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All comments by Josh Sher
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I do not know what is in someone else’s heart. I do not know, what influences there choices, I am not in their shoes. I refuse to condem someone for taking a different action than what I think is morally just. That will not stop me from praising an action that clearly is done for the greater good. Here Roy and Sabine could choose to write letters, to not show up, to silently protest, to act rudely to an individual or many other costless actions. Instead they choose to spend money to attend an event, with intended actions that they expect will get them thrown out of the event and perhaps others in the future. You might not agree with their tactics , but certainly acting contrary to their self interest in order to help us all must be praised. I do note that this sort of action will be much more effective if a significant number of people do it….

Thank you Sabine. Thank you Roy. I hope you are not a single stone but the start of an avalanche.

Josh


Rarer by far than orginality in science or art is orginality in political action.
And rarer still is original political action that enlarges,
rather than blights or destroys, human possibilities.
-Jonathan Schell, Introduction to Adam Michnik's Letters from Prison

But you do know, as you stand alone, handcuffed, with your eyes filled with tear gas,
in front of policemen who are shaking their guns at you -
you can see it clearly in the dark and starless night,
thanks to your favorite poet -
that the course of the avalanche depends on the
stones over which it rolls.

And you want to be the stone that will reverse the course of events.

-Adam Michnik
May 9
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Yeah , or in some cases fly. In the regions I played in the GNT the games were within an hour of where I lived. In Florida , it’s 5 hours away. When I lived in Albuquerque, they alternated between Denver and Vegas, and let’s just say the GNTs were pro teams, or locals from the host city. Many districts are just physically too large for these events to be appealing….
May 8
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I can give you my statistics:

When I lived in DC, I played in the GNTs every year
When I lived n Albuquerque , I never played in them
When I lived in LA , I played in them every year
When I lived in NY, I played in them my one year (I was technically in the NJ district)
Since I have been in Miami, I never played in them

See if you can work out the pattern. And it has nothing to do with the quality of the opposition…
May 8
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I too am in the vacation conscious group, if that means
A. I have a limited amount of vacation
B. I can’t use all of it on bridge for numerous reasons

Hence I am very selective n the events I go to, mostly go to places that I can get to without burning a vacation day on travel, have a preference for events where a significant part of the event is on the weekend, and hate blowing a day of vacation because the event started with 66 teams and had to Eliminate 2 to get to 64….

I am also sensitive to the fact that if I am away for a limited number of days it’s important to know when I am flying home, so events of unknown length are tricky…
May 2
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I am in favor of allowing drop ins, although I think their carryover should be minimal. The carryover will be deflated by the finals, but they should at least require one good day in the event to make the finals.
April 25
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This is very well written. I hope you continue to pursue writing as well as bridge!
April 24
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Well, I decided to add an additional like. I personally think Chris’s proposal was too complicated, and he didn’t explain initially that it could make entries for most people lower, if that was desired, but I like the fact that we are seriously discussing pricing models for how to charge people at nationals. There are costs, so someone has to pay, the question is who and how much, what is the fairest, and what brings in the most revenue, and how do we balance revenue vs total attendance vs quality of events vs fairness. If we raise more revenue, maybe we can charge club players less. I know it’s easy to react to prices going up as necessarily bad, but I think that’s a narrow way of thinking .
April 18
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Right now, if I entered a national event, and happened to win too many matches, I would have to:
A, buy a new plane ticket home. As this plane ticket is one way, and last minute, it’s pretty expensive
B. Pay for extra nights hotel. Again, the hotel rate is not the discounted advanced purchase rate I had for my first few days
C. Take extra days off of work

The cost of any of these , are much more expensive than the entry fees. I do understand price sensitivity, but I think many people are not calculating there true costs, and are overstating the effect of raising entry fees for the later stages of premiere events. Seriously, if change fees doubled at the airlines, are you saying you would not ever enter the spingold again, because you would not be able to afford to win a few matches?

I suspect that if an amateur team won 3 or 4 matches in the spingold, they probably can sell there services out the next time and make up the money lost on entry fees…
April 16
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This is a bizarre comment. Currently there are discounts for under 26, did that cause a revolt of everyone else that they were treated unfairly?

For the record, pretty much every synagogue I have ever been associated with has a heavily discounted membership fee for young adults (typically 50-75% off).The definition of young ranged from under 30 to under 40, depending on the synagogue….
April 16
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Best bid? I see two terrible bids that canceled out. The first was opening 2C on that powerful hand and not upgrading to 1C. Since, in my opinion, that north hand is impossible, south had no business bidding 7C without the CJ in addition, or a 4th club….

Am I allowed to be critical in an assess the credit post?
Jan. 6
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it has re-appeared! Whew, it took me a long time to type it :)
Dec. 12, 2018
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I posted a long comment here, and it somehow disappeared…..
Dec. 12, 2018
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Generally, the theoretical underpinning for punishment involves a number of considerations. I think most systems of punishment take all of the following into account (or at least most), even if different people, different settings, and different offenses might entail different weights to these objectives/values:
1. Just Desert – Someone is punished because that’s what they deserved
2. Deterrence – The goal of punishment is not backward looking and has nothing to do with the punished, but its instead to create incentives in the future to dissuade others from commenting a similar offense.
3. Removal – To protect others in the future from the person who committed the offense
4. Rehabilitation – To give the person the opportunity to improve themselves and earn the right to re-enter a community
5. Catharsis and Grace – I am pairing these two because these are about the victim or victims. One goal of punishment (and this is a bit controversial) is for the victims to derive pleasure/relief that the person was punished and punished appropriately and that the victim desires for punishment were given some weight (you can see this in these victim’s rights movements). But on the other end of the spectrum, the idea of forgiveness, even unearned forgiveness (Grace) , is again because its good for the victim’s and the community to be able to forgive. The value of Grace/Forgiveness is very strong in many religious traditions.

There are further consequentialist considerations in punishment, because you want to create incentives to get the offender to admit guilt and do whatever restitution is asked of him or her.

While Bridge is a game, it is also a self-regulating community, like any other self-regulating community. Lifetime Banishment from a community, is a possible punishment, but, personally I think it goes too far as a general rule. I do think you are correct to emphasize the trust aspect of this community. We do not want to have to compete in constant fear that we are being cheated. Someone who has cheated in the past has to earn back, over time, this trust. But, even if we give lifetime banishments to known cheaters, this does not eliminate the distrust issue. The fact of the matter is that there are incentives to cheat, and professionalism creates those incentives (professionalism does a lot of good things also, but let’s not forget the bad things). For us to enjoy the game, feeling that if we do our best, we have a chance to win, we need to feel that others are not cheating. Having better methods to detect cheating helps. Having punishments large enough to dissuade some people from cheating, helps. But having better incentives, so that people do not feel they benefit so much from cheating helps even more.

I think the correct analogy to a bridge ban, is not jail but rather is banishment from a community. Its telling someone they are no longer welcome in our town, or in our country, or in our club. In some circumstances, this is worse than jail. Imagine being unable to ever come home again, or do the activities that you love again, or interact with people who you love, but hurt, again. A community can have lifetime banishment as a penalty for certain actions. But it really is a serious penalty.

As a final comment, I think you made the wrong distinction. You emphasized collusive cheating. I think the key distinction is premeditated vs spontaneous cheating. All collusive cheating is pre-mediated. But premeditated includes breaking into a computer system and stealing the hand records ahead of time, without your partner’s knowledge. If you are thinking of the value 3 above (removal), a solo act is worse than a collusive act since you can repeat it alone. A collusive act can only be repeated in the future with the help of another. Banishing colluding pairs from playing with each other, does achieve at least part of the goal of 3. But there is no lessor punishment other than not being able to play at all that can do that for a solo act (ok, in both cases, you can allow them to play once again but with extra security layers in place, like continuous monitoring. ). With respect to the other 4 values, I see no difference between a solo pre-mediated act and a collusive act.
Dec. 12, 2018
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Well, I also bid 5H…. I thought 4H was just too whimpy when ak 6th of clubs and AX of hearts makes a decent slam
Nov. 24, 2018
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I really think that anything other than penalty is silly here.

A. The same hand bid 1H and 2H, so there is no guarantee they have a fit
B. If you had 4 Spades, just bid them. It’s at the 2 level, while a minor is at the 3 level
C. Do you have a better use for 2N here opposite a passed hand than pick a minor ?
D. All the best hands that the S could have contain heart length, otherwise S would have bid the first time…


Remember, a responsive X is after a bid and a raise……
Nov. 5, 2018
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Why does it matter if your opponent psyched. That does not change the strength of yours or your partner’s hands. Your partner has 5-8 with 4+ H, and you have a balanced 20 with a good fit. Suppose partner has QJ 5th of hearts and an ace (a max) , you still don’t have a slam. Just bid 4H.
Nov. 5, 2018
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Obviously that is slightly superior, but I play the exact same methods over x’s of all artificial bids in non Forcing auctions :all bids remain the same as without the x (including pass =to play) and XX asks for step 1 so I can sign off in my suit.

This way I don’t need a different agreement over every sequence:
(1N)-2C(majors)-(x)
Xx is the puppet (here must show Diamonds)

(1N)-2S(S+minor)-(x)
Xx is how I get out in My minor, without the x I can’t get out in my minor

(1N)-2C (Capp, sometimes partners make me play that)-x
Xx I have m own suit.

Etc.
It’s all purpose…not ideal in every auction (sucks over Capp 2D -x), and if playing that in a real partnership would play something better there, but it’s a quick and simple meta agreement.
April 13, 2018
Josh Sher edited this comment April 13, 2018
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I just copied that from one set of notes. I actually in most partnerships play something different over 2D-x:
Pass is to play
Xx is bid 2H and I will next bid my suit. With really great spades you can ignore me and bid 2S instead.
Otherwise, systems on.

Also, in 20 years, I still have never passed 2D without Diamonds…. so I really never played that “maybe a psych NV part’.. but many people do like to psych pass with a really bad hand and a fit for both majors, or with my own suit.
April 12, 2018
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Over 2D weak 2 in either major:
Version 1:

Pass Either D’s or Potential Psych NV
2H Pass or correct. Could have decent hand for spades, 2h then 3h over 2s is invitational with 6+ hearts
2S Ss (
2N Ogust, 3C to play, 3D INV Diamonds,
3h=INV hearts)
2S Pass or correct. Could be interested in H game, therefore respond
Ogust 2N/3C/3D/3H = b/b (maybe 5 cards NV) gs/bh, gh/bs, g/g
2s then 3s over ogust is invitational with 6+ spades
2N Modified Ogust (bad good nt)
3C bad with hearts
3D bad with spades
3H good with spades
3S good with hearts
4c after response to 2nt=RKC
3C To play
3D Game forcing with Hs
3H Pass or correct
3S GF with Spades
3N To play
4C Transfer to your suit
4D Bid your suit (4S/4N = RKC)
4H To play
4S To play
4N Straight Blackwood
COMPETITION
2D - (2HS) - X Competitive, Pass if this is your suit, otherwise bid suit (or Ogust over 2S if your suit Hs)

2D - (2N/3a) – X Penalty

2D - (X)

P 5+ Ds, willing to play. Later X is penalty.
XX Good hand, bid your suit
2H Pass or correct
2N Bid 3C “I have a suit of my own”
3CD Lead directing with raise to 3 of either major

Version 2:
The same as above except:
2D-3C=GF with either minor
3D asks minor (LH)
3M Very strong Suit, playable opposite a stiff (KQJxxx, KQT9xx, or so)

2D-2H-2S-3C to play
2D-2H-2S-3D = INV
2D-2S(Heart fit OR to play in clubs or INV in Diamonds)-responses are, 2N min with H, 3C max with H
So the idea is if you might want to get out in 3C you respond 2M in your longer major.
April 12, 2018
Josh Sher edited this comment April 12, 2018
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It definitely depends on the exact bidding system. TOSR is different from MOSCITO for 8nstqnce. Also, I am assuming we are always talk8ng about imps, where it’s not just frequency that matters. At match points, the best use for the extra bid is clearly not the ability to overcall in the opponents suit.
April 10, 2018
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