Saturday, May 15, 2010

K98xxx opposite J7x -- lose at most 2

I hadn't seen this one before today. The answer, I believe, is to run the 9 (or low to 7.) This loses only to stiff T offside. Other plays lose to 2 cases, one 3-1 break and one 4-0 break (lots of choice as to which), while this one picks up both 4-0s.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On a lighter note

A few years ago, someone clipped an article from the Bridge Bulletin about the Cavendish pairs to show my grandmother. They knew she had a bridge-playing grandson named Weinstein. My grandmother was pretty with it, but past 90 and could be a little confused about things sometimes. Anyway, she showed me the article and said, "It's wonderful you won this tournament, but it's a terrible picture of you! And they got your name wrong, you're not Steve!"

Congratulations to *Steve* Weinstein and Bobby Levin for winning the Cavendish an ever-more-absurd number of times. And Steve shouldn't take offense about the "terrible picture"; in my grandmother's world, all her descendants should be models.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

USBC RR Format: Avoiding Sitouts

Hi all,

I'm planning to send this message to the USBF powers-that-be tomorrow. Any comments welcome.

I noticed that the current tentative schedule calls for RR1 to be 72 boards (81 appear on the schedule, but each team has a sitout for one of the nine 9-board matches.) Given that the conditions of contest call for “approximately 60 boards per day, erring on the low side,” 72 boards for a 1.5-day round-robin seems low. 10-board matches, 80 total, would be closer to ideal. One constraint which must be entering into this is that the sitout round takes time out of the day. With mostly 6-baggers, I doubt teams are clamoring for a sitout in the first stage. I want to suggest an 8-round movement without sitouts, which I have tried to design to function as smoothly as possible. (I did combinatorics research at one time and enjoy thinking about bridge movements. I hear there is a treatment for this.) The idea is that at any time you have 3 teams in a 3-way and the rest in 2-ways. Here is the movement:

Round 1: 1-2-3 4-8 5-7 6-9

Round 2: 1-2-3 4-9 5-8 6-7

Round 3: 4-5-6 1-8 2-7 3-9

Round 4: 4-5-6 1-9 2-8 3-7

Round 5: 7-8-9 1-5 2-4 3-6

Round 6: 7-8-9 1-6 2-5 3-4

Round 7: 1-4-7 2-6 3-8 5-9

Round 8: 1-4-7 2-9 3-5 6-8

1. Three-ways create a slight security issue, because boards are played out of order. But with only one in each division at a time, the 3-ways can all be put in closed rooms, with the NSs expected not to leave their room for the 2 rounds and the EWs monitored as they switch rooms. Substitutions between halves of a 3-way are problematic and should probably be prohibited.

2. I recommend no comparisons be allowed between rounds 7 and 8. Comparisons can be allowed after other odd rounds if the 3-way teams are sequestered. The only teams with 2 3-ways have their second one at the end, and they could complain if everyone but them knows where they stand after 7. It’s probably best regardless of the movement, anyway, to disallow comparisons just before the final round.

3. This movement makes it impossible for all teams to play identical boards, to a slightly greater extent than do sitouts. I have tried to mitigate this issue, but a 3-way inevitably requires 3 sets of boards, so one of these must differ from the 2 sets played during the 3-way by the rest of the field. This mean 4 of the 36 matches will involve “odd boards,” which seems minor. The movement uses 12 sets of boards, with 8 being used in 4 matches each and 4 in 1 match each. Any pair of teams will play 6/8 or 7/8 sets of boards in common, while in the sit-out movement it would be always 7/8.

I believe that under this movement, 10-board rounds can be played in a reasonable time-frame. Only the first day might be long, with 6 10-board sets, but eliminating breaks after odd rounds would deal with this and doesn’t seem too onerous; many tables finish early anyway. Teams could be told “You can compare after odd rounds, but there is no extra time allotted for this.” The second morning would be very quick, 20 boards with no break, allowing plenty of time to transition into RR2. RR2, with an even number of teams, and the KOs are boring for the movementologist, but who knows, the bridge might be interesting.