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All comments by Max Schireson
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Rich,

There are two perspectives from which you can view this:

From the perspective of the “80” player: you have much more chance (even if it is less than 50%) to win the match against the 6 handed team with the 60 player than against those 5 players who are 90+. I don’t see why you think it’s at all unfair that you are an underdog to a team that mostly has stronger players than you.

I think this is the only perspective from which it is useful for you to view this, since in life I find it mostly unproductive to guess at other people’s motivations or think about whether some good thing that happened to someone else is “fair”.

I am only answering from your perspective because I have been in that perspective. I have played with my peers and lost to teams of all pros (Lavazza) and to teams of pros with a sponsor. Frankly it felt no different losing to Lavazza than to a team with a sponsor (except that sometimes depending on who the sponsor was we might have had a small chance where we had basically none against Lavazza).

Since I haven’t hired 5 pros and played minimum I don’t really have much to add from that perspective, but I don’t see any need to judge the choices of others. If they effect me at all, I view it as positive:
1. I have more chance to beat them then I otherwise would
2. They are funding good players playing more; that may reduce my chances of winning but I think it improves the game

Is there anything at all I see as unfair in your scenario?

I guess it would be unfair if someone thought that because the 6 handed team won the “60” was a better player than the “80”s… but I doubt anyone would think that, and caring about whether everyone’s opinion of me relative to everyone else is accurate seems like a recipe for misery.
April 29
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“hired team beat an amateur team… because of money”

Unless you are suggesting that the amateur team was bribed to throw the match, I think the hired team won through some combination of skill and luck.

In fact if the sponsor is a weaker player who was only on the team because they paid, then it seems that the amateur team only had as good a chance as they did because of money, and if the sponsor were replaced by another stronger player they would have likely won by a larger margin.

If you mean one of the players was only on the team because of money - maybe so. But people play with the teammates they play with for a lot of reasons besides money or sex.

I won a club game with my daughter who is not as strong a player as me. Is it a problem that we won “because of family”?

I won X in a Swiss on a team with a nice older lady who needed some help to make LM. She baked me a pie afterwards but I did not know that was coming; there was definitely no money or sex involved. Is it a problem that we won “because of doing a good deed”?
April 29
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One difference that many have observed is that in Bridge the sponsor plays, whereas in some sports (baseball, basketball etc) the owner does not play.

I think one of the issues is that in those sports there is a collective bargaining agreement, which I think prohibits players from having ownership in teams? Otherwise I can imagine for example MJ suiting up with the team he owns, or part of LeBron’s deal having been an ownership stake in the Cavs.

Of course these would have been strong players who earned their money playing the sport, but I don’t doubt at all that some owners who earned their money in other fields would take a roster spot and play here and there if CBAs did not prohibit the practice.
April 29
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@Walter,
That doesn’t surprise me given how the D21 NAP feels.
Looks like that was at 12.1 day 2 (for my direction and the one session I have convenient data), which matches my feeling of being a little stronger than secondary national events. I guess it’s possible that the national final is not much stronger than the district final in some districts if the strong players are distributed unevenly enough around the districts.
April 29
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Sathya,
I would not allow drop ins from the Spingold to day 2 of the Wernher.
Yes, I think surviving through Wed in the Spingold is a better accomplishment than surviving to day two of the Wernher, but for me that is necessary but not sufficient for allowing drop ins. What’s missing?
1. I don’t think it’s important that the Wernher have as strong a field as possible. It’s not a major event, and wouldn’t be even with the drop ins. You might not like secondary national events but some people do and IMO they are what they are and there is no need to try to turn everything into a major event (which wouldn’t work anyway).
2. Drop in pairs would only play one day, and there could be quite a few of them. This would be a pretty big disruption, and a short event for those pairs. I am not saying I would never favor drop ins to the final day of an event under any circumstances, but it’s a much higher bar.

Thus I think the benefit is much smaller and the cost is much greater so I wouldn’t do it, even though I think the alternative method of qualifying is harder than day 1 of the Wernher.
April 29
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Debbie,

Undiluted is relative I guess - seniors takes out a lot of strong players but enough aren’t eligible for the field to still look very strong.

I am sorry to have missed the old days of fall nationals… it might have been so good that I had to get my whole family playing bridge so we could go over thanksgiving. Still working on it - Deirdre (my wife) played her very first bridgemaster deal tonight, beginner A1, and I was happy to see her duck the ST in 3N with Qx opposite Jxx!
April 29
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Oren,

These rankings may vary based on the number of entries in the Spinderbilt. For example, this year with just a handful more than 64 teams in the Vanderbilt, by managing the elite feat of not reaching the R64 I played in an extremely weak Mixed pairs field. If there had been 64 entries in the Vanderbilt the mixed pairs would have been stronger.

As it was, I would say the mixed pairs this year was not at all comparable to a Wernher or Mixed BAM field.

As to the comparison with GNT, I can’t say because I haven’t made it to the National GNT final, but I feel confident in saying that the second day of the district 21 GNT district final field was clearly much stronger than the first day of the mixed pairs. Heck, off the top of my head just thinking about pairs in our 14 table NAP final that were mixed gender I can think of four such pairs (none of whom qualified for national NAP) that I think would have been assigned table 5 in the mixed pairs.

Re: Swisses, the Jacoby Swiss field felt just as strong as other Swisses to me, do you put it a notch lower because it’s 2 days?
April 29
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Michael,
How would you feel about 62.5% or somewhere thereabouts so that all the pairs on a 6 handed team that was sharing boards pretty equally would have a chance?
April 28
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The other candidate is the imp pairs (if that counts not being matchpoints) with its second day opposite the start of the Vanderbilt.

It is particularly a shame that fall nationals goes from having two pair events with undiluted fields - the most of any nationals - to zero.
April 28
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Besides the major/non-major distinction which I think is primary, there are two other distinctions:
- simultaneous start: when the two events start on the same day, choosing to enter one feels much more like a decision not to enter the other than when one event starts on day 5 of the other event
- impact: even if the Nail LM top finishers were allowed to drop in, and even if they did pretty well, it seems to be a stretch to believe that they would have accounted for a strong majority of the top teams, whereas the most recent Vanderbilt quarterfinalists being unavailable would have removed or altered 4 of the top 5 pairs from the most recent Blues.

An endless series of bad ideas for drop ins is not an argument against a good idea for drop ins.

An argument against it would be a rational explanation of why one believes that all pairs playing on day one (which I agree is desirable) is more important than significant mitigation of the lost of what could, based on history, cause the loss of the majority of the top pairs from a premier event.
April 28
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Yes my 60% was intended to be across the Soloway, not just the most recent round. Of course like any compromise one could argue it errs in one direction or the other.
April 27
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“all in the service of Max feeling like he is competing against more of the best”

If I had known the extent of the support for my feelings, I would have asked for a permanent 64 seed in the Spingold and Vanderbilt!

In all seriousness is good to see at least one mind changed.

Personally the conditions Debbie stated would not be my exact choice but I would still be in favor of the change with those conditions. I would be somewhere between you and Debbie (though closer to her proposal) and require something like 60%+ play, and like you I would probably start the drop ins at the bottom of the field.

I don’t care about how masterpoints are awarded for drop ins, but I do think it is important to announce that in advance.
April 27
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Note also that the “seeding” of those events (which includes the Reisinger) often results in byes, where the seeded teams get to skip early rounds. In the extreme case this can mean going straight to a semifinal; this year one team is starting the USBC on day 5 (quarterfinal) and another on day 3 (R16).
April 27
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I do have a serious question for Michael Roche.

Michael you have won a similar non-conflicted event, and seem to be suggesting that the conflict would not diminish the accomplishment of winning. Here is my question:

If the LM pairs you won had been opposite the Spingold R8, with all those players removed from the field, would it have felt the same to you to win? What about the R16? If the Wernher which starts on Wednesday (opposite the R32) had a 3rd day would that feel the same? For you personally, in what proportion is it the history and name of the event that matters, vs the field, vs the length of the event?
April 27
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Sure, there are always *some* players who don’t enter for whatever reason - but to my knowledge 8 teams worth would be unprecedented. Can you tell me a single time in history that any of the 3 day pairs championships has been so diluted by a schedule conflict?

8 teams is a *massive* impact on the event.

Look at the top finishers in the Blue Ribbons in Hawaii. If the same teams that made the quarterfinals of the Vanderbilt had made the quarterfinals of the Soloway, 4 of the top 5 pairs would not have been able to enter. That’s a different event, and to my knowledge this type of conflict with a premier pairs championship has never happened before.

Let’s not play word games about what defines “many” top players, or hide behind “IMP is different from matchpoints”. However different they are, in real life the players that last to the late rounds of the team events are by and large the same players who do well in pair events.
April 27
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Michael,

Since you have won a similar event recently I rate your chances to be pretty good :)

So, on that topic, would it feel the same to you to win the Blues without many of the top players? No Meckwell, no Steve Weinstein, no Bobby Levin, no Joe Grue, etc? Would it feel very different from winning a Silodor or other secondary event? Somewhere in between?

Your comment may have been tongue in cheek but I am curious if it would have an asterisk for you?
April 26
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The asterisk will be there in my mind in the unlikely event I win.

I suspect it will be in many other’s minds - for example I would expect winning would not be the same for Chris Willenken or Brian Platnick or Steve Weinstein, all of whom have commented and have more hands than I do of winning, and may other players between me and them.
April 26
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Al,

Yes, you have to do really well to earn a bye to the semis.

This year one team has a bye to the quarterfinals and another to the R16.

Last year there were 2 QF byes and one R16. I don’t have enough history to say what is typical.

My point is that this is much further than just going straight to day 2, and the event is still highly credible.

Steve, I know it’s not an ACBL event. I just put it forward as an (another) example of byes not appearing to tarnish an event. That seems independent of sponsoring organization, so might help you get comfortable that no great catastrophe is imminent if we provide a second path to day 2.
April 26
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Steve already suggested the Senior Mixed Pairs as an alternative to the Blue Ribbons, then the Mixed Swiss as compensation for missing the Reisinger, for the losing Soloway Semifinalists.

I don’t even know how to begin explaining the priorities of players who seek out top level competition to someone who would suggest that, so maybe someone else should try.
April 26
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Mark,
Was this discussion after the creation of the Soloway?
These things are balancing acts. I didn’t feel strongly prior to the Soloway. I think many now feel strongly that this should be reconsidered in light of the Soloway.
April 26
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