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All comments by Max Schireson
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Richard,

Re: #2, although I am not inclined to believe such things are possible, I must say that I quite like the idea of Henry continuing to see what you and the others he is following are saying :)
Aug. 14
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DC

The way to think about the probability problem is that after ~1.3M hands (half the given number), you will on average have seen half an 11 bagger. But sometimes you will actually have seen two, or three, or occasionally even more. Since those occasions “use up” your 0.5 instances quickly, most of the time you won’t have gotten one and you need more trials.

Another probability question: after the 2.7x million trials, what are the odds that you still won’t have seen one?

No calculator allowed, please give an answer accurate to within one part per million. I know at least one U21 player who will know the answer instantly and think the problem is absurdly easy.
Aug. 14
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Wayne,

Your “flaw” doesn’t bother me. I think different players *should* be able to use their judgement to open different hands.

Of course no system of checkboxes will precisely capture the judgement each player might use.

I think they system I describe would, however, on balance provide more accurate disclosure than the current system. Also as important as I think disclosure is, I don’t believe that we should ban judgement because it makes disclosure more complex.
July 14
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To Michael’s point, regardless of what the asker wants to know, if the respondents are answering a different question than what the asked intended the results won’t be accurate.

Surely everyone discussing bridge bidding understands this :)
July 14
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I am a big believer in disclosure, and I think using HCP as a “lingua Franca” around disclosure is sensible.

What I think is wrong is when HCP overrides judgement. We should be allowed to open what we think a hand is worth, but we should have to disclose the extent to which that might deviate from point count.

Let’s say I want to open 10-12 NT

I think I should be able to decide that
JT9, T98, KQJT9, KT
is worth 10 (or more) and that
K32, Q432, KJ32, KJ
is worth 12 (or less?)

Different players have different tendencies about upgrades and downgrades; these could be checkboxes on a system card - never, occasional, frequent, very aggressive

If you check never, then the first hand isn’t 10. Otherwise it’s fine. If someone had checked very aggressive upgrades I would have no problem if they called this hand 11 or 12.

None of this excuses someone calling K82, AJ4, K953, QT7 15-17, no matter which box you have checked; I don’t think you can make even a vaguely credible argument that it’s worth 15, so if you are going to open this hand playing with client who declares poorly you need to say 13-17 or whatever your actual range is.
July 13
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The first (admittedly US centric) sensible definition of expert that I have heard (other than US-centric) is someone who, on a team of equal players, should be expected to make the round of 32 in the Spingold or Vanderbilt.

Since this is about the top ~150 players, it should be similar to the players who you would expect to make day 3 of the Blue Ribbons or LM pairs playing with an equal partner, but since some of the top pros play KOs with their teams rather than whether those events and many pros play with clients, I would guess the combination of those effects means that those players might be closer to the ones you would expect to be above average on day 3 of one of those events, or make day 3 of the platinum pairs.

I suspect this roughly corresponds to the AH level in NGS, plus some of the stronger AD (obviously assuming accuracy of rating; even in a good rating system there will be some noise/errors and not every rating will be perfect so I am sure you can find a handful of exceptions).

Of course in some clubs *much* weaker players are viewed as experts, and players that you might think of as terribly weak get hired as “pros”.
July 12
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Michael,

I agree with you and Ken, but I wonder if per of the reason you perceive it as common is that you are so surprised to see it.

I guess I would consider one world class pair somewhat surprising, and two (not both because of the same players preference) very surprising, but what do I know…
July 11
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Most casual partnerships are woefully short on agreements, especially around what is forcing when it is not 100% obvious.

That said I think expect that most players who have agreements in their serious partnerships would expect 3D to be forcing in a pickup partnership with a peer.
July 11
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While many of the poll answers are sources of frustration for me and things we can and should improve, I think the impact of competing forms of recreation is *much* more important than all others combined, so I only selected what I think is the primary issue.
July 10
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The ridicule is less about the convention and more about its misuse.

There are two ingredients to making slam:
1. You need to be able to take 12 tricks
2. They can’t be able to take 2 tricks first

Gerber will tell you if you are off two aces. It won’t tell you if you are off AK of hearts.

With your hand if partner has 18-19, if you are off both aces that you don’t see opps can have only 1-2 HCP elsewhere. This could be any holding with one J (4 holdings), any holding with JJ (6), or a Q (2). Thus there are 12 honor holdings where you might be off AA.

If they have AK of hearts, they should have 2-3 HCP in addition. This can be JJ (6), Q (2), QJ (8), JJJ (4) or K (3). This is 23 honor holdings.

Thus we can see that being off AK in hearts is not just an obscure problem, but quite a bit more likely than missing two aces. Gerber is solving only part of the problem. To be sure we don’t have two quick losers, we need to control bid first to make sure we are not off a cashing AK (here could only be hearts), then make sure we are not off two aces.

The problem isn’t Gerber. Gerber misuse is IMO a symptom of a much bigger problem - is that it is easy to teach conventions, and not too hard to learn them… so that is what bridge teachers teach and what bridge students learn. It is much harder - but much more useful - to teach students what they need to be thinking about.
July 10
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Doubly ridiculous because opps had to know when he had one of the cards that he didn’t actually need their answer to know LHOs holding, so could only be asking either to avoid giving away info on other asks (which most players don’t do) or to learn what RHO knew.

If anything, it seems the question followed by the know card probably suggests declarer holds both, and needs to know which you know that he holds.

So declarers inference seems just wrong, to add insult to the injury of the punishment being absurd.
July 10
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Paul,

Yes, watching them play on BBO is easier and doesn’t cost anything.

Quite often I am amazed at the accuracy of their play. But to your point of whether we mortals have any chance at all, at other times I am stunned by the terrible mistakes that even the best players make - like watching Michael Jordan airball a free throw or Tiger Woods miss a 2 foot putt. (Sometimes these apparent mind losses are VG operator error, but sometimes they are not).

But as useful as that is, it is not at all the same as playing against them at the table. There is something special about watching them exploit *my* errors and seeing if they will get this or that problem that I gave them right, or how the world class player at the other table solves the same problem I actually faced.

From many posts on this thread you seem strongly opposed to playing up.

For me, playing 120 boards against a top caliber team that happened to include Bob Hamman was awesome, even if blowing two slams that I should have made cost my team the match. Winning flight C GNT nationally was fun - but not nearly as good as that loss!

It was both a special life experience and good learning. I recommend it strongly, but understand that it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
July 9
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Kieran,

Maybe it’s different where you are but in the US “strats” are stratification for masterpoint awards within an event; “flights” are separate events. Players with fewer masterpoints who enter open events wind up in lower “strats”, even if they have entered the strongest event available.

(Our national events do not have strats but almost all regional pair games do).

Sorry if my response didn’t clarify that.
July 6
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As it turns out you don’t have a choice of what strat you are eligible for in an open pair event.

I know because my partner once tried to disclaim our eligibility for C. The directors rejected the request. Embarrassingly, we were second in C that day.
July 5
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Yes Josef I misread the story of what happened. I was confused, sorry.
July 4
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While I personally enjoy playing up I think we should not denigrate those who don’t have the same preferences. Bridge is a game; some of us may be obsessed with trying to master it, some may just want to play and have a chance of winning.

What happened to the ambitious players?

Maybe the culture of focusing on points won has discouraged them.

But also maybe they don’t bother trying to put together teams for KOs because they don’t want to play in bracket 3. If we allowed - or at least tried very hard to allow - teams to play up, maybe we would have had plenty of teams for bracket 1?
July 4
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Sorry I misread.
July 4
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Josef,

Am I correctly that they awarded masterpoints for having an event cancelled?

This might top the situation where, iirc in Florida 2 teams showed up for the open GNT, but the team that won at the table was disqualified so the losing team won a reasonably large chunk of masterpoints…

While I understand that not getting to play is frustrating, I am pretty amazed at a masterpoint award for not playing bridge.
July 3
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I wish I lived closer to D6, since I have wished to play up and been denied in D21!

Put the word out about open upgrades to bracket 1 and you might attract ambitious newer players next time!

Really disappointing - both the inflexibility and the fact that nobody wanted to play up.
July 3
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1. You partner not having asked is UI to you. Your partner having not asked clearly suggests that partner does not know. Therefore it seems clear that you *must* play for partner to have bid based on their actual agreement. I think “we all get to figure this out on our own” is absolutely not allowed; our side has UI and therefore does *not* get to figure it out.

2. Meanwhile, I believe it is UI to partner that you asked before you acted. Your having asked suggests to partner that you took partner to have bid according to their actual agreement. Therefore partner must play for you to have bid as though you thought the bid showed majors. That it actually did not is AI to partner, but the fact that you heard that explanation is not. I believe partner does not get to know by your question what type of mixup the two of you are having.

3. I think you and partner both need to explain to opponents the nature of what is going on, even if that adds more UI. To just explain your actual agreement, when you have UI that tells you partner didn’t follow it, seems like insufficient disclosure to me.
July 3
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