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The more comments I read from Barry, the more likely I am to change my vote to “no”…
May 28, 2014
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I don't really want to apportion blame since the game is based on a a great fit, but…
It's a 6-4 with good suits and playing strength. How is this not a 3 opening first seat white vs red? Wouldn't you open 2 with KQxxxx xx xx xxx?
May 11, 2014
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To put this in context:
-if you were (prior to Kit's analysis) 99% convinced that this pair was not cheating on opening leads, then now you should be convinced with 99.5% probability that they were in fact cheating
- If you were 99.99% convinced that they are innocent (say you think one out of 10,000 pairs would cheat in this way, and there is no particular reason to suspect this chair), then after this analysis you should believe with 85% certainty that they are.

Again, all these numbers are ignoring Kit's comments completely.
April 29, 2014
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Kit wrote above: “My results do not say anything about the probability that they were cheating.” Actually they do, in the sense that they given an update on the probability that they are cheating, if we already had an a prior guess of the probability that they are innocent.
(This is “Bayesian statistics”.)

I did the following: take the suit the voters wanted to signal for. I estimated the likelihood of an innocent pair leading this suit based on the poll result, as the percentage of voters choosing that suit, slightly regressed towards the a priori likelihood of 25%. (This regression towards the mean is a standard method. Intuitively it accounts for the following: if noone would were to vote for a spade lead, the probably of a given player leading a spade small, but non-zero.)
The probability of an innocent pair of leading the ‘signal suit’ on precisely these 15 out of 28 deals is then easily computed: I got 1.05*10^-13, i.e. roughly one in 10000 billions.

(Of course this doesn't say anything - any specific sequence of leads is always unlikely.)

Then I tried to guess the probability of a guilty pair choosing the actual leads. First I estimated the probability of making a signal based on the poll result, again regressed towards a (somewhat randomly chose) mean of 0.4. Then I estimated the likelihood of a making the “signal suit” lead in the case a signal was given, and the overall likelihood of making a lead in the signal suit based on the weighted averages of the leads with and without signal.

Then again I computed the likelihood of a guilty pair of leading the “signal suit” in precisely these 15 out of 28 deals; the result of course depends a bit on the “regression towards the mean” parameters, but with any choice of parameters looking somewhat reasonable, I obtained a number between 5*10^-9 and 9*10^-9, roughly 5-10 times in one billion.

In other words, these sequence of leads is about 50,000 times more likely to come from a guilty pair than from an innocent pair.
April 29, 2014
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“You lost your objectivity by trying to analyse (and explain!) the results of the statistic, it would have been much more serious if you just presented the “naked” results and let the people discuss/analyse the results later via the comments.”

I think this criticism is completely unjustified. There is quantifiable objective data, and non-quantifiable and possibly subjective data. There is no reason to ignore the latter. If you have to bet on a basketball game, you have run all your quantitative forecasting systems, you go to the arena and see one team looking completely fatigued, you would certainly adjust your bets! The proper thing to do is to first get numbers from your quantitative methods, and them adjust them yourself according to the non-quantifiable data.

What you should do is separating the objective quantifiable data from the non-quantifiable data. This is exactly what Kit did: he gave us a list of relevant hand (according to a pre-determined objective criterion), gave us the poll results for these, the actual hands, and the actual hands.

But you also can't ignore the non-quantifiable data that Kit can analyze these hands better than the average poll participants - partly because he is a better analyst (that's no insult to the poll participants - which include myself - most of them would not be invited to write up team matches for The Bridge World), partly because he thought about them more carefully (just note the point about partner already knowing about our singleton, which seems to have been ignored by of the poll participants).

You are free to ignore the commentary (precisely because Kit did not mix it with the actual analysis), and you are free to do your own, better, commentary.
April 29, 2014
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I suggest you adopt the OT adjunct against that agreement. It doesn't always apply but it's very powerful when it does.
April 28, 2014
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Weak NT for beginners/intermediates. Playing strong NT, you can teach beginners pretty early on: “If you have opened 1x with a weak NT, and the auction gets competitive, no need to bid (unless to raise partner). But bid on if you have extra shape.” (Only exception being 18-19 balanced, which can often bid 2NT.)
But playing weak NT, you have to show extras, or you have to show extra shape, and it gets murky. (Playing at a club with many weak NTer's, I am no longer surprised if someone opens 1m, rebids 3m in competition on an unsupported 5-card suit with a strong NT hand.)
Other conventions listed above may hurt a little on the auctions where they come up. But I am convinced that weak NT hurts intermediates develop understanding of competitive auctions, much more damaging in the long run.
April 25, 2014
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Hi Michael,
first of all I have absolutely no reason to doubt your statement: that you did not know or suspect E-W were cheating. (Niko Bausback made the same comment in another thread, who also has played many many boards against them.)
However, based on comments here and elsewhere it seems that the UK team has suspected them for a long time. Do you have possible explanations why UK players got suspicious fairly quickly, whereas apparently most/all German players never suspected anything? And the same for other teams in Bali? (An honest question, not a rhetorical one.) Do you think there were not cheating as blatantly in German competitions?
April 20, 2014
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Do you have a guess about the methods in QF3 board 10?
April 18, 2014
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Looking through the responses, my impression is that most responders choose to give a signal too often. There are costs to giving a signal - there more often partner makes a strange lead, the more suspicious you look, plus you don't want to talk partner out of his normal lead if he has a preference.
April 16, 2014
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Certainly knowing that partner is not short in hearts makes bidding 4 much more attractive. It's a near-certain win if partner has 3 hearts, and may still be ok if he has two.
April 2, 2014
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(Look for the post from wank in case your browser doesn't automatically scroll to the correct position of the page.)
March 31, 2014
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In addition, at the point when East made his signal, he did not yet have the necessary information to demand a spade switch: If West has a diamond singleton, defenders need to cash out after West gets his diamond ruff. (Imagine declarer having Qxxx xx instead of his actual hodling.)
March 30, 2014
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What do Bali visa politics have to do with India?
Feb. 22, 2014
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I am glad to see that thanks to bridgewinners, we finally have a forum for such an essential questions!
Jan. 14, 2014
Arend Bayer edited this comment Jan. 15, 2014
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Seems the double heart hook is best against strong opponents? This makes when
- both heart honors are onside and either hearts not 4-1 or club king onside,
- split heart honors with both round suits breaking 3-2,
- singleton heart honor onside,
- singleton heart honor offside and club king onside.
The chances for misdefense aren't as big as on other lines, but there are still some (split heart honors, clubs 4-1 but they don't find the ruff).
Sept. 4, 2013
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Why are you ignoring the possibility of LHO ducking the first club with Hx and Kxx? This does not seem such a difficult play to find.
Sept. 4, 2013
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Hi Michael,

reading between the lines of comments you have made in discussions about bridge rulings etc., I got the impression that you have a somewhat critical view of the current state of ethics in top-level bridge, or at least that you would like to see a higher standard applied than we currently have.

Am I reading too much into your comments? If not, what do you think are the most important (in IMPs/board) ethical infractions that currently go unpunished? What can be done on a practical level to address them?

Aug. 23, 2013
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As the introduction mentioned, you were known as the best bidder in the world. Can you tell us a bit more about how you got there? What would you recommend others who want to improve their bidding?

Also, WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO YOU SINCE?
Feb. 26, 2013
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You could surely make a good living as a bridge pro if you wanted to. You would become a better bridge player, as you say above.
But you have chosen not do that. What led you to this decision? Were you ever close to becoming a full-time bridge player?
Feb. 25, 2013
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