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Would the committee feel that “but N-S had to lose something” if they had gone down 1100 in 3N? I'm guessing no.
Aug. 2, 2016
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There's not much more fun on Vu-Graph than watching the wildly different styles of Moss-Grue, Auken-Welland, and Fleisher-Martel. Well done!
July 31, 2016
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Hi Geoff,

Congratulations on all of your recent success.
I've always been impressed by your defense with Eric. To what extent are you rule-based about whether to give count, SP, or attitude (or none of the above), and to what extent do you give partner “what he needs to know” on every trick?

Has your philosophy of opening leads changed much over the years? Are there one or two players who you think are particularly great leaders?
May 24, 2016
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From my brother, Phil, a retired math teacher:

First off, if you shuffle a deck and randomly deal one person 13 cards, the number of possible hands is “52 choose 13” which comes out to:
635013559600 which is a HUGE number of hands, each of which is equally likely. This number is so big that if you were dealt a new hand every second of your life, it would take you over 20,000 years to reach that number of hands. You are very unlikely to have been dealt the same hand twice in your entire illustrious bridge playing career.

Anyway, just for interest here are the number of hands containing each given number of aces

192928249296 no Aces
278674137872 one Ace
135571202208 two Aces
26162863584 three Aces
1677106640 four Aces

which means you have approximately a
30.3% to be dealt no Aces,
43.9% to be dealt one Ace,
21.3% to be dealt two Aces,
4.2% to be dealt three Aces,
0.3% to be dealt all four Aces

Back to the problem, for Mr. A the calculation is fairly simple. Once he starts with A spades, he will get dealt randomly 12 more cards from the 51 cards remaining in the deck. There are a total of 158753389900 hands he can end up with, each equally likely. Of these hands, 69668534468 contain no more Aces, so dividing, he has a
69668534468/158753389900 chance of not getting any more Aces which is about .439 = about 43.9%. So subtracting this from 100%, Mr. A has about a 56.1% chance of getting at least one more Ace, (that is, ending up with two or more Aces.)

For Mr. L, the calculation is a little more complicated. Using the numbers from above, if you just deal 13 random cards, and subtract the no Ace hands from the total number of hands, there are 442085310304 total hands that contain one or more Aces. The number of these that contain exactly one Ace is (from above)
278674137872 hands. So dividing, we get .630 which means there is about a 63.0% he gets no additional aces. That
means, subtracting from 100%, he has about a 37.0 % of being dealt two or more Aces.

So Mr. A has the decided advantage of about 56% as compared to 37% for Mr. L.
May 24, 2016
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I see the merits in all three of the possibilities. I lean toward 1N mostly because whenever I end up in hearts, at least one of my spade honors seems to get ruffed out.
May 22, 2016
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The Vu-Graph coverage was outstanding all week long. Thanks to Jan, the voice and print commentators, and the best Vu-Graph operators I can remember. Special praise to Oren, who was outstanding in providing details about what the players were saying and how they were acting (while still getting the cardplay right).
May 15, 2016
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Judy, Remember when the ACBL convention card had a box for psychs, and we had to check one of three boxes: frequent, seldom, and never. I believe the working definition of “frequent” was approximately one psych per session (or was it once per day in a 2-session event?).
April 11, 2016
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The world needs more Feldmans!
April 2, 2016
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Now THIS is how to lower the age of bridge players!
March 1, 2016
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I have a strong preference for a business redouble. Passing to force a redouble takes partner out of the auction if LHO bids over a pass. You want him to be able to double a runout from LHO.

So we play:

Pass=denies the ability to make a penalty redouble and usually shows any one-suiter that isn't interested in game. Partner usually redoubles over the pass but is allowed to bid a good 5-card (or longer) minor suit. Any bid by me ostensibly shows a 5+ card suit, with one exception. If I bid 2C and it gets doubled, a redouble by me shows short clubs, usually exactly 4=4=4=1.

All 2X bids show that suit and a higher-ranked suit, at least 4-4.

2N = minors.

We can't play 1N X and have to decide what's best when we have 4-3-3-3- hands.
Feb. 11, 2016
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Not quite, Peter. The Thursday column was in response to already exhibited bad behavior, not an attempt to forestall abuse.Thus Jeff's “particularly the first few days of the tournament.”
Dec. 7, 2015
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Word from hourly wage workers at hotels trickles up to management. In the case of employee abuse, unions often get involved, too. I'm sure the management of the hotel doesn't relish complaining to ACBL brass about how badly its members behave. The ACBL imposes many problems on hotels, not the least massive traffic periods. I know the ACBL has a hard time convincing staff that the hotel really is going to get a huge demand for dinners at 5:00 p.m. and the bar will be dead at 10:00 p.m. and hopping at 11:30. When the staff levels aren't up to the job,bridge players get justifiably grumpy and unjustifiably hostile.

Many of the “chain” hotels are managed by Marriott or other chains, and owned by investors or individuals, who talk to each other. I have no idea whether we've ever lost hotels (and in some cases, only one hotel in a city might be capable of hosting a national) because of our misbehavior, but I wouldn't be surprised.
Dec. 3, 2015
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This is a subject dear to my heart. During the last nationals in San Francisco, I was talking to one of the cash concession workers at the Marriott during an evening session. She was in her 60s, and had worked at this location for more than 20 years. WIth resignation, she said that the ACBL was the worst-behaved group she had ever seen. She invited me to stay behind her and observe the behavior.

It was an eye-opener. With notable exceptions, about the best she could hope for was a grunt of recognition when she waited on players. Many whined at her about the cost of the goods or the absence of their particular favorite fresh fruit or beverage. A smaller number were outright abusive, yelling about short waits or issues that were clearly not controlled by these workers.

Flash forward to New Orleans this year. I befriended a bartender at the main bar at the host hotel. I was embarrassed by the way she (and the rest of the crew) was treated by bridge players. Two weeks later, I was back at the New Orleans Marriott for a slightly smaller convention (3000+) and the contrast was stark. The bartender was buoyant. The bar wasn't as busy but her tips were higher. She said the staff was just recovering from shell-shock after almost two weeks with bridge players.

Although the sloppiness of bridge players is far from admirable, what rankles the hotel employees (and their management) is the abusive behavior. Hourly workers are not subhumans. We should strive to treat fellow bridge players well, but let's also have zero tolerance for thoughtless behavior away from the table, too.
Dec. 3, 2015
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“I think talking through one's thought processes would help some players and hurt others.”

Michael, I'm not clear what you mean by the above.
Nov. 29, 2015
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The ACBL results link seems to be up and running so far this tournament, but I greatly appreciate these updates, BW. Thanks!
Nov. 28, 2015
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I think Ed nails the crucial element, and why “semi-forcing” doesn't bother me. If 2N and 3N responses to 1M are conventional raises, and 1N carries the freight of many hands that range from 5-14 HCP, it is far better to alert the 1N than the rebid by opener.
Nov. 21, 2015
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Where is Michael Clark when we need him?
Nov. 11, 2015
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