Source: Hand Evaluation – Principle of Fast Arrival

Decades ago , the principle of fast arrival was the cornerstone of 2/1 bidding or Jacoby 2NT. If you got to your contract fast, you were minimum so not interested in hearing any Q bids from partner. This has merit on some hands but it was too general so really pre-empted partner when she had a good hand . Quite often she was forced to go to the 5 level to Q bid which resulted in disaster when the hands did not fit well.

The ultimate ignominy , going down at the 5 level after making a slam try resulted quite often . Jumps to game  by either partner in a 2/1 auction showed just a minimum so made slam investigation almost impossible when one partner had a huge hand .

Under the principle of fast arrival , we said our jumps to 3NT were weaker than 2NT bids. With this ambiguous 2NT, many many expert partnerships missed baby 6NT slams with 17 HCP opposite 16 HCP.  Conventions like Jacoby 2NT were based on the principle of fast arrival . You leapt to 4 of a major with an opener and bid 3 of a major with a better hand . Again this pre-empted partner when she had a good hand and iffy 5 level contracts resulted after slam investigation.

Years ago , the dinosaur of bridge – strong jump shifts by responder roamed the bridge scene. This was replaced by 4th suit forcing to game or XYZ so that responder can advertise a strong hand by keeping  the bidding low. However , the principle of fast arrival was involved in these auctions also . If responder jumped to game in partners suit then she had  a minimum for a forcing to game auction. In fact , the 4th forcing to game was a slam try in that she did not jump to game initially in partners suit .

Over the years , Bridge experts realized that the principle of fast arrival misguided. You missed too many slams and made too many slam tries at the 5 level . Ambiguous 2NT rebids with a wide range of HCP’s complicated auctions so experts claimed 12 tricks in 3NT. Meckstroth and Rodwell came up with an invention to replace the principle of fast arrival  , the “serious 3NT” . We have dozens of e-mails on the serious 3NT and how it makes Q bidding just a forced noise now instead of showing extra etc. The serious 3NT now can define a meaning to the jump to game rather than a minimum it is a hand with no outside controls and points concentrated in the trump suit.

Not playing the principle of fast arrival , makes the jumps to 3NT in forcing auctions show extra for the previous bidding . Klimo recommends and I agree that the leap to 3NT in all forcing to game auctions should show HCP’s in the strong NT range . The 2NT bid should be a minimum or very strong (18-19 ) and that minimizes the ambiguity .

Anyway , the principle of fast arrival used to define 2/1 bidding & your Jacoby 2NT . If you have bought into the “serious 3NT” philosophy make sure all your understandings are worked out . The “serious 3NT” is far more than just one bid demanding a Q bid. It’s new way of thinking in Bridge bidding. It effects your Q bidding , 4th suit forcing auctions , 2/1 , Jacoby 2NT &  NT jumps and makes jumps to game “picture bids” . Serious 3NT is just the tip of the ice berg.

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