Author Topic: Master Solvers Club - December 2019  (Read 5618 times)

bAbsG

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2019, 03:56:49 PM »
Congratulations Todd and Ken!   

kenberg

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2019, 05:57:54 PM »
Congratulations Todd and Ken!   

Thanks, definitely thanks, but I also want to say something about the "contest".  I sometimes score decently, sometimes not, my reason for participating is that I think it is interesting and perhaps even useful. I'll illustrate:

On 1, I thought it was a close call between 2 !C and 2 !D.  I mentioned in an earlier post that if I were not a passed hand I woiul probably choose 2 !D but as a passed hand I decided on 2 !C. So I thought it was close.  They apparently don't think so, the 2 !C scored 40, the 2 !D scored 100, i'll be interested in their thoughts.  As of now, I still like 2 !C.

On 2, there was some discussion of whether the X would be responsive.  With a little effort, I am pretty sure I could find  well-regarded authors who say that 2 !H - X - 3 !H - X is not included in responsive doubles. Maybe that view is out of date, but it was once a view held by many high level players.  Well, apparently it is responsive in BWS.

In H, leading the !H T scores 100, leading the !H 9 scores 0.  Obviously BWS does not play coded 9s and Ts.

Back to B for a moment.  17 of the panelists voted for X, 6 voted for 4NT. This suggests a question or maybe a couple of questions. After the  responsive X, the auction might continue Pass-4m (by the doubler)-Pass but also it might not. Presumably the 4NT bidders are thinking that going on to 5m is right and so might as well do it now, but what are the X people thinking (and I was one of them)? Suppose, after X, it goes Pass-4m - 4 !H.  I have no idea who can make what, but I pass 4 !H and hope partner has a better idea than I do as to what to do next.

Anyway, my point is that it is always nice to get a good score, thanks again but, for me, that's not the principal attraction. I like hearing what others think about interesting problems.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 06:08:51 PM by kenberg »
Ken

Masse24

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2019, 07:17:32 PM »

Anyway, my point is that it is always nice to get a good score, thanks again but, for me, that's not the principal attraction. I like hearing what others think about interesting problems.

I agree, Ken. I most enjoy taking the time to think through what are obviously difficult problems, coming up with my own rationale, and discussing it with others. Then comparing my (our) rationale with the panel. It helps to crystallize my own thought process, with the intention that I'll be able to remember and implement it in the future. Even if I do not change my view about an action, the depth of analysis required hopefully stretches my abilities.

Case in point, Problem D this month. I went for the "bid what you see" 3 !H . It is absolutely what I would bid at the table. But the overwhelming majority chose the double. Why? I want to know. I want to incorporate the panel's thinking with my own so that I, too, will make that choice next time. But I'll have to wait for the panel's summary when I receive the magazine for that.
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Curls77

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2019, 07:42:19 PM »
Congratulations Todd and Ken!   
Ditto !!

It's so nice see many more joined this month  :)

Note to self: find time to review pannel discussion & learn, duh!

jcreech

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2019, 09:16:24 PM »
It was gratifying to see so many participate this month.  I have participated, off and on, in these types of contests.  I admit that this is the longest I have ever participated, and I think it is in part the nature of the IAC community that has added to the contest.

In the past, it was always, fill it out, then try to remember that you filled it out and what answers you gave etc.  This is different, there is discussion, anticipation, follow-up and kudos.  Much different that the solo effort.

Although I enjoy doing well, the kudos I like to see are the ones being given to others who do well. 

I also participate in the partnership aspect - not because I think I will do well there - the partnership Ken and I have is largely based in the Dare practice sessions which is primarily declarer play, and the only partnership element is defense - not exactly geared to honing bidding skills.  I make the declaration to encourage others in IAC to make a similar declaration and become eligible for those bonus points.

There are only two sources of bonus points - making the Bridge World honor roll (which is difficult) - and making picks extremely similar to your declared partner.  That is also not an easy task because the problems are designed to have several bidding choices, any of which may be the best.

This brings me to my last point, I don't particularly like it when the moderator views the answers as being so black and white.  Bidding is a nuanced art, and several answers may be good, but fewer may be regarded as being among the best.  I like to use the phrase, "least lie" because sometimes there is no good answer, just the one that is closest to not bad, or even not horrible.  When a moderator scores like this month's did, it shows a complete inability to see other opinions, and despite, I am certain, great skills as a player, is not a good choice for moderating this panel imo.  It is not so much that I cannot see the value in their selection, it is that they cannot see value in selections that do not match theirs.. 

blubayou

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2019, 04:27:24 AM »
PROBLEM A:2 Clubs  loosing out to  diamond raise on three - fine.  but  100 versus FOURTY  is ridiculous! 
PROBLEM B:    this sucks!  i disagree responsive double here,   but moderator found a valid  MSC-standard support for the idea  for my 4-minor-- (30)
PROBLEM C: 1 Notrump  whoopie-  almost a no brainer  but not quite                                                                                     (100)
PROBLEM D: Double !!  the iac hated this  but i THOuGHT i knew my ACBL champs  would go with me  and for once...(100)
PROBLEM E: 2 Diamonds  clown bidding by our betters -- Jxx is a stopper  FOOIE--  bu accepting the 90 for  4SF  without a net  (90)
PROBLEM F:  2NT                                                                                                                                                                           (30)
PROBLEM G:   I will bid the 'fancy'  3 diamonds  until i die    but requres pard to be totally focused.
  will take my lumps vs  the simple raise                                                                                                                                       (60)
PROBLEM H: Heart 10      !  REALLY suprised to  beat out diamond ace lead  for a top  i never thought of diam ideas!       (100)
After painful searching,  i found NO BWS decision that  " [2x]  double  [3x]  double"                    550     550  is responsive -- SO IT IS NOT.  So problem B remains the bloody mess i thought it was 3 weeks ago    <pay me.boss>
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 12:40:27 AM by blubayou »
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wackojack

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2019, 11:13:38 AM »

This brings me to my last point, I don't particularly like it when the moderator views the answers as being so black and white.  Bidding is a nuanced art, and several answers may be good, but fewer may be regarded as being among the best.  I like to use the phrase, "least lie" because sometimes there is no good answer, just the one that is closest to not bad, or even not horrible.  When a moderator scores like this month's did, it shows a complete inability to see other opinions, and despite, I am certain, great skills as a player, is not a good choice for moderating this panel imo.  It is not so much that I cannot see the value in their selection, it is that they cannot see value in selections that do not match theirs..

Questions: Who is the "moderator"?  I am almost totally ignorant of how marks are given.  The only thing that I am aware of is that there is a panel of experts who give their choice. I do not know who they are and whether or not they are representative of world bridge rather than biased towards a USA experts.  What then does the moderator do?  Does the moderator change each week?  I recently become aware of BWS, and tried to use it as reference to some of the problems and then regretted it.  A case in point is problem B.  Is double responsive or not?  For me it is and so that is what I voted for.  From now on I will not delve into BWS for help.  Can I get access to the views without subscribing to the magazine?  I recall that last month Todd took the trouble to relay some of the views to the forum. 

Nevertheless, I believe that participating in MSC will help in my decision making.  A case in point is a lead of A  !D for problem H did not occur to me.  However, I would dearly like to know why the lead of 10  !H gets top marks.   

wackojack

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2019, 11:32:48 AM »
Back to B for a moment.  17 of the panelists voted for X, 6 voted for 4NT. This suggests a question or maybe a couple of questions. After the  responsive X, the auction might continue Pass-4m (by the doubler)-Pass but also it might not. Presumably the 4NT bidders are thinking that going on to 5m is right and so might as well do it now, but what are the X people thinking (and I was one of them)? Suppose, after X, it goes Pass-4m - 4 !H.  I have no idea who can make what, but I pass 4 !H and hope partner has a better idea than I do as to what to do next.

I am firmly of the belief that if you have a bid that shows your hand then make that bid.  Do not try and mastermind the situation and make a bid that less accurately shows your hand (or worse still tell a lie) in order to forestall an awkward situation developing.  In short bid what you have got and trust partner. 

jcreech

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2019, 12:23:58 PM »

Questions: Who is the "moderator"?  I am almost totally ignorant of how marks are given.  The only thing that I am aware of is that there is a panel of experts who give their choice. I do not know who they are and whether or not they are representative of world bridge rather than biased towards a USA experts.  What then does the moderator do?  Does the moderator change each week?  I recently become aware of BWS, and tried to use it as reference to some of the problems and then regretted it.  A case in point is problem B.  Is double responsive or not?  For me it is and so that is what I voted for.  From now on I will not delve into BWS for help.  Can I get access to the views without subscribing to the magazine?  I recall that last month Todd took the trouble to relay some of the views to the forum. 

Nevertheless, I believe that participating in MSC will help in my decision making.  A case in point is a lead of A  !D for problem H did not occur to me.  However, I would dearly like to know why the lead of 10  !H gets top marks.   

The moderator changes from month to month, but are drawn from top ACBL players.  For the most part, they seem to rotate, with occasional replacements.  They are responsible for assigning scores and summarizing the opinions of the panel for the magazine's article.

You get hints to how the panel thinks through the results posting - telling you the number of panelists and readers that voted for each possibility.  You can only get the more nuanced reasoning from panelist comments by subscribing to the magazine, finding it in a library or getting a friend who subscribes to let you look you look at their copy.  Todd subscribes, and when he receives it will likely continue to provide an abbreviated version to the IAC group (ty again, Todd for last month's summary).

Other publications have different rules.  One of my favorites is the Washington Bridge League.  Steve Robinson is the permanent moderator, but each winner is invited to be on the next panel, and there is a secondary winner - anyone who matches Steve's answers is invited to play free with Steve at a WBL unit game.

Masse24

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2019, 12:43:20 PM »

Questions: Who is the "moderator"?  I am almost totally ignorant of how marks are given.  The only thing that I am aware of is that there is a panel of experts who give their choice. I do not know who they are and whether or not they are representative of world bridge rather than biased towards a USA experts.  What then does the moderator do?  Does the moderator change each week?  I recently become aware of BWS, and tried to use it as reference to some of the problems and then regretted it.  A case in point is problem B.  Is double responsive or not?  For me it is and so that is what I voted for.  From now on I will not delve into BWS for help.  Can I get access to the views without subscribing to the magazine?  I recall that last month Todd took the trouble to relay some of the views to the forum. 

Nevertheless, I believe that participating in MSC will help in my decision making.  A case in point is a lead of A  !D for problem H did not occur to me.  However, I would dearly like to know why the lead of 10  !H gets top marks.   

Attempting to find every answer to every bidding problem within BWS2017 will not end well. No system will have every answer.

This is what Bridge World Standard is according to the website:
Bridge World Standard is the standard system developed by The Bridge World magazine based on the preferred methods of leading American experts. The system is ideal for use by impromptu or casual partnerships and as a basis for discussion by those who wish to formulate their own system. It is also used as a framework for problems in the magazine's monthly Master Solvers' Club contest.

So is the system "biased toward USA experts"? I don't even know what that means. Since it is a USA publication, and since the panelists are from North America (both U.S. and Canada), then it has an American bent to it I suppose. But most of the problems are quite simply a test of bridge logic, the system being immaterial. More importantly the nationality of the panelists (there are usually 28) being at best a side note. Bridge logic is the same, regardless of geography or national origin.

Once in a while they'll give us a BWS system specific question. Most of the time, in doing so, they provide us with an asterisked explanation below the problem. That's all you need to give it your best guess.

The contest is the longest running contest of its kind, having been running continuously for almost a century. That's a pretty impressive run!

There is a six-director rotation; Bart Bramley and Danny Kleinman are the two permanent directors. The other four are "visiting" directors who are asked to sit in for a month or two. The MSC answers, published in The Bridge World, are a huge task. They are usually around 15 pages of commentary gathered from the panelists.

As far as "how the marks are given," there is an explanation on the website.

Jack, I will message you privately about "gaining access to the views without subscribing to the magazine."
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kenberg

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2019, 02:16:25 PM »
I take a pretty relaxed view of the scoring.

On A, I figured that had partner been the dealer then, after 1 !D - (1 !S) - ? a bid of 2 !C would be forcing (neither I nor BWS plays negative free bids) and so 2 !C seemed a bit risky. But since I am a passed hand in this problem, partner will  contain his enthusiasm and, for that matter, might even pass my 2 !C, I doubt that it is forcing. At any rate, he will not get too excited. So that was my thinking, I'll be interested in hearing why they still prefer 2 !D. Maybe they think in exactly the reverse way, that since my call is non-forcing I had really better have five cards.

There can be practical issues at the table that don't show up in bidding contests. I was playing with the bots in the free practice session for the nationals. I got dealt a decent had with 5=1=5=2 shape and the uncontested auction began 1 !S - 2 !C - 2 !D - 2 !S - 4 NT - 5 !D showing one key, I had the other four. I decided to check for the Q by bidding 5 !H and partner said yes, he had it by bidding 6 !C, showing the !C K as well. Well, that's nice but I chickened out and bid 6 !S. This would not score well in a bidding contest because I made 13 tricks. But it scored fine in mps at the table because quite a few people did not take 13 tricks. I beat them whether they bid 7 or signed off in 6. 

That's the way I think of my 2 !C call.  It might lack class, but it also might well work out fine. If we have a 4-3 fit in both minors, I might well be happier in clubs since the spade ruffs, if there are some, will be taken in the hand with the shorter trumps.  One of those things where the contract is not so great looking but we land on our feet anyway. Such things do not usually score well in contests.

The panelists are experts, they choose how to score it, sometimes this will be pretty gruesome. If they give me a good score I will be pleased, if they give me a bad score I will not shoot myself.  Or them.

One value of BWS, and it is so intended, is as a basis for discussion. This could be useful. No matter who I read, there will be times when I say "No, I don't think I want to do it that way". But having it written down gets the discussion going.
Ken

kenberg

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2019, 06:37:44 PM »
The panelists comments were interesting, as always.  On B, where it begins with W and goes  2 !H - X - 3 !H by E, the first comment is from Frank Stewart. He hids 4 !C, and asks if a call of X would have been for penalty.  Danny Kleinman notes that BWs does not say, but observes that almost everyone  treats 2 !H - X - 3 !H - X as responsive. An exception is Nick L'Ecuyer who thinks of it not as penalty but as showing two places too play, so either spades and a minor or both minors. Actually he says 2 or 0 places to play, prompting the discussion as to how N can know if it is 2 or 0.

But really, for the contest, we need to know what BWS plays it as. I noted in an earlier post that BWS says, if you go to the "Polls, Changes and Additions":

"System change: In a competitive sequence, when a pass would be nonforcing and no special agreement applies, a double is penalty if the doubler is limited, cooperative-takeout if the doubler is unlimited."

That's not the same as saying that it shows the minors.

I looked in the bridge encyclopedia. It says that partners should agree on whether or not  2 !H - X - 3 !H - X is responsive. Yes, good advice!
Ken

Masse24

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2019, 07:17:29 PM »
My Bridge World arrived so I've added some panel opinions below.
The director for November was Danny Kleinman.

A few snippets from the panel:

PROBLEM A: 2 !D was the runaway winner on the first problem, garnering 17 of the 28 votes.
There were two panelists who chose 2 !C ; Kleinman summarizing that choice with, “Two clubs by a passed hand scares me. Because it’s non-forcing, the sine qua non of a two-over-one by a passed hand is a good suit, playable opposite a low doubleton or a good singleton honor.” Yup.

Six others chose the “flexible” double. Woolsey, Levitina, and Hudecek, all doublers were very concerned about partner having four hearts—either hoping to get away with playing in a 4-3 fit or planning to correct to diamonds. Kleinman echoed one of my concerns with, “What scares me as much as anything is that partner has four hearts and more than a minimum. Do you plan to correct three or even four hearts to diamonds?

Finally, Bramley stated the views of the majority best stating, “Two diamonds. Being short a diamond is less misdescriptive than doubling short a heart or one-notrump short a stopper, as partner will seldom compete further without a fifth diamond.

Zia, the master of brevity said, “That’s been my bid for 20 years, and I’m not changing now.”


PROBLEM B: Double. Again, a runaway majority.

Frank Stewart was the lone 4 !C bidder and also the lone who asked, “Would double be for penalty?” Kleinman responded, “I’m glad also that you asked the meaning of a double. I don’t know. Do “responsive” (why not just call them advancive?) doubles apply against preempts raised below game? BWS doesn’t specify, but everyone seems to think they do . . . .”

But there were lots of doublers, both on the panel and the IAC. Only a couple of the panelists used the word “responsive,” leaving the name of it somewhat unresolved. But not the intent. As discussed on our forum, it’s a way to convey values, but certainly less than a jump to 4NT would show. It ain’t penalty.

Kokish: “Double. Both strain and level are live issues. Over partner’s three spades, four-clubs (not a torture laden four hearts or four no-trump).” This was my thinking as well.

Plenty of room for additional discussion here. Feel free to weigh in!


PROBLEM C: 1NT. Another majority with 18 panelists choosing 1NT.

Jim Creech, who also chose 1NT said it was “a bit too good in the balancing seat.” Several panelists (who also chose 1NT) agreed. The standard range for a balancing notrump being 11-14.

Bramley, who doubled, stated that it was “worth at least 16 HCP, thus too strong for 1 notrump.” BTW, I ran it through the KnR which said it was worth 18. A bit more than I would have estimated, but still--more than 14. I must say that with all of the 1-notrump bidders who said it was “heavy” or “out of range,” that I’m surprised more of them did not double. They say one thing but bid another.

I did find a kernel of wisdom in Kokish’s description of his 1NT: “If at all reasonable in the passout seat, one notrump is my default.” A reasonable tip to file away for future use.


PROBLEM D: Double. A huge majority. 21 of 28 panelists. Most of the doublers wanted to keep open the “possibility of a juicy penalty.”
My thinking for my 3 !H rebid was, “Shows nine of my cards, rather than just six.” Bramley said, “Shows nine of the card; 3 spades would show only six.” Unfortunately, most of our IAC forum used similar logic.

Bummer!


PROBLEM E: 2NT. Without going into great detail, this was a close vote, with the top two (2 !D a close second) getting 14 and 13 respectively.

I, too, changed my mind at the last moment, initially thinking the “aggressive” 4sF 2 !D was best, but then changing to the invitational 2NT.

Jacobus, for the 2 !D bidders: “In the long run, it pays to bid aggressively when vulnerable at IMPs.”

Bragin countering: “2NT. This eight loser hand doesn’t warrant anything stronger. . . . Partner sees the vulnerability and will strain for game.”

A close choice which resulted in a close result in points awarded: 100 vs. 90.


PROBLEM F: Pass. Finally a classic MSC problem with many, many answers. There were 8 different answers.

With a combination of both offensive and defensive characteristics, this hand could go either direction. The Board-a-Match scoring made this a very close decision. Although the winning vote-getter was Pass, it did not garner a majority, merely a plurality.

Kit Woolsey summarized with, “Pass. We probably don’t have a game, and they probably aren’t going to make. Go for the magic 200.”


PROBLEM G: 3 !S . The majority choice.

The following three panelists summed up the wide range of partner’s hand, but most importantly the possibility that partner’s bidding could include the “very weak” hand.
•   Kit Woolsey: “Three spades. We probably belong in spades. I’m willing to give partner a chance to get out if he has a very weak hand.
•   Kevin Bathurst: “Three spades. Maybe it’s worth four spades, but I’d rather involve partner in the game decision.”
•   David Berkowitz: “Three spades. Partner has a wide range, so I will give him a chance to decide whether to bid game.


PROBLEM H: !H Ten.

Although there were 14 who chose a !D lead, 10 chose the Ace. In differentiating between the !D Q and !D Ace, Kleinman chimed in with, “The only thing crazy is to lead the queen instead of the ace. Nobody who prefers it says why. Not so the multitude of ace-leaders.” 


The summary is close to 20 pages. If you have specific questions about a specific problem, ask.
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jcreech

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Re: Master Solvers Club - December 2019
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2019, 08:41:46 PM »
Another nice summary!  Thank you Todd.