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Fargo season 3 - featuring bridge

#1 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-April-14, 16:48

I was looking up upcoming episodes of Fargo since the new season starts next week, and was stunned by the first two episode titles: "The Law of Vacant Places", and "The Principle of Restricted Choice".
Synopsis of season 3: "murder, mobsters, and cut-throat competitive bridge"!! Hope they do our game justice.
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#2 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-April-15, 05:07

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-April-14, 16:48, said:

I was looking up upcoming episodes of Fargo since the new season starts next week, and was stunned by the first two episode titles: "The Law of Vacant Places", and "The Principle of Restricted Choice".
Synopsis of season 3: "murder, mobsters, and cut-throat competitive bridge"!! Hope they do our game justice.


I will look forward to a suicide squeeze.
Ken
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#3 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-15, 14:41

Only the first 7 episode titles are listed in Wikipedia. None of the others are bridge terms (AFAIK), but maybe we should come up with bridge meanings for them. They are:

The Law of Non-Contradiction
The Narrow Escape Problem
The House of Special Purpose
The Lord of No Mercy
The Law of Inevitability

#4 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2017-April-15, 17:09

The Law of Non-Contradiction - Partner is Always Right
The Narrow Escape Problem - The Tricky Squeeze
The Lord of No Mercy - The Secretary Bird
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#5 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2017-April-16, 00:28

I find, sadly, that many TV programme makers, and even some fictional authors, do not give intellectual pursuits like bridge and chess justice. There's invariably something where I am watching or reading and thinking 'That's rubbish'. Or 'That's wrong'.

Without naming names, long ago one bestselling British author wrote a short story about chess. It seemed farcical, too far-fetched. I gave it to my son who was, at the time, an avid chess player to read.

His words: 'Totally ludicrous!' What happened next was even more extraordinary. My son was so annoyed he penned a letter to the publishers pointing out all the inaccuracies to which he eventually received a sheepish reply.
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#6 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-16, 14:37

View PostFelicityR, on 2017-April-16, 00:28, said:

I find, sadly, that many TV programme makers, and even some fictional authors, do not give intellectual pursuits like bridge and chess justice. There's invariably something where I am watching or reading and thinking 'That's rubbish'. Or 'That's wrong'.

To be fair, this isn't only true of intellectual pursuits. TV shows generally don't get the details of anything right. Even if they're central to the plots -- most of the forensic abilities on CSI-type shows are way more advanced than in real life (e.g. getting DNA analysis takes weeks, and that's only if it's a priority -- most DNA labs have years of backlogs)

#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-19, 13:32

OK, so there appears to be a reason why these bridge terms are in the episode titles. The main character played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who was a pleasure to watch in last summer's "Brain Dead") is described as

Quote

a crafty and alluring recent parolee with a passion for competitive bridge playing. Nikki is a woman with a plan, focused on always being at least one move ahead of her opponents.


It starts tonight, so we'll see how much they butcher the game.

#8 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 09:13

About 5 minutes of the show last night was Nikki and her boyfriend/parole officer Ray Stussy (one of the two brothers played by Ewan McGregor) at a regional tournament. They arrived at the entry-selling desk, then went to their table, then there was a montage of players opening bidding boxes, dealing cards, and playing. You couldn't really tell what the auctions and play were like, but they got the basic mechanics right. In particular, when they showed a table with a bunch of quitted tricks, they made sure that everyone's cards were pointing the same directions.

So it seems like there's someone who knows a little about duplicate bridge on staff. The only thing that seemed a little off was when they got home they talked about being "3rd runner-up" and it being like being a bronze medalist in the Olympics. I've never heard any bridge player refer to places like that. And unless it's a strong field that you're out of your depth in, no one celebrates coming in 3rd.

But Fargo characters are supposed to be quirky, so I'll let that go.

#9 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 11:37

Found this in the ew.com interview with the showrunner.

Quote

Speaking of Swango, youíre adding competitive bridge as an element this year, which isnít something you often see in movies or TV; itís not a game thatís so common that the audience can follow along while watching like they can with poker or blackjack.
Yeah, Iím bringing postage stamps and bridge back. To the degree thereís any nod to The Big Lebowski in this season, I like the idea that bridge, like bowling, is an out-of-time, forgotten game with archaic rules and leagues. Itís also a game played by people around the country. Itís not sophisticated culturally, but it is very common. The more I looked into it, the more I realized itís a hugely strategic game with [635,013,559,600] possible deals, and [players] use probability matrixes the way they do in quantum mechanics. Itís a hugely complicated game. And I wanted Ray and Nikki to have something positive they were working toward as a goal, and I liked that Nikki was the strategist and heís a strong support player, but heís not the brains of the operation. So it allows her to be a strategist the way a chess player is a strategist ó which will come in handy for her later on.


OK, how many of you use probability matrixes like quantum physicists do?

#10 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-April-20, 20:48

I noticed that the dummy was spread after the opening lead hit the table so they mad some effort to get basic features.right. Otoh, Nikki had to tell Ray that he was the dummy and he seemed a bit confused over that.

The bridge is ok, but I can't say that it lends much to the story. So far at least.

We will see how it goes. I think the less said about any connection with quantum mechanics the better.
Ken
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#11 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-21, 10:16

View Postkenberg, on 2017-April-20, 20:48, said:

I noticed that the dummy was spread after the opening lead hit the table so they mad some effort to get basic features.right. Otoh, Nikki had to tell Ray that he was the dummy and he seemed a bit confused over that.

I think Ray is more of a novice, so he needed to be reminded. I've also seen things like that happen a number of time, when dummy is distracted.

#12 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-April-21, 11:16

View Postbarmar, on 2017-April-21, 10:16, said:

I think Ray is more of a novice, so he needed to be reminded. I've also seen things like that happen a number of time, when dummy is distracted.


Certainly Ray is portrayed as more than a little slow on the uptake, such as when Nikki distracts Maurice by getting ouy of the tub and then has to say "Ray, the gun". So yes, he might have to be told to spread the cards.

Which gets to how seriously we are to take this earlier talk of Nikki's about how they can make the really big bucks as bridge pros. Maybe we could have a guest appearance where Jimmy Cayne interviews them to see if he wants them on his team.

This is, of course, produced or whatever by the Coen brothers so highly quirky logic is to be expected. I have mixed feelings about their work. I really liked the movie Fargo. I largely like the tv series. I saw A Serious Man the ther night and while it had its points, when it finished I had no feeling of wishing it was longer. I read that EW article you linked to and I thought the "showrunner". a term I never heard before, sounded a bit dippy. But it was EW, so ....
Ken
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#13 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2017-April-21, 15:18

Ray was distracted looking at his cell phone, I think that was just used as an opportunity for Nikki to call him "dummy" with the double meaning.

Seemed completely unrealistic talking about getting noticed and going pro for getting like top 3 in a regional mixed pairs, a nothing event. But supposedly she is on parole, can't leave the state and it probably doesn't fit the story for them to go to an NABC for a week.

The Coen brothers have zilch to do with the TV show, it's all under control of Noah Hawley the showrunner. He wanted to do a series inspired by the film and they just signed off on it, no real involvement by the brothers.
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#14 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-23, 09:54

View PostStephen Tu, on 2017-April-21, 15:18, said:

The Coen brothers have zilch to do with the TV show, it's all under control of Noah Hawley the showrunner. He wanted to do a series inspired by the film and they just signed off on it, no real involvement by the brothers.

But from what I've read, they're pleased with what Hawley has done with it -- it's very consistent with what they did in the original movie. They're listed as Executive Producers, and not at all unhappy to have their names associated with it.

#15 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2017-April-24, 04:02

View Postbarmar, on 2017-April-20, 11:37, said:

OK, how many of you use probability matrixes like quantum physicists do?

I think this was covered in my first bridge lesson, but I couldn't really follow the quantum mechanics so I've never been able to apply it properly.....
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#16 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2017-April-24, 06:50

View PostWellSpyder, on 2017-April-24, 04:02, said:

I think this was covered in my first bridge lesson, but I couldn't really follow the quantum mechanics so I've never been able to apply it properly.....

Might it have something to do with the superposition of states and Schrodinger's Queen? (If you don't take the finesse, the Q was onside, if you do, it was offside....etc.)
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-24, 10:03

View PostAl_U_Card, on 2017-April-24, 06:50, said:

Might it have something to do with the superposition of states and Schrodinger's Queen? (If you don't take the finesse, the Q was onside, if you do, it was offside....etc.)

My partner refers to this as the quantum theory of bridge. But he usually applies it to bidding, not play: if the slam requires the normal 8-ever, 9-never play, it will be wrong if you bid the slam, right if you stop short.

Roland Voigt has several BW threads that seem to be about "probability matrixes", so I guess someone does use them.
http://bridgewinners...e/roland-voigt/

#18 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2017-April-24, 10:40

I have done some quantum physics and I've never used any probability matrices, let alone matrixes. I suppose the density matrix has a lot to do with probabilities, but nobody would call it a probability matrix.

edit: OK I guess the Pauli matrices are kind of close, although in this sense they would just be a glorified coin toss.
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#19 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-April-25, 08:45

I think it's likely that Hawley knows even less about quantum mechanics than he does about bridge.

#20 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2017-April-26, 05:50

View Postbarmar, on 2017-April-25, 08:45, said:

I think it's likely that Hawley knows even less about quantum mechanics than he does about bridge.

I'm pretty sure that's correct! I was mainly complaining about the plural of "matrix", and that actually bridge players are more likely to use "probability matrices" than quantum physicists. After all, even if you call some quantity a probability matrix in quantum physics, in practice the quantum physicist would be safely removed from it (it would be deep in some computer algorithm).
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