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All comments by Abraham Fisher
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OK, here's the hand. Before I start, I should apologize–the strain was Hearts, not Spades.

Dealer (W) holds:

653
AJ6

AJ98542

Opener (E) holds:

QJ
QT974
AKQ
T76
Oct. 26, 2017
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Yes, I've noticed a distinct deterioration in robot defense recently. It's almost routine that they fall for pseudo-squeezes–and that's something they should practically NEVER get wrong, given that they can count far more reliably than a human…
April 23, 2017
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Twice I have played in the micro-Spingold and found my team behind by an enormous quantity after 3 quarters. In both cases, my teammates and I agreed that as a courtesy, we'd offer to withdraw, but that we'd prefer to play. In both cases, our opponents very courteously agreed to play the remaining quarter.
March 1, 2017
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Here's the problem I see with the way this case was adjudicated.

One side messed up and gave MI. I'll assume that it was done in good faith. There's no question about which side that is. Yet the burden of proof for damage appears to be on the NOS. In other words, as the hand actually turned out, the OS benefitted from their mistake, apparently because the NOS “should” have gotten it right anyway.

OK, maybe the NOS should have gotten it right anyway. But they aren't the ones who took an action which, if done intentionally, would be grossly unethical. Again, I'm not suggesting that the OS acted unethically, only that if they gave MI on purpose, it would have been unethical. Yet the NOS is required to “get it right.”

That makes no sense. It provides a (small) incentive to unethical pairs to lie occasionally (infrequently enough not to let people notice a pattern). Surely it's not up to the NOS to protect against this? (BTW, the same argument might be applied to mis-bids as well as mis-explanations).
Jan. 12, 2017
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Over the past few days I've been thinking about how to make masterpoints a little more meaningful. How about a statistic that summarizes your masterpoints by the average strength of your opponents in the events in which you earned them. (I realize that without a way to measure opponents' strength that isn't based on masterpoints itself, this is a somewhat circular concept). I suspect that “Red” and later “Gold” and “Platinum” points were meant as a kind of proxy for this idea (less so “Silver,” which I believe were created to make Sectionals more marketable). But the fact of the matter is that Gold points earned in the “Gold Rush” or in a low bracket KO or RR are clearly not comparable to Gold points earned in an Open regional pair game, or a top bracket, or whatever. Another partial way to accomplish this would be to identify the stratum in which you earned your points.

This kind of rating would have far greater meaning for current achievements and strength (you might imagine Mini-Mckinney awards for the most Strat-A points earned by a player) than for lifetime accumulation, since in the long run, most players move into higher strata.

Just a thought
Jan. 8, 2017
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About 660 55 year olds (rank 145th at 78%)
Dec. 26, 2016
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Sometime within the last year or so I noticed a partnership writing down the auction (both of them) and making other notes, I don't know exactly what. They were an up and coming flight C pair, and I was pretty sure there was nothing nefarious intended. So rather than call the director immediately, I spoke to him quietly after the game and he said he'd talk to them.

As it happens, I don't think I've played against them since, so I have no idea if it had the desired effect…
Dec. 23, 2016
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I recall once being told by a director (can't remember who it was, but definitely somebody I see at Nationals regularly) that if one looks at the results on a board as it makes its way through the movement, it becomes clear that table talk is having an effect on subsequent rounds. He absolutely was not suggesting that anybody was doing anything intentional in taking advantage of the talk, only that it is clear that it happens.
Dec. 18, 2016
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Seems to me the director need not consult you, but might be wise to do so in order to make sure to ask the best question(s) of the polled group.
Dec. 10, 2016
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I can't state it clearly–I used credit card points for airfare, rental car, and hotel. I can tell you that I calculated that staying in an off-site hotel and renting a car was cheaper than the tournament rate at the Dolphin, but my actual out-of-pocket was obviously much smaller.
Dec. 10, 2016
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Regarding seeding points…in reading these discussions, it strikes me that there are two different ways people look at them. Some clearly see them as a “reward”–you do well enough in an event and you are rewarded with seeding points. Others look at them as less of a reward and more of a “rating.”

How you look at it presumably depends on what you think the purpose of seeding an event is to begin with.

Not to rehash old discussions TOO much, but one view is that you seed an event (especially a KO-style event) to try to make sure that the best teams don't meet in the first round. This is particularly of interest when there's a great deal of spectator interest–you want the exciting matches to also be the important ones.

Another view, generally not applicable to bridge, is that a high seed in a post-season tournament is a reward for success in the regular season. Again, not applicable to the situations we see here.

Another, and I think more correct, explanation for seeding, is that it is a means by which the organizers of an event attempt to make sure that the event has the “right” outcome (i.e. that the best team wins, next best is second, etc). Effectively, it is a means by which event organizers try to predict the outcome and then create the conditions for that outcome to occur.

Only in the second of these is a high seed a “reward”–in the other two, it's created for the benefit of the tournament as a whole, not the team that receives it. It's true that there can be value to the team, but that's happenstance.

So when we talk about vacating titles and taking away masterpoints & seeding points (from non-offending teammates), I'm wondering why we would take away seeding points. They benefit the competition as a whole…
Dec. 7, 2016
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David–the Swan and Dolphin are not actually Disney owned & operated. My impression, based on past visits to Disney World and also walking from the Dolphin over to Boardwalk & the Yacht and Beach clubs, is that Disney does a far better job designing and managing their properties than do whomever runs the Swan and Dolphin. The parking debacle suggests I might be right.
Dec. 7, 2016
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Sabrina–The parking rate was 1/2 what you cite if you got a blue voucher at the information desk. I agree that they didn't do a great job advertising the vouchers…I found out when I was on my way out of the parking lot one night and the employee asked me–and when I didn't have one, she gave me the discounted rate anyway. I also managed to get out for free one night–maybe while they were fixing the gate? By the last night I was there, they had multiple employees taking payment and trying to make the process more efficient.

I agree that when one considers the cost of going to an event, one should consider the price of parking. I know I didn't (I would have gone anyway, but I might have made slightly different plans).
Dec. 7, 2016
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In law, ex post facto is a thing. And I agree doing it is, in general, a bad thing. But I don't know that there's any clear and obvious legal impediment to a private organization imposing ex post facto rules. (I'm not arguing that the ACBL should do it, only that the fact that the government is prohibited from doing it doesn't mean that the ACBL is prohibited).
Dec. 6, 2016
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Peg, you've put your finger on my biggest frustration. Of all the different ways to categorize and divvy up players, the one I hate the most is the “bracketed flight B round robin.” It's a guarantee that you can win gold points, never mind without playing against an LM, but without even playing against the broader field of peers. What the heck is wrong with simply running a big stratified Swiss? Yeah, sometimes some minnows might have to play against sharks in the first round, but in the long run, so what–it's stratified.

I understand the “need” for bracketed KOs–there's no rational way to run a “stratified KO.” But bracketed round robins just are the worst of every world.
Dec. 5, 2016
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Thanks–not the end of the world. I took a cab that morning to get to the game, another to the airport, and then I had a car again.
Dec. 3, 2016
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I did something similar–I found that the Baymont Inn & Suites in Celebration (10 minute drive from the Dolphin) + rental car + parking ran to something slightly less than staying at the Dolphin. I didn't eat off-site unless I was staying off-site–only 1 parking charge/day for me, thank you!

The downside of this was that after arriving last Saturday evening, when I went out to my rental car on Sunday morning, it had been stolen. So my leisurely Sunday morning before the start of the MItchell turned into a long but not-unpleasant time talking to the police, filling out forms, and discovering that I was going to have to go back to MCO to get a replacement car. So between sessions of the MItchell, instead of getting a dinner and some relaxation, I got to hop in a cab back to the airport, stand around waiting while the rental car company tried to tell me that I didn't have the necessary information for them to give me a new car, followed by a rushed drive back down to the Dolphin for the 2nd session. Strangely, we did better in the 2nd session than the first–maybe rushing around and having a couple of granola bars for dinner will improve my bridge?
Dec. 3, 2016
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Unless he has a hand that he's looking forward to defending with…
Oct. 29, 2016
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Correct.
Oct. 25, 2016
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Looks to me like the only real difference, given that the two games themselves had significantly different movements, is that the new format is somewhat more compact, with less space between columns. That's a mixed blessing–people like a certain amount of white space, but it also means that long player names are less likely to cause the data in the box to be distorted visually.
Oct. 24, 2016
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