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All comments by Max Schireson
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While I think there is some merit to lame-duck-prevention argument that a player must play in the second world championship for which they qualify, I think real life is complicated and a player may not know which event they prefer to play in, or which events their agreement with their previous team allow them to play in, until the second event is complete.

For example, Player X might qualify in event 1, then gain agreement from their team to drop off in favor of event 2 if either of players A or B (who are deemed suitable replacements by player X's event 1 team and are also entering the trials for event 2 on a different team from player X) are available after the event 2 trials.

Player X then enters the event 2 trials, planning to play in the event 2 world championships if either of the suitable players is available and otherwise planning to play in event 1. Since the trials for event 2 qualify multiple teams, player X's plans depend not only on whether their event 2 team qualifies but also which other team qualifies.

While these situations are messy and may feel uncomfortable relative to the purity of the winning teams going to the world championships intact, I think more flexibility in allocating players to teams (which I would call more liquid markets for talent for the economics inclined) in these situations will in the long run lead to stronger teams representing the US overall.

(Secondarily I think accommodating players desires is also a benefit, but not on as important as sending the strongest teams we can).

Edit: typo
18 hours ago
Max Schireson edited this comment 13 hours ago
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Thanks all you have confirmed my dislike of my pass.

At imps 4C seems automatic but playing matchpoints I really didn't want to get to 5C, didn't think we needed to get to 6C to score well, and didn't want to play 4N rather than 3 if we didn't have 6C.

All if that might be true but I think 6C is often not just just better when it makes than 3N but also is safer. For example opposite Kxx, xx, Qx, QTxxxx 6C looks safer than 3N.
Oct. 29
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I am a grabber but I find that with screens the big piles can sometimes topple when being slid across.

Maybe that is the universe's way of telling me to bid a little less?
Oct. 26
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I was not at the table but was reviewing my mentees game.

She reported that in this situation the player holding this hand bid 3NT.

As it turns out opener had a good hand but opted to pass. This left my mentee on lead without a standout lead and declarer took the first 11 tricks. At most tables 3NT was declared in the other hand, where a spade lead from AKQx held it to 9 tricks.

I found the 3NT call extremely surprising. Certainly it would not have occurred to me for even a moment.

The player who bid it has over 5000 masterpoints and sometimes gets hired for club games so it was not a case of someone who didn't have any idea at all.

Thoughts?
Oct. 26
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More info coming later. If anyone has any other calls they would consider, even if they wouldn't actually make them, please share in the comments.
Oct. 25
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I agree you have the right to ask and shouldn't have to. But still I would avoid asking unless I really needed to know.

Why would I need to know? Say dummy has 4 trumps, and showed 4 in the auction, and was the asker. If declarer had 6 trumps then many would show the Q. If I learned that he showed the Q, I now should expect 6, and if I learned that he denied it probably he only has 5. This may be useful.
Oct. 23
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I will agree with “technical error” not to do so, but I am not sure most players would consider it trivial :) At the table I am not sure I would get it right, and I am arguing with others about whether the spade continuation actually costs a heart trick…

Also there is some chance the spade continuation could cost; give declarer the SQ and and partner the HJ and CQ. Now when you continue spades declarer gets a spade trick with their Q (now or later) and thus can take care of their club guess (if they have one, which they do on the actual hand) with the DQ. So it's not a nullo play to switch if north held two small hearts for example, and once in a while (when they have reached an awful slam) you must switch.

Even so I think they should continue spades when there might be a finesse for the Q, so I agree with you that declarer should play for the drop when they don't continue.
Oct. 23
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But if there is any chance that declarer will pick up the trump Q with a finesse, isn't it automatic to continue spades? It seems that with two small hearts for example, N would play another spade. When he doesn't, it seems that declarer should play to drop the heart?

Of course this assumes declarer is alert and notices the lack of spade continuation as unusual.
Oct. 23
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I think the diamond switch is very risky.

I think if a competent N switches here an alert declarer should play for the heart drop anyway?

If that is the case, while the diamond play is safe on the actual layout, with the E hand likely closed it is anything but safe.

If you do or don't continue spades it seems declarer should get hearts right. It seems like the relevant holding to play for is partner having the CQ; there the diamond doesn't gain and costs when the diamonds are not exactly AK tight. The diamond could be necessary if partner has the A and declarer started with six trumps and solid clubs. Hard to say without knowing the auction but that seems like a lot to ask for. Of course if that's the hand the diamond switch beats it and anything else declarer makes, vs when partner has the CQ declarer still has a guess to make when you don't switch to the diamond.

It's late and I could be missing something.
Oct. 23
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The fact that a championship is on the line doesn't excuse bad behavior.

It's a bit like robbing a bank for $50 million and saying “I wouldn't normally rob banks but they had soooo much money that day.”


Eric, that's just wrong, championship or not.
Oct. 20
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This raises another issue: the best play to make looks like it's around 35%. But if you immediately play on hearts, and it loses, you are likely to lose a heart, 5 spades, and probably two diamonds for down 4.

If they are in 3N at the other table and you find the hearts right you gain 10 imps vs cashing out for down 1, but when you find them wrong you lose 4. But if they are in a partscore at the other table you probably lose 7 or 8 imps trying to make when the hearts are wrong and only win the same 7 when you succeed.

This may be a hand where, at least if things are not looking right, you should just take your down 1, especially if you think the auction was aggressive.

I like your plan. It's almost certainly right to play for the hearts onside if you find RHO following to 3 clubs. If he follows to 2 clubs, then it probably depends how “normal” you think the auction is. I think if RHO has a stiff club, its probably best to cash out.

Of course there's a small chance of making by playing the hearts from the top, which may tip things further in the direction of playing hearts from the top after cashing a couple clubs.

Thanks for pointing this out. I suspect I lose imps trying to make contracts that are too thin and best to take down one.
Oct. 20
Max Schireson edited this comment Oct. 22
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And if E shows out and the H play looks a bit less likely to work what's your plan?
Oct. 20
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Yes. And afterwards he can explain that he had a heart in with his diamonds. Given that he had a perfect excuse ready made he bid perfectly:)
Oct. 19
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Some evidence is statistical, some is not.

For example, when I have a videotape of someone walking onto a bank with a gun and leaving with a bag of money, and the teller identifies them from a lineup, and they are caught with the money and the gun and a written plan, I don't need more data points.

Whether you agree that the hand Michael cited as a “smoking gun” is analogous to that or not, I think it's clear that not all evidence is statistical.

Your personal insults are also unwarranted and inappropriate. We may not agree on what occured decades ago but there is no need to insult each other today.
Oct. 18
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I agree.

Speaking for myself as someone who described 5D as a potential double shot I think I was reacting negatively to protecting someone who preempted and then bid again. Whether it was really an extremely serious error/gambling action depends on the hand, but thinking about it more I believe I misindentified what I disliked about 5D.
Oct. 18
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I think these slow bids usually show.

More concerning is that I think in any regular partnership each partner has a much better idea than an outsider of whether their partner is more likely to have extras for their hesitation or just have a minimum raise that wanted to show their fit. Therefore I would tend to err on the side of rolling things back.

Here the combination of the potential double shot by W, and the 55 hand by south makes me willing to accept that 3S doesn't suggest anything, even if that's a bit of an oversimplification of my view. The longer version of my view (I nearly selected “other” is that overall it seems most fair for NS to keep their result based on a combination of factors: on the surface 3S doesnt indicate anything, maybe 4S is automatic, and I don't love the double shot of 5D. In principle I should look at all of these issues independently, but especially when I am unable to poll to help me with some of these questions I just selected the simplest justification for what felt like overall the right ruling.
Oct. 17
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One problem with ducking the opening lead is that a diamond switch might beat you immediately.

Anyway say that they don't find the diamond switch and they just continue spade to the A and clear the suit. Now you are still down a bunch if you lose a heart to RHO.

Yes, it's now safe to lose a diamond to LHO so you might find a line to make when diamonds are AK on your left and J on your right but that's asking more than you need in hearts.

Since you can't repeat the diamond finesse you probably want to strip wests black cards before playing on diamonds, and play for some kind of endplay eg that W also has the HQ so that he has to give you a trick in a red suit when you put him in with a diamond. Yes that makes on some different hands than the heart play, but you can't combine your chances since when the diamond play fails (J on your left, or a high honor on your right) you are down against best defense even when the hearts are right.

It is very possible that ducking the spade opens up a better line that what I see, but absent something specific that I am missing it feels like the duck can hurt when the diamonds are wrong and they switch to one, and is unlikely to gain.
Oct. 16
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It seems like if you lose a trick to RHO, he can play a diamond to get a spade through. Assuming LHO didn't start with QT tight that will sink you.

I agree with Ian the only prospect to get an extra trick without losing one is hearts.

I think the best way to play the hearts is to run the J. At first it might look appealing to start by cashing a high honor in case RHO has a stiff honor, but that fails when LHO has the Q and T and puts in the T (or covers the J with the Q if you run the J second round). Running the J succeeds against QT on your left, or a stiff T on your right, or when LHO fails to cover the J with the Q. If you are playing primarily for both heart honors on your left, you need to keep your two high honors over them!
Oct. 15
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This depends a lot on what honors are missing.

If the 14 HCP are KQQQQJJJ, there is exactly one out of the 11 distributions of the honors that give opener 12+ where the finesse is on. You would pretty much need a complete count to finesse.

On the other hand if it is AAAQ and say 16-18 NT, really the 3 A just take up vacant spaces in the openers hand and the Q can easily be in either hand, you just need enough vacant spaces to balance the 3 aces. But with a 14-16 notrump you “know” the finesse is on.

In the end it comes down to how many possible layouts are there with the finesse on vs off, so the texture of the missing honors matters a lot.
Oct. 14
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I did a little more research. Ray thanks for pointing out the language of the handbook. In general it is not clear what force resolutions passed by a quorum of members have.

However, it is clear under the bylaws that the membership has the ability to amend the bylaws. A member can submit a petition with 50 signatures for an amendment of the bylaws.

That petition is published in the bulletin and voted on at the next annual meeting. If a quorum is present and the blyaw amendment receives 2/3 support, the process is repeated the next year. If it carries again, the bylaws are amended.

So the BoD can get in the way to some extent based on the handbook, but the membership has the power to change the blyaws. Among other things the bylaws specify the size of the board, the process for selecting the board, and the powers of the board.

We have the power to create change if we are motivated to run a multi-year process. I applaud Chris's efforts in the past but this is something that requires much more advamce prep than a few weeks before the meeting and that imo should focus on the integrity of the game, and if necessary to achieve that the composition of the board.
Oct. 12
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