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All comments by John D'Errico
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Someone who dislikes all their alternative lead choices even more?
March 9, 2018
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True, a false card does not serve any real purpose here, holding Q94. It is a baby false card. Best might be to play randomly from the 94. But for human play, if it might impact how you use your entries, thus wasting an entry to dummy that would otherwise be necessary, I can excuse someone making it, just in case the contract might go down an extra trick.

And while I admit that the difference might be only a few percent on one hand, small differences in any one hand would have measurably improved my standing in this event.

So while I do see where you are coming from, I see no ethical problem with making my opponent work on every hand. My actions on this hand might be useful on the next hand (or when I meet them again next week), when they may need to decide again how much they can believe my carding. The biggest risk is that I may cause partner to not trust my carding, or that we essentially create an implicit agreement to lie on our signals. While I won't do that, what I won't do is go easy on my opponents.

Personally, I think that shows I respect them. I give them my best on every single hand, and expect they will do the same.
March 9, 2018
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I enjoyed Richard's efforts here. Well, at least it reflected things I did on a few hands.

I do thoroughly disagree with one statement by Richard: (on board 13)

“East showed out. The robot West had been trolling me by dropping the Nine of diamonds.

It West had been a human I would have had very strong words about sportsmanship.”

Left Bot Opponent (LBO) played the 9 from Q94 on the first round of the suit. Do you seriously think that playing the 9 is unsporting behavior? I'd argue that is just a good falsecard, were it a human defender or not. In fact, as a bot defender, LBO sees the 94 are essentially equals, and it plays randomly from equals. So that was not even a true falsecard, an attempt to mislead you. It was just a random choice.

But if you would seriously claim that a human defender who smoothly played the 9 there was coffee housing, then you are wrong. A true false card is completely legal play, not unsportsmanlike behavior. On this particular hand, a smooth play of the 9 might be seen to possibly have benefit, if it caused you to later misplay trumps.
March 9, 2018
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Conversely, if you don't check what seems to be an obvious bid to just play in a contract, you might ruefully find the BOT thinks you have 25-27 total points, and have just made a grand slam try. Bots have no sense of humor.
March 9, 2018
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Hopefully, he has not learned to defend like a bot. Signals? We don't need no steenkin signals!
March 9, 2018
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It slows down my play, in the sense that I check and carefully read EVERY explanation. What would my bid mean, what did the bot intend by its bid? Even in the trivial sequence 1NT-2♡, I'll check that 2♡ is a transfer. I'd also check what the bots thought the range for 1NT was. This is not at all necessary for some bids of course. But the habit is important. Do it compulsively on every bid, and you are safe. Well, somewhat safer.
March 8, 2018
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You still have that center hand opponent to deal with.
March 1, 2018
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As a charter member of the newly created thought police committee, I move that MIke's comment be flagged on general principles. You WANTED to make a flaggable comment. That should be sufficient. You don't need to worry though, because no committee I've ever seen has ever agreed on anything. ;-)
March 1, 2018
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First or third seat, I would happily open both. Second seat, vul? I try to maintain some standards.

The Bethlehem hand (3 kings) will have me showing those ratty majors, possibly get us too high. I'd rather sit and listen to what happens on the hand than open in second seat vul. Not the end of the world if you do open.

The first hand seems just a bit closer to opening. I'd probably flip a mental coin on that hand. It is a bit quacky, and the stiff king puts me off in second seat vul.
Feb. 16, 2018
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#1 and 2 are really just achievement badges, like merit awards for attendance/performance on a web site (like stackoverflow), of achievement points in a game, celebrating birthdays, etc. Personally, I don't care about achievement badges. But some people do. And if it helps encourage attendance, then for something that costs nothing to implement except some programming time, why not?

Changing strat schemes based on how many points they have earned recently is just a way to ensure that those who play relatively little earn more points. If you play more, then your chance of winning (and winning big) is less, because you got pushed into the higher strat. In effect, it makes the masterpoint accumulations more uniform across the spectrum of players. So everyone accumulates points at closer to the same rate. You might as well award everyone 50 masterpoints per year, just for paying their dues. That will have a similar impact.

Changing seeding schemes makes a lot of sense, if it can be made to more accurately predict current performance. Really, that means implementing a performance metric for players. There are a few of them around that have been implemented, seeming to work reasonably well. Unfortunately any such metric will not handle teams from other countries well, where they have no transferrable record of performance. And this is I think the major failure of seeding in events like the Spingold. In that case, the seeding committee just needs to do a better job, increasing the seeding points awarded for teams with no ACBL experience.
Feb. 16, 2018
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I do agree that remorse shown would seem necessary for me to recover some degree of trust, also that none of those who have apparently stolen from us at the very top have ever shown any willingness to come clean. This may be a simple case that they made too much money from their actions over too long a period of time, that they are unwilling to admit even to themselves that what they did was wrong.
Feb. 12, 2018
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Interesting. We seem to be coming at this from opposite directions. Your take is that you are apparently willing to trust people completely, until they sever that trust, at which time you will never trust them again, with no option of redemption. Is any mistake sufficient to destroy your trust, thus forever earning your wrath? What if it is conceivable that you were wrong in your rush to judgement? That the convicted individual was in fact never guilty at all and therefore still deserving of your trust?

I have said that I will never completely trust anyone, yet I accept the concept of rehabilitation, that someone can show by their actions that they are again deserving of at least some trust.

We will simply need to agree to disagree in this matter.
Feb. 12, 2018
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I'm not sure I can agree with Cornelia, who seems to imply that some individuals can apparently be totally trusted, and that others, who have been labeled as a thief can never be trusted again.

Everyone here is human. (Well, that may be a questionable assumption. Can GIB now post online?) Not one of us should be TOTALLY trusted. I don't care if you are the pope. If you claim that some specifically identified individuals can never be totally trusted, that also implies that others CAN be totally trusted.

Should those forever untrustable, irretrievably thieving individuals be forced to wear a scarlet letter on their clothes, maybe a T? I could have sworn that went out of common practice a few years ago, but maybe that was only for the letter A. ;-)
Feb. 11, 2018
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I think if you vote for 3♡, you need to disclose your plan for when partner does the obvious things. That is, the cue bid below 3NT is often taken to be Western, so asking them to bid 3NT if they have a heart stopper. But you know that partner will very likely not have a heart stopper.

So what will they do, lacking what you know they don't have? Partner did bid 3♣ freely over 2♡. So one hardly expects West to have a ratty 12 count with bad suits. But what is your plan after 3♠? 4♣? 4♠?
Feb. 11, 2018
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I'll say it differently: If someone cannot evaluate risk well, then that is their problem. If I fail to provide the necessary information for them to make that evaluation, then that is my problem.
Feb. 10, 2018
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We call our big club system “Derision”. The name seems appropriate for us. I have been known to claim it stands for D'Errico-DeWitt precision, but “Dewision” lacked some impact.
Feb. 10, 2018
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Alexander - I hear you. But I think you are missing my point.

I will not worry if someone cannot evaluate risk well. That is their problem. That is one reason why we make preempts, for example. They are placed in a position to make a decision under incomplete information, and we hope they choose poorly. Partner has the same problem of course.

For a similar case in playing precision, the sequence 1M-4M could sometimes be a weak raise, so a 5 card raise, and purely preemptive.

At the same time, we play that 1M-4M can also be made on a flat balanced hand, a 4 card raise with absolutely no slam interest. Partner has no idea which of the two cases it is, and in some rare cases we may be missing a slam when partner is highly distributional for 1M. In fact, the latter case comes up more often than the weak raise.

So should the jump to 4M be alerted? It is highly unexpected, because most of their opponents won't bid that way. In either case, 4M is to play.

If you say nothing, and they bid 4♠ over your 4♡ raise and you nail them to the wall, they will surely complain and probably get some redress since there was no information provided about your agreements.

If you do alert, and it scares someone off from taking a risk, then they may miss a viable contract their way. But that was a case where they made a decision to bid or not, under correct information about your agreements.

If some of your opponents are better able to evaluate the risks, then good for them. They are better bridge players.
Feb. 10, 2018
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I think it was Zagar and Evans who told us when that tide will turn.
Feb. 8, 2018
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I have been told I alert too often. I want my opponents to know what they should know, not need to guess.

If I don't tell them, they might get in trouble, or they might miss their game. But in any case, they have the opportunity to make a better decision based on knowing our agreements. Otherwise, my opponents are left in the dark about what we MIGHT have. A decision made in the dark cannot be a better decision than one made in daylight.
Feb. 8, 2018
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Yes, I agree that there are those who do the C thing on BBO. I can even point out cases where I have reported them, having seen repeated behavior. There are surely some who will do it in a club game, at a national or world level.

I have often claimed that if you don't understand how someone thinks, if you lack understanding of their value system, then much of what they do will make no sense to you.

But those who are willing to do this at bridge may just see it as an extension of life, where we see people getting away with all sorts of things. Did you drive at the posted speed limit today? Do you pay all of your taxes? Well, suppose you found a shady offshore tax haven, where you could invest your money and legally not have to pay taxes?

Since bridge is JUST a game, some will see it as non-important. Whatever I can get away with, this is ok. Its just a game, so gaming the game is fine.

Personally, I believe that honor and integrity are important, and they should impact all parts of my life. But that just means that I won't understand why someone would ch3434t at bridge, anymore than I can understand why someone would rob a bank.
Feb. 6, 2018
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