jl8e: (Default)
This is bridge stuff. If you don't play, you may not understand some of this.

My father first started designing systems in 1985, when the official Goren system changed from being the last bastion of four-card majors in the US to the five-card major systems that were ubiquitous in tournament bridge here.

Being a transplanted Acol player, he decided this betrayal could not stand, so he set about designing a system where opening five-card majors was forbidden.

The system went through several versions over time. In 1990, he found somebody to play it. I'd been playing less than a year. This either means that I was still open to radical ideas, or that I didn't know any better. Or both. (A previous regular partner of his had sensibly given the system manual to her kids to scribble on.)

We played the system for a couple of years. Of all his systems, this is the one that broke people's brains the most. We occasionally had club games refuse to let us play it.

With the lessons learned, he designed a less iconoclastic system that shared a lot of the same design principles. This was MaMiC (Major-Minor Canapé. No, he didn't like the name either. In a weird coincidence, it shares some distinctive features with the system Midmac, which somebody in Australia developed at about the same time.)

Once he'd devised Mamic, he persuaded me to try it, and we dropped Protest for it. Protest is not, IMO, a bad system, but its design constraints weaken it. The 1NT structure could stand a rebuild, but the rest probably holds together. (Well, all the bits that were played. The 2C structure in the manual never was, and not all of the competitive gadgetry was, either, but those are peripheral to the system itself.)

Except for a six-month period (more on that later), we kept playing Mamic until his death in 1999. I think that it's a good system overall, though the 2/1 structure is a bit iffy.

Once he'd started tinkering with systems, he didn't stop. He stole some concepts from the Swedish Scanian system, and built a system of his own, which he naturally called Mock Swedish. Mock Swedish was a weird system, but it was differently weird. Protest and Mamic were canapé systems. (Opening shorter suits before longer ones.) Mock Swedish changed from a 4-card major system to a 5-card one based on opener's strength. (If opener showed extra values, he also showed a fifth card in the major by implication.)

I never really liked Mock Swedish. We played it for the six months between when the ACBL's conventions committee banned strong artificial 1NT openers, and when the ACBL board overruled them, probably because George Rosencrantz is well-connected with the ACBL board, and his pet system (Romex) uses a strong forcing 1NT.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the system; it just didn't appeal to me at the time. This may be because I liked Mamic a lot, and was smarting at the injustice of it being banned arbitrarily. I intend to post Mock Swedish, assuming I have or can obtain the files.

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jl8e

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