Sitting East (as dealer) and holding:
We ended up with 3NT played by West. 2/1 or standard players who passed as East would find that the auction goes:
Well, by bidding 2D and then raising to 3NT, partner has sort-of-indicated a 4-card heart suit whereas in the 2/1 auction, partner has stated he has a 4-card heart suit. Against us, when South got in with clubs, she led a heart through partner's king. Against the others, presumably, defense was more passive because the Jack in dummy made it look as if we would get an extra trick if they led the suit. 3NT exactly making vs. 3NT+1. The difference between a bottom and an average board.
Can we teach our opponents to make the right inferences from our bidding?
Of course, I had my share of bad decisions as well. Here's a bidding problem. Sitting South, I hold this wonderful hand:
I pass, naturally, and find that partner has a strong hand:
If I had an invitational bid available here, I could have used it. (Do you play Lebensohl in these situations?). I can bid 3H or 4H, but 3H is not really invitational, just competing. I bid 3H, partner passed and made 11 tricks for a bottom board. Turns out my 4th trump, spade shortness and the ace of clubs (he had a singleton club) were huge. Playing 2/1, partner would open 1H, I would stretch to respond 2H and with his 18 points, partner would raise to 4. Having opened 1C, and then bid 2H, partner had told me everything about his hand, so he didn't feel compelled to bid the game.
Is it time to ditch precision and go back to a 2/1 bidding system? The advantage of this is that we might get less swingy matches. On the other hand, as our string of clear tops from last night illustrates, opening light does play dividends as well.