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All comments by Jan Martel
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I agree that starting times should depend on time zone, as I said to Henry when we had this discussion on BBO (it's OK, Henry, I can take the “fall out” when I'm identified, but if you're going to summarize part of my statement, I think you ought to include all of it). Early starting times on the East Coast are difficult for those of us from the West Coast (incidentally, I don't want later starting times so I can play in the morning games; I want later starting times so I can sleep); later starting times on the West Coast are difficult for those from the East Coast. So it makes a lot of sense to choose a “standard” set of starting times and then adjust by time zone - if we're going to start at 1:00 ad 7:30 on the East Coast, then we should start at 10:00 and 4:30 on the West Coast. Your point that we could start at 10:00 and 3:30 makes sense, but I think consistency is important.
Henry is right that when a playing session is 5-1/4 hours, it is almost impossible to finish in time for a “nice dinner” and then have time to sleep and get up in time to play the next day. Of course, Henry and I draw different conclusions from that - he wants shorter playing sessions (fewer boards); I want time to eat between sessions each day and time to wind down and sleep between days. Anecdotally (and I do recognize that I need more sleep than some other people), I got a great start on losing weight in the Netherlands, when even though they play only 48 boards a day, the day didn't end in time for me to have a “nice dinner” and then get a decent night's sleep before the next day started. I opted for a reasonable bedtime :).
In San Diego, the Senior KO started at 10:00 and 4:00. I was a Vugraph operator for the event, and so heard all the complaints from the players that they didn't have time for dinner between sessions or after the event with those times.
Next year, whenever the “normal” starting times are 1:00 and 7:30, the major KO events with screens will start at 12:00 and 7:00. That will help some with the very late ending times and still leave time for dinner between sessions.
Dec. 1, 2011
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I've had a little experience about this :). In answer to your first question, what each does depends to a large extent on what each is good at. Someone has to deal with logistics: make sure our convention cards are filed in a timely fashion, make sure everyone has hotel and plane reservations and whatever else will help them to play their best. Someone has to review the system cards and any other information available for the other teams in order to prepare defenses against things our players might not have seen before. Someone has to develop those defenses, both for methods where written defenses can be consulted at the table and those where the defenses have to be memorized. Someone has to help the players become familiar with defenses. It's often important for someone to help the players with their own methods, reviewing notes and discussing auction to make sure there aren't any misunderstandings. At the tournament, someone has to make sure that everyone knows the advance plan for the next day and what might cause it to change. Someone has to review the opponents' methods with our players before each Round Robin match. Someone has to submit the lineup in a timely fashion, and once the KO starts, make lineup decisions when we have seating rights. Someone has to choose the segments in which we get seating rights. In the Bermuda Bowl/Venice Cup/Senior Bowl, if we finish in the top 3 in the Round Robin, someone has to choose Quarterfinal opponents; if we win the Round Robin, someone has to choose semi-final opponents. Depending on the specific team, other things arise both before and during the tournament. Some players want someone to kibitz them all the time; some players don't like to have to deal with the bridgemates for entering results; some players need someone to go to the grocery store; etc.

As for whether NPCs and coaches are considered World Champions; no, they aren't, although the NPC is given a medal and, when the team wins, a trophy. But neither NPC nor coach gets masterpoints or placing points.
Sept. 16, 2011
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The Ned Rum team is Netherlands, Romania and the US (thus the “U” instead of “O” in Rum). Marius Agica, who is originally from Romania but now lives in the US and played on the US Junior team last year in Philadelphia is playing in this event with Radu Nistor from Romania and Bob Drijver and Ernst Wackwitz from the Netherlands. So although the USA team lost a tie-break to fail to qualify for the KO stage of the event, one USA player is still competing.
Aug. 24, 2011
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The rest of the world plays 48 boards a day, making the “start early, have time for a leisurely dinner after the second session” concept workable. With 2 4-hour sessions of play each day, it's much less feasible. I don't know about other people, but I can't get to sleep an hour or two after eating a big dinner (with or without alcohol), so the concept of being able to have a nice dinner after finishing play at about 8 pm just doesn't work for me. And the short break between sessions, for me, makes it more difficult to play well - I like to wind down and relax between sessions, as well as eating something. 10 and 3, in the NABC+ events (I'm not talking about the Vanderbilt, Spingold & Reisinger where it's much worse) means about an hour between sessions.
Aug. 5, 2011
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@Henry - sorry, but it takes my body more than a day or two to adjust to a time zone change. To do Vugraph, I have to get up at least 2 hours before the event starts - that would be 5 am my time for a 10:00 East Coast start time, something I'm not willing to do, much as I believe in Vugraph (in case anyone cares, no, I'm not paid anything for organizing Vugraph).

As for not playing at 10:00 Eastern time, I would have thought that choice was mine - I don't want to do it and I'm not going to. By the way, I would have no problem with having the NABC schedules be 1:00 and 7:30 East Coast time, so that the Western NABCs had an earlier start time. What I object to is having an EAST COAST NABC with an earlier start time.
Aug. 4, 2011
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@ Paul, about the Spingold & Vanderbilt: Starting next year, the starting times for these events (and almost certainly the GNT and Wagar as well) will be 12:00 and 7:00 for sessions played with screens. This should solve the very late night problem as well as the problem with starting the Finals 2 hours earlier than the Semi-finals and also allow players in these events to have a dinner break at approximately the same time as their friends who are playing in other events.

Philadelphia next summer will have the 10/3 schedule. As a West Coast person, I am very unhappy about these times - 10:00 is 7:00 for me, and that's much too early. I'm not planning to play in Philadelphia and an early riser will have to take over Vugraph organization from me, because I won't be setting up or operating Vugraph for the morning sessions.
Aug. 3, 2011
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JoAnna,

I agree with your interpretation, and I'll try to get official confirmation. I also think (hope) that the “same color” requirement applies per team, not per country.
July 12, 2011
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It does say the penalty is mandatory, so sounds as if they do plan to enforce it throughout. But how exactly the dress code will be interpreted isn't clear to me.
July 12, 2011
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I'm sorry that I was a little slow to post the final set of hand records. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I'm only one person and of course I can't post the hand records until play is completed. At the end of play Tuesday, I forgot to post them, although I did post all of the “web Vugraphs” which include complete hands and also the bidding and play records. I'm going to make a plug for those here, since I think some people don't realize they're on the USBF site. If you go to the bracket sheet page (the same place you're finding the hand records) and click on a segment score, you get to the scoresheet for that segment. Clicking on the score for a board gets you to the hand, biding & play.
May 26, 2011
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Laptops have become very inexpensive. I just purchased two for the USBF Vugraph (we have 10 that have been donated to us in the past, but some of them have started to fail and we needed more). They cost a little over $250 each. They aren't the newest and best, but they're completely adequate for BBO. I suspect that $250 is no more than most people spend to go to an away from home site for a weekend of play.
USBF has held Junior Trials online the last two years. I think the experiment has been a big success. BBO has been wonderfully supportive, helping us with setting up movements and making sure our players arrive at the right place at the right time, as well as providing knowledgeable directors and producing data for our online monitors to review. The tournaments take significantly less time than face to face, and that isn't just because Juniors tend to play fast, but also because there's no wasted time getting from one table to another, and when a round happens to have hands that everyone plays quickly, we don't have to wait for the scheduled starting time for the next round. We've used both live and on-line monitors and have seen nothing to suggest any collusion.
I think that especially for events like the GNTs and NAOPs, where people from spread out geographic areas are playing to qualify for a final, playing the qualifying stages online is a wonderful solution to a difficult problem. I hope we'll see more and more of it.
May 26, 2011
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Barry - Ish, who knew that 6 asked for the Queen of trumps, thought that if his partner had the Queen, he would bid his void along the way to 7. Then if the void was spades, Ish could bid 6NT. Later, he said that he should just have bid 6 to avoid an accident in a very new partnership.
March 24, 2011
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Of course the operator should ask when s/he doesn't know the contract or result, and that doesn't cause a problem. In fact, I ask about the result sometimes even when I am confident I know it, so that when I think a claim is wrong, the players won't see my asking as any different, even though hopefully it may lead them to reconsider how many tricks were taken. But getting up and wandering around the table to find a readable scorecard is much more intrusive than asking “how many?” or “what is the contract” and I don't think we should be doing that.
March 22, 2011
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Sorry, David, but I disagree. Vugraph operators should try not to bother the players unless it's essential (we didn't see an auction for whatever reason, or we don't know what was claimed). Sometimes it's hard to remember that even if there are thousands of people watching, these events are for the eight people playing and we're lucky to be spectators. I have sometimes had to ask a player for his or her scorecard (when we had connection problems and I couldn't remember something) and they have always been nice about giving it to me, but I don't think we should be bothering them when it isn't necessary. And it does bother them when the operator gets up from his or her chair and hovers over the table to look at a scorecard. Of course we could check it during the rare bathroom breaks, but I for one am usually running to the bathroom with the players, not staying at the table looking at their scorecards.

Player preference is the reason that neither ACBL nor USBF uses bridgemates or bridgepads in knockout events - the players prefer not to use them. I suspect that will change as everyone becomes more accustomed to them from pair events, but not today or tomorrow.
March 21, 2011
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Chip tells me that the error was on board 25, on which he and Lew beat 3NT 2 tricks, but it was scored as 2NT+2. So instead of losing 1 IMP on the board, they gained 6. I'll try to get the LIN file edited later.
March 21, 2011
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Of course I don't know, but I believe that both pairs thought there was too much going on in the late fall this year and didn't want to add another long trip to their calendars.
Feb. 19, 2011
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The tabulation used instant run-off. There's a long description of how it worked at http://usbf.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=757&Itemid=349 (sorry, I couldn't figure out how to put that in as a link - I think you'll have to copy and paste into your browser's address bar to get there).
Feb. 18, 2011
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I got this one wrong, although in a different context - after the same auction as at your table, Chip led a trump. I think I should play the Q, but I didn't. Chip thinks declarer is more likely to get it right at our table than at yours, though, since I might play the Q from either Q ten or QTx (he's unlikely to have led from the Q, so declarer won't go wrong if I play the ten). But I wish I'd played the Q and given him the chance to go wrong.
Nov. 27, 2010
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This hand seems to me to be the “poster child” for Rosenkranz redoubles. After your auction (without the final double :), I'd lead a spade with no need for thought (hopefully in tempo though), because my partner's RDBL showed a spade honor. The main reason I prefer playing “honor RDBL” is that in this sort of auction we're very likely to be on defense, and it is often critical to decide whether to lead from the suit I overcalled. Much of the time you can tell from the opponents' auction whether they have most of the values, but it's often harder to tell whether they have the missing A, K or Q of our suit (particularly in a competitive part score auction), or have two of the honors when a lead would often be particularly bad.

As is almost always the case when deciding between two methods, you need to weigh both the importance and the frequency of what you gain and what you lose. By playing honor RDBL, I lose the ability to show moderate values without support (the sort of hand that would make a responsive DBL if the opponents had raised after our overcall) and gain the ability to show an honor, to help partner on defense, particularly on opening lead. By playing a value-showing RDBL, you gain the ability to bid more in a competitive auction (for instance, you could DBL here), but have to guess about the lead. We each have to weigh which situation comes up more often and which is more likely to be more important. In some such cases, once you've clarified the gains and losses it's easy to make the decision. This one isn't clear and may also depend on the form of the game and each player's personality.

I suspect that it's going to be more attractive to “psyche” the value-showing RDBL than it is the honor RDBL, which might influence the choice to some extent. I don't know which way :).
Nov. 14, 2010
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I'm always sorry when I get involved in this sort of discussion. I play Multi in one partnership and am very happy not to be wasting 2-3 minutes of every 2-board round in NABC pair games pre-alerting and having the opponents discuss what they do. I don't think it's reasonable to allow it without a pre-alert, so I agree with the decision not to allow it in short rounds. But that isn't why I'm posting here. I'm posting because of this comment:

“The sensible thing to do is:
For any midchart events the following conventions are legal, that are not GCC legal:
-List of conventions
-List of ACBL suggested defenses, one per convention”

Have you actually READ the Midchart? If you had, you'd know that what you are asking for is exactly what is there (except that in the one case of Multi there are two alternative approved defenses). After listing 5 general categories of allowed methods, all of which are constructive and none of which requires a suggested defense, the Midchart continues:

“The following items are approved for all Mid-Chart events of the specified round length (#), but pairs playing them must bring two copies of the approved written defense, offering a copy to each opponent.” (Unfortunately, and I thought they were going to fix it, the spacing is bad - there's no paragraph break between “5. Any strong (15+) opening bid” and this introduction to the specific methods allowed - perhaps that's why you missed this)

It then lists the 15 specific methods that are allowed and for which there is an approved defense. You may disagree with the decision of which specific methods are allowed, or with the number of boards required for them to be allowed, or with the requirement to pre-alert, but you really can't complain that the Midchart doesn't clearly list the methods allowed.

Methods are added to the list when their proponents have provided the Conventions subcommittee of the ACBL C&C committee with an adequate description and defense. This puts the burden of coming up with an adequate defense on the proponents, which is a change from the long ago procedure where the C&C committee wrote defenses.
Nov. 5, 2010
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Whether or not we should have bid over 2, we didn't and now we need to decide what to do after this auction. Someone suggested that partner's delayed DBL of 3 (partner didn't DBL 2NT, which I assume would have been takeout of Diamonds) is Majors. Why? Of course, whenever we make a takeout DBL of a minor, we look first at the Majors, but why is the delayed DBL more Majors than an immediate DBL of 2NT? I'd have thought that with a very Major-oriented hand, partner would have bid 3 over 2NT, even if partner had to stretch a little to make the bid. So I think that this DBL is takeout but probably the reason partner chose not to DBL last round is either that the hand is too balanced (from the auction it sounds as if partner has some diamonds) or too weak. Neither of those suggests that I should bid my 3-card heart suit instead of my 7-card club suit. How many clubs? I think I' going to bid 4, continuing along my conservative path (when you've made a close decision, it often makes sense to take subsequent actions on the assumption that the decision was right - you can't go back and bid 3 over 2, so don't try to “correct” your mistake now - hope that it wasn't a mistake and you'll do well by staying out of 5), but none of the decisions on this hand are clear, IMO.
Nov. 5, 2010
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