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All comments by Joel Shapiro
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I haven't seen an individual game at a tournament since 1995. Liked it then, would like it now.
June 7, 2018
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Try Kansas City.
June 7, 2018
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Of course we switch half the players if it's a 2-session event, but many smaller sectionals run single-session pairs games, even in the open or A/AX flight. Three-day sectionals will often have single session pair games on Friday and two-session games on Saturday. Even in 2-session games, we frequently have several single-session entries, which can sometimes muck up a web. And we always run a skip movement with an even number of tables if we don't use a web. No one ever complains about an EW skip, unless the busy director fails to call it in time.

Other than side series at regionals, what pair games ever go more than 2 sessions?
June 7, 2018
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There's nothing inconvenient about 9 or 13 tables. Those are perfect movements with 27 or 26 boards in play. Even numbers like 8, 10, and 12 have an EW skip halfway through - nobody minds that. (With 12 I'd use a Web anyway.) 11 and 15 are a bit awkward but a 2-board-set Web works ok with tables 10 and 11 (or 14 and 15) sharing 3 or 2 boards respectively in the middle round only.

Of course, we always play at least 26 boards, sometimes 27 or even 28, in any game above Gold Rush. If we ever tried to play only 24 in an A or AX game we'd have a revolution to deal with.
June 6, 2018
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Question, Greg - can you not just go to a tournament and play in all the events that are NOT bracketed? You can play in the A or AX flight in any stratified or strati-flighted pairs game even if you have very few points.

Also, you can ask that the DIC assign you extra points, on your player file, so that you do automatically qualify for a higher bracket than your actual total would allow. If the DIC agrees that such an adjustment is appropriate, it's easy to do and your problem is solved.
June 6, 2018
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Wow. I have played in clubs and tournaments in 3 provinces and 15 states and NEVER encountered such a movement, especially not at tournaments (except, of course, for small Howells). And as a TD for nearly 20 years now, I have never run one myself, nor been asked to by any player or by any more experienced TD. In fact, in my area (D2) we even try to avoid bumping pairs and relay/bye-stand movements, at least in open games. Arrow switches are entirely unknown. We have NS winners and EW winners, sometimes for each strat. Webs are okay, though, as long as we are reasonably certain not to have to accommodate latecomers and we have enough board sets available.
June 6, 2018
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And then there's the issue of the player who finally tops 750 points and can no longer play in Gold Rush events. However, none of her regular partners has 750 yet and none want to play up into the B game. So the >750 player quits because she can't find partners - and besides, no one with 1200 points wants to play with someone with ONLY 752.
June 6, 2018
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“But you rarely, if ever, see winners in each direction at a tournament.”

Do I understand you correctly, Bud, that the vast majority of tournament events in your neck of the woods are one-winner?
June 6, 2018
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Why would I ever want to have a one-winner movement (except for small Howell sections) at a tournament? With separate NS and EW winners, two pairs go home happy with bottles of wine or Tim Hortons gift cards or whatever, instead of one. Twice the customer satisfaction. Even more if you give prizes for tops in each strat. Keep the customers happy and coming back!
June 5, 2018
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I want my chocolate cake with a scoop of pistachio gelato on the side. Maybe two scoops.

I know that bracketing is supposed to keep teams of similar MP totals together, but in a very small event where that isn't the case, why not simply handicap the bracket?
June 5, 2018
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Or we could just say to heck with the whole thing and simply ask every team when they buy their entry which bracket they would like to play in, and let the chips fall where they may.
May 31, 2018
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There is an accepted bridge term for solid eight-card major suits.

Trump.

Just bid five spades and never mind partner.
May 29, 2018
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I have often opened 1NT with a void in brains.
May 23, 2018
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I've been a huge baseball fan all my life too. I fondly remember the old Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and their championship seasons of 1965 and 1966. Back then they were the top farm team of the Red Sox and many players, plus the manager (Dick Williams) moved up to the majors the next year and took the team to the World Series after finishing 9th in the one-division AL the year before. Sadly, the Sox lost to the Cards in 7 games, and Toronto baseball fans went into mourning. We don't like the Red Sox quite so much today.

Tickets for Maple Leafs baseball games were 55 cents for kids under 12 and a few dollars for adults. The streetcar stopped right in front of the stadium. Nowadays, I can get a ticket in the 500-level of the Rogers Centre for most Blue Jays games for less than $25 - and the seats upstairs may be the best seats in the house, sight-line wise. That's not too outrageous, and the Rogers Centre lets you bring in outside food and drink (just not glass bottles or metal cans). Parking is indeed expensive (but not as bad as in Washington DC, for example - $35 US three blocks from Nationals Park!!) but Toronto's public transit is cheap and easily available. One cannot get a decent ticket for a hockey or basketball game in Toronto for less than hundreds of dollars. So I don't think the expense of going to a baseball game is really much of a deterrent to attendance or interest.

The length of the game - that's a different story. Maybe that's what's turning people off. But I have been to two 17-inning games - I stayed to the very end of each, the Blue Jays lost both, and the subway had stopped running by the time the games ended. I must be atypical.
May 23, 2018
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Jim, when you broke the window, was it a home run or a run home?
May 23, 2018
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I seem to recall that Joe “Touch 'em all!” Carter of the Blue Jays was a pretty fair clubhouse bridge player. Dunno who else on the team played with him.
May 23, 2018
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Oh, please. All you normally need to watch in a basketball game is the last three minutes or so. American football is even worse - far too many stoppages, commercial breaks, time-outs, etc. They actually play for all of about nine minutes per game. Canadian football is much better, action-wise. Don't get me started on golf - that's like watching paint dry. At least golf is better than tennis - golfers at least get to hit the ball four or five times before they have to bend down and pick it up. The worst of all has to be soccer - two years ago the team that won the league championship played for two whole hours without taking a single shot on goal (never mind scoring!) and won on penalty kicks. What a mickey-mouse (sorry, Disney) way to win a championship. All they did for two solid hours was run around in circles. Racehorses do that but at least a race is only two minutes, not two hours. Hockey at least has more or less continuous action.

Baseball is only boring if you aren't familiar with the strategy involved, which can be different with every pitch. Much like bridge, which can change with every bid or trick. The real reason neither is as popular as it once was is the long learning curve necessary to master, or at least appreciate, the game. Fewer people nowadays, especially younger people, want to put in the effort.
May 23, 2018
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I really like Montreal bagels and Montreal smoked meat, but the Montreal relay is high on the list of conventions I would include if I ever write a book “25 Conventions You Should Never Play”. Stolen bid doubles and step responses to 2C openers would be in the list too.
May 14, 2018
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As for bicycles, the Netherlands is mostly flat. The USA is mostly rather hilly. Where would you rather ride?

Here's a comment and suggestion that may or may not be too political to post here, but I'll try anyway. Bridge in the US was very popular in the 1950's. Back then, the President was widely respected (Eisenhower) and was a pretty good bridge player. Maybe if more of the highly respected political leaders (are they any of those left?) were known to be bridge aficionados, the popularity of the game would increase. People like to emulate celebrities. Midterm elections are coming up. Hmmm…
May 5, 2018
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The only tablets that I have ever been asked for at any tournament I've run come in bottles marked Tylenol or Advil.
May 5, 2018
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