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All comments by David Yates
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The regulations in Norway allows players to exercise their bidding judgment!?
Sept. 14, 2013
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The TD & AC did not miss the boat on this one. They missed the entire ocean.

Dale is right about 40B5. And Ed is correct the score should be adjusted and the offending side is very likely due a PP on top of the score adjustment. Also as per 40B5

The score adjustment is (almost always) under Law 12. Under L12B1. Objectives:

“the objective of a score adjustment is to redress damage to a non-offending side and to take away any advantage gained by an offending side through its infraction. Damage exists when, because of an infraction, an innocent side obtains a table result less favorable than would have been the expectation had the infraction not occurred – but see c1(b) below.”

The infraction was the opening bid - an illegal convention. Given that 2D multi is nonspecific, the non-offenders had a misunderstanding regarding the nature of the 3S call. The simple bridge question posed by the laws is “the expectation had the infraction not occurred.” Had the hand been opened properly as 2S, and the auction gone: (2S) - P - (P) - 3H; (P) - 3S - is there any chance in blazes that anyone in the entire bridge world would think a cue bid of a natural weak two bid was an offer to play?

Of course not. So any village idiot can see that the innocent side obtained a table result less favorable than would have been the expectation had the infraction not occurred. It does not take 20 minutes of deliberation if one can actually READ. More like 20 seconds.

Moving on to the C1(b) exception. Again, the TD/AC apparently displayed a problem with basic reading comprehension. The law is very clear:

“ if, subsequent to the irregularity, the non-offending side has contributed to its own damage by a serious error (unrelated to the infraction) or by a wild or gambling action, it does not receive relief in the adjustment for such part of the damage as is self-inflicted.”

Did they complain about the play in 3S? Perhaps Stu could have saved a 4th undertrick? The CONSEQUENCE of the irregularity was the ridiculous contract. What action “unrelated to the infraction” (as specified by the laws) did Stu & partner commit that they were not entitled to legal relief?

We must be having problems not just in logic (My earlier statement on why Stu is supposed to be able to defend a convention the ACBL says cannot be defended) - but the TD/AC must apparently have basic problems with the English language. As in understanding the difference between direct consequences of and actions subsequent to the infraction.

Unbelievable.

Everyone else is far too nice and polite saying the TD/AC are wrong. I just cannot be that nice. It looks like a total lack of competence to me.
Sept. 14, 2013
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The world has gone mad. Let me get this straight:

The opponents were using multi - which is on the banned list. And the TD and AC(??) decided that you get your bad result because. . . you bid like crap over a convention that is banned. And it is banned precisely because the ACBL believe pairs cannot defend against it. Yet they expect you to be able to exactly that! Why? Because of all the experience you have playing against banned conventions?

Was this an ACBL event? Did this really happen?
Sept. 13, 2013
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There isn't an option for the real choice:

The bridge gods & goddesses are obviously watching and they have a sick sense of humor.

So I have no idea whether its 3 or 4. I would normally open the first hand 1NT and this hand 1D. But maybe the bridge gods want me to stick it to this pair for the silly TD call…
Sept. 13, 2013
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# error. Ed is fallible(!) - maybe we let you off with a typo.

Law 7C

However, it also states “should shuffle”. So failing to shuffle is not an infraction.
Sept. 13, 2013
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“looking intently at any other player” does sound what guys do before the start of a boxing match.
Sept. 13, 2013
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Jeff scared me with: “My guess is that if the general chart is changed any time soon it will be to remove things, not to add things.”

Wonderful. We are going retro and even more nanny-ish. Why not? The ACBL has been working for years to destroy the game. Now sectional & regional tournaments - by the C+C view (as per Jeff’s post) is not “real-bridge”. Of course not. Not any more.

So it is real easy for people on top to burn all the bridges (literally) and remove rungs on the ladder. Once upon a time, even though the ACBL has always been prone to silly & asinine restrictions, at least the game was open. At least everyone all played in the same game. Now they’ve fragmented the games. Fragmented the strats. Fragmented the systems with their fragmented excuse for logic. JoAnn cannot play a transfer in a regional Swiss event because “that is not real bridge”. So why go?

I’d be OK with this, if the ACBL will admit the only place ‘real bridge’ exists in overseas and in cyberspace. Then we can stick a fork into this useless organization and bury them. At their “interactive bridge museum” we can have Disney animatronics create a Committee meeting when people talk for days and get nothing done that is in the long term interest of the game.

I can go to my local bridge club and play JoAnn’s system. But if I go to an ACBL Sectional or Regional tournament it is suddenly illegal. Because some players unknown are allegedly not able to defend against a system that they need to have a defense to because it still comes up in other legal forms.

If that makes no sense, welcome to ACBL-land. JoAnn might open 1C on a somewhat balanced 12 count and her partner might bid 1H as a transfer. Nope, too hard to defend that at the one-level! But against these very same players, the ACBL lets me open 1NT on just TEN points and bid a 2H transfer on ZERO points and the ACBL expects these rubes to be able to handle that. If they can handle the later, why can't JoAnn transfer? My BS NT is legal and designed to wreck havoc and JoAnn is just trying to bid her hand constructively. But they disallow her methods and allow mine.

And the irony is that the very methods the ACBL ‘protected’ people from 3-4 decades ago were: negative doubles, transfers over NT, unusual notrumps, Roman KC Blackwood, new minor forcing, 2-way NMF, Michaels cue-bids - I could go on. .

You recognize that list? It is all the stuff we teach to newbie players!

The other irony is that JoAnn is simply trying to improve their side’s opening sequences. A 1C-xfer sequence is EASIER to combat than a non-transfer sequence. But to the elitist nannies who believe they know what people want and are FINE with making sure our tournaments are not “real bridge”, you are doing a wonderful job!

Bridge is a thinking game. Unnecessary restrictions on a player’s ability to think are an anathema to the game. And if we never accepted gradual change and new ideas. . .

. . . then we would all still be playing WHIST.
Sept. 13, 2013
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Lynn,

Thankfully, CC Wei was a rich shipping magnate. If he was a poor deckhand who played cards and tinkered with bidding systems, strong club would probably not have become legal and we would probably be stuck playing SAYC.

$$ talks because people will listen to that, or they will listen to their own biases, but they rarely listen to logic.
Sept. 13, 2013
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OTH, If they force McD's to raise the hourly, flipping burgers might not be so bad. . . That, and I wont be eating tuna fish at the club every day for lunch.

(Wow, is a BigMac starting to actually look edible? I really need professional help. . .)
Sept. 13, 2013
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I admire your optimism!

(But people are nuts) :)
Sept. 13, 2013
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Yes, back in 1960 everyone was aghast at these “Sputnik Double” things. Anything named “Sputnik” was obviously evidence of a commie plot against the game.
Sept. 13, 2013
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All's well that ends well!

But it usually requires hard work to end well. Great news George. Good to see everyone's hard work produced the right outcome.
Sept. 13, 2013
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I think one point to Steve’s article was not to stare directly (and violate law L74C5 in the process) if you want reliable information. If a bracelet winning poker player says one can get legal, reliable information by complying with the laws, that is useful.

In physics, what SZ refers to is known as the observer effect. This references the changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed

At the club, against players I am most familiar with, one almost always get a true tempo - for that player - when one is looking at the table and not at them. For example, if I play the jack and look at LHO to see what they do, they will react to my observation. Not the card on the table. When someone is made uncomfortable, their actions become forced, stilted and unnatural. Those reactions overwhelm the useful data. So the observer effect applies not just to particles, but large collections of particles as well :)

Looking at the table, the player who is always known to coffeehouse will coffeehouse. The player who is a tad too fast trying to duck smoothly will be that way.

I am not the poker player that the author is and I do not play much, but staring never seemed to help me in that game. People who stare me down swear I have a great poker face. But I don’t feel that way and probably Steve could take all my chips because he knows what to do. The last killer call I made, I was called down by a guy who looked like he was on a draw and then got there at the river whereupon he value bet into the pot. While I was sitting there wondering what to do and why I did not pot commit on 4th street, I started counting out chips to see what I would have left. That is when I caught him out of the corner of my eye quickly glance down at his remaining. He didn’t think those chips in the middle were his. If I stared him down, he would have stared back. It is useless to fight physics.

BTW, if kibs can - through their unconscious actions - can give a sharp observer an edge, then perhaps you should be like Eric & Jeff and squeeze the cards together so impossibly close that a kib always has to squint intently just to see if you have anything. Or be like Hamman and never arrange the hand.
Sept. 13, 2013
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Joann Sprung has a recent post “World Gone Mad”. As good a guy as Adam is, I think we have to cross-reference his insanity to that thread. (Stick with this really long diatribe Adam, you’ll see why you are crazy)

Exactly what purposefully applied effort has the ACBL ever contributed to make the V/S/R better events?

These events have become a blue-chip standard for high-level bridge because well-healed sponsors are willing to commit their resources to the contest. The Vanderbilt Trophy is not inherently different than America’s Cup. The NY Yacht Club never made America’s Cup the nearly $1 billion event (estimated economic impact for SF) it is today. The NYC simply had the cup donated to them under the terms of a gift of deed. That wealthy people wanted to fight for custody of a silver cup made the event what it is. Without them, there would just be weekend sailors on Hobie Cats jaunting around Staten Island while they drank beer.

If Harold Vanderbilt were alive today, he would probably want to amend his gift of deed to say: “get some more plywood you cheap friggin' bastards!”. (Yeah, I am fixating on this).

30 sponsored teams now? (Yet screens for just 16). It keeps growing. The NABC was changed to open. (Rule changes are not ’effort’) As sponsors have looked to improve their teams they have pulled talent from other countries. First Shugart from UK & Norway. Jacobs brought in the Italians. Cayne stole them and George went to Egypt. Baze brought in the Poles, etc. As sponsors improved the quality of the event, that competitive attractiveness brings in other sponsors.

North Americans came to the NABCs because that is where the better players congregate. And the reason we now draw people from so many other countries beyond North America is because the top players from these countries are attending. When other bridge players in Italy see Versace/Lauria et all, or Poles see B&Z, Norwegians see H&H, Brogeland etc attending our championships, this event now becomes calendar worthy for a trip. No one came because they always wanted to see Detroit or Birmingham.

And if you look down play lists in ALL the events, ones sees the cumulative effect. All these other foreign players in attendance is the direct result of the promotional value that sponsors add to the NABCs.

What do owners of successful dance clubs do? They go out and pay for A-list names to show up. This buys them advertising and if the “A-listers” are there, others will come. Because A-listers put the venue on the map.

The ACBL, by happy accident and through no effort on their part, directly benefits from the efforts of these sponsors who are paying for the big names. In return, the ACBL does VIRTUALLY NOTHING to improve the event.

The BBO broadcasts exist only because of the efforts of Jan Martel and her volunteers. And despite near Herculean effort by Jan & Co, we still have fewer VuGraphs running than in, say, the EU Championships.

The online scores exists because of bridgewinners. The ACBL never updated their bracket sheet in a timely manner. Sometimes the results were in the Daily Bulletin first. They never posted before the round of 32.

And now you can buy entries online. Thanks to bridgewinners.

Adam, the ACBL could not even be bothered to inquire in the last Spingold why the defending champions had not bought an entry. If Andy Murray has not returned his invitation to the All-England Tennis Club next year, do you think someone in charge there might make an inquiry? If it was postmarked a day late, do you think that would matter? Heck, even the French would ‘accidentally lose’ just the envelope for his late entry to their open.

And the big deal for the ACBL is they would have to reshuffle. Oh the horror and trouble! The ACBL would have to put six more names into the computer, push a recalc button and reprint the brackets.

The ACBL likes their current seeding formula because it is limited to data they have online and they can just push a button. If the outcome is that is Zagorin has a real tough R32 match - that is his problem.

So Adam, if you think the ACBL is going to do anything that requires effort to try to better seed their event - you are either insane or smokin’ crack.

And obviously, I need something too. Pass the pipe, Adam. I need to chill out.
Sept. 13, 2013
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The purpose to seeding is to attempt to equalize - as best as we can - the strength of schedule for all the teams. We are trying to run a fair contest.

To reach the semi-finals, a team needs to win four previous matches starting from R64. If the brackets are properly seeded, then each team’s pathway to the semi-finals should have approximately the same strength of schedule given the sum of the expected opponents.

The actual strength of schedule might change. Obviously if Monaco gets KO’d in R32, the remaining teams in that group have a much better shot. But that is a function of match outcome, not the initial ordering. These real outcomes are why we actually bother to play the matches.

The test is whether one can look at the expected matches through to at least the SF and see if the sum of the expected strength of schedule is fair for all the teams in each grouping. The lower seeded teams have their toughest matches up front, the higher seeds towards the end. The issue is not that one is “protecting” a better team. The need is that the sum of the strength of the pathways for all scheduled matches is approximately the same. Scheduling highest vs lowest at the beginning is therefore by necessity. If the #64 seed loses to Monaco in R64, yes they had a tough day. But they would have had an easier next day had they survived. However, the #64 still never would have gotten to the SF had they played and lost to Monaco later. We are not protecting the strong team, we are trying to level the rest of the field. Note that in that initial grouping for the last Spingold, Cayne (#8) would have hit Monaco (#1) to determine the team that went to the SF had the original seeding held up. The reason that this match cannot be scheduled at the beginning is that it would materially effect the strength of schedule for the remaining teams in that grouping.

As far as tennis, that they do not seed past the top 16 is really a function of how the tennis world views the depth of their field. Note that the last US Open tennis champion was the original #2 seed. He played the #1 seed in the final. Not the original #9 vs #39 seed - as in the Spingold. Wimbledon finals was 1 vs 2. French Open final was 3 vs 4. Nadal was 3(?) and many were questioning that seed. Australian final was 1 vs 3.
Sept. 13, 2013
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“Director” My friend responded and asked what the problem was. The declarer responded: “we are down to 2 cards in dummy, each opponent has 3 and I have four”.

My friend said: “You do know that you are required to count your cards before you look at your hand, don't you?”

“Yes! And I always count my cards”, protested the declarer

My friend inquired: “And how many did you have?”

“Fourteen”

You really cannot make this stuff up.
Sept. 12, 2013
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Oh, also do not forget that after:

1 - (1) - ? you can also not play transfers. It would be therefore be illegal under GCC to play 2 as a transfer to hearts.

But after, say: 1 - (1) - 2 - (?) THEY can play 2 as a transfer to hearts.

If the ACBL wont let you play your stuff in GCC, maybe you should switch to ROMEX.

Sept. 12, 2013
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I liked Aviv's comment, but then I realized the title said “gone mad”. This would seem to imply that at some point in time, the ACBL's ongoing attempts to make us play just like grandma did was ever a sane thing.
Sept. 12, 2013
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The minis could be seeded by shuffling the entry forms.

In the 0-5K, the 1,3 & 4 teams went out in the R32. By the round of 8, there was only one single digit seed (#7). The rest of the R8 field was 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21 & 26. Of course the final winner was the #26 seed.

The top to bottom skill variance is there, but not nearly as significant as it is in the main event. There are mini players who “play great for 2K points” In the main event there are guys “who play great - for world champions”.

A Rosenblum style event would not be a bad idea if the players wanted to stay in the event longer. However, if one considers themselves a contending team, they probably want straight KOs. All day, head to head from the start. And if you are a young whippersnapper, you really do not care who the opponent is.

The problem with seeding in the main event is that the ACBL ignores available data. They never revised the seeding formula when they opened up the event to foreign players. The problem with seeding in the mini event is that there is no real objective criteria. Other than for the ACBL to admit that the MP totals are meaningless in terms of establishing performance data. The ACBL makes too much money selling them to ever take that stand.
Sept. 12, 2013
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Apparently for this partner, you did. I passed too - Aviv didn't tell me my partner was a patzer
Sept. 12, 2013
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