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All comments by Shawn Drenning
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Waiting, nothing to say.
July 21
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A followup question, if you pass, what's your plan after the auction continues 1 - X - P - ?
July 21
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I do not really consider leaving without paying to be an acceptable way to resolve being unsatisfied with a meal (and I suspect neither does the law).

The premise of the initial post was that money that was being EARNED was not being paid. If I go to a restaurant and I order a steak and they do not bring me a steak, sure I can refuse to pay, but if I go to a restaurant and order a steak and just do not like it, I do not think I have grounds to refuse to pay for my meal.
July 21
Shawn Drenning edited this comment July 21
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Really? So if I go to a restaurant and walk out on the bill, would you suggest to the owner of the restaurant that he focus on providing me with better food and service next time?
July 21
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There's usually a minimum fare, so they may not mind that much taking you only a few blocks (especially if you tip).
July 19
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My impression is that a lot of the GNT/NAP money goes to people who already play a lot of tournament bridge anyway. I'm not really convinced that giving these people money is helping grow the game (but willing to be convinced!).

The first major tournament I ever attended was the 2009 Summer NABC. The only reason I went was because I had an all expenses paid trip to participate in the collegiate tournament as a fill-in. This definitely did get me more excited about bridge, but I was NOT already an active player. It makes more sense to me to give money to people like former me than those already playing a lot of bridge.

EDITED to add my masterpoints by year, correlation does not imply causation, but definitely played WAY more bridge in 2010 than any previous year

2010 93.83 117.07 Sectional Master
2009 16.57 23.24 Junior Master
2008 6.67 6.67 Junior Master
July 18
Shawn Drenning edited this comment July 18
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You also want to make sure partner passes 4 when you get there. It feels less likely to me that partner will get inspired to do something if I start with 2 rather than an immediate 4.
July 16
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I also liked Lew Gamerman grouped with nine juniors as a rising talent.
July 15
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My understanding is that this is a fairly common way to play. It seems different to me than a (say) SAYC sequence where opener can cheaply rebid her suit to avoid getting too high. Here won't 3/3 frequently be where you want to play?
July 11
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Regardless of whether you think it is a good idea, I'm curious Daniel whether you're empowered to run the District 16 tournaments you chair this way or whether you need some higher approval?
July 10
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Frequently when there is an A/X Swiss combined with bracketed Swiss, players with a certain number of masterpoints are forced to play in the A/X. I would eliminate that requirement.

I would prefer the format typical in northern California to the one district 16 uses (the Sunday swisses are run this way, but other days it is completely bracketed), but have been told by the directors that they are not empowered to do that and I need to talk to the district board of directors (I think). The people in my unit I have asked about running tournaments this way have not seemed enthusiastic about the idea.
July 10
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Not entirely related, but I've never liked in these sequences that with a balanced 12-14 (or whatever your weaker than 1NT range is) and a spade stopper I have to make same non-forcing 2NT bid regardless of where in range I am.
July 10
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Yeah, that's one problem with expanding the top bracket. That's why I like the (possibly not allowed) format of an open event combined with a bracketed event with no upper limit so that the strong players can self select the open event and the weaker players with lots of masterpoints can play the bracketed event. Of course it is possible this format would completely fail if no one chose to enter the “open” event, but I suspect in San Antonio this would have allowed a few teams who did not want to play in Bracket 1 to play somewhere else and let a few teams interested in playing up play against stronger opponents.

I would *like* to come to Houston in August, but unfortunately will not be able to. Maybe in November.
July 10
Shawn Drenning edited this comment July 10
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I am reasonably certain unless my age estimates are also way off that I was one half of the youngest pair you played against. Some random thoughts on your post.

I try to recruit teammates with lots of masterpoints when I can so I can avoid the “mushy middle” of bracketed swiss. In San Antonio we played each day in the bracket we qualified for, but I do believe the directors have some discretion to let teams move up. Last year in Austin, with a team of four younger players without many points we were allowed to play up (and justified the decision by winning our bracket).

I really dislike the bracketed Swiss format and think it would be much better if the top bracket were open to anyone (and played as a Swiss rather than round-robin). Even better if there is no masterpoint cap on who can enter the bracketed Swiss (then the teams with lots of masterpoints who do not want to play bracket 1 could play the bracketed Swiss instead of the “open” event). This idea has not been met with much enthusiasm by people I have discussed it with. Some of the objections are that this format would pay fewer masterpoints (I think) and that the top players do not want to play against fish like me.

I think people with lots of masterpoints get sick of losing and this kills the team game. On Thursday (when we ultimately finished 3rd in bracket 1) I could tell our teammates were hoping that our low masterpoint total would drag them into a lower bracket. Ultimately everyone seemed pretty happy just to scratch even though in my mind we blew an opportunity to win (in addition to numerous blown opportunities in earlier rounds, the last round we beat the first place team, but failed to capitalize on an opportunity to beat them by more and only got 11 VPs against one of the lower finishing teams on a set of flattish boards).

I think people have bought into the masterpoint system too much. I do not (by my estimation) play many games with partners that are substantially stronger players than me, but if I play with someone with a lot of masterpoints sometimes get half-joking comments to effect of “look at how fancy you are playing with an ‘A’ player”. Likewise, I do not think the partner I played with on Thursday thought we belonged in bracket 1 because of all the players with lots of masterpoints. Certainly some of the pairs in the field were stronger players, but others were only there because they have played bridge for 20-30 years longer than we have.

I think some players who qualify for bracketed events get too used to winning and that stops them from playing up. I know some local players who qualify for lower brackets who will frequently go to a regional and play for 5-6 days in lower brackets and win 4-5 times. If you get used to this level of success playing in the top bracket might not feel so fun because they almost certainly are not going to win every day. Eventually these players will graduate to A/X because of how many masterpoints they have and what happens then (I know of one local player who is careful about how much she plays so she can remain eligible for masterpoint limited events)? It seems like a focus on masterpoints is again the problem here because going to a tournament for four days and not getting any or only scratching one day feels like a disappointment.

In terms of actions, I do not know how to fix these various problems, but broadly I think we need to design events so that everyone can play against the players they are comfortable playing against and using masterpoints to determine who you play against definitely does not work.
July 9
Shawn Drenning edited this comment July 9
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The bracket sizes were determined by the directors. I heard the DIC say that earlier in the week there were fewer teams per bracket, but they exercised their discretion (I am not sure how much discretion they had, but they had some) to change it.

The mini-Soloway format did not seem to be well-received. There were only four brackets of six on Saturday compared to 8 or 9 brackets of more teams other days. My eventual teammates were unsure of whether they wanted to play three sessions (we solved that problem in the first session!), but not sure what other people's reasons were. The pairs game seemed much larger than on other days though.

EDIT:

I realize now the mini-Soloway event referred to was one at Houston regional, not the three session knockout that was played in San Antonio one day instead of Swiss.
July 9
Shawn Drenning edited this comment July 9
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It is not stated, but assuming they play Texas transfers I would interpret 4NT as a quant invite with 5 spades.

How do you show a quant invite with 5 spades if you do not play Texas (which from reading Bridgewinners seems to be common in Great Britain)?
July 3
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It always baffles me when declarer goes into the tank, finally comes out and draws the first round of trump with the ace all following low and then goes back into the tank.
July 1
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How about if you switch the heart/diamond suit?
June 23
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I had not thought about the implication that if I bid 3 then a later 4 would be slammish. At the table I bid 3 to get partner to focus on spades for a possible NT contract, but it does seem that over 3 we will have room to sort that out.
June 23
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At the table I bid 3 with the same hope as Richard. The auction continued X - 4 - P - P and now for better or worse I passed. So with no X, my plan was to pass if partner bid 4.

Over 4m, I was fairly confident that partner would take 4 as an offer to play, but I do not think it would necessarily show any slam interest.
June 23
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