Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Max Schireson
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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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I do think the heart lead stands out, if they bid to slam the chance of a club cashing feels pretty low, and it is very possible the diamonds run for heart pitches. Good chance I can get in with the SK unless they have 12 spades so I may need to set up a heart trick for partner ASAP.

If somehow I bid to 7C (unlikely because I think pard will double 6S) I am not at all confident I would find the squeeze at the table. It is infinitely easier to find it in the car while driving home away from the pressure. I do think that ruffing a heart high before drawing trump looks pretty darned attractive in 7 even if it risks down 2 so I'd expect to make but on a boring line. Not even clear the the squeeze is the better line in 7, both seem very likely to make.

By the way I think the hope of leading a low club is very slim. It works only when pard has Q and the other two are splitting 11, or if pard has a void with a trump and the others are 21, or pard is void and can overruff dummy. The greatest number of layouts are those with pard void, but them having 3 clubs seems a lot to ask for on the bidding. Anyway if pard has a trump they will probably finesse into my spade K so on most of those layouts I am beating them by cashing a club and continuing clubs and hoping to eventually score my trump. Even if I think pard doesn't have a red suit trick I still don't think I want to play a low club, really that would be mostly playing for pard to have the stiff Q and the other clubs breaking 11 with opponents holding 12 trumps.
June 1, 2016
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Jurijs,
This won't be uncontested. Say it goes on
P (1S) 2D (3D)
4D (4S) 5C (P)
5D (5S) 6C (P)
Pard will for sure go back to 6D, thinking maybe you are an extreme 2 suiter. Now after
6D (X) 7C (P) you are already in trouble.
But now your partner has maybe 5 diamonds and 1 club, 7 diamonds seems clear on that bidding, maybe you are
-
-
KQxxxxx
KQxxxx

For example, makes more sense than mixing up a simple overcall.
June 1, 2016
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Well if I had both and passed out with my cards scattered on the table I think the director would still have given me the 12 tricks I got.
May 31, 2016
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Yeah a drink to calm down was definitely in order after that auction. It would have been so much more fun to tell my partner that I'd made an overtrick and beered on a double squeeze than to just have made!
May 31, 2016
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Where is the line between “used to seeing weird bidding sequences” and fielding pshyches or having an implicit agreement that a diamond bid may be on a bunch of clubs? Since you can expect pard to have on average about 1 club, unless the opponents have all 13 diamonds it is going to be very hard to convince pard to go with my second suit.
May 31, 2016
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