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All comments by Shireen Mohandes
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Wimbledon – sorry perhaps I did not make myself clear. If 4 players were caught cheating, and all of their matches for the past year were considered not countable, then it is not as straight forward as promoting everyone else. They may have played in the same branch of a KO, and awarding them a bump up that will artificially bump up all the remaining players in the non-cheating branch.
Putting it another way, if Branch 1 had ABCDEFG, and branch 2 had HIJKLMNO, if branch 2 had 4 cheating players, one cannot automatically promote the remaining players in branch 2.

Regarding your second point, I consulted a professor on the subject and he advised me to look at TrueSkill, developed by at team at Microsoft Research.
It relies on two measures:

-The average skill of the gamer
-The degree of uncertainty in the gamer’s skill

Since a considerable amount of work has gone into TrueSkill, it might be an idea to see if that thinking and be recycled or upcycled for bridge.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/trueskill-ranking-system/
Aug. 23, 2016
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Ben, you are right, and I am sure all will agree. But when you want to “make the most of what you have”, you need to accept some lack of data or temporary glitches. The absolute best solution is too hard, so I am proposing a “reasonable alternative that uses the best data available at that moment in time”. It would be quite hard to design systems to cater for suddenly finding a significant amount (or calibre)of withdrawing teams.
I doubt if the organisers of Wimbledon have a contingency plan for discovering 4+ top players suddenly withdrawing (and simultaneously destroying the seeding system).
Aug. 22, 2016
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Jan, I meant that for this forthcoming event, last year's BB, VC, are used. That way, the “freshest” world ranking determines top 3.
Aug. 22, 2016
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You could reply: by putting you in group C, the organisers have made sure you don't play the two teams who did better than you. The organisers think that having got to the semi-final and the final, the placing of third most likely meant you were third best. The semis and finals were the least random results and the most reliable measures of your skill.
Aug. 21, 2016
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So David, are you saying that England, being 4th, in the previous world event, given the choice of being in the same pool as any of Poland, Sweden, and USA2, will maybe think any of:

1. I want to be in the same pool as team X.
2. I think that our team this year is better than team X, and we will outperform team X playing against the other teams.
3. If X and us are in the same pool, it may deter Y from being in our pool. We cannot know this for certain, but we should consider it.
4. I don't believe that having choice matters, let my kitten choose.

re your last point: perhaps the later picks are less important. If one believes that eventual teams 14th onwards are less than 1% likely to qualify, then what does it matter that they have most information for their pick?

And all this *helps" to solve the problems of nations that are constrained by policies of their political leaders.
Aug. 21, 2016
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David - you missed my point. The point is the ranking is all about the choice. It may be that the team that came 5th is actually 10th best. So instead of forcing it to be in B (using snake) or C (again snake) then they get to choose what they want. The act of coming 5th earns them 5th choice.

And why not? every single country can use their own strategy to work out where they want to be. In fact, being able to choose the “right” strategy would be part of the skill of the game.

There is so much to think about. One world class player told me that he thought certain players have better temperaments for round robbins vs head to heads. If other world class players disagreed with him, they may choose a different pool.

It may be that one country is playing a relatively unknown pair, and others may assess their skill differently.

And what about superstition? there is hard evidence about that.
in 2009 a team from the University of Cologne in Germany published a paper in ‘Psychological Science’. They conducted four experiments to evaluate the outcomes of superstitious behaviour. On all counts there were positive improvements or performance outcomes from those who are superstitious. In short, being confident about, or because of your superstitions leads to better results.

Stevie Wonder’s words are:
When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, yeh, yeh.

Is Stevie Wonder’s advice right? If the German scientists are to be believed, then no. But only if you are in a position to get what you want.
Aug. 21, 2016
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Then the first 18 will be in group A. The last team could choose to be in group A. But how would it help the captains of those first 18?
Why would they want to do that David? As they say "what problem would you be solving by trying to play against the (in all likelihood) best oppo in your round robbin?
Aug. 21, 2016
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How about this? Put the first 3 from the last World events in group A, B, C. Of the rest, take 4th team from that same event (or 5th to 8th if knock out), and ask them which pool they want to be in.

Keep going till you reach the end. When you reach teams that either did not qualify or did not participate, just take a name at random (and ask them to choose).

The last team could choose which pool, as there is the need for one pool to have “an extra team”.

This beats “complete random allocation” and allows teams to self-seed.

This would, IMHO, generate 2000+ posts on BridgeWinners and create more income for the owners.

Who loses out? Oh, yes, the organisers.
Aug. 21, 2016
Shireen Mohandes edited this comment Aug. 21, 2016
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I am told that in some circles 2D = McCartney (as in Paul).
Do you remember the song that starts:

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now

The last line of very verse is “When I'm sixty-four”.

So it shows 6-4 in the other 2 suits, any way round.

Not really caught on, has it? But a good name for the convention.

Oh yes, and if you were to ask for the meaning of the alerted bid, it is apparently acceptable to just sing the melody.
Aug. 15, 2016
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Michael: Andy and I play a lot of bridge in other countries, including the USA. So you are probably right that in the UK, in the games that ARE recorded by the NGS scheme, it is 82%. However, you can ask anyone that knows us, Andy is a much much better player than me. It may scare people to see such a statement of honesty. He has represented England at junior level, and in grown-up Camrose (having won it). He has won the Gold Cup. Since I have never got close to any of that, and probably will never do so, then the incontrovertible truth is that he is a better player.
Explicit request: I would like people who agree with the statement that “I know both Andy Bowles and Shireen Mohandes, and I agree that Andy is a better player than Shireen” to kindly click “Like”.
Aug. 12, 2016
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Keep in mind that 95% of the time I play, it is with the same partner.

My personal experience of the NGS is the obvious flaw that if two people regularly play with each other, they get the same rating. I am currently rated higher than my partner, but I (and everyone else knows) that he is a better player than me. There are some other flaws with the NGS system too, but I appreciate that an awful lot of hard work has gone in trying to make a good system.

It would be good to get it working so that the ratings are more true.
Aug. 12, 2016
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Back in the 90s I played in a long open Swiss Teams event in France, but short matches. Every female member of the team got 16 VPs bonus at the end of the first match. Regardless of who you are, regardless of country and skill level +16 just because gender = female. What do people think of that?

I am hazy on the details so I would like it if (a) people could correct me if I am wrong (b) tell me if this is still going on.
Aug. 11, 2016
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Barbu is played online amongst many bridge players. Please look at www.barbu.co.uk and join the facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/barbu/

that is where games are arranged.

You might be amused to know that there is a novel (mystery) where the game plays an important part in the plotline

A quiet game of bambu.

Author: Roger Gouze

Publisher: Garden City, N.Y., Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, 1964.
July 14, 2016
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The 4 is known as “The Devil's Bedposts”.
http://i-p-c-s.org/faq/four-of-clubs.php
June 26, 2016
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From Eddie Kantar's site:

This elderly genteman goes to the Dr. for his annual checkup. The Dr. is impressed that this man is in even better health that he was the year before. Curious, he asks him what he does for mental stimulation. The man answers that he plays duplicate bridge. The doctor, a bridge player, tell him that's great. “And what do you do for physical stimulation?” ''I sit East-West" is the reply.
June 16, 2016
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Not mentioned yet: the ACBL convention card has colour coding regarding what to alert. Whilst this is not a complete/in depth enough method to convey a system and all agreements, it is concise and helpful, and probably serves the majority of the membership.
May 31, 2016
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In the early days of OkBridge, when you expected to lose your internet connection or connection to the table about 2 or 3 times an hour, you would say “rehi” instead of “hi”. Soon this morphed into just “re”.
May 21, 2016
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A very successful long running rubber bridge tourney in London was like this. Ask people to play just four deals (as though they were playing normal rubber bridge, and “last 2 hands” was called ….Ie NOT Chicago style). Then the pair with the net plus score stays put, and the pair with the minus score moves one table down. Then add up all the scores at the end. You will have a winner.

Very simple, and very much liked.

Bonus prize: have a bottle of wine gift wrapped. If anyone bids a slam and makes it … the bottle moves to them. But later in the evening, if another pair bids a making slam, the bottle moves to them. It makes for an exciting last few deals, as there are desperate moves to bid slams.

Important rule: defenders must not “help declarer”
May 18, 2016
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Seen on convention card:
Overcalls: 4+ if male.
May 11, 2016
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A great clip Mike, thank you. I think there are 4 from that era, as mini newsclips. Further, there are 6 featurettes, and one full length movie. I have only seen one of the featurettes - is very good, and stands the test of time.
Dec. 7, 2015
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