Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Darien Cozart
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In my opinion, no seeding formula is going to solve all the problems in the knockout rounds. However, something I would be interested to see at some point in major events is an initial X-Cut Swiss, which is gaining popularity in some E-Sports.
In that format, the tournament would set the number of swiss rounds as well as the number of losses, then any team that survives moves on to the knockout phase. I would suggest using VPs as a secondary ranking system at this point, as you will most likely not get a perfect (power of 2) number of teams. This means that a following bracket could have for instance only 23 teams could make it to the round of 32, and the bracket would look like this:
Top 9 teams get a first round bye
10-23 have to play for the remaining 7 slots in the round of 16.

I think this would be an overall better format for a couple of reasons. One problem as you have suggested in your article is that up and coming players get seeded fairly poorly, and while it would seem the committee has done a good job in improving that, there is no perfect solution nor will there ever be. This format removes that process entirely. Secondly, for teams that are not strong enough to do well in the tournament, it gives them a chance to play a variety of opponents, a couple rounds vs. pros, a couple rounds vs. other unknown players.

Just a different approach to the problem, although it seems to me that there is a lot of good work in this area.

Darien
March 22, 2017
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Cathy,
I can't comment on rubber bridge or learning it that way. I learned under very different circumstances, and ironically have never played rubber bridge in my life and I am beyond the point of wanting to play it.

At the end of the day, older people and younger people have very different needs. For people my age (22) or in high school, we have a ton of different things we can be doing. I'm drawn to the competitive side of bridge, and it is my suspicion that the young people that can be drawn to bridge will be more interested in that than anything else. It is a challenging game with real prospects to play internationally. (in Canada there are less that 20 players under 26 that I know of.)

As for marketing, there is no crime in marketing to older people. That isn't the problem. However, there are some things that the ACBL does that is kind of insulting. Take a 55+ Senior game. It is more accurately an anti junior game. In the local club I can think of literally 4 players that do not qualify. That is a problem. If half the club couldn't play, like a 70+ senior game, it would be far less insulting. Forgive me if anyone feels my sentiment is unjustified.

I think individual games would be helpful. It gives people a chance to meet other players. I don't agree that it should become the focus, because many people enjoy building systems and building partnerships in term. However, I do believe they should be played more. It gives people a chance to meet, and it would reduce the number of awkward “you think we can play together?” conversations.

Rainer,
I don't think bridge needs to be the most vogue thing in the world, however the declining numbers are of concern. I'm not confident it will stabilize. I would like the opportunity to play when I am 70. With the current trend I'm not sure it will happen.
June 3, 2016
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I think bridge has a large number of problems leading to it's decline. I am speaking as a Canadian junior, but here are my thoughts:
1. Bridge is an old person's game, and in practice it has marketed itself as such. The ACBL has even publically stated that it's key demographic are women 55+. They do an excellent job selling to those people.
2. It has a learning curve. Most people want to feel they are at least starting to get the hang of the game the first time they sit down. You don't get that luxury in bridge.
3. People teach scrabble in their homes when they are young. My first scrabble game was when I was eight, I started playing chess when I was five. I didn't even really know bridge existed until I was seventeen.
4. Partnerships are hard to build. I can't walk into any game with random person and expect to do well. Chess or Scrabble I can simply walk in and enter the tournament.

All these games: chess, poker, go, backgammon, bridge are incredibly grueling and require a lot of time to master. I do not want to comment on relative complexity, simply because people will all say that their favourite game is the most difficult.
June 2, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment June 3, 2016
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As a VuGraph operator during the event, it is very easy to miss cards, and a trick on the play. Most of the players are claiming to the table, and are inaudible to the person doing the Vugraph, we either have to check or look at the score card at times, and it is not the place of the operator to interfere with the table. However, the players are VERY diligent in tracking their scores. I have no doubt that the women checked their scores and AGREED to the scores after every round. I believe the error in the official result is unlikely, and it has been confirmed by all 12 players involved.

Side note: This goes both ways. There are certainly results that seem impossible to the viewers that actually happened at the table. The sad reality is the only people who know 100% of what is going on are the four players at that table.
May 30, 2016
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Basically, we play a light style opening, 9-14 HCP.
1D: 4+hearts
1H: 4+spades
1S: either 5/4 in the minors or 6+diamonds
1NT: 11-14, can contain any 5 card suit except spades
2C: 6+clubs

We open the cheaper of any suit combination of 5-4, however we open the longer of 6-4. Basically if the suit is 2 cards longer, we open it. So it is a faux canapé style.
The first step over an opening is either a scrambling hand or a hand probing for game. The rest of our bids are natural and non-forcing. So 1H-2C is to play, which is kind of funny at times
(forgive me for feeling this has been beaten to death)
May 24, 2016
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I also want to bring up your last point, which again I tried to address in the article. My goal was not to eat up time, in fact I felt like I was under constant time pressure. My partnership is responsible for completing the round on time. In fact, with the exception of one round (we just finished bidding the last board) we finished on time. We even had one set where we took 30 minutes on the first 2 boards. We finished with five minutes to spare, and our opponents were joking with us about it at the end. The gamesmanship of time stalling is not something I want to be a part of. That is one of the issues I was trying to address. Clearly I failed to make that clear.
May 23, 2016
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I think teaching it to someone else is important. I am Jeff's third victim. However, finding people who want to learn is difficult, especially since the ACBL limits the events in which you can use it.
Ultimately, in terms of time, I wound up sacrificing time I could be thinking about declaring or defending other boards to allow for our long-winded slam auctions. That is a very costly position to be in.
May 23, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment May 23, 2016
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Ironically, we won the match.
May 23, 2016
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First off, thank you for Danny for posting the link to the Championship website. This clarifies my point.
Donald,
I'm not suggesting that the opps come without a defense, in fact, one is online. I even believe that our opponents can bring it to the table. My view is also distorted by the Junior world championships, where you compete against a wider range of systems, and with the exception of a forcing pass, it is pretty close to a full superchart event. Guess what? If you aren't prepared, it is your own fault. End of story.

The other problem with me bringing a written defense to the table is that iF it fails the opps, or they have a miscommunication because they hadn't discussed it prior to the event, it becomes MY fault. My defense (even though the ACBL wrote it) lead the opps to a poor result. That shouldn't fall on me.

Lastly, I am stating this with the belief that ALL pairs should have at least a basic set of their notes posted. I can surprise you without going into Mid-Chart territory, and I don't think that is in the spirit of any event you or I want to play in.

For example, I could easily play a full canapé romex system. That would be more like the gamesmanship you are describing
May 23, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment May 23, 2016
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I tried to make this point, but I personally think people miss the sixth club trick by the dummy reversal, which is why I survived the 4-0 break.

That said, on a 3-1 break, you do have access to your 4th trump in hand
May 23, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment May 23, 2016
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I beat you to it Michael, but thank you. I definitely needed to do that. It was careless, and not the purpose of the article.
May 23, 2016
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removed
May 23, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment May 23, 2016
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I happen to agree with you. The point was primarily to point out that time is a serious consideration before adopting a method, which is something I had not considered. Writing down each and every bid took the most time for me however, which is a problem with screens, and I don't write particularly fast. Again, practice is huge, and sadly Jeff and I don't live in the same city, so we have very few chances to play with each other live. We play a lot online, but it isn't the same.

Don't get me wrong, the system Jeff designed is quite elegant, and the sequences mirror each other quite nicely, but for this tournament it cost us far more than it could ever have gained. I was posting this more for people who want to play advanced methods and haven't done it competition before. I have never seen anything written on anything other than the memory load involved.
May 23, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment May 23, 2016
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My question is what are responders choices over 2C? If you have a 2NT 8+balanced, response available, you should bid it. Yes, it loses if opener has a strong balanced hand, as it potentially wrongsides notrump, however it is a perfect description of responders hand. If opener is truly balanced, then you get to 6NT on sheer power, and if opener has a suit, he can bid it. The auction 2C-2NT-3H-4H is much easier to manage.
April 23, 2016
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You make a fair point Ken.

I think the better question is “Does 6C show the red suit controls?”

With just the queen of clubs, partner is unlikely going to move. Bidding a small slam on a finesse is reasonable, even at matchpoints. Also, partner here is oddly unlimited, so placing an honour in his hand is not unreasonable, so with one key honour I expect him to pass/correct or bid 6H as sort of a last train for 7. However, holding two honours blacks should be enough to make a move. Again, 5H could easily be a better call. I'm driving to six regardless, there are very few hands that make 6 anti percentage.
April 21, 2016
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Or 6C: Both get the point across. I like 6C because there are literally 2 useful cards in the deck.
April 21, 2016
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This has been moved to a comment at the request of George Cuppaidge

So here are my views on the method presented.

The club suit is completely butchered: You lose your standard 3 preempts, overcalls, pretty much any time you want to bid 3, you can't.

2NT: needs serious partnership discussion before you can employ it. Notably, what is 3, and what are the responses to 3? I'm sure George Cuppaidge has his own, but this could be convoluted to say the least. This is where the serious memory strain lies, because it clearly isn't pass or correct.

If you have a strong 2-suited hand with clubs, you must double. 3 is non-forcing, therefore the risk of being dropped is very high, especially across 1m-3.

You get some ambiguity when holding both majors, or diamonds+a major. This may not be an issue in practice, however, as

1-2NT-4

Clears up most of the ambiguity involved with 2NT.



Playing against this 2NT style opening, I would recommend playing a modified version of Unusual VS Unusual

X: showing 10+points, balanced, no suits to bid, creating a forcing pass situation

3-any: Natural, limited. I believe stronger hands can pass and wait. It is unlikely the opps can blast here, unless it is 1M-2NT, which always shows diamonds, and you should be able to find a penalty double if it is there or a forcing rebid should you need it.
April 19, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment April 19, 2016
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I happen to agree with you that is another serious flaw, I should have commented on it. Truth be told, I'm not sold on the method either. With the exception of a precision diamond, I don't mind 2 to show majors, which solves the major two-suited problem quickly (I even like to sacrifice 2 over 1 for it)
April 18, 2016
Darien Cozart edited this comment April 18, 2016
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Thank you both-fixed
April 18, 2016
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I think 2H has a lot going for it, as most have commented on. Getting to 3H looks like it should be automatic now. I think the biggest thing we don't get here is table presence, and I think Kit was trying to bring it up when he asked “How confident is the 3H bidder?” Clearly, 3S is at best a borderline call. If given to me as a problem I would never take that call myself. However, I have found myself in situations where I have bizarre calls based on impulses felt at the table, and have had a high success rate with them.
That said, assuming the LOTT is accurate on the deal, and the opps indeed have a 9card heart fit on the deal.
3H making vs. 3S down 1
win 1 imp
3S making vs. 3H down 1
still win 1 imp.
Do I ever get doubled in 3S? At imps, highly unlikely. At matchpoints, this is a legitimate fear.

I also respect 3S more because of the double of 4H. Basically, if you decided 4H is going down, then I believe you can bid 3S. If you are not willing to bring back 4H doubled, then 3S should be out of the question.

As for 4H, we wouldn't be commenting of how bad a bid it was if South had either a singleton spade or xx AKxxx xxx Kxx, would we?
April 16, 2016
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