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All comments by Christina Lund Madsen
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Removed as irrelevant
July 24
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment July 24
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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
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment July 24
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To my knowledge none of the Scandinavian countries receive any support from the IOC involvement.
May 30
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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
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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
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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
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment March 6
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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
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment Feb. 26
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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
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Though it is not to my benefit, I actually do not disagree with you, Paul.

However I also think it is wrong if the schedule prevents so many of the best players from competing in the pairs. I was not planning to play with a client (because of the schedule) but with a top player and a friend of mine. If I reach the semifinals and am not allowed to drop in and the same goes for others in the semifinals, whose partners don't want to play pairs, and we are already missing the 6 pairs in the finals, I think it decreases pretige of a world championship pairs final. It would cut off some of the best in the world, and I don't believe that is desirable.

I would think it sad if Meckstroth nad Hampson could not play the final of the open pairs after losing in the semifinals, because their partners dont want to play pairs, but they do.

I think once it has been decided to have an overlapping schedule, drop ins must be allowed.
Jan. 19
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Hi Debbie, I wrote a long detailed post above before I saw they had posted the schedule, so I suggest you look at that :-)

However I just want to comment on the overlap between the teams finals and the pairs finals. There was an even bigger overlap before in the mixed, that was scheduled for only 5 days but has now been extended to six days (huge improvement).

I think for the Rosenblum it was only the finalists who could not play the pairs final, as it is now. I don't recall about the womens/seniors, but it is the same situation. Basically you cannot commit to play pairs with a different partner than you play with in the teams. Unless you partner is willing to wait and might not play at all if you reach the finals or potentially play only 1 day if you reach the semifinals (of the mixed pairs).

That is, if you are allowed to drop in with a different partner. I would also very much like to know this.

However this problem might only be a problem for all the pros planning to play with different partners in the teams and pairs. Not that there are not plenty with that issue…
Jan. 18
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Ok, now I see they posted the schedule while I wrote this post… I will leave my post up since I wrote it…
————————————————————————————————————–

Debbie, I am really sorry I did not see you post till now. I would have replied sooner.

I noted that the mixed events in total had been cut from 7 days in Sany to 5 days in Orlando. Furthermore it was not possible to play the pairs if you reached the quarterfinals of the mixed teams, which I also considered a problem. In general I don't think a pair championship played over 3 days with cuts every day and a large random final should count as a world championship. I simply think 3 days is too short. Not to mention finding a winner in a team event with 300 teams in 5 days…

Furthermore it would not be very tempting for a mixed pair with very slim hope of reaching the final to travel thousands of miles (or kilometer if they come from those parts of the world) just to play 2-3 days of mixed pairs. (I hope there will be a consolation for the ones who do not make the A-final).

In my view it was a severe downgrade of a discipline that is increasing in popularity, and this only to extend the Rosenblum by 3 days, which only pleases the top teams. Extending the Rosenblum by 2 days is already a massive upgrade.

However the suggested schedule on the WBF-website was preliminary. I think they might revise it to please as many as possible. I hope and believe we will hear more very soon.

There is another issue that I find problematic, and it is that if you make the finals of any of the major team events, you cannot play the pairs in the same category (i.e. the mixed pairs if you reach the final of the mixed teams). It is not a problem if you play with the same partner, but if you want to play with someone else, say a client in the mixed pairs but play with a pro in the teams, then you cannot promise the client you will be able to play, in case you reach the finals.

And I think there are plenty of good teams who might like their chances in the mixed teams ;-) Thus the players will not be able to make other commitments.

I know it is really hard to fit everything in and at the same time make long tournaments, but I really think it would be optimal to be able to play all 4 possible world championships. (2 in the open/women/senior, 2 in the mixed).

Let us see how the schedule looks. Regardless I am sure it will be better than in Philadelphia and the event will be amazing regardless.
Jan. 18
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment Jan. 18
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I actually had a meeting and sent them an email in San Diego with suggestions regarding the schedule because I see a huge conflict with the outlined schedule that might cost a lot of money because of lower attendance. I pray that they actually consider my suggestions and that is the reason for delay.
Jan. 12
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I too think it is a huge problem. Especially for the many who have made arrangements 1-2 years in advance. Many professional deals might be (dis)advantageous to one or the other. Not to mention booking of flights and hotels.

I would honestly advice always to have the schedule ready more than a year in advance (for all bridge events with huge participation, not just the WBF).

Besides that, I can hardly wait! :-)
Jan. 11
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