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All comments by Mike Becker
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After the World Bridge Series ended in 2010, I wrote a letter to the WBF on the running of the tournament. Many topics were covered, including seeding and rules. At that time, the seeding method used in the Rosenblum was based on WBF MPs.

The letter can be found at:
http://www.bridgeworld.com/indexphp.php?page=/pages/readingroom/esoterica/lettertoWBF.html

The letter was addressed to the President, the WBF Council and the new Players Committee. Despite my additional efforts, the WBF Council was never given my letter, although it was shown to some Council members. That my letter was not delivered to all the people I had addressed it to spoke volumes on how the WBF was run. Since then I have not followed up, but some issues brought up in my letter were addressed for the better.

Dialing ahead to the present, it seems to me, still as an outsider, that little has changed in the tournament management philosophy of the WBF.

It is obvious that excellent objective criteria can and should be used to seed WBF events.
It is obvious this was not done here.
I am very disappointed but not surprised.

Why isn't this team event seeded by WBF Masterpoints? WHO did the seeding? Until more is known, I have to wonder (and doubt) whether ALL the appointed committee members in charge of making decisions on seeding were actually contacted and gave their input and consent.

I also wonder what do our WBF reps and the WBF Players Committee think of the seeding of this event.
Aug. 23, 2016
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If Mike P is to be believed:
Is it possible that the card found on the floor was never returned to the board – it had fallen to the floor next to the played board? It's almost impossible for a card to fall out of a metal board, so this is a more likely scenario.

Mike was South. If this card was the spade jack, was that card on the side of the table where Mike stored the played boards? No. Mike kept the boards on the West (left) side of the table, and the spade jack would have almost certainly fallen on the East (right) side of the table.

It is much more likely that the card that Mike P found on the floor was West's small diamond from the QJ10x of diamonds, since that was the card that was switched with the spade jack.
May 26, 2016
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I would expect a statement from Cezary to contain a declaration of innocence or confession of guilt. Was there any wording along these lines?
Nov. 5, 2015
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Two sided comment:
Many years ago I thought you regularly misbehaved and the table.
What happened that changed you into the nice person you are today?

Oct. 29, 2015
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Along with Ronnie Rubin, Matt Granovetter and myself, Matt Ginsberg authored “The Ultimate Club.” Young Matt actually wrote it all! (because the others could not agree on format, presentation, etc.) Published in 1981, the book laid out our relay system (created by Dave Cliff) in accurate, boring detail. The book sold out its 3,000 copy printing in about five years. Matt went on to a brilliant career in mathematics, computing and education…
https://chessprogramming.wikispaces.com/Matthew+L.+Ginsberg
Oct. 27, 2015
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If, for example, Boye claimed, the director would rule 7N making (I think).
If a novice claimed, the director would rule down one.
I don't know the skill level of the claimer.
Looks like there may be different rules for different people.
And perhaps rightfully so.
Oct. 24, 2015
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I am not saying they cheated.

Boye or Larry Cohen would say something like, "One hand like this, they are lucky; if there are many more like this, they cheat. That's why I recorded the hand (the Director went to them and told them so).

I thought a low club is suspicious. I have yet to find a top player who would lead a low club.

I have recorded fewer than 5 hands in my 58 year bridge life. That they confessed somewhat supports my judgement.
Oct. 20, 2015
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2015 Spingold R32. No screens. You Vul.

P-1H-P-2H
2N*-P-5C-P
P-P

*minors

Your hand (you raised to 2H):
Qxx
109xx
Jxx
Axx

What would you lead?
….
….
I asked my Boca bridge game – 8 NABC champs. Five led a spade, two a heart, one the club ace.

After discussion, we all agreed a spade was clear:
Declarer has a heart stack (could not enter the bidding over one heart). The club ace and another works only when declarer has a singleton diamond and needs two diamond ruffs to make the hand. If I lead a low club, I won't get back in time to play ace and another to do any good. A spade may set up a spade trick for us, and hopefully we could find another trick somewhere.

After two full minutes, with “S” squirming and looking around the room, “P” led……..a low club.

“S” held:
KJxx
Kxxxx
Qxx
K

Dummy was 3-0-5-5. A spade or a low club beats it.

I recorded the hand with the director.

My team lost the match by 5 IMPs.
Oct. 19, 2015
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It's been a mystery to me, and I've been asked many times.

B. Jay, my dad, did not invent Becker over NT. (2C = both m's, 2D = both M's, other suit calls natural, I think)
Neither did I or brother Steve or uncle Simon, cousins Bobby and Murray, or wife Judy (all LMs and 3 of them NABC champs).

Neither did R. Jay, (not a relative).

Maybe Phil from Cleveland?!!
Oct. 16, 2015
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Prior to the “start” of the event, the WBF Executive Council can change the CoCs at any time for any reason!

http://www.worldbridge.org/conditions-of-contest.aspx

WBF General CoCs page 29:

38. Changes to the Conditions of Contest. The WBF Executive Council, or the Championship Committee by its delegation, reserves the authority to modify or supplement these Conditions of Contest and the Supplemental Conditions of Contest, at any time after its publication and before the beginning of the Championships. After the start of the Championships only on the initiative of the Head Tournament Director may changes be proposed to the Championship Committee, which will then decide whether or not to implement such amendments.
Oct. 3, 2015
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Well presented.

How the catchers caught the cheaters is a terrific story. If it were made into a movie, it would resemble “All the President's Men,” where Woodward and Bernstein help take down Nixon.

Thrilling! I am so happy for bridge!
Sept. 23, 2015
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This discussion has made me go to my notes and the “book.” We actually could show any 7600 after a 1 club opening.

Some combination of bids would get responder to bid 2H or higher. The combination of bids below 2H identified the number of AKQ points we had. ( a dot “.” = a relay bid):

7006 2H.3C.5D
7060 2H.3D.5H
7600 2H.6H
0706 2S.3C.5D
0760 2S.3D.5H
6700 2S.3S.5N
0076 3C.6C
0670 3C.3H.5S
6070 3C.3S..5N
0067 2H.2N.3D.5H
0607 2H.2N.3H.5S
6007 2H.2N.3S..5N

The book said with specifically 0076 3C.6C fall off chair.

“Fall off chair” was the only joke in our book on the Ultimate club. Otherwise VERY dry reading.
Sept. 22, 2015
Mike Becker edited this comment Sept. 22, 2015
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JoAnna: I will come clean too.

Ron and I, playing the Ultimate Club, had a relay response for any distribution other than 7-6-0-0. We discussed how to handle it: Show 6-6 and then fall off our chair! It's in our book! Fortunately for us, we never had a 7-6-0-0. :)
Sept. 20, 2015
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I'm not an attorney. Just another victim. From years of watching Law and Order reruns:

“Allocution: a formal statement made to the court by the defendant who has been found guilty, prior to being sentencing. It is part of the criminal procedure in some common law jurisdictions…In plea bargains, an allocution may be required of the defendant; the defendant explicitly admits specifically and in detail to what he or she did and for what reason, in exchange for a reduced sentence. In principle, it removes any doubt as to the exact nature of the defendant's guilt in the matter…”

This should be the procedure for any pair pleading guilty of cheating. If their allocution is not truthful and complete, it may not be accepted by the “court.”
Sept. 19, 2015
Mike Becker edited this comment Sept. 19, 2015
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I would have asked to see their system notes, accompanying them to their rooms if not printed but in a doc but on their tablet or computer. Players of this level ALWAYS have a copy of their notes with them. Providing system notes should be a matter of routine by now.
My notes with my last five partners do not cover this situation.
Aug. 17, 2015
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It is in the best interests of bridge that the Sport Accord be a successful event, and continue to be held. The organizers asked us to send our best team. We are sending the best team we could.

But the Open team we are sending lacks the quality (say, based on ACBL SPs or WBF rankings), of previous teams sent to this event by our country or other countries. If each country sent teams of this quality, the event could disappear.

If I were the organizer, I would not invite the U.S. to send a team next time, or provisionally invite a U.S. team, subject to an evaluation of the talent of the players. It could be that the organizers change their rules on how teams are invited.

Perhaps the USBF BoD might have informed the organizers before the vote was taken, of the four pairs on the Open ballot and asked for them for input as to what to do. On the other hand, we are sending an excellent Women's team and if the Open Team was not invited, the worthy Women's team would not be invited either. That does not seem right. Being out of USBF politics, I have no idea what, if anything transpired. And it is likely that little could have been done by the organizers or the USBF so late in the process.
Sept. 4, 2013
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If a new suit by partner over my 2S would be forcing (debatable) then the cue bid suggests 3+ card support and a “good” invitation or better.

However, 3H could be bid on some hands where strain is the issue. Like Kx, Axxx, Axx(x), Axx(x), where the cue-bidder hopes that partner will be able to bid 3N or 4 of his 4-card minor. What would you bid over 2H-P-P-2S, P- with this hand? So jumping to 4S is out. Once partner goes back to 3S (rather than XX or some other call), he suggests more strongly that he has 3-card support.

Following with 4C is indicated (whether over 3H-X or after partner's 3S, in case partner wants to play 5C (or even 6C). I would NEVER stop in 3S (and I'm a known conservative).

I think passing 3H X'd is optional. It gains when partner can bid 4S and the opponents know nothing about my hand. It loses when partner takes a long time to bid 3S. So if I were the 2S bidder, I would write my screenmate, AFTER the tray has passed, that I am not passing 3S, protecting myself. My screenmate will learn little from my note.
Aug. 9, 2013
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1. In (potentially) match determining or event determining situations, there should ALWAYS be a committee of 5 people rather than 3. The chance of getting a ruling wrong is substantially reduced when a committee is larger than 3. That said, sometimes getting another 2 committee members is difficult.



2. In a situation where a procedural penalty is assessed
…Should consideration be given to whether one side OR the other achieved a good score or bad one, or made an error or a brilliant play, or achieved a lucky result or an unlucky result, or won IMPs by playing a hand wrong while playing a hand right would have lost IMPs? I am not sure.

My “guess” is that procedural penalties should be given regardless of the nature of the result. But my guess is also that committees may not ALWAYS follow that practice. Perhaps the amount of a procedural penalty (if any) should take into account the situations above. Maybe someone more familiar with the laws can explain.



July 20, 2013
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The primary task of the Hall of Fame Committee is to get those people who merit being in the Hall of Fame admitted, and to keep those people who don't belong in the Hall of Fame out, using a democratic process. This involves establishing fair rules and procedures regarding who votes and who is on the ballot and presenting accurate information to the electors.

Having helped design the current rules in 2002, and having audited a meeting in St. Louis, I can report that the Committee is aware of the huge backlog of deserving experts who have not been elected, and is doing the best they can to resolve it. They have an incredible amount of data and several good ideas. It will take several years.
April 8, 2013
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I would have led a trump. What if dummy has K, KJ9, KQxxxx, Kxx and declarer has Axxxx, AQxxxxxx, void, void? Only a trump lead beats 7 .

If partner has spades locked up it is hard to imagine where a loser in Cohler's hand can go, unless north has 11 red cards. I, too, feel for John H and the whole team. Winning this way is ugly.
July 19, 2012
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