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All comments by Michael Bodell
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I think S can pass if he prefers diamonds, so a weak hand with 3 (or less if the 2 was a psych!) or even a weak hand with 4 if he held 6 or 7 diamonds with it.
11 hours ago
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If partner had shown no discomfort, you are allowed to work it out. Once partner shows discomfort you are required to choose from all possible LA the absolute worst LA.

If partner had been able to legally describe the 2 bid to the table and had described it as majors (in a way that you knew 100% that was what partner meant with that bid), and then bid 3 over the 2 response, what would that mean? It is clearly some sort of forward going action over your bid, maybe something like 5=4=0=4 or 5=4=1=3 with added strength (maybe the 5=4=0=4 is most likely not wanting a diamond cue, and concentrating your try on no slow diamond honors)? Maybe the 1NT opener has a semi-balanced hand like Jx Axx KQJxxx QJx with partner having a hand like ATxxx KJxx - Axxx? What are reasonable possible calls for you? Seems like 4 is a possible call. 4 is in the range of possibilities if your partner has majors and bids 3 over 2. So I think 4 is an LA. 4 is clearly a disaster opposite +, so I suspect it will be the worst LA (assuming I'm right and it is in fact a LA). Therefore, I think 4 is the right call when you have UI of partner's discomfort of your call. If someone argues 4 isn't an LA as it is too strong of an action with an opponents strong NT bid, then I think 3 would have to be an LA preferred over any heart calls (I.e., worse than any call given the UI, so preferred to be taken in response to the LA). So I don't think you can escape spades.
11 hours ago
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I agree. I suspect that the hands that make good puzzle combine your chances hands aren't good teaching hands. For teaching hands you want easier clear hands, and one of the main points is where the “right” play in a suit in isolation becomes wrong when you combine it with other chances (like playing for a Q drop in an 8 card fit before falling back on the finesse in some other suit if no drop).

The other combine chances that is very significant in practice, but harder to teach or find examples of, is combining with chances for opponents to make mistakes. Sometimes the right line that combines technical chances isn't as good as a line that is worse if they defend double dummy but makes them find the hard plays, switches, and discards.
Oct. 16
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In a regional pairs event I had 3 positive scores out of 26 boards and end up around 55% on the session.
Oct. 12
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@John, what do you think about use of forcing NT on a subminimal raise to 2M. You have no interest to play anything other than 2M (even though there are ways for this to back fire with partner jumping) but you make an artificial 1NT call asking about partner's hand as part of your sequence. Some of the purpose is to free up other sequences for other things, some of the purpose is to mix up your actions to make it hard on your opponent. I don't see why a 2nt call that is defined as an asking bid about partner's hand is any different. Neither of these is a psych, even if both of them are artificial and both of them are done partially for making life difficult for opponents (both on this sequence this time but also on this sequence in other situations like when you are strong for the sequence) and both of them may have some risk (partner could respond above 3M in the 2NT example, and/or the opponents could bid at higher level and partner could be induced to X for penalty or even bid the suit with an assumed fit and extra undisclosed offense) - not that the risk need be a necessary part of deciding if something is a psych or not.
Oct. 11
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I think there should be a set time for each pair at a table. Even in a team game if one team finishes their time in 10% of the allowed time, their team mates (nor their table opponents) shouldn't get 190% of normal time.

Especially in longer segments where there are more boards for things to even out and more boards to react to when you know you have started falling behind I think it is unreasonable to not play to time and if technology can measure individuals, pairs, and teams accurately, I think it is the pairs that ought to have limits.

Maybe the penalty is worse if your team uses more than its fair share, but I think the penalty should be present any time either pair uses more than its fair share.
Oct. 10
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Not everyone likes looking at the cc, the cc isn't always correct, there are rulings that say “protect yourself”.
Oct. 9
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If the card is marked with 3 for both 1C and 1D and 5 for 1M then there is the question of what declarer does with 4432. And for some people if the diamond shows unbalanced, what 3442 would do. Seems like a legitimate question.
Oct. 9
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In our district (D21) you can play in any *one* unit qualifyer, but it doesn't need to be your own. For instance, you can have a pair where each individual is in different units. You can also target a different unit because you think their timing is better and/or their format is better and/or you think the skill is better (we have some units that do 2 session qualifiers, some units do qualifiers that include non-qualifiers in the event, etc.). I played in a different unit this year in fact.
Oct. 4
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If 20 million people can watch a dota2 tournament online, I think you can get numbers that are comparable with CBS Primetime for games that are intricate, specialized, and new when done right online. There are challenges with bridge, especially with current pace of play if done live un-edited, but I'm not convinced it is as impossible as people suggest based on existing evidence from online platforms today.
Oct. 2
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Both Hearthstone and Magic: the Gathering are also strategy card games that are very popular as spectator sports on the internet. Look at the twitch streaming numbers or the many youtube videos with lots of views. It helps that the top tournaments have true sports shows (I.e., with commentators and color people at a desk providing context and commentary and explaining things to people) and that there are tournaments that award non-trivial prize money to people ($150k for trinity series right now, octoberfest brawl, HST in various countries, college championships, etc. all for Hearthstone - even separate from the folks who are full time streamers).

When ACBL sets up the college championships, which is often played qualifying rounds online, why do we not have the corresponding online streaming shows on twitch/youtube or the like with commentary and webcams of the participants? Broadcasting on BBO alone is better than no broadcasting, but if part of the goal is to increase the draw (and also show young people playing) why not have that follow through?

Magic is less than 25 years old, and Hearthstone is only 3.5 years old. It isn't impossible to build these things up if they are a priority and people with the right skills are involved.
Oct. 2
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In my experience the novices have little trouble with convention challenges - everything is so overwhelming that a bizarre strong diamond system is not that much more strange than actually mostly correct 2/1 or sayc. In some ways it is even good to expose them to system variety from their opponents to get out of the “1 true way” problem. It is the experienced 299ers that don't like the different bids.
Oct. 1
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The Colorado Springs PR are better than this and the vast majority of proposed rating systems. It really isn't that hard to understand either in theory (adjust for field, adjust for partner, adjust for your result) or in practice. If anything it is too straightforward and could use more adjustments and complexity (board by board results, variance in the field strength and who played against you and who played each board, more gradation in decay, size of field, importance of the event beyond field strength, etc.). But being selective in what to use is good design to avoid overfitting (plus today a lot of this isn't easily available in the data). Assuming that accuracy matters in a rating system, proposed systems should be tested. Make predictions about events to be played, and see how accurate these predictions are. PR does this and is much more accurate than MP (even when applied to team play and to people who haven't played as a pair before). For a proposed rating system to be more accurate it should be tested against PR.

Unless the desire of a current performance metric is intentionally not to be accurate. It seems like that would sort of defeat the point, and I'm not a fan of that idea, but there are some arguements against being accurate (embarrassing to people, may effect negative how and with whom people play, etc).
Oct. 1
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On 4, I believe that if you quality for any final and are eligible for lower finals you can play in those (but not the reverse, q in C doesn't let you play A).

On 2, I had that problem one year where my partner hadn't qualified at the club, I got our district coordinator's permission to play with him, and we Q'd (in B iirc), but acbl checked and ruled us out.

On 3, I agree a lot. I wouldn't have played nap C at all if my local nlm director hadn't helped explain it and help pair me up to play.
Oct. 1
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FWIW some of the people I was teaching would look forward most to the times they were dummy. They got to be at the table and maybe win without the pressure of making any decisions. I've seen newer players who are similarly relieved to be dummy and let their partner make all the decisions. And there is the opportunity for learning while being double by seeing what happens. So I don't think it is automatic that dummy/temporary sit out is a bad thing.

That said, I think the idea that you can play with 3, don't need 4, and the idea that people can play with different partners and rotations can be a lot of fun if you have the right sort of people who all want to be playing all the time.
Sept. 27
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The obvious way to solve the problem that Eric raises is effective flighting by skill.

Chess tournaments can have prize money for lower flights that still are achievable because U1600 means the pros aren't going to be there, and some 1525 player may well win.

If you gave cash prizes to the 299er game, a bunch of newer players would have a chance (still not a true novice perhaps, but most people would), without having to swim with the sharks.

There could also be jackpot prizes like for bidding and making a grand slam, or winning the beer card, or whatever (similar to high hand jackpots at poker).

Obviously, this presupposes a good rating system. You might be able to get some level of quality using masterpoints, but obviously we know there are problems with that as a true measure of skill. If there is a more dynamic range you do have to worry a little about sandbagging if the prize is enough (heck, there is already a bit of “sandbagging” in some forms of GNT or NAP or bracketed KO with foreign players lower than world class often starting lower than their skill would warrant).
Sept. 27
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Yeah, ditto about not wanting sectionals to go away. I have virtually no interest in playing regionals except the unique local good regional events (2 day 4 session championship pairs, 2 day 4 session championship swiss) and side regional events at an NABC when failing to Q in a NABC+ event. By contrast, I do play some sectional days through out the year and appreciate that there are a fair number of sectionals near me.

I don't care about STACs, other than I like it when STACs or other special games bring a slightly stronger field to the club games that I play in semi-regularly.

For the redistribute the tournaments I think it would be important to not one-size-fits-all but rather to act differently in a region that is failing to run KO in their regionals and has only 1 sectional a year versus another area that has healthy regionals and sectionals.
Sept. 27
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While I agree in a horrible day down in 5 is possible, I think slam is much more likely than down in 5. Heck grand might be about as likely as down in 5. And while there may be the occasional 3 card spade suit, there could also be occasional 5 card suits, and some of the short spades hearing a slam try might offer clubs. For instance if the double had a hand that should have bid 3nt like ATx AX KJxx xxxx that hand might still offer 6 instead (I know that slam is a bit less than 50%, but as I said I'd expect 3nt here, not double).
Sept. 27
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If Google pulls up articles like http://norwaytoday.info/sport/top-bridge-players-convicted-gross-tax-fraud/ (which also adds a detail about payment through self owned company rather than directly as part of offered defense), it hardly seems that it should be off limits. I mean other than the usual great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people sort of idea that would always be true.
Sept. 27
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Obviously some amount of it is cost/benefit trade-off motivation for everyone else if you only catch a small percentage of the people. But I like your idea. I might add something like seizing/fine a percentage of wealth too.

But if the justice system was about revenue maximizing for society you wouldn't jail people for health care issues either (addiction, drugs, and mental health) nor would you have a situation where racial population in prison is so disproportionate to general population.

But to bring it back to bridge to try and stay on the right side of Eugene's guidance, I think David's question below of comparing it to bridge cheating is interesting. If we were strictly revenue maximizing bridge organization following the same reasoning we might say giving back the events you've won by cheating, giving back your masterpoints (maybe with an additional penalty) and accepting enhanced monitoring might be enough. But I think many would object to that without some kind of jail (ban) as part of sentence.
Sept. 26
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