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Bridge Professional / Sponsor How exactly does this relationship work?

#41 User is offline   pigpenz 

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Posted 2012-August-30, 10:54

I thought the last two articles in Bridge World about Professionalism were interesting on how it has changed over the years.
Before Justin was born there were hardly any sponsored teams in the main National Teams events now some of those players from the
seventies who aren't that old now would have to maybe pay to get on teams with players they used to play with back then for free.
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#42 User is offline   ash1968 

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Posted 2012-September-02, 23:36

View Postmrdct, on 2012-August-27, 22:49, said:

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.

I like the idea but one possible downside (irrespective of sponsors) is that you may have three pairs hoping one team wins - ie the odd pair know they will be picked if they get to the (say) semi-final. That would create a peverse incentive. Cheers, Stephen
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#43 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-September-03, 00:35

View Postash1968, on 2012-September-02, 23:36, said:

I like the idea but one possible downside (irrespective of sponsors) is that you may have three pairs hoping one team wins - ie the odd pair know they will be picked if they get to the (say) semi-final. That would create a peverse incentive. Cheers, Stephen

I'd be really surprised if a professional pair deliberately played below their best with a view to losing the trials and then getting appended to an all-expert foursome; particularly if they are on a sponsored team with bonuses for winning the trials.

I think the more likely scenario is that an all-expert foursome enter the trials hoping that they can win it and then strengthen their team by adding a gun pair that was playing pro in 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.
I bidding the suit below the suit I'm actually showing not to be described as a "transfer" for the benefit of people unfamiliar with the concept of a transfer
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#44 User is offline   mich-b 

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Posted 2012-September-03, 01:54

View Postmrdct, on 2012-September-03, 00:35, said:

I'd be really surprised if a professional pair deliberately played below their best with a view to losing the trials and then getting appended to an all-expert foursome; particularly if they are on a sponsored team with bonuses for winning the trials.

I think the more likely scenario is that an all-expert foursome enter the trials hoping that they can win it and then strengthen their team by adding a gun pair that was playing pro in the trials.


Would you really be surprised to hear that , for example , in a final match of the trials between two 4 handed teams a top level pair played less than their top level game, when they knew in advance (because they agreed with the other team , or just assumed that would happen) they would be in the national team in any case? (either by winning , or by losing and being selected as 3rd pair by their opps). Don't you think a pair might play less than their best (even if not deliberately) when they know they will be selected whatever the outcome of the match?
How do you think their teammates might feel , when they hear 2 hours after they lost the final , that their teammates have actually joined the winners, and that was discussed or assumed in advance?
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#45 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2012-September-03, 02:10

View Postmrdct, on 2012-September-03, 00:35, said:

I'd be really surprised if a professional pair deliberately played below their best with a view to losing the trials and then getting appended to an all-expert foursome; particularly if they are on a sponsored team with bonuses for winning the trials.
I think the more likely scenario is that an all-expert foursome enter the trials hoping that they can win it and then strengthen their team by adding a gun pair that was playing pro in the trials.


Wouldn't the danger be an all expert team and a pro pair and client are all part of the same "team" and once the pro pair and client make it to the semifinal, if they face off against the 4 pro team they would intentionally lose, knowing that team is stronger, and then knowing that team will pick the sponsor pair (and get paid by the sponsor). That way in the finals, the client doesn't need to play any boards, and they maximize the chance that the client advances. Particularly if there is only one other really good team they are worried about. And if they don't face each other in the semifinal, they have 2 chances to beat that other arch rival team (which ever team plays them in the semi-finals, and then the revenge match in the finals).
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#46 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-September-03, 02:15

View Postmich-b, on 2012-September-03, 01:54, said:

Would you really be surprised to hear that , for example , in a final match of the trials between two 4 handed teams a top level pair played less than their top level game, when they knew in advance (because they agreed with the other team , or just assumed that would happen) they would be in the national team in any case? (either by winning , or by losing and being selected as 3rd pair by their opps). Don't you think a pair might play less than their best (even if not deliberately) when they know they will be selected whatever the outcome of the match?
How do you think their teammates might feel , when they hear 2 hours after they lost the final , that their teammates have actually joined the winners, and that was discussed or assumed in advance?

Under existing augmentation rules in Australia, when a team-of-four wins the trials or a pair withdraws from a winning team-of-six, the winners actually need to provide a ranked short-list of eligible pairs (usually pairs from the semi-finals) to the ABF who are the ones who actually make the choice, but they give heavy weight to the preferences of the winning team. The only way of being certain of selection is to win the trials (even then technically the ABF does have a veto right to refuse to ratify the team but I don't believe they have even done so).

Of the top pairs in Australia who would be in such a position of confidence that they would honestly believe they would be automatically appended to the team if they lost in the trials, I would be absolutely staggered if any of them would even dream of doing such a heinous things as not play at their absolute best. It sounds like a very good way to not get hired again.

Mbodell's scenario is adequately controlled by the ABF's right of veto.
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.
I bidding the suit below the suit I'm actually showing not to be described as a "transfer" for the benefit of people unfamiliar with the concept of a transfer
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#47 User is offline   ash1968 

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Posted 2012-September-03, 20:55

View Postmrdct, on 2012-September-03, 02:15, said:

Under existing augmentation rules in Australia, when a team-of-four wins the trials or a pair withdraws from a winning team-of-six, the winners actually need to provide a ranked short-list of eligible pairs (usually pairs from the semi-finals) to the ABF who are the ones who actually make the choice, but they give heavy weight to the preferences of the winning team. The only way of being certain of selection is to win the trials (even then technically the ABF does have a veto right to refuse to ratify the team but I don't believe they have even done so).

Of the top pairs in Australia who would be in such a position of confidence that they would honestly believe they would be automatically appended to the team if they lost in the trials, I would be absolutely staggered if any of them would even dream of doing such a heinous things as not play at their absolute best. It sounds like a very good way to not get hired again.

Mbodell's scenario is adequately controlled by the ABF's right of veto.

I am not sure that any of this really addresses the incentive that is created. Being staggering or heinous doesn't prevent it ocurring. Look at the cheating that happens in high level competiive activity.

For example - What if the sponsor's team was in the final and one of their opponent's was a regular in their NOT or GCC team? Or the regular pair had lost to the sponsor in the semi-final and the sponsor won, or the regular pair lost a match which meant in the round robin their sponsor qualified for the semi or final. Because the standard of expert bridge includes mistakes who knows whether a pair tanked or not? Can the ABF judge something like that?

As I said in my original post - I like the idea but I wonder about creating a peverse incentive.
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