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All comments by Max Schireson
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Marty,

I understand that people dislike events being decided on rulings but I don’t think electronic playing environments would have solved this issue, or the Blue Ribbons BIT, and I don’t know how to make it better.

The platinum pairs BIT could have been solved by clearer rules for trick 1; I think it needs to be clear whether a) third hand should think about the whole hand than then play when ready or b) third hand should think about the trick then play and think about the hand before quitting the trick or c) third had should play after some amount of time has elapsed unless they are thinking about the trick. If there was a clear rule I expect Kevin would have followed it and Zia would not have been damaged. But trick 1 is an exception, and a rule change to fix this issue won’t help other issues.

Do you have a proposal for a better BIT rule?

Right now my view is that bridge is hard and people will sometimes need to break tempo, and that will sometimes transmit UI and lead to rulings even among competent and ethical players. Sometimes basketball or football games are decided by officiating decisions, and sometimes these decisions are wrong. Fouls/penalties happen, and are hard to judge. I think BITs are similar, but I would love to hear suggestions that would help.
May 20, 2019
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Glad to have found a new one :)

For all the times I have gone down thinking about complicated lines that don’t work, at least I have one new squeeze in compensation… The ratio is still quite bad, but at least it’s no longer infinite!
May 20, 2019
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Aside from the time penalties? :)

Sure, one of my disadvantages when playing against better players is that they can make the same decision faster. I don’t think that’s their only advantage, or their primary advantage. But if they are better than I am at making decisions quickly, they deserve to gain from that advantage.

FWIW I think I would be much closer to competitive in top level events given unlimited time, but I would still lose.
May 18, 2019
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Tom,

I can’t always bid in tempo. Sometimes I can’t play in tempo either.

When I break tempo, I understand that my partner will have to live with the consequences, and there could be a ruling against us.

Nobody is assuming cheating when there is a ruling, or at least nobody should be. We do our best, and sometimes there is information transmitted by our tempo, and sometimes that may mean we lose a ruling.
May 18, 2019
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Tom,

Do you think it is fair that players who have trouble remembering their system (whether it is a complex relay system is not) get to think more in difficult situations than players who don’t have trouble remembering their system (perhaps because they elected to play a simpler system, or put in the effort to be able to play their relay system smoothly)?

Nobody is suggesting that everyone will bid in tempo all the time. But when one doesn’t bid in tempo - even for very good reason - we should make sure that your partner is not better placed to get things right than if you did bid in tempo, with close calls (bids suggested by the UI, where a LA is available) going against you.

I think “correspondence bridge” where you have all the time you want would be an interesting game, and I think I would be much better at it than I am at regular bridge. Also there would be no tempo issues. But that is not the game we play.
May 18, 2019
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Yes, it should be clear to keep a club but I was thinking about threatening to establish spades so I first thought of N keeping 3 spades to match dummy… then later so saw the same line also worked when N shortened his spades to keep a club or two. While still learning my intuition sometimes takes me in weird directions. (Obviously there are entry problems with establishing spades, but here sometimes the opponents will solve them for you).
May 18, 2019
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Sathya,

Do you really want me to spoil it for you?

Remember declarer has two trumps remaining at that point :)
May 18, 2019
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At the table my partner played 4H from E and did get the spade lead and club switch so should really have been held to 11 tricks but for some discarding confusion.
May 18, 2019
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Sorry I was tired :)
May 18, 2019
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Thank you Richard, you have cataloged and named quite a variety of squeezes!

If (in the needlessly complex line I first saw) declarer has no club to concede from the trumpless hand and instead needs to ruff a spade with his last trump to concede a club, relying on the winning defender to get him back to his good diamond and spade, I guess that would be a steppingstone establishment triple squeeze?
May 18, 2019
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Gonzalo I should not respond so late at night, but the position is makable. From that 7 card position on the 6th trump declarer should pitch a spade from hand so that N has to pitch a club. Now diamond, diamond pitching a spade from dummy, spade ruff, concede a club pitching a diamond and whomever wins the club has to put you back in dummy (with either a spade or diamond depending on who it is).

I thought that was a really cool position, but of course it’s unnecessary because declarer can simply keep a club.
May 18, 2019
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Actually since S has the T nothing bad can happen leading any diamond but leading back the J seemed like the clearest example of why there was no endplay.
May 18, 2019
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I am not a kickback fan because of the accidents so don’t take this as general support for kickback.

Do you think there is some systemic reason why kickback wrong sides more contracts?

If you think it’s important that the preempt hand not declare, it would be easy to come up with “transfer preempt KC” where you skipped the trump suit as a response step. This might work better playing kickback because you would get the extra space back.

Edit: removed mixup. I should go to sleep!
May 18, 2019
Max Schireson edited this comment May 18, 2019
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Thanks, that is simpler than the line I saw!

I had the silly notion of pitching dummy’s club, thinking that another spade is more useful.

You can still make with KJx - AKQx - in dummy and one more trump in hand but it is much more complicated, in particular when N keeps 2 clubs in the 7 card ending. Now you cash one more trump (on which N must come down to one club) pitching a diamond, two diamonds pitching a spade, ruff a spade and exit a club; depending on which pitching a spade and the defense will have to put you in dummy.

Much cleaner to keep the club, thanks.

Edit: corrected
May 18, 2019
Max Schireson edited this comment May 18, 2019
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I should add that the actual solution is both much harder and much more interesting than that!
May 18, 2019
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W doesn’t have the diamond intermediates; from that position N can just exit the DJ and his 9 will eventually take a trick.
May 18, 2019
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John,

What if they don’t think they “play it in a specific way”, they have just never discussed reverses so they both think that means they don’t have any special agreement that they promise extra values, and thus assume they can be made on a minimum hand. Thus “not playing reverses”, and nothing to put on their card.

There are many cases where what seems normal to a rank beginner is not normal to a more experienced player, but the rank beginners simply can’t be expected to alert what is normal to them.
May 17, 2019
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Neal - no because there it would not apparent that one side was responsible for the delay.
May 17, 2019
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Last year Cornelius picked my team over Rosenthal in the R16.

For that I will always say that Cornelius wins any USBC fantasy tiebreaker - or at least until someone else picks my team, which could be a long time!

He should get something for predicting an absurd upset that come closer than anyone expected to happening, right? Otherwise it’s too easy to just pick the favorites…
May 17, 2019
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That’s why Andy said “in the given circumstances.”

Of course for a player that usually bids 2C over 1N in 2 seconds, if they take 8 seconds because they have a slam try hand with a four card major and a six card minor, they have transmitted UI, even if their opponents are unlikely to get a ruling.

As for the other situation, say you (not intended to be personal, just a hypothetical player) are in a forcing pass situation and you think for 20 seconds before doubling. Your partner, who already knows a lot about your hand, might know that you don’t have a hand where it is 100% clear to double. “I was always going to pull, I had a void in spades.” High level auction, you were thinking about the different hands partner could have and the scores, these decisions always take time, so there was no UI, 20-30 seconds is normal for that type of auction. And it’s “automatic” to pull with a void on that auction…

But in the alternative universe you double immediately. Partner passes. “It was clear from the auction that I had at most one card in their suit, and it was possible I was void; pass was forcing so partner didn’t want my opinion; actually my void makes it more attractive to pass because partner can actually have length in their suit, they can be in real trouble.” You explain that you had already decided to double 5H when you chose your call last round, some of that time was to plan ahead so that you could do it in tempo specifically to avoid UI issues here. Again, no UI.

Yes, “normal tempo” can vary with the situation, but I think much of the variation attributed to the auction is actually based on players holding problem hands - for most auctions there are at least some hands where the action is clear, but nobody waits 20 seconds on those hands, so usually 20 seconds at least says you don’t have one of those hands. Whether that UI suggests anything to partner is a different issue, but it’s often there even when people say it isn’t.
May 17, 2019
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