so one can refer to it when looking up the meaning of bidding sequences.

v     Methods need to be integrated into a system, where methods work together and not at cross-purposes.

v     There must be no serious bidding gaps in the methods, where common hand types have no bid at all.

v     Competitive bidding is furious in today’s expert game – the system opening bid and response framework must be prepared for it and there must be understandings on how to handle many types of interference.

v     Meta-agreements are necessary – these are partnership general agreements that can be used when facing a new or unusual bidding situation.

v     It often takes a year or two for a partnership to really understand and fully use a new bidding system.


“It is very important to emphasize that except at the very highest levels it does not matter what you play.  Sound bridge and good judgment are enough to win.”

Zia Mahmood, ACBL February 2001 Bulletin




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