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Sitout strategy for six-person teams in a multi-day Swiss event?

#1 User is offline   Balrog49 

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Posted 2014-November-26, 13:46

When you're on a six-person team in a multi-day Swiss event, what do you think is the best way for the captain to determine who sits out and when?
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#2 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2014-November-26, 15:22

I think it's good to have consecutive sitouts (i.e. one team sits out the first two, another the next three, etc) so people play a bunch of sets in a row. This can help with building momentum, and allows the pair sitting out to take a nap or otherwise relax, rather than worry about getting back in time for the next set. I'd set the lineup in advance (at least at the beginning of each day).

If there is a clear strongest pair, you probably want them taking the early sitout since the late matches will be against better teams (if you are in contention).
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#3 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2014-November-26, 16:19

Whatever you do, let:

1. One pair sleep in (especially with a 10:00 start).
2. One pair gets a very long dinner break; preferably out matches 4 and 5 (or 3-4 and 5-6)
3. One pair gets to leave early.
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#4 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2014-November-26, 17:21

View PostPhil, on 2014-November-26, 16:19, said:

Whatever you do, let:

1. One pair sleep in (especially with a 10:00 start).
2. One pair gets a very long dinner break; preferably out matches 4 and 5 (or 3-4 and 5-6)
3. One pair gets to leave early.


I think that an important consideration is who are morning people and who stay up late partying.
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#5 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2014-November-26, 19:24

View PostPhil, on 2014-November-26, 16:19, said:

Whatever you do, let:

1. One pair sleep in (especially with a 10:00 start).
2. One pair gets a very long dinner break; preferably out matches 4 and 5 (or 3-4 and 5-6)
3. One pair gets to leave early.


Phil, I could hardly disagree more! What follows is based on my experience and my reactions...I assume your suggestions are based on yours. I think that it really adds up to the captain trying to understand how his players think. If they are (mostly) like me, then follow my ideas...if like you, follow yours.

1. Sleep patterns and nutrition patterns are, imo, very important, especially over a long event. Varying the time when one gets up is not likely to be a good thing, any more than is varying the time when you eat breakfast and (if you are a caffeine addict as I am) drink coffee.

2. I always want to be there at the comparison before the dinner break, so giving me off the last match before the break and the first one after takes me out of the rhythm of the game without giving me the benefit of the long break you are setting up. In fact, I don't like long breaks. Only in a very long event would I suggest giving a pair an entire session off. I have played in such circumstances and felt that the long break got me out of focus. Everyone is different, I suspect, but personally I hate sitting out even when I am exhausted. A short break, of one match, is far more tolerable than sitting out an entire session.

3. On a related note: my view is that whenever possible we should ALL be present for all comparisons. Team chemistry probably isn't as important in bridge as it is in most team endeavours, but it is not an illusion. If we lose a match, those who sat out can empathize with us, and can encourage us (if you have a player or a pair that reveals anger or casts blame or criticism in the presence of the other players, then you have problems anyway). If you win, then the congratulations of the sit-out pair can help as well. We all like positive feedback. So I don't want anyone leaving early, and I don't want people taking off before the 'before-the-break' match and coming back 3 or 4 hours later.

BTW, if you have a pair that the captain thinks is clearly weaker than the other two pairs, and so long as that pair acknowledges it, then I'd suggest playing the weak pair against the teams the captain thinks are in the weaker 2/3 of the field and benching them against the stronger teams. Since there is usually a grey area in the middle of the pack, this gets subordinated to other factors unless the opps are especially strong or especially weak.
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#6 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2014-November-26, 20:22

It's an easily avoidable problem, by just not playing on 6-person teams. (I am only slightly facetious ... at sectionals and regionals, almost nobody plays 5- or 6-handed unless someone has to leave early or arrive late -- in which case the sitout arrangements are obvious.)

I like awm's advice, as a generality.

mikeh's last paragraph is properly prefaced with caveats, but it is still very dangerous advice from a team-spirit standpoint. It makes sense if you're trying to win the bermuda bowl. In most other events, it's rather unkind to the weak pair to never give them a chance to play against good opposition.

My only experience on that front was a partnership-desk failure which resulted in me being on a 5-person team instead of driving home. I was at least as good, individually, as any of the others on the team, but none of them was a regular partner of mine. The captain decided to only play me-and-somebody-new against the weak opponents, and put in the original foursome against the good teams. If I had known he was going to do that I would have just gone home. It was a complete waste of a day, alternately playing against idiots and sitting out while the others lost to good teams and drew idiots again for the next match. I can see why he thought it was a good strategy to maximize his chance of winning (though the table results suggested it didn't turn out real well in practice) but I think it cost everybody more in stress that it could have gained anyone in matchpoints.
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#7 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-November-27, 04:40

I would not subject anyone on the team to playing against "idiots". If that means such team member doesn't play enough to remain eligible, so be it. That kind of disdain for the opponents would reduce his enjoyment of the game, reflect unfavorably on the team, and lead to poor results.
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#8 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2014-November-28, 15:30

View PostBalrog49, on 2014-November-26, 13:46, said:

When you're on a six-person team in a multi-day Swiss event, what do you think is the best way for the captain to determine who sits out and when?

What did his teammates say when he asked their opinion?
... 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
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#9 User is offline   Balrog49 

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Posted 2014-November-28, 15:56

View Postgnasher, on 2014-November-28, 15:30, said:

What did his teammates say when he asked their opinion?

Here's what the captain says:

Each pair will have a sitout in one of the last three rounds, based on--statistically--who's doing best. If we play in the consolation on Sunday, which I think is only seven rounds, the "best" pair will have one less sitout. Except for when ... and I are skipping a whole session, or possibly on Sunday based on the final arrangement, nobody will play three matches in a row. ... and I will always play North-South. ...and ...will always play East-West. ... and ... will be seated alternately; I'll remind them before each match. ... posted some thoughts about deciding before each match whether we're playing to win, to survive, or to win big. I won't be around Friday evening. For the first six matches, let's just play bridge. Based on our standing, it should be clear what's needed in the last two. I looked at last year's bulletin to see what it had to say about qualifying; 92 of 181 teams Q'd, so it looks like an average score will be good enough. This is changed since the last time I played in it (perhaps due to the introduction of the 10K Swiss), when the cutoff was around 88 VP. And since this was ...'s concern, plus he's the one buying the entry, he can be the substitute captain in my absence.


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#10 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2014-November-28, 17:03

View Postmikeh, on 2014-November-26, 19:24, said:

Phil, I could hardly disagree more! What follows is based on my experience and my reactions...I assume your suggestions are based on yours. I think that it really adds up to the captain trying to understand how his players think. If they are (mostly) like me, then follow my ideas...if like you, follow yours.

1. Sleep patterns and nutrition patterns are, imo, very important, especially over a long event. Varying the time when one gets up is not likely to be a good thing, any more than is varying the time when you eat breakfast and (if you are a caffeine addict as I am) drink coffee.

2. I always want to be there at the comparison before the dinner break, so giving me off the last match before the break and the first one after takes me out of the rhythm of the game without giving me the benefit of the long break you are setting up. In fact, I don't like long breaks. Only in a very long event would I suggest giving a pair an entire session off. I have played in such circumstances and felt that the long break got me out of focus. Everyone is different, I suspect, but personally I hate sitting out even when I am exhausted. A short break, of one match, is far more tolerable than sitting out an entire session.

3. On a related note: my view is that whenever possible we should ALL be present for all comparisons. Team chemistry probably isn't as important in bridge as it is in most team endeavours, but it is not an illusion. If we lose a match, those who sat out can empathize with us, and can encourage us (if you have a player or a pair that reveals anger or casts blame or criticism in the presence of the other players, then you have problems anyway). If you win, then the congratulations of the sit-out pair can help as well. We all like positive feedback. So I don't want anyone leaving early, and I don't want people taking off before the 'before-the-break' match and coming back 3 or 4 hours later.

BTW, if you have a pair that the captain thinks is clearly weaker than the other two pairs, and so long as that pair acknowledges it, then I'd suggest playing the weak pair against the teams the captain thinks are in the weaker 2/3 of the field and benching them against the stronger teams. Since there is usually a grey area in the middle of the pack, this gets subordinated to other factors unless the opps are especially strong or especially weak.


Hi Mike:

If you are playing on a pro team, then the lineups will probably be pre-determined. As far as changing sleep patterns, who suggested that?

If you want to be there for comparisons before the break, thats your choice. You might ask yourself why you were out of rhythm. Was it because you had to sit around for an hour while your teammates played the 4th match? Nevertheless, I think you could accomplish both by sitting out five and six.

If its convenient, I agree with you about comparisons, but it seems silly to me for a pair that wants to sleep in to be there for the 1st comparison. I also think this is more important in KOs than Swiss.
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#11 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2014-November-28, 18:00

View PostBalrog49, on 2014-November-28, 15:56, said:

Here's what the captain says:

Each pair will have a sitout in one of the last three rounds, based on--statistically--who's doing best. If we play in the consolation on Sunday, which I think is only seven rounds, the "best" pair will have one less sitout. Except for when ... and I are skipping a whole session, or possibly on Sunday based on the final arrangement, nobody will play three matches in a row. ... and I will always play North-South. ...and ...will always play East-West. ... and ... will be seated alternately; I'll remind them before each match. ... posted some thoughts about deciding before each match whether we're playing to win, to survive, or to win big. I won't be around Friday evening. For the first six matches, let's just play bridge. Based on our standing, it should be clear what's needed in the last two. I looked at last year's bulletin to see what it had to say about qualifying; 92 of 181 teams Q'd, so it looks like an average score will be good enough. This is changed since the last time I played in it (perhaps due to the introduction of the 10K Swiss), when the cutoff was around 88 VP. And since this was ...'s concern, plus he's the one buying the entry, he can be the substitute captain in my absence.


I think you should choose a different captain next year.
... 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
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#12 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2014-November-29, 08:06

View PostBalrog49, on 2014-November-26, 13:46, said:

When you're on a six-person team in a multi-day Swiss event, what do you think is the best way for the captain to determine who sits out and when?
If no pair admits to being weaker than the other two, then, in the hope of hassle-free decision-making, a captain might announce a winner-sits policy:
  • The default is that a winning foursome continue to play the next match. If a winning pair want to drop out, however, they may do so, it their reason satisfies the captain.
  • The default is that, after a losing match, if neither of the playing pairs volunteer to drop out, then the sitting-out pair choose their team-mates for the next match.
  • The captain has the right to over-ride this default strategy.
If you find yourself sitting out continuously :( you have the consolation that your team is probably winning the event :)
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#13 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2014-November-29, 08:30

View Postnige1, on 2014-November-29, 08:06, said:

If no pair admits to being weaker than the other two, then, in the hope of hassle-free decision-making, a captain might announce a winner-sits policy:
  • The default is that a winning foursome continue to play the next match. If a winning pair want to drop out, however, they may do so, it their reason satisfies the captain.
  • The default is that, after a losing match, if neither of the playing pairs volunteer to drop out, then the sitting-out pair choose their team-mates for the next match.
  • The captain has the right to over-ride this default strategy.
If you find yourself sitting out continuously :( you have the consolation that your team is probably winning the event :)

Luckily I've only played on four-man teams with nige1. And if we ever play on a six-man team, I'm going to be captain!
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#14 User is offline   jallerton 

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Posted 2014-November-30, 06:09

View PostBalrog49, on 2014-November-26, 13:46, said:

When you're on a six-person team in a multi-day Swiss event, what do you think is the best way for the captain to determine who sits out and when?


In order to answer this question, we need to understand why you are playing as a team of 6 in the first place. If X gets tired after playing more than two consecutive sets or Y doesn't like playing in the morning or Z is used to getting up early and normally feels tired towards the end of the day, then that will help you to work out the answer.
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