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All comments by Eric Sieg
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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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Pretty sure a good chunk of the “other” votes would go away if “lead a spade” was an option.
April 24, 2018
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Last year Gatlinburg was competing with Victoria which ended up being fairly popular and drew ~2k tables. This year there wasn't any relevant competition, just a tiny regional in NV.
April 23, 2018
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When capped at 15 (and not an amazing 15 at that), how much more can we really have? 6 card spades headed by AK, A of hearts, diamond singleton, some fitting clubs if partner has clubs (which is likely).
April 19, 2018
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Declining tournament attendance has seemed pretty widespread and potentially the start of a trend. See Bob Heller's comments about a tournament task force in his blog here: http://district7bridge.org/home/districtdirector/
April 19, 2018
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If we start with 4 and then bid 4 over partner's probable 4, what does that show?
April 19, 2018
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1) X should usually show 4+ hearts. We don't play it as asking partner to bid 3NT. Sometimes X'er has to X without 4 with an unusual hand, maybe something like xx KQx xxxx AKxx but we assume Xer has 4 in follow up bidding.
2) Normalish? 10+? No special agreement on strength.
3) I don't think this is forcing
4) Also don't think this is forcing
April 19, 2018
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@Richard I don't think a lot of the pro multi group really cares about forcing it down the throat of the casuals. If clubs don't want to allow it, that's fine. I can even shrug and move on over sectionals and ABC Pair regional events. However, the fact that it is banned at NABC+ Pair events seems pretty silly. Isn't that where the 1% that you mention is supposed to congregate and play what they feel is best?
April 18, 2018
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It seems like a lot of people view multi in isolation as being destructive. It also opens up more bids. When allowed to play multi, we've started using 2 as less than invitational with both minors which is very descriptive/not confusing imo.

I'm fortunate to live in Seattle where most clubs allow whatever. This compares to where I first started playing bridge where basically nothing was allowed. For example, I wanted to play polish club when I was first learning bridge in order to understand the system better. It wasn't allowed. In comparison, there is a pair trying out polish club right now and other pairs have played it in the past.

Fun story from a recent GNT A final: There were 7 teams for the Swiss, which worked out to 6 10 board matches for each team. However, in order to make the movement simpler and the afternoon/evening similar in length, it was broken into 6 5 board sessions, a break, and then the next 6 5 board sessions. Even though the match was 10 boards, because each session was only 5 boards we weren't allowed to play our system for the swiss. The director attempted to walk the line by allowing us to ask our opponents permission to play our system, but multiple opponents said no. Asking our opponents each round what we were allowed to play seemed absurd to me, but that's how it went.

I'm fine with restrictions at the sectional and regional level on multi in pair events to keep it simple. However, banning it in national championship pair events (other than the fast pairs) just seems absurd. It takes roughly 10 seconds to say “we play multi” and the opponents to agree on defense 2.
April 18, 2018
Eric Sieg edited this comment April 18, 2018
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@David I think most of the best players were playing in the GNT Open that was played alongisde the Everett sectional. Even when that isn't the case, Everett is so soon after the Spring NABCs and people also have GNTs to worry about this time of year that I think Everett gets skipped by those who are worried about family time, other interests, etc.

The Seattle May KO sectional is coming up in May and that usually gets a healthy turnout.

edit> just realized David's comment was a year ago. Oh well.
April 16, 2018
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Money tournaments are a cool thing and would help suck people in. I know when I was a month into playing Magic the Gathering I went to a tournament and took 2nd out of 200ish which was good for $800. Wait, a fun game AND I can win money? That helped hook me into the game and I played fairly regularly for 3-4 years after that and won often enough that it felt like I was breaking even on the hobby.

There are some challenges though for bridge:

1) Nobody who has been playing for a month is ever going to take 2nd in an open field in bridge.
2) There was a lot of $$ to be made in selling magic cards, so if the tournament host lost some money on tournament costs vs expenses, they could make up the difference in profit from the cards they sold. Larger sponsors like Starcity Games had a big online presence/store, so it was also a marketing strategy for them. There is no real equivalent for bridge as the cards are the same. Nobody rushes out to buy the A of spades for $50 after seeing the A of spades do really well in a tournament :P
3) At the NABC levels, people filter into their events such that the #s of people entering top events makes it hard to have an impressive $$ award without making the entry fees exorbitant. For example, at GP Seattle (an MTG tournament) which happened last weekend there were nearly 3200 competitors that entered into the main two events. In comparison, the Vanderbilt usually has like 80 teams and bigger pair games have 320ish. That's a really big difference when trying to spread out paying for a prize pool.

I think a fun goal could be some $ tournaments with enough money to get people excited about winning but without it being relevant in a “could live off this” perspective. Even in MTG, the pros don't make their main money from winnings - they get famous for winning and then make the $$ from writing articles.

Steve's links to some example tournaments seem on the right level. Enough money that its pretty cool to win or place, but not enough that people can seriously use it as a primary source of income.
April 12, 2018
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Somewhere between 1st and 2nd. It is a really conservative evaluation, but not sure what grounds you have for calling a TD. The fact you X'd and then the contract was allowed to make certainly makes a memo seem like sour grapes. RHO might have also have read your body language which tipped him/her to stay low.
April 11, 2018
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Good point, think I meant to say ruff the 4th diamond w/ the king, ruff the heart w/ the A, ruff the spade.
April 10, 2018
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Don't like the K of hearts play. General plan would be A of spades, A of diamonds, K of spades, Q of spades pitching a diamond, ruff a diamond, heart to K, ruff a diamond, ruff a heart small, ruff a diamond, ruff a heart big, ruff a spade with K, claim 1 of the last 2 tricks with 98 of clubs.
April 9, 2018
Eric Sieg edited this comment April 9, 2018
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While this one is fairly clear imo, I did have the following occur once:

1) I forgot our system and made a bid that did not describe my hand
2) My partner also forgot our system, and described my hand as it was rather than as it should be.

I remembered after the auction ended but before the opening lead. However, correcting the explanation when my hand DID reflect how my partner explained it into something that did not resemble my hand in the slightest seemed really shady/slimy.

Correct or not, I decided to just stay quiet and then explain to the opponents what happened after the hand was over and invite them to call the director if they felt damaged.
April 9, 2018
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I'm confused as to why weak NTers think they are special for having runouts. Most experienced strong NT partnerships will have runouts as well.

There's a big difference between:

1) Having a runout system (a good thing!)

and

2) Pass forcing redouble, which I think many strong players would consider terrible.

The “Moscow Escapes” mentioned by David are usually referred to as DONT runouts by most people and its by far the most common system I've personally seen.

Most of the other systems all seem to assume that the partner of the 1NT overcaller MUST have two 4 card suits or a 5 card suit, which seems like a clear flaw. If pass forces redouble and all sequences show a 5+ card suit or two 4 card suits, what is someone supposed to do with 4333?
April 8, 2018
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