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German concession mid-segment

#121 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 17:52

mrdct, on Oct 15 2008, 06:40 PM, said:

If you sit down to play a session of bridge, regardless of how poorly things are going you have an obligation to complete that session.

You keep saying that, and I still don't know what makes it true other than because you say so. Everyone can easily be advised when the decision is made.
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#122 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:01

dburn, on Oct 15 2008, 06:09 PM, said:

mrdct, on Oct 15 2008, 04:52 PM, said:

I remain of the view that it is unsporting to give-up in the middle of a segment.

I'm not quite sure I understand this. To draw an analogy with another mind sport: you can resign in the middle of a chess game, can you not? No one would cast doubts on your sportsmanship for so doing, would they?

Not that I've ever played chess, but I believe the situation in a chess game is quite different. In chess a concession takes place when a player realise that the game has reached a point where it is inevitable that checkmate will ensue within a few moves. It happens frequently and is a completely normal means by which a chess game ends.

A concession in a chess game is more analagous to a defender of a bridge hand conceding the rest of the tricks when he realise that no matter what he or declarer does, declarer will win all the remaining tricks. It is quite a stretch to suggest that conceding a bridge match in the middle of a segment is the same thing.

In bridge, the established protocol is that when you sit down to play a session of bridge you finish the session. As I said before, I'm not aware of this sort of thing ever having happened before in a major tournament.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#123 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:11

mrdct, on Oct 15 2008, 06:01 PM, said:

dburn, on Oct 15 2008, 06:09 PM, said:

mrdct, on Oct 15 2008, 04:52 PM, said:

I remain of the view that it is unsporting to give-up in the middle of a segment.

I'm not quite sure I understand this. To draw an analogy with another mind sport: you can resign in the middle of a chess game, can you not? No one would cast doubts on your sportsmanship for so doing, would they?

Not that I've ever played chess, but I believe the situation in a chess game is quite different. In chess a concession takes place when a player realise that the game has reached a point where it is inevitable that checkmate will ensue within a few moves. It happens frequently and is a completely normal means by which a chess game ends.

Chess players resign much earlier than that.

Anyway, the situation in the match was quite unusual. The German team was down 90 IMPs with 16 boards to go. I didn't see the boards, but I suspect they knew that not all that much will have happened during the first few boards. Then Wladow-Elinescu started swinging more desperately, and it went wrong for 5 consecutive boards in a row. Even if their teammates were having an incredibly good session, they knew they were 120+ IMPs down with 8 boards to go. Everybody at the table knew England was going to win. Usually in bridge you can be pretty sure, but you never quite know with 100% certainty, there might be an outside chance of your teammates having a splendid session and you getting the better of a couple of grand slam swings to come.

This was different here.
Disclaimer: this post is not intended to offend anyone who spews constant drivel. --PhilKing
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#124 User is offline   dburn 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:15

NickRW, on Oct 15 2008, 05:53 PM, said:

Walddk, on Oct 15 2008, 01:23 PM, said:

There is no doubt in my mind that all commentators and spectators will agree that Wladow lost his temper at some point and bid like a lunatic.


From the fact that Wladow bid like a lunatic, nothing can be inferred about his temper. He bids like a lunatic anyway. But if he had not bid like an extremely successful lunatic in recent months, it is fair to say that the German Open team would not have won the honours it has gained both in the Mind Sports Games and the European Championships. Well it was said by the bard:

Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

Moreover, even if you do lose your temper and bid like a lunatic, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that in a knockout match. 999 times out of a thousand, you will be single-handedly responsible for losing the match by 200 IMPs instead of 100. But the one time in a thousand when your lunatic efforts pull out the match for your side... well, your team-mates will readily forgive you the other 999.

Surtout, pas trop de zele. To talk of libel actions in an affair such as this is... well, the word "lunatic" springs to mind. Du calme, mes enfants.

Per contra, to blame a man for going for 1400 in an effort to rescue a hopeless cause is seriously to misjudge the matter. Maybe, on the "most suspicious hand of all", Wladow hoped that his partner would pass out 4 doubled and that it would not make. I might have done the same, and after all, it wasn't the worst error committed by the German players (or the English players) in the course of the match - but no one is suggesting that they were trying to throw IMPs deliberately.

As I say, the matter seems to have been an entirely amicable one among the players and the officials involved. Why, then, all this talk of shame and disgrace among second- and third-hand spectators such as us? "Es irrt der Mensch, so lang er strebt", said another bard. He was writing long before people could watch other people striving and erring on BBO, but he'd have done what we all should do (Goethe's words adapted for the vegetarians among us):

Drob ärgert' sich der andre sehr,
Und wollte gar nichts hören mehr,
Und sagt': es wüßte ein jedes Kind,
Daß im Gesetzbuch anders stünd'.
Und ich behaglich unterdessen
Hätt' einen Kürbis aufgefressen.
When Senators have had their sport
And sealed the Law by vote,
It little matters what they thought -
We hang for what they wrote.
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#125 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:16

655321, on Oct 15 2008, 11:43 PM, said:

At least your 6 posts in this thread have taught Roland a sharp lesson for daring to criticize a weak NT with 4cM.

Well, Roland did post that Acol is dead in another thread in quite a contemptuous manner - and now we see England have taken at least a silver medal in three of the six sections - including in the open with 2 of the 3 pairs playing 4 card majors.

Self evidently 4 card majors are playable even at the highest level and I never particularly beat a drum for the weak NT at the IMP game anyway - I doubt that many Acol die hards would either - or certainly not when vulnerable. So, perhaps it is not so much a question of me teaching Roland a lesson as sour grapes on Roland's part - maybe. Either way I am glad that England have done very well and I do not take kindly to Roland making intemperate remarks about our opponents which only served to mar our achievement and put our gallant opponents in a needless bad light.

Nick
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#126 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:17

I was pleased to see the facts as they were presented, at long last, and just as pleased to see Roland's gracious apology. I read the entire thread in sequence and was surprised to see Roland's initial posts, but then I read the post about his likely lack of sleep, and I think that we should all cut him some slack.

As for the underlying issue, I think that it is idiotic to require that contestants continue to play out a match under hopeless conditions.

The Bermuda Bowl held in Bermuda in early 2000 had, as a condition of contest, that a team could not concede the Finals, no matter what the score was. Brazil was slaughtered by the US.... the match was effectively over after about 1/4 of the boards, if memory serves... and out of any semblance of realistic hope many, many boards before the boring, anti-climatic end.

I remember feeling badly for the Brazilians. They had no hope. They were playing badly (by their own standards... they had played magnificently to reach the Finals), against a great team in peak form. The last 32 boards must have been torment for them.

Had the German pair simply thrown up their hands and walked out, that would have been, imo, a reason for them to be disciplined (but hardly by banning them from play!), and an apology would have to be demanded.

But as it is, they appear to have acted entirely properly, and, indeed, I see their conduct as being sporting... it is customary to concede once victory has become effectively impossible.

This would be so even if they did not have another match to play the next day. As it was, with the consolation match they were facing, it was prudent to stop the beating they were absorbing.

I think they deserve our respect for having done far better at the tournament than 99% of forum readers will ever do/have ever done, and our sympathies for the predicament in which they found themselves.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#127 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:26

Quote

Not that I've ever played chess, but I believe the situation in a chess game is quite different. In chess a concession takes place when a player realise that the game has reached a point where it is inevitable that checkmate will ensue within a few moves.


In chess a concession takes place when a player realizes that his or her position is such that it is inevitable that he or she will lose. This may happen a few moves before checkmate, it may happen early in the game. It is up to the player.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#128 User is offline   smiffy 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:28

I don't see a (close) analogy to chess either. In chess you are usually able to see whether you still have a chance to win (or draw) or not. This - due to factor of randomness - is not the case in bridge.
What bothers me a little: Bridge as it is played here is a team game. While Dr. Vladow made his wild swing attempts his team mates at the other table may have played sound and winning bridge. Of course he knew that this was not going to suffice but one might still wish for a different behaviour on his part. On the other hand, one can easily imagine that this was the agreed strategy after the 5th segment. If it was not though, I'm quite sure his actions did not earn him very much respect with his team-mates.
Also i wonder whether his team-mates have been informed about their withdrawal and offered the chance to do likewise.

Personally i can very much understand the notion to just give up. The case was hopeless and the last boards must have been terribly depressing. I actually think there is a proper way to "throw the towel" in such a situation. Ask the opps, ask the TD, ask the team-mates, ask the captain, say thank you, congratulate opps and head to the bar. If it was done in such a way i see not reason that speaks against it, even if it has been without precedence.
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#129 User is offline   Cascade 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:28

han, on Oct 16 2008, 12:26 PM, said:

Quote

Not that I've ever played chess, but I believe the situation in a chess game is quite different. In chess a concession takes place when a player realise that the game has reached a point where it is inevitable that checkmate will ensue within a few moves.


In chess a concession takes place when a player realizes that his or her position is such that it is inevitable that he or she will lose. This may happen a few moves before checkmate, it may happen early in the game. It is up to the player.

In chess you can see all of the pieces.
Wayne Burrows

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dunno how to play 4 card majors - JLOGIC
True but I know Standard American and what better reason could I have for playing Precision? - Hideous Hog

#130 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:36

Yes, are you suggesting that the German player had no way to know if the match was over or not? Does it seem like the players at the other table are complaining about this? If they are not complaining, why would anybody else?
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#131 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:43

Quote

Well, Roland did post that Acol is dead in another thread in quite a contemptuous manner - and now we see England have taken at least a silver medal in three of the six sections - including in the open with 2 of the 3 pairs playing 4 card majors.


You don't want to know those four players' opinion of weak NT and four-card majors...at any form of scoring :P
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#132 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 18:52

NickRW, on Oct 15 2008, 07:16 PM, said:

I do not take kindly to Roland making intemperate remarks about our opponents which only served to mar our achievement and put our gallant opponents in a needless bad light.

Nick

But you have put yourself in a wonderful light by lambasting him THREE times AFTER he made an apology more gracious than almost anyone else in his position probably would have.

GET OVER IT
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#133 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 19:10

smiffy, on Oct 15 2008, 07:28 PM, said:

Personally i can very much understand the notion to just give up. The case was hopeless and the last boards must have been terribly depressing. I actually think there is a proper way to "throw the towel" in such a situation. Ask the opps, ask the TD, ask the team-mates, ask the captain, say thank you, congratulate opps and head to the bar. If it was done in such a way i see not reason that speaks against it, even if it has been without precedence.

It obviously wouldn't be possible to confer with one's teammates about a mid-segment concession as you would be conveying unauthorised information that things have been going poorly at the other table.

Bridge has an established process in place for knock-out matches to be conceded between segments. An established and accepted process for mid-segment concessions does not exist and I don't believe the sport needs one.

What bridge does need, however, is unambiguous guidance in Conditions of Contest as to how these sort of situations are to be managed; and in my humble opinion a segment that has commenced should always be played out unless there is some sort of medical issue.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#134 User is offline   NickRW 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 19:43

MickyB, on Oct 16 2008, 12:43 AM, said:

You don't want to know those four players' opinion of weak NT and four-card majors...at any form of scoring :P

Did I say I don't want to hear any of, say, David Gold's opinions?

Also, you're not the only person to keep on mentioning weak NT and four card majors in the same sentence as if I regard the two as inseparable - or that they are somehow inherently inseparable in Acol - or that Acol is the only system in existence to ever use either of these features. Either I will have to express myself more verbosely (but will anyone even read it) or you and others haven't read my comments properly.

Nick
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#135 User is offline   Cascade 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 19:48

han, on Oct 16 2008, 12:36 PM, said:

Yes, are you suggesting that the German player had no way to know if the match was over or not? Does it seem like the players at the other table are complaining about this? If they are not complaining, why would anybody else?

It is unlikely that the match is still live but it is possible.

I went back to the score-up in a knockout match recently when we were behind going into the last segment and said to our teammates "I don't think we have a winning score-card" but teammates had had an amazing set.

Many other times I can recall our "disaster" being a pick-up. Sure it does not always happen but it could happen.

A problem with a concession in the middle of a segment is that you do not know what has happened at the other table.

Lets say you try to concede but your captain says play on - you may well have extraneous information now that you still have some chance.
Wayne Burrows

I believe that the USA currently hold only the World Championship For People Who Still Bid Like Your Auntie Gladys - dburn
dunno how to play 4 card majors - JLOGIC
True but I know Standard American and what better reason could I have for playing Precision? - Hideous Hog

#136 User is offline   dburn 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 20:00

NickRW, on Oct 15 2008, 08:43 PM, said:

Either I will have to express myself more verbosely

As to the prospect of listening to that, the words of the Dies Irae (an early, but still the finest, manual for tournament directors) spring irrerpressibly to mind:

Rex tremendae maiestatis
Qui salvandos salvas gratis
Salva me fons pietatis.
When Senators have had their sport
And sealed the Law by vote,
It little matters what they thought -
We hang for what they wrote.
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#137 User is offline   dburn 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 20:15

Cascade, on Oct 15 2008, 08:48 PM, said:

Let's say you try to concede but your captain says play on - you may well have extraneous information now that you still have some chance.

If you try to concede, you have succeeded in conceding (and if you are a man of breeding, you conceded because you needed feeding; if you concede unheeding when your team-mates would have pleaded with you to proceed unimpeded, a doctor may staunch the bleeding).

But the nitwits who continue to condemn the Germans are kicking field goals by moonlight. Maybe, unlike the Germans, they don't know when to give up.
When Senators have had their sport
And sealed the Law by vote,
It little matters what they thought -
We hang for what they wrote.
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#138 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 21:15

The match you won when your teammates had an amazing set, did you go into the last 16 boards down 60 IMPs and did your attempts at swinging result in 1100, 1400 and 1400 on consecutive boards? Get real.

[edit: this was a reaction to Cascade's post]
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#139 User is offline   jikl 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 21:23

The TD is very much at fault here. The fact that the team captain was sent for is disconcerting. In this case it would seem to be irrelevant but let's consider precedent with the following 3 scenarios:

1) Pair 1 want to concede and the director accepts concession
This is obviously worst scenario as noone is consulted. (However this might later prove to be best scenario)

2) Pair 1 want to concede and the director summons team captain
This becomes more complicated, does the captain have knowledge of boards played in the other room via onsite or online vugraph, was the team captain kibitzing the other room? Now, whenever it is known the team captain was summoned whenever the answer was known there is HUGE UI. Therefore this is not an acceptable course of action. With precedent this could be used to see how "the swinging" is going on the first 1/2 of the boards and what action needed to be taken for the latter ones by an unscrupulous team.

3) Pair 1 wants to concede and the director talks to the other pair
This one is worse than talking to the team captain for UI. This option would never happen as it means the match can no longer be finished.

This doesn't leave us with many options, only the 1st option that when one pair concedes, the whole team does so. The fact that there is a match on the next day for a bronze medal makes it even more problematic. Once there is no chance of playing for the gold or silver, is it not their duty to be best prepared to play for the bronze? Should there be 2 bronze medals as there are in some sports to avoid this problem? (Not at Olympic level that I can think of) Who knows?

Personally I am guessing there might be new a CoC clause after this, if there isn't then so be it. The German team have given themselves the best chance of being ready for the bronze medal playoff by resting themselves before the match. In some ways isn't this what they should be doing?

Sean
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#140 User is offline   nickf 

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Posted 2008-October-15, 21:31

jikl, on Oct 16 2008, 01:23 PM, said:

Should there be 2 bronze medals as there are in some sports to avoid this problem? (Not at Olympic level that I can think of) Who knows?

Boxing for sure. Maybe other contact sports in the OG.

nickf
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