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All comments by Brian Platnick
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Brad,

Sounds like a great idea, but maybe 48 boards would be enough or it would be the slowest event in the history of bridge.
Jan. 5, 2012
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“What I intended it to mean is that players qualifying to represent our country need to be good enough players to have a significant chance (with five others like him or her) to at least hold their own against any and all other world competition.”

Bobby,

Then why do you favor “open trials” or even a paris trials. If this is how you feel, then there should be some standard set for who can enter the trials. If you prefer to have an open trials with no qualification, then you must accept the fact that the winning team (or pairs) may not be the best we have to offer or even a team with a legitimate chance to win the world championships. I don't have a strong feeling either way about the trials, it just seems that these 2 goals of (1) giving everyone a chance and (2) selecting a team with a good chance of winning, are somewhat conflicting.
Jan. 5, 2012
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Bobby,

You stated above “…how can it possibly be consistent to not demand basic adherence to ethical restrictions required of all public and popular sports…”

In other sports, the idea of losing a game to better the team's overall chances seems to be well accepted. Even 2 teams conspiring to tie in the World Cup of Soccer is well established.

I wish you would not keep alluding to outright cheating, which is not what this discussion is about, and keep the focus on tanking/dumping in order to better one's own chances of winning.

I think that 2 teams agreeing to pass out every board in the last round of a RR in order for both to advance is cheating, even though the equivalent happens in soccer. However, losing a match to improve one's overall chances of winning is different.

In general, I agree in principle with Michael Rosenberg, “I don't think it is reasonable to pronounce dumping to be UNETHICAL. If it is against the rules, it would be ILLEGAL. But, if it is not against the rules, and the dumper is only trying to further his own cause, I can't see it as unethical.”

However, in practice, dumping seems rather slimy even if it isn't against the rules and I wish events were structured to avoid or at least minimize the incentive to dump.







Dec. 15, 2011
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Also, while playing a game, thought of at its introduction as being “a gentleman's game” how can it possibly be consistent to not demand basic adherence to ethical restrictions required of all public and popular sports to, at the very least not allow vulgar interpretations of what is morally or ethically expected of all competitors instead of possibly assuming we live in the midst of unethical, immoral, miscreants capable of all distortions necessary in order to create a better chance of winning?

Bobby,

I think your assumptions are incorrect. There are countless examples of dumping in popular sports: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Match_fixing

some of the highlights:

1988 49ers throw the last game of the regular season to keep the Giants out of the playoffs

2006 Sweden tanks an Ice Hockey match in the winter olympics to face an easier opponent in the next round

2004 European Football Championship. Because unlike FIFA, UEFA takes “head-to-head” play into consideration before overall goal difference when ranking teams level on points, a situation arose in Group C where Sweden and Denmark played to a 2-2 draw, which was a sufficiently high scoreline to eliminate Italy

1981 - Major League baseball – Due to the two-month strike, on August 6, the owners decided to split the 1981 season into two halves, with the first-place teams from each half in each division (or a wild card team if the same club won both halves) meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The four survivors would then move on to the two best-of-five League Championship Series. It was the first time that Major League Baseball used a split-season format since 1892. As first proposed, if a team won its division in both halves of the season, then it would play the team with the second best record overall (first and second half). A sportswriter pointed out that the arrangement would give a team with a good overall record an incentive to lose games against the first-half winner to help a division rival win both halves. On August 20, Major League Baseball revised the rules so that if a team won both halves of the season, it would face the second season runner-up instead.

Major League Baseball's reaction to the possibility of tanking was to change the rules to eliminate the incentive. This is what bridge administrators should do.
Dec. 13, 2011
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Rainer,

It is not a contradiction, you left off the most important part of the post you quoted.

“Also obviously passing 2C-2D; 2H with xxxx x xxxx xxxx is a terrible example hand because it's just bad.
Josh made a good comment in the comments section that should have made it into the original post–the common link of passing a forcing bid should be that you have a lot of information about the hand.”

When partner opens 2C, he is unlimited so you don't have as much information about the hand as partner, unlike the other examples where you have more information than partner.
Sept. 22, 2011
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The most important factor in making an aggressive 3NT is the lead. If you assume a double-dummy lead, the results will be skewed considerably.
Sept. 14, 2011
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Tony,

Does your simulation assume a normal 4th best lead or is the lead double-dummy? One of the advantages of opening 1NT is that opening leader has less information. If your simulation discounts this, I would expect declarer to take more tricks than the simulation predicts.
Sept. 13, 2011
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Josh,

I'm not sure I like the 2NT bid on the 3rd example hand. The opponents might have misjudged the auction and be in the wrong suit or even missed a game. Also, it isn't clear they found a fit or that you have a fit.

Despite my quibble on this hand, I agree with the general tone of your article.
Aug. 30, 2011
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Ken,

I have checked my cell phone many times and never had a problem, I don't think I ever waited more than 2 or 3 minutes.
Aug. 17, 2011
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I think the ACBL outsources to a local charity which mans the phone checking table.
Aug. 16, 2011
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I think Debbie should bid 3NT over 3H with or without the double. Weak clubs, aceless hand, and 3 hearts all point toward 3NT. With better hearts she would have bid 3NT on the previous round.

West is lucky that North/South didn't have the right hands to play 3Hxx.
July 3, 2011
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The main issue on this hand seems to be what North should have to bid 2H over 2C. Not knowing this pair's specific agreement (if they have one) makes it difficult to assign blame. That being said, I don't see the point of jumping to 5C.

Bob,

If a 2D cuebid would have implied 4S, what does South bid over 1S with hands like AKx KQxx x AQxxx, KQJ AKJx xx AKxx, AJx AKJx xxx KQJx. I agree with Barry Goren above, with 4S, you raise to the appropriate level, with the possible exception that when you have a HUGE hand and 4S, you can cuebid, then jump to 4S as a slam try.
June 23, 2011
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(1) I would play that high and low and S/P, middle = do something else.

(2) This seems like a “do something else” situation. It's easy looking at all 4 hands, but even just looking a dummy, why do I want a diamond shift since that's where N/S rate to take their tricks. I would need the queen or king to suggest spades. The only reason for asking for a diamond is a stiff, or possibly the ace. Partner will likely just play a trump when I play a middle club.

(3) This situation is extremely tempo-sensitive. My teammate, Brad Moss, in last year's Spingold, was faced with a dilemma when Fred played a slow card in this exact situation. Brad is not only a great player and teammate, but one of the few players I know whose ethics rival Peter Boyd's. So this was not really a dilemma for him, he shifted as per Fred's signal. Maybe someone can post a link to the hand.

Peter,

Another interesting, but unrelated partnership question is should south pass or double 5C? Also, should north bid 5H or double is south passes?

2 schools of thought:

(1) South doubles with so little offense, but might pass if the club queen were a useful value. North can then bid 5H with a club void or extra offense.

(2) South doubles only with more wastage, i.e., north should respect a double on most hands, even with a club void. With the actual hand, south passes expecting north to double with a typical hand or bid 5H with a club void or extra offense.

This is another temp-sensitive situation.
June 22, 2011
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Congratulations to the Bathurst team, they played great all week. The USA will be well represented in the Bermuda Bowl by two teams that play bridge with both skill and class.
May 19, 2011
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How weak can 4S be? Joe's hand is an automatic 4S bid, but with less, he might be concerned that Zia would pass 4C with Ax xxxx xxxxx Ax making it difficult for Curtis to reopen with a 4243 16-count.

If 5D is natual, should Joe pass? Give Curtis a hand like Ax Axx AQJTxxx Q (which seems like only a 3D overcall) and 6D rates to make as a spade lead would be very difficult to impossible. A stronger hand like AQ Axx AQJTxxx Q is more likely given the bidding.

If Joe isn't sure if 5D is natural or a cue, then 5H is a reasonable hedge. Looking at Curtis's hand, it appears that he intented 5D as a cuebid, I'm not sure why he's bid a natural 5D with the actal hand. Opposite a 5D cuebid, 5H (last train) is only slightly aggressive; if you change the KJx of clus into Axx, Joe has a clear 6S bid. Therefore, Curtis should probably just bid 5S over 5H having already made his slam try.

April 25, 2011
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Kit,

I agree completely about default rules unless 100% clear. On a similar note, if playing Smith Echo, when do you not give the Smith signal?

(1) When partner may need count (for example: declarer leads the Q and dummy holds the KJTxx)
(1a) Like the example above, but only if dummy has no clear entry.

(2) When your holding is know from the play to the first trick.

There are also situations where partner needs you to lead through declarer in order to run his suit, thus Suit Preference is necessary. How obvious does this situation have to be to deviate from the default Smith signal?
March 1, 2011
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If I doubled 3C with the North hand and partner doubled 3H, I would be thrilled. It's when he passes 3H around to me that the problems start.
Jan. 24, 2011
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