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All comments by Max Schireson
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Any time the second place team is closer to the 114th place team than the leaders you know somebody had a good session!
March 16, 2016
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Final commwnt:

You were not “lucky” to make 6NT. With that dummy after losing the QH you can always set up 7 heart tricks, 3 spades, 2 diamonds and a club and you have the transportation and controls to cash them regardless of the lead but alas you only have time to win 12 tricks. Note that a club lead gives you a second club stopper.

Nor were you lucky to get that dummy with 8HCP. Almost every opening hand that is missing a king will have the QH.

If you were lucky it was to stop in 6NT when 7 of anything went down. Arguably your partner overbid and so your restrained bid when it was tempting to bid higher worked out perfectly. Whether that was lucky or knowing your partner I don't know.

Sorry if I am being pedantic in complaining about your use of the word lucky but I just wanted to be sure you understood that 6NT is in zero jeopardy despite a dummy that is both below most people's standards to open 1H and a poor fit with your hand.
March 10, 2016
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That is a very important message from this hand; other things to consider with your partner in the auction to that point:
I might do a poll to see how people would open your partners hand. While it can take a lot of tricks it is very short on high cards for 1H opening. I am curious how many would open it 3H or 4H rather than 1H. Personally I think I would bid 4H but I am sure there will be a variety of opinions. Similarly after 1H/2C there is a case to be made for bidding 4H rather than 2H; it consumes a lot of space but describes a lot about your hand. Of course it depends on what you have agreed that bid means with your partner.
March 8, 2016
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I am curious how 6NT scored?
March 8, 2016
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I think you got the hands a bit confused, both of you have the AD and neither of you has the AH.

??

Edited: it appears that the 8 diamonds you showed are actually hearts?

If that is the case win the lead in your hand, cash the spades and the ace of diamonds and the king of hearts. Trick 6 (or 7 if a club was led) cross to the king of clubs, cash the Ace of hearts. Now cross back in clubs and run your clubs. You have 10 total to the AKQ so they will always run, you can claim as soon as you see dummy if you can describe the line. You will take 13 tricks always: 3 spades 2 hearts 1 diamond and 7 clubs.

Note also that if both opponents follow to the AH you have a bunch of heart tricks but they are not needed.

Of course if I am misunderstanding dummys holding this could be wrong.
March 8, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment March 8, 2016
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I agree that 7NT is likely to make. Pard probably has something like

JXX
AQJXXX
KJX
XX

The biggest risk to taking 13 tricks is that pard has only 2 diamonds, but then pard ether has a 4th spade which is good if he has the Jack and may still be good or a 7th heart or a 3rd club; if it's the 3rd club then I will likely make 13 tricks if the club finesse is on. Certainly the third diamond is well more than 50% and without it you are probably a coin toss. I would thus put 7NT at around 80% to make.

The question then is what part of the field will be in 6NT. In this case with 24 points across from an opener I think a lot of the field will be in a slam. If a quarter of the field is not in slam, a quarter of the field is each of club, heart, and NT slams then 6NT will probably score very highly.

I think rebidding the clubs to try to learn more about your partners hand would really help with the decision. In the end whether I bid 6NT or 7NT would depend on a) how I thought I was doing and whether I wanted a small chance of a bottom to make a very good board into a top and b) how likely I thought the rest of the field was to find the right contract.

I think in a limited club game I would probably decide 6NT is enough for a good score but in an open club game I would think some pairs would likely bid to 7 so I would go there myself thinking 6NT might be more like an average plus board and so I would bid 7NT.

Curious where the field would up and what pard had.

Added:

If pard is an aggressive bidder and might have something like
JTXX
AJTXXX
KJT
J
or worse then I need to be a bit more cautious.



March 7, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment March 7, 2016
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That is interesting!

As I read the CoC (regional and national) it appears that a team can add up to four replacement players so rather than spitting 33 they would have the option to split 42 and each team could backfill to a team of 6. Theoretically if 3 teams with the same members (I won't call it one team) won 3 flights two players could continue in each flight, each adding up to four more players to the team.
March 1, 2016
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Eugene, do you really think 7 Bermuda Bowls, 9 Reisingers, and another hundred or so other Spingolds, Vanderbilts, Cavendishes and various other national and world championships (including 18 GNT wins) means more than doing well in this event last year? ;)
March 1, 2016
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I am told it is seeded by results in previous years which has the effect of having a few teams that have done well meet later. I do think it is challenging to seed non-open events but I think the way you stated the problem could come across as a bit insulting to someone playing in the event (including me).

Fwiw I know that one of the pairs on the team that beat us made the quarterfinals of the open and along the way beat a team of Martel/Woolsey/Stansby/Stansby in a 3 way and Rosenberg/Rosenberg/Watson/Joel in another 3 way. If you are wondering who their ringer partners were in open they were on another team for flight B.

Yes, it is a challenge to seed these teams and I am not particularly happy with the way it is done, but the idea that all these teams could manage is a section top in a gold rush event is not accurate.
Feb. 28, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 28, 2016
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I was a captain and I was told by an experienced player to expect changes. We had been 21 playing 3 and wound up as 18 playing 6. Knowing the team that was seeded 3 I was relieved but it turns out we faced another strong team.

I voted back luck results stand.

Added: one factor that probably contributed to my not noticing the error is that the team we were playing was still “seeded” #3, in what appears to have been nothing more than a coincidence. It thus appeared to me that a few teams had dropped out above us and others had been added, presumably with low seeding for the late entrants.
Feb. 28, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 29, 2016
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A 20% slam requires a much more specific reason to bid that just being up against a strong team in a Swiss. If the rest of the match was all flat boards and you came in with 67 victory points after 7 matches and this is the last board and you know you need about 80 victory points to advance to day 2 maybe… but even then you should be more than 80% sure that your opponents didn't blow a game at the other table somewhere earlier in the set.

I think you will get more out of playing up (which I really enjoy myself) if you mostly play normal contracts. As you keep doing it you will find that even the A teams make mistakes.

– Max
Feb. 20, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 20, 2016
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I am a fan of saving neurons. Maybe just decide to bid them in a close call at imps especially vul without lots of detailed calculations.
Feb. 16, 2016
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I think that will be wrong at IMPs. When you are vul you will have to bid some where you are less than 50%. Let's say you have a (very) long (theoretical) match ad decide not to bid 20 vulnerable games that are 45%. Your opponents bid them. 9 of them make. You save 77 imps on the games that go down but lose 99 imps on the games that make. You are down 22 imps/ 1.1 imps per board on those decisions. That is a big deficit.
Feb. 16, 2016
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At matchpoints my threshold is somewhere over 50%; theoretically a 51% game is an advantage to bid but sometimes funny things happen at other tables so staying positive is maybe a little better than it ought to be, so I really want to be a favorite. I have dialed this back a little bit further against super strong fields thinking realisitcally I am likelier than average to go down in a hard contract eg in BRP field (where we did play Meckwell day two to your example).

At imps vul the 500 game bonus is +11 vs going down 1 for a -270 swing in 4M vs 3M at the other table is -7. That makes the theoretical threshold somewhere around 39%. That said sometimes there are victory point odds issues too; if you think you are well ahead in the match +11 may not pay off so you may be better off betting against a game that is 40-45%. Also you might think about whether your opponents are likely to bid it and if you want to be in the same contract and try to outplay them (usually yes if you think you play better) or would prefer an anti-field contract (if you are a big underdog).

Now if only I could know my odds accurately and play correctly!
Feb. 16, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 16, 2016
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As much as I like to celebrate an aggressive bid that works this one feels to me like it was too aggressive. I would guesstimate opponents have ~23 HCP to your side's 17. If everyone has normal values for their bids I'd say the range is 21-24 for opponents and 16-19 for your side.

It therefore seems to me that:
1. Your game making is very unlikely
2. You are reasonably likely to get doubled even when they don't have a game

If they have an 8 card fit and you have 9 and 17 tricks are available, often they will split 9 for them and 8 for you. 3S will be -50; 4S will be -100 if undoubled or -300 if doubled; 3H will be -140 and 4H will be +50. If this is the case you are clearly better stopping at 3S.

It seems that bidding 4S is betting that game will be bid and made at the majority of the tables, which seems like a risky bet to take. Keep in mind that their red suit fit could be in diamonds and they may not judge that they can take 11, or they may fail to find a 53 fit for 4H over your 3S bid. For that matter isn't it possible they misfit in the red suits and have a 44 club fit? I think 3S makes them make the last decision. Your side has too much strength to make bidding over 4S a hard decision for them unless their distribution is really unusual.

I agree that it looks like things may break for them and your values may be too concentrated in spades to defend well but I am still not sure this is a percentage action.

– Max
Feb. 16, 2016
Max Schireson edited this comment Feb. 16, 2016
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Looking at the letter of the law, 40A1a says partner has “no more reason to be aware”; this seems to indicate clearly that actual awareness is not required.

However although it is not explicitly stated it seems reasonable that “no more reason to be aware” be judged relative to the level of the player involved. A newer player struggling to get things right at the table won't notice a deviation unless it is dramatic and I view that situation very differently from a strong experienced pair that willfully ignores their partners tendencies when explaining bids to opponents but fields the bids with full knowledge.

Reading the law it seems that the opponents experience playing against the player in question is also relevant - especially when the partnership is relatively new.
Dec. 10, 2015
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I will have to focus much more on my play than on results in measuring my progress over the next few years, those results were luck-aided for sure.
Dec. 10, 2015
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Certainly the early learning curve feels steeper than any other game I have played. I think it has taken me 1000 hours over the course if a year to not feel confused most of the time and start feeling borderline competent. It's hard to compare directly with other games; I never played Chess seriously but Go certainly seemed easier to learn / faster progress - but 25 years ago when I was learning Go I was also younger and learned faster so it's hard to say what's the game and what's me.

It definitely feels like more fun than any other game.

Nationals was a great opportunity to see both how far I have come (even since Chicago) and how far I have to go.
Dec. 10, 2015
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Thanks for posting this, very relevant for me.

I am coming up on one year from my first masterpoint and I feel like my expectations of myself have progressed faster than my actual abilities. Going back and playing an I/N event with my daughter reminded me that I have made a lot of progress (even if less than I would have liked to have made).

Being mediocre after working at something for a few months was easier to take than after a year (and the realization that I will likely still be mediocre after 2 or 3 years). Seeing the progress helps, and reminding myself that regardless of my skill playing bridge is fun helps, but as a competitive person not being good at something I care about and do a lot is hard sometimes.

My enthusiasm is undaunted even if my ego is bruised by not meeting my own expectations of progress. Separating the enjoyment of the act and the enjoyment of success and progress is hard and I think worthwhile.
Nov. 20, 2015
Max Schireson edited this comment Dec. 10, 2015
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Maybe I am spoiled that this hasn't happened more often where I play. I am not saying it is perfect but it is usually much better than that.
Oct. 16, 2015
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