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Postmortem Analysis of March 2020 Bridge World MSC Contest Results
(Page of 10)

(Note that throughout this post, Bridge Winners is abbreviated BW, while The Bridge World is abbreviated TBW; the Master Solver's Club is abbreviated MSC)

So as regular BW readers may recall, the other week I decided to poll the March 2020 problems from TBW MSC Contest by posting them on BW as bidding problems (with the proper sourcing and citations).

As you can see, the scores and results from that month's contest were posted earlier yesterday here on TBW's website, and so for each of the eight problems, I am going to do a brief analysis where I compare the votes of three different groups: the MSC Panelists; the BW users who answered the bidding problems; and the TBW "Solvers" who chose to submit answers for last month's contest.

This post consists of eight pages, as each problem is analyzed on its own separate page.  In reviewing my analysis, you will want to keep the TBW results up on a separate page in your browser for reference (as I am not going to re-link it on every separate page; I will re-link the BW results of each bidding problem though).

For each problem, I will list a possible answer, the score said answer was assigned by the MSC Contest Director, the number of expert panel votes it received, the % of BW users who gave this answer, and the % of contest entrants who gave this answer.   

Interestingly, on some of the problems, there appears to be somewhat of a disconnect between what the experts say and how BW users voted.  There seems to be much less of a discrepancy, however, between how BW users voted and how TBW readers voted.

Because I am myself a fairly novice bridge player, my aim here is not to offer analysis as to why there some of these discrepancies seem to be present.  I am just going to point them out and let others discuss why this may be the case.

Lastly, in the interest of being up front, I submitted my own MSC answers from last month well in advance of my posting the MSC problems to BW.  I will reveal how I voted on each one of these problems myself just so people can see how badly I did (lol!) but is not the focus of the post.  

Enjoy!   

Problem A

Bid - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 2 - 100 - 9 - 26 - 30
  • 4 - 90 - 7 - 14 - 15
  • Double - 80 - 6 - 16 - 11
  • 3 - 80 - 2 - 5 - 2
  • 3 - 70 - 1 - 16 - 24
  • 3 - 60 - 1 - 5 - 6
  • 5 - 60 - 1 - 0 - 2
  • Pass - 10 - 0 - 2 - 2
  • 3 - 0 - 0 - 16 - 9

Of all the problems from this month's contest, it appears as if this one is the most controversial in that there are nine (!!) possible bids receiving support from voters, seven of which received at least one vote from the expert MSC panel.    

The most notable thing on this problem seems to be the fact that 3 is far more popular among "the masses" than among the experts, receiving only one panel vote but a far greater share of the user votes.  

My vote on this one was 3.

Problem B

Bid - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 3NT - 100 - 23 - 71 - 69
  • 4 - 70 - 2 - 19 - 14
  • 4 - 30 - 2 - 7 - 8
  • 4 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 4
  • 4 - 0 - 0 - 2 - 4

Not much to see on this one, as 3NT seems to be the consensus choice given Bridge World Standard.  If there's anything to note, it seems as if "shutting things off" with a 4 bid is a more popular choice among "the rank and file" relative to the expert panel on which said option only got two votes.

My choice on this one was 3NT.

Problem C

Bid - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 2 - 100 - 15 - 67 - 48
  • 1 - 90 - 10 - 15 - 21
  • 2 - 60 - 2 - 6 - 12
  • 1NT - 50 - 0 - 10 - 17
  • 2NT - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1
  • 3 - 0 - 0 - 1 - 1

If there is anything that jumps out about Problem C, it seems to be that bidding 1 despite only a three-card suit is a more popular idea among the expert panelists than the BW/TBW voters, although the percentages of each populous opting to do so is not trivial, either.

My vote on this one was 1.

Problem D

Bid - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 2 - 100 - 23 - 83 - 72
  • 1NT - 70 - 3 - 14 - 15
  • Pass - 60 - 1 - 1- 1
  • Double - 50 - 0 - 1 - 3
  • 3 - 40 - 0 - 0 - 2
  • 2NT - 10 - 0 - 0 - 1

Also not much to see on this one.  2 is the overwhelming favorite while 1NT seems to be a distant second.

My answer was 2NT.  Oops!

Problem E

Bid - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 1NT - 100 - 12 - 55 - 52
  • 1 - 90 - 10 - 42 - 38
  • Double - 80 - 5 - 2 - 10
  • Pass - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1

On this one, it seems like the expert panel is about as split as BW/TBW readers are on this in terms of whether to overcall 1NT versus the lousy suit.  What's notable, however, is that Double seems to get much more support from the panel relative to the readers.

My vote on this one was 1NT.

Problem F

Bid - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 4NT - 100 - 10 - 63 - 52
  • 4 - 90 - 9 - 10 - 21
  • Pass - 80 - 7 - 21 - 21
  • 5 - 50 - 1 - 5 - 5
  • 5 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1

This one is interesting, to me at least, in that there seems to be much greater support among experts relative to the BW users for the 4 bid, as it picks up the support of 1 in 3 panelists but only about 1 in 10 BW readers and 1 in 5 TBW readers.  In turn, 4NT still gets a plurality of the panel votes but isn't the overwhelming consensus of the panel the way it is of the TBW and BW readers. 

I voted 4 on this one, so that makes me feel a little better ;).

Problem G

Bidding Plan - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

Please note that for this one, I have re-calculated the BW vote percentages to eliminate the six BW users who answered 1 as their bid, as those users obviously missed the explanation of how this problem was structured.  Also note that I have denoted the bids the same way I coded them in the bidding problem that I posted--not in the way TBW codes them.

  • 2NT - 100 - 14 - 39 - 32
  • 2 - 80 - 5 - 17 - 12
  • 7NT - 70 - 5 - 24 - 29
  • 6NT - 70 - 2 - 8 - 12
  • 1 - 60 - 1 - 0 - 4
  • 3 - 40 - 0 - 12 - 9
  • 3 - 40 - 0 - 0 - 1

Seems with this one that the expert panel likes a 2NT opening with a hand like this one slightly better more than the readers at large do, although not by much.  The most popular answers among BW users and TBW readers are either to open 1 and then rebid 3NT following partner's 1 response or to just open the hand 2NT; there is also some support for making a jump rebid of the three-card suit, and it seems like that's true among the expert panel, too.

I have refrained thus far from offering my own substantive analysis of the actual options but I will say that 1 followed by a 2NT rebid here (the option denoted "6NT") strikes me as quite an underbid given this hand.

My vote was for 1 opening followed by the 3NT rebid.

Problem H

Opening Lead - TBW Score - TBW Panel Votes (Raw #) - BW User Votes (%) - TBW Reader Votes (%)

  • 2 - 100 - 13 - 21 - 12
  • 6 - 90 - 9 - 47 - 48
  • T - 70 - 2 - 5 - 9
  • 4 - 70 - 2 - 2 - 7
  • 5 - 30 - 1 - 0 - 1
  • Q - 10 - 0 - 21 - 16
  • J - 0 - 0 - 1 - 1

Two things to note here.  First, it seems like the panel of experts is more partial to leading 5th-best relative to the BW users and TBW readers (although a good number of expert panelists still advocate 4th-best here).  Second, it appears that a significant minority of the non-panelists are comfortable leading from the top of a QJxxx holding when defending against a NT contract, while this is simply not something that any members of the MSC expert panel advocate for.

My vote on this was to lead the J as a way to keep the declarer guessing...but it does not appear as if I had much company there!  

This concludes my analysis of the March 2020 TBW MSC Contest.  Thanks for reading!

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