Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Justin Lall
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Yeah this is the perfect choice. Congrats CC.
Jan. 19, 2019
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Steve,

I am extremely flattered you mentioned my name in the same breath as Bob Hamman, even if it is undeserved haha. I would say he has probably forgotten more about bridge than I even know, and he still knows 10 times as much as me lol. He would be the perfect candidate.

The people I think would be the best from my own experience to teach this class assuming Bob was too busy would be Brad Moss, Geoff Hampson, or Steve Weinstein. Whenever I talk bridge with any of those 3 I always come away feeling like I learned something. Sorry for the US-centric list but obviously I have the most personal experience with top american players.
Dec. 25, 2018
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If anyone can explain how the fact that the non offending side was about to have a lucky result relates to UI rulings in a logical way I would love to hear it though. Extra credit for citing the relevant laws.

Even if you would like to explain why that should morally be so I would love to hear it since so many seem to think that that is somehow relevant.
Dec. 2, 2018
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So there seems to be a common theme here, if you make a mistake and/or are about to be lucky, you cannot call the director when otherwise you should be able to, and if you do you might be trying to “win at all costs” or be doing something morally unsavory. Combined with this thread and the last we have:

Thomas Cupit: “bad bids deserve bad results. guess that is not always the case huh.”

Sathya: “Let’s say there was no UI at all and opponents had led another suit and let 7nt make giving you a top. That happens and most people would accept their good fortune just as they would accept an unfortunate one. I’d be the first to acknowledge that we got lucky at the expense of the pair right behind me but that’d pretty much be the end of the story. But I’d not go out of the way to fight for a result that I clearly didn’t deserve. It’s questionable on so many levels.” …“Sometimes you win by choosing to lose and sometimes you lose when you fight to win at any cost.”

David Hemmer: “EW took a flyer, paid for it, and then lawyered up.”

Michal Czerwonko: “Perhaps I don't have right DNA to be a bridge pro, but if I were a 7NT bidder I wouldn't appeal for fear I'd die from shame”

Simon Weinberger: “ They have to accept their mistake.

Calling the director here seems not like sportmansship to me.”

Andreas Babsch: “If you do something risky and it turns out you were wrong you should accept the outcome.”

Thomas Cupit (again): “some people (maybe many) would rather win at any costs, not just by playing good bridge.
and some of you wonder why many of us dont play these events. i think i can find better
things to do, i really dont care if anyone breaks tempo against me or not.”

What is the common theme of all of these comments? Instead of using any kind of logic they appeal to some sense of fairness, you cant make a bad bid and GAIN, you can't gamble and WIN. Logically taken to the extreme, this means if you have the ace of diamonds and your opps bid 7N in this auction, you are allowed to do whatever you want since your opps gambled and they shouldn't gain from it (no, I don't think the players in question were doing this).

If the opponents said out loud “I HAVE AN ACE AND THEY BID 7N” and then their partner led to their ace, would you guys think this bid was allowed because east made a bad bid or a bad comment? If your opps are about to have a lucky result, do the rules of bridge no longer apply? Because tanking over 7N is the same as verbally saying I have an ace.

All of these emotionally charged arguments are nonsensical, just like a kid saying “BUT ITS NOT FAIR.” Luck is a part of bridge, and the rules of the game still always apply despite how one might feel about that.

What are the rules? Well, the process has been outlined in great detail for UI cases: 1) was there UI, 2) does it suggest something, 3) Are there any logical alternatives.

1) Apparently the facts were that there was a break in tempo
2) Obviously (??????) to people at this or any level thinking for a minute over 7N suggests having an ace. That ace is going to be diamonds.
3) Well, combined with Joes comment some people think a diamond lead is auto (Joe basically said: I do not have the diamond ace). To me, my partner also has denied the diamond ace by failing to double. So my partner and my RHO have both said “I DONT HAVE THE DIAMOND ace), so I guess it is with LHO who bid blackwood. Maybe he made a bad or lazy bid to not bid 5N but I trust my partner to double seven no trump with an ace. Maybe with no UI I can say LHO is bobby levin so maybe my partner messed up (Dale says its hard to believe not leading a diamond after the comment, to me it is hard to fathom playing partner for the ACE of diamonds against SEVEN NT but YMMV). As the offending side you don't get that luxury though, and the infraction was *not* the comment, it was the BIT over 7N. That clearly suggests it was partner who has the DA.

But we can debate this as much as we want. Hence why we have polls. Some people led a diamond and some didn't, and all thought a diamond was suggested. So a diamond wasn't allowed. The directors and the players followed the process of the laws of bridge. This is not ”win at all costs" or some technicality, the opponents took an action suggested by their unauthorized information and the director was called. No one has a problem with this when you get to the right contract, or aren't going to be lucky, but somehow when it is 7N off the AK of diamonds and the opp is on lead with KJxxx and a guy with an ace doesn't double, it is bad sportsmanship, and how can these guys try to win like this? That makes absolutely no sense everyone. If luck being part of the game dissatisfies you maybe take up chess or go, but to me playing partner for an ace when they tank and pass 7N should not be part of the game (and again, FWIW I don't think anyone was trying to consciously do anything wrong, and I'm sure south led a diamond because of the comment but if our partner quickly passed 7N without a care in the world I doubt anyone is leading a diamond thinking he might have the only ace he could possibly have and not double 7D).

Also FWIW I was one of the people polled (obv didn't know who the hand was from, I was in a regional knockout so didn't even know the hand which presumably is why I was polled. I was given the hand with the comment and said I would not lead a diamond since partner did not X).
Dec. 2, 2018
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Yeah, Fred Gitelman created BBO!
Dec. 1, 2018
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Dec. 1, 2018
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Getting sick of congratulating you guys, let some other people win sometimes for the good of bridge ;). Haha, well done boys, congrats!
Nov. 27, 2018
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Haha thanks guys, as you know max Debbie is the greatest!

ETA: if I have to be 4th by a quarter of a board it’s not too shabby that my friends were first second and third! Congrats everyone especially grainger and greg.
Nov. 25, 2018
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The great thing about Marion's post is this will only work if we come together as a community and decide this is what we need to do. If only one or two people did it and no one else did they would be disadvantaged in the event of a forfeit, potentially disciplined/thrown out of the event, and perhaps if they are professionals lose their job. If a majority or large minority of the community does this then we share the burdens/risks involved, and we maximize our chance of effecting some kind of actual change, or at the very least just not having a farcical competition.

#saynotocheats
Sept. 21, 2018
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Couldn't agree more Marion, I am with you.
Sept. 21, 2018
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If they are looking to be picked up to play professionally then having less masterpoints is often better, their value to a potential client will be higher in a lower bracket KO or a 0-5k or 0-10k national event or whatever.
Sept. 19, 2018
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When I first read it I didn't see the word “legal” before theorist and thought it was Kokish (who is commonly called EOK). The word legal means it's almost certainly Kaplan though.
Sept. 19, 2018
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Yes, “I just did what I would have done anyway” is infuriating. It shows just how intellectually dishonest people are with themselves. I'm sure they believe that, but it is a rationalization to do what is suggested by the UI. If you know the answer to a problem, it is very easy to work backwards and figure out all the reasons you should get to that answer.

In reality if you don't know whether your partner has a singleton or a doubleton, you will have various things to think about and reasons to go for one or the other. You have to weigh them against each other and make a choice. Once you have UI that choice is biased, you have no idea what you “would have done without the UI” no matter what you think. Even if you somehow did, this is self serving and the laws cannot incorporate that. The only way you should “know” what you would have done anyway is if there is no other logical choice. In that case, of course the laws allow you to do that, but it is because there is no logical alternative, not because you somehow knew what you would do in the absence of UI.

Another thing people like to say is “just do what you would have done behind screens.” This is another silly thing to say, behind screens you might not have UI and can do whatever you want whereas without screens you might. Does this mean that screens actually HELP ethical players? Yes, it is a benefit of screens to receive less UI not a downside. As an example, you hold 6331. Your partner opens 1C, and it goes 1N overcall and you bid 2D showing one major. It goes p p X ?. Behind screens I would certainly bid 2S, my partner has likely forgotten our agreement. Without screens I know my partner did not alert 2D and passed. People told me I could still bid 2S here but they are wrong, because without screens what if your partner HAD alerted 2D and passed? They are almost certainly 0256. There are a million other examples that prove that the “just do what you would have done behind screens” thing is also BS, things people say to rationalize what is ultimately just a desire to not play 2D X without a fight; after all there is no downside to trying 2S here (maybe they don't call the director, maybe the director rules that it is legal, and if they don't it is simply rolled back to 2D X), other than not being able to look at yourself in the mirror at night. But if you can rationalize that away with “I know what I would have done” or “I woulda done this behind screens” then…
Sept. 18, 2018
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The kit line is interesting but I'm sure I would opt for the vanilla RP line. Just playing the H9 to the queen at trick 2 and losing to various things like the HK onside and spades 4-2 or the HK onside and 5-2 diamonds would feel bad :P
Sept. 17, 2018
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IMO that will be the most interesting (and least known) part of the story. Hope you supplied the book sellers in Orlando with a lot of books because I have a feeling they are going to sell out!
Sept. 17, 2018
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@Richard- You were right and I was wrong, as I suspect you realize I have realized haha. I would still be nostalgic for actual playing cards but I suppose there are more important issues.

@Bob- They tried a bridge pro tour thing that was an individual. I believe the hope was sponsorship money would fund the prize pool, which would lead top players to play in it. I think individual bridge is far less interesting than partnership bridge from a “beauty of the game” thing, seeing where bidding theory and agreements can go is pretty awesome.

A bigger problem with an individual format is it is not cheat proof, the cheating will probably be different though (ie, collusion from a ring of players like in poker). This would definitely be true if it was a small player pool. Perhaps if prizes were given after 1 session that would be less likely, but that makes it even more random which is less appealing. If it was multiple sessions long you could easily imagine a ring of players helping whoever is doing the best by either tanking their competitors or tanking to the person doing well, with the expectation of the others doing that for them in the future etc.

I wouldn't mind anyone, especially outsiders of the established leagues, trying anything though and I would try to support them as much as possible. I know Hamman was involved in the Cavendish (USA version), the Larry King bridge pro league (individual), the Buffett cup etc. None of these (other than the cavendish I guess) was a success but outsiders trying new things and formats can only be good for the game, the problem is it takes a lot of money and time obviously with a high risk of failure.

@Max- You are right, the game of bridge itself is great… reading these things is just generally depressing/angering. I do think everyone who is now coming together to try to help expose this and help clean up bridge is making it better and I really respect them for doing it.
Sept. 16, 2018
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People like Avon and Boye really deserve a ton of credit
Sept. 16, 2018
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Thx dude, but you shouldnt equate me at all to Boye. I actually hate when I hear (and this is a common opinon) that boye only did it after he was on a team with lotan and ron and lost by 1 against them, that that's why he did what he did.

Well guess what, people need an impetus to be activists. That's not a bad thing, that doesn't invalidate anything that boye did. And im not here naming names or giving evidence or working to show what I say is true. People can believe me or not and thats fine but obv I have zero motivation (and a lot of reasons not to) to say what I did. Boye was extremely brave and the fact that he had a reason to have a fire lit under his butt is not a bad thing, its human.
Sept. 16, 2018
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Also thank you Avon for your work, a lot was already known but its striking to see just how blatant the cheating (and the coverup) was. Wow.
Sept. 16, 2018
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The completely sad thing about this is that the general bridge population is surpsised.

So often during a lot of the recent cheating scandals people act like professionalism (AKA money) is the cause of this. In fact cheating has become less AFAIK because its a big business so the incentives to cheat have become less (you risk a cushy job in order for glory, compared to just maxing out your chance of glory).

Bridge is a broken game. In a partnership game, people will cheat. They cheat in jail or a mental hospital for nothing, they cheat in their home games, they cheat for a world championship. They will cheat for money too, but for money their opps will be more vocal in blackballing them.

A game that operates around the honor code… guess what happens?

Boye alluded to this in his most recent post but the biggest problems in bridge are not outright cheating, they are unethical behavior. Sure you have to wait after a skip bid, how about after your partner cuebids or last trains (not a jump). Your partner could argue persuasively they had a clear keycard but they wanted their partner to keycard, great. What if they last train and their partner signs off instantly. Will a director make them keycard (they will say well I last trained so my partner had the decision). This happens all the time.

What about A from AK. 2H p 4H. With AK they lead within 3 seconds, but with an unsupported A they lead after 5-10 seconds. Their partner signals attitude for the K now. This happens all the time. What is the recourse? Even pairs not trying to cheat are just straight up cheating in this spot all day. And they rationalize it that their competitors are cheating.

And who will be the hero? The federation? As this article shows, the federation is looking out for its own economic interests. It has never been anything but corrupt and never will be.

I will be totally honest, my dream in life is to quit bridge. And i love the game of bridge, and my whole life has been built towards becoming the best I can be. But now its simply, I will never make more money at anything else than bridge, and I have a family to support. However, I hate playing against these people and for these federations. Supporting them at all. I was going to boycott WBF tourneys like BOYE did, but here I am about to play in Orlando, and I feel DIRTY. This game is a joke, the results are a joke, and have been forever. A partnership game based on an honor system is not sustaintable, because people will take advantage of it. If you believe in the goodness of human kind, good for you, you are extremely naive.

Most bridge players have *always* been dishonest. And yeah you can say its because of money or titles or whatever, shocker they are more dishonest at the lower levels (perhaps unknowningly). The social ramifications of being dishonest at the higher levels are higher.

But yeah keep your heads in the sand. Worship the blue team, worship fantoni and nunes, etc. And after that know that your favorite players are just smart enough to get away with what they can. The game is and always has been a farce and it's really sad for people who just love the game. But the current (and past) models are unsustainable if you want a fair game. And no matter what, it will always be an unfair game. If I were to ever win the lottery, I would never play bridge again. The game is a joke and I play only for economic reasons at this point, and I hope to find an alternative to that but sadly its probably too late.

–Signed someone who dreamed of being as good as my idols.


** Bob Hamman is clearly the best player ever based on everything ive seen.
Sept. 16, 2018
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