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All comments by David Yates
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Zelig, you mean people actually tried it (defending against xfers) and found there was no problem?

Wow, maybe the whole world is made of green eggs and ham.
Aug. 17, 2013
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No sympathy from me Lynn.

In my first game at the local bridge club, I did not even know what a weak-two bid was. I had read my parent’s book: “Goren’s Bridge Complete”. Well, everything but the copyright date.

I was surprised my RHO opened 2H when I held a 14 count. It seemed reasonable to pass and await developments. To my surprise that was the end of the auction. Total bottom, obviously.

Protecting a NLM game is fine, I have no objections. Continuing to place a stranglehold on the open games simply because we are overly protective of a minority of players who do not want to learn is counter-productive.

I never understood people who say: this is just for fun - and then get ticked off when they have a bad result. And if one is competitive, then stop being restrictive.

Larry Cohen - the other little kid at the club when I started - remarked to me decades later that he thought the only real way to learn this game was to play against the best players you can find. That his success was made possible “because the local club was one of the toughest clubs in the nation and I got my head bashed in every time I made a mistake”.

Apparently the ACBL believes people can “learn by not doing”.

BTW, the solution to not being allowed to open 2S would have been to open 3S :) I always loved their silly rules!
Aug. 17, 2013
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Barry, I have you pipped - having played my first (and so far only) senior event just recently.

A regular client wanted to play that at a regional simply because of the start times. I look a bit younger (though the grey is starting to set in) and the local players remember me since being a kid.

I foolishly finished in the O/A and freaked out a bunch of people when they saw my name in the bulletin.

The first round we sat against some friends who were busting on me for being in the event. Board one my partner declared 2D. The second I declared 2C. When dummy came down, I said: “this is my first Senior event, but I think I am getting the hang of it. We just bid to two of a minor and see how many tricks we can take, right?”

Most of the original intent of the Senior events was a completely limited field in terms of methods. They hated these ‘new fangled’ negative doubles and any other bids that were alerted. (Yes, negative doubles were once alertable. They should be penalty the way Culbertson intended!! Now it cracks me up that 1C - 1D cannot be a transfer - proving that yesterday's rebels are now officially old farts.)

I doubt we have many of these original seniors still competing. In my view, except in NABCs & USBF events, there is no reason to even hold a Senior Event. (And those events should parallel WBF age groups).

We have a sectional or regional event to exclude perhaps 8% of the membership because. . .so many people show up???
Aug. 17, 2013
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Kit’s recollection of the dummy is probably seared into his consciousness because he spent those three minutes trying to figure out what the problem was. I never mind a player taking a tank when he has a guess and you know the situation and can just go to sleep. It always seems the longer they take the more likely they will get it wrong. But one of the problems we have now is there really isn’t any recourse in the situations Kit describes except hope that your teammates get stuck playing the slug.

The problem with a shared clock is the slug never really gets into trouble. It seems TDs always expect the other players to compensate. That may not be completely true, but that is what it seems. In chess - where timing is much easier to manage - a player would not care if you opened e4 and the other guy spent 3 minutes to reply to that ‘surprise’.

In bridge, the slow player almost never gets punished. One thing I was looking for is whether other players thought there should be a way of dealing with these situations. If I could legally call a clock and they must provide a time monitor and there will be penalties for slow play, then I have recourse. If I am also calling the clock to try and head off a monetary fine, no one should blame me. Right now, apparently even Kit cannot get the TD to watch.
Aug. 17, 2013
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I always loved the consistency of the ACBL and their “reasons” for allowing some actions but not others. There are actually three current threads (Ekrens / ACBL Handling Conv / Xfers over 1C) stemming from the regs.

The responder to a natural, non-forcing one bid cannot use transfers, but the responder to the natural, one-level overcall may. Also, my personal favorite: If I am playing 1C (Precision) the opponents are allowed to play super-psycho-suction and for some reason THAT is not deemed a destructive method.

Under disallowed: (Relevant for the other two threads)

“1. Conventions and/or agreements whose primary purpose is to destroy the opponents’ methods”

So the primary purpose of psycho-suction on their typical random 5 HCP is constructive? Yeah, right. BTW, We don’t complain about these methods against us - because we do not care. However, it is really weird that over their 1NT opening, I cannot bid 2D for either major. (If that causes you problems, go back to the 99ers until you learn how to play).

I love the way they word their regulations. Aren’t most people’s third seat favorable preempts designed to destroy the opponents methods? Or are we going to mutter ‘intent’ here and be literal elsewhere?
Aug. 17, 2013
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Good thing the ACBL doesn’t run American Football. They would ban Peyton Manning and Megatron because they are difficult to defend.
Aug. 17, 2013
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Al the Plumber - “Gumming up the works for nearly fifty years”
Aug. 17, 2013
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Danny - I just clicked ‘like’ on your comment, but it now occurs to me that knowing whether a double is lead directing or for take-out might qualify as ‘complicated’ for some of today’s players.

Barry - regarding the ‘fear factor’, that is ultimately the end result of the ACBL flights and the segregation and fragmentation of games. The current ACBL setup carries the implicit message to new members that they are not capable of competing.

We should not submit to fear. We should teach new players that they can compete and they should not be fearful. (Bring back the old days when everyone played - but that is different topic).
Aug. 17, 2013
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The 1H - 1S/1NT Kaplan inversion was GCC legal for about two weeks until someone's mother got a bad result. Then they took it away along with Woolsey.
Aug. 17, 2013
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None of the pair events at the upcoming D-3 Fairfield regional allow mid-chart.

However, allowing only the top bracket team events to use mid-chart demonstrates my district's efforts to creak forward to bridge in the 1990s. . .
Aug. 17, 2013
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Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough on the mechanism.

If no one involves cares about the length of the match, there is simply a fee ($) for overtime. The TDs have a long enough day already. The entry fee was for a daily rental, not an overnight stay. The players are happy not to be bugged. The TD’s are happy they are being compensated. Everyone is happy.

If I do care about the length of the match (i.e. MY day is long enough already) I have a remedy available. I can call the clock. This also insures that poor people (like me) do not have to pay for overtime - providing the time monitors report that I am playing in reasonable constraints. I also have an obligation to call clock in timely matter (not @ 3:55) but those are trivial matters.

Once a clock is called, IMP penalties also apply for continued slow play. So your money doesn’t make you immune because you cannot buy IMPs.

Regarding sportsmanship, I do not think someone could accuse me of poor sportsmanship just because I was not willing to pay money so that they can play slowly. Poker players get upset when people not involved in the pot call the clock - which is sort of what is happening in bridge right now.

How crazy would a poker player be if it was the floor personnel randomly called the clock on him?
Aug. 17, 2013
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Good news! We anarchists decided to give you a pass John. So you are safe - I think. We tried to take a vote but could not get it organized. Forty years? You must be an honest lawyer. A shyster could have stolen enough to retire in half that time.

Sure you heard them all.
Q: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50?
A: Your Honor.

(Just doing my part to try to reach 1,000 posts on an appeal that upheld the original TD ruling.)
Aug. 16, 2013
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It is good that you realize you have UI.

Tip: If you look at the table during the bidding and play and not your partner, you will have fewer of these problems.

@ trick one, partner would be expected to play an honor in this situation if he held one. Therefore, a spot card would be count for me and not attitude.
Aug. 16, 2013
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Some More Big Problems:

I find the terminology and basic requirements overly broad. If we have two categories: conventions & treatments, ‘conventions’ becomes a catchall for any artificial call. When one proposes sweeping generalizations such as “all systems pre-published” including “full disclosure” and “recommended defenses” and then follows it with “failure = methods are barred” this is a recipe for disaster and litigation.

To what level must I provide defenses? Is 1C (16+) - 3D (4-7, 7+H) something I have to define a defense to? Do I need to say: BTW, X of 3D is lead directing, 3H is TO (make sure you have a good hand b/c you might get killed) And if I fail to spell that out, am I in trouble?

Does “all systems published” mean something like what they do on the USBF site? Or does it mean Meckwell need to provide all 500/1000/1500 pages? If they do, who is responsible for getting it online? In any event, a huge database is mostly worthless. People who can handle that world do not need it - or at least most of it. People who might be able to handle it will simply be intimidated.

The main thing I see wrong with the proposals here that allegedly open up bridge is that the whole premise is faulty. Players who want a more open, relaxed view on what is allowed believe that: “I am a grown up. I have a good fundamental bridge background and I am prepared. Just tell me in advance of anything goofy you do and I can handle it.”

Conversely, we expect that our opponents be self-reliant. Or mostly, anyway. However, the basic philosophy behind many of the elements suggested here is that the players must become responsible for the opponents. That runs contrary to the underlying principle of what we believe in when seeking more openness. Why should I be expected to provide a defense? Do chess players have to tell their opponent before a match “BTW, I was planning on playing a Sokolsky Opening. It hasn’t been seen since Boris Spassky so here are some counter moves.”

The whole premise is faulty. One day the ACBL will stop trying to be Big Brother. Probably only when there is no one left to boss around.

What they should do is fairly simple: any UM (doesn’t need to be ‘highly’) can have a prepared set of defensive notes. If there is an alert attached, I can pull out my reference card for a refresher on what we decided to do. It might be months before I run into an Ekrens 2D bid. At least I wont forget what we decided to do.

But the main point is that I actually THOUGHT about it. How can a printed sheet from somebody else ever prepare me for defense? It can’t. Bridge isn’t “follow the rules and get to the right spot”. It is a thinking game. It requires judgment. If you need me to provide a defense, you ain’t ready for the open.

If I ran the world, pairs could always check their defensive convention card following an alert. (It could be a big flip book). If someone said 1C - alert. I could check it to remind me whether we agreed on Suction or CRASH.

BTW: Clubs can already do whatever they want. They have always been able to.
Aug. 16, 2013
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General Observations:

The ACBL does a horrible job managing change. It is not entirely their fault. Bridge players are a curious lot. For the most part, NYC area players are overwhelmingly ‘liberal’ when it comes to almost any issue - except bridge.

When I first saw a bidding box I thought it was mankind’s fourth greatest invention. After, in this order: fermentation, fire and the wheel. But people HATED them. They refused to use them.

Consider the Senior events. The primary reason they were invented is because a long time ago some players HATED alerts. So part of the idea at the time was to create a limited event so that the dinosaurs could play bridge just the way grandma taught them. They really, really hated the fact the there were these negative double bids that were alerted.

What they should have done - and I said so at the time - is split the field into limited conventions and open. But we never got much opening up on the convention front. The ACBL did loosen up a little on the stranglehold they use to have on convention control. But they are still way behind the times.

But now, the skill sets in the open events are even worse. I am quoting a guy I met who came back to bridge on his retirement after playing in college: “apparently the ACBL’s marketing plan is to teach old people how to be really bad bridge players”. We now have a fairly large body of bridge players who have an even more limited exposure to systems and conventions. Forget about Ekrens 2D. Just open a 10-13 1NT. They have no idea what to do.
And it has nothing to do with a written defense - it has to do with a lack of judgment.

Nowadays, if you throw in a psych, people think you cheated.

I find it ironic, that even back in the days when the ACBL had a draconian choke hold on conventions, people still managed to play some different systems. There was Roth/Stone, K-S, Schenken, Eastern Scientific, Washington Std, Precision. If someone had EHAA on the card, you even knew what that was. Heck, you could even play Romex because George had enough time & money to get that stuff approved. These days a large % of players have no idea about systems.

I am a true believer in letting people experiment with bidding ideas and letting change happen by itself. Certainly (with only marginal constraints) one could open things up. My line has been that ACBL stood for Asinine Convention & Bidding Limitations. That being said, one problem that needs to be addressed is the ACBL has already totally fragmented the playing schedules in tournaments.

Once upon a time we had:

Friday: Mens / Womens or Mixed
Saturday: Open Pairs
Sunday: Swiss Teams

So that basically, each day had ONE event. And it would have been trivial to split these events into limited & open. But nowadays, we have all sorts of events and different start times. Side games, Compact KO, Senior pairs, Open Pairs, Gold-Rush Pairs, B-C-D and A/X pairs. I already see regional tournaments with just one section for the open pairs. Are you really going to split that into limited and open conventions?

So change is good - unless the ACBL is managing it. I am for opening things up, but I fear when all is said (and said and said) and finally done, it might not be an improvement. With the ACBL, it rarely is.
Aug. 16, 2013
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Steve's observation that just talking to Warren put you in a better mood is so true.

The only sad thing Warren ever did was leave us.
Aug. 15, 2013
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There is an old aphorism: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. And when neither is on your side, pound the table”. It sounds to me like this person was doing his best Nikita Khrushchev impersonation to justify passing a hand that even Goren would have opened.

In context of a specific system (R/S or some Semi-Forcing Pass approach), a pass could be correct. In context of “standard”, it is not.
Aug. 15, 2013
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There are other reasons to open the bidding besides getting to game. Extending the “hey, probably no game analogy” really simplifies overcalls, since we can now also pass about 2/3 of those hands as well.
Aug. 14, 2013
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I like Geoff's idea.

Had the Vandy appeal been heard on a timely basis, the perception would have been that Monaco failed to hold an huge lead. Not that the last couple IMPs were scored in AC. With bridge left to play, people would not fixate on the rulings as much.

The problem is, as Kit points out, that there is a “hope the appeal goes away”. One reason for this hope is unfortunately a practical one. First, there might be more appeals that need to be heard. And there is a practical obstacle of forming a qualified committee when everyone else is playing.
Aug. 14, 2013
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Re: Plywood.

Wow, that shipping, storing and setting up sounds too much like work. Yet somehow, the WBF managed to provide screens for all the juniors and youngsters at Atlanta. And they even shipped those screens to Atlanta from another country. The WBF even had 10 extra screens just in case.
Aug. 14, 2013
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