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Irritating know it alls

#1 User is offline   euclidz 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 04:20

I have played a lot of Club Bridge over a lot of years in the UK and other countries and learned early on that there is an abnormally high percentage of people playing Bridge with an over inflated belief in their competence and an arrogant disdain for the competence of others. Since Covid I have played a LOT of Bridge on BBO with a LOT of different people and what p***s me off most are those people playing a system which someone has ‘tweaked’. There are numerous established systems invented by brilliant people but some of those people identified above think they know better and ‘tweak’ that system a bit. That’s OK but then they will ‘teach’ others their version of that system and then those people join me on BBO and want me to play their ‘tweaked’ version of that system AND they don’t know that their version of that system has been ‘tweaked’ by a sophomanic they think it’s the authentic version. IRRITATING.
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 04:44

The real problem here is that they have only played the tweaked version, and have no understanding how to play the basic system.

I've played a weird version of Acol with my main partner for so long now that I've lost touch with how to bid some of the hand types we cater for with system in basic Acol.
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#3 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 07:42

I'm only surprised that you are surprised :)

Clubs are full of little systemic cliques where someone has read the latest article from Robson/Forrester/Townsend/Pottage and something takes their fancy; it becomes adopted by their clique and becomes one of the club standards. Sadly it is only the person who has read the original article who knows it all and the rest learn from Chinese whispers. Even this person just adopts what is written without considering how it fits into their methods.

This is why those at my club who play Crowhurst don't know what 1-1-1NT-3 means. It just doesn't exist, you have to bid 2.

It is similar on BBO.

Another issue is that there are very few systems that are well defined and even fewer people who have read the definitions of those that are. How many people playing SAYC know what 1-2NT means? Which version of Polish Club is being used? Acol is very poorly defined unless you were taught Standard English and, even then, it is likely that your new partner learned to play well before then and has never heard of Standard English.

In the UK, it is very common for a pair to say that they are playing "Benjy Acol". What they mean is that they are playing 2 are a strong single-suited hand with eight playing tricks, 2 is a game forcing hand and weak twos in the majors. They often do not mean that they are playing a weak no trump and four-card majors, so when they alert one club as "showing 2+" it can be a surprise.

But, in the end, are they not just being bridge players?
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#4 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 08:25

View Postpaulg, on 2021-August-07, 07:42, said:

I'm only surprised that you are surprised :)

Clubs are full of little systemic cliques where someone has read the latest article from Robson/Forrester/Townsend/Pottage and something takes their fancy; it becomes adopted by their clique and becomes one of the club standards. Sadly it is only the person who has read the original article who knows it all and the rest learn from Chinese whispers. Even this person just adopts what is written without considering how it fits into their methods.

This is why those at my club who play Crowhurst don't know what 1-1-1NT-3 means. It just doesn't exist, you have to bid 2.



And it varies slightly most people agree 1-1-1N-2-2-3 is forcing, but whether a direct 3 is "I have a 4xx6 5 count, please pass" or whether it's invitational opposite 15-17/18 is a matter of agreement, we play 15-bad 19 so hands where you'd want to ask partner to pass are few and far between, so it's at least semi invitational.
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#5 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 08:48

Players are reluctant to comply with current disclosure regulations and regulators take no serious interest in enforcing them.

The WBF and NBOs publish tomes about disclosure. Unfortunately, as usual, the regulations are unnecessarily fragmented, subjective, and sophisticated. The WBF publishes a useful

Guide to the WBF SC. With many sensible suggestions. Unless you use a convention in its original form. you are meant to name it in quotes. But to be of any practical use, the WBF should refer to a specific set of simple definitions for basic common conventions like "Stayman", "Lebensohl", etc. e.g.

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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 09:29

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-07, 08:48, said:

The WBF publishes a useful

Guide to the WBF SC. With many sensible suggestions. Unless you use a convention in its original form. you are meant to name it in quotes. But to be of any practical use, the WBF should refer to a specific set of simple definitions for basic common conventions like "Stayman", "Lebensohl", etc. e.g.


I think this is a great document, clear and practical, yet leaving little space for elusion: no wonder so many players are reluctant to follow it.
I had forgotten that it provides standard abbreviations, now I have to clean up my own system notes and cards (TRF not TRNSF, etc.).
[as an amusing side note, a BBO Director recently chided me about the use of "ART INV" in explanation]
Not sure I agree that it should refer to a specific set of simple definitions for basic common conventions, if by that you mean "choose one of these standard versions and you don't need to describe further". Assuming there is any kind of standard is unrealistic in my experience and the same pithole that so many national rules fall into. I would prefer to see just a few example definitions which the player could copy and modify or use as a stye guide (maybe that's what you meant in the first place, certainly in line with the spirit of the Guide).
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#7 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 10:10

there is no wrong 'tweaking' ( a new word for me) a system. the first precision system had a forcing stayman 2 bid, not a transfer. transfer bids over 1NT were first used in the 1950s by Olle Willner of my country, and then made popular by Oswald Jacoby. Wei precision came out in 1969. how many precision players play forcing stayman now: my guess 0% how many play transfers: my guess 100%. we all 'tweak' - change - bridge systems. that is how they 'evolve'. the good will be kept and the bad will be discarded.

what is an authentic bridge system? I know a little about Acol bidding: it began as 4M, now many players play 5M as standard. if that is not 'tweaking' then what is?
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#8 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 10:14

View Postpescetom, on 2021-August-07, 09:29, said:

Not sure I agree that it should refer to a specific set of simple definitions for basic common conventions, if by that you mean "choose one of these standard versions and you don't need to describe further". Assuming there is any kind of standard is unrealistic in my experience and the same pithole that so many national rules fall into. I would prefer to see just a few example definitions which the player could copy and modify or use as a stye guide (maybe that's what you meant in the first place, certainly in line with the spirit of the Guide).
Good. I'm glad we disagree about something :)
Bridge abbreviations like "Lebensohl" are virtually useless without a common agreed definition. For popular conventions, regulators, preferably the WBF, should specify a standard version. Some players would find it convenient to adopt such a standard when agreeing a system. Minor modifications could be explained more quickly. Disclosure would more accurate.
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#9 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 10:15

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-07, 08:48, said:

Unless you use a convention in its original form. you are meant to name it in quotes. But to be of any practical use, the WBF should refer to a specific set of simple definitions for basic common conventions like "Stayman", "Lebensohl", etc.

nige1's "Unless you use a convention in its original form. you are meant to name it in quotes." is advice from the 1999 edition of the WBF Guide to Completion of the WBF System Card, which incorporated the WBF Conventions Booklet with definitions.

However it is not valid with the current version, where the use of conventional names is to be avoided. Instead of using conventional names, you should define what we you are playing (except for STAYMAN, as this has its own approved abbreviation although no description).


The current version of the WBF Guide to Completion of the WBF System Card, at 14 pages, is a mere pamphlet compared to the 78-page version from February 1999 which incorporated the WBF Conventions Booklet.
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#10 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 10:20

I have a related irritation. My complaint is with players who have learnt conventions off the internet, which are not a fit with their basic system. As an Acol player, I find players who want to play Acol, with Bergen raises, Flannery, Support Doubles, a forcing 1NT response etc. These might be great conventions in the context of a Strong NT and Five-card Major system, but are much less useful in an Acol context.
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#11 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 10:22

View Postpaulg, on 2021-August-07, 10:15, said:

nige1's "Unless you use a convention in its original form. you are meant to name it in quotes." is advice from the 1999 edition of the WBF Guide to Completion of the WBF System Card, which incorporated the WBF Conventions Booklet with definitions.

However it is not valid with the current version, where the use of conventional names is to be avoided. Instead of using conventional names, you should define what we you are playing (except for STAYMAN, as this has its own approved abbreviation although no description).


The current version of the WBF Guide to Completion of the WBF System Card, at 14 pages, is a mere pamphlet compared to the 78-page version from February 1999 which incorporated the WBF Conventions Booklet.

Thank you Paul :)
News to me :(
Pescetom probably agrees with PaulG and the recommendations in official up-to-date WBF version :)
A retrograde step IMO :(



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#12 User is offline   armantt2k 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 10:47

View Posteuclidz, on 2021-August-07, 04:20, said:

I have played a lot of Club Bridge over a lot of years in the UK and other countries and learned early on that there is an abnormally high percentage of people playing Bridge with an over inflated belief in their competence and an arrogant disdain for the competence of others. Since Covid I have played a LOT of Bridge on BBO with a LOT of different people and what p***s me off most are those people playing a system which someone has ‘tweaked’. There are numerous established systems invented by brilliant people but some of those people identified above think they know better and ‘tweak’ that system a bit. That’s OK but then they will ‘teach’ others their version of that system and then those people join me on BBO and want me to play their ‘tweaked’ version of that system AND they don’t know that their version of that system has been ‘tweaked’ by a sophomanic they think it’s the authentic version. IRRITATING.


I've got 3 or 4 books on 2Over1 and I have watched many YouTube videos and even paid for online lessons from different Experts. All of them say what they are teaching is 2Over1, but I've noticed they all differ slightly in one or another particular sub-topic or area. A few (but not many) of them explain that there other methods to evaluate a hand, or other point-count ranges, to use when choosing a bid.

I've come to the conclusion that there is no ONE OFFICIAL 2Over1 System, and I pretty sure the same is true of ACOL, Precision, or any other named bidding system.

When paired with a new partner, I focus on the big stuff - 2Over1 or SAYC? Can your 1NT(15-17) have a 5card Major? Stayman & Jacoby Transfers? Defense over 1NT? Do you play 1430 or 3014? What responses to Strong 2C? Support X? Negative X? If we can agree on those, we can enjoy playing together and laugh at any confusion that comes up otherwise.
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#13 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 15:49

View PostTramticket, on 2021-August-07, 10:20, said:

I have a related irritation. My complaint is with players who have learnt conventions off the internet, which are not a fit with their basic system. As an Acol player, I find players who want to play Acol, with Bergen raises, Flannery, Support Doubles, a forcing 1NT response etc. These might be great conventions in the context of a Strong NT and Five-card Major system, but are much less useful in an Acol context.


I can understand this up to a point, but I still welcome the proliferation of internet definitions of conventions.
This makes it easier to learn bridge and to defend oneself against "tweaked" versions proferred by partners and incompetent teachers B-)

There is also the other side of the coin, the majority of new players who are interested in a Strong NT 2/1 Five-card Major system may be frustrated that some internet definitions (in particular in wikipedia) are complicated by reference to Acol or other legacy systems.
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2021-August-07, 16:24

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-07, 10:22, said:

Thank you Paul :)
News to me :(
Pescetom probably agrees with PaulG and the recommendations in official up-to-date WBF version :)
A retrograde step IMO :(


I only read the "up-to-date" 14 page document, I wasn't playing bridge when the other tome was written (please link it if possible).
I think we both agree that one can usefully copy a "standard" definition and modify it to reflect our actual agreements, respecting style and using the same language :)

You mention as an example Lebensohl, which is simpler and more standardized than most, but also applicable (and different) in several situations.
The Guide also has abbreviations for Blackwood, Checkback, Stayman, Roman Keycard Blackwood, Unusual No Trump, to name a few.
It is missing important ones like Michaels and XYZ, but includes some obsolete stuff like Keycard Blackwood.

But my real doubt is about how many will play any given "standard" definition exactly: near zero I imagine, unless the rules concede some advantage for doing so, and even that is not a healthy situation IMO. I don't know anyone who do does not play some kind of "Stayman", but I don't know anyone who plays it exactly like we do and very few who play it exactly like some other pair does. Does responder guarantee any strength, or a major? Can opener reply 2NT or higher and what does that mean? Does a reply of 2 show 4 cards, 4 cards denying spades, 5 cards? If it showed 4 cards not denying spades, is 2 now forcing? We are still on the first page of any such definition and the pairs I know are already all over the place.
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#15 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-August-08, 01:49

View Postnige1, on 2021-August-07, 10:22, said:

Thank you Paul :)
News to me :(
Pescetom probably agrees with PaulG and the recommendations in official up-to-date WBF version :)
A retrograde step IMO :(

As someone who frequently asks for the bridge authorities to simply the regulations and make them more accessible, I'm disappointed by this view.

The WBF has reduced a document from 78 pages to 14 and improved disclosure, yet you complain!

However, even though you had have to submit a WBF system card, it seems like you have not read the simpler regulations you were given. Looking at your system card, even though you espouse full disclosure it is clear that you do not believe in practising it yourself.
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#16 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-August-08, 03:21

One of my oddest disclosure experiences of this type is where LHO opens 2, I look at the convention card and it says benji acol at the top so I look no further and we get into the auction, I alert partner's bids assuming this is a strong bid. Partner has read the whole convention card and knows that their version of "benji" contains a weak 2 in diamonds as a possibility in 2. Our defence is completely different in this case. I think opps felt guilty about it as the let partner get away with passing what blatantly should have been a forcing bid from me.
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#17 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-August-08, 04:54

The first issue raised is that players overestimate their level of competence.
Endless social psychology studies have revealed that people from all walks of life think they are better than average at anything they tackle.
Which is, of course, not possible.


This is a very well-studied phenomenon - the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect.
Simons DJ (Psychon Bull Rev (2013) 20:601–607 - http://bit.ly/OptimisticBridgePlayers
DOI 10.3758/s13423-013-0379-2)
reported that:

Quote

Abstract
Those who are less skilled tend to overestimate their abilities more than do those who are more skilled—the so-called Dunning–Kruger effect. Less-skilled performers presumably have less of the knowledge needed to make informed guesses about their relative performance. If so, the Dunning–Kruger effect should vanish when participants do have access to information about their relative ability and performance. Competitive bridge players predicted their results for bridge sessions before playing and received feedback about their actual performance following each session.
Despite knowing their own relative skill and showing unbiased memory for their performance, they made overconfident predictions consistent with a Dunning–Kruger effect.
This bias persisted even though players received accurate feedback about their predictions after each session. The finding of a Dunning–Kruger effect despite knowledge of relative ability suggests that differential self-knowledge is
not a necessary precondition for the Dunning–Kruger effect.
At least in some cases, the effect might reflect a different form of irrational optimism.


The author is careful to differentiate between the delusion of being an expert (the original and possibly artifactual) DKE and optimism.

I suspect that it is possible to be simultaneously optimistic and obnoxious. Two traits common in competitive sports; Bridge is no exception.

The data for this study was collected from players at the Champaign Illinois Bridge club. I suppose this cohort may be more optimistic than players elsewhere, but I doubt it.

Regarding the idea that there is a single 'true' way to bid - because a 'brilliant person' said so - this seems hard to believe and would surely suck the fun from the game.
Even in the UK, almost nobody (outside the BBC) speaks with the "received pronunciation".
The implication is that there is a "received bidding system". I'm quite new to the game but it seems unlikely on the face of it.




non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#18 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-August-08, 06:34

Hi Pilowsky, the BBC gave up on "received pronunciation" quite a while ago. Even the Queen has moved downmarket if you listen to a recent speech against her "strengilated viles"* in the 1950s.

* phonetic attempt at strangulated vowels
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#19 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-August-08, 15:23

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-August-08, 06:34, said:

Hi Pilowsky, the BBC gave up on "received pronunciation" quite a while ago. Even the Queen has moved downmarket if you listen to a recent speech against her "strengilated viles"* in the 1950s.

* phonetic attempt at strangulated vowels


So, an even rarer bird then.
I'm reminded of the method used to narrow down the whereabouts of Peter Sutcliffe from the audiotapes that he sent to taunt "the Force".
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#20 User is offline   morecharac 

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Posted 2021-August-09, 05:18

So many of these know-it-alls wait until they know BBO will whisk them away before making some damfool pronouncement.

One recent example criticised our use of "bad 18" in our 1NT range because he claimed that meant something heavy on QJ. We play it as the sort of lousy simple LTC special that comes up on BBO without regard to probability. Try as I might I can't construct a QJ-heavy 18 HCP that comes up worse than 6 LTC without a lot of fine-tuning LTC; I have seen a few A and K heavy 18s that come up at 8 LTC, but only on BBO.

I'll take KQJ KQJ QJ QJ over Ax Ax AQ KJ any day when deciding whether to open a suit instead of NT.
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