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All comments by Melanie Manfield
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I don't see why the Strat B team would feel that way, especially when they would be guaranteed a sizable MP award for being a semifinalist in the Bracket 1 KO.

My experience is, that even if a team is unhappy about meeting a particular other team that they think is stronger, the former team is very happy after they beat the latter team.
That would be similar to the situation in this case. The Strat B team would have had to have beaten at least one Strat A team (if not more) to do well enough to get to be a top bracket semifinalist.
July 17
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The format of the RRKO in which I played in Reston was just slightly different from what you describe, Art.

Bracket 3 had 9 teams. My team played six, 8-board matches. I know that some teams were in three-way matches at some point. We were not among them. Obviously, there were a couple of teams that we did not play.

By the way, I agree with Jonathan Steinberg that, insofar as this format is used, the team finishing at the top of the bracket should be able to choose its semifinal opponent. Instead, the match-ups for the semis are random draw.
July 12
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Okay.

Well, if anyone knows of any such event within the ACBL at the Regional level (starting with an Open Swiss including everyone before brackets are created), perhaps they will comment about it.
July 12
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Yes – it looks as if the Wilkes-Barre Regional will offer Bracketed Knockouts as described by Ray Yuenger, using the same format as the recent Reston, Virginia Regional.

However, I heard last night that there may have been a recent District 4 Regional that did have a Knockout that started with an open Swiss. Maybe I will research that (or perhaps Art Korth or someone else from the Philadelphia area will read this and know the answer).
July 12
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We have the group of experts with many MPs, the group of players with or without many MPs who would prefer not to play many boards against experts, and we have the group without enough MPs to be placed in the top bracket who come to a tournament wanting to play against experts.

Certainly, there are players in the third group who have already withdrawn from Regional tournaments (or at least, from KO events at Regional tournaments). We have heard from at least a couple of strong players from the Washington, D.C. area (strong locally, I mean) who either did not come out to our recent local Regional at all, or at least avoid KOs at Regionals.
July 11
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Hi Ray,

I think that each person has to come up with his or her own version!

Cal Newport writes that he wasn't sure about whether to include streaming TV, movies, etc., and people urged him to include those (in other words, to abstain from TV, streaming films on devices, etc., during one's digital detox).
July 11
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I have not seen 1 day of Swiss to determine brackets (in the mid-Atlantic area/near Washington, D.C.). Where is that happening?
July 11
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I agree, plus the word “relegated” has a rather negative connotation.
July 11
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John N. is reminding me of an experience I had two summers ago.
I traveled across the country by train (changing trains in Chicago). There wasn't much wi-fi.

I ended up teaching several young people to play bridge (ages ranging from early 30's to late teens. The youngest was a “Dreamer,” traveling by train because she was less likely to have her identity documents checked). They also taught me a new game.

It was an enjoyable experience – but highly unusual. It depended upon strangers of different ages who like games being thrown together for a day or two – with no internet access.
July 11
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I agree that often it is a perception of not having the time vs. truly not having the time.

A few months ago I read the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport (and saw the author speak at the Politics and Prose bookstore in D.C.).

While I have not done the full 30-day “digital detox” recommended by Newport, I have done a couple of 9-day “digital detoxes” (over two weekends and the weekdays in between), and plan another later this month.

I would find myself thinking along the lines of: “wow, I get to read a lot (both fiction and non-fiction)” and fearing running out of books to read. There were other changes as well.

It's not that I didn't have the time to read books as much before. I just wasn't doing so.
July 11
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Master points affect every tournament player, certainly, one way or another.
We are forced to care, because they play a large role in what events we can (or cannot) play in.

Whether flying in to Washington, DC, or “just” driving across the Potomac River, players want to know what events are going to be held, and want to have choices.

We ought to be able to figure out a way to please all of these constituencies – most of the time. Not all of the time. I do think that it is possible:

Novices and intermediate players who want to stay in the novice and intermediate room (at present).

Flight B players who don't want to spend much or any time competing against the best players at the tournament.

Players who don't have tons of master points but do want to spend some or most of their time competing against the best/better players at the tournament.

Players who have lots of master points but are not eager to play many boards against professional and other expert players.

Experts.

It's not either/or. And, it shouldn't be (IMO).

For those who love teams (I am certainly one of those) – it does seem as if the devaluation of points for doing well in team events as opposed to pairs, has had a negative impact.
July 10
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One reason that top bracket players might want – or at least be willing to accept – lower point teams, is because there have started to be difficulties in getting enough teams to even have a 5-team top bracket in some cases otherwise.
July 10
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Certainly this is not a scientific survey, and probably no one mistakes this thread for such.

I'm still interested in hearing from those the OP is querying – those who are (or would be, in ACBL tournaments) regularly assigned to Bracket 1. And, I've learned from the comments in this thread made by Frances Hinden, Marty Harris, Tom Reynolds, and others who are in that category. I find their perspectives interesting.
July 10
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Ted makes great points and suggestions IMO.

He is another example of a strong local player who has effectively been driven away from bracketed KOs.
July 10
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The heart King was onside.
July 10
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As you have probably already guessed, I bid 4 and we rolled into an unmakeable Grand. Totally my charge.

Partner's hand:

QJxx
AQx
AJX
Axx
July 10
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It could help if there were a system to register teams in advance online as well. The teams preferences could be made known in advance.
July 10
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I agree – but, one issue is referred to by (I think) Sean Drenning, who commented on another thread started by Buddy Hanby (within the last couple of days). He mentioned that he tries to find teammates who have lots of MPs, to avoid the “muddled middle” of the brackets.

I am not going to dump a great partner because she has relatively few points (about 1,100). I myself don't have a ton of points (about 1,700). We are not world-class experts, but we brought back good results (if I do say so myself) in qualifying for the 0 to 10K Swiss teams and winning a 2nd bracket thing in Memphis, and in winning a Bracket 3 K/O in Reston.
Each of us was away from bridge for many years raising children.

So, people might say – just play a lot more, either face-to-face, online, or both. My point would be – we shouldn't have to. There should be another mechanism to allow us (and others in this category, for the same or different reasons) to play up. Instead of being “queens of the punters”, maybe we'd be happier losing to the world-class experts (and learning more in the process). And yes, I have been fortunate enough to win a world championship (as a playing sponsor) but of course realize that that in and of itself does not make me a world-class player.

Sometimes it is fun to play in a limited event, and win. But if we keep having bracketed KO after bracketed KO based on MPs, then it's sort of like reading groups in first grade (I was already reading well when I entered first grade, so was placed in the “top” group). You end up not progressing as much if you're not placed in the top group, and it's harder to learn and move out of one's own category.

I should add that I realize that I am fortunate to have a weekly game near me as high in quality as the WBL Unit game is. I know that not everyone has that.
July 10
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Jordan, we don't exactly have this. For example, in the recent Regional tourney in Reston, Virginia there was at least one team that wanted to play up into the top bracket that was told that was not possible for logistical reasons. The top bracket was not open to everyone.
July 10
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Ray,

It seems to me that your mind is made up.

You criticize Mark R by saying that he is asking a question for the third time. Yet you repeat your views many times over.

I actually find it disrespectful that you sneer at top players like Danny Sprung who have answered Mark’s question and strongly imply that they are not being honest in their answers.
July 10
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