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All comments by Bobby Levin
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Hey burndoggy-I thought a panache was some kind of sandwhich that I didn't like. I'm sure Wesinstein will google it so he feels like he knows something else that I don't. You and Meck were great all week in the Vanderbilt. We were almost always down in the first quarter-once we were down 47 to a very dangerous team and you guys picked up 43 in the 2nd quarter taking a lot of pressure off of us. It was cool that in 2 of the early matches we were down at the half we picked up close to 100 at night to bury both teams. Its always fun to save your best bridge for the last set, but I had made a few sloppy plays early in the match so at least my timing was good if my bridge wasn't. You decision to pass 5s was huge-Jill was watching you think and said that was the most nervous part of the last quarter and she thought you were such a hero to pass.Thanks for you kind words, love back at you.
April 11, 2014
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Hi Benjamin-I never took time off but I did find after I left Wall Street we immediately won the Vanderbilt and then the Cavendish and good things started happening in bridge almost immediately. Of course BBO, and the internet in general allow you so much access to material that its very easy to keep you brain feeling practiced whereas in the old days if you had a job you could easily go 3 months without playing and then go to the nationals and the first day or 2 feel like a fish out of water, tempo is off, judgement is off,other pros are picking off your hand, etc.
April 11, 2014
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Hi Leo-I never go to bridge tournaments multiple weeks in a row although I will be doing it at the end of this year. I don't bring anything but gloves for the gym and a bathing suit and goggles but 99% of the time the pool is crappy or Richie Schwartz is swimming in it so I don't swim. I'm very picky about the gym so if it crappy I take the week off from that also. There are a few people (besides Jill) that I will happily play tennis with so I always check before hand and bring that stuff if playing is possible also. Beside that I maintain a fairly unhealthy lifestyle at tournaments, drinking and smoking whenever possible. When I am home I am much more disciplined about exercise because I have a gym in my house, a pool in the back and the tennis courts are a 1 minute walk from my house.
April 11, 2014
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Hi Jeannie-I think its a terrible idea to maintain separate competitions for the great woman players along with the good woman players that want a chance to become great. I don't really understand why the top women are not as good as the top men but it is and always has been the case. The best way to improve your bridge game by far is to play against better opposition. That will probably be in the Open game for a long time to come.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Nick-My take on Fantunes. Fulvio is a marvelous player with a very charming personality. Nunes is a likeable fellow, very tightly strung, and is a tip top, brilliant, quick card player that you should assume is not making any mistakes. Their system is very difficult to play against, and is very high volatility. Their slam bidding is generally weaker than the rest of their game. Their carding is almost impossible to memorize and so you constantly have to keep looking at their alert cards to see the unusual things that they do. Their opening leads are often above my head even when I understand what their agreements are.
Thank you for best wishes, same to you.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Hanoi-I must have explained myself badly because in no way did I beg the question nor do I want to get into any political discussions. I would call the 1 country the WAO standing for We Are One. When I get to the Bridge World Championships I root for my friends, not specific countries.
There are much better ways to get sponsorship and in fact my wife Jill was on the verge on doing great things with Warren Spector for the Buffet Cup but as usual they were shot down by the powers that be and their petty power trips which are much more important to them than the betterment of bridge and sponsorships for the present and future.
April 10, 2014
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Greg-First you win an academy award and now you produce this picture of either Bette Midler or Steve Weinstein- I can't really tell even with my glasses on. Can't you make the picture sing so I'll know? You are a hero.
April 10, 2014
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Hi David-I'm sure it could be done but it wouldn't include me. As much as I think this entire countries concept is crazy and someday we will all be 1 big country I'm still a proud American and I want to play for my country. So the answer is yes, it could be done but to find 4 players the calibre of Fantunes and the Helgamos who also are willing to play for another country is very unlikely to be duplicated in our lifetimes.
April 10, 2014
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He's our baby, we love him and spoil him as much as we can.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Bill-I'd have to answer no to both your questions. Rufus has been given permission to be in the playing room by the directors. You have been described to me by a close friend as Mush from the movie The Bronx Tale. Do you know who that is?
April 10, 2014
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Hi Aron-this is a tough question for me, as I really have less expertise for the serious bridge player, as opposed to the insane one who has no life and spends most of his time working on his own system. The most important part of any partnership is to understand each other and how you view competitive circumstances because those are the most difficult to deal with, and they come at you in so many different ways. Gadgets and agreements come and grow as time goes on. Nothing is really mandatory in my mind.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Nat-Sorry I don't remember this-but its hard to believe in those days I was playing in a tournament away from home against Russ Arnold.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Adam-first let me congratulate you on an already illustrious career. I hope I'm there with you when you represent USA 1. You got a coach, Michael Rosenberg, who in my opinion there is no better person or bridge player on the planet. I just wish he would lose that Scottish accent so I wouldn't have to keep saying “what?” to him like I have for over 40 years.
I think suit preference is mandatory when dummy has shortness or even length to the point where you know declarer has no more. I think its clear to play suit preference when count is totally irrelevant. Our basic rule is use your head and decide do I need count or suit preference and then give me that. The dirty word in our partnership is LOGIC. Steve enjoys hearing that word from me as much as he likes hearing how much better I could be at poker if I felt like it. but in the past few years and he gets older and wiser the word has slipped out of him a few times also.
I am biased but I am in favor of sponsors in the World Championships. No team can win if they don't play well. When the Nickell team won a few years ago in the Bermuda bowl the clear MVPs were Nickell-Katz, not Meckwell or Zia-Hamman. Having sponsors allows guys like me to spend all my time getting better at bridge instead of having to go to a job and work on bridge when I have free time and energy left. So of course this scenerio allows me to be the best player that I can be. You could also say its unfair to let the foreign players compete in the States and help determine the destiny of who our representatives will be. You can say that they might even dump because its in their best interest! How much would that suck if these great men and woman from Poland, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Spain and so many other countries couldn't come to play in our nationals like the old days. the competition would be much weaker, the atmosphere, the friendships would all have been lost. As I have said before, its a great game, life is so short lets all have as much fun as possible and not worry so much about the petty stuff and who can and cannot do this or not.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Eugene-thanks for bringing up Russ Arnold-I still miss him every day and of course the first thing I thought about driving home from Dallas was how much I would be loving talking to Russ right now. My favorite story? There are so many-I was so young and baaad. He was so square and proper. Most stories of course I can't tell. But one that was so typical of him. We playing Murray-Kehela in the semis of the US Team trials-the biggest event of our lives to date. Before the match I'm telling Russ how I'm gonna kick these guys asses and they wont know what hit them.He of course is steaming, ready to kill me. We sit down to play, with screens which are new then. The first board they get to 2h-I X for penalty-I make a good lead, good defense, down 1 +100 for us. the 2nd board they get to 2h again, I X again, in a photo they go down 1 for +100 again. The 3rd board, Murray is steaming already puffing hard on his huge cigar, and we have a power auction to 4h, sniffing slam. Murray X's on nothing, Russ thinks the trumps are 5-0 for sure and the next thing he knows they get a cross ruff going and Russ goes for -1100. As we take out the cards to the next board Ruff lifts up the screen and sticks his head under and says to me-“You see what you did…if you X Mr. Murray one more time I'm gonna brain you.”
April 10, 2014
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Hi Ron-It doesn't bother me one bit when we have to play a match against a much lesser team. We were all on that lesser team once-hoping to learn a thing or 2 while we took our ass whoopins. I hate it when good teams are upset because a team down 150 imps wants to play and enjoy the last quarter. Its not like you are under pressure or it is really taxing anyway.Would I love to pay my minimal entry and take a real beating from McEnroe or Federer? I would run down every ball and when they came to the net (if they bothered) I would try so hard to put a hole in them and surely hit every ball I could get my raquet on out by 20 feet with pleasure.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Chris-Tx for congrats-to me the best part is the freedom you have a big part of the year and the friendships you develope all over the world for your entire life. The travel gets very old, and I can never wait to get home. The worst part is sometimes you end up on trips alone for a week or 2 and I hate that. I got started as a pro in high school when my friend Russ Arnold had me added to a pro team with Billy Seamon and Edith Kemp and Bud Reinhold. I eventually worked in Bud's fiberglass factory making $126.52 for a 50 hour Mon-Fri. and played pro on the weekend and made another $300 so I could survive and pay rent.
April 10, 2014
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Hey Barry-great work with the Juniors-I hope your teaching them to play bridge like Michael Rosenberg instead of the Barry Goren point count system. I stopped trading before Bali in October and haven't gone back. I found it too time consuming and I love my freedom when I'm home too much. I could never buy premium anyway. I'd rather blow the money on a nice dinner.
April 10, 2014
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As Shane said we were in dire straits, and I think our young pairs were running out of confidence. Since we weren't going to win the event or even qualify without them Steve and I decided to pump them up with confidence and send them in against the Italians. We got some glares from surrounding people but the boys came through in the match and from there we rolled. Maybe we should have benched ourselves earlier in the semis against Monaco.
April 10, 2014
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Hi Phil, sorry I don't play golf. But I love to walk Rufus on a fancy golf course and watch the players steaming. I am an avid tennis player. There are days I am lucky to realize from some pathetic thought process that I do not have my A game and then I slow down and become a lot more careful. The good days are the ones where I realize this before it is too late.
April 10, 2014
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Hi JoAnna-I dabble at poker and have picked up little tidbits from Steve. I can tell you nothing pisses Steve off more than when I tell him if I took up poker for 6 months I would be much better than him. So I say it often. and it works every time. Steve has incorporated many poker moves into our arsenal. The only time he rebids 1s over 1h is when he is 5-6. He loves jumping to 3nt after I open 1nt and they overcall not showing or denying a stopper. Many other little non squealy things. He loves to bid rkc with voids, but we all know that. With his innocent little smile he has lots of moves. We do what we think is right. We don't worry about what other people/clients will think. We play a lot of either/or doubles. Our days of worrying about what our sponsor will say are behind us.
April 10, 2014
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