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All comments by Shawn Drenning
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Except (see upthread) there are LOTS of people who do this!
Sept. 28
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“ One cannot appropriate a time-honored term”

Do you any have evidence that this is the case? Briefly looking on the internet I see

1. Larry Cohen suggests xxx is a HSGT, see https://www.bridgewebs.com/northbay/BB10%20-%20Larry%20Cohens%2012.pdf
2. The first hit when googling BridgeBum says that xxx is a HSGT https://www.bridgebum.com/help_suit_game_try.php
3. John Adams, who does not strike me as a confused noob based on his posts thinks that HSGT specifically means a suit like xxx (see below)
4. Players I have encountered in real life that know what they are doing (e.g. Grand Life Master) have described xxx as a typical holding for what they call a HSGT.

I also see people who call Barry's approach a HSGT (Karen Walker: http://kwbridge.com/gametry.htm, a pamphlet by Patty Tucker).

I am still not convinced that “help suit game try” means the same thing to everyone (and for this reason, I always clarify when it comes up in real life) and think that Barry and those applauding his methods are missing the point.
Sept. 28
Shawn Drenning edited this comment Sept. 28
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“Is there anyone who doesn't see why it's important for a game try to be unambiguous?”

No.
Sept. 28
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You mean by balancing if we pass?

In any event, yes, I understand that passing has some merits and it is something I considered. My main objection is to the idea I see on BridgeWinners a lot that “going with the field” is something only done by uninspired players who are satisfied with a slightly above average (and never winning) score.
Sept. 28
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While I prefer the treatment you suggest, I think to some degree you're attacking a straw man here. If your students are playing the style of HSGT where they will bid a suit like KJx, then obviously they cannot also make a HSGT with “the weakest possible suits”, but no one has claimed this. Some people's definition of a HSGT is different than yours (and yes, I understand that you think Mike's approach is terrible, no need to remind me); no one is suggesting your students play a blended version of everyone's definition of HSGT.

“I care enough to comment when I read what I know to be the thoughts and beliefs of people who simply don't get it and will never get it unless someone cares enough to help them understand why they're wrong.”

So Mike is a person who “(doesn't) get it” and never will unless someone like you enlightens him? Surely you recognize (or should) that this comes across as arrogant and condescending whether you mean it to or not. I think it's possible for you to offer your wisdom to the community without simultaneously insulting the less enlightened among us . . .
Sept. 28
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“Being with the field all the time usually yields 55% if you play and defend reasonably well”

I do not know where you got the number 55%, but as usual these things depend on how clear an action is. Assuming that either pass or 2H will end auction (not at all clear) if I pass I lose opportunity to win matchpoints playing 2H better than the field; I do not want to do this unless it is clear that I have enough of an edge passing (or the field declares much better than me :))

My goal at matchpoints (for the most part) is, given the information I have, maximize the expected number of matchpoints I will win on a hand. Sometimes I judge that the best way to do this is to play in the contract I think the field will be in. Obviously, you and Richard think passing is the percentage action; that does not mean those of us choosing to bid 2H are doing it because we are afraid of the variance of being in an anti-field contract.
Sept. 28
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“Shawn, if you think telling partner to re-evaluate his hand based on upgrading his honors in your xxx suit is a good idea”

I don't think I ever expressed an opinion on what I thought of this treatment.
Sept. 28
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I usually describe my game tries as natural (to emphasize we do not bid xxx) and mean by that that I have a 3+ card suit where fitting honors would help. Maybe this is misleading though because I would not make a “natural” game try with a suit like AKQx, but would with KJx.
Sept. 28
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“A weak holding like xxx is not a help suit game try. That's a very common misconception”

I'm not convinced this is a “misconception”, but rather a matter of definition. I think some pairs who know what they are doing call bidding 3C here with xxx a “help suit game try” (my impression is that this was a more common treatment in the past based on the people I have encountered who play this way).
Sept. 28
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Might be or will likely be?
Sept. 28
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I do not really think this has a whole lot to do with 2/1 GF.

I frequently play it as not explicitly accepting a game try in clubs, but with a hand willing to play in game and something in diamonds.

I would be more interested in what people do if S had bid 3D; then it seems that maybe there is more utility to having 3H be a “last train” type bid rather than something in hearts (but probably pairs with strong agreements have better ways to make game tries than making a naturalish 3D bid that takes up so much space).
Sept. 28
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“If it is agreed that +2210 was overheard,that is substantial extraneous information and the board would be cancelled with both sides treated as non-offending”

This does not really apply in a world championship setting probably, but I wonder what should happen if you overhear someone from the opposing team at the other table make an extraneous comment
Sept. 24
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Sylvia: I agree 100% that the event as it currently exists should not restrict anyone. I think the question some are asking (as you acknowledge) is what is the purpose of adding such an event if it will just be the same top players playing and maybe if we do add an event like this it should be somehow restricted to include only “amateur players” (how you define that and enforce it of course not clear).

Personally I would love it if they added an event for 31-39 year olds with full-time jobs who have never been paid to play bridge because I might have a shot (but probably not), but I do not see the point of that event either
Sept. 22
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“Kevin Dwyer, Shan Huang, Adam Grossack, and Oren Kriegel ”

I have nothing against any of these players, but what interest does it serve to give the same players more and more opportunities to compete in limited events? Having junior categories makes sense to me as a good way to give future top players an opportunity for high level competition etc., but at a certain point (imo) they just need to try to cut it in open competition (and all of the players you named HAVE had success in open events).
Sept. 21
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How can “draw(ing) any legal inference we can from our opponents’ mannerisms” be considered cheating? What is your definition of cheating?
Sept. 17
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I think it is (highly) debatable whether that makes it more pure. I do not know why it is not “pure” if I (say) work out how to declare a hand in such a way that the opponents give away the layout with their mannerisms. Being able to anticipate opponent's problems and playing in such a way as to maximize the chance they give something away seems like a skill to me and no less of an intellectual exercise than (say) working out the best way to play a suit combination.
Sept. 17
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A lot of well-meaning opponents and partners are skeptical when I tell them after the fact that I could tell what their problem was from their tempo (“I could have been thinking about all sorts of things”). If I tell them what they have before I can see their hand, they are more likely to believe me (not offering an opinion on whether doing this is a good idea)
Sept. 16
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Sure, I get it, but bridgecheaters is a provocative website title. If I made a website called “bridgestatistics” and in good faith published a bunch statistics gathered from top flight bridge events I do not really see how anyone could come after me if some of the stuff I published was suggestive.

That's not to say I do not appreciate the risks Boye and others took (or understand why the approach was necessary). I think ignoring the cheating aspect, I would find a project like this really interesting (just like I was fascinated with baseball statistics as a child). Who doesn't (well, don't answer that) want to see a statistical model that attempts to establish once and for all, who is the best declarer in the world?
Sept. 14
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So I guess it's better if someone approaches this with the goal of being a Bill James like figure in the bridge world. If it just so happens people draw their own conclusions about some of the data gathered . . . oh well.
Sept. 14
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I understand that accusing people of cheating is a touchy subject and also that data/statistics can be misinterpreted, but why not publish the data you have with names attached and appropriate disclaimers on how to interpret it? I liked the idea that Fred Gitelman had of asking player's permission to have their name attached.

For instance, I remember looking at some of the stats (e.g. http://www.rpbridge.net/9y82.htmz) Richard Pavileck kept before the cheating scandals broke and wondering why some of the most respected pairs were not ranked higher. At the time I concluded that (as he acknowledged) the approach was not perfect and the sample size was small, but also that maybe people's subjective impressions of which pairs were the best were not always right. Looking now, I draw a different conclusion . . .
Sept. 14
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