Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Ryan Schultz
1 2 3
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Assumed to be choice of games, but if responder makes another move it shows a slammish hand.
June 30
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Perhaps N-S committed an infraction, but we have remedies for that. East should have called a director if he felt like there was a private agreement or South gave misleading information. His comments only escalate the situation.
Nearly everyone in this thread is acting like they've never been fixed by a strange bid before. South's bidding could have worked against him in a number of layouts, but he got lucky this time. OP said they are a not a regular partnership, so I don't understand why everyone is assuming malice. With a doubleton spade South might have been angling for NT and decided to conceal his heart suit. He did at least say his clubs could be short.
May 17
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I disagree with the majority here because I've seen this situation at the table several times, and I side against East on this one. The context from the story is that East is upset so he makes a snide remark. South bit his tongue the first time, but is within his rights for redress after the second comment. However, South should have calmly called the director rather than exploding or just issued a polite warning to East. If East had been genuinely probing about partnership agreements that would be a different matter, but he's just annoyed the bid worked against him. We all understand that East's comments are at best an implied insult and very likely an intentional insult. East should keep his comments to himself.
South is not blameless because of his explosion, but he was obviously provoked. Even though this story was about experienced players, I've witnessed this behavior towards newer players and we wonder why it is difficult to retain bridge players.
May 16
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I consider it a breach of etiquette if it is your turn to act and you are not paying sufficient attention. This usually manifests as recording the contract after the auction.

The board number is usually auto-generated and I've never had to enter the lead before (which I think is best). Entering the contract, direction, and score only takes me a few seconds, and I usually wait until the end of the hand unless I have a few idle seconds. I've never understood the rush to enter the contract. If you are routinely forgetting the contracts then bridge isn't the game for you.

I only say something if my opponent is taking a long time when it is their turn to act, but it always annoys me even if they only take a short amount of time. I think it would only be a problem if time was a factor and an opponent was consistently wasting time this way.
May 9
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It sounds like you need to pick 1 from below and live with it:

A. Create enemies, possibly stop some people from playing as much, but fight for an honest game OR
B. Allow dishonest players free reign, but no enemies and possibly increase table count
Nov. 4, 2018
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I agree with the notion that there are too many tournaments, especially regionals and sectionals. Reducing them makes sense because: 1. It gives tables back to the clubs, which need more support 2. Reduces the staffing/volunteer hours needed throughout the year, which will have positive effects on the tournaments that remain, and 3. Will likely improve tournament attendance due to the scarcity principle.
I voted to have two NABCs because I never attend in the fall. I'm not willing to travel over Thanksgiving and the schedule is usually bad. However, I can see arguments for keeping three or even going to four if the schedules and dates were improved.
Oct. 18, 2018
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This was also my thinking. How will partner know when to try for 3NT without a hand that doesn't have extras? My 3 could be based on other major suit points instead of a double club stop. 3NT was a success when partner came down with KQJxx QTxx AQx x and I got the expected club lead.
Aug. 21, 2018
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In my experience pairs that engage in post mortems tend to have weaker partnerships and the analysis is very often incorrect. Moreover, because the post mortem is inevitably negative towards partner it usually causes them to play worse. I feel like my odds of winning a KO or Swiss match increase significantly if the pair I'm playing starts to criticize each other early in a match.
May 15, 2018
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Strongly disagree. In the posted thread someone argued that the dummy is one of the greatest mechanics ever invented in gaming. While I might not take it that far, it should probably be in the discussion. There's a reason bridge is hugely more popular than whist.
Oct. 2, 2017
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Thanks for posting about this discussion. The theme I saw repeatedly mentioned was poor teaching/introduction to the game. If the ACBL can get this right with their Big Idea to improve teaching this could potentially be a game changer.

I think something like minibridge should be a standard introduction to new players. Don't teach bidding or duplicate rules and keep scoring very simple. Make it a social, fun atmosphere. Introduce fun things for dummy to do during the play.

Next, create a transition program taught by approved teachers. This is where you start to introduce rules, ethics, bidding, and scoring for players interested in more challenging bridge. I agree with Stuart King that even at this level scoring should NOT be matchpoints. Graduates from these games can then move on to full duplicate (now with masterpoints) at the club if they wish.

Overall, we need to give players on-ramps to the game because the barrier to entry is higher than for other games. It would be amazing to see all three of these levels operating within clubs. Seeing the higher level games on the calendar would surely entice a subset of players to move up.
Oct. 2, 2017
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Seems reasonable to me. One consequence is that resolving score disputes might become more difficult and prevalent. Suppose both sides disagree on the score at the end of the session. Having private scores would be helpful evidence to resolve the problem. This change might also motivate some unethical players to dispute scores more frequently hoping for a favorable ruling.

I still support your idea because I think the pros outweigh the cons, but I can see some counterarguments.
Dec. 14, 2016
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Any player can psyche at any time, but you can't have hidden partnership agreements to field those calls. If I psyche and everyone at the table is equally deceived then no harm done. If partner takes a non-standard, protective action because he has seen me previously psyche in this position then we've broken the rules.

That is my understanding of the rules, but please correct me if I am mistaken.
Sept. 21, 2016
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Louis,
We would need to demonstrate that Bathurst-Lall have a partnership agreement in order for it to qualify as a HUM. That's why the quantity and accuracy of the data matters. I think Spain helps their case by presenting the evidence as clearly as possible. Based on Oren's comment it sounds like they found 3 relevant hands in 400. But maybe if we look at another 1000 hands they passed 6/6 times in similar situations.

Gonzalo,
By your standard tournaments would be overwhelmed by implicit understanding challenges. The possibility of a psyche only matters if partner is trying to field it. I don't see any evidence of that in the three hands presented. If Spain had even one hand that could show the fielding of a psyche we would be having a different conversation.
Sept. 21, 2016
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Saying you analyzed 400 boards is completely misleading and is clearly intended to add legitimacy to your claim. As discussed in the previous thread, we can easily estimate that only a handful of those 400 hands were relevant to your charge. It would be more accurate to say: “We found that six out of six hands were opened in this position” or whatever the number is. While that may be the basis for further investigation, it doesn't nearly rise to the level of undisclosed agreement, and this conclusion is much more obvious when your findings are presented accurately.

I have some sympathy with Spain because of how poorly the tournament handled their complaint, but I think they made a poor choice to protest. All of us have received unsatisfactory rulings, but most of us carry on with the game anyway. I think Spain would have been better served by making a formal complaint at the conclusion of the match.

Hopefully the rules are updated based on this incident, and tournaments create a mechanism to resolve these types of concerns.
Sept. 21, 2016
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I consider this one of those difficult, gray areas where both sides can usually do better. I certainly err on the side of full disclosure and explanations should be as precise as possible; however, I also think the opponents should avoid making assumptions.
When I see these situations I usually find myself with more empathy for the bidding side. In most cases, as here, they acted in good faith. I infer that the opponents had an alternate lead, which hinged on the meaning of help, then cried foul when they made the wrong lead based on their assumption.
In the future it would be an improvement to explain 3 as strength or shortness in clubs to more precisely explain the meaning.
May 18, 2016
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1. Press releases are short and to the point for a reason. This missive uses a lot of space to say something very simple: “We want a fair trial and ask bridge players to reserve judgment until the trial is over.” This communication would have been much more effective if the content were reduced by 90%.

2. I don't think you'll find much disagreement over your main thesis. Most of us want the accused pairs to receive a fair trial. Coming from the U.S. a lot of us do actually believe in the principle: “innocent until proven guilty.” The problem is that bridge organizations have been avoiding this issue for years and are now scrambling to establish robust procedures. This is why your clients have had so many problems navigating the current disciplinary process.

3. I don't think the author understands how statistics and probabilities work. He states: “Ultimately, on any given past facts a code may be construed. It is simply a matter of patience and means. This is undeniable.” Sure, you might always find some small correlations to random events in any given pair, but to find a meaningful link like the one your clients are accused of, especially at the high probabilities suggested, is an entirely different situation.
May 16, 2016
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I really dislike the ACBL alert chart and wrote about it in a post several months ago, where I proposed an alternative idea.

The core of the problem is one of insufficient resolution. All bids are either alerted or not alerted; yet any given call can have multiple meanings. An alert only serves to provide the opponents information on whether the call is “standard” or not. Not only does this not provide full disclosure, but worse it adds confusion because no one can agree on standard, especially when you consider players from outside the ACBL.

Let's just admit that trying to base alerts around standard is a fool's errand and instead create simpler, more pervasive rules. Perhaps a compromise between my proposal and some of the objections raised would be a system where only non-natural calls are alerted. If that means that I have start alerting take out doubles and negative doubles, then fine. At least that will minimize confusion surrounding the alert rules and most of the present day inferences are still available to the opponents.
April 21, 2016
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As a younger player who started in 2006 I've never experienced anything but the demographics you describe. However, in my area the players appear to be adequate drivers and most have good social skills.
I always expect the older crowd to have some limitations, but it rarely affects my enjoyment of the game, and has actually improved my patience dramatically. From my experience jerks come in all ages, and aren't concentrated in the 55+ age group.
The trend that concerns me more than anything is that the good players are dying out and any new players joining the club are not replacing the skills that have been lost. This combined with inadequate player education leads to unpleasant situations at the table. When scores of beginners play mostly amongst themselves bad habits develop; then those same players are aghast when I don't indulge their clear violations of the rules.

Feb. 15, 2016
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The director made a mistake here. Declarer clearly forgot about the importance of the J with west possibly being void in diamonds at trick 3, and then made self serving statements after the fact to cater for the specific layout that existed. If South was an experienced player I would consider assessing an additional penalty to deter such behavior, but that sort of justice never happens in club games.
Jan. 28, 2016
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I voted to lead the A. It looks like declarer has a two suiter and partner has 4 trumps; therefore tapping declarer looks like the right defense. Our side has only one possible strong suit to tap declarer with - clubs. It would be riskier in matchpoints, but I think the lead stands out in imps. Also I agree with the other commenter that responder's 1 likely improved declarer's hand, so he probably has fitting spade cards.
Jan. 12, 2016
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