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All comments by David Caprera
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Our agreement is 0-3, 1-4, … with a “known or known to be useful void”. We treat suit of opponents as useful.
14 hours ago
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I second Jim's comments. The playing area is spacious and well lit (not so much for the vugraph room). The tournament is being run with the WBF's usual efficiency. The hotel rooms are nice and the staff is friendly. I share Jim's Chinese language aptitude but they are very accomodating. The hostess at breakfast greeted me with “Hello David” (rhymed with “hahvahd”.) But it is about the hottest and most humid place I have been.
23 hours ago
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For the last time, every bone in my body and hair on my head knows the deals are randomly dealt. My earlier post was just my way of saying, “You can't believe how wild was the set of boards we just played.”
Aug. 13
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There is a lot of bridge left to be played. We have four matches tomorrow. With three pairs that means one pair plays two and two play three. One of my team members wanted to know why he was only playing two tomorrow. My answer was that I wanted him well rested for day ten. I think he was ok with that.
Aug. 12
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I am firmly in the “hearts plus a minor” camp. 3C advance is PorC, 3D is a heart invite.
Aug. 12
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I don't have a strong opinion but we use as one guide a “rule of 19”, although Jx doesn't feel like it should matter.

One consideration is, “Is this hand one that I can describe better if I pass?” My thinking is “yes”.
Aug. 11
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As I write this, I am in Suzhou with the USA junior contingent. You don't know jack about highs and lows. Two days ago, we started out 0-3 in the round robin. My team was ready to jump off a cliff. They won the fourth match and, all of a sudden, we had won the Bermuda Bowl. Yesterday was a good day for us and we were back in the hunt. A toast of scotch. Today was our hardest day. We won our final match, I had dinner with the team and retired to my room, but I doubt that my boys will sleep.

Low-High-Low-High. It is an emotional roller coaster. What am I supposed to do? Beat them with a stick when we win and give them candy when we lose.

Max, it is a good post. IMO, your approach to bridge is a model of how to go about it.
Aug. 11
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I am going to offer up a theory that I DO NOT believe. USA 1 just played USA 2 in the round robin. While I never really had a discussion with my team (I didn't have to), we all knew this was a “big match” for many reasons. It was on BBO vugraph and you can go look at the boards in the BBO archives. It was something like seven slams and five doubled contracts in 14 boards. Ho, hum, a 7-5 hand.

When the boards are like that in a match like that, there is a lot of pressure and the result is there are a lot of swings, there are many more decisions to be made, and, as a result, there are more mistakes to be made. Mistakes notwithstanding, both teams performed to standard.

The question is, “IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THESE BOARDS ARE NOT RANDOM?” Rather, some one/thing/force said, “Let's give them this set of boards and f–k with the Americans.” Again, I do not believe it. But that is only after my second healthy pouring of The Balvenie (Caribbean Cask) that I needed to calm me down enough to go to bed.
Aug. 11
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Coolbeans, that can't be! Arjun has told me he has been in bed by 10pm every night and getting up at 6am (not before) to study his system notes for an hour before going to the gym to exercise.
Aug. 11
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Obviously, this was not the typical posting. I had hoped it would be perceived as in good fun (I think it has) and I expected there would be more suggestions. I limited the list to 10 but I apologize that I was not thinking globally. I did have a concern that I needed some women but omitting Rixi Marcus was a clear error. Similarly, Benito et al. deserved to be on the list (particularly embarrassing given my Italian heritage.) As well as those suggested, Hugh, Terrence, Georgio, Tim, Bob and Zia are also all worthy names for a computer. And I am sure there are many more. Keep your cards and letters coming.

(I abstained but I confess that I think “Edgar” sounds like a good name for a bridge computer.)
Aug. 10
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I've got the hesitation blues,
I've got the hesitation blues,
Don't read the daily news,
It's The Bulletin I choose,
We're mostly Wasps and Jews,
Scotch is our favorite booze,
Don't wear no wingtip shoes,
Pay ACBL dues,
Every ruling I lose,
I've got the been snookerred by a sharpie, bridge playing, hesitation blues.
Aug. 9
David Caprera edited this comment Aug. 9
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My undergraduate degree was in “engineering”, what today is called operations research. My thesis was “A Heuristic Algorithm for Solving the Traveling Salesman Problem.” My first job out of college (before going to grad school and then law school) was writing the code to implement forced integration of the Detroit school system. In 1975, a federal judge mandated forced busing and said that the plan had to be implemented by September or the school board would be held in contempt. The Board went to ETS (the college board people) in Princeton who hired my thesis advisor who hired me and other students to do the routing. “You have X busses, Y schools, Z classrooms, etc., and here is a street map of Detroit designated by ethnic population, what are the bus routes?” A very interesting problem.

But that was 43 years ago. No my posting is more likely the result of being here in China for the world juniors where they scan you at the airport so that they can follow you in the streets coupled with having read Dan Brown's book Origin about uses of artificial intelligence (not great literature but it made the 14 hour flight over more bearable.)
Aug. 9
David Caprera edited this comment Aug. 9
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If each table or a group of tables was covered by a camera, maybe even an “eye in the sky” that could watch a section or an entire room, coupled with existing face recognition programs and the information all fed into a computer, it would seem technologically trivial to keep track of how long each pair takes. A scale could be developed that at the end of the session your score would automatically be adjusted by your time overage. No disputes, no directors, no subjective judgments. Add a little artificial intelligence and we would have no need for directors at all! It (the computer - we would have to give it a name, perhaps Ely, Charles or Harold) could give rulings, automatically identify breaks in tempo, perhaps ascertain at-the-table cheating, fill in for half tables, and make cappuccinos.

The issue is simply one of cost. There would be a significant initial capital outlay, but over time the cost would be recovered.

If the average age of a player was 27 rather than 72, the concept would be easily accepted and understood. It would make the game attractive as “not being a game for old people.” We compete for new young members against computer games of all types. Being on the cutting edge would make the game more attractive to younger players.

(When I first submitted this posting, I received a warning it may contain “potentially objectionable or offensive material.” While my best guess is that it is because I used the word “cheating”, it did occur to me that perhaps it was the director's lobby, the AARP, or the “Tea Drinkers Society” that was objecting.)
Aug. 9
David Caprera edited this comment Aug. 9
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I would say that the hotel and playing area are very good, but perhaps a bit warm. I have kept my room at max cool and it is 75 F degrees (23 C).

Tonight's hotel dinner had a seafood buffet of crab legs, scallops, conch, sweet freshwater crab and a copius quantity of peel and eat shrimp. Then a full dinner and multiple desserts. Oh, and comes with beer. All for under $20 US.

I agree with Sylvia - the wifi sucks for an observable reason. No, not China's great firewall. It is overloaded. There are 700 players, all with at least a cell phone, all logging in at the same time. One of my team members assures me that the wifi at 4am is just fine.
Aug. 9
David Caprera edited this comment Aug. 9
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The reason to play 1M as F1 is to handle 4M and 5+m. With something like a 20 count, the problem is 1C-1D-2m-P where a 4M game is good.
Aug. 9
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Debbie, great post! Two initial observations. First, it is 98 F degrees (don't do it Eugene, in this context “F” doesn't mean what you are thinking even if it is what I am feeling) here and I would have said “100% humidity” but Greg (Herman, U26-2 and a student of weather science) informed me that if one could see 1 mile it means that it really isn't as humid as it felt. And two, this is not Yichen's first world juniors. Yichen is a grad student studying computer science in Boston but back in 2012 he played for China.
Aug. 8
David Caprera edited this comment Aug. 8
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The presumption here is that the opponents are opening an honest strong notrump. But we are now seeing many top US partnerships playing 14-16 and upgrading 13 counts. Against them, particularly if your side is hot, if DBL isn't real, you better check your wallet at the door because it is likely to be picked.
Aug. 8
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I am curious whether those who voted responsive after (1C)-X-(1H) would vote the same for (1H)-X-(1S). If there was a box you checked on the convention card that says, “We play (1X)-DBL-(1Y)-DBL as responsive”, the number of psyching opponents should increase dramatically.

I can see responder asking before he bids 1S, “If I bid 1S, is advancer's double penalty?” and advancer replying, “Normally it is, but not if responder asks before bidding.”
Aug. 8
ATB
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Even though South's 3D bid is lead directing, he often has length. (The suggestion that it could be a D void isn't going to work well when partner leads from DQxx against 3N.) Perhaps DBL of 3H by North should show D length allowing South to judge wheter to bid on.
Aug. 7
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I have not met David (I hope to this week as I have enjoyed his postings), but if I see some guy running around with nothing but a sheet in Suzhou, I promise to take a picture and post it.
Aug. 6
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