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All comments by David Levin
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It appears that Declarer is 2=3 in the black suits. If South wins at Trick Two and shifts to a (playing Partner for AQ-fifth), that would imply that Declarer has a running five-card suit, in which case the shift establishes Declarer's ninth trick. Playing Partner for AQ-fifth instead, seems similarly futile.

So, it seems that the defense's best chance is to win at Trick Two and play another , hoping that partner has enough scattered strength to prevent Declarer from establishing five tricks in the red suits.
July 6, 2015
David Levin edited this comment July 6, 2015
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Does opponents' 2N opener say anything about a five-card major?
July 6, 2015
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“Josh, this doesn't seem to solve what the director told me was the main concern - namely, lower bracket teams complaining about having to play the “better” teams that were dropped down. It seems that teams being willing to drop down isn't the main issue. Even if they are willing, the lower teams perceive it as unfair to have to play against them. Whether or not this concern should be catered to is another question, but apparently it is catered to now, and I don't see your suggestion solving this problem.”

I don't understand why “moving up” some teams should generally require “moving down” other teams. Suppose that the top 8 teams entering a regional knockout are deemed in a class of their own, and it happens that the 17th-ranked team wants to play up. Granting this request would fill out Bracket One with an eager team and have no cascading effect on lower brackets.

In many other cases, the departure from a bracket by a team that wants to play up would still leave the bracket with at least 9 teams.

I can imagine that managing this would be a headache for directors until software could do it reasonably well (assuming that such software doesn't exist yet).
July 6, 2015
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The phrase “one which could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the UI” might well have been crafted with all deliberate speed. I'd much prefer that it read (if this was the intent): “one which, for some of the player's peers, would demonstrably have been suggested over another by the UI.”
July 6, 2015
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Yuan, I had thought that the AMS paper (and apparently Diaconis's also, being that the AMS paper cited it) was using the term “random” not to mean “equally likely,” but to mean “covering the possible outcomes.” In taking another quick look at the AMS paper, I realize I was mistaken. But it's still not clear to me that the number of shuffles necessary for “completeness” is the same for deck permutations as for bridge deals.

Edit: I realize that if shuffling seven times is more than sufficient for bridge deals and isn't a hardship on the shufflers, then trying to determine a smaller number of shuffles that would suffice for bridge deals might be rather involved and have limited practical value.
July 5, 2015
David Levin edited this comment July 5, 2015
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Being single, I am at liberty to suggest, “providing an opportunity to spend some quality time away from your partner."
July 3, 2015
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I took a fairly quick look at the AMS paper cited by Yuan. It seems to be concerned with permuting a deck rather than with dealing four combinations of 13 cards each. For example, if on the most recent deal preceding the shuffle, Dealer received the A through the 2 in that order, the AMS paper would consider this distinct from Dealer's having received those same 13 cards in a different order.

When the cards from a board's four slots are taken out and combined, the cards for Dealer (for example) are initially adjacent and would be dealt four to one player and three to each other player. One way to characterize sufficiently random shuffling is that it would make possible the separation of those 13 cards so that Dealer once again might be dealt all 13 of them. The cards of each other player would also have the possibility of being similarly separated.

It might well be that shuffling seven times makes sense in bridge also, but I would expect the resulting degree of randomness of layouts to be much greater than that of permutations of the deck.
July 3, 2015
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In my view, the one deal cited does not establish a systemic problem that requires a draconian remedy. Data would be needed that show that the average time to play deals where Declarer could have claimed his/her contract at Trick One exceeds the time allotment per board.
July 2, 2015
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Perhaps Declarer should be awarded -2 if East started with fewer than four s, or -4 if East started with at least four s (the case here). Of course I'm not serious: a failure by East to color coup would hardly be irrational. 8o)
July 2, 2015
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Benoit said, “Imagine i play 120 boards against you and I never claim, instead I just keep playing to trick 13 on all of my hands. On contracts where i should/cloud claim I just relax and play just a bit faster than you without wasting any energy.”

Presumably that series would include boards where the Declarer could readily have claimed the rest but elected not to, as well as other truly inexplicable failures to claim.

Excluding those more “obvious” claim situations, suppose that an entire set consists of deals of where Declarer forgoes claiming when the contract is assured, because s/he has a slight chance for an overtrick or an additional overtrick. I fail to see why this should be considered unethical or why a third party should monitor the failure to claim by such a Declarer, whose side also stood to benefit on a future board from the time saved on this one. The potential IMP that Declarer is forced not to pursue might be the one that loses his/her team the match.
July 2, 2015
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“I would think no civilized person would admit to choosing a tactic specifically to take advantage of someone's physical handicap of poor vision.”

I agree.

“If it was about hoping declarer is inattentive and would not look at what card was played, then a black card would work just as well.”

Declarer might see the red card in his/her peripheral vision and, being “certain” that it must be a , fail to look directly at the card. I'm not saying this is likely, but I've noticed a tendency for a person to not carefully observe what s/he regards as a foregone conclusion.
July 2, 2015
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If, given the information available at the close of Trick One, you (Kevin) could expect partner to expect you to expect partner to expect you to hold at least one honor, would your spot lead at Trick Two be taken in your partnership(s) as still attitude or as count? (I'm not claiming that the premise of this question is true or that there's a clearly preferable signaling approach here.)
July 2, 2015
David Levin edited this comment July 2, 2015
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I see. Thanks for clarifying.
July 1, 2015
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I posted the preceding comment because it wasn't clear to me why the poll question would be constrained to standard 2/1, rather than applying to any partnership that doesn't routinely open balanced 11-counts in first seat.
June 30, 2015
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Is the phrase “playing standard 2/1” referring to the system used by E/W (implying, for example, that opener isn't subject to a HCP constraint imposed by an artificial 1 system)?
June 30, 2015
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Bud, when you explained how deals were generated, I took your explanation to mean that each deal was generated independently of every other deal, so that for example, the program will create the layout for Board 2 without any knowledge of the HCP balance that it had created in the layout for Board 1. If this is accurate, then I don't understand others' argument about bias in a Howell. I could understand the argument if the generator compensated in later deals for having given N/S or E/W an excessive share of HCPs on earlier deals, but I gather this isn't the situation. In any case, I'd appreciate your clarifying this.
June 30, 2015
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This is like shooting fish in a frozen foods aisle.
June 30, 2015
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“Hello, Lieutenant. What can I do for you?”
“There's something about this expenditure that bothers me.”
June 30, 2015
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“I just object to the idea that they've somehow done something wrong by not knowing to answer to the exact level the OP wanted.”

I agree. Sometimes a pair simply agrees to play Convention X, without first discussing what it is, what it's for, when it applies, subsequent calls, etc. One or both partners might have misconceptions about one or more of these areas. How can I be sure this occurs? Because I've been a perpetrator; it was decades ago, but still…

So, I accept it as part of how people learn. I'm not saying to suspend the Laws of Duplicate, but let's try to foster a supportive environment.
June 29, 2015
David Levin edited this comment June 29, 2015
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Being in an intemperate state can certainly render a person incapable of clearly expressing his/her view. But after reading the material in Kevin Lane's first two citations of Mr. Monzingo's writings, I'm inclined to agree with the last paragraph of the original post: Mr. Monzingo's latest article comes across not as about “cheating” but as merely employing this topic as a fulcrum in his campaign against funding international play.
June 29, 2015
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