Join Bridge Winners
All comments by John O'Connor
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The three most recent cases:
I heard clearly that three spades was down one. I asked partner to leave the table (new opps were not yet there) and called the director I was told that I could not play the hand.
I heard a voice trying to do a “Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau” accent say “ah the old four four four one shape.” I sent partner away and called the director. TD examined the board. My partner was due to hold the 4441 hand so the TD said that I could play the board upside down so that I would have the hand whose shape I knew.
I heard a complaint that there had been a slow double of 5D and the director was called to the table behind me. I played the hand and at the end, I faced my cards and explained what I had heard. Opps said all was OK and were happy to have been able to play the hand.
I do not claim to be perfect but nobody at the table has told me that I got one of these wrong.
Sept. 19
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Overhearing details of a board at the next table happens all the time. Far more than most people realize. There is one player at the club that Alan and I frequent who is blessed with perfect diction and clarity and I can follow everything that he says from the other side of the room even at levels that you would describe as sotto voce.
I am aware that I am worse at ignoring that sort of thing than typical people but I cannot avoid it. He can be talking about seventies prog rock or dummy's distribution and I cannot not hear every word.
When I gain signifcant UI, I call the TD and ask for help. This usually results in a degree of shock because I am the only person who ever admits to having overheard another table.
Once I mentioned the issue to this player's regular partner. She told me that she was aware of the issue and had spoken to her partner but nothing had changed and she was well aware that many people had overheard him and that I was the only player who had called attention to this. Everyone else just sucked up the info and (potentially) used it.
It is not just this one player. I recently played in a one day pairs tournament and the table behind me that was feeding boards my way had a problem after a slow double at the five level. I heard the whole discussion including the director's judgement.
I could give more examples.
Sept. 19
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Felix, checking is easy and as I described, we checked. But it does you no good if the results that you just saw on your BridgeMate bear zero resemblance to the results that are then posted by the scorers because of a foul up in the BridgeMate/scoring computer system.
Sept. 19
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Careful checking of the scores on the BridgeMate against your own record is great but it is not always enough.
Consider a Swiss event in which the table number and player IDs are entered into the device once only. The BridgeMate then knows which table it is on and the players at that table are known to the scoring programme.
There is no need to re-enter this information for each round and it does not even need to be displayed on the Bridgemate.
Then consider what happens when the BridgeMates are accidentally switched between two tables.
Couldn't happen could it?
It did to me last month. It was obvious because in a Swiss Pairs event at imps we had positive scores on each of the ten boards and yet dropped about 8 tables down the field. It took a while to convince the scorer that there could be a problem and we had to play the next round well out of our expected place in the field.
So, even if you have checked the results on the BridgeMate, you cannot rely on things being correct.
Sept. 18
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Today, I watched partner play a an unforgiving no trump contract. My RHO had bid spades and we did not have enough spade stops. After pard's last stop had been knocked out, RHO led a spade and everyone else discarded. Sinking feeling. There are three more spades to go. RHO cashes another spade and stops for a think and switches to a diamond.
I puzzled at that. Could RHO have spotted some situation where she had to let her partner win a trick before she squeezed her by winning the other two spades?
No, turns out that the diamond switch allowed her partner to get on lead so that she could cash her spades as well!
Sept. 2
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In an ideal world, the event would be well staffed with caddies and well stocked with cream meringues and that would be enough to get me through. :)
Outside of my fantasies though, I would have a large cappuccino with two extra shots and a steak and cheese pie just before the start. At the table I would have a sippy-bottle with cold water and lime cordial and my pockets would be filled with mars bars, go cubes and a bottle of Tabasco. That does get me through most events. I might have something else to eat between sessions - spicy pumpkin soup for example - but it is not essential because the breakfast time pie will be a large one. I generally lose about a kilo per day at bridge tournaments.
Aug. 31
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In a club game last year, something like this happened to me. After a transfer sequence, I was declarer in a game contract with long trumps on the table.
I drew two rounds of trumps and RHO showed out. I crossed back to table and drew another round of trumps. Both opps showed out.
With three tricks to go, it was clear that I had the rest of the tricks (apart of course from the elusive thirteenth trump) and RHO conceded, boxed his cards and gave them a good shuffle.
I called for the director, the result stood as I had won all of the remaining tricks.
Now, the revoke changed nothing but suppose that I had been compromised by a lack of entries or the need to take some ruffs, the revoke may have earned a trick had it gone unnoticed. As it stood, it went unpunished.
Two weeks later at a pairs tournament, I faced the same RHO. I was in the process of establishing dummy's long side suit when RHO showed out and I had to take an extra ruff before the suit was set up. Again, it made no difference, I had enough trumps and entries and I still got the discards that I needed. Obviously though, it might have made a difference on another lie of the cards.
I have the feeling that a mandatory procedural penalty for failing to follow suit might encourage that RHO to improve his ability to follow suit.
Aug. 29
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I can see a clear argument that says that the non-offending side should not be able to gain an advantage that they would not have had without a revoke but there surely is an argument to be made that the offender should not be able to get away free in these circumstances.
How about something along these lines:
After an established revoke, the director shall determine the result that would have eventuated without the revoke and that shall be the score on the board. (If there is any doubt in this process, the benefit of the doubt must always be given to the non offending side.) The offending pair shall then be subject to a procedural penalty for the revoke.
Aug. 29
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AIUI, 1st hand is at liberty to leave their card face up at the end of the trick while they consider their defence.
July 26
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I like those BridgeTabs but I'd make some comments.
I have seen them in use in two clubs and in both cases the chosen hardware was a Lenovo tablet.
The button to turn these tablets on is by the side but round at the back of the tablet. I would prefer a device that could be activated by the sort of home button that you see on Samsung and Apple tablets - on the front so that the BridgeTab can be turned on and you enter the contract etc without having to use two hands to raise the device and operate the switch.
Beyond that, I would like to see a couple of features added to the devices. These both centre around timing.
It would be great to get some sense of timing from the BridgeTab. A setting from the TD to tell the BridgeTabs the amount of time to be allowed for each round would allow the devices to give a nudge to individual tables to let players know if they are lagging on time.
Further to that, for games in which the BridgeTab is set to provide information such as running scores etc the ability to see those should be blocked when a table is behind schedule. I know that is really only relevant to those club games at which the BridgeTabs are set to display such information but it would certainly give a hurry up to club players who are tempted to spend a lot of time looking at the travellers etc.
June 13
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Another doubled small slam from the weekend.

Holding Qxxxx x x KQJxxx partner and I hoisted us up to 6C and we got a (deserved) double from LHO - a member of the NZ youth development squad.

I figured that I had chances but did not redouble.

The slam would have been off one had LHO started off with one of his three major suit top cards but he was greedy for two or three down and started with his singleton diamond.

Dummy tabled J Kxx AKQxx Axxx.

Win the Ace and draw trumps in 2 rounds ending in dummy.

Cash another top diamond for a heart discard and realize that the 6-1 diamond break means that there is no chance of a discard on a long diamond.

I am left with:

J Kxx Qxx xx
Qxxxx - - Jxxx

I have 4 trumps, two Spade ruffs and the Diamond Q but in total that is just 11 tricks. Looks like I am one short but there is still hope. Queen of Diamonds for a Spade away, a Diamond ruff and a Spade towards the stiff Jack.

LHO is in with a top Spade but now has to lead away from the Spade King or the Heart Ace and I am home.

Not redoubling was the right move as it would have curbed LHO's ambitions to getting me one down and he would most likely have started with the top Spade.
May 8
John O'Connor edited this comment May 8
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Just last night, partner opened 5D and I held AQT6 AT72 KQT K2. RHO doubled and I bid 6D which was doubled on my left and I redoubled when it came back to me.
We thought that plus 1380 should have been a good result but team mates brought back -1700.
What did partner have for her 5D opening? I could describe her hand as 5 5 in the majors. But I should add that the fives were both singletons and she also had two small clubs to go with 9 diamonds to the AJ.
April 19
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Germany has a constitution and every person and organisation in the country is required to act in accordance with the constitution. The possibility of rehabilitation and redemption is established in the German constitution and the court seems to have found that the 10 year ban for two elderly men went beyond what the constitution would countenance.
Beyond that, European human rights law would also have a bearing on any long bans.
April 11
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Thanks Paul
72B3 comes into play here with a second revoke. Is there a penalty for that?
March 19
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John Portwood's description is not really correct. The removal of double jeopardy (through the 2003 criminal justice act) only applied to the most serious crimes and a second prosecution could only proceed if the public prosecutors could convince the court of appeal that they had substantive new evidence. That is a high barrier and double jeopardy prosecutions are a rare occurrence.
Even before the 2003 act, double jeopardy protection could be waived in certain circumstances.
Feb. 13
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I have now used this in three tournaments.
Seven sessions of pairs, almost two hundred deals and around seventy different opposing pairs.
I do my best to shield my scorecard while writing and it is always turned over when not being updated.
During play two people have asked what the code means.
If the ethics of your opponents are similar, at least 3% of pairs are trying to look at your personal scorecard.
I say at least because some others will probably have looked and kept quiet.
As for whether of not it is distracting for me to do this, I won two of those seven sessions and picked up a 2nd as well. One win was in a very strong field (including two current world champs) and I scored almost 68%. Perhaps I should conclude that this is worth a 15% boost to my score as opponents look at my scorecard and expend too much mental effort trying to decode my entries!
Jan. 8
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I write it as a 4 bit binary value. The seems to be enough as it will go up to +7 which cannot happen and -8 which should not happen.
Dec. 28, 2016
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The big difference is that bridge does not depend of tens of thousands of spectators buying tickets or tens of millions paying for TV coverage.

Non sporting results have damaged other competitions in the past by reducing subsequent tick sales or viewer numbers.

In France, the top football division (at least) attempts to avoid such issues with seeding such that, for example, the previous year's champions get to play against the weakest newly promoted team in the last day of the competition.
Dec. 27, 2016
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Last night, I played in the first session of the last duplicate tournament of the year down here in NZ.

Individual score-sheets were provided - they carried a message from the event sponsor on the reverse.

I was not aware of anyone leaving their sheet exposed though I was not actually paying attention to that. Nobody left so much as an empty coffee cup at the table either.

I kept my scores. I wrote the contract level in binary and I translated the suits (not NT) into French and then wrote down the first letter of the suit or NT transliterated into Cyrillic. Then I wrote the result, expressed as +1, -2 etc in two's complement binary. At the end of the session, I converted that into plain text scores for checking with my results.

It took no extra effort to write down like that and by the end I was thinking of the suits in French anyway.

Even with knowledge of my little code, I doubt that many players would be able to get much help from a glance at my sheet.

Silly I know, but why not and if an opp ever comments on the code, I will know that they are peeping.
Dec. 27, 2016
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Both of the clubs of which I am a member maintain lists of phone numbers and email addresses. One club publishes these in the yearbook. The other has a password protected list on the web.
Both work well with no abuses of which I am aware.
Dec. 25, 2016
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