Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Eric Sieg
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Because there are huge disparities in the difficulty of blue ribbon quals. 2nd in bracket 3 of a bracketed team event is the same as winning a bracket 1 KO or A/X Swiss.

The Netherland approach of top 5-10 masterpoint finishes seems like a much better approximation. The ACBL masterpoint awards certainly aren't perfect, but they give a rough approximation for how impressive a specific finish is.
May 30, 2018
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This seems like a really great idea, would love to see the ACBL move to using something like this.
May 30, 2018
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Not sure about the actual mechanics, but something like this certainly seems a lot more appropriate than the current “lifetime total” approach.

Of every competitive endeavor I have been involved in, watched, known about, etc, bridge is the only one I've ever heard of that uses lifetime wins as a way to measure how good you are. If tennis was seeded based on sets won (regardless of age) or chess was based on matches won (regardless of age), people would rightly think it absurd. However, in the ACBL that's exactly what we do. Even worse, it is a huge part of how events are seeded.

As for the actual mechanics, some sort of weighting for recent years seems appropriate. The Netherlands approach mentioned by Louis Dekker above seems fairly solid. The best X events helps measure actual performance rather than total points which can turn into a grind fest. MTG at one point used total pro points but then realized it was resulting in people with lesser skills but infinite time/money rank higher which wasn't the goal. Needing to win 10 events to essentially cap out your rating is still a good amount of bridge (and a reason to go to tournaments!) without making it all about who can go to 20+ regionals a year.
May 30, 2018
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Lots of talk about masterpoints, but there are also some other challenges with teams.

1) Making a pair means finding 1 other person. Making a team requires finding 3 more. As I've gotten more involved in organizing unit events I've also started to realize that a lot of people are really shy about asking.

2) Strength advantage compounds in teams. If you are a B pair who has good days and bad days, it possible you might go on a tear and (with a bit of luck) win a pair event. However, if you are teaming with people at your level you need all 4 of you to play above your standard and get lucky to beat an A team. If a KO, you need to then have the abnormally high play + luck for two days instead of one.

With team events it is a lot easier (imo) to predict the winning team, especially in two day events. The counter to that is it is a lot easier to predict who isn't going to do well. If you are in the bottom 50% skillwise in your group and are not likely to do well, that can make the event less appealing.

Masterpoints matter too of course, it just seems like the other challenges with populating team events sometimes get ignored with focus on masterpoints and stories about how 30 years ago everyone was more motivated, etc. That's nice, but it doesn't reflect reality today. Most of the focused and competitive younger crowd have other competitive outlets so a much higher percentage of the players today just want to play and have fun competing against people at their level. Hence the popularity of 750 events and then also (at least in our neck of the woods) 2500 events.

I don't think there is anything hugely wrong with this. People wanting to play against people at their level is pretty common. When I sign up for a tennis tournament I'm not going to sign up for the “open” category, I'm going to sign up for the bracket that matches my skill level so I can have a fun match or two or maybe three.
May 29, 2018
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All tournaments I'm familiar with in the PNW do preduped boards the last X rounds. In the Swiss today it was 6 9's, so the last 4 rounds had preduplicated boards. It helps a lot with dinner and bar conversations after.
May 28, 2018
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One section web imo and it isn't close. Second choice being 2 web movements rather than 2x 11 table Mitchell which would put a heinous 33 boards in play.

Web lets you maximize the pairs you play against (22 vs 18 I think here?) and gets rid of the issue with boards not in common. Playing 33 boards at a random club game without resources seems fine, but 33 boards in play at a regional seems likely to draw complaints. We had 33 boards in play at a regional pairs game 2(ish?) years ago and there were many unhappy players. That was a screwup with not making enough boards, I can't imagine doing it intentionally.
May 21, 2018
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Doesn't feel like quite enough for 5 opposite a simple 1 response. Sometimes the opponents are kind enough to bid more diamonds and let us find our way to 6 anyway.
May 18, 2018
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Around a year ago I assumed that X was probably better as takeout/negative vs one suiters and better as penalty vs 2 suiters. Since then, I've kept a mental tally each time its come up and surprisingly even the 1 suiter penalty X is ahead by a solid (but not insane) amount. People (even at high levels!) are willing to show 1 suited bids on some real garbage. If 2M shows M + m or both majors, X as penalty is so far ahead it seems crazy to me to play X there as anything but penalty interest.

What people don't always remember are the hands where the style impacts the result even if you didn't X. At a GNT match last year my partner made a bid of some sort and the NT opener felt like they needed to stretch to reopen just in case partner had a penalty pass. When the smoke cleared we were +800 on a part score hand and comfortably won the match.

I don't feel strongly on the approach vs 1 suited bids, but would be really sad and feel like I'm handing away MPs/IMPs to not have a penalty interest bid if they show two suits.
May 15, 2018
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Everyone I know who does this it is because they (or their partner) started with standard and made the switch to UD attitude but didn't want to also make the switch to UD count.
May 11, 2018
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I usually play that 3NT (or 3 if hearts) is non serious anytime we've set trump (as opposed to temporizing because we have concerns about a suit) and haven't skipped 3M on our way to 3NT. So 1 2 2 2 3NT would be an offer to play, 1 2 2 2 3 3NT would be non serious. Can obviously be bid from either side.

Sometimes you'll have an auction like 1 2 2 3 where you can't skip 3M so you just lose out on 3NT as an offer. I find that A) this doesn't really happen all that often and B) The extra clarity provided by non serious is WAY worth the tradeoff.
May 11, 2018
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@Don I'm familiar with the seeding point docs. Suggesting a max of 22% impact seems pretty misleading since most teams won't even have 11 seeding points. In Toronto, only 37 out of 104 teams (35.6%) had an average of over 11 seeding points.

I think the seeding point approach works fine for the top teams. The MP limit that you mention of 11 seeding points comes into play and there are a variety of results to look at in order to sort out a seed. Where the seeding system seems to fall apart is the bottom 60% of the bracket. There are underrated international teams (a hard fix) and then your regular ACBL teams (not a hard fix). Almost all the complaining I've heard has been from people in that bottom 60%.

Admittedly, for the purposes of determining who the best team is in the event the bottom 60% don't matter as much. However, just soldiering on with a poor implementation seems like a disservice to the regular people who want their seeds to make sense too.
May 5, 2018
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How does the EBU do seeding?

One of the frustrating things about the ACBL (imo) is the focus on MPs for seeding, both in regular KOs and in the big team events like Spingold/Vanderbilt.

It'd be great to have something like NGS for seeding and then masterpoints for achievement. Both concepts have value, but can be used in different ways.
May 4, 2018
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tournament player wanting tablets sounds like a huge assumption. Most tournament players I know (including the under 40 crowd) hate the idea of playing with tablets.
May 4, 2018
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@Steve: I'm not sure recruitment by tournament bridge can be considered 0. It was the major hook when I first started playing. Then after a long time away when I started dabbling again I was playing 1x a month and didn't bother to rejoin the ACBL. However, membership was necessary for a sectional and then the tournament piqued my interest again.

I get your general point that the much of the new player recruitment and teaching happens in the club, but tournaments are the hook that actually grab a lot of people and get them really excited about the game.
May 4, 2018
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I've had times where I was pretty sure partner forgot, but put 4 down on the table anyway. If partner forgets enough that you are going to assume a forget again here, then it should at least be part of the explanation.
May 4, 2018
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What is the appeal of this “superior service”? Why would anyone care?

I've been to a variety of conventions, both gaming and professional and I've never heard anyone mention “superior service” ever. People go for the events/talks/networking/whatever, not so they can feel important as throw money all over. As one example, Pax draws 100k people to Seattle every labor day weekend and people come for what they can do and to meet people who like the same things they do. There are badges because it is necessary not because it makes someone feel super special with red glove treatment. After all, 100k people have the same badge you do.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if a regional or some other tournament rolled out $250 a night hotels with even more expensive entry fees for 4 day “premier” events. My guess is that it would be a giant disaster.

The mission statement of the ACBL talks about serving the bridge interests of the members. I don't see how excluding actual ACBL members in order to cater to wealthy internationals who want to be reminded that they are rich serves the interest of our members.
May 3, 2018
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Palm Springs and Penticton are both comfortably over 3k tables.
May 3, 2018
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derp, nevermind.
April 30, 2018
Eric Sieg edited this comment April 30, 2018
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Just on the 2 on a 3-3 thing: I think the typical action with that is to bid 2 over 2 in case partner has equal length. Obviously not correct if partner is 2=4=5=2 but it seems to be the right bid more often than not.
April 30, 2018
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Yuck. $25 per session already seems incredibly high and is on par with what tournaments for competing games charge (like MTG) but without the large $$ payouts for doing well that those other tournaments provide.

Just because I want to play in NABC+ events doesn't mean I want to spend even more money for “better customer service”. The assumption that people who travel are paying big $$ for airfare/hotel/etc seems incorrect. Any NABC I attend I'll usually stay for all 10+ days and try to keep lodging around $500, food around $400, and pay for airfare with points. This is lavish compared to my younger days when we crammed 4+ people into a cheap hotel room and ate the cheapest thing we could find.

One of the biggest complaints I heard when talking to younger people who compete in other similar games (again, like MTG) who were interested in bridge tournaments was that the big tournaments were absurdly expensive. They tend to get held in expensive places, have very high entry fees, and don't have any opportunity to offset those costs with $$ prizes.

I don't think it is possible to express how much I dislike this idea. While “provide great customer service and then charge for it!” is frequently a profitable tactic, I think one of the purposes of the ACBL is to provide tournaments for its members. Pricing ACBL members out in order to rake in more money from wealthy internationals who won't notice does not seem in the best interests of our members.
April 25, 2018
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