Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Eric Sieg
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Magic the Gathering does this. There are different levels of rules enforcement with the Regular being the social/casual “potentially educate players but don't penalize them” and competitive being the more serious one where people get more nitpicky about the rules. Calling out the two levels might help with tournaments as well because it makes people more aware that such exists and it isn't the same as their daytime club game where anything goes.
June 15
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Are there units that have done a revenue share with clubs from tournaments? We floated some ideas about that but got tripped up on mechanics of how to determine which clubs get how much. Also questions of non profit funds going to for profit clubs, etc. Would certainly be great to learn how it is done elsewhere.
June 13
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@Christian That's something I didn't anticipate when I started playing multi but the extra 2 level bid has been the big winner for us. We play a multi 2 and a precision 2 and then the best bid for 2 has some choices. We initially tried a “constructive diamond preempt” as Kit seems to do but I have since fallen in love with 2 as both minors and avg imp pickup per 2 opener has been very high.
June 12
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Great article, thanks for taking the time to put it together. I've heard others express mini bridge as a good start but I think you do a better job of explaining why than many others.

Also, I appreciate and agree with your thoughts about technology. It feels like many people (especially 50+) think that “thing” + “technology” = now appeals to younger people. I love to see technology leveraged as a tool to make things easier/faster/etc but not at the cost of actual social/face to face interaction. BBO is a great way to practice with people who don't live nearby but if bridge went completely online/remote I would sadly bid this game adieu.

Pizza + cake being appealing is good to know as well. We've been doing that here but I didn't realize it actually mattered to people.
June 12
Eric Sieg edited this comment June 12
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Sure, I didn't see this as a way to wish for things to happen but rather a fun way to brainstorm. I've seen similar exercises in the past come up with some really good ideas that ended up getting implemented.
June 12
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To be clear, you can implement multiple changes. Don't think I can edit OP anymore to add that.
June 11
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I play good/bad with some people but the scenarios where it is on are pretty defined and this isn't one of them. 2NT in competitive auctions is (when not defined otherwise) usually an attempt to find a fit/two places to play and that's how I would take it here as well.

To be fair,I'm more familiar with strong club systems where lebensohl here would be a lot less useful. Some sort of lebensohl/good bad seems a lot more appealing in a system with wider ranging openers.
June 11
Eric Sieg edited this comment June 11
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It seems like the unit board is seen as the enemy of the club owner here which is something I'm not sure I understand. As the clubs are the foundation for any successful bridge community, shouldn't finding ways to help/support local clubs be a priority for any unit board? If that's not the case, perhaps it is time to try to build a better relationship with the board or work to get more members on it who value the clubs.

I talk with club owners regularly and bounce ideas off of them and look for ways to help them and I am hardly the only one (or even the most dedicated on) on our board.

As for membership/retention, I would assume that's a given. Sectionals should be a net positive income flow or why would they be held? Thus everything from the ACBL and then some of the sectional revenues would go to “good things” that help with recruitment and retention in some manner.

Some examples for us:

1) Help create and distribute newsletter to units and clubs
2) Support local youth bridge efforts with money for their big event
3) Help send youth with financial need to the youth NABC
4) Send intro letter w/ free play coupons to new members and transfers that they club owners can send to the unit for reimbursement if used at their club

We've also spent quite a bit of time working to help clubs out in ways that don't show up as an expense.

While I certainly think there are things that can be done to improve the ACBL and am eager to contribute to any discussion on that subject, I'm not sure that this article really proposes any practical action.
June 10
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Pro-Am-Ham?
June 8
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Because there are huge disparities in the difficulty of blue ribbon quals. 2nd in bracket 3 of a bracketed team event is the same as winning a bracket 1 KO or A/X Swiss.

The Netherland approach of top 5-10 masterpoint finishes seems like a much better approximation. The ACBL masterpoint awards certainly aren't perfect, but they give a rough approximation for how impressive a specific finish is.
May 30
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This seems like a really great idea, would love to see the ACBL move to using something like this.
May 30
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Not sure about the actual mechanics, but something like this certainly seems a lot more appropriate than the current “lifetime total” approach.

Of every competitive endeavor I have been involved in, watched, known about, etc, bridge is the only one I've ever heard of that uses lifetime wins as a way to measure how good you are. If tennis was seeded based on sets won (regardless of age) or chess was based on matches won (regardless of age), people would rightly think it absurd. However, in the ACBL that's exactly what we do. Even worse, it is a huge part of how events are seeded.

As for the actual mechanics, some sort of weighting for recent years seems appropriate. The Netherlands approach mentioned by Louis Dekker above seems fairly solid. The best X events helps measure actual performance rather than total points which can turn into a grind fest. MTG at one point used total pro points but then realized it was resulting in people with lesser skills but infinite time/money rank higher which wasn't the goal. Needing to win 10 events to essentially cap out your rating is still a good amount of bridge (and a reason to go to tournaments!) without making it all about who can go to 20+ regionals a year.
May 30
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Lots of talk about masterpoints, but there are also some other challenges with teams.

1) Making a pair means finding 1 other person. Making a team requires finding 3 more. As I've gotten more involved in organizing unit events I've also started to realize that a lot of people are really shy about asking.

2) Strength advantage compounds in teams. If you are a B pair who has good days and bad days, it possible you might go on a tear and (with a bit of luck) win a pair event. However, if you are teaming with people at your level you need all 4 of you to play above your standard and get lucky to beat an A team. If a KO, you need to then have the abnormally high play + luck for two days instead of one.

With team events it is a lot easier (imo) to predict the winning team, especially in two day events. The counter to that is it is a lot easier to predict who isn't going to do well. If you are in the bottom 50% skillwise in your group and are not likely to do well, that can make the event less appealing.

Masterpoints matter too of course, it just seems like the other challenges with populating team events sometimes get ignored with focus on masterpoints and stories about how 30 years ago everyone was more motivated, etc. That's nice, but it doesn't reflect reality today. Most of the focused and competitive younger crowd have other competitive outlets so a much higher percentage of the players today just want to play and have fun competing against people at their level. Hence the popularity of 750 events and then also (at least in our neck of the woods) 2500 events.

I don't think there is anything hugely wrong with this. People wanting to play against people at their level is pretty common. When I sign up for a tennis tournament I'm not going to sign up for the “open” category, I'm going to sign up for the bracket that matches my skill level so I can have a fun match or two or maybe three.
May 29
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All tournaments I'm familiar with in the PNW do preduped boards the last X rounds. In the Swiss today it was 6 9's, so the last 4 rounds had preduplicated boards. It helps a lot with dinner and bar conversations after.
May 28
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One section web imo and it isn't close. Second choice being 2 web movements rather than 2x 11 table Mitchell which would put a heinous 33 boards in play.

Web lets you maximize the pairs you play against (22 vs 18 I think here?) and gets rid of the issue with boards not in common. Playing 33 boards at a random club game without resources seems fine, but 33 boards in play at a regional seems likely to draw complaints. We had 33 boards in play at a regional pairs game 2(ish?) years ago and there were many unhappy players. That was a screwup with not making enough boards, I can't imagine doing it intentionally.
May 21
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Doesn't feel like quite enough for 5 opposite a simple 1 response. Sometimes the opponents are kind enough to bid more diamonds and let us find our way to 6 anyway.
May 18
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Around a year ago I assumed that X was probably better as takeout/negative vs one suiters and better as penalty vs 2 suiters. Since then, I've kept a mental tally each time its come up and surprisingly even the 1 suiter penalty X is ahead by a solid (but not insane) amount. People (even at high levels!) are willing to show 1 suited bids on some real garbage. If 2M shows M + m or both majors, X as penalty is so far ahead it seems crazy to me to play X there as anything but penalty interest.

What people don't always remember are the hands where the style impacts the result even if you didn't X. At a GNT match last year my partner made a bid of some sort and the NT opener felt like they needed to stretch to reopen just in case partner had a penalty pass. When the smoke cleared we were +800 on a part score hand and comfortably won the match.

I don't feel strongly on the approach vs 1 suited bids, but would be really sad and feel like I'm handing away MPs/IMPs to not have a penalty interest bid if they show two suits.
May 15
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Everyone I know who does this it is because they (or their partner) started with standard and made the switch to UD attitude but didn't want to also make the switch to UD count.
May 11
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I usually play that 3NT (or 3 if hearts) is non serious anytime we've set trump (as opposed to temporizing because we have concerns about a suit) and haven't skipped 3M on our way to 3NT. So 1 2 2 2 3NT would be an offer to play, 1 2 2 2 3 3NT would be non serious. Can obviously be bid from either side.

Sometimes you'll have an auction like 1 2 2 3 where you can't skip 3M so you just lose out on 3NT as an offer. I find that A) this doesn't really happen all that often and B) The extra clarity provided by non serious is WAY worth the tradeoff.
May 11
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@Don I'm familiar with the seeding point docs. Suggesting a max of 22% impact seems pretty misleading since most teams won't even have 11 seeding points. In Toronto, only 37 out of 104 teams (35.6%) had an average of over 11 seeding points.

I think the seeding point approach works fine for the top teams. The MP limit that you mention of 11 seeding points comes into play and there are a variety of results to look at in order to sort out a seed. Where the seeding system seems to fall apart is the bottom 60% of the bracket. There are underrated international teams (a hard fix) and then your regular ACBL teams (not a hard fix). Almost all the complaining I've heard has been from people in that bottom 60%.

Admittedly, for the purposes of determining who the best team is in the event the bottom 60% don't matter as much. However, just soldiering on with a poor implementation seems like a disservice to the regular people who want their seeds to make sense too.
May 5
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