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Fourth Day Pairs - an Elite Matchpoint Pairs event online

There's a plenty of IMPs to watch/play on BBO these days in the form of various Online KO events organized by Tom Reynolds and Columbus Alt. Even before COVID-19, you could watch a lot of experts play IMPs online. But very rarely would you see high quality Matchpoints/BAM tables. The only time we see BAM on VuGraph is the Reisinger. Sometimes you see a few European Pairs tournaments on BBO, but not even the finals of the most prestigious Pairs events, the Platinum Pairs, is on BBO VuGraph.

My favorite part of an NABC is the 3-day MatchPoint Pairs. When you get to the finals you catch yourself saying - "I don't have to qualify for tomorrow right"? But I have always fantasized about a Pairs event on the fourth day! If you have only the top half of the finalists play a Matchpoint game, that'd be one hell of a field. Chances are everyone's scores would be clustered around the 48-52% mark, no longer those unreal 60+ games.

I have had this idea for more than ten years, long before Live ACBL when the results of NABCs used to be published on the ACBL website. I had written a program to query the website to extract the list of winners in 3-day Pairs events. All that remained was to associate the players with a BBO id and hold a tournament. I even got permission to host a BBO tournament.

But ten years is a long time for unattended software to survive. The ACBL kept changing the format of their results before eventually switching to Live ACBL. I had no idea how to query data from Live ACBL, so I gave up. And the computer on which I wrote the original program crashed!

Now that Corona is upon us and might be with us for a while I thought of revivifying the idea. From data obtained from Live ACBL I've extracted the winners of 3-day Pairs events, Platinum Pairs, LM Pairs and Blue Ribbon Pairs going back to Blue Ribbon Pairs 2015 (is that when Live ACBL was launched?). The top half of LM Pairs and Blue Ribbon Pairs from 2015 - 2019 advance to the Fourth Day. As the Platinum Pairs is such a tough event and the final field is only 28 pairs it seemed fair to include all the Platinum Pairs finalists.

Here's the list of "qualifiers":

It's a spread sheet with the name of a qualifier and a dummy BBOid. As I can't figure out a player's BBOid I need your help. Please visit this page and replace the "BBOid" with your BBO id. Once you do that I can create a list of invitees and hold a tournament.

But my TD (Tournament Director) permissions on BBO expired a long time ago. When I requested them again, they said they were stretched to maximum capacity in everything, so they've temporarily suspended issuing hosting rights to anyone. So I need someone who has TD permissions to help me run this tournament.

As there're a lot of KO matches taking place at the moment I want to avoid creating conflicts. I'm thinking of launching the tournament in the first week of May. Let me  know if that date is okay with people who're interested in playing.

Matchpoints is a more rigorous exercise than IMPs. So while it'd be nice to have 13 rounds it'd take too long and be too exacting for most people. So I'm thinking of making it six 2-board rounds. If you say 15 minutes per round it should take about an hour and a half.

As for what time of the day to hold the event, that's a tough one. You have players from the US, Europe, Indian Sub-continent, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It's pretty nearly impossible to  hold it a time that's convenient for everyone. 8 AM PDT looks like a decent choice to accommodate the US, Europe and the Indian Sub-continent. If there's interest may be we can hold an additional event at another time that's convenient for other time zones.

If you look at the list of qualifiers it's a Who's Who in the Bridge World (plus a few imposters like myself!). There's nothing more educative for a serious student of the game than to watch the likes of Meckwell handle a difficult Notrump contract at Matchpoints. Better yet if you're an amateur player who's somehow managed to qualify. You can now see how the experts handled all those difficult/impossible situations that you face, of which there's one on practically every hand at Matchpoints.

My thanks to Jay Whipple who was kind enough to provide me the list of finalists of past NABC Pairs events. Ideally I'd like to do that programmatically if possible. And thanks to Stephen Moese who directed me to Jay.

Welcome your thoughts on any issues about this idea.

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