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All comments by Michael Rosenberg
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What is the explanation of how North, who thought his partner had roundeds, realized his partner had blacks? And when did he realize it?
July 4, 2014
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I agree with Nick M. I think Round Robins are inherently flawed. Even if you can avoid the dumping issue (and you have to go through hoops in the COC just to lessen them), there is still the issue of teams that are out of contention (or certain to qualify) playing a crucial role in determining who wins/qualifies. It should not matter WHEN you play a team - but it does.

The United States Bridge Championships (the Trials) deals with the dumping issue by sequestering some matches at the end. That also somewhat improves the “out of contention” issue - but does not entirely resolve it.

In a KO, there may be apparent unfairness in who gets to play who, but at least you control your destiny in the last match you play.

By the way, I do not mean “dumping” as a pejorative term. If the COC make it such that you deem you improve your chances of winning the event by losing a match rather than winning it, that is the organizer's fault, not yours.
July 4, 2014
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Nick K.

You wrote:

“would you not prefer to see US-1 comprised of 3 of the US' top 5 professional pairs instead of 2 WC pairs, a professional babysitter, and the sponsor?”

Presumably you were supposed to be referring to the future. The BB's of recent past has been composed of US teams with sponsors such as Fleisher, Nickell and Zagorin - all strong players in their own right.
The pro-client partnerships you mention range from 7 years ago to more than 30. And the one that was only 7 years ago was a client who has won a National Pair game (while recording the highest percentage session in National Pair game final history).
So, far from my perception that you are belittling our sponsors being a “straw man”, I would say it is right on target. And I'm still waiting for an apology.

As for re-reading your posts, once was more than enough.
July 3, 2014
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Nick K.

I would say that almost everything you say here is wrong and/or false and/or misleading. But I'm not going to respond in detail unless and until you apologize for AGAIN belittling those who have put so much time, money and effort to support our game.

I hardly think that, say, Messrs. Diamond, Fleisher and Nickell require any “babysitting”. Also (until fairly recently) Roy Welland. There are others.
July 3, 2014
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Jeanne F.

How would they qualify to play? To qualify, under the current structure, they would have to compete in the Trials. Obviously, in your scenario, they would not have sponsorship for that, since it is unlikely that a client will pay to play in that if having no prospect to continue to the World Championship.

So the professional must spend about 10 days in the Trials, and probably over 2 weeks in the World Championships paying travel, hotel and entry fees. I think several professionals would be unwilling to do that.

Additionally, the professional is hired to play in the Nationals. Often the ‘deal’ is contingent on going to the Trials - and, if the client couldn't continue with the same team, the attraction of the whole idea of hiring professionals might disappear, or at least get lessened.

So maybe you are talking about doing away with the Trials, and just having straight selection? Aside from doing away with one of the Premier events on the calendar, selection comes with a slew of its own problems (which I won't go into here).

I still think our current system is pretty good….
July 3, 2014
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Nick K.

Let's assume hypothetically that the US followed your wishes and “sent the strongest team”. How would that be achieved? Selection? Trials? Do you bar certain players or pairs from competing in the Trials?

Whatever method you suggest, I think it is inevitable that some of the strongest players will refuse to go. I also think it's inevitable that the current professional system would, at least partially, break down.
If I am correct, trying to “send the strongest team” would be, at best, counter-productive.

Would it be nice if a slew of non-playing sponsor(s) came along? Of course. But until such time as that (or the equivalent in corporate sponsorship) happens, I think it would be folly to change the current system.

Incidentally, I would point out that US sponsorship has been a huge boon to European players also. It has allowed them to hone their partnerships in the strongest possible competition. I'm not complaining - I love that our National team games have the stature of World Championships.
July 3, 2014
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Nick M.

Sorry, that part of my reply (about professional players being happy with their sponsors' presence) was made in response to a comment by somebody else. My apologies.

July 3, 2014
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I never said the 9 would backfire. I don't think I suggested I had any problem with it (though I'd always worry A LITTLE that partner might think I have A98 tight - however unlikely that may be). But I do believe returning original 4th best is Standard. And you should have a good reason for straying from that. I don't see one.
July 2, 2014
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Even conceding that it is right to play the A from AQ97 (which I don't), I still don't see why you are afraid of the 7 return being seen as AQ97 rather than the actual A9874.
July 2, 2014
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Nick K.

You say “…in practice it means that he paid two world-class pairs to carry him (and his baby-sitter) kicking and screaming over the finish line.”

This is a ridiculously unfair characterization. Many of the sponsors nowadays are excellent players. They can often outduel the professionals. Many of them have won National Pair games.

True, there are some who are clearly weaker players. But, if their team qualifies, it means they earned their place. Maybe they know how to get the most out of their abilities - an important part of the game.

The sponsors contribute time, effort and money to the game. They derive satisfaction from playing this wonderful game, that they (and I) love, at the top level. I don't see what your purpose is in belittling them.

July 2, 2014
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Nick M.

You say we are “tarnishing” the competition by allowing playing sponsors. You give the example of Steinbrenner batting cleanup for the Yankees.
Actually, when I try to explain to non-bridge players how I earn my living, and how bridge sponsorship works, I give this example: “Imagine George Steinbrenner, instead of getting a World Series ring by just owning the team, had to play (say left field) for 3 to 4 innings and batted 9th (which makes more sense than cleanup!)”.
The reason why this would be “absurd” in baseball or basketball is because those sports generate income (some of which goes to the players) through spectators, advertising, TV sales and corporate sponsorship. The system does not need playing sponsors - indeed the public and players would not accept it.
The owner's reward for success is praise from the media and spectators/followers of the sport. And, sometimes, financial gain.
I wish bridge could operate this way (and I hope one day it will), but we have none of these sources of revenue.
So when a sponsor comes along and offers to pay the rest of his team, he does so because of the opportunity it affords him or her to win ‘honors’ in our game. He or she has no hope of financial gain - indeed the opposite is guaranteed.

It is pretty clear that the sponsors have added tremendously to our game. They have allowed our top players to devote their time to improving as professionals.
Many of the sponsors would be unlikely to want to fund a team for the Nationals (and the Trials) unless they were afforded the opportunity to go to, and win, a World Championship.

I think you are wrong about the other players on the team being unhappy about the presence of the sponsor. Speaking for myself, I can tell you it's not true.

I think that what you suggest - sponsors not playing in certain elite events - would not ‘work’. Anyway, who is to determine this? The sponsorship of a team is a private arrangement. Every sponsor who has represented the USA has been required to earn that place by fulfilling the Conditions. It's not as if the berth is being purely bought.

July 2, 2014
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Well that adds weight to the argument that USA is treated differently. Whether that is fair or not, I don't know.
July 2, 2014
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Benoit,

AQ97 should routinely play the Q at trick one. AJ97 would fear Q8xx and would probably return the J.

In any case, I'm not sure why your worried partner might think you have those holdings (except for the Q8xx thing I mentioned). And presumably AJ97x is a possibility.
July 2, 2014
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If the semi-final comprised two European teams, a Chinese team and a Brazilian team, would the conditions call for the European teams to meet in the semis?
July 2, 2014
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7. Original 4th best. But if dummy had more than a singleton, then return 4.
July 2, 2014
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"“Any non-US member will state that this is wrong and any US member won't understand why.”

I AM American, and I understand why….
July 2, 2014
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Is it even clear from the above that there is a prohibition against Transnational teams?
July 1, 2014
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Europe gets to send 6 teams. I have no idea what requirements and restrictions are imposed by the WBF.

As to the defending champs getting an automatic berth, that would mean changing either the format of the event or the number of terams that have a chance to qualify for the ‘new’ event.
To me, the whole BB system seems to be working reasonably well. I'm not saying it's “fair” - or that you're wrong.
July 1, 2014
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Saverio,

While I see both sides of this argument, I'd point out the following:

1) There IS a World Championship that has one team per country - it happens every fourth year, and is called the Olympiad (or at least it used to be called that). USA is one team among about seventy.

2) The WBF does not ‘invite’ countries to send teams to the Bermuda Bowl. It invites Zones. Maybe the number of teams allocated qualifying spots in certain Zones is unfair. Maybe the Zones are operated unfairly. Maybe you'd be more comfortable if Zones with more than one team called their teams ZoneX1, Zone Y2 etc.

3) Once every four years there is a World Championship with NO countries - it's called the Rosenblum. Maybe we should do away with countries and have every World Championship be like that. It sure would put an end to this argument. (I love putting an end to arguments.)

4) Please correct your title - there is no “e” in “participation” - it should be an “i”.
July 1, 2014
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Yes, but we're not close to having that be accepted yet. And you would still need to limit the amount of time that could be taken over a signal.
June 29, 2014
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