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All comments by Max Schireson
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I was not trying to say that anyone's rights were abridged by bridgewinners, just that the mobilization of this community appears to have inspired action by bridge organizations in a way that would lead many observers to be concerned about the opinion of this community.
March 30, 2016
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A tangent on a tangent but…

I suppose the only perceptions I can speak to with completee confidence are my own. But if I imagine myself holding any kind of official bridge role (acbl exec, employee, unit, District or national board etc) I would think it would be a bad thing if the the bridgewinners community was publicly and loudly questioning my decisions/competence etc. I can't say that I've had specific conversations that support this view but it seems like common sense that many woukd hold it.

Being a recent arrival and not knowing all the history it seems that the cheating revelations clearly established that bridgewinners isn't just talk and can drive real changes that impact individuals and organizations. While those changes may have been important, overdue and mostly for the better I think that process is likely to change how people view the community and we should be aware of that. Of course that change is hard to measure but that doesn't make it not real.

Now maybe I've really stirred things up beyond what I intended but you asked and I thought that was import context in my explanation.
March 30, 2016
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Off topic but I think important in context given the power that the bridgewinners community has or at least is perceived to have.

I agree with erring on the side of openness with my own information. I disagree with erring on the side of openness with other people's info though. These roles may seem glamorous but they are often thankless and difficult; I don't want to limit the pool of people who do them further by denying them privacy when they think they need it.

Sorry for my soapbox here but I have found leadership to often be a lonely job and I believe strongly in making it easier when possible.

I do think the community appreciated the information and if this is what he meant by sharing then there is no issue with confidentiality.
March 30, 2016
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If he encouraged you to get the word out that's great.

I do disagree with you about private conversations people in public roles. It serves their constituency for them to be able to have candid private conversations as they are developing their plans. Sometimes even conversations that present plans are trial balloons to test reaction. It is very hard to make decisions without being able to do this. I want him to have privacy for our benefit, not his.

I do respect your point of view and understand the value of sharing, I just balance it a bit differently. In this case it seems there may not have been a conflict given his encouragement to get the word out.
March 30, 2016
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Similarly I think the chance of a 1C opener having 3 needs to be factored by the 1C opening probability and may be something in the ballpark of 15%??
March 30, 2016
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Bernard,

I think that 1.8% of opening strength hands will have the right pattern for a 1D bid with 3, but many will be opened 1C/1H/1S/1N. Around 30% will wind up 1D and some of the 1.8% will wind up 1NT as you pointed out. Thus the conditional probability given that it was a 1D opening is much higher than the 1%. I said somewhat less than 6% and would guesstimate 4% +/- depending on NT frequency? Does that make sense to you?
March 30, 2016
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Funny, if they pass 3NT defense can at least in theory take all the tricks, off 9 for 450 NS tying the pairs that bid stopped short of the slam and took 11 tricks! Not impossible to find, if N plays to S's SJ and gets a low heart switch he can cash the long spade then S can see the hand on the third H. S should then cash the DA knowing N started with one minor suit card when he get back in with the HQ before playing his last heart back to N to cash out!

Congrats on your first platinum and sorry to hear your opponents were not more polite. Fwiw in my limited experience with national events (first platinum in Denver) I have found the field to be much more polite and generally more pleasant to play gainst than regional / club opponents. By the second day they thump me pretty good but they are very pleasant while they are thumping me! Hopefully your next national opponents will be more pleasant.
March 30, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment March 30, 2016
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Yes, I somehow missed it and Phil Clayton pointed it out. Thanks, good thread! Are you learning late in life too or just curious?
March 29, 2016
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Yes, I absolutely feel like the mistakes I see are at least keeping pace with my play. Put another way I think what I can figure out given some time to think about a hand is progressing at least as fast as my ability to find the play at the table. I do feel a lot of progress, just a long way to go before I feel like I am making good plays frequently and bad plays infrequently.
March 29, 2016
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Teaching a bridge player to fish:

f you open 1D whenever minors are 44 and 1C when 33 then the only pattern possible is four in each major and two clubs. That is about 1.8% of all hand patterns (one twelfth of the 22% that are any 4432). Now which hand patterns will be opened 1D? The 32% of balanced hands without a 5 card suit will be opened 1C or 1D. It's not exactly accurate to say half of those will be 1D (44 and 33 cases not exactly equal, but the 4441 hands roughly balances that out) but let's say about 16% are 1D. Among the 65% of hands with a 5+ card suit about a quarter will be 1D (some will have an equal length major). Total about 32% will be opened 1D I think; that means about 6% of those will be a 3 card suit. Then you need to adjust for 1NT openers, 2NT openers etc which by virtue of being balanced are more likely than other hands of the same strength to have a 3 card diamond suit and no 5 card+ major. Overall should then be slightly less than 94%; I think I remember hearing 92%.
March 29, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment March 29, 2016
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@David, thanks. Playing with Debbie has been awesome. I have learned to (at least attempt to…) separate results from whether a decision was good, to have specific reasons for my plays, to give myself chances and give my opponents chances to go wrong and lots of specific stuff. I at least feel like I have a flashlight in the dark room! It will take tons of practice to get it even mostly right at the table.

@Karen, I will watch more.
March 29, 2016
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Fwiw my one small interaction with Mitch was very positive. I can't say whether he is making the right decisions and I don't know the history but he seems to have a good attitude which matters a lot. If he does begin to share more on bridgewinners I hope that the tone stays positive enough to create a dialog despite the long history of frustration.
March 29, 2016
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Linda, thanks for the encouragement. A bit more on my thinking:

1. I don't think I should expect to follow historical precedent in either direction. Just because eg Tobi Sokolow can learn in her 30s and go on to win tons of championships doesn't mean that I will be able to. Perhaps she was the excaption due to extraordinary talent. But just because something is rare or hasn't been done doesn't mean someone can't be first or 10th or 100th person to do it.
2. I was curious how uncommon it was to become quite strong starting later in life. Also I thought identifying a set of people who had done it and/or were trying could be helpful at least as inspiration and perhaps for advice.
3. The most important things to me are having fun while I play, doing my best, and learning. If I work hard and do my best how I do relative to other players is out of my control and should not be that relevant. However I will confess after many years of feeling pretty good at what I do it feels funny to feel barely competent despite working hard and I think about learning curves, expectations for myself etc.

I did realize that the self-rating would be hard. Perhaps I could have designed or described the categories more skillfully. In addition to your gap some abstentions appear to have been stuck between expert and world class. The challenge in describing bridge strength is itself an interesting issue and I hope that there will be progress in rating systems.

Thanks to everyone who participated. This community is a great resource.
March 29, 2016
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It would be too depressing to me as someone who delayed / abrogated my college education without playing bridge! I did manage to play a fair bit of Go so it wasn't a complete waste ;)
March 28, 2016
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Sarah, our messages crossed in transit, mine was in response to Keiran who acknowledged only Roy.
March 28, 2016
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At the risk of starting an argument about the relative worth of women's events, in addition to a few of those world championships Tobi has also won the life master pairs and a world individual, seems hard to argue with that.
March 28, 2016
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I have heard (not in this poll) that Roy Welland and Tobi Sokolow learned later in life. A few answered this poll indicating expert level play learning in their 30s or later, I don't know them so I can't say whether they meet your definition of “truly” expert but I think Roy and Tobi should if indeed they learned after college.
March 28, 2016
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Haven't thought it through 100% but it seems:
- either line picks up 10 holdings for no diamond losers
- playing for the drop gives me the endplay on Qxx offside vs the finesse gives me the endplay on Qxx onside; since when the Q is offside the CK is more likely onside I think that is a significant advantage to the finesse

I will confess I did not fully work through the diamond suit at the table (and thus misplayed, giving up on either droppong a stiff Q or sneaking a T) but I did expect that if I lost the diamond finesse I could nearly take the club finesse to the bank.
March 28, 2016
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Perhaps I should have, I felt like my bid was a bit of a stretch but it could also win by pushing you guys to a bad 4S contract. I was definitely worried when I saw 4NT!
March 28, 2016
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Chris,

Your analysis is encouraging and consistent with the data.

Fwiw I never felt that precedent would be determinative in either direction but I was curious to see how uncommon it was to get a late start and become strong.
March 28, 2016
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