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All comments by Sam Dinkin
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If our goal is to seed the event as accurately as possible to minimize upsets, the seeding can have a discretionary component by the seeder. Sort of like seeding a NABC pair event, the pairs would be rated not just on their own history, but their history as a pair, their history as a team, their upsets (either way)–basically all factors. This would be similar to the coaches' poll in seeding an NCAA tournament.

Bridgewinners could help by crowd sourcing ranking teams as they register, before they are seeded. Last year's brackets at bridgewinners and actual performance (and every other factor) could be used to inform this.

Letting teams pick their own opponents would let them take into account their own team's strength vs. each opposing team and not just generic likelihood of the opposition beating anyone. It also has the benefit of them not being able to complain about a poor choice. There should be a limit to how many they can pick from–e.g. the same number that goes into the shuffle. As a matter of operations, this would slow down the seeding by a terribly long time if it wasn't done in advance of actual bracketing. This scheme would not minimize upsets because the best bridge players are not necessarily the best at seeding, but that's ok.

Most accurate would be an “info market” like a Calcutta. But that opens another can of worms.

In the NCAA, there is some “bracketology” that goes into which region a basketball team plays the early rounds. In women's basketball, UConn has been beating everyone for years. There's some tinkering so teams do not have to play UConn in the same round every year. E.g. the 64 seed would be shuffled so that they might meet them in the second round or the third. I like the USBF shuffle in the trials.

Personally, I like meeting Nickell or Diamond in the round of 64. We have to beat good teams like that eventually to win anyway.
March 27
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I wish there were a standard for the frequency of system deviations before a pattern is established. I'd prefer bright lines where each deviation of a bid into a non-allowable agreement territory was an infraction and carried a set penalty (e.g., 3 imps or 10% of the matchpoints for the board).
March 15
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Yep. While we were permitted to play 1NT artificial on the superchart (and did in the Vanderbilt), but this was a General Convention Chart event (A/X/Y where Y is up to 3000). Michael was using his prerogative to use 40.C.1 “1. A player may deviate from his side’s announced understandings always, provided that his partner has no more reason to be aware of the deviation than have the opponents. 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. If the Director judges there is undisclosed knowledge that has damaged the opponents, he shall adjust the score and may award a procedural penalty.”

I expected stiff Q or two clubs. We're punctilious in disclosing all agreements (including prealerting opening a suit xxxxxx at the 3-level) and having as few as possible non-written agreements. I don't like his choice and would have preferred the system bid of 1 or a downgrade to 1.
March 15
Sam Dinkin edited this comment March 15
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A/X Swiss. It's bad enough I got knocked out of the knockout in the morning, but do they have to call it the ‘Axe’ Swiss?
March 15
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If X is penalty, I'd be tempted to go with that at matchpoints.
March 14
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Something else. One can write 8.5 tricks, but when one has a tenuous 8 trick hand assuming partner has three entries, they start getting aspirations for slam since the 8-trick, 8-card suit hands are so rare and intoxicating. At unfavorable, the 8ish tricks seem barely worth the V(ul) vs. N 4 bid, but it takes thousands of polls or crazy drill hands to become jaded enough to abide agreements.
March 14
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This is a step in the right direction.

I'd go one step further to help enable a 3rd/4th place team of women in the open to compete to represent the US in the Women's. E.g. having a pair or team of women on the same open team and the same women's team being able to drop in to the women's (for a pair, onto a pre-registered team of 6 where the other four are still alive in the women's) if they get eliminated from the open before qualifying to represent the US.

Part of this might be effectuated by having a 3rd/4th finish in the open trial being a bye to the women's semi-final. Or a 2nd place finish in the open trial in one-winner years being a bye to the final.
March 7
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Jeff, maybe you would recall better if you kept a written record of each time you were baffled.
March 5
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I like that you have arrived at a shorter poll when you have proven the longer poll will reach the same conclusion with several more or four more answers. This can save some time. If that happens often enough, you can keep going with the statistics of conducting polls with more players than 5 in cases where it would flip the result. If there are two or three questions on the same hand, you're potentially polling 15 people or more though.

Good point about avoiding group think by asking people individually and avoiding asking to people in the same partnership.

One note is that if you ask two questions like what would you do if 2N 11-12 and what would you do 12-14, if you're going to ask the same person both questions, the order might affect the answer so you should strive to ask about half in the opposite order.
March 2
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General conditions rather than special. I.e. applicable to Open and Women's if they happen to need a 1.5 day RR1.
March 1
Sam Dinkin edited this comment March 1
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Might as well make it general.
Feb. 28
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The committee is making a bunch of good liberalizations. Let's not escalate from thankless please.
Feb. 23
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Conventional responses are allowed, but opponents may play defenses that would be disallowed over natural bids.
Feb. 23
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Yes, disallowed opening 15 is problematic. It should be reworded to “without a known 4-card suit”. Otherwise it can fairly easily be evaded by including a non-three suiter pattern (643?) and then satisfy constructive definition 18a without infringing disallowed opening 15.
Feb. 23
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Not natural changes permissible defenses (Disallowed overcalls 1&2 no longer apply).
Feb. 23
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It looks like it satisfies 18a and is not otherwise banned so is allowed. It's not “natural” however so opponents can play defenses that would otherwise be banned by disallowed overcalls 1&2.
Feb. 22
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Andrew, the current definition found on the alert chart is 4+ in a major and 3+ in a minor. ACBL attempted to ban 4 card openers at the two level that could be less than 10 HCP by banning conventions over them before regulators had the authority to ban them altogether. (Though a Precision 2 got grandfathered in because it must be a 3 suiter). 4441 has also been banned for 1NT below the superchart.

I have an idea: maybe we could get a law change insisting that hands be redealt if anyone has a 4=4=4=1 pattern.

More seriously, allow a quasi-natural 2m to include balanced and 4441.
Feb. 20
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You're right, but if someone bids something natural and conventional, e.g., 1 natural showing (5+4+) clubs and third seat, we can't play 1 showing 15+ artificial no known suit according to overcalls 1. Can't play 1 asking for a stopper. Can't play 1 showing a stopper since they all have no known suit. Problem is primarily with Disallowed overcalls 1.

E.g., “After a Natural non-conventional opening bid, a new suit direct overcall below 2NT that does not show at least one of the following: a) one known 4+suit b) 3 known 3+cards suits c) an interest in playing No Trump.”
Feb. 19
Sam Dinkin edited this comment Feb. 19
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The WBF policy is a little ambiguous:
“A pair may prepare written defences against the Brown Sticker elements of any system. Such defences will have to be given to the opponents (two clearly legible copies) at an appropriate time and place prior to the start of that segment, to be specified in the Con­di­tions of Contest. Written defences against Brown Sticker conventions are deemed to be part of the opponents' system card.”

If you're going to have defenses required for the RR, I suggest that it be something to the effect of the following:
1. Pairs playing a midchart method requiring a defense should provide two copies of the ACBL defenses to that method that the opponents may refer to during the auction. (Alternatively, 4 copies and let both pairs refer to it too.) Pairs may also provide an alternative defense.
2. Pairs defending against midchart methods requiring a defense may refer to a copy of their defense to this method during the auction.
Feb. 19
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Tim/Michael, with the definition of direct overcalls, anything goes after the response to an opening bid, even a natural response to a natural opening. But whether an opening bid is defined to be natural or artificial has consequences. Banana custard doesn't seem to.
Feb. 19
Sam Dinkin edited this comment Feb. 19
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