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All comments by Christina Lund Madsen
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I have said this before and I am not scared to repeat myself:
The day bridge is only played electronically is the day I quit.
Sept. 14, 2015
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Before anyone going after Helgemo I want to say that he and Tor are famous for being such pleasant opponents and on good terms with all opponents despite often beating them up heavily.

Geir is known for never wanting to talk about bridge and furthermore I remember witnessing (and joking with some other bystanders) the Monaco team comparing, since the Norwegian/French/Italian dialects often made it quite an accomplishment to score up.

And as Boye stated it wasn't until he played against FS he understood the cheating rumours. It is likely more difficult for the teammates than for the opponents to detect whether a pair is cheating.

I think that Geir and Tor are the kind of players who have a good time with all their opponents and just cannot imagine anybody to be cheating. I know more like them and they may be naive, yes, but I personally find it very charming to have a stronger belief in the good than the bad nature of human beings, bridge players included.
Sept. 14, 2015
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Sweden set an example for good sportsmanship by contacting Denmark before accepting the spot in the BB.

From a Danish perspective Sweden is next in line according to the rules, since Israel has simply withdrawn.

We have no desire to waste time speculating about the situation had Israel been disqualified, since this is not the case.

We have very tight bonds to Sweden and we will root as passionately and proudly for our neighbours in the Bermuda Bowl as we always do.

Heja Sverige!
Sept. 7, 2015
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I know that both Sweden and Denmark have a fantasy about Swanmark.

The problem is really that with such short notice it is highly likely that neither country will be able to send their A-team plus the expenses are not in the budget.

I cannot imagine the WBF would accept it but we like to dream about it…
Sept. 5, 2015
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Oh Tom (if I may call you that) I love when you get mad! Wrouw…
Sept. 2, 2015
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It's funny, I had this conversation about a matchmaking site yesterday with someone and in Chicago a guy was asking me and Ida Grönkvist from Sweden whether he could put us on ebay for the mixed swiss…

I am convinced it would make sense to have something like what Ben and his crew developed in the UK. I imagine it a bit like a dating site (which you might not believe I have absolutely no personal experience with) where you describe yourself and have a chance to communicate with someone you are interested in hiring/being hired by to see if there might be good chemistry before agreeing to anything.

Especially for me coming from Denmark I often hear people say “oh, I didn't know you were available” or comments like that cause in the beginning it is quite difficult for us coming from Europe since out of sight is usually out of mind.

As for advice to shirley, I would recommend you to go with something a bit long term in terms of a lot of practice on BBO if you have a strong preference to play your complete system, since it takes a larger effort to do well together than just play something ultra simple for one event.

Another advice would be to ask someone that you admire, like you tell Justin and Josh that you are fans of them - I would always start with the ones on top of my list and work my way down - and hopefully not have to go too low…:-)

And Geoff, I hear you in terms of not wanting to recommend someone you cannot stand up for, but with the danger of sounding a bit harsh; if its your site, your recommendations, its your choice whether you want to add pros (or wannabe pros. And I think it wouldn't hurt to set the bar high in that respect if it means that clients can really trust that they will get something worth their money.

Of course I realize it is a problem if you don't like rejecting people to their face but I have a feeling you would not be so reluctant to do that as many others including myself…

As for whether pros commending themselves is just hot air, I think in most cases you could just look at their results. Most who are not just pros by claim have some kind of notable title to back their reputation. I know for young players it is a challenge at first, but most young talents have a habit of rising at a speed unavoidable to notice, especially since they often sweep the junior medals.

I'm just waiting for someone to do it. Pros want it, clients want it. Who's in?
Aug. 30, 2015
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Personally I don't care about master points and I have never really looked into how the system works in the US. I have only heard a few things such as I won't be able to become life master (whatever that title means) because I don't have some colors you get in club games and I only play nationals where I get the color that you get in the main events.

I have been told that you need to play at least half the boards to get master points and I have noticed that there are many events with master point restrictions - in my opinion both sensible initiatives. So I don't quite understand why so many talk about how there should be “non-pro events”.

However - and this is for me of the utmost importance - the ACBL has made it so attractive and prestigious to fight for these masterpoints that they have attracted the best players in not just the US, but the entire world.

When my non-bridge friends ask me whether there are great money prizes in bridge, they don't believe my reply, because they don't understand why anyone will spend money to play without a chance to win money.

And although more and more events with great money prizes surface (Cavendish, Yeh Bros, the new VVcup) all the world's greatest stars and their clients continue to prefer the American Nationals.

In Denmark we fight to attract more people to our events, people are quick to complain if the prizes are too small (and yes, we also hand out master points), we have no professional environment thus very few international top players and hardly any remarkable international results as a nation.

But we do have the same discussion between the “elite” and the “others”. And I really struggle to understand why the US - as the most radiant example of how much good a professional environment does for bridge - seem to have adopted this discussion.

I know several Danish amateur players who this summer finally decided to go to the American Nationals because they have been dreaming of playing against and alongside the Steve Weinsteins of the bridge world.

Remember to appreciate what you have now rather than mourn the loss in the future.
July 27, 2015
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Hi Michael, I just saw your post. Declarer called the director after a very slow play of a singleton and the whole matter was followed by a heated debate.
I know, cause I was dummy.
It is fine if you need time to think on defense, but then play the card first an leave it front up while you think. That was our only request.

There are no more appeals in the EBL championships. A board of directors make a ruling based on some procedures (like asking some players what they would bid on a hand if that is the topic of the director call). That ruling stands, but there is a possibility to ask for a review, which, as I understand, is only procedural, which means that the ruling stands if it has been made following the correct procedure (at least that is what someone explained to me)

However the review (which was in fact asked for but did not change anything) did not have anything to do with the director call you describe above. It was on the board that followed.
July 7, 2015
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Adam, I just want to say that I saw you double Joel in 4M and find an amazing lead from the kx of clubs, the only lead to beat a cold contract that now fell apart due to all your actions. I thought that was a marvelous hand and one of the best I saw during the trials, though I confess to have been rooting for Fireman throughout.

I was very impressed and think you should be very proud of your performance.
May 26, 2015
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The day bridge Championships are played on computers is the day I quit.
May 19, 2015
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I like it, Geeske!

I underlead aces on opening leads more than I should make known publicly, but that is to make declarer misguess with a KJ-guess. It used to work for me all the time, however now my reputation is catching up on me…

I rarely get a chance to do as you do, since if I have a void, a long suit and my partner supported me, I am usually declarer doubled (or even redoubled) at any given level…
April 7, 2015
Christina Lund Madsen edited this comment April 7, 2015
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I like that simply the title of this contribution shows the opinion of its creator. Reading all of your comments it is clear that from your perspective the Rosumblum is by far the most important event of the World Bridge Games, yet there are seven other world titles to battle for during the championships.
I agree that the Rosenblum is definitely the most prestigious and probably the most entertaining to watch.
However the entire World Bridge Games schedule should not be adjusted simply to fit the Rosenblum. As long as seniors and womens events are run simultaneously the WBF has to find a solution that fits all categories.
Furthermore the mixed events are highly popular. There were only about 40 teams more in the Rosenblum than in the mixed teams. How can you then argue that this event should be shortened? I played in the mixed teams and got knocked out in the round of 16 by a team that had knocked out Diamond in the round of 32; yet I am convinced that had we played 4x14 or even 3x14 and not just 2x14 (which is one segment less than in the knockout matches of the Rosenblum, so the WBF does acknowledge the greater prestige in the Rosenblum), the Chinese team that beat both of us would not have won. But you can always argue like this and I can easily find boards I could have done better, so the format is not to blame.
It is true that the more boards, the more likely we are to find the “right” winners. Yet there are other events more adherent to this. And in how many of the Rosenblum knock out matches do you think the outcome would have been different? The most charming thing about bridge is that so many can win. It does not have to be the favourites every time.
I actually think that the short qualification in the teams is the most questionable aspect. I think there should be 3 days of qualification, especially in the Rosenblum, and preferably also in the mixed. Yet that leaves even less space for the knock outs.
My suggestion is to extend the championships with one day. I confess that 16 days in China was by far enough for me, but if the last two days are the pairs finals (and of course the finalists of the Rosenblum should be allowed to drop directly into the finals) then it is possible to skip the pairs and shorten the stay.
Then I think that the knock-out matches in the Rosenblum should be extended to 3 segments of 16 boards rather than 14. That would at least bring it up to 48 boards rather than 42 and all the top players are used to 64 boards/day from especially the nationals.
I think there are much bigger issues to appoint, foremost the geography of the championships as many have already argued. I love seeing new parts of the world, but my partner and I were the only participants from Denmark because of the expenses and long travel hours.
I hope and believe that the WBF listen to the feedback from the players and will do their best to make the championships attractive to as large a group as possible.
I am looking forward to 2018 and hope to see a lot more join.
Nov. 4, 2014
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This is not an event in which the participants represent their national teams. I have written the country which I regard as their home country. Helgemo and Helness are also from Norway and Sabine from Germany though she has lived in Denmark for years. If any of the participants have other wishes, I will of course obey.
Sept. 16, 2014
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Of course there will be vugraph :-) Also from the pro/am, which is usually more entertaining than one would imagine.
We hope to have even more world stars accept after Sanya at the latest.
Sept. 15, 2014
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Thank you Allan!
Prizes in the main invitational event for 20.000 dollars if anybody is curious :-)
Sept. 14, 2014
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I would both lead the 3 of spades and bid 3S :-)
I know I have all my values in hearts, however with the hand partner needs to have in order to defeat 3H, we will often make 3S ourselves (like the hand Chuck suggests holding the 9 of clubs). 3H is not invitational, which means both hands are limited. Since I didn't overcall 1S, partner won't punish me by bidding 4, especially at MPs (unless it is right of course)
If we have a 9-card fit, I think it is very unlikely we get doubled for -200 (especially if we bid with a self confident air) so +140 or -100 is a better result - and then I don't have to lead ;-)
Aug. 9, 2014
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I am a woman. I confess I only played in an American women's event once in my life. I would not mind playing in the women's events if I got hired to do so. However as long as I can either get hired or play with really good players in open events, I prefer that.

I think the challenge for women's bridge is the decreasing prestige of winning such an event. Most of the top female players prefer to play in the open.

We have the same challenges in Denmark as in the US. I don't play any women's events in Denmark due to lack of competition, but internationally the general level is constantly improving, and I highly enjoy these competitions.

However the women's events are very popular among the female players who would never achieve anything in the open events. So my suggestion to the ACBL is to change the format of the women's events to make them more attractive for the larger group of players who are not at the top-top level. I even suggested this in an email to the ACBL last year.

In the Spring I would skip the qualification and let all play a 2-day swiss. I never understood the incitement to halve the field unless there is a very large number of teams. For many women I think it is a long way to come to risk playing only one day. The spring program is better (and also has a larger number of women's teams competing), since it allows women teams to play in the Vanderbilt before the women's teams. I think they should consider rescheduling the summer Wagar knock outs in the same way.

The knock out format in the Wagar is appealing to strong players, however very unfriendly to new or foreign players. They will most likely lose on the first day to one of the top teams. I met a women's team from Scotland. They had come all the way across the Atlantic only to lose in the first day of the Wagar to a chinese team.
To have a broader appeal, I suggest an initial round robin (to make all guaranteed to play 2 days) followed by knock outs. Alternatively a second chance against another loser if you lose in the first round.

Now some may argue that changing the women's events to make them more appealing to weaker players rather than the top level players would be an admission of failure. I disagree. It would support the exact reason women's events were born; to give women a chance to excel in their own championships. (I confess I may not support this view, however there are women's events in all other sports and I think they should remain in bridge as well)

As I see it, several top female players who have sought the challenges in the open events have achieved their goals, since more and more women are regularly beating men (which seems like a constant surprise to the males though it happens over and over again).

Then let the top female players who have the urge and the skills compete with men and leave the women's events to those who prefer those. For me it is the same as those who choose between a senior and an open event. Some players like to participate where they have the largest chance to do well. Nothing wrong with that.

I expect that there will be some political debate if it is decided to change the format of the women's events. I have no opinion a to whether something should be a national title. I personally don't care about neither that, nor master points, however I know most at the nationals do, and I am sure someone can find an adequate solution for that.

I hope the ACBL will try to do things differently since . At best, make a survey among the female players to hear their reasons for not competing.

All the best wishes for the future,

July 31, 2014
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I may see this through European eyes, but I think 3 teams for the North American zone is one too many when I look at the teams from Europe who are placed 7-10 in the European Championships compared to a team from Canada.

I love Canadians for reasons beyond bridge and understand they would have very slim chances to qualify if they were to participate in the US trials; however, why should their chances be better than the ones of France, Netherlands, Sweden (none of which qualified this year) who have to battle the rest of the giants from Europe to qualify?

What would happen if Canada (or even USA2) were to play the 7th placed team from Europe? Or the 8th? Or the 10th?

I would bet my money and my apartment on the 7th-10th best teams from Europe to beat Canada. The level of the 10-12 best teams is so high, which is why it is impossible to guess who will make the top 6. There are no favourites besides Monaco and Old Italy.

And to be honest; I wouldn't be scared to also bet a lot of money on Europe's 7th against the team who becomes USA2 after the next trials (my guess is Diamond). I think Sweden is as good a team as the ones I saw playing in the US trials this year (save Nickell who I think is one level above)

(By the way, I am not Swedish, in case someone wonders…)

If I had any money left, I would put it all on Europe's number 7 against the best teams of any other zones in the world (North America excluded).

The Australians are the first to say that their way to the BB is far too easy (especially compared to the struggles in Europe).

Would it be an idea to let the zones fight for some of the controversial spots? Let's say North America played trials for 3 spots (I think the Canadians have as much a chance to be in the top 3 in the US trials as Denmark of being sixth in Europe) and the 3rd team had to play Europe's 7th best?

Or that the winner of New Zealand/Australia and some other zones had to play against the 3rd from the North American Zone, 7 & 8 from Europe for two spots?

I honestly think that would make the World Championships an even tougher competition; however, less a World Championship, if Europe and the US field half the teams.

When discussing this issue I sense that the argument for the US to be able to field two teams (that most people both in and outside the US can agree upon) is the high standard of the teams. However, I think the same argument is valid looking at the teams from Europe we miss every time.

I also think that within a few years Europe will be even stronger, since all the best young players come to the US to play and eventually become bridge professionals. However I don't believe the US has as many rising stars (juniors) as Europe, and I think within time we will see that only one US team makes it into the top 8 at the World Championships. 2013 Bermuda Bowl is one example, when Canada snatched the last spot in front of USA2, which to me is an argument that Canada are capable of competing in the US trials.

There will always be teams and players I miss at the World Championships. So I hope to see everybody in Sanya later this year :-)
July 3, 2014
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I just want to tell you all that I really appreciate your feedback. It actually wasn't my intention to publish it besides in Mark Horton's Bridge Magazine, however Bobby Levin wrote me he enjoyed it after reading it there, so I thought others might feel the same.
I don't think I would dare to write about my own experiences if not encouraged. Some legacy from my journalistic upbringing I presume.

Vegas approaching! Hope to meet many of you there.
June 19, 2014
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Well - it depends whether I shall have something to write about from Vegas. I hope so. Otherwise I can perhaps write someone else's fairytale
June 19, 2014

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