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All comments by Christian Vennerød
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I agree that if you do not trust your selector(s), a trial may be a better solution than a selector.
But one swallow does not a summer make, and one (relatively short) tournament against comrades is a poor basis for predicting results in a long international tournament.
Also, it seems to me that the selectors you are accustomed to,
1. are not as well qualified as you would like
2. do not use transparent criteria
3. do not have a competent committee to argue their decision with
Surely, saying that these 3 problems (and there are more problems with a trial)are unsolvable and therefore that a trial is best, is to take the easy way out.
June 28, 2018
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I think it is strange that most people who comment on this thread believes that a competition against pairs of your own nationality is the best criterion for picking a team who will be competing against foreigners with partly other languages, other customs, other systems etc.
(I have been the selector and the npc of Norway Open since 2010)
June 27, 2018
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Thank you, Ante
yes. If one of our pairs were often slow starters, I would look into how to get them fired up. But the problem would probably apply only for the morning match. At the European we played 3 x 16 boards normally. Some days 4 x 16. So I think I would rather look for explanations along the lines of food, rest, too much discussing previous boards, not playing two matches in a row, (or the opposite) etc. Discussing such problems with the players is probably the best way to find the solution.
After the Europeans in 2010, I found that we did worse in the final stages of each round. We have assumed that this was a consequence of lack of nutrition, and took steps to avoid that. It seemed succesful this year!
June 20, 2018
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Amazing that Israel almost dominated the championship in spite of such short time to prepare! Very well done!
June 19, 2018
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Thank you, Ante! As the npc of the Norwegian team for 8 years, I have calculated the relative butler myself for many years. But “by hand”, not by a program. It is a lot of work, and I am very grateful that I do not need to do it now.
In my opinion the relative butler has to be a better yardstick than the ordinary butler. Do you agree?
June 19, 2018
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As Norway's NPC, I was sitting between Boye Brogeland and Peter Fredin in the European championship in 2010.
The very first board:
None is vulnerable and Fredin's partner, Bjørn Fallenius, opens 1 spade and Boye enters with 1 NT.
Fredin had:
64 EJT82 QT7 KJ5
Fredin doubled. Two passes and Boye bids 2 Clubs.
Fredin doubled. Two passes and Boye bids 2 Diamonds.
Fredin doubled for the third time. Three passes.
8 tricks for Boye + 180, and Fredin would have had an easy 420 in 4 hearts.
Boye's hand:
97 none AKJ8643 8432
Boye's partner, Odin Svendsen, had:
AT83 7543 2 Q976

The Swedes never regrouped from this start and lost the match by a clear margin.
July 5, 2017
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Wonderful, David! :) Have you tried it in real life?
Dec. 7, 2015
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Nothing beats a good journalist as commentator. Ok, maybe 2 journalists :)
Nov. 29, 2015
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The commentators today have often the wrong approach:
Far too often they start each board with an assessment like: “Here we have a nice 4 heart contract. If North finds the trump queen, it is lay down.” They are looking for the solution to the hand, not the challenges.
The commentators should in stead try to search for the dilemmas of each board. Like: West does not have a perfect TO double after Souths 1 club opening. Should he in stead introduce his 4 card spade suit? Or should he pass at his first turn…..By the way, how strong should a 4-card suit be for an overcall at the one-level?
With 2 commentators, this kind of discussion is very illuminating.
And in reality, probably better than players thinking aloud, as players do not wish to show their faulty logic to the world, something they would have to do if they “think aloud”.

Nov. 29, 2015
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Very interesting, Mr PuczyńSki! Very well done. The world of bridge needs more people of your caliber.
Nov. 7, 2015
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Hi Brad
What are Your Sources of information about these drug effects?

Oct. 30, 2015
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I played against Collings in the European Team Seniors Championship and he was rude the whole time. But he oozed table presence and competetive spirit. Personally, I find such players colorful. But they are of course terrible Ambassadeurs for the game, and best used as examples of how not to behave..
Oct. 27, 2015
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I think we should use golf as an ethical standard to learn from. Do you remember Jack Nicklaus,at the final hole of the biggest tournament (Ryder cup in 1969)? He gave a long put (2 feet)to his opponent (British Tony Jacklin). Nicklaus knew that giving the put meant that the whole 3-day tournament ended in a draw for the first time in history. His US team mates were furious that he did not use all possibilities to win against Europe.
Nicklaus just said something like: I did not want to win in a way which was based on a hope that Jacklin would make a fool of himself.
It is a sport, not a war!

(edited for clarity - I hope)
Oct. 26, 2015
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The Solheim cup incident is an interesting parallel. The Us player, Allison Lee, made an error; she thought she had been given the put and picked up the ball. But it had not been given. So the TD had no choice but to say that Lee (and the US) lost the hole.
This is almost the same as saying: there are 13 tricks here (and not mentioning a line of play)
Lee would in all likelihood have made the 45 cm put, and obviously thought it was given.
Technically, Europe and my fellow Norwegian: Suzanne Petterson was right and followed the rules, but that does not matter. It was wrong to win the hole through the law book, when it was 98 % certain that the hole would have been a draw if it had been played.
Oct. 26, 2015
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Michael, you are of course right that in a 7 board match it is never easy to win by a landslide.
The real point of discussion here is: do we really believe that the player would not make 7NT if he spent 10 seconds thinking?
No, we do not.
It is unethical to punish a player who tries to save time for the benefit of both teams, because he does not say the formally correct, obvious words.
Victor Mollo tried to teach us this through the example of The Emeritus Professor of Bio-Sophistry. The professor was correct, and within the laws, but despicable.
Oct. 26, 2015
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I am the npc of the Norwegian Open Team. Although I require that our players always call for the TD when an irregularity occurs, this rule would not apply in a situation like the 7NT claim.
We do not wish to win imps on the assumption that our opponents may temporarily be out of their minds.
Put in a different way: If our opponents do not make this 7NT, we will beat them 20-0 anyway.
Oct. 25, 2015
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I am very surprised that this is discussed as if the best solution here is for the US (ACBL) to make a decision here and not the world (WBF). It is not logical to discuss the rules for cheating as an American and not an international problem. (I understand that Americans draw on their national experience when discussing, but not that it would be a good idea to have various different national rules in stead of one set of international rules dealing with cheating)
Oct. 21, 2015
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Bridge journalists are scraping the surface of our great game when they do not ask questions. My point is that they are not curious enough. They far too often rewrite what is basically the same stories again and again - albeit with different main actors and different total scores and tournament winners: The end play, the squeeze…. They show how it was done. Sometimes they explain why.
But some times, they too, must be puzzled. What really happened here? how did the players do it? was it a guess? I am not saying that the journalists should suspect that cheating was the reason. I say that they should ask and then tell. That is what real journalists do.
In bridge magazines, there are almost no interviews, and the few which exist are too often of the type: who were your best partners? Really more PR type of stuff than reflection.
The normal magazine article in other media, the article which is a combination of questions asked to many experts in order to highlight a certain topic, is almost non-existent in bridge magazines.


Oct. 21, 2015
Christian Vennerød edited this comment Oct. 21, 2015
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Richard and Alexander,
Ok, so we agree that most bridge (and sports) journalists think of themselves more as propaganda tools for the sport than as real journalists.
As the writers are often mostly amateurs (in the sence that they make little money from the bridge writing), this is natural.
Therefore, it is up to the editors to enlighten them and teach them to ask more questions. And report the replies. If you do not ask, you do not learn…
Oct. 15, 2015
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Jeff,
You are making my point for me.
Ask, and the journalist may learn something: either about a genuinely interesting line of thought. Or that the player had no genuine reason.
If you do not ask, you do not learn
Oct. 15, 2015
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