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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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Greg: Congratulations!!

FYI: Greg was very involved with the various cheating cases and did a lot of (unpaid) work for EBL. There were some that tried to argue the statistics/probability with him.
Jan. 20
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I've done the KO starts for Gatlinburg last 5 years and been fortunate to play in top bracket for the last 3-4 years, so have seen most of the teams. They are not all pro teams, but I would say the majority have at least one full time player. We won it once. There are no easy matches. Great tournament.
Jan. 20
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There is history around the Pairs MP increase of 25%. Chat with your DD to find the real reasons why this was passed. Nothing to do with incentivizing players, well one maybe.
Jan. 17
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Here's the truth: real bridge players say they don't care about MPs, but they do.

When the Pairs formula was changed to increase the Pairs MP reward by 25% about 4 years ago, the results was that many players migrated to playing Pairs and not Teams.

There are now lots of attempted solutions to ‘fix’ the dearth of teams in the KOs.
Jan. 17
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In Gatlinburg they will check and throw you out if you mis-report. The unofficial guideline is that your estimated points are within 5% to 10% of your actual points depending on total points, and also if you are in the wrong bracket. Those with less than 300-500 MPs per team typically don't need to worry.
Jan. 15
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There is also a group of players, mostly on the cusp of bracket 1/2 that do not want to play in Bracket 1. I've probably worked on more KO starts than any non TD. Those players will hang out by the TD booth and will constantly ask if they are going to be in B1 or not. If they will be in B1 then they go buy a pairs entry.

Playing up/playing down is a policy decision. Get the ACBL to modify, or to allow the TDs to accommodate reasonable requests.

Junior national squad members should be allowed to play up.

Allow some teams to play up iff they will not affect the bracketing, i.e. if each of the affected brackets already has less than 16 teams then this does not really affect the bracketing.

I personally don't care what the policy is. Whatever the policy is, it is something that can be easily implemented in software. Therefore the “it's difficult to implement” argument should not apply.
Jan. 15
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@Randy: Software can handle the details, but the decision on what to do it is currently at discretion of ACBL TDs. Bridgescore+ is certified by ACBL so can be used by TDs.
Jan. 14
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@Randy: Bridgescore+ (BS+) has done Gatlinburg regionals for the last 5 years. It can handle teams that ask to play up (or down). It easily handles 300+ teams with a myriad of stationary table requests. Assignments are typically up in under 2 minutes from last sale/MP correction.

What is at issue is a policy decision. It is trivial for software the implement the policy.

@Ray: Timing for Gatlinburg is under 2 minutes while 1200+ people are waiting around. Without Bridgescore+ is used to take 23-27 minutes. BS+ has started 100s of KOs without any problems; there is nothing for Mark to prove. Already been done.
Jan. 14
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@Art. In general (there are exceptions) a doubled contract is more likely to go down than an undoubled contract. Therefore you should double most contracts because statistically they are then more likely to go down. See the argument for bidding 4NT over 3NT above.

1X is more likely to make than 1 (at IMPs). But 1XX is even more likely to make than 1X.

1 is likely to make, 1X is likely to go down, but 1XX is very likely to make (80%) so… if you are in 1X you should redouble. (See argument for bidding 4NT above).

I haven't found any 4XX or 4XX making. Am sure there are out there just not in my IMP database.
Jan. 11
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Here are the only two ACBL 5NTxx I could find:

http://live.acbl.org/event/1701020/0601/1/board-detail/G?board_num=16
http://live.acbl.org/event/1607004/0202/2/board-detail/H?board_num=17

One of the six ways of scoring 1240.
Jan. 11
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To clarify, a simple contract is <level><suit>. It includes undoubled, doubled, redoubled.
At the top level, 5NT is the rarest simple contract. It occurs 0.03% of the time, i.e. given 10,000 hands it occurs 3 times.

There are some logical auctions to get to 5NT. 1NT-4NT (invite to slam)-5NT (return the invite)-Pass. I know there are other possible meanings for 5NT in that auction. If you look at the expert players that end up in 5NT, they don't get there using simple methods. Not as good a story to tell at the bar.

3NT is the most common (19%). Question: what's the second and third and why?

The most likely to make is 4NT (70%). As someone once pointed out, if you are not sure if you can make 3NT, bid 4NT because it has a higher success rate.

The least likely to make? Rather than tell you, I'll let you guess. And then tell me why. It's not 1.

The above is data from top level IMP games.

If you look at data from ACBL events, it is different. But I don't trust the data. Too often you will see some smart Alec playing 3NT and making 5 and put 5NT= in the Bridgemate trying to be cute. According to the ACBL data, each 7 level contract is less likely to be played than 5NT. I don't believe that. 3NT is still the most likely contract to be played (just under 16%). Adding the smart alecs that enter 4NT or 5NT when they really played 3NT puts 3NT at almost exactly 16%.

To be clear, the original data is from top level events, nearly all IMP games. The ACBL data is from regionals/sectional and includes all levels - 299er, Gold Rush, Open etc. The ACBL data is all MP games.

The most likely contract to make in ACBL MP games is 1 followed by 1 then 4NT.

Doubling contracts is not done anywhere near enough. Only 65% of contracts make (IMPs), 66% for MPs. More than 1 in 3 contracts will go down.
Jan. 11
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The formula for the maximum number of legal auctions to reach a non-doubled contract is F(n)=(21 * sum(f(n-1) … f(1)) + 4 where n is 1..35 for the contracts 1, 1, 1, 1, 1NT, 2 etc.and F(1) is 4.
1 1 4
1 2 84
1 3 1764
1 4 37044
1NT 5 777924
2 6 16336404
2 7 343064484
2 8 7204354164
2 9 1.51291E+11
2NT 10 3.17712E+12
For a doubled contract, D(n) = 2 * F(n). For a redoubled, R(n) = 2 * D(n).
The numbers quickly become quite large.

Edit: Use word auctions not bids per comment below.
Edit: Added word legal
Edit: Corrected formula
Jan. 10
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Jan. 11
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@Ken: From the data I have, 5NT is only played .03% of the time. 1 is the next then 1. You are 3 times more likely to play 7 than 1.

Here are two 5NTx contracts.

http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=10611
Board 5

http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=https://www.bridgebase.com/tools/vugraph_linfetch.php?id=11016
Board 27.
Jan. 10
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5NT is the rarest simple contract in top level bridge. X and XX would be even rarer.
Jan. 9
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Deliberations yes; data used for it not necessarily so.
Jan. 8
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Can you use the BBO handviewer URL?
Jan. 6
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Ask Georgia…if she denies there was anything, let me know…
Jan. 5
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Georgia Heth rejected the available information.
Jan. 4
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@Jonathan: Anyone can edit Wikipedia. If you have data you can add, including references to published sources, please add.
Dec. 31, 2018
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