Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jonathan Mestel
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I am terrified of this contract making, and either A or 4 could easily let it through. Partner was probably in a forcing pass position, and does not always find the best lead. With 6 hearts and values 3 is a normal bid. Qx KJxxxx KJx xx for example? Ax KJxxxx Qxx xx? Kx KJxxxx Jx xxx? I am surprised so few switch to A.
Oct. 21, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
No, I'm Ishmael!
Oct. 20, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think South will get strip squeezed in the minors won't he? Run the trumps and then cross to HA. Dummy has Q10 x
Oct. 20, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I like to show sources of tricks here - 4D does not deny a black cue. Is this to do with a non-alerted transfer ruling?
Oct. 20, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I was only ever about 7kyu at Go (minus-7 Dan). So take anything I said about it with a pinch of salt. To bridge players, Go also “suffers” from opening theory of course.
Oct. 17, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Michael R: That sounds like 1970? It's Robert Bellin, by the way. There's a picture of you in http://www.chessscotland.com/history/glorneycup.htm
Your ex-teammate Roddy McKay asked me about you recently at a European Chess Problem solving event.

Chess endgame theory doesn't change significantly from year to year. You can to a large extent avoid mainstream opening theory too, if you choose to avoid popular lines. Is my analogy with bidding theory far from the mark? You can get by very well without having too detailed a system, but there is an advantage to having clear and reliable agreements.

Good to hear from you, Jonathan
Oct. 17, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I rarely notice the vulnerability anyway, so not much point telling us…
Oct. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
David - Sit down, sit down, sit down, you're rocking the boat!
Oct. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
There are 3 games of which I have some knowledge and which I regard as comparably difficult - Bridge, Chess and Go. I shall try to distinguish below between what I regard as incontrovertible and what is my opinion.

Chess & Go are perfect information games, in principle exactly analysable. In practical play, they each have a great mix of long-term strategy and short-term tactics. Computers are now fantastic at the tactics. In chess, this has got to the stage that they now begin to appear to “understand” what humans regard as strategy, or positional judgement. In Go, the size of the board has so far precluded this. However, the immobility of the pieces in Go means that it much more static than chess and I believe the apparent arithmetical complexity of Go is to a large extent an illusion; the obstacle to computation is I believe, artificial. The long-range interactions between stones, though subtle, are of limited power.

Bridge has the unknown distribution and the partnership elements. If you remove these, and just consider the double-dummy mechanics of the game, what can happen is vastly less complicated than what may befall on the chessboard. This is undoubtably the case. I say this even though I marvel at Ottlik & Kelsey, and am completely unable to understand (let alone solve) many double-dummy problems. There just isn't the wealth of possibilities available that there is in chess. Someone such as Don Smedley who is expert in both chess and bridge problems would I am sure agree with me on this. @Paul Barden: you are a double-dummy ace and you doubtless attribute your perceived lack of chess skill to your finding chess problems harder than bridge ones. No, chess is actually harder than double-dummy bridge!

One might think this is because of the various chess pieces, so I will strengthen the statement to the point where it becomes contentious, perhaps outrageous: I believe even chess endings with only kings, rooks and pawns contain more depth, tactical ideas, variety and surprisingly elegant possibilities than all bridge double-dummy problems. I expect many of you will not believe/agree with me about this. But let me add the following: no human being has ever been capable of winning all winnable positions with king, rook and one pawn against king and rook! Of course every strong player can win almost all winnable positions and can hold almost all drawable ones. But there are a relative few (but still many) positions which defy all but the most careful analysis. (NB there is a database of all possible chess endings, so we can be certain about this. One can set grandmasters “exams” which they fail, to their great annoyance!)

Whereas, if we consider all 5 card bridge end positions, double dummy, some are very hard to solve, but very many, if not all, BW readers will be able to fathom them all given a little time. Likewise the harder double-dummy problems can be dwarfed by insoluble chess tasks.

HOWEVER, all the above compares chess and bridge problems. Playing the games is very, very different. Obviously, placing opponents cards, communicating (legally!!) with partner, and choosing the best percentage action in an uncertain framework, risk management in both bidding and play, relying on opponents' uncertainty, fears and ignorance etc is a whole new kettle of fish and/or ballpark. My point is really that if you wish to argue the superiority of bridge as a game, you must not reduce it to the number of possibilities available (e.g. as Max jokingly does above). @Olivier: I am flattered you find that so surprising! Each move you have more possibilities - even more “sensible ones” - than on most bridge plays. It doesn't take many moves before you find you've missed an idea.

Bridge has so much going for it - unlike Go & Chess it can't be reduced easily to arithmetic. Don't try to!
Oct. 16, 2015
Jonathan Mestel edited this comment Oct. 16, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Paul C - “not correlated” is, I think, a bit overstated. I would expect there to be a reasonable correlation between chess ability and all kinds of things, e.g. a healthy diet, literacy, the ability to speak Icelandic or contributing to this forum even. But there is certainly no causal relationship nor, I imagine, exceptionally strong correlation.
David - people's tendency to study chess opening theory to the point of futility has an easy parallel in the discussion of bidding systems for circumstances which come up less often than the frequency with which the agreements are forgotten….
At one point I was one of the world experts in the chess variation known as the “Dragon”. But even then, I could have a position which I thought I knew backwards and after two moves by both sides I was on my own again. Likewise, even bridge players who really know their system well can be thrown by an unexpected development as early as round 2 of the auction…
At the other end, you can improve your play at chess or bridge by studying, respectively, rook endings or squeeze theory. But still you are (meaning “I am”) surprised by unexpected nuances appearing in positions you thought you understood. Long may that continue!
Oct. 15, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I described this incident as I recall it in the thread about Emmanuel Lasker.
Oct. 15, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
That reminds me of an anecdote about Che Guevara and chess. Perhaps I'll start another thread about it.
Oct. 15, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Jon doesn't play much (bridge) any more and neither does Julian so far as I know. Various international British chess players who played bridge well include the late Simon Webb (author of “Chess for Tigers”; he lived and died tragically in Stockholm a few decades ago) and Tony Miles who was beginning to take it up when he died in 2001. Other ex-British-chess-champions who now play bridge seriously are Peter Lee and Paul Littlewood.
Oct. 13, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I agree more switch from Chess to bridge than vice versa, but I think the reasons are different. Chess is a game with complete information, and young players tend to be very good at calculating variations. As they get older, their style usually adapts, becoming more positional, intuitive and judgement-orientated. Bridge, I think, is more like that from the start.
Another reason is that chess it too objective. If you start losing, you're soon forced to admit that you're (no longer?) very good at it. Whereas as we all know, in bridge there are partners and teammates to blame, unlucky lies of the cards…it takes much longer for the luck to average out. As a result, we can all believe we're better at bridge than we really are. It's much easier to beat teams better than yourself…which is indeed fun!
Oct. 13, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
At Baguio?? Really? They weren't on the best of terms then.
(Edit: I misread your post to imply this happened actually at Baguio.)

I saw them partnering each other at Hastings one year; probably 1971/72, playing against Jana Hartston and someone I forget. On one hand Korchnoi was declarer and found a missing Queen successfully. My Russian isn't very good, but after the hand, I think Karpov (dummy) remonstrated with him for choosing an anti-percentage line. Victor's reply was “But I could see from Jana's face that she held the queen!”
This difference in approach mirrored well their respective chess styles; Karpov was well known for his precise, clinical play.

As well as Irina Levitina and myself, Cathy Chua has represented her country in both Chess & Bridge. There may well be others too.
Oct. 13, 2015
Jonathan Mestel edited this comment Oct. 13, 2015
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
.

Bottom Home Top