Artificial Bids (Bugged Me for 72 Hours Straight)

The whole thing started during a late-night research session for bridge column ideas and links.

I read a Google search result from Al Levy’s website. The gist of it was artificial bids from a lesson.

I came, I saw and I promptly forgot the details of the search result within a few minutes. (No, I can’t possibly fathom why the name for this particular bridge concept slipped my mind in the first place. It’s not obscure, it’s not puzzling and I’ve known about artificial bids as long as I’ve been aware of bridge.) 

The next morning at about ten-thirty, the concept started digging at my brain.

“What are non-literal bridge bids called?” 

First, I typed this into my nearest search engine. (First Google, then Bing, then a third, then another.) Nothing came up – and at least, nothing that resembled the Levy-written resource that I was searching for and was sure I had read the night before.

When nothing came up, I headed to an extensive saved bridge glossary file.

While the answer was supposed to be under the letter A (or, if stretching it to Bidding definitions, under B), I somehow missed it during my frantic scrolling session through the file. 

After my examination of the dictionary, I came up with a few terms (like tenace), but none resembling what I was looking for. (Yes, I know very well that a second or third examination of the same terms would have given me the answer – but by this point, I was frantic.)

What the hell was that bridge convention called? 

Another day passed.

Now, I was really starting to feel nuts.

Okay, fine, I thought. Let’s explore other authors for this, then. I imagined everyone from Kantar through to Aleister Crowley to the book of John as potential sources for the answer to my question. (Of course, no.) 

Next, it was three in the morning.

“What’s it called when the suit bid isn’t the suit that they actually mean when they bid?” I asked.

“What…? What’s bridge with two people called?” my partner responded.

A question for a question. (Honeymoon bridge, I’d respond, but still didn’t get to the term artificial bidding yet.) 

The answer finally set in while I was trying to throw pieces of bread in the general direction of a duck. (Some call this pastime, “feeding ducks,”) 

I abandoned a half-loaf of bread and ran into the house. 

“Artificial! It’s an artificial bid! It’s like artificial intelligence or artificial breasts, but for bridge bids.” 

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