Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Gordon Bower
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Probably sounds better than it really is. (I can't say firsthand - I don't know anyone who has gone to St. George to play in this. Though I knew lots of Idaho and Utah players who went farther than St. George to play other bridge tournaments.)

Being able to award silver points to statewide Senior Games events is not new. I don't know when it started, but when Alaska had Senior Games for the first time in 2003, I was hired to direct the bridge event, and duly asked the League what my options were and got a sanction to award silver points. (I only had to be a non-playing club director, not a director qualified to be DiC of a sectional.)

I was planning to run a 2-session pair game, carefully balanced.

Senior Games told us that participating in the opening and closing ceremony / banquet was required. This made the entry fee far higher than any other bridge event in the state. The banquets weren't on the same day as the bridge event, either, which I suspected would cut down on how many out of town players would attend.

One pair showed up.

The Senior Games organizers never again tried to award masterpoints. They offered a bridge event, but it was contested as a rubber bridge individual in subsequent years. In that format they actually managed to draw 1 or 2 tables.
40 minutes ago
Gordon Bower edited this comment 37 minutes ago
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As Linda Marshall said – this isn't something “reviewers missed,” but rather, something that seemed very clearly to forbid transfer openings but allow various completely artificial openings (including 1D-showing-either-major.)

It's hardly the first time it has happened. Under the old General Convention Chart I was forbidden to play a 1D opening promising 4 hearts (some of us felt “all-purpose opening bid” meant “ANY collection of hands not covered by the other openings” was fair game for 1C or 1D, but when I asked for a ruling, was told it HAD to be nebulous, not transfer-like) but allowed to play 1D promising an unbalanced hand including either 4-card major.
49 minutes ago
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I already know it shows clubs - if it were artificial it would have been alerted.

If I am asking at all, the relevant information is whether it promises/denies/is silent about extras, and perhaps what exotic distributions it might include.
Aug. 5
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The resequencing doesn't seem all that scary.

However, next time, if you're aware that this MIGHT happen - ask table 2 to play board 5 first and table 3 to play board 9 first. (Similarly board 17 at table 5 and board 21 at table 6.) This will buy you an extra 7 minutes to find out what's happening with the late pair in case you need to re-sequence.

I recall using a similar trick to buy myself an extra few minutes when I didn't know what size Howell I was going to have.
July 25
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I'm sure the answer varies with the size of club some. I can answer for the 3 clubs I've spent several years each at (2 very small - as in Howell movements 2 or 3 times a week - and one medium sized.)

At each of the 3, there were no guarantees. At two of the 3 (the 2 smaller ones!) if you called ahead, even just a few hours ahead, you were very likely to get a partner. At both of those clubs, the manager or director typically was making phone calls to drum up business the day of the game or the day before anyway, and knew from that who was available. At one of them, the manager typically didn't make dates ahead of time for himself so that he could play with any last minute singles.

At the other small club, we experimented with the idea of a ‘designated emergency fill-in’ on a rotating basis, but found little use for it after a few months and quit bothering.

Ironically at the largest of the three clubs, it is completely self-serve: if you need a partner, you are expected to post it to the club webpage or listserv a day or two ahead of time.

Working the phones was very valuable in expanding the size of games at the small clubs - games ran 1/2 or 2/3rds their usual size in weeks that nobody made phone calls. Not so much because it located singles, but it inspired people who were on the fence about coming to come in.

Director essentially always plays, except for those few special games where he is forbidden to. He's not paid enough to make him come if he isn't having any fun. In the days of hand-made boards, someone who didn't play had to be hired to make the boards, the playing director never did that. With dealing machines, we know how to deal without displaying the cards on the computer screen.
July 16
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In ACBL Live, you are taken to the Session 4 results (finals) by default, but there is a dropdown to choose Session 2 (end of Swiss) or session 4.

I am not a huge fan of the Swiss-qualifying thing, especially when it's used to extend events that aren't properly 4 sessions long.

At the recent Pocatello regional, 17 teams entered a KO, and were split into THREE brackets of 6, 6, and 5 players, with 12 of 17 guaranteed a good chunk of gold. (I wasn't in the event - but had naively assumed they were picking 4 out of 17 rather than having two brackets. Heh.)
June 26
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Absent any special groupings that lend themselves to being added in a chunk, I just work my way across my hand after sorting it: if I see AQ5 K432 QJ9874 6, I'll say to myself “4, 6, 9, 11, 12.”

The only time I'd use the “multiply then add” approach is if I picked up a particularly easy-to-chunk hand. Three aces and a jack, 12+1, rather than 4, 8, 9, 13 or whatever.
June 24
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One of my favorite bridge memories was meeting Dr. Rosenkranz at the 1999 Vancouver NABC — and getting to make a Rosenkranz double against him in a regional pairs, scoring 8/12 on the board. I can only hope he felt proud to see one of his many inventions in action.
June 24
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I was never a huge fan of Clyde Love's BLUE (Busy, Loser, Upper, Entry) to remember the necessary conditions for the simple squeeze.

When I taught an advanced declarer play class, I offered them a cornier but more memorable alternative:

A Jedi mind trick for squeezing your opponents:

TATTOOINE:

Take All of your winners (no saving a last trump “to get back in later”); you must have Two Threats, at least One lying Over the intended victim, and only 1 loser remaining;
and you Need an Entry to the threat opposite the squeeze card.

The class laughed, at least. And not a one of them complained that I had misspelled Tatooine.
June 24
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I have heard the same. He was long before my time.

But I will observe that “killing fish” is a vital skill, up at least to the level of A/X games at regionals, if you want to win and not just turn in a long series of 55% games. Even if it's true, he might still deserve to be called the best of all time.

This was quite possibly the case up to the Blue Ribbons, before we had mini-blues and mini-mini-blues on the side.
May 22
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With ~23 HCP accounted for, we'd normally look for the rest to be divided equally between the two passers. Since responder will bid with *all* of his 9s, but partner may pass with some flat stronger hands, I am going to guess that opener 17, partner 9, responder 7 is the most probable split. Partner's mean is somewhere around 10. He almost never has less than 8, and he *might* have a flat 14 but those hands are going to be much rarer than the 8s and 9s and 10s.
May 10
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I want more than just a random 12 count and 6 trumps… I prefer it to show a 7-trick hand without much defensive values.
May 6
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If squeezes were of limitless complexity I'd see a point to switching to systematic names (assuming we had a method to generate them) beyond a certain point.

But there are only so many possible arrangements, so I don't see the need to abandon naming them.

Re scientific parallels: I will observe that names like toluene are still in common use - organic molecules have to get to a certain level of complexity before we abandon the common names. In my experience it happens somewhere around ‘valeric acid’ (pentanoic.)
Geology has never embraced systematic names for minerals. It's just a fact of life that there are a couple thousand mineral names out there, a couple hundred of which you're expected to memorize and to be able to recognize on sight before you get your degree.
April 25
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I still like Sandwich as 4-5 – but I play in an area where many pairs still use fairly sound openings and responses. As responses become lighter and lighter, I think harder and harder about going back to natural. (Or building the strong 18s into my double, or something.)
April 25
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I agree with all of Steve Weinstein's opening remarks: “I see it as there are 3 major pair events and (now) 4 major team events. The other events at nationals aren’t “majors”. Based on current scheduling, it’s possible to enter and win 6 of the 7. That alone diminishes the BRP in prestige compared to the other pair events; let’s try to minimize that as much as possible.”

But the conclusion I reach is “creating the Soloway Teams was a mistake,” not that drop-ins should ever be allowed from any event to any other event.
April 25
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I would try to politely ask partner to share his thought process behind 3H (and hope he had more than the 4 words abbreviated by LoTT to offer.)

It might be a good starting point for a more general conversation about hand evaluation, and about thinking rather than just memorizing rules.
April 23
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This thread scares me more than several previous threads on similar topics do. It seems some of you equate “club issues” with “big club issues.” But from where I sit, it feels like there is a huge gulf between the big clubs and the small clubs - perhaps with the small clubs more allied to the ACBL (in part because we're usually run by volunteers, or by a manager/teacher who has other income and is content to do barely better than break even – by the same people who sit on unit and district boards and serve as chairmen of local tournaments.) I've started one, and been heavily involved in the running of three, previously. All of that description.

Indeed when my local club entered a new era of prosperity (thanks to donated money for a shiny new building, and lots of teaching effort) it became a LOT harder to get them to care about sectionals, or the ACBL in general, or about convention cards, or misexplanations. Keeping the new players happy came first, even at expense of following the laws (and keeping the experienced players' business.)

If the big clubs have ideas to help each others' business grow, great. If they have ideas that might result in a new partnership between the big clubs and the tournaments, that's great too. If they have ideas that translate well to smaller areas, best of all. I am much more worried about saving the smallish clubs teetering on the brink of not having critical mass anymore, than I am about whether the huge clubs get even huger. Honors will survive if Jeff wants it to, even if the ACBL dries up and blows away. I don't think small-town bridge will.

I see exactly where Don is coming from, when he asks about conflict of interest if a big club owner sits on the board.

I'd love to see the big and small clubs find some common ground — in this thread, I see almost none.
April 23
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At several clubs in my area, we have a similar problem with every sectional in the state: the handful of folks who travel to the sectionals are the same folks who manage and direct most of the clubs.

Over a period of years, one solves this problem by having new people take the director's test and giving them practice to come up to speed, before they are left on their own for a few days.

In the shorter term, am aware of at least one club where the directors rotate among themselves who will leave a day late so that the Friday game gets covered.
April 23
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It seems this is yet another area where there is wide regional variation. In the three states I've lived in, it is just a given that any club within about 50 miles of a sectional or regional always closes. (And often cancels their Monday or Tuesday game the week after the tournament ends because the local players are ‘worn out’.)

I don't see it as “lost revenue” any more than cancelling a game on Christmas is. The revenue was never available in the first place, with most my players and directors somewhere else. Would it become available, in a hypothetical future world, where Christmas isn't a holiday anymore, or where live club bridge is still a thing but live tournaments aren't? Yes. But I don't foresee living in such a world.

Now, I can easily believe that there are places where the clubs stay open, because I've seen quite a few regionals where the locals don't play very much. (Indeed I sort of expect clubs stay open during NABCs.)
April 21
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Baby Boom started in 1946 (and is a lot bigger in 1947 than 1946.) The pool of potential bridge players 72+ is a lot smaller than the pool 71-. (If you think we have membership problems now, wait and see what happens in 10 or 15 more years…)
April 4
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