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All comments by Max Schireson
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Well, I started playing bridge 5 years ago and I am no closer to being eligible for senior events than when I started.

But on the plus side, with the addition of the U31 events I am also no further from being a junior.

Junior events seem like a lot more fun. While I am not close to either cutoff - over a decade too old (with some to spare) for juniors, and over a decade too young for seniors - I am definitely more excited about the prospect of becoming eligible for junior events than senior events!

I am eagerly awaiting the U51 junior events, but I am afraid that by the time they add them I will need to lobby for U56.

:)
Dec. 2, 2019
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Michael,

Thanks.

Yes it’s true that some might have gotten to 4S differently, or be in 2S. I can’t know from this data that my judgement about what people would do with my hand is wrong (although I can know that my judgement that few would force to game with my partners hand combined with few accepting with my hand was wrong).
Nov. 7, 2019
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Arg, sorry, mistyped dummy, the stiff was a club. AQxxxx,9xx, 9xx, x. Sorry!

Craig: I am not such a big believer in simulations for hand like this where the lead might matter. One thing I would do if i were trying to se simulation to see what I thought of a bid was check for the , hands where it did not make how often it made on some lead… (I might look at that in comparing 3N to 4S too…). Of course there are other ways double dummy can differ from real life but the lead is a big one and we can get some data to at least understand its potential impact.
Nov. 7, 2019
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Thanks for all the comments.

After having bid, I decided that it was probably anti-field to accept with a flat 15 in a club game, and that any advantage of bidding did not compensate me for my positive equity in playing the field contract. As it turns out at our club 4S was a more common contract than 3S so I had misjudged the field.

Anyway I guess I can’t have been trying too hard to play the field contract because I offered 3N, which got fewer votes than I expected. I am not surprised 3N lost to 4S in the simulation, but I pictured lots of hands where 3N could make on the lead and 4S was terrible (eg AQxxxx, x, xxx, xxx) that might bias the sim… and also plenty of hands where 3N was pretty decent and 4S clearly worse (ATxxxx, xx, Kxx, xxx)

For those who are interested in results, HQ was led and dummy came down with AQxxxx, 9, 9xx, 9xx. Not great but it has play. I won, crossed to dummy and led a club, RHO flew A and switched to a diamond from KJxx and I was down, but if they win the club and don’t play diamonds immediately the ruffing heart finesse gives me my 10th trick.
Nov. 7, 2019
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Systemically those hands go through Stayman, so I won’t say *never* (partner might decide to be creative/ different) but systemically they shouldn’t need to bid this way, and I would not cater to it.
Nov. 6, 2019
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It appears that the Bermuda Bowl final was only 96 boards. In my (brief) prior experience with bridge it has been 128 boards. If indeed it was shortened, I am disappointed by the change.

Does anyone know anything about what happened and why?
Sept. 29, 2019
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One general thing and one specific thing:
- general: in the past when facing these choices we have put our most aggressive pair against the weak pair, regardless of whether the aggressive pair was the strongest… aggressiveness probably matters more than strength for matchups
- specific: as legendary as Meckwell is and as strong as their butlers were, i think there have been discussions on this site that they are not coming back to the Nickell team in the future… so it is possible that the team might not perceive them as the strongest pair (rightly or wrongly); I certainly would not assume they are perceived that way under the circumstances
Sept. 29, 2019
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Yeah your are right I had the auction mixed up in my head. Partner 100% has to be running, thank you.

Now does partner 100% have to have misbid to pull? Could partner have 4 bad spades and a long suit and be guessing that the other suit is better? Should an expert do this? Probably not. But maybe my partner would. Would it be possible that I would go back to spades (esp if, as on the actual hand, I have 6 of them?). I don’t know. My decision to pass is very much easier because of partners tempo. So I think my logic was definitely wrong, but I think I should not pass if partner bids my short suit. Prob ok if pard bids my 4 card suit.
Sept. 27, 2019
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On the actual hand partner had a good diamond suit, an almost opening hand, and thought there was a decent chance to make 3N but was worried about a heart lead so thought it was best to just blast 3N.

I think that is losing bridge especially at matchpoints and especially given that I could have opened light 3rd seat. Partner is young and new and creative, and I am happy that she is thinking creatively and considering the cost of giving opponents info for the lead, even if I disagree with the conclusion she reached on the actual hand.

All that apart from the forgotten agreement it wasn’t shocking to me that she would blast 3N here. With other partners where that just wouldn’t be possible, I would think a forget is much less likely because 3N still wouldn’t make sense.

Thus it was more than partners tendency to forget that made be believe she had forgotten here; it was also her general tendency towards creativity and sometimes just blasting that made me think a natural 3N could be possible. This probably contributed to me wanting to emphasize the possibility of a forget, and my strong belief (which also factored UI) that this is what had actually happened.
Sept. 27, 2019
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Ok Michael I will bite… the wisdom of publishing something not meaningful is…
Sept. 27, 2019
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I definitely agree I am making it complicated, and maybe don’t have to say everything I did.

On a slightly different issue I think UI or not is irrelevant to my explanation, and I must do my best to give correct explanations of our agreements. One example that would be clear to me is if in the given auction after alerted 3N if I bid 4C, and the alert reminded her that her 3N was artificial, then if asked about 4C she must still say it is asking about her shortness (even if she doesn’t have any), and it would be MI for her to say “natural” or “undiscussed”. When she *responds* to my 4C, she treats the wake up as UI, and might eg raise 4C to 5C. So I think it is permissible (and required sometimes) to use UI in giving explanations, but I agree that the hesitation itself is not something to which opponents are entitled to be pointed our or analyzed by me.
Sept. 27, 2019
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So in principle they are entitled to my knowledge about my partner (agreements, history, style) and not my inference from the hesitation. I think this includes not just that partner “might” forget, but do they forget always, usually, sometimes, occasionally, etc, if my knowledge of partner gives me a sense of the likelihood.

But practically they are trying to figure out what happened in an impossible sequence: either partner made an impossible hesitation or partner not only forgot a bid but made an impossible bid.

They are asking numerous questions to try to learn about the state of our agreements to assess which impossible thing happened.

In their shoes, I think the precise question that I should be required to answer (but many people wouldn’t) is something like: “Based on your experience with partner, what do you think is the likelihood that partner would bid 3N here without spade support? And based on your experience with partner what is the likelihood that partner would hesitate like that with the hand she was support to have? If it is hard for you to quantify those percentages on an absolute scale, but you have a sense of which of the two is more or less likely than the other that’s really what I am getting at.” In principle I should tell them my best guess at each probability, which could be really wrong, but I have a strong feeling that the first error is more likely than the second. Since that feeling is based entirely on knowledge about my partner, I think my opponents are entitled to it.

Of course they didn’t ask that question exactly, but when they are persistently asking questions I think I have to give them the full extent of knowledge about our “agreements”, which includes not just that partner could forget, but as close as possible to my own knowledge of how likely it is that partner would forget.

The reality is I know what they are trying to figure out, and based on my knowledge of partner it is a trivial inference for me to be quite confident… so I can either try to find a way to get them the same level of knowledge about my partner, or just give them the answer.

So I agree in theory that they aren’t entitled to what I said, but practically speaking I did what I think Steve Bloom said I have to do.

This subtlety is why I abstained; I thought my answer was somewhere between the first and second choice (recognizing that I would *never* get a penalty for disclosing just the possibility of a forget without emphasis).
Sept. 27, 2019
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Partner is rapidly learning and generally remembers the things we have been playing for a while, but tends to forget the new stuff. Agree we shouldn’t play stuff that I expect partner to forget as a steady state.
Sept. 27, 2019
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I like Johns auction.

At our club our opponents played 5D and rather than a zero it was worth 57%. Would have been nice to collect all the match points for defending 5D but we got a normal-feeling 43%.

Of 15 pairs in the open section:
6 pairs played 3NT from the W, all down 1 (I suspect mostly on Johns auction)
4 pairs played 5D all making exactly
5 pairs played 3NT from the E (making 11-13 tricks)

FWIW in the limited section all the NT contracts (about half the field) were played from the E, also taking 11-13 tricks.
Sept. 27, 2019
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That’s the worst.

In theory they are entitled to this information and often don’t get it. Then they get it and it was superfluous on the actual hand, and could have steered them wrong.
Sept. 27, 2019
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Theoretically I could make a case that I have fulfilled my obligations by saying it’s a new agreement and she has a history of forgetting but I feel like it’s hard for them to know how seriously to take that possibility… so I should just tell them that based on my knowledge of partner and what we’ve all seen it really seems like she forgot.

That feels like the only practical way to put them on equal footing to me in terms of knowing my partner, which I think is their right (even if it is infrequently actually given).

Technically they aren’t entitled to the knowledge of the hitch or the inference from it but they almost certainly saw the hitch and the jference felt so clear given what I knew of partner, so I think practically it’s just partner info I am giving them when I synthesize. But it’s messy/murky.
Sept. 26, 2019
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To be clear I don’t think the standard of what most club opponents would do is useful, and I didn’t intend to ask that question.

What I thought made it blurry is that that inference was available to me based on a combination of:
1. My knowledge of my partner, both that a forget was possible and an “impossible” 3N was possible; in my view it is unambiguous that opponents are entitled to this info.
2. The bridge knowledge that she should have never have reason to think over 4S; my opponents are not entitled to this inference. Imo this raises the likelihood of a forget - maybe 20% a priori - to something like 80-90% (because there is something like 2-5% that she would just hesitate for no reason, so most likely the hesitation is the misbid case).

The question is whether I can just leave it at “possible she forgot” which feels like a generic throwaway when he is persistently asking about other possible agreements, or do I need to go further (as I did at the table) which gives him (a simple) bridge inference to which he is not technically entitled, but may have made (perhaps subconsciously) anyway.

If I were playing against an opponent that I knew would easily make that inference then I think I must explain it as I did, because he is entitled to my knowledge about partner and already has the other half of the puzzle. I shouldn’t force him to say “what might account for the think” that I know he is trying to understand. But if the opponent doesn’t catch the impossibility of the think, do I then need to go the extra mile in emphasizing the likelihood of a forget? That is murky for me.
Sept. 26, 2019
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A sum of independent events approaches a normal distribution over the long term… I don’t think the individual swings are very closely approximated by a normal distribution because of the idiosyncrasies of game bonuses etc which make certain swings more common than others, but the sum of many of them will be pretty close and my instinct is that 200 boards is comfortably enough for this to be a good approximation.

I don’t think this methodology is perfect but I think it gets us enough in the ballpark to understand that differences of eg 0.1 or 0.2 are probably in the noise and eg 1.0 or 1.5 are probably real.
Sept. 26, 2019
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Danny,

Appx 5.5-6 IMP typical single SD in even matches (I have seen this in various places, not sure the original source)

For 200 boards total SD sqrt(200) * single board SD gives about 80 imps, which is about 0.4 per board

This would also say that a theoretically even match would be +- about 40 imps over 60 boards, which feels ballpark right to my experience.
Sept. 26, 2019
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Steve,

Yes, this partner is a bit forget-prone (similar forgets in the past).

Also this partner is “creative” enough to possibly bid 3N natural here (which should be impossible).

With other partners I might know it wasn’t a forget because they would never bid an “impossible” natural 3N here.
Sept. 26, 2019
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