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Bridge Professional / Sponsor How exactly does this relationship work?

#21 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2012-August-27, 18:45

What is the best team?

If it's the 6 best players, run an individual trial.

Assuming 6 best players are unlikely to be a great team (I think this is true -- its a partnership game after all) you will run into the problem that the top players spend a lot of time playing professionally on teams (or even partnerships) with sponsors. So if you want a team that has played together a lot and won a bunch of stuff... you get a sponsor.

Of course a pairs trial would be a possibility but most seem to believe the best team is not the three best pairs either.
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#22 User is offline   Bbradley62 

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Posted 2012-August-27, 18:59

View Postawm, on 2012-August-27, 18:45, said:

Of course a pairs trial would be a possibility but most seem to believe the best team is not the three best pairs either.
No, I think most would agree that the best team is the three best pairs. But, as has been pointed out, financial considerations prevent the three best pairs from playing together without a sponsor.
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#23 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2012-August-27, 19:28

View PostBbradley62, on 2012-August-27, 18:59, said:

No, I think most would agree that the best team is the three best pairs. But, as has been pointed out, financial considerations prevent the three best pairs from playing together without a sponsor.


agreed. It's hard to imagine a team of levin-weinstein meckwell greco-hampson would not be better than nickell, because I know greco-hampson get along well with at least levin weinstein. I'm not gonna say the nickell team is the best possible USA team, but I will say that they are good enough to win world championships (obv) and the pros would not be as good as they are without pro bridge, and this is part of it. And at this point those 3 would not play as a team for no financial gain.
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#24 User is offline   Gerardo 

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Posted 2012-August-27, 21:27

View PostBbradley62, on 2012-August-27, 18:59, said:

No, I think most would agree that the best team is the three best pairs. But, as has been pointed out, financial considerations prevent the three best pairs from playing together without a sponsor.

But you have Italy (with Fantunes now playing for Monaco), and Sweden winning the Mind Games without Fallenius-Fredin.

#25 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-August-27, 22:49

A concept that I've been advocating for the Australian open team trials is to keep running them in a team-based format (as it currently is three years out of four) but limit entries to teams-of-four with the winning team then required to pick a pair to append to their team from, say, the semi-finalists. I see a number of advantages in this method:

- player stamina is tested to ensure that if called-upon to do so each pair has the capability to play unchanged for several straight days;
- reduces the chance of a demonstrably weaker pair (which may or may not contain a sponsor) being carried on to the national team by two stronger pairs;
- will reduce the risk of an incompatible team being thrown-up (a la pairs-based trials) as the winner will presumably only append a pair with whom they are comfortable;
- sponsors are still able play in the trials and if they play well they could still make the team and it would be hard for the anti-sponsor lobby to claim they weren't there on merit.

The obvious downside is that some sponsors may cease to hire pros if they don't think they'll have a chance of making a national team, which may lead to a decline in the bridge ability of the top pros if they don't get to play as much. However, I don't think that's a huge issue in Australia with many of our top experts choosing to play on all-expert teams in the trials anyway (or at least do that some years) and there being plenty of other events that the sponsors can try to win with their pro teams before they start aspiring to make a national team. I appreciate, however, that this model may not work for all countries.
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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#26 User is offline   RunemPard 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 03:10

View PostJLOGIC, on 2012-August-27, 15:35, said:

It is too easy to cheat in bridge, so there will never be a tour-like pro bridge circuit with big prize payouts. When this was tried recently, it was an individual format, so presumably the organizers realized this, but lol individuals and all that.

Obv you see cheating at the top of all major games/sports if they have huge payouts (steroids), even with vast resources to try and make sure this doesn't happen. In bridge it would be far worse since there are so many different ways to cheat/it's a partnership game/etc. Maybe if it were all done on computers with tight monitors and technology controlling the tempo, hrothgar style, but I doubt that will happen.


How do you feel about turn timers being used in major bridge events?
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#27 User is offline   Heron 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 08:40

View PostJLOGIC, on 2012-May-31, 14:29, said:

It is worth noting that there are many lower level pros than just those at the top level. You could make a reasonable living just playing in NYC at the club every day and not even playing tournaments, and many people do that.

Indeed! An acquaintance worked as a pro for a while while being a student. The formula was simple and far from unique: play lots in local clubs, often with pickup partners, and get known as a good and personable player. Somebody will sooner or later ask if one wants to go play in thus-and-such big event. "I'd love to, but I really can't afford it." Negotiation ensues. Once one has done this a couple of times word gets around. The bread-and-butter clientele here isn't looking for super-high-profile team games, just enough red and gold ($20 per point to the hired help, happily paid) to finally scrape over the "life master" mark, and bridge skills are important but being able to coddle and manage a sub-par partner and generally schmooze is just about as important.

For whoever asked about the youngest player to become a pro, if you're looking for anyone who's being paid to play (not just who's on the big international-level teams) it's probably some broke junior high school student somewhere with a good head for bridge.

For another account of what it's like to play as a pro outside the world of the big international team games, Sontag's Bridge Bum is a fun read.
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#28 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 10:49

View PostRunemPard, on 2012-August-28, 03:10, said:

How do you feel about turn timers being used in major bridge events?


Do you mean to regulate tempo (like if I bid instantly, the electronic device takes some predetermined amount of time before showing my bid), or to combat slow play like a chess clock (just recording how much time each action took), or something else?

In general I would be against anything that makes the game slower, and pro things that make it faster/punish people who take more than the allotted time fairly, fwiw.
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#29 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 11:09

View PostTimG, on 2012-August-27, 18:02, said:

The best team possible; not the best possible team.

And furthermore, who will say that the best possible team is the best 3 pairs? Team dynamics and personalities enter into it.

Certainly the best pair is not the two best players.
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#30 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 13:54

My view is that representing your country is special and there are plenty of other ways for professionals to get paid. So if they allowed teams of four only in the trials that would be an improvement.
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#31 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 15:11

View Postnigel_k, on 2012-August-28, 13:54, said:

My view is that representing your country is special and there are plenty of other ways for professionals to get paid. So if they allowed teams of four only in the trials that would be an improvement.


The second thing would not help, you would just have teams with 1 sponsor and 3 pros instead of 1 sponsor and 5 pros. Also, our trials are very long, at least 3 120 board matches plus another 100+ boards or so, there is no way anyone could play their best 4 handed at the end of that.
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#32 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 15:31

View Postnigel_k, on 2012-August-28, 13:54, said:

My view is that representing your country is special and there are plenty of other ways for professionals to get paid. So if they allowed teams of four only in the trials that would be an improvement.
I can pretty much guarantee that at least the U.S. would get a weaker team that way. The same players who boycotted a regional when there wasn't a team match available every day for their sponsors to half-time in, and many more, would just sit it out (or as Justin says, would play 1+3 instead, and probably lose to a weaker 2-pro-pair team).

Remember, they can make money during the two weeks of the Trials and the two weeks of the BB playing in concurrent Regionals instead of exhausting themselves trialling for their country for free.

I mean, carrying a client in the Reisinger has to be more trouble than even the other two prime ACBL events, and the glory of Reisinger winner should be worth similar amounts in "I'm this skillful, pay me this much" to a National win and a BB 4th; but we don't see the top pairs teaming up 3-deep to play that. The ones without an obvious client pair are the level 3 pros, where making a name for themselves for later by trying to finish top 10 is currently worth more to them than getting paid for 2 days to finish 37th.
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#33 User is offline   RunemPard 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 16:15

View PostJLOGIC, on 2012-August-28, 10:49, said:

Do you mean to regulate tempo (like if I bid instantly, the electronic device takes some predetermined amount of time before showing my bid), or to combat slow play like a chess clock (just recording how much time each action took), or something else?

In general I would be against anything that makes the game slower, and pro things that make it faster/punish people who take more than the allotted time fairly, fwiw.



I was thinking along the lines of a set amount of time to make a call. You must wait x amount of time, but take no longer than y amount of time to make the call. (bidding). If used during play, this would be a little more tricky and would mostly fall on the defense in regards to information. I have never played a higher level event, but at club level it is common that an opponent will tank and come out with a play, where at times the other will have a very good idea about what they are thinking about.
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#34 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 20:52

View PostJLOGIC, on 2012-August-28, 15:11, said:

The second thing would not help, you would just have teams with 1 sponsor and 3 pros instead of 1 sponsor and 5 pros. Also, our trials are very long, at least 3 120 board matches plus another 100+ boards or so, there is no way anyone could play their best 4 handed at the end of that.

I tend to agree that it may not be the optimal format for the USA trials which are longer and harder, although it would make it a little bit harder for a weak sponsor to qualify if that is an objective of the NBO. The Australian trials only go for six days comprised of:

Day 1: 3 x 16 boards - qualifying
Day 2: 3 x 16 boards - qualifying* (4 x 16 for teams outside the top 4 seeds)
Day 3: 4 x 16 boards - repechage for teams 3-6 and rest day for teams 1-2
Day 4: 4 x 16 boards - semi-final
Day 5: 3 x 16 boards - final
Day 6: 3 x 16 boards - final

So the workload is similar to WBF events with 48-boards per day with the occassion 64-board day thrown-in. It is not at all unusual for some countries to have an anchor pair that plays virtually throughout, so why not test everyone's capacity to do that during the trials?
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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#35 User is offline   Quantumcat 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 20:53

View PostHeron, on 2012-August-28, 08:40, said:

For whoever asked about the youngest player to become a pro, if you're looking for anyone who's being paid to play (not just who's on the big international-level teams) it's probably some broke junior high school student somewhere with a good head for bridge.

I also played for money for a while as a student, at a large club which had a few members who were either really old and senile and yucky or just very unpleasant to play with so they couldn't find partners. They would give me some pocket money in exchange for a pleasant game with a nice young girl :-) I think my rate was about a third or a quarter of the next lowest ranked pro who played at that club. A fantastic way to make a few dollars. You just have to live in the eastern suburbs of Sydney where the rich housewives are (or equivalent - from watching movies, would that be Manhattan in NY?), and be able to be nice and cheerful even to yucky people. Don't have to be particularly good, slightly better than the client is enough.
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#36 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 20:59

View PostRunemPard, on 2012-August-28, 16:15, said:

I was thinking along the lines of a set amount of time to make a call. You must wait x amount of time, but take no longer than y amount of time to make the call. (bidding). If used during play, this would be a little more tricky and would mostly fall on the defense in regards to information. I have never played a higher level event, but at club level it is common that an opponent will tank and come out with a play, where at times the other will have a very good idea about what they are thinking about.

Sussing-out what the defenders hold based on their tempo is completely kosher, but is obviously UI to the respective defenders. The laws deal with this reasonably well and I think any enforced tanks during the play with slow things tremdously and be very difficult to manage. The only exception is that I believe it should be a clear breach of the proprieties for declarer to make an insta-play when dummy comes down. My suggested law change is that if declarer insta-plays when dummy comes down, a tank by the third hand is AI for the defenders and UI for declarer.
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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#37 User is offline   VMars 

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Posted 2012-August-28, 22:35

View Postgnasher, on 2012-August-27, 01:33, said:

I don't think this is true at all. For example, two of the last four Vanderbilt winners have included sponsors who are far from being "very good".


I'm sorry I was clear.

By "U.S. Nationals", I didn't mean NABC championships like the Vanderbilt. Even though those are colloquially referred to as "nationals" they are actually not the events that directly pick the U.S. team. I meant the USBF event for picking the U.S. national team.
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#38 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-August-29, 11:49

View PostVMars, on 2012-August-28, 22:35, said:

I meant the USBF event for picking the U.S. national team.

It's called the Team Trials.

Winning an NABC+ event is arguably harder than winning the Trials, since there are many good international teams entered in the former. The field in the Spingold is not that different from the field in the Bermuda Bowl.

#39 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2012-August-30, 00:47

View Postbarmar, on 2012-August-29, 11:49, said:

It's called the Team Trials.

Winning an NABC+ event is arguably harder than winning the Trials, since there are many good international teams entered in the former. The field in the Spingold is not that different from the field in the Bermuda Bowl.


Depends a lot on the NABC+ event. Wernher pairs or Imp pairs, the field is still quite strong, but it is obviously not the same as the trials or the premier NABC+ events. If you restrict it to just Spingold/Vanderbilt/Reisinger than yes, or at least so I've heard people say.
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#40 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-August-30, 00:58

View Postmrdct, on 2012-August-28, 20:52, said:

It is not at all unusual for some countries to have an anchor pair that plays virtually throughout, so why not test everyone's capacity to do that during the trials?

"Why" is a more obvious question here than "Why not".
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