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All comments by Peg Kaplan
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Jim, always improvements and steps backward. More of the former, please, does not mean I am ignorant of the positive changes.
April 26
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Everything is changing and becomes history, Ed. Bridge today is nothing like it was when I started playing 40 (?!?!) years ago.

Yet I am not ready to write off this game. If we look around the world, bridge is prospering in some locales. I don't see why we can't right the ship - at least some - in North America.
April 25
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Ed, as you probably know, I am a big proponent of online bridge. I can sit with my laptop, play in my jammies, play for 45 minutes or 2 hours - depending upon my schedule - play with a partner 10 miles away or 5,000, play IMPS, matchpoints, teams - so much going for it!

Still, I would never want to give up F2F bridge. The game is different then - not to mention socializing with friends from all over the planet when the shooting's done.

Unfortunately, some of what we've done over the years really has made F2F far less appealing than it used to be. We can't turn back the clock nor can we fix everything. Yet I do think that fewer tournaments alone would make a clear and positive change.
April 25
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After reading this, I felt like I needed a Facebook “sad face” instead of a “like”………
April 25
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Ed, too many regionals may well not be the #1 problem; unfortunately, there are more than a few. But, I am pretty certain that if we could make a significant cut in competing regionals, week after week, those remaining would improve both in table count and FUN significantly.
April 25
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Jonathan, you did not mention the other elephant in the room. There are waaaaaaaay too many tournaments! I don't know where to look for the stats as to how many regionals there were annually 20 or 30 years ago. Yet I know that they USED to report on regionals each month in the ACBL Bulletin - along with results and photos. Can you imagine trying to accomplish that task in today's world!?

There are only so many bodies each week with the time and resources and desire and decent enough health to attend tournaments. The more tournaments scheduled, the smaller many are. And the smaller they are, on average, the less fun and appealing they are. So - the trend perpetuates itself; people are less likely to return the following year to a tournament with tiny events (or sometimes even events that are advertised then cancelled due to not enough teams, etc. showing).

Fewer tournaments will mean that those which are on the schedule will be better attended and more enjoyable. Somehow - someone needs to recognize this then take action!
April 25
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Ed, I would go beyond Danny's statement of “impractical.” Put me down with the wod “impossible.” I have enough difficulty getting all of the “normal/expected” stuff in on the CC. All the rest of what we have in agreements, conventions, etc. are on our notes. I print them and carry them to any events where they might be needed.

Please don't say that they all ought to be on our CC. It really is not possible to do - and I would imagine that is true for most advanced+ players. The system I use has a fraction of some of the agreements & treatments that others use.
April 25
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Bill, I would add that there may be a number of variables that cause the difference. Bidding, system and rules thereof are only one facet.
April 23
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Gene, Kieran, IMHO, is highlighting one reason why some people are not either learning bridge or advancing.

In fact, if the ACBL were to have an “anything goes” policy, where partnerships could play that a 1 opener, for example, shows 8-12 with at least 5/4 in the black or red suits - with no pre-alerts and no defenses for their opponents …. Well, I might be one of those people saying “thanks but no thanks” to the game.

While it may be difficult to craft laws that will please everyone about what should be allowed and not, pre-alerts, etc., I'm with you, Gene. Bridge is supposed to be a game of disclosure, logic, etc - not poker where much becomes no more & no less than a guessing game.
April 23
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David……. when has George EVER not been funny?!
April 22
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Yes, I must admit I agree with you, David. If you look at any of our major team games, they are not designed to be “randomized”. Seeding in the 3 majors team events is theoretically designed so that the best will be meeting the best as the event proceeds.

Take any of these events and set them up so that the odds are heightened that our best teams will meet one another earlier; the event itself is cheapened.

I still think that the top flight of GNT is haunted by the many factors that have been discussed…. Huge differences between geography, population, depth & strength of field in districts, disparities in support to attend the event if you do win, etc. For someone like me, who enjoys being at the NABC when many others are there, time becomes an issue. Tough to be gone almost 2 weeks, IF I play in GNT and stay the rest of the tournament.

Some improvements can be made - and should be. Yet I still maintain that making most much happier, especially in the Open Flight, is an impossible task.
April 22
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John, I have a dear friend who has visual issues. Almost everyone has zero difficulty using the bidding boxes and stating their bids, too, when they compete against her.

For the rest of us - as I hope you are seeing from the comments - bidding boxes are a marvelous bridge invention! Nothing is perfect. Yet the boxes are a huge improvement over only stating our bids - for a variety of reasons.

If YOU have a positive attitude about bidding boxes, then your students won't have issues with them.
April 21
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Whoa! “And I still strongly object to bidding boxes, and the implication that everyone is a cheat”

John, surely there are other excellent pluses to having bidding boxes beyond assuming many are cheating! Reviewing the bidding is far easier and silent; no one to overhear it. Those who have hearing issues can readily see the auction. (And we can still state our bids for those with vision problems.)

I realize that many people want “the cardboard” in their hands when they are playing, and are adamantly opposed to having devices instead. Still, I see so many pluses to having a device … and fewer downsides. I do think, as some have mentioned, that one of the biggest downside is simply the unfamiliarity of it.

As for devices in clubs … In my mind, if we were to experiment with this, surely it would first only be at tournaments, and likely only for top level events. One day perhaps the devices would come to club games, too - but - that would be a long way off.

Perhaps by then, people will be amazed that we ever did use little rectangles of stiff paper to play our game!
April 21
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Michael - I agree with you to the extent that it is not facile to judge which of all the agreements people have ought to be alerted - and which not.

But - think for a moment about your suggestion above. The auction goes 1H - 1NT - and you have: xxx, Qxx, Kxx, Jxxx. Are you going to look at your opponents' CC? Of course not.

Let's say, however, you have: AKJ9x, Axxx, xx, Jx. Might you consider looking now?

And if my two statements are accurate, aren't you then giving your partner UI because he knows that you will not glance at their CC when you have nothing to think about - and “the glance” does give him information?
April 21
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Then I'm confused, Al. How would 2 people cheat online if they were being monitored? (And, I'm not saying it's utterly impossible…. just that close monitoring of 1 or 2 players would make cheating vastly tougher than unsupervised competition.)
April 20
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Al, I do think it is possible for one person to cheat online … in fact, unless there is good security, easy to do this. You play on one device with one account - and with another log-in on a different device. Your partner could be unaware that you are able to see all the hands while bidding and playing.

Of course, wiser cheaters would never cheat on all the hands. When you get ALL the hands right, far more suspicious than when you toss in some wrong decisions on less important hands to make discovery more difficult.
April 20
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No, Ed - I think you miss my point.

There is an awful lot of data on the convention card. How much am I supposed to study (particularly when playing pairs) as a new pair sits down?

I believe that there are a number of treatments and agreements in addition to Flannery that might not be expected by most pairs - yet, they are not alertable. Perhaps at least some of these treatments (like Flannery) ought to have a bit more disclosure.

Wouldn't it be easier and take FAR less time for a pair to alert 1 - P - 1NT if they usuall by-pass a 4 card spade suit, by agreement - than to study that and a variety of other items on the card?

And - am I supposed to study their leads and carding agreements when they come to the table - not knowing if we are going to be on defense ourselves for the round?

I personally think that at least some of the rules here could be adjusted a bit to make the game more transparent - and more time effect and a bit easier - for all of us.
April 20
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LOL, Ira - though I ASSURE you there are more than a few times when he is certain I ought to be locked up!
April 20
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Bless you and others making similar efforts, Simon!
April 20
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Ed, I know you very frequently make statements similar to this one about looking at the opps card. Yet, in my mind, the issue is not when they open 2 - that gets alerted and easy to look or ask what it is.

The issue is when people open 1, and responder doesn't bid 1 because it promises 5+ systemically. Are we always supposed to examine our opponent's card when they open 1, because they might be playing Flannery? What other sorts of bids without alerts should cause us to study the card, because they might be something a bit out of the ordinary?

I realize you are working within the laws, Ed. But, I wish our laws were a bit more “user friendly” - and that we could do a bit more notification to the opponents rather than have them spend precious time going through our card “just in case.”

I also realize that getting all this “perfect” is impossible. Nevertheless, improvement could be achieved. Here's hoping.
April 20
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