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All comments by Max Schireson
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Michael, here is what I suspect:

1. The 2 day event should have been 1.4x for 2 days, plus 10% more pairs, plus a stronger field, overall close to 2x.

2. Per the 2016 masterpoint book a regionally rated
stratiflighted Swiss upper event pays 2.25x when there is a lower concurrent bracketed Swiss. Perhas some other event on Sunday triggered that and brought the payouts up to the level of the 4 Sessions event? And the 4 session event perhaps didn't qualify for the same boost? The language is not 100% clear to me (page 20).

I suppose it's possible that the teams that advanced had less masterpoints than average? It would surprise if that was enough to make up for the length and attendance delta but it's possible.

Unless I am missing something it should be one of those two explanations.
June 6, 2016
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Michael, I was thinking about posting something about the payouts too, you beat me to the punch.

I found the payouts to make no sense. Friday we played in the bracket 1 compact knockout, lost the first 12 board match and won the second for 2.25 masterpoints. We then finished 5th in the one session Swiss for 2.76.

Sat/Sun we played in the 2 session Swiss. We won 4 matches the first day and qualified 10-12th. The second day we also won 4 matches, finishing 11th (which felt like a good result for the team we had). Total award for two days: 3.68 masterpoints.

I used understand that we just missed the overalls, but getting .42 for the first day match awards and .5 for the second day match awards seems inconsistent with 2.25 for the consolation match in the compact knockout. The Swiss matches were 8 boards vs 12 but the competition was much stronger, certainly it can't make sense that the match awards are about 20% of what they were in the compact knockout.

I generally don't care about masterpoints, except this year I noticed that I was close enough to the top of my mini-McKenney bracket (50-100) that I might have a chance to win nationally… still glad I entered what was overall a really good event but I did feel that 3.76 masterpoints felt wildly out of proportion to the difficulty. (What is even more inconsistent is 6 masterpoints for winning a one day NLM sectional Swiss; I would bet on the last place team in the cal cap Swiss to easily win the NLM event)

On page 20 of the masterpoint awards book it says that if there is a bracketed swiss below an open swiss the awards for the open Swiss are multiplied by 2.25 or 2.75 depending on whether the limit for the bracketed Swiss is under or over 2500. Thus it seems the awards would have been 2.75x had the concurrent event been a <2500 bracketed swiss rather than a <2000 compact knockout??? If this reading is correct perhaps the organizers will consider changing the concurrent event for next year. Presumably this is designed to replace the credit for tables in the lower event by recognizing that having lower events strengthens the field?

Anyway if I had placed higher I would get more masterpoints so I can't complain that much. I will keep trying to win the 50-100 Mini-McKenney playing in top bracket events.
June 6, 2016
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Ruth,

I wanted to make sure you got a clear explanation of one reason declarer might need this information on this specific layout. Disclaimer - I am far from an expert so declarer may have had more in mind, but this is how I would think about it:

Declarer is planning to finesse the heart. If you come back a diamond they avoid two spade losers.

If they win the T of diamonds given your actual agreement you would then know the 9 was top of nothing and the spade switch would be much more attractive. Thus they need to win the with a high honor. Winning the K would make a diamond continuation very attractive - if pard started with AT9xx and declarer has KQx you will set them with a diamond return.

However if the 9 already denies the T, then declarer can win cheaply with the T and not risk losing a diamond trick on a 41 break.

What diamond did declarer win with?

I hope you keep using this site, I have found it very helpful.
June 6, 2016
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@Peg,
My main goal is to be able to get through a round of bridge without making awful plays; that one is elusive as the more I learn the more of my own mistakes I see.
I would like to be able to count a hand without the mental energy required to do so being so great that it impacts my play.
While I mostly haven't cared about masterpoints I am close enough to the top of the mini-McKenney for 50-100 that I would love to win, but only if I can do so while playing in challenging events.
In 14 years when I am old enough I have fantasies of making a serious attempt at the senior trials. That one will keep me from getting complacent.
June 3, 2016
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I am working hard for my 50 platinum and will feel quite a sense if accomplishment when I get it.

Ok now I will rant for a minute.

I wish I would feel accomplishment earning life master but I won't. Win a 2 session NLM Sectional Swiss is 6 masterpoints and a 12 table low bracket compact knockout is 7 masterpoints; advance to day 2 of a national Swiss is 2.12 masterpoints. A 55% session in the Blue Ribbons is 1.33 masterpoints and a 56% session in a 299er (playing with my 10 year old daughter) is 1.03 masterpoints and a 57% club game is 1.4 masterpoints??? The awards bear very little relationship to the difficulty of the achievement. Oh, and you can earn life master without ever playing an event harder than a gold rush (which many of you have have never played but they are a significant step down from an open club game).
June 3, 2016
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Jeff, I think the difference between bridge and scrabble is that there is a discontinuity between your 10 minutes to learn bridge and being able to feel comfortable playing in any organized bridge club/tournament. Go to a newcomer game and just bid your suits? Let me make up a story:
First hand you have a balanced hand and open 1NT. Opponents complain about your partners failure to announce your range. Then partner has a bunch of clubs so bids 2C, all pass and the opponents call the director for your failure to alert the 2C bid as not being Staysomethig? The next hand you have a great hand with a bunch of spades so you bid 2S. Partner passes and the player in the pass out seat doubles, all pass. You make 2S doubled, only to have the director called because your partner failed to alert your 2S bid as strong and if they knew it was strong they would have correctly guessed you held the QH so your 2S doubled is ruled down 1.
Now you again pick up another hand with a lot of spades but this one is weak, and you have been told that's what you are supposed to have for 2S so you try 2S again, thinking you got it right this time. Partner bids 3D. You have 3 diamonds and a bad hand so you pass. Once more the director is at your table for your failure to alert. You have to alert when your partners bid is non-forcing? At this point you get up and go home and decide to stick to Scrabble.

I wish people could just play bridge in an organized enviroment without learning all of this, but I think that would take major changes.

I think “harder” for serious levels of any of Chess, Bridge, Go, Scrabble, Poker or Backgammon is irrelevant as all are too hard to play perfectly so really the challenge is playing better than your opponents and there are smart people who work hard at all of them. That said I think the initial learning curve to be able to play even very poorly in a tournament is orders of magnitude harder with bridge.
June 3, 2016
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No beer for a bad line! But I think through 51 break could barely happen, lefty 4171 and righty 7510. Very unlikely but I am giving up a great score just to protect the case where lefty bid 5D on a 4 card suit or righty bid 5S on a Q-high suit. Also very unlikely and risking the contract to pick up an overtrick in these cases seems wrong. Answer might be different in 7.
June 2, 2016
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Oh that's great - I must have looked at an old CoC! Will see if my partner can arrive a day earlier (was planning to do 10k).
June 2, 2016
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Believe it or not micro (<1500) is LM only!
June 2, 2016
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I do worry about being the random factor. That's a big part of why I didn't enter the Reisinger. That said, there are plenty of LMs worse than me. I would love to have some sort of alternate qualification which could be harder than LM but less time consuming - a few examples would be:
- making day 2 of a national event
- having earned say 50 gold in 2 years (easily on pace for LM)
- having earned some small amount of platinum (5 or 10 lifetime)
- having earned some number of BRQs
Any of these seem that they would protect field strength at least as well as LM.
Another idea would be a day zero play in for NLMs, with potentially a limited number of spots.
June 2, 2016
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If “strong enough” means near average for the event absolutely not. If “strong enough” means comfortably stronger than many that do qualify then yes.
June 2, 2016
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Do you view both the Von Zedtwitz LM pairs and the Nail LM pairs as major events or do you view the Nail LM pairs as being more like the Silodor or Wernher? I had always viewed all the 2 day events as being similar and not as prestigious as any of the 3 day events.
June 2, 2016
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I am happy to reach for platinum pairs, 50 in 3 years will likely mean I need at least one decent overall finish which so far has been beyond my grasp - because I am not yet a good enough bridge player! By all means keep me out of that event until I earn it.

But LM is hard to get excited about. It feels like aspiring to be 48 years old - unless something really surprising happens I will get there this decade but ain't gonna happen this year.
June 2, 2016
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1. Yes, theoretically that could be a benefit, but is there an actual problem with those players entering the Silodor or Wernher open pairs where the rule doesn't exist?
2. No experience outside the US.
3. Re BRP I am living proof that even if you can get quals you don't necessarily belong! I'd just rather get them in stronger fields. I think you can get quals and not belong in an AX regional field. My guess is that most of those quals get used for the mini-blue-ribbon.
June 2, 2016
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Yes that's a good point. You can even get a red ribbon for C on an awful game. My 3rd place was with a partner who had too many masterpoints for B.
June 2, 2016
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Thanks. I can always go back to limited events/low bracket knockouts to get a blue ribbon Q but it seems ironic to do so. Hopefully I will break through in the other events so I won't have to.
June 2, 2016
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Thanks. Senior is a ways off - I view it as a 15 year training process to get read for senior trials - and I am far from fast right now but maybe I should try it (although I think it was at the end so it conflicted with the Swiss). Yes, spring is good… it's the one without life master events!
June 2, 2016
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Joanne I should say congrats to you and your team and sorry for hijacking this comment! You have inspired me in the truest sense.
June 1, 2016
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Yes, I am aware that they start as a round robin. While that might be a better experience for me, I worry that I might influence the results of the round robin; a team that got flat boards in their match against us would be materially disadvantaged. Since the goal of the event is selecting teams to represent the US I don't feel good about disrupting it. More practically, I worry that other teams would resent a team that had no chance potentially disrupting the results.

On a related note I felt awful qualifying for day two of Blue Ribbons with Sontag and Berkowitz 157th, but thankfully they got in on a scoring correction so I am not sure who wound up just below the line and thus don't need to feel guilty about it.. but every time my mistake fixed an opponent I felt badly, what if that was the difference between them qualifying and not?

The women's trial format spared the OSMO team that issue and I think realistically I would be further from the field than they were.
June 1, 2016
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I am a big believer in playing up (national Swisses on a team with 3 non-life-masters, any national pairs event they will let me enter) but have not yet tried the Vanderbilt/Spingold/Reisinger/team trials. I do have some hesitation about screwing up the event for the teams that have a chance but that's really only an issue for the Reisinger, all we would do in a knockout is create a bye for one of the strong teams.

Congrats. Maybe I'll see you at the open trials?
June 1, 2016
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