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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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About four years ago I put together a lot of Wikipedia pages on Bridge players. I sourced the data from the original sources and some of this ended up on Wikipedia pages.

My data from 4 years ago is on Github. For example, for Garozzo see
https://github.com/njhammond/generate_bridge_wikipedia_entries/blob/master/results/B/Benito%20Garozzo

Another example: https://github.com/njhammond/generate_bridge_wikipedia_entries/blob/master/results/G/Giorgio%20Belladonna

Ignore the country name associated with each player: I hand edited those later.

I cover the era of the Blue Team in Chapter 44 of my book: http://www.detectingcheatinginbridge.com/ This is statistical analysis of how well the various pairs played, including comparisons against other players from that era. It is also possible to statistically compare the defensive abilities of players from that era (including Reese/Schapiro and some famous American pairs) with some of the best defensive players of the more modern era, e.g. Balicki/Zmudzinski, Fantoni/Nunes, Fisher/Schwartz. I have charts that show how these top defensive players statistically compare to each other.

Have the editor PM me for more details.
11 hours ago
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I do not disagree that this hand is worth an upgrade. 4 aces; five card suit; if you are going to upgrade, this is the hand to do it with.

The issue is if your convention card (CC) should be marked “19-20” or “18+ to 20”. Or should have somewhere “upgrades common”

ACBL only allows HCPs (HCPs do not include length points) in their default CC (unless you describe another hand evaluation method).
Jan. 5
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To be clear: the Regulations in WBF events are different than the Regulations in non WBF events.

The BBO hands I pulled for Bathurst/Lall were mainly from non WBF events.

I do have the data on all other pairs. I don't know who plays a strong club system and who does not.
Jan. 4
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I was the one who wrote the original comment on the other thread.

On the previous thread, David described a hand, but it was unclear if he was described his hand, or a hand from the Junior trials, or some other hand on behalf of someone else. He stated that 2NT range for the pair was 19-20, but the hand was opened 2NT.

I'll try to be clear, but it's difficult because the rules/regulations aren't.

For semantics, in Bridge we have the Laws. The issue in this case is Law 40. There is no mention of HCPs in the Laws. The Laws are universal.

We also have Regulations. These are not universal. ACBL issues these in ACBL land. ACBL defines what is allowed, what is not in its jurisdiction. You may not like it, but thems the Regulations. ACBL has a convention card with space for the 2NT HCP range. This is what you play, not what you would like your opponents to think that you play.

The relevant part of Law 40 is “Repeated deviations lead to implicit understandings which then form part of the partnership’s methods and must be disclosed in accordance with the regulations governing disclosure of system.”

In this thread, OP wrote, “The partners are experts and their agreement is that they may exercise their judgment to upgrade or downgrade any hand. They do so on occasion but not frequently.”

That's fine. But when I sit down to play against you (the general me, not the specific me), I have no idea if you are experts or not, nor do I have any knowledge of your judgement skills or your frequency of upgrading/downgrading.

IMHO, “on occasion” meets my criteria of “repeated deviations” (i.e. more than once you have deviated) from your published HCP range.

The problem here are the Regulations. The ACBL uses HCPs. They define the HCPs using the Milton Work HCP, not distributional HCPs, not add an extra HCP for four aces, it is the strict Work HCP. You may not be using Work HCPs when you play, you may have better methods but ACBL prescribed that you shall use Work HCPs when filling out your convention card. If you want to argue, go talk to Mr. Bumble, he will agree with you.

I fully stand by my statement, “at best unethical”. ACBL advocates Active Ethics. If you choose to downgrade/upgrade (and in my analysis of top players upgrades are frequent, downgrades are extremely rare), then you have a duty to keep your opponents informed. They should not be required to ask.

Writing 19-20, but playing 18+ to 20 is unethical. There is no reason for you not to write 18+ to 20 if that is what you really play. Players should know, without asking, that “18+” means that you will upgrade suitable 18 HCP hands to your 2NT opening bid.

And to your point, ‘I was accused of being “unethical at best.” It pissed me off.’ When you wrote the article, it was not clear (it still isn't to me) that your original post was about a hand that you had bid with someone or was about the auction conducted by another pair. IMHO the pair that bid that hand were “unethical at best” by not fully disclosing their agreements. If it happens to be you, then I can assure you that your opponents will be more pissed off at you with failing to properly disclose your agreements than you are pissed off with me.

“I actually considered the comment libelous”. Nowhere close, but let's get back on topic. I am glad that you have published this article. I am glad there is discussion on this topic. Players need to be much more educated about Law 40. There are LOTS of players that are currently violating Law 40 in ACBL land; when I have some time I'll publish a list of who they are. I've reported at least a couple of partnerships last year to ACBL but there is little/no interest in them pursuing Law 40 violations.

Congratulations on your retirement. Please focus on playing more bridge and helping to coach the juniors! Congratulations on the achievements of those that you coached.
Jan. 2
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I cover this in Chapter 44 of my book. I used the data from BBO for major tournaments. I looked at all major tournaments prior to this event where Bathurst-Lall had 10 or fewer HCPs in third seat non-vulnerable after two passes. There were 18 hands. Only two were passed (one had 9 HCP, the other 10 HCP). On all other occasions they opened the bidding with 4-10 HCPs.

Because names are not always normalized on BBO, it is possible I have missed some hands.

You may draw your own conclusions from the data.
Jan. 2
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David: If you “may upgrade or downgrade” then you need to put on the card when playing in ACBL events. Law 40. Blame ACBL for using the Work method for their requirements, not the messenger. You should write “18+ to 22-” not 19-20. This meets both the ACBL requirements and also the ethical ones.

“I am a big boy and I can ask.” How you treat the opponents is up to you; however It is not up to your opponents to have to ask you.

While your second paragraph is admiral; the regulations specify HCP. Your opinion on what it should or should not be used for is irrelevant when the ACBL regulations use it. You can campaign to change it; but until it is changed you must use it. Failure to do so is unethical. If your attitude is that it doesn't matter, then you should not pass on this attitude to your juniors.

A recent (2016) example was a former USBF junior playing in Open World event, captained by another former USBF junior, not knowing the WBF rules for HCP. Their opponents had to call them out on it. Arguably the root cause was improper training of the USBF juniors.

@Jim: Yes. You are responsible for your opponents misunderstanding if you happen to mislead them directly or indirectly. Though it may be “common” to “upgrade or downgrade”, the ACBL regulations are in Work HCP. Campaign to change the ACBL regulations, but don't shoot the messenger.
Jan. 2
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@Jim: Law 40. Please read.

If you write 19-20 on your CC, but routinely upgrade 18 HCP hands, and fail to disclose to the opponents, then you are the one lawyering the system and acting unethically.

It is the Work HCP system that is at fault here and the blind adherence to it in the various regulations. Those who write the regulations should do a better job of explaining “upgrades” and “downgrades” but they don't and you are forced to use HCP.

As the OP works with the juniors; it is important that they know the difference between the ACBL rules and WBF rules.
Jan. 2
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The OP stated that 2N is 19-20. However the opening hand has 18 HCP. It may be picky, but High Card Points is exactly that. If you routinely upgrade an 18 HCP then your range is 18+ to 20 not 19-20 that the OP claims.

Falsely claiming your range is 19-20 if you routinely upgrade 18 HCP is unethical at best.
Jan. 2
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Your 2NT range is 18+ to 20, not 19-20 as you state.
Jan. 1
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Hank: I seriously did look at using the Dot Matrix printers for ACBLscore+. Unfortunately, ACBLscore+ (now Bridgescore+) uses a web based interface, and was not possible to generate the necessary control codes embedded in HTML files for the printers to work.

I do have separate player input for Swiss events. Can have many standalone (cheap - Raspberry Pis) computer with a keypad for players to enter scores. Not exactly telegraph. But using these mean no directors are needed at round change.

If your district wants to use it; let me know.

For others, here's the software in action.

http://training.bridgescoreplus.com
Jan. 1
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Jameson is Irish whiskey, not Scottish whisky. The main difference is that, in general, Irish whiskey is triple-distilled, Scotch whisky is double-distilled. The Irish add an extra ‘e’ so you know the difference.

Irish whiskey (Bushmills is the other common brand, though Jameson is my favourite) tends to be a lot smoother drink than Scotch whisky, the extra distillation step making it smoother as it removes more congeners.

There is one common triple distilled Scottish whisky, Auchentoshan, (“ock-un-tosh-un”). My favourite is the Three Wood. However, don't order it in Scotland. Over there it's considered a “lady's drink”.

Whisky interlude over… back to Bridge.
Jan. 1
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My repeated refrain: ACBL still has the $1.5M software for the replacement for ACBLscore+. Unfortunately their legal advice was that as they did not own the copyright, they should not use the software. My company rebranded it as “Bridgescore+”. The oft quoted $2M figure includes what ACBL had to pay lawyers to learn about copyright issues, a previous $100K failed attempt, and a $100(?)K report from an independent contract on ACBLscore+ - they wanted him to say it didn't work but their conclusion was the opposite - you'll never get to see that report. Ask you BOD representative to see a copy.

Bridgescore+ has been available for Sectionals/Regionals to use. It does all that you ask: Swiss with Bridgemates, Displays (projectors/monitors) with scores etc. etc. Gatlinburg uses it every year. They did allow it for one day at the NABC Swiss in Atlanta last year. Ran the sessions 20-25 minutes faster (all assignments up on projectors etc. etc.), requires fewer TDs.

I've offered it to ACBL for every National since 2014. I'll make the same offer for Columbus. I'll let you know what happens.
Jan. 1
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Here is historical information on the 49er pairs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_49er_Pairs
I created that Wikipedia page back in 2007. If there are other discontinued events that someone is willing to do the research from old bulletins, please add.
Dec. 31, 2019
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I was speaking in Yuengerlish.
Dec. 31, 2019
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I would choose a limit, say 5000 or 10000.

IMHO, if you are a non-resident ACBL member, you should not be allowed to enter National events that are restricted to that level of masterpoints. If you are a non-resident player, enter the Open events. As such, I would restrict furrin players from entering the Mini-Blues, Red, Mini-Spin.

This is to prevent furrin players from entering the 0-99 “National” events, should that event ever be resurrected. There has been abuse in the past.

I don't care whether Kevin's events are 1 session or 10 sessions; wiser minds can decide, but offer a “National” event to the limited crowd. Encourage them to attend NABCs. But don't allow furrin sharks to enter these events.
Dec. 30, 2019
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Why would a new non-ACBL resident Bridge player want to come to the ACBL and play in a limited event? It is much easier to enforce the other way. The rules are much easier to enforce. TDs don't know until game time who is playing. A sign explaining open to ACBL residents, and a quick check once names are in the Bridgemates is much easier.

Please note perfectionism. North America includes countries/lands that are not members of the ACBL. I am specifically referring to players outside of ACBL land. These players have their own Bridge federations and their limited events (if offered).

There is no reason for these players to be allowed to play in ACBL limited national events.

We currently have the absurd situation that non ACBL resident World Champions are currently allowed to play in ACBL masterpoint limited national events. This seems to go against the whole point of having these types of events.
Dec. 30, 2019
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@Peg: What Kevin said.

Look at some of the past winners of the 0-<something you consider a small number> National event (that are no longer held). I played in some of these when I first started. One of the reasons to go to NABCs events - there was a ‘National’ event I had a chance of winning.

Some of these winners were from non-ACBL countries, but had substantial bridge experience in their native countries.

I remember one, I think it was the 0-99er, where the winners played Multi (no-one challenged them during the day), and had substantial experience in their own country. No-one prevented them from entering because they had 0 ACBL MPs.

Everyone wants a level playing field, so if you are not resident in ACBL-land, you should not be allowed to enter these limited masterpoint events. Simple.

You & Kevin should not be allowed to compete in the South Slobbovian National Champion 0-49er event.
Dec. 30, 2019
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If implemented, any national MP restricted event below, say, 5000 MPs, should be restricted to those members resident in ACBL land.
Dec. 29, 2019
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It would be nice to see the video.

ACBL has published the playlist from the Kaplan (Blue Ribbon) pairs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcAft4FoUHzQNf9bkV18dgfy7CGYsXEF9

There is only video for tables 1-11 in section A for this session.

The long BW discussion (now closed) is at https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/honolulu-brp-7nt-lead-discussion/
There were other discussions as well.

The board was board 23, first session of final day of Kaplan Blue Ribbon pairs. Grue/Levin were EW 13 in Section B. Glubok/Antonson were NS 6. There were 13 tables, simple Mitchell. This board would have been played in round 7.

Here's the action from Board 23 in Section A (NOT these players) at Table 6 in Round 7, just to give you an idea of tempo of top level players. I could have used any of the 10 other tables.

Before you look at it; I will tell you that N/S passed throughout. E/W reached 7. How long do you think the auction took? The players first take their cards out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dF9qQCQQ9U&t=2h12m51s

This is with one round of bidding to go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dF9qQCQQ9U&t=2h17m51s

In case you are wondering how could it take so long, Martel's second bid took over 3 minutes.
It starts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dF9qQCQQ9U&t=2h13m50s and ends here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dF9qQCQQ9U&t=2h17m1s

The final passes behind screens took 20 seconds (2:18:42->2:19:01). Admittedly this is on the side of the person on lead.

Here's the runner's up playing the same board. Cards out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJnfI8qRElY&t=2h43m5s. Auction finishes at 2:51:04.

The question is why ACBL has not published tables 12-13 for section A; and also why there is no video for section B.
Dec. 29, 2019
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@Jeff: Approximately 70% of players with < 750 MPs were from CA. How close to SF, I don't know.

There were approximately 70 players from NY (not sure if NYC) with < 1000 MPs.

If the 0-99 etc. national events are brought back (I remember playing in them), then they need to be restricted to ACBL residents. I remember playing in one where a couple from Germany (I think) happened to be on vacation at the city. They joined ACBL. Were assigned 0 MPs, and promptly won the event. Their equivalent in points for their home country was in the thousands.
Dec. 24, 2019
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