Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Peter Brockway
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Going back to Max's suggestion at the start of this subthread, one way of achieving points 1 and 2 without duplicates arising is to … shuffle.

The idea is that you

* choose a random number between 1 and 52, then swap the card at this position with the one at position 52.
* choose a random number between 1 and 51, then swap the card at this position with the one at position 51

* choose a random number between 1 and 40, then swap the card at this position with the one at position 40

At this point you have always performed just 13 random number selections and swaps. (Some swaps may be redundant, but the problem of duplicates never arises.) The cards at positions 40->52 form a set of 13 chosen randomly from a uniform distribution of all such 13 cards sets.

Google tells me this is a “Fisher-Yates” shuffle, and it has the nice property of being able to be stopped part way through. Like a good shuffle, it doesn't depend on the original order and, so, can be used over and over again to generate many such (independent) hands. Google also tells me that getting Excel to shuffle rows is possible, but somewhat mind numbing. So don't use Excel.

If you wanted to “tweak” hand shape probabilities for some reason (so that the hands would no longer come from a uniform distribution) then using a table as described above might be the way to go. But if you are looking at shapes under a variety of circumstances (eg, Bridge and 500, or combined partnership holdings) then some such shuffling algorithm would be more versatile.
March 12
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I get a squiggly (as shown in the picture) with 4-AJxx-0-AJxx, but it disappears with 4-AQxx-0-AJxx.

It is perhaps significant that “AJax” is suggested as a correction.
March 10
Peter Brockway edited this comment March 10
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For a while I thought the whole biscuit thing above was a (nice) trolling piss-take. But there still seems to be some doubt about the merit of …

No, I won't say what strategy I think is better.

You don't need sophisticated maths or erudite/passionate arguments here. Just take the clubs out of a standard pack, shuffle, and calculate for yourself the efficacy of “stayer” vs “swapper”: either get someone else to turn over the card while you guess and let them play the part of “Monty” or figure out a way of using the remaining cards to do the full Monty.

Then record the results (for both “stayer” and “swapper”) of a hundred trials and see for yourself. (100 is possibly too many, more like “the square root of the number you first thought of”.)

Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZCpXz9tk_o to see Monty working the audience.

Sorry if US readers feel embarrassed by the self-depiction of their compatriots in that clip. They were either very stoned or very stupid and completely lacking in self respect. An ounce of empirical calculation trumps, for want of a better word, any amount of “deal making”.
Dec. 26, 2018
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The text-only medium is a poor substitute for face to face communication. The nuances are feeble or nonexistent. If comments are directed at us, we can't respond as we would in real life, by walking away or by smiling politely and tuning out: we're here and we're focussed on the posts. There's an intensity that attends online comments that doesn't obtain in the club or the in the pub.

But this text-only medium allows for obvious opportunities…

Please be mindful that a “just kidding” so obvious when we post is maybe missed when we read. Be a little more precise, more formal, more polite: what could be pedantic in real life might be more helpful here.

We have fat fingers. So we proofread.

We are not all native English speakers. So break up those run on sentences and stream of consciousness this thing occurred to me and then that monologues one of whose charming meanders is bound to lose all but the most attendant readers (/students of our once magnificent game which so often…). Really, learn to love to love the full stop key and shun the comma.

Address the issue/play/opinion not the person. Respect to Max Schireson above who showed how forceful and cutting criticism can be while still being positive and welcomed. “In fact, …” is always preferable to “You're wrong! …” Avoid “what do you mean by XYZ?” if “my own opinion of XYZ is that…” would do. Again, ways of expressing face to face to face disagreement differ from those most productive online. Questions do personalise things. Sure, if you want to know something, ask. But don't ask if you are trying to tell.

(My own favourite question-poser on this site has been radio silent for a while. Maybe Eugene dropped a large weight on him. But if you think argument-by-scatter-shot-rhetorical-questions is convincing, think again. It's tedious when it's not comic.)

Don't be insulting. Obvious, I guess, but I only mention it only to mention also the equally obvious exception we make with respect to cheaters and their buddies and enablers within Bridge officialdom. These people deserve all the sticky, smelly, opprobrium that's flung their way. But of course they're far to clever to post here…

Do be welcoming and inclusive. I'm a “bottom dweller” when it comes to the range of bridge ability shown on this site. But when it comes to questions of bridge ethics I always look out for posts by Kit Woolsey. I don't single him out except to observe that one person *can* address another at quite the other end of the bridge spectrum in ways that are sensible and thought provoking. It's not a matter of ability, or perhaps it is. It's certainly worth emulating in whatever domain we think we might have skill.
Dec. 16, 2018
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Strictly speaking, neither the flyer mentioned in the OP, nor the D25 regional referred to below describe the rates they quote as being in any way “special” although the word keeps getting used here. The OP refers to a “Special Bridge Code” (title case) while the flyer itself titles it a “Group Code”.

http://web2.acbl.org/Tournaments/Ads/2018/11/1811009.pdf

That being said I'm among those Mike Ma would judge to be naive. My default reaction to something promoted by a membership organisation would be to trust it. So, note to self:

Just because a thing has a sales code that doesn't make it cheap. A deadline doesn't mean I'll be missing anything if I keep my credit card in my wallet.

And, note to writers of these flyers:

If you can't be reasonably sure you offering your fellow members a good deal, add a recommendation that they check for better prices. If you are offering inflated prices (negative specialness) to cover organisational or other expenses be upfront about that.
Nov. 4, 2018
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The $150 per deck came from the link supplied by Gonzalo Goded. Unless I read it wrong it was selling 4 poker decks for $600. (Reading it again I wonder if $600 included the cost of the table as well.)

$0.07-$0.15 for an RFID came from a google search I made when the question of using them was raised recently. It is much more in line with the decks being sold by Alibaba.
Oct. 15, 2018
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RFIDs were suggested in another thread recently and a (highly non scientfic) google revealed a cost of $0.07-$0.15 each. I wondered what that would translate into once a manufacturer tooled up to include them. $150 per deck is truly shocking!

Alibaba has them for $2-$35 which is more reasonable. https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/RFID-NFC-passive-PVC-plastic-playing_60628577841.html?spm=a2700.7724857.normalList.1.25fe4bc2m2KKti&s=p

Using headphones, blind players would also benefit as illustrated here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLk4LrDpGqA
Oct. 13, 2018
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Maybe I just react badly to a suggestion about what I must assume but I don't see the logic in assuming mistrust.

As well as revokes and ?OOT perhaps these players appreciate a record of the play. They might find it a bit quaint (+costly +time consuming) to have a physical machine produce a random permutation of a physical deck. Then there is the whole business of getting a physical board passed around the room with its integrity and orientation intact: to err is human, to remove the danger, simply sensible.

From time to time it could be fun to play, in real time, with the club in the next town or across the planet. Tablets might be found to facilitate accessibility (the great misclick panic notwithstanding). The fussy accounting of “points” local and national, gone: the feedback could be instant and accurate. All these things require careful development of software and organisation of its use, but the point is that using tablets is one way of opening up the opportunity for such development to be made and advantage taken of current communication technologies.

Or perhaps they are simply familiar and fluent with tablets and use them for all sorts of things, including playing cards.

A concern with security has led people to suggest tablets. But it be topsy turvy logic to conclude that using tablets suggests a concern with security.
Oct. 10, 2018
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To further the transparent “cleaning up” of bridge:

14 (a) I accept to be subject to the anti-doping rules of WBF, although they have nothing whatsoever to do with the laws of the game…

(b) I rejoice in the WBF's acquiescence wrt the Court of Arbitration in Sport's heroic refusal to see Law 73 B, and any similar attempt to frustrate the “Olympic ™ spirit”, be applied effectively…
Sept. 9, 2018
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There is a description of the rules at https://www.pagat.com/auctionwhist/bidwhist.html

Also a couple of variations are described and it lists a number of books and links.
Sept. 8, 2018
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C++

> I'd like to do more commentary myself, but I feel it is like a tree falling in a forest–will anyone be listening?

I'm an indifferent player - so maybe from a Bridge Winners perspective a statistical outlier - but during an LC commentary I feel I do have a clue what is going on. And when a game ends I'm left with the feeling that I know more than I did when it started.
Aug. 29, 2018
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First Roland, and others mentioned upthread, thanks for all your hard work.

> latest technologies are increasingly paranoid about allowing app access to speakers and microphone

I'm not sure I understand this, so maybe I'm missing something. Wouldn't my pc/phone/tablet speakers and microphone be rather pointless unless apps could access them?

> Even on desktop chrome blocks access to microphone

As far as access by Chrome goes I thought this was OK where a page was accessed securely (https) and the user had given permission. Eg

https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/2693767?hl=en

(Whatever the permissions, Flash is a hazard and should be shunned.)
Aug. 26, 2018
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Also George Harrison in exactly the words remembered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XdJU6AsbsY
July 29, 2018
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You can love or loath the “singular they”, but it shouldn't be accused of novelty. When English adopted a system of natural gender something like a bug appeared in the pronoun system: the lack of a third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun for animate referents.

Wycliffe could say (1382) “Eche on in þer craft ys wijs.” And the Rolls of Parliament, 1463–65: “Inheritementes, of which any of the seid persones… was seised by theym self, or joyntly with other.”

And even the KJV (1611) which generally avoids it: “So likewise shall my heauenly Father doe also vnto you, if yee from your hearts forgiue not euery one his brother their trespasses.” (maybe here the translators got tangled up for want of a possessive form)

Although never the prestigious form, singular they was a part of the language from the start of the modern pronoun system and used continuously ever since in dialects and in the forms of colonial English that were influenced by them. It strikes me as reasonable that this tradition should be mined for useful idioms.
July 25, 2018
Peter Brockway edited this comment July 25, 2018
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RealDeal
April 28, 2018
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Wouldn't that be Eponymous of Pouthena?

He's not nearly as well known nowadays as his contemporary Anonymous of Crete who is still widely cited having claimed authorship of all (and only) the algorithms for which no-one has claimed authorship.
Feb. 25, 2018
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Sorry, Michael, if I understood. Perhaps the humour font is required…

I'm not a USAmerican and sometimes the subtilty of your culture can trip me up. There's a spectrum from biology and climate denial through Elvis sightings and moon landing fakery to flatearthism. I admit that I'm not the best at detecting at what point the profound and deeply held beliefs of your country folk become broad humour. So, faced with what (through faulty reading) appears to be a geographic or historical misunderstanding, the kneejerk is to respond neutrally with fact.
Feb. 24, 2018
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

Packet switched networks in the 1960s, followed quickly by internetworking. Commercial ISPs by the late 1980s. By 1990 Compuserve had 1/2 a million email users and Tim Berners-Lee gave us HTTP.
Feb. 24, 2018
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A sensible person would partition the data since it would be a bit pointless to test a theory with the evidence that was used to create it. A real test will be against evidence that played no part in the development of the theory.

The problem is trying to convince a competent court (or the CAS) that you acted in such a sensible way. For that it is a great help for there to be evidence that, provably, played no part in developing the tbeory.
Feb. 14, 2018
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> I fear a lot of rumors and nonsense based on limited and careless views

I don't know how much rumor there will be, but limited careless people do create rumors. However that is simply no justification for censorship (including self censorship).

To spread, rumor requires not only someone careless or malicious to create it but also someone equally careless to accept what they've heard and repeat it.

It's easy to publish on the internet. It follows that every user of that information ought to be especially responsible about what they accept. Our culture seems to prefer protection to responsibility but I would far rather that the careless and limited do not get to determine what it is acceptable to publish.
Feb. 13, 2018
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