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All comments by Max Schireson
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Just based on logic:
1. Both should show the Q, else sign off.
2. In the first case:
- you have space to show any outside K, but elected not to
- therefore you should not have one
- however with no outside K you also could just bid 6S, so you have some reason to be interested in a grand
3. In the second case
- you could have shown any K outside spades, but did not, therefore you don’t have any of those Ks
- you might or might not have the SK or be interested in a grand; with the Q and no lower K you have no other way to show the Q, which you must do

One might have special agreements about responder continuing and showing Qs with 3 in the second auction which could effect the meaning of 5S and therefore also 5N but the above is what I would expect based on logic alone/no special agreements.
May 31, 2019
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I have nothing - other than the attacks he made in his post - against George. I tried to go out of my way to express respect for the person while also expressing great distaste for the attacks he made.

I don’t know his history but I respect his bridge accomplishments, his service, his writing, and also now his resilience to overcome whatever adversity he faced. But none of that will make me look past what I think were offensive and unfair attacks.
May 31, 2019
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Don,

On the substance of the rule change:

If a player who wins a trials is not allowed to enter another trials, not only might the second trials field be weakened but the first might as well - that player may choose not to enter the first event, because they don’t want to risk being unable to compete in the second event.

If this happens and the player then doesn’t win the second trials, and both events are won by 6 handed teams, that player won’t be able to play in the world championships.

Yes, the player knew, and made their choices. I don’t think anything should be done *for the benefit of that player*.

If, however, that player was one of our best, then our teams might be weakened by their non-participation. I personally would like to see the strongest possible team represent the US. Structuring our trials so that some of our strongest players have to make hard choices about which event to enter could diminish the competitiveness of our teams. I think that matters.

I don’t believe any player should get “special treatment”. But at the same time, I think we should set up the trials process in a way which is:
- transparent: everyone knows the rules
- equal: each player has the same rights under the rules as any other (some, like seeding, are earned by performance, but everyone has a chance to earn them)
- effective: as likely as we can make it to choose the strongest team

Allowing players to enter multiple events might increase the likelihood of choosing the strongest team.

Yes, it is also possible that players will drop off a winning team, and be replaced by other weaker players, and the result may be a weaker team going to the world championships.

Practically speaking, I think that risk is small. I think that for most of the winning teams, sponsors have paid a *lot* of money and will not compromise their chance to win by replacing the lost player with less than the best player they can. I expect that when that happens, on average (but not always) they will be able to replace the lost player with a *stronger* player. Why? Because every player from all the losing teams is available. Yeah, it sucks that you might lose Steve Garner, he’s a very strong player. But Pepsi, who wasn’t available when you were forming your team is available now. So are a bunch of other players. My point isn’t personal about Steve vs Pepsi, everyone will have their own opinion about who is stronger between any pair of players, but the principle is that there are more choices after the trials than before.

What about the other approach? You very realistically might wind up with a worse team. How?

Let’s say that Michael Rosenberg was unable to play in the mixed because it would foreclose the possibility of playing in the seniors if he won the mixed.

So what happens? Say Andrew asks Debbie who she wants to play with. Hypothetically let’s say that Michael was very impressed with Adam Grossack when they played together in the Silodor. Sorry Adam is booked. Ok how about Zach? No he isn’t available. Hey I just saw Pepsi make a great play how about him? No he is booked. Well, Chris says Eldad is strong, can we get him? No. Well I always thought it would be awesome to play with Bob Hamman. No, he is playing Seniors. Eventually poor Debbie is stuck with me (kidding, she would do better than that!) We win anyway, and go on to the Bronze in China.

Or she could play with Michael in the trials, and when he wins in the seniors have her choice of Pepsi, the Grossacks, and a bunch of others that weren’t available for the trials. Maybe that team goes on to Gold in China.

Obviously these situations are hypotheticals, and we can never know exactly who would be available when, and which team would do better than the alternative, but structurally the “market” for add-ons is very good - there is almost always a superb player on one of the losing teams that would be thrilled to play in a world championship. On the other hand forcing players to bow out of events because they prefer a future event only makes the market tighter, and on average fewer choices will lead to weaker teams.

Is it “fair” that Donner loses to a Rosenthal team where Debbie is playing with Michael, but in the actual event she winds up playing with Pepsi, or some other awesome player? It may feel funny, but once we get our head around a different way of thinking about things and realize that the replacement player is likely to be damn good, and everyone knows them’s the rules in advance, we might realize it’s not necessarily unfair, just different. And it may well lead to stronger teams.

This note is long, because the issue is complex. There are a variety of scenarios to consider; The right answer isn’t obvious. What I know is that dozens of very smart people spent hundreds of hours thinking through a lot of scenarios and balancing various factors.

The end decision may or may not have been correct, but the idea that it was made to favor specific individuals does not comport at all with what I saw in some of the discussions that extended beyond the board and committee (I was not privy to the narrower discussions). I saw a lot of people working hard to come up with a process that would work well systemically.

I think many of the comments here are focused around the a fairness ideal based on “winning team goes”. That has the advantage of simplicity, and works well for open, and for other events that have either non-overlapping fields or a clear and universal order of preference for all candidates. When the restricted events have overlapping fields and non-uniform preference, in practice things become very messy no matter what you do. The addition of the mixed event which conflicts heavily with the women’s event for half the field and with the seniors for another very significant slice of the field makes the problem much much worse than in previous years.

It is tempting to just keep the rules as is because the conflicts are really not exposed - players make their choices, somebody wins, others stay home, nobody can really complain, and we are all spared this thread, but I personally believe that is not the way to send the strongest teams.

Finally just to be explicit all my examples were intended as purely hypothetical, not intended to be a serious effort to rank available players, I just think it’s easier to understand the nature of the conflicts with real names attached.
May 31, 2019
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Randy see Michael’s post below itemizing some of the personal attacks George made.

I find those abhorrent, and I am particularly disappointed to hear them from a player with such a distinguished record.

I called out a series of attacks made personally against Marty and other USBF board members. I will persist in saying that those attacks are inappropriate, uninformed, irresponsible, inflammatory, and beneath the dignity of a distinguished champion like George.

I am now accused of “personal attacks” and “outlandish hyperbole”… Please quote one personal attack I made, or one piece of outlandish hyperbole, other than my (perhaps unsuccessful) attempt at humor in this one sub thread.

I have absolutely not intended to disrespect any individual in this thread. If I did so please show me where and I will apologize. I will not apologize, however, for vehemently disagreeing with George’s attacks on Marty and the USBF board.

“You say to me that these issues do not effect you as a player but…”

Typical of this whole discussion, another baseless insinuation of self interest.

“No one has been more disrespectful than you”

You don’t find the original post profoundly disrespectful of Marty, the USBF board, and various other parties? If anything I have said even approaches that, please do point it out as I owe someone a serious apology.
May 30, 2019
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Then it fits in perfectly with this thread.
May 30, 2019
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Perhaps we can creat a poll to determine your nefarious intent in opposing an exception for the open. Was it:

1. You had hatched a plan where your team members would use the “Fleisher rule” to enter other trials (intending to dump, so they could actually play in the Bermuda Bowl) and kick back a share of their earnings to you
2. You were actually in favor of the exception because nobody wanted to play on your team anymore - it was too expensive to win the open trials and forgo income from other trials
3. You had gotten wind of a plot by two of your team members to dump in the open trials so they could play in other trials
4. You made a pact with certain members of the Wolfson team, where they agreed to let you win the open trials so that they could the enter multiple other trials
5. Despite all the obvious reasons above why the exception for open events is costly to you financially, you wanted it anyway, so you paid off the other board members to institute it, while voting against it yourself to avoid being accused of self-dealing

Obviously this would need to be a multiple response poll.
May 30, 2019
Max Schireson edited this comment May 31, 2019
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Randy,

Last night I spoke to Andrew about joining the team in case Michael won the seniors. Then I woke up from my dream…

Actually I didn’t even dream about replacing Michael on that team.

The USBF has a rigorous process for reviewing possible augmentations to teams. I hope that some day I will improve to the level where they have to think for a few seconds before rejecting me, but that’s a long way away.

I guess I could measure my bridge progress as follows:

1. Current state - definitely not good enough
2. Good enough to dream that I could be augmented onto a team like that
3. Good enough to even briefly have the delusion (while awake, but see below) that I could be augmented onto a team like that
4. Good enough to even briefly have the delusion (while awake *and sober*) that I could be augmented onto a team like that
5. Good enough that they have to think very briefly before rejecting me
6. Good enough that they have to think hard before rejecting me
7. Actually good enough

I think I have it in me to get to level 2 or 3, we will see if I can progress beyond that.
May 30, 2019
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I have no problem with George disagreeing vehemently with the change. Plenty of people did, and there were strong feelings on both sides.

What I find disappointing (to put it mildly) is to attack the motivation and integrity of those who made the decision with no evidence. He talks about “pandering to players taking two paychecks” “intentionally destroying the fabric” of teams, etc, before saying he “won’t belabor it here” and encourages us to question what Marty and the board were “thinking”. Well he already has belabored it, and made his accusation clear. He did so publicly, without evidence, and apparently without bothering to learn about the process that led to the decision.

I do agree that the hyperbole are outlandish, we just disagree on where they occur.
May 30, 2019
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George,

I was deeply saddened by this article.

To see someone whose accomplishments and contributions to bridge I admire so much make such an uninformed, irresponsible and inflammatory attack on those who worked hard to find the least bad solution to what in my opinion was a fundamentally unsolvable scheduling problem was beyond disappointing.

Many people debated this thoroughly. Some may have had self interest but (speaking as an active participant in the discussion with no decision making authority) I believe strongly that the group as a whole was focused on what was best for bridge - both the USBC itself and sending the strongest teams. If you are interested in actually learning about the process, join the relevant forums, read the discussion, and comment there on the substance.

Meanwhile, I am determined to not let this post diminish my respect for you. When I see your column in the bulletin, I will remind myself to think of your Vanderbilt, Spingold, and Reisinger victories, your Bermuda Bowl silver medal, and your dedicated board service and prolific writing, not this post which is far beneath you.
May 30, 2019
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I think that there are two different types of issue at play:

1. CoCs for regional events that are unclear, unavailable, changed after the fact, or some combination thereof. I understand that the people who write these and organize regionals (including regional GNT qualifiers) are volunteers, but (to the extent the threads accurately represent what actually occurred) I think this is totally unacceptable.

Unfortunately there is no practical way to hold the responsible parties accountable, so the solution has to be interested parties who would take the role more seriously volunteering, and the decision making bodies (district boards?) selecting the right volunteers.

2. Complaint about the USBF changing the CoC. This is completely different:
- there was a very open process, including extensive debate in a forum that was open to interested parties, where any active USBF member could vote
- there was additional more detailed debate and close to a dozen different votes/polls among the USBF technical subcommittee that worked out the options that were presented to the membership for advisory votes and the board for a decision
- there was a clear majority in favor of changing the CoC in the direction of the actual change, and many who wanted to go further than the relatively more conservative change that was adopted
- the bridgewinners thread on this topic, with no disrespect intended to the author personally who has contributed much to bridge, is an ill informed, irresponsible rant from someone who could have been constructively involved in the open debate at the time and instead elected to attack both the result and the motivations of those involved
May 30, 2019
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Congrats to Andrew and team!!! I am so excited for you. Now I have to figure out a team for transnationals so that I can root for you in person in China!
May 30, 2019
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Case #2 is labeled as unauthorized information but it is a misinformation case.
May 25, 2019
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With a good invite make a game try instead: bid game and your partner will try to make it.

In general when you run out of spade often you lose the room to invite.

I think this is a very different situation than a maximal double, where both sides are known to have fit, so it is worth trading a penalty double for a game invite. Here it is possible that nobody has a fit, so it is more important to be able to penalize.
May 25, 2019
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So if partner bids 3N over 3H, I can comfortably pass, feeling like partner probably has enough in spades for us to make and therefore not enough in the red suits for us to have a diamond slam? But if I bid 3S and partner bids 3N, I don’t quite feel as comfortable passing…
May 23, 2019
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When I am doubled I like my partner to have the other trump ace.
May 21, 2019
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As it turns out Curtis and team was able to appeal the ruling at the table that went against them. The appeal did not overturn the ruling and therefore did not change the result of the event.

Just to be sure we are on the same page, do people really think this is a big problem, and the event would somehow have had more integrity/been much better for fans and the popularity of bridge if Curtis had not had the ability to have his appeal heard?

Edit: typo
May 21, 2019
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I love Ron’s 4C and 6H.
May 21, 2019
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Randy,

I haven’t personally seen one but it has a name: briar patch coup.

It requires one partner to be ethical and the other to cheat so in any given partnership they won’t happen much more than once, hence they should be rare.
May 20, 2019
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Randy Law 73A2 says that you should act without undue hesitation.

If you have a hand where you are desperately hoping partner doesn’t bid then presumably you are not thinking of acting yourself.

If you have no bridge reason to be thinking and think for 20 or 30 seconds you have violated this law.

You might get away with it at the club, but at the level of bridge we are talking about your opponents will notice. I don’t think things will go well for you when they call the director. Again, different if a beginner is just spaced out.
May 20, 2019
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Rich,

You need to pause over 5S for about 10 seconds.

If your pause is much longer than that with a hand where you want to be sure partner doesn’t compete to 5H, you are cheating. Not only should you lose a ruling, you should be subject to disciplinary action.
May 20, 2019
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