Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Max Schireson
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The ridicule is less about the convention and more about its misuse.

There are two ingredients to making slam:
1. You need to be able to take 12 tricks
2. They can’t be able to take 2 tricks first

Gerber will tell you if you are off two aces. It won’t tell you if you are off AK of hearts.

With your hand if partner has 18-19, if you are off both aces that you don’t see opps can have only 1-2 HCP elsewhere. This could be any holding with one J (4 holdings), any holding with JJ (6), or a Q (2). Thus there are 12 honor holdings where you might be off AA.

If they have AK of hearts, they should have 2-3 HCP in addition. This can be JJ (6), Q (2), QJ (8), JJJ (4) or K (3). This is 23 honor holdings.

Thus we can see that being off AK in hearts is not just an obscure problem, but quite a bit more likely than missing two aces. Gerber is solving only part of the problem. To be sure we don’t have two quick losers, we need to control bid first to make sure we are not off a cashing AK (here could only be hearts), then make sure we are not off two aces.

The problem isn’t Gerber. Gerber misuse is IMO a symptom of a much bigger problem - is that it is easy to teach conventions, and not too hard to learn them… so that is what bridge teachers teach and what bridge students learn. It is much harder - but much more useful - to teach students what they need to be thinking about.
July 10
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Doubly ridiculous because opps had to know when he had one of the cards that he didn’t actually need their answer to know LHOs holding, so could only be asking either to avoid giving away info on other asks (which most players don’t do) or to learn what RHO knew.

If anything, it seems the question followed by the know card probably suggests declarer holds both, and needs to know which you know that he holds.

So declarers inference seems just wrong, to add insult to the injury of the punishment being absurd.
July 10
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Paul,

Yes, watching them play on BBO is easier and doesn’t cost anything.

Quite often I am amazed at the accuracy of their play. But to your point of whether we mortals have any chance at all, at other times I am stunned by the terrible mistakes that even the best players make - like watching Michael Jordan airball a free throw or Tiger Woods miss a 2 foot putt. (Sometimes these apparent mind losses are VG operator error, but sometimes they are not).

But as useful as that is, it is not at all the same as playing against them at the table. There is something special about watching them exploit *my* errors and seeing if they will get this or that problem that I gave them right, or how the world class player at the other table solves the same problem I actually faced.

From many posts on this thread you seem strongly opposed to playing up.

For me, playing 120 boards against a top caliber team that happened to include Bob Hamman was awesome, even if blowing two slams that I should have made cost my team the match. Winning flight C GNT nationally was fun - but not nearly as good as that loss!

It was both a special life experience and good learning. I recommend it strongly, but understand that it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
July 9
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Kieran,

Maybe it’s different where you are but in the US “strats” are stratification for masterpoint awards within an event; “flights” are separate events. Players with fewer masterpoints who enter open events wind up in lower “strats”, even if they have entered the strongest event available.

(Our national events do not have strats but almost all regional pair games do).

Sorry if my response didn’t clarify that.
July 6
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As it turns out you don’t have a choice of what strat you are eligible for in an open pair event.

I know because my partner once tried to disclaim our eligibility for C. The directors rejected the request. Embarrassingly, we were second in C that day.
July 5
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Yes Josef I misread the story of what happened. I was confused, sorry.
July 4
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While I personally enjoy playing up I think we should not denigrate those who don’t have the same preferences. Bridge is a game; some of us may be obsessed with trying to master it, some may just want to play and have a chance of winning.

What happened to the ambitious players?

Maybe the culture of focusing on points won has discouraged them.

But also maybe they don’t bother trying to put together teams for KOs because they don’t want to play in bracket 3. If we allowed - or at least tried very hard to allow - teams to play up, maybe we would have had plenty of teams for bracket 1?
July 4
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Sorry I misread.
July 4
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Josef,

Am I correctly that they awarded masterpoints for having an event cancelled?

This might top the situation where, iirc in Florida 2 teams showed up for the open GNT, but the team that won at the table was disqualified so the losing team won a reasonably large chunk of masterpoints…

While I understand that not getting to play is frustrating, I am pretty amazed at a masterpoint award for not playing bridge.
July 3
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I wish I lived closer to D6, since I have wished to play up and been denied in D21!

Put the word out about open upgrades to bracket 1 and you might attract ambitious newer players next time!

Really disappointing - both the inflexibility and the fact that nobody wanted to play up.
July 3
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1. You partner not having asked is UI to you. Your partner having not asked clearly suggests that partner does not know. Therefore it seems clear that you *must* play for partner to have bid based on their actual agreement. I think “we all get to figure this out on our own” is absolutely not allowed; our side has UI and therefore does *not* get to figure it out.

2. Meanwhile, I believe it is UI to partner that you asked before you acted. Your having asked suggests to partner that you took partner to have bid according to their actual agreement. Therefore partner must play for you to have bid as though you thought the bid showed majors. That it actually did not is AI to partner, but the fact that you heard that explanation is not. I believe partner does not get to know by your question what type of mixup the two of you are having.

3. I think you and partner both need to explain to opponents the nature of what is going on, even if that adds more UI. To just explain your actual agreement, when you have UI that tells you partner didn’t follow it, seems like insufficient disclosure to me.
July 3
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Al,

Certainly it won’t cover all cases, but it could help.

It might turn out that your second case (of a team adding a pair) is frequently also the first case (a pair was looking for a team).
July 3
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I think tying the SSF to the date they are added doesn’t make sense, since I believe they could simply wait until the SSF is ready to be added.

My inclination would be to say that if by some date you haven’t filed your SSF, and you want to play unusual methods, your opponents get seating rights in the RR.

I understand that this may be challenging since right now lineups are submitted blind. Here is a an attempt to handle some of the obvious complexities, which you might decide are too much and the cure is worse than the disease.

For these purposes I will call any pair who a) submitted their SSF late and b) is playing unusual methods (determined by USBF systems committee) an “offending pair”. Someone else might come with a better label.

1. Any team with an offending pair playing must submit its lineup x (maybe 10?) minutes early, with some additional info (see below).
2. Any opponent without an offending pair playing who is playing such a team shall be notified on submission of their lineup of the offending pair, where they are sitting, what unusual methods they are playing, and what other pair is playing, and shall have the right to adjust their lineup, provided that they may not substitute in an offending pair
3. (Optional, perhaps not worth the complexity) If both opponents have at least one offending pair playing
- if one opponent has two offending pairs playing, their opponent may choose to switch the directions of their entered pairs
- if both teams have one offending pair, or both teams have two offending pairs, the opponent of the team with the pair that submitted SSFs last may choose to switch the direction of their entered pairs

One thing worth considering is whether interested pairs could be allowed submit SSFs prior to being on teams. That way if eg players in the open is plan to enter another event if they don’t win (which usually means with high likelihood because the vast majority of teams don’t win) but perhaps the team they will play on depends on which team wins the open, they can still file their SSF. This could generate extra work if the pair winds up not entering, but might on balance be helpful.
July 2
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So xxx, xxx, xxx, xxxx is worth -3 high card points, and Axxx, Axx, Axx, Axx is worth 13?

Simplest would be to start with 40 if you use a subtraction method.

If you want to start with 37, it should work if you do as you describe except you would also need to a) add one for each suit beyond the first in which you have more than 4 cards and b) only subtract one for the J in suits where you have 4 or more cards.
June 23
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My daughter’s regular partner had to miss the last couple days in Penticton so she was playing with a pick up partner who wanted to play 199er.

Her opponent with KJ9x sitting under her decided to double 4S. I guess this is rule of 9 with one to spare and a trump spot?

The defense was entirely unsuccessful: she took all the tricks.

No rule of 9 for me :)
June 17
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Cool position.

Not that you would have wound up in the same contract, but if hypothetically you had gone crazy and bid the same way with the ST and the SQ switched, I think you might have been more likely to make it??
June 12
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I can’t live with either 3C or 3N, so I feel like I have no alternative.

On a good day I will plan for this in advance and bid 2D in tempo. I don’t always have good days, so I might also “eventually” bid 2D.
June 4
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Steve,

You are right the analogy is flawed.

A better analogy is that Olympians are allowed to enter NCAAs, as well as age group (old or young) events that are not concurrent.
June 3
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Melanie,

Do you think the same partnership, if eligible and the events were not concurrent should be able to play in both open and mixed or open and women’s? Is it only the seniors that should ban open competitors?

How about juniors? Last cycle I think a player who had played in the Bermuda Bowl played in U21, and previous Bermuda Bowl winners have played in U26.
June 3
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Melanie,

While I agree with David in principle, I agree with you that two at a time is a good practical step.

I prefer Oren’s sequence in part because of the greater conflict between open and seniors, but also because of the conflict you cite between women’s and mixed. To be precise I don’t see it as a fairness issue relative to female competitors but an issue of trying to allow both the women’s and the mixed to have the strongest field possible.

I do disagree with you about prohibiting open competitors from entering other non-concurrent events. I prefer the other events be designed to have the strongest eligible team won, not to give others a chance… that’s fine we can each have our own opinion.

Randy,

I absolutely don’t think that someone should be able to play 2 concurrent world championships I was just making an observation about what could be possible
June 3
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