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You're the home team how do you pick which oppponents to play?

#1 User is offline   squealydan 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 02:41

Hi all

If you're the "home" team in a teams Swiss or round-robin (ie, you get to choose the pairings),

- and you know your side contains one pair better than the other,
- and you believe your opponents also have one pair better than the other,
- and there are no system issues, with everyone playing basically the same system,

then is it automatic to choose to have the two better pairs play each other? Would it matter if you believed that the opponents were generally stronger than your side, or weaker?

Second question :

If you believe within the pairs that there is one much better player on each side, and the opponents' better player is sitting south...
- if you could arrange it, would you have your better player sitting east or west?
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#2 User is offline   jvage 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 06:17

While I must admit that I have limited experience with playing on or against teams with a great variation in skill-level I generally don't think seating rights matters very much. I also think that other factors than skill-level in isolation are more important. If for example one pair on your team has either good or bad experiences playing against one of the opposing pairs, that may be more important for your choice of seating. If the skillevel really does vary, the style of the players may be important. Some (both strong and weak pairs) are relatively better at playing against weak opponents than strong or vice versa, which may influence your seating-strategy. If one or both teams contain a sponsor they may prefer playing against the weaker pair (for example because they can avoid complicated systems or because their results look better when playing against weaker pairs), but it's still the comparison with the other table that decides the match.

John
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#3 User is offline   Codo 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 06:28

Our last cup game was against a superior team, which includes three actual internationalists. I guessed the best efford we could make from our seating rights was to put me (the worst player in our team) in the same seat as their best player and hope that our seat will have few descissions to make. This worked well, but not good enough to win.

Facing a team which we would consider worse, I would try to put players with the same approach in the same seat and our best player against their best man.

But obviously there is no hard evidence and surely others factors, like who is comfortable with which opponent etc. is of much more importance.
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#4 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 06:35

Hi,

Besides system, you have playing style, personalities.

And if you let the strong pairs play against each other, you hope that the complicate
boards are distribute evenly between the axes.
The distribution of the complicate boards does not matter, if they play the same cards.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#5 User is offline   CSGibson 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 09:21

I think its more a matter of style.

For example, I think Meckwell makes a habit of trying to sit against the weakest pair possible. I haven't discussed it with them (nor have I discussed anything else with them, don't mean to give the impression that we're pals), but I believe it to be because their particular style puts a lot of pressure on opponents, both to defend well against their tight games, and to make decisions in their active bidding style.
Chris Gibson
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#6 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 09:42

View PostCSGibson, on 2012-September-19, 09:21, said:

I think its more a matter of style.


Absolutely!

When Molson and Baran were winning everything in Canada I think it was Kokish who said that they had a different gear that let them clobber weaker pairs or shift focus and hold strong pairs in check.

On the flip side, in a long ago post someone who knows thinks that Weinstein - Levin won't score high in any butlers because they don't pound the fish, they just beat everyone.

That kind of style difference is what I would consider and actively try to emulate the Weinstein - Levin approach in my own partnership. Mind you on a scale of 1-10 we are at 2.5 but aiming higher.

So I sit Molson Baran against the weaker pair and Weinstein - Levin against the stronger pair. In your question #2, I want my strongest player on lead and overcalling seat against theirs.
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#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 11:00

It seems like there are two possible ways to think about this:

1. Seat your better pair against their better pair, as they have the better shot of overcoming the strength difference.

2. Seat your better pair against their lesser pair, on the assumption that their good pair is likely to beat up on either of yours, but your better pair has a decent shot of beating their lesser one.

I have no idea which one is more appropriate -- maybe it's a wash. Although if their good pair is MUCH better than yours, #1 might be a pipe dream.

But how often do such good pairs team up with pairs that are far below their ability?

#8 User is offline   semeai 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 11:25

A decision tree to summarize:

1) It really doesn't much matter, so just sit down randomly and skip to step 6.

2) If anyone just doesn't like being at the table with one of the opposing players, seat so these players don't meet. (Likewise, if one of their players is made uncomfortable by one of yours but not the reverse, I guess you're supposed to seat so they do meet if you're being cutthroat.)

3) If your better pair is more active than their better pair, seat your better pair against their worse pair. If their better pair is more active, seat your better pair against their better pair.

4) If pairs are similarly active, then decide based on relative strength. If you have an edge in that your better pair is generally better than their better pair and your worse pair is generally better than their worse pair, have your better/worse pair in the same seats as their better/worse pair, respectively. That is, have your better pair sit at the same table as their worse pair; that way you theoretically have an edge on each decision made at the two tables. If it's the reverse and their pairs generally have the edge, seat the opposite way, with your better pair facing their better pair.

5) If you still haven't found a reason, just go by whatever setup makes everybody feel happiest.

6) Play bridge!
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#9 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 14:35

Surely these technical things give you a minor edge at most compared to psychological factors. I would just do it based on recent results. Against a weaker team in a Swiss, I also try to put our fastest pair against their slowest pair, to make sure we get through all the hands in time.
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#10 User is offline   Quantumcat 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 20:14

If you place the weaker pair against the stronger pair, it's possible for them to get crushed and no matter how many imps you get at your table, they can't make up for the several 1100s and games being allowed to make at the other table. If their better pair is better than you, and their weaker pair is still better than your weaker pair, you can at least get a small loss by playing the strong/strong and weak/weak. But of course you can gamble that all the cards are not on the side of your weaker pair, then if you have all the decisions and play as well as you possibly can, you might even win (your weaker pair has no opportunity to exercise their bad judgement, and the pair stronger than you that you're playing against doesn't have the chance to make brilliant decisions, so you're simply pitched against their weaker pair).

Of course psychological factors are important too. There is a woman that I come across in local country congresses on a regular basis, who has the most horrible, irritating, annoying, grating accent/voice you can possibly imagine (I think she has picked up all the horrible bits of accents from around the globe, leaving behind the nice sounds), so that whenever she opens her mouth I have a most desperate urge to punch her in the face. Makes it hard to concentrate. So I try to never play against her if I can help it.
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#11 User is offline   CSGibson 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 20:27

I prefer to exercise seating rates based on personal factors. If I own one of the members of the team I am about to face, I sit against them. If I can't stand one of them, I sit somewhere else.

It also makes sense to exploit the advantages your teammates have. I sometimes team with a pretty 20-something woman who occasionally dresses provocatively. If we have a notoriously easily distractible male on the other team, we try and sit her against him.
Chris Gibson
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#12 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 21:02

There are really a lot of factors.

At the highest level, if you are the favorite, play your good pair against their weak pair, so that the weak pairs will have the same cards, and the strong pairs will have the same cards. Ideally this reduces variance like if you played the 2 strong pairs against each other, the opposing team strong pair had all the hands, and crush your team because your weak pair has the same ahnds.

Conversely, if you are the dog, play your good pair vs their good pair and introduce variance.

But there are many more factors. As others have said, if you have an action pair known for stealing, maybe playing weak NT, often bidding aggressive games, pressure type style, then you should play that pair against the opponents weak pair almost regardless. Their edge will be realized most often by stealing and pressuring the opponents bad pair.

A good example would be if meckwell are in with levin/weinstein, I would expect meckwell to always play the weak pair/client. Levin and Weinstein are a great pair obviously, but they are less of a pressure style and more of a do the right thing and make few mistakes style. Meckwell should clearly go pressure the weak pair while levin and weinstein lock down the strong pair.

In regionals, often meckwell choose to play against me rather than my client when their client is in. Why? Because their client will also be pressured by our style, and they think they are the better team so they prefer to not risk their client having a bad set and getting crushed. This is against the norm, but it makes sense. However, if our pair was more of a levin/weinstein style, im sure they would still go play the client, figuring their client will not get crushed by an inactive style and have a -50 set.

IMO, often it is right to have your weak pair play against their weak pair, simply because there will be no intimidation factor and they will be more likely to play better. Your strong pair is going to play well regardless, you want to make sure your weak link is comfortable above all else. If your weak pair knows the other teams strong pair by reputation, they are likely going to feel nervous or intimidated. Avoiding this is all important, unless the other team has the same problem (their weak pair will feel intimidated by your strong pair), in which case you can go that way if you want but you are unlikely to know how their weak pair feels, and you will know for sure how your weak pair feels
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#13 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2012-September-19, 21:04

View PostCSGibson, on 2012-September-19, 09:21, said:

I think its more a matter of style.

For example, I think Meckwell makes a habit of trying to sit against the weakest pair possible. I haven't discussed it with them (nor have I discussed anything else with them, don't mean to give the impression that we're pals), but I believe it to be because their particular style puts a lot of pressure on opponents, both to defend well against their tight games, and to make decisions in their active bidding style.


Meckwell typically plays against the client on the nickell team if nickell is in. The idea being, nickell is very strong for a client and can handle the other teams strong pair, while hopefully meckwell crush the other teams client with their active style.

However, when Meckwell are in with their other strong pair (recently hamman/zia) against the other team that has 2 strong pairs in, meckwell usually go and play the better pair.
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#14 User is offline   squealydan 

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Posted 2012-September-20, 07:14

View PostJLOGIC, on 2012-September-19, 21:02, said:

....

IMO, often it is right to have your weak pair play against their weak pair, simply because there will be no intimidation factor and they will be more likely to play better. Your strong pair is going to play well regardless, you want to make sure your weak link is comfortable above all else. If your weak pair knows the other teams strong pair by reputation, they are likely going to feel nervous or intimidated. Avoiding this is all important...


Thanks a lot for the whole reply (and to everyone else). But I really appreciated this part, which I hadn't given too much thought to. I was just trying to figure out in my head which seating structure would introduce more randomness, and so what approach to take if we were doing really well and wanted to protect ourselves, or what might help if we do badly and need some lucky breaks. Having thought about the make-up of our team, I now realise the above will be really important as we have one pair who are solid players, but a little timid, and likely to feel a little intimidated at the event we're going to, so it will be important to ensure they don't get crushed early on.

Thanks again.
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