Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Patrick Powers
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Article should come with a weak overcall trigger warning.

Kitt is claiming favorable vulnerability as a safe space.
May 13
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Sure, I can do that. I have a degree in biology and another in statistics, both from fancy universities, so I am quite well qualified to do so.

Hydroxychloroquine is being promoted as a remedy. According to The Dispatch a bogus study is being touted as evidence.

Hydroxychloroquine is a treatment for malaria. Malaria is of the protazoa, a multi-celled organism bigger than a bacterium. COVID is a virus. So they are two worlds apart. This made me think from the start that hydroxychloroquine is quite a long shot. Not only that, malaria has nothing to do with the lungs. So make that long shot squared. But it isn't impossible that it is helpful. Indeed, with all of the thousands of drugs available, even though they might all be long shots, there are so many that one might make the grade. You just don't know. But according to scientists hydroxychloroquine appears to at best not help and at worst be harmful.

Vaccines contain poisons to provoke a reaction. The reaction can be severe. The idea is that vaccines are much safer than are epidemics of deadly diseases. The trouble is that if most people get the vax then those who don't are pretty safe. They become the despised “free riders.” They get the benefits without the risk. If enough people become free riders then epidemics return. For this reason I think it quite reasonable to require schoolchildren and immigrants to be vaccinated, in spite of the risk. If everyone behaves selfishly and avoids the risks then the old epidemics return. People have forgotten what that's like, so they don't want vax.

I have a friend who is an anti-vaxer. Anti-vax videos are deleted from social media by the companies.

In her home island of Kauai surfing has been banned! It's outrageous. It seems almost impossible to get an airborne disease while surfing. It is certainly far less dangerous than is going to the supermarket.
May 12
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“Laughable?
Sporadic?
Snipelike? (I want to say gallinagous, but the internet informs me that it is not (yet?) a word.)
Intermittent?”

Ostensible.
May 7
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I could have made my bid with ease
With the Clash-Clash hexagonal hedgehog squeeze
But alas my psyche proved unable
To recognize this monster at the table

I resorted to the Criss-Cross Ruffing Clash
Heard London Calling from my punk rock past
One by one the pasteboards fell
With no known exit from Discard Hell

No matter the strategy they pursued
One way or the other they would be screwed
Inevitably succumbing to implacable style
They t'were buried helpless beneath the pile

Of eroding guards of little might
Who stood against 2D royalty's flight
Until the moment the famed red queen
Fell to the invisible guillotine
April 27
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 27
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I'd go with the 3S. That singleton is likely worth a trick in spades but not in diamonds. Besides, partner didn't like my diamonds and bid NT so I expect dummy to have little or no useful shape in diamonds.
April 26
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 27
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“It is my take, that it is a BBO tradition to claim silently, and play it out if the claim is refused.”

Being the strong silent type, I always preferred that. But I suppose declarer could get UI from knowing which defender refused the claim. Or the refusal of the claim could wake them up and make for more careful play.

I once had declarer claim the remaining tricks while I held the high trump on defense. I refused. Play continued. He kept claiming. I kept refusing.

Now where I was playing it was common for some players to refuse all claims, no matter how obvious. They liked the ritual of playing everything out. I didn't, so when I had a partner who refused all claims I would throw in my hand to get it over with. Well, in this case partner hadn't been counting trump either. He decided I was dogging it and threw in his hand. That's one of the very few times I called partner an “idiot.”
April 26
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 26
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Enough people got immunity that the transmission rate went below one. Also, diseases tend to mutate to be more benign.

By the way, the Spanish Flu was at least twenty times as deadly as what we are dealing with. And there was another pandemic twenty times worse than that.
April 25
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 25
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At first I read that as Knockup Signouts.
April 23
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I'd say it's “show me what you've got extra, if anything.”
April 21
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They had the telephone. That was enough.

Before that they had letters. In cities the mailman would deliver and pick up several times a day. That was enough too.

They had door-to-door sales. The milkman.

People had hobbies. Woodworking, knitting, playing music, etc.

I think these things are better for you than the Internet.
April 20
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1. Cutie Honey. Hilarious.
2. Bandmaid. The hardest hitting rock rhythm section ever, all beautiful and charming Japanese women. What's not to like?
3. If you could have one “celebrity” dead or alive over for tea who would it be? CL, a South Korean pop star who is famous for being a ____. She gained weight tremendously. She would say whatever was on her mind, and would be delighted I was interested.

4. Favorite song? My Funny Valentine by Jo Ann Greer. Rita Hayworth lip synced to this. Most underrated performance of all time.

5. on Mastermind what would be your specialist subject? Geography. I started reading maps when I was six years old and never stopped.

6. What is your best memory in bridge? Being so enraged with partner that I opened 7NT, which made easily. Being called an _____ for this by Richard Pavlicek was icing on the cake. (This censorship is getting ridiculous. Miss Grundy lives.)

7. What is your worst memory in bridge? Having partner give me a free raise with a singleton in my suit and naught but two jacks. I never played bridge again. I'm not kidding either.

8. Pick any bridge partner from the present - who would u pick? Serena Williams. Whatever might happen, it would be unforgettable.

9. Pick any bridge partner from the past - who would u pick? Salvador Dali.

10. change a rule in bridge! Allow cheating. (Just kidding.)

Now I'm told that even this bowlerized version is offensive. The ____ with this ____.
April 18
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Yes, isn't that weird? SAYC isn't that complicated. You'd think people would take the trouble to learn it. But hardly anyone does. It tells you something about human psychology: people don't like to read the directions.

When I was a little kid I was famous for reading the directions. My parents would just hand the directions to me and let me go at it. It wasn't until much later that I realized how unusual it was.

So instead they bumble around and blame the other. I once saw this summed up as “To err is human. To blame someone else is even more human.” Perhaps the most insightful thing I ever read.
April 18
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I can tell you that a vaccine is a long shot. The common cold is a coronavirus, a vaccine would be worth a lot of money, it has been pursued for maybe a hundred years, and has yet to happen. After SARS-1 they gave up pursuit of a vaccine as not worth the effort.

You will read optimistic reports in the press, but if someone is giving you a chunk of that one billion bucks you are going to talk upbeat, no matter what you really think.

Even IF someone has the vaccine today it would take 18 months to get it out to the public. (Source: Harvard Magazine. They have one of the best medical programs.) Vaccines are dangerous. You don't want a cure that is worse than the disease, nor one that gives a spurious feeling of protection.

All in all, it seems safe to expect the pandemic to be over before an effective vaccine appears.

Antibody tests are safe, but are never all that accurate. There are always false positives and false negatives. Even Malaysia has drive-up testing, but I wonder whether it is just a placebo. They are probably using those Chinese tests, which flunked their trials.

Some experts are quite optimistic, but nobody knows what will happen. All over in two months, to all over in two years. Nobody knows.
April 17
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 17
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Yeah. Golf for TV cameras is about as safe as you can get.
April 17
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Once you get 30 HCP the chance of missing two aces becomes quite small. In my opinion Blackwood becomes counterproductive.

In this case the WEAK hand knows they have 30 HCP and two aces. The chance that East is missing two is tiny. The reason is what I call “spot pressure.” The only way to figure the odds is to count the number of possible hands with a certain criterion. For East to be missing two aces he/she has to have quite a few honors and few spot cards. That means the number of possible hands is unusually small.
April 17
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 17
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I'd think that you had four spades and 5+ diamonds and were desperate to stay out of notrump.
April 17
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“He downgrades at first but then, when it appears that the hand will be played in a suit (where QJ really does deserve to be downgraded), he super-accepts.”

I like that QJ when going for slam. You can pretty much rely on West having the ace or king or even both. It's better than QJx too. What would be bad is catching partner with an AK doubleton. But that's just the way the HCP cookie crumbles.

Where the QJ is most dubious is on defense.
April 17
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I don't see any way to make a slam try that way without special methods. There isn't enough bidding room. By the time you've set trump you are already at 4H. Besides, take one of those queens away from East and I don't see you have a slam.
April 17
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I write and study much of coronavirus. I feel like a vulture raking over these coals, these statistics of death. But when someone who has brightened your life passes on, those number and graphs and rational arguments do nothing to assuage your sorrow.
April 16
Patrick Powers edited this comment April 16
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I'm on my 25th day. I have a monkish nature so I like it. I do want to get some dental work done before my tooth falls apart again.
April 12
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