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All comments by Art Korth
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Overrule, but whatever.
Nov. 29, 2018
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Randy: You are absolutely correct. The Gold Rush events are popular. Whatever others (including myself) may think about the appropriateness of the masterpoint awards for playing in an event limited to players with low masterpoint holdings, there is no doubt that these events have to stay.

I believe that the open or higher strata games should get a masterpoint boost when played opposite a Gold Rush event - whether the events are the same types or not (both pairs or both teams). A large number of the players who play in the Gold Rush events would be playing in the unrestricted events if the Gold Rush events were not on the schedule. So it makes sense that the unrestricted events should get some increase in the masterpoint awards.

I remember the early days of flighted events. The Flight A events were small, but, for masterpoint purposes, they received full credit for the number of tables played in the lower flights. This resulted in some very high masterpoint awards for high finishes in the Flight A events. And you know what? They deserved it! The quality of the field in those small Flight A events was the equivalent of the third day of most NABC pair games.

For whatever reason, the powers that be decided that Flight A events should not get full credit for the table count in lower flights. A change was made to give the Flight A events credit for 1/2 the table count in the lower flights. Then there were further changes. There may have even been a time when the Flight A events got NO credit for the attendance in the lower flights (which is silly).

While it is true that awarding masterpoints costs the ACBL nothing, it is wrong to treat them as if they are worthless. Sure, there is masterpoint inflation. Without sounding like the proverbial 90 year old (“When I went to school, I had to walk to and from school in the snow against the wind uphill both ways!”), I remember hearing stories about how low masterpoint awards were in the early days (5 points for winning a National Championship Event!) I remember seeing the masterpoint award charts posted on the wall at the first Nationals that I attended (Washington Summer 1972) and seeing 125 points for winning the Spingold! What an amazing number of points to win in one event for someone with 5 points to his name at the time. We can't go back. And we shouldn't go back.

I suppose this is the point where I indicate the end of my rant.
Nov. 29, 2018
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$28 or $33? Wow.

I thought it was expensive when I play in a local club (which I hardly ever do) and have to pay $10.
Nov. 29, 2018
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I live near Atlantic City, NJ. I go to both Philadelphia and NYC frequently.

NYC is MUCH more expensive.

Does this help?
Nov. 29, 2018
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Jan: If you will fly me out to Honolulu, I will gladly operate the Vugraph.

I expect to see my flight confirmation in my e-mail inbox within the hour.
Nov. 28, 2018
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“Nattering nabobs of negativity.”

Is that a Spiro T. Agnew quotation?

Those were the days.

EDIT: I looked it up. It is Spiro T. Agnew! My long-term memory is intact. However, the correct quotation is “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

FURTHER EDIT: I looked into this further. I found that the origin of the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism” was William Safire, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, who was a speechwriter for both Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon. William Safire died 9 years ago. And the “nattering nabobs of negativism” he was referring to was the mainstream press.

The more things change…
Nov. 28, 2018
Art Korth edited this comment Nov. 28, 2018
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Gary has a habit of bashing.

But he has a very good point here. And the magnitude of the financial disaster which is the Honolulu NABC is just to large to ignore.

So, yes, Gary does cry “Wolf!” quite a bit. But just because he is a chronic complainer doesn't mean that he is wrong.
Nov. 28, 2018
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I don't dispute that. But you are discussing the rationale behind the facts while Gary and I are just stating the facts.
Nov. 28, 2018
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From what I see, the percentage of the participants at the Honolulu NABC that are professional players and sponsors is much higher than at any other NABC. So Gary's concerns are valid.
Nov. 28, 2018
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You could check the recap sheets.

I know. Too “Old School.”
Nov. 27, 2018
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Alan: That is true only when playing robot bridge with the human having the best hand (best-hand option). The best-hand option is not mandatory. But it is desirable in most cases because otherwise either the robot partner or the robot opponents will have the balance of power and the human will be more at the mercy of the robots than usual.

In my opinion, the best-hand option was introduced with the best of intentions and without much thought to the side effects. It did not take long for players to start taking advantage of the fact that they knew that no other player at the table had as good a hand (based on high-card points alone, not distribution) as they had.

And the fact that the human player has the best hand is not UI - it is clearly AI, as it is part of the conditions of contest.
Nov. 27, 2018
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Why should an invitation be bad practice? Sometimes you are dealt a good 13 or a fair 14. Why not invite?
Nov. 26, 2018
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I am curious. Which side of this dichotomy am I on? The online bridge players or the duplicate players? Apparently, in my identity as an online bridge player, I cannot beat duplicate players. On the other hand, as a duplicate player, I would crush the online bridge players.

And where does the table fit in to this argument?

My head hurts.
Nov. 26, 2018
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To me, the pull of the double is highly irregular. At least at this stage of the auction, the double is not cooperative in any manner. Partner must pass.

Having said that, I would still bid game in spades. Anything else would be fielding a psych if it turns out that no game makes. To allow RHO's 1NT overcall to dissuade you from taking your normal action would be going too far.

Hopefully, the information gained from the overcall will help partner in the play.
Nov. 26, 2018
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First of all, we are discussing something that is no longer relevant, so this will be my last post on the matter.

By “allowed,” I meant by the Laws of Bridge. The Laws permit you to bid whatever you want as long as there is full disclosure. Now, if the regulatory bodies prohibit certain calls (psyching a strong artificial and forcing opening bid, for example), that is another matter. But I don't believe that any regulatory body ever explicitly prohibited opening 1NT with a singleton.

Opening 1NT with a singleton under prior rules were considered to be a psych. This was true despite the fact that many expert players would open 1NT with a singleton because, in the opinion of the bidder, 1NT was the opening bid that best described his hand.

The ACBL rules that exist today, in a sense, are more stringent than prior rules. You can open 1NT with a singleton A, K or Q. But you cannot open 1NT with a singleton lower than the rank of Q (and NEVER with a void). Also, you cannot open 1NT in a hand with both a singleton and a doubleton (or shorter).

How many times could a player do this before it became a partnership agreement? That has been discussed ad nauseum in other threads.

Here is the official ACBL word on this issue (OK, several hundred words):

Opening or overcalling NT with a singleton:

It’s officially legal.

The ACBL Board of Directors removed a legal gray area surrounding semi-balanced notrump openers when it approved a change to the definition of a notrump opening in the General Convention Chart. The change allows players to open 1NT with hands that include a singleton ace, king or queen, as long as they do not also contain a doubleton.” (sic)

Here is the new definition, effective Aug. 1:

“A notrump opening or overcall is natural if, by agreement, it contains no void, at most one singleton which must be the A, K or Q and no more than two doubletons. If the hand contains a singleton, it may have no doubleton.”

This includes hand patterns such as 5-4-3-1, 6-3-3-1 and 4-4-4-1, in addition to those that were previously allowed, such as 4-3-3-3, 5-3-3-2 and 5-4-2-2.

The change was recommended by the Competitions and Conventions Committee, a group of players appointed by the Board, in an effort to bring regulations in line with popular and expert practice, said ACBL Field Manager Sol Weinstein, who supervises tournament directors.

Before, opening notrump with a singleton was considered a psych. It was legal to do, but players could not have an agreement to open such hands 1NT or 2NT. The lack of clarity was a thorny issue for directors.

“Many players were doing it anyway,” Weinstein said, particularly when a different opening would create a problematic rebid. “They decided it’s not right to have a rule that’s contrary to the way bridge is being played.” The idea of expanding the definition has been discussed for years within the committee, but previous proposals have failed because they lacked the simplicity of the new definition.

“The Laws don’t allow you to limit bridge judgment,” Weinstein explained. “Regulations have to conform to the Laws.”

The new definition prohibits opening notrump with more shapely hands, such as 5-5-2-1, 6-4-2-1 or 7-2-2-2. “All of this has to do with your agreements,” Weinstein noted. “That doesn’t prohibit an out-and-out psych, but you can’t keep doing that or it becomes an agreement, and an illegal one at that.”

The change does not impact the one allowable exception of a partnership agreement where 1NT is treated as a 100% forcing opening bid (and not considered “natural”) with any distribution). The use of such a unbalanced, non-natural 1NT opening must be alerted.
Nov. 26, 2018
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Jxxxxxxx.

I think dummy's singleton was the 10.

By the way, opening 1NT with a singleton was ALWAYS allowed. There could just be no partnership agreement about it and no way to find out that opener had a singleton.
Nov. 26, 2018
Art Korth edited this comment Nov. 26, 2018
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Brings to mind my favorite kibitzing story.

I was kibitzing a friend playing in a local round-robin team match. My friend had a good hand which included the singleton K. He and his partner briskly bid up to 3NT with my friend declaring.

The opening lead was a small spade, and dummy appeared with good values and a singleton small spade! RHO put in the Q and my friend claimed 11 tricks.

RHO's spade holding was AQx.
Nov. 26, 2018
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I just wasted 2 minutes of my life reading this subthread.
Nov. 22, 2018
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I did not attend the NABC in Hawaii 12 years ago, and I am not attending the current one.

My recollection from hearing about it from friends who went was that it was a small tournament 12 years ago. The expense is very large compared to other NABCs.
Nov. 20, 2018
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Don: I believe that the punchline is “What do you mean ”we,“ paleface?”
Nov. 20, 2018
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