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All comments by Joe Hertz
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I'd respond, “Fixed” except that “1000 Pardons” isn't much better.
Aug. 18, 2015
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“Free Mike Passell” t-shirts anyone?
Aug. 18, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 18, 2015
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Stephen said just what I was thinking. Certainly “pre-arranging” a deal is an inaccurate description of the offense as it was already played, and even if I had never heard of you, I have a hard time believing anyone smart enough to become #2 all-time in masterpoint holdings would be dumb enough to misrepresent what transpired while simultaneously asking for the hearing details to be released to the public. That's enough I think for anyone to give you the benefit of the doubt on that claim.

It's a bit of a shame you had a poor result on the board in question. A good result would have gone a long way towards removing any “motive” for intentionally fouling it (which presumably is what you were accused of doing).

What I personally found troublesome was the way this was published – buried as innocuously as possible in a tiny article on the NABC's last daily bulletin. Clearly the goal was to have it avoid much notice. I'm not sure if that was intended to hurt you or help you.
Aug. 17, 2015
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I believe when they take away masterpoints as a result of a C&E decision, they hand you something else…rating points? Anyway, they aren't masterpoints but they keep you out of lower ranked events.
Aug. 17, 2015
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Who is the Zonal Authority for Utopia anyway?
Aug. 17, 2015
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But it's not a handicapped or bracketed event. It's the Semi-Finals of the Roth Open Swiss. Do people really expect easy pickins then?
Aug. 16, 2015
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The law of total yolks?
Aug. 14, 2015
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Bridge and Magic sales are apples and oranges in this regard.

Bridge is a card game.
Magic is a CCG (Customizable Card Game).

The prizes of magic cards are the very product required for the game being played, and continual purchases of cards are required by people trying to be good at the game.

There is no real analog for this to bridge. There is also much more money being made in M:TG for this reason. In bridge, if you've seen one deck of cards, you've seen them all.
Aug. 13, 2015
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Re: Corkage for the beer. The beer probably didn't come from the group booking the hotel…as in the ACBL wasn't handing out the beer to people. They are the people who are on the hook for corkage. The fee notice about the wine was because it was the ACBL who was providing it and it was subject to corkage.

The food in the hospitality suites would be subject to corkage too, if not provided by the hotel itself.
Aug. 13, 2015
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+1 for Chris. Hotels change brand names all the time. The Hunt Valley Inn for example (site of a regional) is also a long time host of Sci Fi cons (Shore Leave, Balticon, OctoberTrek). It used to be a Marriott. In fact, it was a property Marriott used to train staff in how to deal with large conventions. I'm sure it will change names many times in the future.
Aug. 13, 2015
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If I thought it was a complex auction, I wouldn't have asked. I'm not even sure the bids in questions were skip bids as much as they were conventional. The opponents were certainly taking much less than 10 seconds for their bids. I have no idea why they wanted us to wait. I'm pretty sure they didn't care if we did…so then my mind went to “Why are they even using this thing??”. I regret not asking them why they wanted us to pause…the answer might have been interesting.

At the time, I made the request hoping I would *not* have to call the director should the stop card come out as a slam try was being directed. That would have been bad.
Aug. 12, 2015
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I've actually been involved with another type of organization that uses bunches of hotel space: Science Fiction Conventions.

That being said, I know most get their function space provided gratis in exchange for making their room booking requirement, and that the ACBL's deal should only be better given it is the largest booker of hotel rooms in the US. That, and nobody worries about a bunch of visigoth and/or kinkster bridge players trashing the hotel.

The biggest difference in their usage of the hotels would, in my mind be the space requirements. The ACBL would need much much more, but it will use more per attendee. So I would think the ACBL's deals would be better than ours would be. But also, I can only guess that the space requirements the ACBL has often limit the places it can go and therefore hurt its negotiating position. I don't know which way this stone tumbles.

I don't complain about this and to be clear I am NOT complaining about it because I know full well I don't know what's going on on the ACBL's side of the hotel negotiations. But I know my little world's perspective and here's what it makes me think, for right, wrong, fair or not, my perspective is that the ACBL doesn't get much bang for its room booking power, or at least as much as I'd guess it should but I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous that way –

1) No Negotiated Corkage Waivers? Corkage is a tariff of sorts charged by a hotel. It's a fee tacked onto you bringing in anything into the hotel that the hotel would otherwise want to sell you itself. It's purpose is to discourage you from doing that. This is why in San Francisco in 2012, if you won a bottle of wine at the prize desk for a section top, there was a warning of a fee that applied if you opened it in a public area of the hotel. Corkage. It's why coffee is expensive. It's the answer for lots of why's about Things That Suck™.

A Sci Fi Con's first order of business it to get corkage waived for the attendees. From my spectator's bridge player perspective, I've never seen it waived at Regional or NABC. Does it happen? If not, why not? I imagine it would be expensive, but probably would go a lot towards making folks happier.

2) Wifi. Last 3 NABC's I've been to (all Summer's) didn't have free wifi in the rooms. I've never been to a Con that didn't offer this…but Sci-Fi cons are attended by nerds. In this day and age, this should be de-rigeur. Hell, get those Resort Fees included in the room rate too.

3) Parking is always something the locals want thrown in and it costs. The ACBL will have this problem where a Sci Fi Con will not.

4) The thing nobody talks about. Comped Rooms. In exchange for the room book commitment being reached, not only is the function space provided, but some number of free rooms will be provided to the organization as well. Usually on a sliding scale. N paid rooms get you f(N) comped rooms. Obviously these go to the staff who runs the NABC, as they should, but there's a cost for those too. There are trade-offs going on. I'm sure at some point there is someone saying, “We'd love to negotiate a corkage waiver/parking discount/free pony rides, but if we did that we'd get N fewer rooms and it would cost us a lot”. The operative point here is there are differences in how the costs are recovered. If you get the corkage waiver, you'd need to charge more to play bridge so as to pay for the rooms of the director's who need to be there. The bridge players pay for it one way or another.
Aug. 12, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 12, 2015
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The options on this poll for “Just alert visually” or “Just alert audibly” should never ever get used. I have a severe-to-profound hearing loss, and one of my early partners is blind.

Because people like us exist, if you alert, you do it both ways.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I love it when I see that happen on BBO (where they never show you your P's alerts). Instant Player Notation.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I had one occasion to ask people to not use the stop card after the 3rd time they used it in an auction where we were passing throughout. Same logic applied as would to ask for no alerts: It's more likely to help you than me in this situation. They refused.

I'd actually like to see a regulation say to *not* use the Stop card after the 2nd round of bidding or above the level of 2NT (whichever comes last) when the opponents have passed throughout.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I don't think Dave minds as long as everyone else understood he was complaining about it being a disruption to someone who habitually follows the rules for no other reason than that.

I mean, he wasn't the one who grossly misinterpreted what you said (and then implied less than noble reasons for what he did mean), and proceeded to do so in a “public forum”…right?

So sure, go for it. Carry on :-)
Aug. 11, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 11, 2015
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Very long time ago, I was on the flipside of this. Against expert opps, Partner led an A against a suit contract, and I get asked what our leads are. Of course I'm holding the K. P has lead from Ax and I know it.

And yep, we do lead A from AK. So what's the correct, right, and proper way to answer this question? “A from AK” is accurate but totally misleading.

Maybe it was fine to do otherwise in this precise situation but I erred on the side of caution. I couldn't bring myself to go out of my way to offer up truthful information that I *knew* to be misleading to the opps. The appearance of impropriety bothered me. But I didn't want to give off the impression that I was trying to be very careful in my answer, less I give the position of the King away via a Poker Tell.

So I copped out of the dilemma. I say “Standard” (“Standard” is agnostic what to do with a lead from AK but quite specific about the Ax, which was the specific agreement at work).

Having disclosed the operative agreement, I then try to to project a business as usual attitude, so as to best walk the line between full disclosure of our agreements, and no disclosure of any kind as to the unasked “Whose hand has the King?”.

So then I get asked “Ace from AK?”. *Now* I felt I could say yes with a clean conscience. I have fully disclosed and actively tried to avoid misleading them (even if I tried to do so as casually as possible).

Afterward, I explained the issue, and the opp said he understood perfectly why I did it, but he suggested a better response might have been, “Ace from AK or from Ace and small” which I disagreed with him about. Nobody ever says that. It would be conspicuous by it's inclusion to the explanation and “Standard” covered the Ax situation that was in play.

After that, I tried to make it a point to always say “A from AK, Std otherwise” even when it's not an Ace being lead.
Aug. 11, 2015
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I almost had this happen to me this evening.

After P opens 3 followed by the spade vs hearts duck season/rabbit season auction, the opps were in 5 and I had QJx of trumps sitting on dummy's right.

We had won 2 tricks, I led the first spade of the hand, declarer ruffs. After the trick is quitted, but nobody has played to the next hand, declarer (no way is he cheating. He's a good guy. I need to mention that given the original topic), gets asked “No hearts partner?” and he has one.

Director is summoned. Nothing really changes since my held the trick. I then ask to speak to the director away from the table:

As the A of trump is gone, the dummy is left with a bare K. One of our winners so far was one of my trump honors. I can promote my other honor and set the contract if the declarer can be forced to ruff with that King in the dummy.

And I all but know we have 10 spades between us (P's 7 for his opener, my 3), and dummy had a singleton. This implies declarer started with two. But he erroneously thought he could ruff the very first spade, implying that he only had one (and P had 8). I now want to know if I get any protection if I were to make use of the inference I came into possession of by declarer's mistaken ruff attempt.

Nope, says Director. If I do it, I'm entirely on my own.

So we go back to the table and I'm decided I've gotta trust my own count, and I'm about to lead another spade where my P pipes up saying essentially, “Hey, can I change my play on that trick now that I know declarer did *not* ruff in front of me?”

“Sure”, says Director. So P now decides to overtake my winning spade. And now that he won that trick instead of me, I'm not on lead anymore.

I start screaming on the inside. I had won my trump Queen, not the jack. There is no way partner is going to play me for the QJ3 initial holding. His data can only be worse than mine was (I just raised his preempt. He's the one who made it).

Thank ghu, he did lead that spade, the dummy ruffed, and declarer had started with Qx.
Aug. 11, 2015
Joe Hertz edited this comment Aug. 11, 2015
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Another reason to use bridgemates.
Aug. 10, 2015
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That was it. Same year.
Aug. 10, 2015
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