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All comments by Max Schireson
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I will. Sold.

Since I plan to play platinum pairs, then the Vanderbilt on a team that will have next to no seeding points (two of us are life masters / two are not, the team will have about 2500 total masterpoints…), it is very likely I will “qualify” for some regional events… which means I can drink a few extra beers.
an hour ago
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Ignoring the information given is enough to make the exercise worse than useless in the real world.

In real life the challenge is balancing information leakage versus accuracy. To take the accuracy benefit without accounting for information leakage is like asking for the salary without doing the work.

Double dummy analysis is deeply flawed for many uses. It is hard for me to think of a worse usage (if you care about actual accuracy of the results) than to use it for “explore vs bash” analysis assuming defense would play equally perfectly either way.

As to your question, you can matchpoint across a “field” of different bidding approaches. Estimate the percentage usage of different styles, and see how well a given strategy does in this population.

You have identified an interesting project that will be filled with thinking and programming challenges. Enjoy it, but don’t expect the results to be meaningful.
2 hours ago
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Rohit,

It would be an unusual form of “Simple Blackwood” if 5H showed 3 aces.

It is hard to opine on what the ruling should be without knowing the actual auction ;) also agreements and hands.
2 hours ago
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Isn’t a 5N continuation usually asking about kings? Would it be unusual for them to be able to stop in 5N?
7 hours ago
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I am thinking (without having deeply analyzed it) that you could flip flop the meaning of 3H and 3S responses when hearts is the major. This makes 3S a step in showing shortness, and creates more room to make a positive response to openers shortness below game, which is helpful because responder is so wide ranging.

Of course there is no free lunch, and this reduces the space available with strong balanced hands when hearts are trump.
8 hours ago
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I don’t normally play this / haven’t seen the article but it seems natural to use 3N for shortness ask if you have slam interest opposite a well fitting hand and want to know where the shortness is (else sign off or move towards slam on your own). After that if the shortness isn’t what you wanted to hear sign off in 4M, otherwise either cue bid or keycard according to your hand. The only issue is that if your suit is hearts you can only show continued interest below game when partner has club shortness, so I might be tempted to flip flop 3H and 3S when hearts are trump.

Hopefully someone who plays this or has seen the article can provide more details.
15 hours ago
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Michael,

Which of the 15 problems in the other Michael’s book is your favorite?
Jan. 22
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That’s backwards - we think CZs line is intuitive and ABs is not intuitive because AB’s needlessly risks a ruff.

Our intuition draws us to the superior line because it is superior. That’s how intuition is supposed to work.
Jan. 20
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While the normal “9 never” is a huge overbid, in this case…
Jan. 20
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Also keep in mind the more you have the less your partner has. If you have 18 it becomes more likely partner has 13 or 14 (or upgraded 12).
Jan. 19
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Randy top bracket has some pros and some amateurs. At least in our area there are plenty of strong teams just playing for fun. Eg I had a really fun match (and lost!!!) to a team of Eugene Hung, Li-Chung Chen, Cheryl Mandala and Yul Inn. Nobody famous (except Eugene for editing BW) and playing for fun but nothing like most teams of 4k masterpoints each and would have a very good chance against many pro teams (might sometimes be favored depending on the sponsor esp if the pro team is 4 handed).
Jan. 19
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Brad,

I applaud your commitment. It is deeper than mine.

Rather than just holding out as long as you can and feeling bad when you come back, I would encourage you to decide on a time period to protest, stick to it, and not feel bad when you come back.
Jan. 19
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Alexander,

I have to say that I disagree strongly on multiple issues:

1. I think a team of above average 0-2500 players can definitely score imps against top teams. They will have very little chance to win but iI believe if you don’t let yourself get psyched out you will win imps. A year and a half ago after winning GNT-C (under 500 masterpoints; we were obviously an excellent team at that level winning nationally but not close to good enough to win B regionally) we played Lavazza (with a some changed members of our team but not enough to appreciably alter our strength) and lost 222-100 in a full day match. Lavazza lost a close final that year, and would have made easy work of most teams of 6000+ (what they did their next couple Spingold matches iirc).

I really think you can win plenty of imps, even if you are very likely to lose more imps. Are you letting yourself get intimidated? Don’t!

2. I feel like I do learn a lot more playing really good teams than slightly better-than-us teams. I love how consistently they are able to exploit my mistakes. Seeing how my little slips can cost the contract against great defense is awesome. Pretty good teams just don’t exploit small errors in the same way.

3. In general I find that the very strong players are much nicer at the table, and a much more pleasant experience to lose to, than the slightly stronger teams. One example: I find that top players in general give much better disclosure. Otoh I find that the semi-strong players are far more likely to try to get away with whatever they can. Will the strong players be pleasant repeatedly? I have had the good fortune to get the crap kicked out of me by Brink and Drijver in two full day matches and they seemed happy enough to see me the second time. After all they want to win, and when I sat down the second time they knew their chances were very good!

I understand that feeling like you don’t have much chance to win isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can get past that I do think you have a chance to win imps, have a different type of learning experience, and play against wonderfully gracious opponents.
Jan. 19
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Sorry misread your post and was asking about that hand for people who are using 4C as Gerber.
Jan. 17
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And when you have AKxxx, Jx, Jx AKxx what is your call?
Jan. 16
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Why not?
You give up a club control bid. The point of keycard asks is to stay out of slam when you are off two keycards. You also want to avoid slams when you are off cashing AK of a suit. Often responder won’t know that all suits are controlled immediately after the 3S bid, and might want to bid 4C to show a club control and slam interest. If some other call is used for that, the natural use of that call is lost.

The other issue is that “1 or 3” and “2 or 4” are often not going to be clear. Usually there are few enough high cards missing that a difference of 3 keycards is clear. In many slams your side has 32 or 33 HCP and you won’t be able to know which answer partner meant.

I think trying to lower the keycard ask here is misguided. The times you correctly decide to keycard and go down in 5 are rare. I think there is more value to having the space to decide to keycard, and having answers that are clear.
Jan. 16
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I would throw a huge party if there were 8 teams of beginners that all wanted to play up at any tournament! If there were 2 I would be pleasantly surprised.
Jan. 15
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@Jeff,

I suggested that solution to the “bumped down” problem which would be easy to administer.

@Ray,

I think the problem of people who have accumulated too many points to be competitive is a real problem. I actually think allowing players to declare themselves “overrated” and be bracketed based on half their points (or some intermediate number) for regional events and below, and in exchange receive reduced MP awards would be helpful in keeping some players engaged, but I suspect that allowing this might trigger the apocalypse and plenty of people will now tell me why.
Jan. 15
Max Schireson edited this comment Jan. 16
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Intentionally submitting false information that could lead to incorrect masterpoints is an ethical violation (ACBL CDR E7) punishable by 1-3 years probation and up to 2 years suspension.

Even if it would never be enforced, it seems like there should be a better solution.

The simplest solution would be to allow the team to submit either a) their actual masterpoints or b) any greater number that they would like to be used for bracketing only, perhaps no more than 50,000 above their actual masterpoints. No hassle for the directors, no complex system requirements, no lying for the entrants, and players get to play in the brackets that they want to play in.

If that bumps a team down who didn't want to be bumped down, that team might decide to add to their total next time.
Jan. 15
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Jan,

Since E2 doesn’t say “deliberately” as many of the other items do, it seems that it could at least include accidental cases, so I didn’t want to include it with most of the other E items, which mostly seems to be forms of cheating (other than E1 and E3). Actually at first I was just going to except E1 and E3 until I noticed the asymmetry in wording and that E2 could therefore at least in principle include accidental cases.

As to your other points:
1. In principle cheaters are expelled, but there is no guarantee that eg one won’t confess in exchage for a 5 year suspension.
2. Other than the first 3 E items, most of the listed ethics violations felt like serious things: either premeditated cheating, deliberate violations of the rules to gain advantage, or undermining the disciplinary process itself; it felt reasonable to me to exclude players on probation for those violations. That said I think I should have excluded E6 and I could accept that E16, 17, 19, and 20 are a different kettle of fish and should not be treated like E4, 5, 7-14, and 18. (E15, collusive cheating, is different in the other direction; I wouldn’t object if E12-14 also earned life bans from representing the US, but don’t feel so strongly there and believe it would be easier to gain consensus on just collusive cheating).

I doubt that our decisions on these issues are very likely to effect who actually represents the US, but I do think they send a message. I would not want to send a message of increased leniency for ethical violations, but I don’t mind sending one of higher standards for ethical violations and increased leniency in other areas.
Jan. 14
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