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All comments by Leo Lasota
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Of course only Joel Wooldridge knows the real reason for the final 6H call. In theory, the 6H call seems to be an error since John Hurd is likely to Q-bid any ace that he has instead of bidding 5H as others have stated. However, playing the hand against very strong opponents would increase the odds that the slam is allowed to be made. As Kit has already mentioned, Martel and Stansby heard the auction and had no reason to believe that Wooldridge would bid 6H off both aces after Hurd neglected to cuebid on the previous round of bidding.
Nov. 25, 2011
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I apologize to anyone that participates in online bridge. I believe that I may be personally responsible for some of the BoD decisions related to online bridge. I won a fair number of masterpoints last year. The ACBL has since decided to limit the number of online games that a person can participate in, as well as they voted initially at the the recent summer nationals to decrease the online award from 0.8 of the club award to 0.6. Whereas currently online bridge pays 20% less then the awards in live club games, it would now pay 40% less. In addition, the ACBL has maxmimized the top award for some online games at 2.00, others at 1.20.
Oct. 12, 2011
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One other point to keep in mind is that the elite players that regularly do well in premier national and international events generate alot of interest for others. BBO's vugraph of these events has thousands of individuals.
Oct. 10, 2011
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Peg,

Certainly the amount of masterpoints earned by top players per dollar of revenue for the ACBL is substantially more then the number of masterpoints earned per dollar of revenue by the bottom 97% of masterpoint earners. However, I am not sure that the top players average 13.3 times more masterpoints per dollar then do the lower 97%.
Oct. 10, 2011
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15 * 50,000 = 750,000 masterpoints.

10,000 * 511 = 5,110,000 masterpoints.


Of course the actual numbers are an even greater disparity between the 2 groups. The 50,000 members with the lowest masterpoint totals average under 15 masterpoints per persons. Clearly, the top 511 masterpoint winners average well over 10,000 masterpoints. Without calculating the exact numbers, the top 511 probably average around 20,000 masterpoints, or over 10,000,000 masterpoints combined.
Oct. 10, 2011
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Peg,

Yes, the top 3% masterpoint holders bring in more revenue and profit for the ACBL then do the other 97%.

I would not be surprised if players over 10,000 masterpoints (listed as 511 members as of last month) bring in more revenue for the ACBL then the bottom 97%.
Oct. 10, 2011
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Randy & Peggy,

I agree with both of you that in the ideal scenario, the ACBL would “provide for those who are just learning the game, those who have played for years yet prefer playing in a low-key, modest club game - and those who strive to compete at a high level”. Unfortunately, it may not be reasonable for the ACBL to have policies aimed at equally accomodating the desires of the different groups of its membership.

One thing to keep in mind about masterpoints is that they are really a function of 3 different factors:

1) How many duplicate games a person plays in
2) The level of skill of the player
3) The amount of luck and good fortune that a player has (This has the lowest impact on a player's masterpoints)


While it is true that there are many more players that have under 50 masterpoints, the amount of money that the ACBL brings in total from the 50,000+ with under 50 masterpoints is likely substantially less then the amount of money brought in total by the players with greater than 5,000 masterpoints.

Oct. 10, 2011
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In addition to having many more of the hands declared from the stronger hand when playing transfers over a non-forcing 1C opening, there are many hands where the declaring side provides less information for the opponents. Of course, this depends on a partnership having fine tuned their agreements on all follow up auctions.
Aug. 21, 2011
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One additional comment about the hand: If partner does have 6 clubs missing the queen and he sees you provide encouragement for a club continuation at trick 1, then finds the queen played from the declarer, partner will know that you were “encouraging” at trick 1 since you have no reason to want either a spade shift or diamond shift. Therefore, partner has a trump switch at trick 2 since this cannot be a situation where forcing dummy will have any benefit for the defense with 4 high trumps and ace spade entry for later on.
June 23, 2011
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Peter,

I understand your logic behind “suggesting diamonds” with the carding methods that you play with Steve in this situation if you were concerned about a ruff sluff on a club continuation since you certainly have no reason to ask for a spade with Jxxx. However, it appears that you may have missed a key inference about the agreements that you have with Steve. Is it not true that partner has to have 5 clubs, only missing either the ace or the queen on the lead of the king? Remember, the king denied AKQ of the suit, therefore you should work our to continue a club continuation, picturing the actual hand as the expected layout. On the chance that Steve has the queen instead of the ace, there is no harm by your encouraging clubs. You did not want to encourage either spades or diamonds.

Without question, you and Steve are usually outstanding in your defense. Chalk this one up to just a missed piece of the puzzle. Good luck to you in the upcoming summer nationals. We will be rooting for you to do well representing district 6 in the GNT's.

Leo
June 23, 2011
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Bobby/Danny,

You bring up some interesting points about the tempo and ethics issues involved in the play of the hand. I agree with you that the tempo of the opening lead gives away UI to 3rd hand more than anything else for many players. There should be a requirement that the tempo of the opening lead by a player is the same from one hand to the next. The real question is should there be a rule stating the exact amount of time a player is to take after the auction is over prior to making their opening lead? If so, what would be a good rule? 20 seconds would certainly be enough time on most hands for most players to find an opening lead, but what about hands like the one given here where Steve took 45+ seconds? Additionally, what about players that are always fast, such as Alan Sontag? I would be surprised if Alan ever takes more than 5 seconds before making an opening lead.

For sure, 3rd hand needs to take about the same time before they play to trick 1 in order to prevent UI from being transmitted to the opening leader.

I think that there will always be some disagreement about what tempo a declarer should use before calling from dummy at trick 1, and how speedily they play the hand out. For fast declarers like Alan or Meck that are able to think quicker than most of us, I don't know that it would be right to force them to slow down to a particular pace. What we need to keep in mind is that as declarer, you are not transmitting information to your partner. I guess the real issue up for debate on tempo of a fast declarer is should their advantage to visualize, count, and make a plan of action for declaring a particular hand faster than others, referred to as the “fast play discovery play” by Bobby above, be taken away?
June 18, 2011
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Gavin,

If west is supposed to reason to shift to a club at trick 2, why did they continue the queen of hearts? Making a plan for the defense at trick 1 is oftentimes critical. I agree with your analysis that west should figure out declarer's likely shape is 6313 and that they should find a club switch at trick 2. Unfortunately, as was the case here against you, not all defenders reason the correct defense at trick 1.
June 17, 2011
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I agree with Henry that partner is very likely to hold the jack of hearts for the opening lead. With 1435 without the jack of hearts, it seems likely that partner would choose to lead a diamond on the auction. Even if we believe that the spot cards in the heart suit are readable, if we discourage at trick 1, is partner ever going to interpret that to mean you are looking for club ruffs? I do not think that many players would figure that was what you meant by discouraging at trick 1. Given the strong implications that partner is likely to hold the jack of hearts AND partner will not figure out that you are looking for club ruffs at trick 1 on their own, I think that this is a hand where partner should be understanding. If you overtake the king hearts and switch to the stiff club, it would seem to me that you are more likely going to gain by making the obvious shift from your hand than you are by allowing partner to hold the trick.
June 17, 2011
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Henry,

I agree with you that leading players have a responsibility to communicate their points with the appropriate definitions and language.

I apologize for not using the appropriate definition in my earlier message. I want you to keep in mind that I am far from being one of the leading players. You will rarely if ever see me at a tournament. Bridge is an interesting game however since players like me have the potential of creating tough competition for leading players.
June 17, 2011
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Gavin,

I like to call dentist coup any play where I “operate” to eliminate a defender's plans. Of course I know this is not the book definition of the dentist coup, it is just my own definition :)

I would say about 1 in 3 hands offer a “dentist coup” by my definition :)
June 17, 2011
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Gavin,

In the hand that you gave, the dentist's coup stands out as the play to make as declarer after the play to the first 3 tricks had occurred as it did. Yes, it is obvious that RHO is looking for club ruffs when they overtake the second round of hearts and switch to a club looking at the KJxx in dummy on their right.

Although you did well to prevent 2 club ruffs from happening when you used the dentist's coup, keep in mind that the defense could have prevented you the opportunity to make your contract. RHO can overtake the king of hearts at trick 1! RHO needed to put together hands that the opening leader and overcaller can have that would lead to 6 tricks for the defense. If the opening leader has either the ace of clubs or ace of spades, but not both, RHO's only legitimate chance at setting the contract is if his partner has KQJx hearts. It is logical on the bidding that the opening leader would be 1435 for his takeout double, since they cannot have more than 14 HCP from RHO's perspective.
June 17, 2011
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Kit,

Without question, table presence considerations would be lost with online play versus live bridge. In live events that use screens, however, there is already a reduction in table presence as opposed to events without screens.

The software could be easily setup where a player only sees the bids or cards played once each of the other 3 players has made their bid or played a card. At the same time, the directors can keep track of the amount of time taken by each of the players. Anytime that a table threatens to exceed the allotted time, the directors may issue penalties or warnings to the player(s) causing the delay.

An idea to consider is whether or not a player should explain not only their own bids as they are made, but offer an alert and explanation anytime that their partner makes a bid that they believe is alertable.

It is true that online play would prevent anyone from making a bid or lead out of turn, an insufficient bid, or a revoke.

Of course the primary reservation players would have to playing major events online is security. If the ACBL & BBO are able to come up with a reliable solution to the security concerns, it would seem to make sense that we start holding some events online.

Two factors preventing more players from participating regularly in major events right now are the time and money that is required. The ACBL is likely to see a large increase in table count if they were to go to the online format.
May 28, 2011
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