BBO Discussion Forums: Quality of declarer play - BBO Discussion Forums

Jump to content

  • 6 Pages +
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Quality of declarer play

#1 User is offline   gwnn 

  • Csaba the Hutt
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 12,898
  • Joined: 2006-June-16
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:matching LaTeX delimiters :(

Posted 2010-April-08, 03:48

From the 3NT vs 4M thread (more specifically from the Stern letter, he discusses that the requirements to be in game have been going down):

Quote

But over the years a few things have happened to lower these benchmarks. The most important is that the quality of declarer play has improved dramatically,(...)

Is this true? I haven't been around in the 60's but were those people really that much worse declarers? I always thought that the main differences between the games were more effective bidding and superior stamina. Is there truth to this?
... and I can prove it with my usual, flawless logic.
      George Carlin
0

#2 User is offline   the hog 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 10,610
  • Joined: 2003-March-07
  • Location:Laos
  • Interests:Wagner and Bridge

Posted 2010-April-08, 03:56

I doubt that this is correct. I would certainly say that the quality of bidding has improved markedly, (and certainly stamina).
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
0

#3 User is offline   gnasher 

  • Andy Bowles
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 11,993
  • Joined: 2007-May-03
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 2010-April-08, 04:29

Perhaps modern players have a better understanding of how easy it is for a thin game to make? Instead of being in a partscore which is superficially the right level but makes a couple of overtricks after an inferior lead, now they bid game and make the same numebr of tricks.
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
0

#4 User is offline   billw55 

  • enigmatic
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,757
  • Joined: 2009-July-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 06:25

I would speculate that the average player's dummy handling has probably improved quite a bit, but the elite player very little if at all.

This is a theory that I believe holds in most competitive endeavors. For example in basketball, Kobe Bryant is not better than Oscar Robertson was. But the fifth guy off the bench is much better now than then, and college players are far better now. I don't know much about football/soccer - but think of the top elite players today, versus in the 1960s. Is there a big difference? What about the typical club player?

The basis of this theory is that the elite players are already operating near the limit of what is humanly possible. But the masses have much more room for improvement.

So it goes for bridge as well, I expect. I doubt that Meckstroth and Rodwell declare any better than, say, Garozzo and Forquet did in their day. But take the top 10,000 players in the world as a group, I bet they are much better nowadays.
Life is long and beautiful, if bad things happen, good things will follow.
-gwnn
0

#5 User is offline   Tomi2 

  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 241
  • Joined: 2005-November-07

Posted 2010-April-08, 06:46

I would think that in football the players improved a lot,

they run more, play more effective, shoot harder and more precisely. These days I see lots of goals from 20meters+, Robben seems to score one each week, can remember this back in the 90's (am too young to say about earlier)

When I see historic matches from before, like 70's I nearly fall asleep by the low tempo in the game, watching Messi is like watching an other game.

Goalkeepers nowadays need to be able to play as well because they are implemented by their team and defenders are much beeter football players now than before i would say.
0

#6 User is offline   Codo 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,373
  • Joined: 2003-March-15
  • Location:Hamburg, Germany
  • Interests:games and sports, esp. bridge,chess and (beach-)volleyball

Posted 2010-April-08, 06:49

I would strongly disagree with your observations about the top sports.

And I can proofe that you are wrong: The world records in most sports do improve over the years.
So what is true for runners, swimmers, jumpers etc. should be true for basketball, soccer etc. too. It is surely true for chess players, so it will be true for Bridge too.

But I am really surprisecd by Davids Sterns idea. I had thought that the improvement in bidding theory was the biggest step. Second biggest was defence and declarer a very distant third. So I had thought that it is harder to win thin games now then it was for our ancient heros.
Kind Regards

Roland


Sanity Check: Failure (Fluffy)
More system is not the answer...
0

#7 User is offline   TimG 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 3,972
  • Joined: 2004-July-25
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maine, USA

Posted 2010-April-08, 06:50

billw55, on Apr 8 2010, 07:25 AM, said:

I would speculate that the average player's dummy handling has probably improved quite a bit, but the elite player very little if at all. 

This is a theory that I believe holds in most competitive endeavors.  For example in basketball, Kobe Bryant is not better than Oscar Robertson was.  But the fifth guy off the bench is much better now than then, and college players are far better now.  I don't know much about football/soccer - but think of the top elite players today, versus in the 1960s.  Is there a big difference?  What about the typical club player?

The basis of this theory is that the elite players are already operating near the limit of what is humanly possible.  But the masses have much more room for improvement.

I don't think this generally holds true in physical sport. In 1920 the world record for the 100m dash was 10.6 second, today it is under 9.6 seconds. In 1920 the world record for the 100m freestyle was just over a minute, today it is under 47 seconds. It's not just that the old records have been improved upon slightly, but rather significantly over time.

A lot of this has to do with improvements in nutrition and equipment.

I suspect Kobe would put up better numbers than the Big O if he was transported back in time (with his modern sneakers, conditioning, nutrition, etc.).
0

#8 User is offline   hanp 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,987
  • Joined: 2009-February-15

Posted 2010-April-08, 06:57

billw55, on Apr 8 2010, 07:25 AM, said:

For example in basketball, Kobe Bryant is not better than Oscar Robertson was.

???

I would guess that Kobe Briant is much much better than Oscar Robertson ever was, just like Messi is much better than Pele ever was.

In timed sports it is easy to see that Armstrong was much better than Merckx, Usain Bolt leaves Jesse Owens far behind and Kramer is much faster than Heiden.

It may be that the difference between Oscar Robertson and his peers was larger than the difference between Kobe Briant and his peers. That's a different story.

Although there is quite a difference between physical sports and bridge, I would expect that Meckstroth is a considerably better declarer than Garozzo and Forquet were. If anything, Meckstroth was able to study the hands of the old masters and learn from their great plays (and from their mistakes).
and the result can be plotted on a graph.
0

#9 User is offline   billw55 

  • enigmatic
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,757
  • Joined: 2009-July-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 07:15

Codo, on Apr 8 2010, 07:49 AM, said:

And I can proofe that you are wrong: The world records in most sports do improve over the years.
So what is true for runners, swimmers, jumpers etc. should be true for basketball, soccer etc. too. It is surely true for chess players, so it will be true for Bridge too.

I think many, perhaps most world records in human athletics are changing largely due to changes in conditions and equipment. Jesse Owens ran on a cinder track and dug his own starting hole with a trowel. Nowadays it is composite tracks, starting blocks, and high tech shoes. I bet all that is worth at least a half second in a sprint, and that would put his times in the ballpark with current records.

And what was going on with the swimming at the last summer olympics? Darn near every time they swam a race a world record was set. Don't try to tell me all of those swimmers were the best ever. I was starting to wonder if the pool was a meter short. But think of everything they have done in pool design to minimize turbulence, in the swimsuits, etc. I think that is the real difference.

Chess and bridge (and Go, if you are familiar with it) are a little different, in that there is the aspect of accumulated theoretical knowledge such as openings, endings, bidding methods, etc. But put that aside and consider only ability, and I think Capablanca was every bit as good as Kasparov. I suspect similar for bridge. Maybe it's just me though :)
Life is long and beautiful, if bad things happen, good things will follow.
-gwnn
0

#10 User is offline   billw55 

  • enigmatic
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,757
  • Joined: 2009-July-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 07:23

hanp, on Apr 8 2010, 07:57 AM, said:

In timed sports it is easy to see that Armstrong was much better than Merckx, Usain Bolt leaves Jesse Owens far behind and Kramer is much faster than Heiden.

Again, conditions and equipment. Look at the bikes Merckx rode - clips and straps, shifters on downtubes, frame materials, wheels, weight, on and on. Eric Heiden skated outdoors!! Do you think the ice was just as smooth? What about the skates? The aero suit?
Life is long and beautiful, if bad things happen, good things will follow.
-gwnn
0

#11 User is offline   Tomi2 

  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 241
  • Joined: 2005-November-07

Posted 2010-April-08, 07:25

I just read an interview with Magnus Carlsen in a German magazine after beeing shocked, that a 19 year old boy is #1 in chess this year...

translated:

the skill level of me and Kasparov is relatvely equal, he is better in analysing variants and I have a better intution.

later he told that his cooperation with Kasparov helped him a lot but now it is time to work more on his own, he doesnt need Kasparov's help so much anymore...


so probably in chess its also not correct to say, that older stars are equal to modern stars? and Kasparov is not that old, while we cen expect this young Norwegian to improve...
0

#12 User is offline   hanp 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,987
  • Joined: 2009-February-15

Posted 2010-April-08, 07:26

The life of a romantic is sweet, I won't trouble you any more.
and the result can be plotted on a graph.
0

#13 User is offline   billw55 

  • enigmatic
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,757
  • Joined: 2009-July-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 07:54

The most accurate comparisons between eras are when conditions and equipment have changed as little as possible. The best two examples I can think of are football/soccer and baseball. There's not much technology in soccer. Baseball has a problem with shrinking parks (not to mention PEDs), but the bat is still wood, the glove is still leather, and the infield is still dirt.

But even here it is hard to tell, because if one side is improving so is the other. For example if we try to compare a modern elite scorer (Messi? Ronaldo? - I lack adequate knowledge) to an old timer, stats such as goal totals may not distinguish, since the defenders and keepers also will be better. In baseball, hitters may be better but if pitchers are too, we won't see much difference.

And bridge? If Balicki is declaring but Meckwell are defending ...

Ah well. It makes for good bar talk.
Life is long and beautiful, if bad things happen, good things will follow.
-gwnn
0

#14 User is offline   hotShot 

  • Axxx Axx Axx Axx
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 2,976
  • Joined: 2003-August-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 09:27

In the 50th the average distance a soccer player had to run during a match was between 2-3 km.
In top competition today player run 8-12 km during a match.

So soccer has turned into a different game over the time.

I assume that any star from the 50th, would be a star today too, if he had the same level of training that player have now.
But if you take a former star from the past from the time of his peak performance and let him play with current stars, you'd be disappointed.
0

#15 User is offline   Phil 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 10,072
  • Joined: 2008-December-11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Texas, USA
  • Interests:Getting back into golf after a very long layoff.

Posted 2010-April-08, 09:37

In sports, your available pool of players now versus 50 years ago is immensely larger. Combined with better training, the best players of this generation will rate to be better than the best of the old generation, and the field is certainly much 'deeper'.

In tennis, wouldn't you bet on a #20 seed of today against a Rod Laver?
Hi y'all!

Winner - BBO Challenge bracket #6 - February, 2017.
0

#16 User is online   awm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 8,031
  • Joined: 2005-February-09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Zurich, Switzerland

Posted 2010-April-08, 10:15

One thing that's changed somewhat is the tactics and form of scoring.

Long ago, rubber bridge was pretty popular, and there were a lot of big and well-attended matchpoint events. Both of these formats tend to place a premium on bidding contracts which make, if only psychologically (at rubber bridge, it is frustrating to be dealt "good cards" and then get a minus score -- at MP you don't usually want to bid less than 50% contracts).

Even though top players obviously know the odds, I think strategy in game bidding is somewhat influenced by what people are used to. These days, the top players emphasize IMP teams so much, that they are accustomed to bidding games which make substantially less than half the time (which helps their expected score in the long run). I suspect that the old-time players had a different approach.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
0

#17 User is offline   billw55 

  • enigmatic
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,757
  • Joined: 2009-July-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 10:30

Phil, on Apr 8 2010, 10:37 AM, said:

In sports, your available pool of players now versus 50 years ago is immensely larger. Combined with better training, the best players of this generation will rate to be better than the best of the old generation, and the field is certainly much 'deeper'.

In tennis, wouldn't you bet on a #20 seed of today against a Rod Laver?

I agree but only to an extent. I think that when the playing population increases, the population in the upper quarter, or decile, of the skill curve will also increase. But I don't think the population of the extreme outliers will increase significantly. That means that (in my theory at least) the skill level of very best elite players doesn't change much from era to era, when a particular sport/contest is well established throughout the eras. But the next tier may change significantly.

For your tennis analogy - even out equipment, and I definitely take Laver over the #20 player today. But I would certainly take the #50 player today over the #20 player under Laver.

I know less about football, but the changes are interesting. I am aware that field formations have evolved over time. Back when, five forwards, three halfbacks and two fullbacks was pretty standard? But now there are modern formations with strikers that have much more freedom to roam. Does that account for some of the differences, such as total distance covered in 90 minutes? Is there a genuine change in real player skill, even at the elite level? Lacking knowledge, I'll have to take someone's word for it.

Let's look at the teams eliminated in the first round of the Vanderbilt or Spingold. I would guess they are much better now than 40 years ago. And the finalists? I have no way to judge, but my theory would say not much difference.

Although bridge is different, in that players can maintain an elite level for several decades, and we can find those who played with the best in different eras. So we may not need to speculate whether Nickell is better than the Blue team was - we can just ask Bob Hamman.
Life is long and beautiful, if bad things happen, good things will follow.
-gwnn
0

#18 User is offline   jdonn 

  • - - T98765432 AQT8
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,085
  • Joined: 2005-June-23
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Vegas, NV

Posted 2010-April-08, 11:26

billw55, on Apr 8 2010, 11:30 AM, said:

For your tennis analogy - even out equipment, and I definitely take Laver over the #20 player today.

I would take you up on that bet for a LOT of money, and frankly I'm sure Laver would lose 6-0 6-0. It's not just equipment. It's the population, both of the world and that play particular sports. It's knowledge about training. It's knowledge about nutrition.

I would say bridge players declare better today than in the past largely because of the internet. They can just get so many more hands in than they used to be able to. They can discuss with so many more players from so many more places, see updated notes instantly, discuss with anyone anywhere, etc. But we have had this discussion many times before so I don't know why I'm entering into it again.
Please let me know about any questions or interest or bug reports about GIB.
0

#19 User is offline   billw55 

  • enigmatic
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,757
  • Joined: 2009-July-31
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2010-April-08, 11:39

Interesting, pretty much everybody seems to be in the "today's players are easily the best ever" camp. (regarding athletics that is)

Out of curiosity, how far back do you guys think we need to go to get inferior top players? For example, one person says Kobe Bryant is obviously superior to Oscar Robertson. How about Michael Jordan, is Kobe better? Magic Johnson? How about Jerry West?

And tennis. If an ordinary top ten player (let's say Robin Soderling for the sake of argument) is so much bettter than Laver, is he better than Sampras? Too recent? Boris Becker maybe? McEnroe? Borg?

Admittedly, tennis has been well established as a professional sport for only about 40 years. In Laver's day, the top events were limited to amateurs, so nobody could make a living in competition, and people did need jobs ... so maybe I can see it.

We can try looking forward. In 40 years will you all be saying how the latest superstar is vastly superior to Roger Federer? :)
Life is long and beautiful, if bad things happen, good things will follow.
-gwnn
0

#20 User is offline   Siegmund 

  • Alchemist
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,764
  • Joined: 2004-June-15
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Beside a little lake in northwestern Montana
  • Interests:Creator of the 'grbbridge' LaTeX typesetting package.

Posted 2010-April-08, 11:49

The possibilities opened up by the internet and by computer analysis are intriguing... though here again it feels to me like this is helping the development of bidding methods the most and declarer play the least (that was the one aspect of the game that was tractable by pencil-and-paper methods.)

Quote

In sports, your available pool of players now versus 50 years ago is immensely larger. Combined with better training, the best players of this generation will rate to be better than the best of the old generation, and the field is certainly much 'deeper'.


...in contrast to bridge, where the pool is much shallower now than it was 50 years ago (except apparently in Poland.) At the elite level this won't make much difference as long as the pool isn't incredibly tiny. (Some pools, like the ones for the college championship, have grown from incredibly tiny to merely small in the last 15 years, with a corresponding big increase in quality.) At the club level it does -- and all the clubs I've been to the past several years, the quality of play has plummeted compared to what it was when I started in the early 90s, the experienced players who died having been replaced by 'life novices' who years ago would have played bridge socially with friends rather than being dragged to the club.
0

Share this topic:


  • 6 Pages +
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users