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All comments by Justin Lall
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Their objection was that we do not pass in third seat white. They offered their evidence, repeated here by Gonzalo that we passed 0 times in 400 hands (which is silly, it is actually 0 hands in 4 hands of his sample). There are now 3 reported hands where we passed in third seat white (I welcome others to look for more, I am not going through every hand of the USBF team trials, I know that we pass in third seat white).

So, their accusation was wrong. I believe at the very least they should apologize for accusing us of something in such a public and flamboyant way, and being wrong. We did not have an illegal agreement to always open in third seat NV. Gonzalo, do you agree with that?

Now people are changing it to we open with 0-6 I think? I was talking with Joe Grue last night and I said “do you think I would open with Qxxx xxx Qxx xxx?” And he said “no.” Those hands are really hard to find though because when you open and preempt aggressively in first seat white, and your RHO passes, you do not have 0-6 very often. It is a math trick, you will be heavily weighted towards say 7-9 of hands with less than 10. If you want to change the allegation after the fact to favorable, or 0-6, or whatever, fine, please present some evidence. I will tell you after playing tens of thousands of hands and for years with kevin we do not have an implicit agreement to open with 0-6 in third seat white, or favorable.

However, that is besides the point. The point is we were accused of having an illegal agreement to do something very specific: Never pass in third seat white. I don't care what you guys want to call it, if we had that agreement, we would be cheating. You can tip toe and lawyer your way around those words all you want, but if someone interrupts play after it has started, states they will withdraw unless lall-bathurst are not allowed to play because they have an illegal agreement to open all hands in third seat white, then yes that is a strong statement and that is an accusation that we are cheating. You cannot refine the accusation many times over after your claim has been refuted.

But if anyone wants to refine it so much (isn't this called overfitting or something in statistics?) and levy a new accusation of our illegal agreements that we don't disclose, please let me know what it is, and please present your evidence. Spain DID offer their accusation, they DID offer their evidence, and now there are 3 examples refuting their accusation and there is a member of their team saying they would do the same thing again in this thread. I don't know, if I accused a pair of having an illegal agreement that they don't disclose, and then that claim is refuted, I would at the very least feel badly that I did that and was wrong. I would certainly apologize. I would probably not try to then eliminate those hands that are counter to my accusation by making my accusation more and more specific.

I have not been able to read most of these threads because they are very long and I went from playing the mixed pairs in poland to playing 3 sessions a day at a regional in indiana, and am going to another regional next week. After that I will be home. Kevin just had his 2nd baby so I assume he is busy. I am also waiting to go through the official channels before saying much. But I don't want to be silent while these things are being said. Even “presumably because the hand was too good,” what do you think that implies Richard Fleet? On what basis has the court of public opinion decided that we open all hands with 0-6 and don't disclose that? And that was NOT the accusation of Spain so of course hands where we pass in third seat white are relevant.
Sept. 22, 2016
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Thanks for the support Peter but that is BS if the situation Brad described is the reason for your comment. There is way too much nationalism in this thread. we are all a people from the same world, nationalism is evil.
Sept. 16, 2016
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Also I find it incredibly heart breaking to now be BL (and ironic, the inital people who cheated in my life were buratti lanzarotti, who know apparently are back to playing.) Like we are PS, BZ, FN, FS etc. I know why it happens (it makes typing easier), but of all the things in my life time I never thought I would become an acronym about cheating lol. I know that 99 % of people have never played vs the say top 50 pairs in the world and have no idea the difference in the ones who were straight up cheating vs the ones who are merely unethical vs the few honest ones but I cannot believe this has happened to Kevin and me. We are now BL. It is so ironic.

I believe even the top European players (and there is no love lost between many european and american players now because of what has happened recently) would vouch for the fact and laugh at the fact that it is Kevin and me who are now branded cheats lol.
Sept. 13, 2016
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@DWetzel, love you bro but that bet is insane. We do not open very weak hands 0-6 always in third seat. That would be *CHEATING*. It's also stupid as hell to open all hands with 0-6 IMO.

To be clear: WE DO NOT OPEN ALL HANDS IN THIRD SEAT WHITE.

My mind is blown by this whole experience. It is hilarious because I was pretty sure we would be exonerated by statistical data but obviously I am an idiot because no one has enough hands especially opening so light in first seat white to be third seat white with enough data.

Opening say, white vs white Qxx xxx xxx Kxxx is stupid IMO and also arguably illegal in the ACBL (no idea about the WBF, I think doing it too often in WBF is illegal but it is definitely illegal to open 1D in precision and it's not exactly a good hand to bust out 1N lol).

The hand I was most surprised about was Txxxx Jxx QJxx x. I think opening that is stupid. I was sure I must have been on tilt, so I looked up the match and sure enough we had 2 double digit disasters in the 3 boards preceding and one normal board. First hand I had x x T9xxx AJxxxx. 2nd seat white/red I opened 3C with the ability to open 3N 6-5 minors. Maybe in first seat I would have bid 3N but I chose 3C in 2nd seat since my hand was quite weak. It went X 5C X p 5N p 6S. Would you save? It's probably pretty cheap but I have a stiff on lead and who knows, I probably should have but I passed. Partner had the HK not the ace so they made and our save was IIRC 800.

The very next board I held K KJ9x AQTxxx Jx. I opened 1D (we open light BTW!), partner bid 1S, I bid 2D, he bid 2H artificial GF, I bid 3H, and he bid 3S. For someone of my level to bid 4S is atrocious here, I have a very max hand for 1D 2D in my system so I should bid 4C showing a good 4S bid (Roy welland made a good point that 4H should also be a cue so 4C should show a club control and I should bid 4H but I thought it was not practical to do that IRL, I might choose to bid this way with 5 bad hearts and 6 good diamonds). Anyways, shocker I missed a very good slam.

The next board was a flat hand. On top of that we were playing vs the former partner of a girl I was once in love with (you can check this out if you don't believe me lol) and I knew she was watching.

Maybe you think that is stupid but it is hilarious that all of this led me to make what I think is a losing bridge bid to open 1S white vs white with Txxxx Jxx QJxx x vs latvia. This is not a bid I would make almost ever. I do not open with all 0-6 that is a ridiculous accusation and I can tell you for sure most people would find it losing bridge (please if you are a top player post how you find that bid to be lol). I am admitting as a professional bridge player that I was on tilt and did something awful because I was on tilt and had done something awful 2 hands before. The records are there: Please look it up. BTW on this hand I opened 1S I was treated to the great auction of 1S (2D) 3C (3S) p (3N) 4H X AP. Pretty sweet!

It is also hilarious how since the sample size is 4 (5?) hands now that was a huge swing in opening for these purposes. Also amazing was that later I had a balanced 8 count in the last set vs Spain w/r. I wanted to open so badly out of spite but I was still trying to win the match and I think it is a losing action to open that hand so I passed. Of course I do not get credit for this as the accusation was leveled already but I bet if you ask most top players they would not open that one either. Too bad that hand did not come up earlier.

It is not “just bridge” to open all 0-6 hands, it is cheating. I do not open all 0-6 hands.

I am self muzzled on this topic until we have official USBF/team/partnership/whatever things come out because I do not have the nicest things to say about the process that happened but IMO I must at the very least make one thing clear, no I do not open all 0-6 hands. I wish I could prove that but I think for instance with all the top players who post here they can confirm that opening something like Jxx Jxx Qxx Jxxx would be retarded. It is stupid to think strong club pairs psyche more than non strong club pairs also IMO because:

A) you get no lead director for the minor (whichever your minor is) in and

B) As evidenced by a long thread on bridgewinners a while ago, it is possibly (probably?) illegal to psyche a precision diamond even with less than 10 points. One point of view was that opening 1D with Axxx xx AJT9xxx — is illegal even which is pretty LOL but that's what happens when you go with points. That might be just an ACBL thing. I still do not know what is the truth about that: I got a ruling on it once and they said it was not illegal but different directors often say different things.

I wish to be very clear: We do not often open in third seat with less than 8 points. It is also bad bridge to open many hands with less than 8 points.
Sept. 13, 2016
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I absolutely believe there should be transparency in the process.Whatever the process is will be flawed and hurt some teams and help others.That said I definitely don't think a draw should be announced and then it should be changed. That opens up another much worse can of worms.
Aug. 21, 2016
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I laugh at the thought of the
Spurs saying they have a much tougher road to the finals than the cavs so they should change the bracket (after its posted!) Did anyone really expect all 3 groups to be equal strength when we have no objective skill rating other than what people think and how people have done on teams with cheaters? Maybe some committee would mis seed a team and be accused of bias there.

Can you imagine Jeff mecksroth or Bob hamman shaking in their boot so to drawing a tough round robin before the real event even began? or Michael Jordan shaking in his boots at playing the Pistons.

Maybe if your goal is to be top 4 and you have a tough group that's tough, but these events are meant to determine the world championships. Some of the whiny competitors would do beggar not going on bridge tmz aka bridgewinners and instead working on their mental game and their system. I fully expect to have to best any and all great teams I'd I'm going to be a world champion. I won't be scared or depressed about my draw. I won't whine to tmz that the draw after the fact should be changed (and are you guys serious, if it was changed after the post that would be a shit storm. some teams would be helped and some would be hurt and it would come
down to some conspiracy theory political witch hunt about who is in the board vetting kickbacks),

if you think changing the schedule
after its benchmark posted is a legit idea that would go over welll here you guys have really sipped so far from the coolade to delusional I don't know what to say.

and if you think that starting a tmz bridgewinners campaign in order to change it because you don't like your draw is going to work and not make you look like an absolute bitch you are also delusional.

how about this guys, some people in every game and sport have harder roads to the finals than others. dems the breaks. If you are going to try and win and be world champ and not 4th who cares, and that is what world championships are all about - finding a winne.

may the best, luckiest and cleanest team win. it's hard to bet against Cedric lorenzini at this point though! gl all
Aug. 21, 2016
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Interestingly I played a very similar team in the finals. I was probably almost 20 when I won so it's likely zach was younger.

The Grossacks are super talented and it's really cool to not even be 20 and have 2 national wins under your belt. They are definitely the future of American bridge imo.
July 25, 2016
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Obviously entire team will be stripped of titles won with cheats, not just the pair.
July 19, 2016
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Ian I'm sure you think youre hilarious
July 2, 2016
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@Steve, a specific hand was presented here. Yes there are times when you would think with this suit combination, probably most likely is how to make with 4-0 off if you can ruff something first and time the endplay correctly, w/e.

Again, I have no problem with people who think. Almost all of my regular partners are pretty slow players which works fine because I'm generally a fast player. I really dislike when people just waste time. Would it really take you or anyone a few minutes to realize that low to the jack on this hand is a pretty stupid play? I doubt it. I know everyone thinks at a different pace and that's cool but if it takes you several minutes to determine that playing the ace of spades is a good play on this hand then you're probably too slow lol :P

And come on, Axxx opp KJxx is much different in almost all hands as you know, but yeah if you have all winners in your hand and that's your trump suit and you think for 5 minutes before playing then yes I think that you are wasting time and I would find it annoying.

And just to clarify, finding it annoying is not the same as saying anything. There are many things that I find annoying (like scoring before putting dummy down) that happen all the time that I would not say anything to the opps about. If someone thought for 10 seconds before playing the ace of spades I wouldn't even notice.

People here are talking about 2 issues, is it unethical to play ace and another one on this hand because you might get a read (I think that is ridiculous), and is it ok to make your guess before hand so you don't give off a read on who has the SQ (that seems silly on this hand, your line if it goes show out is going to be to play a third spade yourself and hope they don't cash the clubs, so what are you gaining?). Every hand and situation is different, I want to re-iterate I have no problem with people thinking as long as they want when they have an actual problem.

I am on record as saying I also won't tank for 30 seconds total in the auction 2N p 4N p 6N as the passers FWIW. /flame away (but even though not that many people admit it, I've never seen 30 seconds of pausing by the passers there ever)!

I do think it's everyone's obligation at the table to try to finish the game within the allotted amount of time and hopefully allow everyone to have the time they need to think on all hands where they need to think by minimizing the amount of time they waste on a hand like this.
June 29, 2016
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@Cornelia,

I have no problem if someone takes a long time to make their guess. Like I said sometimes these guesses can take many minutes. I have a problem when people waste time. Bridge is a timed event and if you are going to think on this hand for several minutes before you play ace and a spade, a vast majority of the time you have just wasted several minutes of time to think on other boards because you would have learned that there was no guess had you just played 2 rounds of trumps first.
June 28, 2016
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I find it really annoying when people think before making their guess, most of the time the queen will show up or someone will show out making it a moot point. It would be a massive waste of time if everyone did that.

Sometimes your guess can take a long time, especially if it's towards the end of the hand when you have a lot of info. If you're really possibly going to take 3 or 4 minutes to make up your mind I can't imagine not seeing if it's stiff Q anywhere or Qx or stiff on your left first.

Bridge is already too slow because people waste so much time. It is generally not because people tank too much or think too slowly, it is all this wasted time that adds up.
June 28, 2016
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I would think it's for people who want to get out and do something socially (an activity similar to going to a movie, going to a comedy show, whatever), vs people who just want to play some bridge in their house (an activity similar to staying in and watching TV, or playing a computer game).

They are totally different IMO.
June 28, 2016
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Thanks for sharing Geeske. This especially struck me:

“It seems to me that many men do not realize how offensive or threatening certain comments are to women when they seem like nothing to them.”

I think that is true for (almost?) all men, certainly for myself. It is a good reminder.
June 27, 2016
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It would also just be more time consuming to ask every round who prefers to do the score rather than giving it to someone randomly. 90 % of pairs, either person will do it, of the other 10 % you can guess right randomly half the time.

I usually try to guess who is more likely to want to do the score, sometimes someone is looking at you to make sure you do it (they probably want it), sometimes one person seems more organized or whatever. I think other people might do this since it's pretty rare anyone gives me the bridgemate rather than my partner haha.

But yeah if that leads to people giving it to the guy not the girl that is another case of sexism.

These little things probably add up.
June 26, 2016
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Ian, one of the best players from the UK who also happens to be a woman has commented multiple times itt that there is sexism in bridge. People are telling you itt that you are sexist.

Maybe instead of saying that in your experience bridge in the UK is not like that, you should listen to what others are saying in this thread. Perhaps you were mistaken and do not recognize sexism?
June 26, 2016
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Must be a sad world you live in if you can't imagine anyone doesn't watch game of thrones for the nudity. You realize they started as incredibly popular books right?
June 26, 2016
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Go dad! Congrats to the Milner team!
June 25, 2016
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I know some people like to be contrarian for the sake of it, but you really don't think it's blatantly sexist to say that men are going to ogle women and if they don't like it they should wear cover all tops and shapeless trousers?
June 25, 2016
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The French really dominated this tourney. Great showing. They are going to be a dynasty for a long time with such a young good nucleus.
June 25, 2016
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