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All comments by Max Schireson
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Mark,
There are two reasons I think drop ins to day two are much less problematic than drop ins to day 3:
- The day that isn’t played by those pairs is attenuated twice by carryover calculations, so other than the binary question of making the cut or not has relatively little effect on finishing order day 3. Performance on day 2 is only cut once in the carryover calculation for day 3, so it is much more significant
- There are plenty of two day pairs championships; we have therefore already decided that four sessions is enough to have a meaningful pairs championship, even if it hasn’t been the choice for the most important championships. It therefore seems like a much less disruptive change to allow an alternative way to qualify which leaves that pair playing two days.

For those two reasons it seems like the costs are relatively low and we get four teams worth of strong players. In my judgement this makes a superior event, thus my advocacy.

I think the cost of allowing drop ins after the second day is much higher. Would people view a championship as legitimate if the winners only played one day? Not clear. Should they? Not clear. On balance I think the trade offs probably aren’t worth it to get two more teams of top players into the event, but I am sure that others differ.

Edit: typo
April 25
Max Schireson edited this comment April 25
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One objection I heard was that drop ins should not be allowed from a limited (senior) event to an open event. That is no longer the case so I think the issue deserves review, as I believe was the intention when the Soloway was added.
April 25
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I think the Thursday of Fall nationals is problematic (Thanksgiving), but I do hope that alternative schedules with a shorter Soloway are considered. I liked both ideas suggested in the other thread.
April 25
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Re potential appearance of self interest:

The times I have played against Steve in pair events, he has been playing with another top player; presumably neither of them is getting paid.

I am incredibly grateful to be able to play against Steve and Dennis Bilde, or Bobby Levi and Joe Grue, or Sabine and Roy, or Meckstroth and Rodwell in a pair event, and many other top players and pairs. These are cases where players who I believe could easily be getting hired to play with a client in the pair event or with their pro partner in a top bracket regional KO are instead playing in a top level pair event because they want to. I think this is great for bridge and the event would be diminished if those players elected to play with clients more often.

So what will happen when they aren't allowed to drop into the Blues? I would guess they will be hired for a bracket 1 KO.

So it may be self interest, but maybe it is the self interest of someone who loves bridge wanting to be able to play in a great event - in preference to being hired. That's not the worst kind of self interest, and I 100% believe that Steve would have the same view in my position.
April 25
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Responded to above comment based on misread.
April 25
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Sounds like Michael’s “more like 5 to 3” is a slight underbid and it is exactly 5:3.
April 25
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Ahh makes sense. I should have read the post more carefully, and apropos this topic been aware of the person who posted to know it wasn’t really possible you would think a trump coup here was nearly 100% :)
April 24
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Michael - am I missing something here, it seems like I am short two dummy entries here? Put the AK of clubs in the other hand and I just need RHO to have 3+ diamonds and no singleton when he has Jxxx of hearts?
April 24
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I played against one declarer on day two of the Jacoby Swiss that I would be pretty confident had no idea that it would matter to play an honor from JTx here.

What may be more interesting than declarers who have no idea is whether a declarer who knows they should actually does often enough. I certainly know I should make false cards like this, but I don’t think I do it 100% of the time at the table. Sometimes when my signaling might matter I shouldn’t, which is fine as long as I do it often enough that opponents shouldn’t finesse. But do I sometimes just play small out of laziness to avoid figuring out if a big one might give damaging trump suit preference to partner?

Am I 100% confident that I play an honor often enough here, even feeling like I understand the situation? No. I think I do, but can’t be certain. I will be more careful about this going forward.

I suspect than many players good enough to understand why they should don’t bother to actually play an honor often enough against a good player, thinking “they will never finesse”.
April 24
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I should have specified this was not possible on the hand in the interest of purity - but it is point against going down immediately on general principle. Of course in real life sometimes the dummy entry isn’t 100% safe either.
April 24
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Since I specified that you have shown all the KCs and the Q, opps should know that partner won’t have the Q or K.

This makes it safe to play an honor from JTxx, but also irrelevant (assuming the rest of the hand is solid.
April 24
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Great article.

I look forward to seeing more writing from you and watching you progress at bridge.
April 24
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Michael,

I agree with you that this is relatively straightforward in principle. In practice it is messy with a lot of variables.

It seems from Jan’s comments that the prior seeding is empirically more predictive.

I suspect that modeling would show that the preferred approach from the standpoint of the winner being the strongest team would depend on:
1. The accuracy of the prior seeding vs
2. The accuracy of the Swiss which comes down to two components
- the randomness of short events
- systemic differences, such as Swisses being a more favorable format to teams whose strength varies a lot based on their lineup

I think performance over an extended period should be more indicative than the Swiss, but the current system tracks performance that is heavily impacted by the seeding itself for midrange and lower teams. To gain seeding points, a 64 seed has to beat the champs but a 33 seed has to beat a very nearly equally accomplished team.

I think large quantities of seeding points should come from significant success in those events and the small handful of comparable events. Small amounts could come from masterpoints, but also other accomplishments. For example, how about close matches with top seeds? A team of players with 2000 masterpoints who have historically come close in matches with top teams should be seeded higher than a team of players with 5000 masterpoints that doesn’t. Similarly players who are doing very well in major pair events should be seeded higher than players who simply have more masterpoints.

An example: Kevin Rosenberg had just under 4 seeding points. He is viewed as equal to most players with a few thousand masterpoints, yet he nearly won the platinum pairs and beat Zimmerman in the R64. That’s crazy. You can say that a top seed should be earned by sustained performance, but I would easily pick a team of 6 Kevin Rosenbergs to make it to the R16. But in Memphis, a team of 6 Kevin Rosenbergs would have fallen in the 65-68 group (of 68 entrants). Surely the system can recognize those accomplishments in a way that he is seeded somewhere at least in the lower middle of the field. Self-seeding by the captains would surely do a better job - I guarantee if you held a draft where the top seeds picked their first round opponents, that team of 6 Kevins would *not* be in the first four opponents picked!!!

Another example, though not as far off as Kevin. Last year I played with Debbie for four days at the USBC in Houston, four handed with a similar pair. We went 9 and 8 in the RR, and were tied with Rosenthal (3 seed) after 105 boards before I blew the match on a few boards in the final segment (sorry team). You might ask how that effects our seeding in future events? Well, I earned 4.05 red masterpoints for the match awards in the RR. Winning flight X in a loser Swiss (single session!) was worth 7.54 red masterpoints, so therefore had almost twice the impact on how we would be seeded.

It really seems like there must be something in between masterpoints and V/S/R results to seed the bottom half of the field. I think the real problem isn’t the use of seeding per se, but a seeding approach that is reasonably accurate at the top but traps players who deserve to be in the middle, or at least near the middle, at the bottom.

In chess there are norms to achieve certain ranks. Perhaps bridge could have a similar concept. Those norms could be tied to average+ performance at a given level of competition:
level 1: non-open NABC event day 1 or AX regionals above a certain size
level 2: open but schedule conflicted NABC event day 1 or non-open day 2 or win AX regional above a certain size
level 3: premier NABC event day 1 or VS R128 survival (depends on format)
level 4: premier NABC event day 2 or VS R64 reasonable result (opponent adjusted, close loss to top team counts), or platinum pairs/Reisinger day 1
level 5: premier NABC day 3, open USBC RR (*might depend on format/number of byes) R64 win, plats / Reisinger day 2, win non-open NABC event
level 6: pp day 3, Reisinger day 3, win schedule conflicted open NABC, R32 win

Seeding points could be awarded in moderate amounts based on frequency and recency of these norms, or in larger quantities for high KO results or winning premier pair events and assigned equivalent amounts for foreign players. Perhaps playing under 60% of the boards could downgrade accomplishments in team events for seeding purposes. Whether you have 500 masterpoints or 5000, you get no seeding until you can demonstrate that you can compete in strong fields.

Surely something like this would be more accurate than masterpoints.
April 23
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If partner has that, how much do so expect to collect doubling?

But if partner has the clubs only (surely enough at first favorable even for a sound style) I expect to go down if I bid, but stay plus - with a decent chance of of +200 - if I just keep my mouth shut. At this vul imp odds are about even, so I see no reason to bet that partner has the heart honor I need.

I am tempted to X but I prefer them in 3D to 3H or 3HX. Call me chicken.
April 23
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This was eerie because in the pairs I opted to pass my partners reopening double of 2C with AT96 of trumps. And on of your other questions I rebid a 6 card minor rather than raising on 3, which in retrospect I think was wrong. I was having flashbacks looking at your poll questions and remembering those decisions.
April 23
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Partners double of 3 is lead directing, I should lead the 3.

Unfortunately as cute as that would be I lead low from 3 here, since partner won’t cater to my sense of humor when trying to work out the layout.
April 23
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Imagine that a malicious E, intent on keeping the 3 in his place, had instead pitched the K on the diamond.

Only a very wise 3 would truly appreciate what the 3 had done for him.
April 22
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Yeah I had to play NRK on Monday in Memphis. They were good.

I hoped the second match in our four way would have been easier. Then I sat down at the table against Morton Bilde.

Unfortunately, that draw in my 4 way, combined with poor play by me in both matches, deprived me of the R64 match against Fleisher I was hoping to play.

Yes, some of the low seeds are tough!
April 22
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Sorry my mental math was not accurate but still there is a signifant difference less than what I said though.

Lets say each team has a 50% chance of winning 6 matches to reach the finals if they don’t meet (round numbers, actual number should be 53%, assuming the event is 7 days of play and 90% to win each match).

If they are on opposite sides of the brackets:
25% of the time both will make it to the finals
25% of the time neither will make it to the finals
50% of the time one will make it to the finals

Thus the chance that one of them will win the event is 25% plus 90% of 50 is another 45%, Total is 70%.
Now say they meet in the first round.

One wins.
There is again a 50% (rounded) chance they win all 6 remaining matches

*If* the goal is to maximize the odds of the best team winning, early matches between strong teams detract from that. I think this should be the goal of the trials. It need not be the goal of every KO, so I am happy that there is the Soloway with a different format.

I also understand that you are in a position where the seeding hurts your chances to advance, and hence hurts your position to get more seeding points. As I said KOs are good at identifying the best teams, which can suck for teams in the middle that continually get bad draws. Since I often play on teams with so little chance to advance the tough draws don’t hurt me as much.
April 22
Max Schireson edited this comment April 23
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Finn,

It depends how you define the goals.

In the end to win the event you have to win 6 or 7 matches, and towards the end that will include some of the best teams that have also won matches. I think the KO format is well suited to finding which team is the strongest team in an event, but not at all well suited to rank ordering the rest.

If you want an event that maximizes the chance of the best team winning* (*more on this later), then you want the seeding to be as accurate as possible to reduce the chance of strong teams meeting early. For the sake of argument if two teams were much stronger than all the others (say 90% to win each match except against each other), if they are scheduled to meet only in the final there is something like a 70% chance one of them wins the event. If they meet in the first round, the chance that one of them wins drops to something like 30%.

In some sense it therefore seems the the event is more fair - truer to the goal of having the strongest team win - if they meet in the final. If instead you define fair as the event includes nothing that happened before the start - no seeding, no byes, everyone starts on completely equal footing - then seeding isn’t fair.

Now, back to goals. For the USBC, I think designing an event that maximizes the chance of the strongest team winning is important, so I strongly favor seeding the event to facilitate that. But that is because the event has an external consequence: its main purpose is to select the teams to represent the US in the world championships, and I want us to be represented by the strongest team possible.

For the Vanderbilt and Spingold, there is no external consequence, winning the event is the end unto itself. That argues for making the event should be more self contained, even if it might be less likely to have the strongest team win.

Another issue with using a Swiss to seed is that teams whose performance is more variable based on lineup will do better in a Swiss than a KO. If the weak lineup plays the early matches, those negative results are attenuated by stronger results against the weaker opponents earned by a low early score. In a KO, you have to make up all the imps you lost in the other segments.

One possible compromise would be having the field seed the event. In principle, team captains would rank order the strength of other teams and that would produce the bracket. There could be a play in Swiss for the bottom spots in the round of 64. This would allow teams of players who had not yet succeeded at the highest level to compete on relatively equal footing, but would seed the top of the field more accurately than a Swiss and thus maximize the chance of the strongest team winning.

That said there are flaws
1. Preventing gaming the seeding
2. Subjectivity of reputations
3. Logistics to actually do this

Anyway I think it is not realistic, but there is a subjective seeding committee that can adjust the seeding when it seems unfair, and I do think a low seed was moved up in the Vanderbilt this year.

I am personally happy to play Lavazza or Pepsi early, even if it makes the event a short one for me, but having events that work both ways is good. I like that aspect of the Soloway, plus multiple days of guaranteed play.
April 22
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