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终身大师半决赛

wimptb

As I review the hands in the semifinal, the pain of not surviving relieved a 
little bit, as I found the bridge was actually more decent than I thought. 
This year's LM pairs is particularly competitive, partly due to the new 
mini-life master pairs introduced, which move more than 200 pairs to the lower 
events. As a result, the field is unusually strong. As a data point, last year 
there were over 500 pairs playing in the LM pairs, and 130 pairs qualified for 
the final. This year, only 330 pairs played the LM pairs, and only 156 pairs 
qualified the semi-final. So the strength of semifinal field feels like final 
last year.  
Fred and I haven't played together for more than 3 years together and this 
time we played a completely different system than before. As a result, we lost 
at least 2 boards to system & convention screw ups. The funniest one was after 
oppo's strong 1C opening, Fred overcalled 5C, intending for Suction (the 
higher ranking single suit, or the other two suited hand), but I was not on 
the same wavelength as I could not see the merit of playing Suction at 5 
level. With minor 1-1, I passed and we played in 3-1 fit going 5 off for -250. 
One of the oppo was a good friend, nevertheless he called director and seeked 
a score adjustment to -300 as 5Dx can go 2 off: people are this serious! The 
director consulted a bunch experts and everyone of them chose to pass when 
oppo bid your 6card suit AQJxxx.  
A characteristics of the high level bridge is the competitive auction and 
aggressive balancing. You rarely buy the contract easily, yet, we never had a 
chance to catch oppo speeding. 
Personally, my main weakness still lies in the opening lead. In addition, I 
found myself too pessimistic and often on the losing end when the layout was 
extremely friendly.  
The 26 hands I posted here were actually quite plain and not very exciting. 
Meanwhile, as you may have discovered, the actions are mostly reasonable. On 
my side, I found the 3 mistakes I made was unforgivable: the opening lead 
against 6H, my wrong choice of squeeze in 4S, and my passing of 2D with 
6-4-2-1. Getting these correct would surely get us above average. In fact the 
opening lead itself would raise 3.5%. 
In the 2 session semifinal, Sidney Lazard and Bart Bramley always sat next to 
us, and there were always kibitzers there. Unfortunately Lazard, the reigning 
blue ribbon champion, failed to qualify the 2nd day as well. 
Oh well, the ultimate winning strategy is to survive in life itself, I guess. 
When you do so, you have the chance to try again. In fact, when I don't feel 
the pain and humiliation of defeat, it feels like a winner by just playing in 
the event. At the end of day, winning bridge is correlated to winning in life. 
This year's overwhelming winner in the LM pairs illustrated that: Nick Nickell 
is a very successful businessman and he wins both in and out of bridge. 
 
 By the way, there's a little fact that not everyone knows and perhaps helpful
if anyone comes to play in the US national. In pairs games like Life Master, t
hey usually seed pairs, and you very much know the strength, even if you don't
 know those people by face (for example, I didn't know Kit Woolsey before, but
 they were one of the seeded pairs). In general, the even number of pairs are
always unseeded, and some odd numbers are seeded, at least 1, 3, 7, 11, could
be more.
In qualifying rounds, the known experts are required to fill in a different en
try this year so they can seed this. After that, the seeding was decided by th
e qualifying and semifinal results.
For the hands I posted, you can check that. We were pair5 in the semifinal and
 move up so 3rd round would play pair NS7, the Wooldridge-Hurd, for example. E
W3 was the Lazard-Bramley pair. Larry Cohen-David Berkewitz were NS11, the pai
r after Douglas Doub, and the one that we were late (so I was wrong in my orig
inal post in saying that North was a pro and South was a client, but Cohen onc
e on table when Berkowitz was on lead: pd, your turn to cost a trick. And this
 time, against my 3NT, he was right again! -- the hand that if he led CJ from
xxxx x xxxxx JTx I would go down in my 3N as long as they don't play 3 rounds
of C).

 2003-07-30

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