It is a given that bidding is the most important aspect
of bridge, and as you gain experience you will learn
that a well-practiced partnership has a significant
advantage over those with a go-as-you-please approach.
It is tremendously satisfying to earn a top at
matchpoints or win a team match because you and
partner knew just what to do with a difficult
pair of hands. There is danger, of course, in adding
agreements and increasing the sophistication of your
methods. It's not uncommon for "forgets" to crop up
at the table --- or for the partnership to disagree
on an interpretation of a new agreement.
The solution, of course, is for you and partner
to make your bidding mistakes during practice
sessions rather than at the table. That's one
reason deal generators have gained popularity in
recent times. Until now, however, software that
allows for tailoring to a partnership's particular
bidding system has not been available.
Enter the HCS System Notebook, software developed
by two bridge players who live in the Ann Arbor
The HCS System Notebook is a marvelous tool for
gaining bidding experience or for honing partnership
agreements --- and it's not just for experts. For
example, new players could use the System Notebook
to get used to transfers or negative doubles.
Think how much smoother things would go if you and
partner had already bid 100 or more hands involving
transfers before you actually played transfers at
Do you and your favorite partner live in different
cities? Using the System Notebook, you could
generate sets of practice hands, mail or email them
to partner and practice bidding over the phone or the
Users can input an endless variety of sequences and
then generate hands (opener's and partner's) based
on all the bids. For example, take this sequence
(the opponents are passing):
(1) Game forcing spade raise.
(2) Singleton or void somewhere.
(4) Void somewhere.
(5) Club void.
Using the HCS software, it is trivial to enter and
store this sequence, then generate literally hundreds
of hands with these characteristics -- West has a
1S opener with a void in clubs, East has a
game-forcing spade raise.
After once entering and saving the sequence, you
are just a couple of mouse clicks away from generating
and printing sample hands for bidding practice.
The program can handle the most complex agreements
with ease. You say you have different agreements
depending on vulnerability or position? The System
Notebook can take care of you. Interference by
the opponents? Just key it into the auction.
Every possible call (doubles and redoubles included)
in your entire system can be stored in the System
Notebook, ready to be accessed for generation of hands.
Lest you think the System Notebook is only
system-specific, you can also use it to generate
random East-West hands for general bidding practice
when you don't have anything particular in mind.
The program comes with an exhaustive, on-line tutorial,
one of many user-friendly characteristics.
Technical support is available by telephone or email.
You can also print out your entire system or any
part of it for study.
You and your partner can achieve better results and
have fewer bidding disagreements if you're willing to
work at it. The best available tool to facilitate
this task is the HCS System Notebook.
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