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All comments by Christina Lund Madsen
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Trust me - a one hour film is never ever bad PR for bridge - and especially in this case, where viewers get an insight to the secretive world of probridge and the cheating scandals. That makes bridge sexy and people curious. We are so wrong when we try to tell people “how wonderful a game bridge is”. Too vague. Tell them something that surprises them and sends shivers through their prejudices.
March 20
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Actually a Danish University made such a study and concluded there was. Bridge also fights loneliness according to the project among other good things.
March 3
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This is so absurd it would be comical if it wasn't for the personal tragedy of the world's greatest player.

So a bridge player unknowingly took some medication not knowing it was on the doping list, the drug doesn't enhance his performance at the bridge table, and he is banned for a year and stripped of his titles.

Meanwhile we have cheaters winning court cases all over the non-bridge world allowing them to return to bridge, though we all know they cheated.

Name me one single way this verdict benefits the bridge world; will Lavazza be happy to win this way? I bet you not. They won't even consider it a win.

Will any of us be happy we will not enjoy Helgemo's bridge magic at this year's world championships? No.

Will this improve the damaged reputation of the WBF? I doubt it.

Will this improve the recognition of bridge in the outside world?
I already hear my non-bridge friends laughing.

I confess I took some nose spray in Orlando (because I had a cold, but maybe it would help me find the club lead against 6) I was afraid was on the doping list. I called a doctor friend of mine who told me to stop taking it immediately (and risk sinusitis) - just to be on the safe side.

Maybe I should also be imposed a one-year ban. I was just lucky not getting tested.
Feb. 28
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You are so cute, Max ;)
Jan. 1
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In Denmark the teams are always selected by a committee. We simply don't have enough top players to have trials in any of the 4 categories.
We can have observational trials, yet the results are rarely decisive for the committees.
They look at results in the Danish division, international experience, partnership duration and practice efforts.

I think as of recently they have added ethics as a criteria, i.e. are the players good representatives for Denmark.

Despite all these criteria, I suspect it is still very much based on individual preferences within the committee; yet as long as there are at least 5 members, hopefully the selection is still somewhat objective.

(life partners of the players involved cannot be part of the selection committee. I'm not so sure about X'es - it is after all the bridge world) :-)
Dec. 11, 2018
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Jan, I think Sanya was a matter of venue. If you compare to the Open European Championships (which Al also mentions the WBF might be inspired by) there were 122 open teams and 114 mixed teams (and very few Americans among them). I think we shall expect the mixed field to be as large as the open in the future.

The Open European Championships are the most similar to the World series. It is scary that the participation at the open euros in 2017 was so much higher than what the total is likely to be in Orlando.

I have the impression the Americans are partly to “blame”. It is usually the local population (in Sanya the Chinese) who bring up the numbers, but I have been surprised at how many (especially female) Americans I have talked to are not going to Orlando.

I have nothing to base this on, yet i think it is because there are 3 major nationals a year in the US and tons of regionals. One could argus it has always been this way, however the average age of bridge players is higher than ever and the numbers are dropping also for national and regional events (so I hear).

In any case I heartedly support the suggested changes for the formats. I see the problem for the open with the pairs starting after 2 days but imo it was also a mistake from the beginning to begin the open pairs so early. If there was one day of consolation swiss, all Rosenblum teams would be guaranteed 3 days of play and wouldn't have to face the choice of whether to play consolation teams or enter the pairs.

It might be too late to change the start date of the open pairs, but it is still the most sensible. I think all who come for the pairs can find something to do for one day in Orlando during a World Championship. There is a pool, golk and the best bridge players on the planet all within walking distance.
Sept. 5, 2018
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If partner has a stiff club, he has to have points somewhere else. I am not scared of the diamond cue. Especially not if I play with Per-Ola
Sept. 5, 2018
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Oh, I forgot something. As an alternative to the pairs the first week I would run a “super-mixed”-event (men playing with men against women and reversed). Maybe that event should take place during the last 4 days, so more have been knocked out of the open teams.
Sept. 3, 2018
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In a sense you are right, Jan. The Rosenblum is the same length as in Philadelphia, however the final is 2 days in Orlando and the RR 2 days (compared to 3 days in Philadelphia).

In a previous draft the event was scheduled for 10 days (3 days RR) but was changed to allow extra days for the mixed (which imo was wise).

However I think that the World Bridge Series is the one world championship that is open to everyone (unlike the World Bridge Games every 4th year and the World championships every second year for national teams) and I think with that in mind the WBS should aim at being as attractive as possible for the masses rather than the elite (cause they will come anyway).

I think this schedule would be optimal (still 9 days):
Day 1: Rosenblum swiss (women and seniors qual)
Day 2: Rosenblum swiss (women and seniors qual)
Day 3: Rosenblum Round of 32 (WS QF)- 1-day consolation for non-Q'ers
Day 4: Rosenblum Rof 16 (WS SF)- Pairs Qual (open to Women and seniors)
Day 5: Rosenblum QF (WS final)- Pairs Qual (open to Women and seniors)
Day 6: Rosenblum semifinal - Pairs semifinal (women and seniors Qual)
Day 7: Rosenblum final - Pairs semifinal (women and seniors Qual)
Day 8: Pairs final (women and seniors final)
Day 9: Pairs final (women and seniors final)

All participants can play both pairs and teams.
This would allow women/senior pairs to try their luck in the open pairs and then enter their own category if they do not Q (of course they have to pay a little more for the extra days) and there would be no drop ins in the women/senior pairs (and we skip a completely useless semifinal in those 2 categories)

Then I would add a day in the mixed schedule. I know it is a whole extra day, but mixed is hot:
Day 10: Mixed swiss
Day 11: Mixed swiss
Day 12: Mixed R of 32 (2x16) + Ro16 (2x16) (Mixed pairs Q)
Day 13: Mixed QF (2x16) + SF (2x16) (Mixed pairs Q)
Day 14: Mixed final (Mixed pairs semifinal)
Day 15: Mixed pairs final
Day 16: Mixed pairs final

I don't think it is optimal with such short KO-matches in the mixed, but in my proposal at least there are 4 more boards in each match and only the semifinal is shorter than the Orlando schedule.

I know it makes 16 full days of play, however many might go there just for part of the event (especially among the non-elite players who might not be able to take so much time off) and I don't think the extra day means anything to the pros and the ones who are retired (the majority of bridge players).
Sept. 3, 2018
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Al, while we are at it:

The womens pairs have ridiculously low number of entries so far (the senior pairs too for a scheduled 6-day event).

It might be too late for this world series, but it would make a lot more sense to me to shorten both events by 2 days in the future. For example at the beginning, thus allowing the women/senior players to play 2-4 days in a different event from the one they play pairs in (ie. I would love to play the Rosenblum but I cannot if I register for the womens pairs, some senior might want to play Rosenblum and a women wants to play senior teams and women pairs).

What are the thougts of the WBF about the format for the women (senior) pairs in Orlando?

I dont see the point of a qualification, neither semifinal/final with 40 women pairs. We might as well play a full RR thhroughtout (I know that is not possible because of drop ins).

I just cannot forget Sanya where we kept playing the same pairs in a hopeless attempt to cut an already tiny field.

I don't want to say “I told you so”, but I think the issue of players not being able to commit to the pairs with a partner different from their teams' partner is one of the reasons you don't have more registrations. People have had to choose rather than just play it all. This goes for all events.

I know I cannot change anything now, but as I see it both the senior and womens teams should be cut with two days in the future, the pairs of both events starting later and the pairs final held after teams are finished.

That will not solve your issue with the Rosenblum, but I think this years attempt of upgrading the Roseblum looks like a failure to put it mildly. The entries are at this point not event half of the number of entries in Philadelphia.

I can also see from the participants, especially the mixed and open teams, that the players missing are the non-pros. I think the WBF has failed making the championships attractive for the masses.
Sept. 2, 2018
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Hi Al, first of all thank you so much for taking the time to reply as frequently and rapidly as you do.

I am not sure you are aware of it, but I advised the WBF to extend the mixed compared to the original schedule draft due to the number of participants in both Sanya and Philadelphia plus the trend that mixed is increasing in popularity. You did listen and that makes me feel that we are being listened to. I think the number of teams in the mixed also shows it was a justified change.

However the same cannot be said for the womens events. I have given up on entering that event. I have talked to many women and I hardly know anyone who intends to play who haven't already registered a team. I also don't think you can expect a lot more teams in the seniors though there will surely be more than in the womens.

I think you should prepare for a very low number of women teams. In Sanya only 8 teams qualified but all could play the pairs final. I think you should seriously consider making that change. It will give you 2 extra days to start with 8 teams in the knockouts and allow all participants to play the pairs final.

For the future I think you should also cut down the number of days for the women pairs. In Sanya I remember we played the same pairs over and over again. One pair we met 5 times! And that was in the qualification only.

I think the major problem with the Orlando schedule is that the Rosenblum has been given way too high priority on the cause of all other events. Yes, the womens and senior teams and pairs are playing almost as many days, yet that is not an advantage for the participants or the format. And it appears to me the number of participants in the Rosenblum will be much lower than expected.

As a consequence of the extension of the Rosenblum, all pair events will be stripped from players from the finals, which is also not optimal. It makes no sense that doing better than all other teams besides one will at the same time rob you of the possibility of winning a world pair title. In case of the mixed it is even worse as also the semifinalists cannot play the mixed pairs final either and you will only hand out one bronze medal unlike all the three other team categories.

Yet the most serious consequence is that nobody can make commitments with other partners for pairs, just as Debbie and many others.

I think the Sanya schedule was much better. Maybe the Rosenblum was shorter, but at least it provided all players the possiblity to play in all events and a fair format in all categories, though a bit more random because it was shorter.

I have an idea for you for future consideration.
It is clear that women's bridge is going downhill. I still sense a lot of interest for the European and world championships for national teams, where the level is improving (at least in Europe, I didn't play the most recent Venice Cup).

What about adding the super mixed teams that they have invented in Asia? I think it sounds like a lot of fun and we all see how popular mixed is. That would maybe provide an opportunity for some of the women who are not as interested in women competitions.

To the ones who are not aware of what Super mixed is: Women play with women, men with men. At one table the women from one team play against the male pair, at the other the same. So men play with a male partner, but only against women, and women play with women, but only against men.

This seems to be very popular in Asia, and I confess I am curious to see it tested. When I think about all the times I heard men say something like “If we played in the women events, we wouls make 80 % each round…” Well, here is their chance.

I know it is not easy and that the WBF wants to please as many as possible. I hope you will make an evaluation where all players can comment on the format, entry fee, venue, bulletin, closing ceremony/party and other important issues. Not just for the participating players, allow all who have an opinion to express it.

With all hopes of a successful championship,

Christina
Aug. 27, 2018
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In case it isn't clear enough in my post: I am highly critical towards Mark Hortons neglect of stating his source. I think he has been lazy not to rephrase the EHAA and similar bridge content.

I do not believe that quoting from Wikipedia is considered stealing other people's work (there is no author and the point of Wiki is sharing knowledge). Trivia like titles, actors and summaries of movies can (nowadays) be found on official pages for press use and the producers would be happy of any mention.

I think it is lazy. And I think the shitstorm here on BW is symptomatic of our time and sadly also this site. The bloodhounds begin their hunt when they get the faintest scent.
July 24, 2018
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Removed as irrelevant
July 24, 2018
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment July 24, 2018
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I would not personally copy entire paragraphs from Wikipedia as introductions to bridge articles (especially because I prefer to invent something myself) but in my opinion Mark Horton's neglect of mentioning his source in a parenthesis after each intro is his only crime.

Perhaps save Mr. Ebert's material, the examples I read above are pure facts which Mark could have spent 5 minutes rephrasing in order to avoid this post, not plagiating authors, which in my opinion is a completely different matter and something I strongly object to.

One could even argue that he has taken the time to do a fact check about the movies he is referring to. Something many (non-bridge) journalists neglect and all bridge writers should do when writing about bridge hands rather than guessing (and often critisizing) what a bid might have meant in an auction they did not fully understand.

In my oponion the biggest crime here is that Bridgewinners choose to feature an article which to me foremost seems like a personal vendetta. I don't understand why it is so important to Mr. Clarke to protect anonymous contributors to Wikipedia. I am also clueless as to why Mr. Clarke would involve Eugene Hung and Bridgewinners. I don't see that BW has anything to do with Mark Horton's articles and never saw any of his work posted on BW (in which case I would have more understanding of why Mr. Clarke would direct BW's attention to the matter). I am even more clueless as to why Eugene would forward this to the IBPA, EBL or WBF rather than mr. Clarke himself. Has Eugene been appointed official gatekeeper?

Disclaimer: I have worked with Mark Horton on several occasions and find his write-ups of bridge hands the most well-phrased and well-analysed. Like David Gold I usually skip the intros, but I have heard of others who like them and merely see them as a movie lover attempting to make bridge articles appear more interesting.
July 24, 2018
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment July 24, 2018
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To my knowledge none of the Scandinavian countries receive any support from the IOC involvement.
May 30, 2018
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I play multi as weak and wide-ranged and love it:

Pass = Doesn't promise diamonds. Just shows that we're willing to play 2♦ undoubled.
2♥ = P/C
2♠ = Inv. with hearts or a hand trying to rightside the contract (being almost certain partner has spades, but of course still with ♥-tolerance)
2NT = Asking bid, INV+
3♣ = NF (can be lead directing)
3♦ = NF (can be lead directing)
3♥ = P/C
3♠ = Natural and invitational
3NT = To play.
4♣ = Asks for a transfer.
4♦ = Bid your suit
4M = To play

I think multi should be played as a destructive, not a constructive convention, thus wide-ranged and we can show 3 ranges.
2♦-2NT;
3♣ = Any medium. 3♦ asks (responder shows her suit reversed), and 3♥/♠ is P/C.
3♦ = Minimum with ♥.
3♥ = Minimum with ♠.
3♠ = Max with ♥.
3NT = Max with ♠.

After 2♦-2NT; any, we play 4♣ as keycard (first step 0, second 1 w/o the queen etc.)

Over a double we also that redouble is a puppet to 2♥ (wanting to play in our own suit, very often with hearts) If Multi-opener breaks the relay with 2S, it shows a suit able to play opposite a void.
Everything else is system on.

If the opps overcall 2M, we play X as penalty, which we find less likely to create problems. Sometimes we have to guess (or dare) to compete, but we are pretty good at that ;-)
April 13, 2018
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2N should always be natural, new suit forcing and the other major as cuebid. This is simple. I would use a lot more energy on agreements after responder to the multi-opener interferes (with anything).

If they D (ambigious or not), what do you play?
If they bid a major, what do you play? If they bid a minor, what do you play?

Same discussion after (2D) X (?)

Here my partner and I play transfers if responders bids at the 2-level. I agree it is very useful. However you should also have agreements if they bid at the 3-level, which is very likely. Most importantly is of course what X is.
April 13, 2018
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Isn't it absolutely clear what the reasons are? First of all this was published in Dutch on the Dutch Federation's website. The NBB cannot be blamed that other bridge media has translated the relatively short statement and reposted it.

As for why the NBB would post this: Brink & Drijver not playing for the Netherlands is like Messi announcing not playing for Argentina. Or Michael Jordan not playing for USA for Americans not so familiar with soccer. I worked for the Danish Bridge Federation for years, and we could learn a lot from the communication of the NBB (and so could the ACBL, I'm sure). As soon as there is news, they post it for the members and followers to know.

I am probably both biased and influenced by my knowledge of the Dutch approach to national teams and the development of top players, which I am extremely impressed by, but I do not see any reason why Brink & Drijver quitting the national team should motivate “unpleasant rumours”.

I can tell you this much: It is certainly not the choice of the NBB, and nobody is happy about their decision in the Netherlands, maybe besides the one pair who might take their spot. Furthermore I think it is admirable that there are actually some (male) bridge players who give priority to their family and private lives.

If I at some point had to choose between going to the American Nationals and represent Denmark on the national team (because I wouldn't be able to do both because of my family), I would choose my (semi)professional career. And I love playing the European and World Championships, but I love my kids more.
March 5, 2018
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment March 6, 2018
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I find this poll meaningsless without Krzysztof Martens.

Aside from that, I enjoyed Sontag's Bridge Bum more than any bridge book I ever read. But I might also have a different notion of writing about bridge.

This list is quite symbolic for how little bridge writing has developed.
Feb. 26, 2018
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment Feb. 26, 2018
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It will never be possible that a team will get more spots in the finals than the number of pairs from their team. The drop in-rules will state that. If 2 pairs want to play and a third pair with each their partner, the team has to decide who gets the last spot.

If Meckstroth and Hampson want to play, obviously that would take on of the spots they are assigned, never an extra spot.

I am not sure I will say the WBF will hurt one or the other group, rather that they aim to please as many as possible, but as Debbie said, they cannot both extend the Rosenblum and have the open pairs final after the teams final (same for mixed). Unless they want to have 18 days of bridge…
Jan. 19, 2018
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