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All comments by Mike Cassel
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The table counts across the league in almost every category have been dwindling… i hear. But the entry field for the 10K Swiss this weekend was the largest ever for the Spring event. Over 80 teams. The number of quality teams seemed greater from my perspective as well.

Wondering if this bump had anything to do with the flip-flop of the IMP Pairs and Silver Ribbon this year. I'm sure there is a reason that was done, but but I liked the previous schedule where I could have 4 back to back days playing matchpoints with a less experienced partner and but still have a chance to make the 2nd day finals.

And I still wish that 10K events could start on day 2 of 3 day NABC+ events. Don't we want to encourage advancing players to play up with a fallback to the 10K if they don't Q on day 1?
March 24, 2019
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maybe you should post your hand as a bidding problem to see how many double to begin with vs. making a simple overcall.
March 22, 2019
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Hi Mike
You have been falling victim to “Why don't you…yes but”itis
On this auction your side bid game, but was never in a game force.
You've been invited, sort of, to chime in at the five level.
You have already described an offensively oriented hand with not much, if any, outside defensive value.
The opponents have been forced to make the last guess.
Partner's 4 of a red suit isn't a “faked” bid. It must be letting you know about something extra.
And what would partner's double of 4 have told you? In a hand not strong enough for a double followed by a free spade call, knowing that there won't be, based on your preemptive raise, many spade tricks I can't imagine that partner's double is for penalties.

Your side has done its job. Only if you have unexpected defense would I consider doubling.
Some people play intermediate jump overcalls red vs. white.
March 22, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 22, 2019
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Just into town. B'day dinner at Rizzo's. 492 S Main St,
Near the end of the trolley just up from Lorraine Motel (https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/)
Lobster Pronto Pup appetizer (ask for sauce on the side)
Scallops with Bacon Buerre Blanc !!
Smoky Shrimp & Crawfish Etouffe
Bread Pudding with whipped cream and a thin caramel sauce. had a few blueberries instead of raisins. VERY LIGHT (not calories of course)
Chocolate Gelato c. whipped cream was cheaper
Lots of meat items on the menu as well

Totally worthwhile if a drink, an app, an entree & dessert if a base price of ~$50 is in your budget.
(Helps when the b'day dinner is not totally on your dime!)

Crosstown IPA was excellent, well balanced not too citrusy nor hoppy.
Partner had a local golden ale, very good, but don't recall the brewery
March 21, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 21, 2019
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I believe the point is that regular club players, most of whom are older adults, are regularly, if informally monitored over time by their peers when it comes to an assessment of their competence as opponents at the table.

I'm pretty comfortable in stating that the incidence of the onset of Alzheimer's or increasing signs of significant cognitive decline is much lower than 10% in our area's largest club which used to be among the top 50 in table counts.

Is there any correlation between native intelligence and dementia? Bridge players certainly skew intelligent. I would suspect that intelligent people are far more likely to engage in activities that are mentally stimulating as they age.
March 19, 2019
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Social connections and intellectual activity

A number of studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's. Experts are not certain about the reason for this association. It may be due to direct mechanisms through which social and mental stimulation strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain.

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/prevention

What in the realm of alzheimer's research is being devoted to cementing the relationship between mental stimulation and forestalling cognitive decline. Do we not have a significant cohort of senior citizens who might be willing to participate in a study?
March 18, 2019
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Supplements Won’t Prevent Dementia. But These Steps Might.

… there are other ways people can reduce their risk of dementia. Two prestigious panels, reviewing many prevention studies, recently came up with several recommendations.

The more conservative report, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2017, relied primarily on large randomized clinical trials.

There aren’t many of those, so the panel endorsed just three interventions “supported by encouraging but inconclusive evidence,” to prevent, delay or slow cognitive decline.

The three:

Increased physical activity;

Blood pressure management for people with hypertension, particularly in midlife;

And cognitive training.

That last recommendation doesn’t necessarily refer to commercial online brain games, said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a neuropsychiatrist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who served on the panel.

“It’s really the concept of being mentally active,” she said. “Find something you enjoy where you’re learning something new, challenging and stimulating your brain.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/01/health/dementia-prevention-supplements.html
March 18, 2019
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It has been brought to my attention that my choice of wording ‘the little people’ was a poor one. I let my frustration with the ACBL BOD get the better of me. Phyllis & I are on opposite sides of believing in the GNTs, but I get a failing grade here for comportment. My ‘Goodwill’ pin fell off.

I am referring to that subset of a large percentage of ACBL members with less than 500MPs who, with better promotion and incentives, could become interested in winning a trip to a NABC.

I was not referring to the casual club player, ‘LOL’ or ‘Sadie Kumquat’ who just wants to enjoy playing at her club and who has no desire to swim in shark-infested tournament waters. We should be catering to and caring for the social bridge player and schooling the more advanced club players to exhibit good behavior and curb their ‘calling the director’ instincts.

When it comes to competing in the Vanderbilt or Spingold I am ‘little people’. In any event an apology is due. I was never able to convince the BOD that rewarding districts for doing well in getting less experienced players competing in the Special Events could be a springboard to increased NABC participation. From my first involvement involvement with unit and national governance it has galled me that we can funnel somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 annually to support international play that very few ACBL members have the ability to participate in, and we spend $0 to support a team event that any ACBL member can play in.

What's so difficult about understanding that if, as a district champion, you win a trip to a NABC you might get interested in attending more of them? What good is it to be a district champion if your district doesn't have the resources to provide a travel subsidy to the NABC. And what incentive is there for elite club players with 6,000+ MPs to go to a summer NABC to be quickly dispatched by teams with fulltime players?

ARGHH ARGHH OY!

On another topic: Another nail in the coffin for the future of team play:

Item 191-13: Jane Johnson Club Appreciation Games

4.3.1 October has been designated as Club Appreciation Month. During this month, club managers may run two one Club Appreciation PairGames and one Club Appreciation Team Game in place of a regularly scheduled session.

yes… let's not try to promote one of the only events where you can win some GOLD points in your own club, but give away some extra masterpoints in a second CAPG.
March 18, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 18, 2019
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Social Brain Gains
March 15, 2019
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anything could be right. I hope they bid 6H and I can double that.
March 15, 2019
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I've always considered fit jumps to promise 9 cards in the two suits, typically but not always with four trump. In my view a fit jump promises the values for a limit raise without the hcp values to cuebid. This hand is well worth a cuebid imo.

I would make a fit jump on the hand looking at
T93
AT8
AT8764
7
March 15, 2019
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So? You had a senior moment and cuebid instead. What do you do now. You can't abstain.
March 14, 2019
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All the more reason to ask the players to stop by after the game and let the director make some inquiries/comments that help clarify some of the murkiness in a nonthreatening way.

'i'm trying to keep my customers satisfied' Simon& Garfunkel

“We have no idea what we are doing” works once. A review of the hand record can be a teachable moment. You need a safe resting spot when the opponents have as many or more hcp than your side.
yada yada there are guidelines for interference over opponent notrumps (like Mel's Rule of 8).

Knowing when and how to get into ‘their’ auction is a fruitful area of exploration (have you seen Larry Cohen's ideas about DONT? Disturb Opponen'ts NT?)

turning stressful intensity into something positive is an art form. lemons to lemonade. Just letting the situation fade into the mist with no subsequent followup seems like an abdication of responsibility: how are they going to get better if they aren't advised how they might do better
March 13, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 13, 2019
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I have no idea who Warren Smith is but Phyllis had no love for or investment in the GNTs that I could see. I met with her once when she was the ACBLl prez in 2014 and her lack of enthusiasm for the efforts of the GNT/NAP Coordinator forum was palpable.

I hope your new BOD rep. is more focused on ‘the little people’.

I suggest getting your clubs to fully embrace running Grass Roots Fund events in the clubs and two sessions at your sectionals where you can boost masterpoint awards 40%. Then run nonLM GNT club qualifying events with mini-lessons before the game and possibly reduced entry fees cuz bridge players love cheap entry fees. Employ GRFds to make Flight C GNT participation a great ‘value proposition’.

A year ago I solicited and ran a 4-session IMP league with 5 B and 5 C teams. We met every other Wednesday evening in the fall. I prepared a mini-lesson. We played 4 6-board matches using a BAM movement. Some of the teams participated in the next spring's GNT finals, but not as many as I'd hoped.
March 13, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 13, 2019
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Second Q first:
There is no language in the ACBL's special conditions of contest regarding split site district finals. The motion before the Memphis BOD could be a boon to those districts with wide geographic footprints to get more teams involved.

If you had 8 B teams playing in two sites and there were six teams at one site and two at the other could the team at the site playing a head to head be eligible to win a trip?

The cost of an ACBL director and two sites makes split sites impossible for D14. The wraparound special sectional shares expenses based on the table counts. The host unit does not, typically, absorb all of the site and director fees.

When I became the GNT coordinator a decade ago D14 policy stated that the GNTs were self-supporting and the travel subsidy was derived solely from club qualifying games, unit finals and profit from the district final. We now have the profit from our NAP district final, grass roots funds, and the profit from a September STAC to bolster available resources.

The nut in D14 is $8,000 for the GNTs and another ~$6,000 for NAP above and beyond the league's awards. I have no idea how a second B or C GNT team will be subsidized.

Wouldn’t this fall under District CoCs? Yes and NO because the director who reviewed my proposal to recognize a top performing lower echelon B team decided that this wasn't fair.

Russ told me could handicap the flight and that they'd done so in D10 events, but my proposal would give bronze/silver LM teams two chances to win a trip when a team with a member having more than 1,500MPs had only one chance. Therefore, my CoC was not fair.
March 13, 2019
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DISTRICTS SENDING TWO FLIGHT B GNT TEAMS TO THE NABC FINAL
The BOG asked the ACBL BOD to reconsider a motion in Honolulu that failed in Atlanta

Item 183-19: GNT Special Conditions of Contest
Item 182-33 GNT Special Conditions of Contest 2018 – 2019 was reconsidered and passed

The special conditions of contest state:
This is a team event in which each ACBL district will name a district champion in each category by means of a fair competition that is not necessarily the same from district to district. In districts in which there were at least eight teams competing in a B or C flight in the district final, a second team in that flight will also be considered eligible to compete in the national final of their respective category.

I submitted D14 GNT conditions of contest that would consider the top Flight B team who had no member with 1,500MPs who played well enough in the qualifying Swiss on Day1 to reach the KO semifinal with eligibility to compete in the summer NABC GNT final. The ACBL said this would not be fair.

In a district with 20-30 B teams this wouldn't be fair. In a district with fewer than 4,000 members whose regionals aren't large enough to schedule mid-flight events it is a different story.

Our Gold Rush graduates and lower echelon B teams are not competing in team events. B players in the 1,750 -2,500 range, as well as “A” players with more points aren't going to have viable future team events if we don't promote play among the “B minus” players. What better way to get them involved than by providing an incentive to play in the GNTs?

The ‘Cassel’ amendment is on the docket for the BOD meeting in Memphis:
Item 191-12: GNT Clarification
This is a team event in which each ACBL district will name a district champion in each category by means of a fair competition that is not necessarily the same from district to district. In districts in which there were at least eight teams competing in a B or C flightin the district final, a second team in that flight will also be considered eligible to compete in the national final of their respective category. That team should either be the 2nd place finisher in a single-site district final or both winners from a split-site district final

We are NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL organization. What is fair in the larger districts may be different in the smallest. If the goal is to increase participation in the GNTs at the lower flights the ACBL should be honoring the idea that “fair competition” is NOT necessarily finishing first or second only.

VOTE NO on 191-12 even if it makes no sense to you in your district. Let districts build participation in the ways it makes sense for them.

A version of this will be posted in the main article section of bwinners.
March 12, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 12, 2019
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Randy,
I'm waiting to hear, as a club owner/manager/director what, if anything, you do when inexperienced players take actions that would be considered out of bounds for most players.

It's understandable that more experienced players have to take their fixes when they occur.

imo, you do everyone a disservice by letting these situations go with no followup.

I would appreciate your response to the post I made upthread:
https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/a-double-standard-2-jjpohofzeb/?cj=776813
March 11, 2019
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We play that Z can be a support double or redouble
We play that xyz is on if one opponent is interfering but not both
We play that xyz is on when responder is a passed hand (but have no agreement about what 2 might mean by a passed hand)
1 (1) 1 (D)
XX (P) 2 is not xyz
1 (P) 1 (D)
XX (P) 2 is an xyz relay to 2

Many folks hear about a convention or treatment, adopt it, and never discuss followups and adjustments in competition.

A prime example is the structure after 1m - 1M, 2M - 2N asking about opener's degree of M support. It's a lot more involved than 3-3-4-4. What is 3N? What are 4-level jumps?

Just a few days ago there were multiple ideas of how to reach partner's minor after 1M (2M) Michaels. Should 2N ask or mean something else so that 3 is pass/correct.

I would say you need both general guidelines AND specific answers e.g. xyz in competition.
March 11, 2019
Mike Cassel edited this comment March 11, 2019
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When the opponents make bids from outer space and fail to recognize that there is a common agreement about the bid they made that matched, in no way, the hand they held, then I think the director should ask them to stop by after the game for a few minutes.

They may well have been unaware of the effect of their action, but it is in the best interest of everyone that these random events not be simply ignored as if it was just the rub of the green.

If these ‘miscreants’ state that they enjoy mixing it up to disturb the opponents notrump sequences then they should be instructed that their interferences should be alerted.

We had a local player, sadly no longer with us, that automatically took a bid over any precision 1 opening. They were quickly instructed to alert their action as having no meaning.

I don't think any redress is forthcoming unless these folks have an agreement re. interrupting opponent stayman sequences or, for that matter, other systemic no-trump advances.
March 10, 2019
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If RHO should happen to rebid 3 would your double also suggest a possible 3N?
March 7, 2019
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