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All comments by Barry Dehlin
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I was one of the captains involved here, and wanted to introduce a few additional facts and questions.

Additional facts:

1. This was a GNT-B district final with 8 teams. In our district, there is a minimum $2000 subsidy to the winner to play in the national GNT finals. I mention this because I think the fact that it's part of a longer event – and one with a financial element – may have a bearing on the optimal solution.

2. I have a minor quibble on a less-important aspect of “Fact 4” in the OP. There was really only one team's immediately-expressed and strong objection to the “ignore the blown-up session and schedule an extra session” solution…I believe but am not certain that objection came from a team that did well in their phantom comparisons from session 1.

3. The actual solution put in place was to count the results of the 21-board (3x7) first session, not using a cross-IMP approach but rather using the phantom IMP results from session 1 (i.e. “+600 on board 1 against Team A, -150 vs. Team B…win 10”). Each team's net phantom IMPs were then divided by 7 and applied equally to the actual IMP results for each of the 7 team comparisons from the 28-board session 2. Those IMP results were converted to VP, and the top 4 teams qualified for day 2.

My thoughts and questions:

1. It's obviously incredibly unfortunate that this happened. But once disaster struck, I think the Chair and the Director handled things reasonably.

2. After two days to think about it - which the Chair and Director did not have - I'm not sure I think it was handled optimally. Given the importance of the event (IMO the GNT event is “more important” than just a typical regional 2-day KO), I think the optimal approach would be to scrap the first round, play the next 3 sessions as originally planned (2-session qualifying round-robin and semi-finals), and then work hard to schedule the last two teams for a final KO session at some other unplanned time and place. So basically do what was proposed as an veto-able option, but w/o the possibility of any team veto. I acknowledge the scheduling (8 people finding an agreeable time), travel (our district is a 5-hour drive from end to end) and cost (additional director and space) drawbacks, but would have preferred to see us revert to the integrity of the original format. Again, this is all with 20/20 hindsight and not a criticism of the decison-makers here. We did not object to the solution when presented in the moment, and I do not believe in making the perfect the enemy of the good.

3. Re: the method used to include results from the fouled first session, I would appreciate comments on the choice of using what I'm calling the “phantom IMP” approach vs. the cross-IMP method others suggested earlier. I suspect this choice was based on both the time considerations and the technical difficulties involved (i.e. cross-IMPs opens up the possibility of more errors). I can see the technical superiority of the cross-IMP approach, but my gut feel is that the difference is likely to be minor. Thoughts?
April 24, 2018
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ditto
April 5, 2018
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I played the Spingold in 2016 with teammates who didnt have 100 points.
March 23, 2018
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I've been to eight nationals, playing for as few as 3 days and as many as 10 (just now here in Philly, since I'm local).

The yes/no/how much decision hinges on how well I'm able to balance attendance with my life, which includes work, a non-bridge-playing wife, and two kids.

Things that increase my likelihood of playing: (1) less travel time/direct flights (Chicago is as far West as I've gone), (2) afternoon/evening schedules that allow me to work in the morning so that my time off work is minimized, (3) qualifying for a grassroots event, and (4) not being calendar-adjacent to other events that pull me away from family or work. (I can't ever contemplate going to a Fall National since I usually travel to visit family for Thanksgiving and taking more time off right after that would be difficult to impossible).

There are other things that might make me like or dislike the NABCs a bit more, but none are really close to importance compared to what I listed above. Secondary factors include: keeping the 1pm/evening schedule but shortening dinner breaks so you finish earlier than 11, better technology, lower total cost of attendance.
March 19, 2018
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Strongly agree that a 3rd grassroots event would be great. Maybe BAM. Or maybe even IMP pairs…I understand it is more volatile, but maybe that's a feature-not-a-bug that would tend to qualify some to nationals when they've never or rarely gone before.
March 19, 2018
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There's a follow-up “Part 2” article in the Tuesday Bulletin (page 8)…
http://cdn.acbl.org/nabc/2018/01/bulletins/db5.pdf
March 13, 2018
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Balanced invitational, no 4cM.
March 8, 2018
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Balanced, invitational, no 4cM, very likely <4 diamonds.
Feb. 22, 2018
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Why do the simulation parameters preclude partner from holding 5 spades? Do you really not open 1N with a 5cM?
Feb. 18, 2018
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Perhaps simpler…I heard recently that poker/card game savant Stu Ungar won a $10K bet by correctly naming the 52nd card of a deck where he was shown the first 51 for about a second each. His method was based on assigning each card a value from 1-52 based on rank/suit and keeping a running total. Subtracting his 51-card total from 1,378 game him the answer as to the 52nd.
Jan. 12, 2018
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Viewed as an incentive to play, you would want to look at the total # of points to be awarded to all 120 players collectively, rather than just the award for the winners.

And if you are to equalize that aggregate point total, you either need to have a higher 1st-place award for the pairs game, or a radically different payout structure (in terms of % of the field winning points and/or the rate of decay).
Jan. 3, 2018
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To me, your sample hand is an easy 1 opener
Oct. 20, 2017
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Bidding polls automatically let people “vote”, with all of the legal calls available as voting options.
Oct. 1, 2017
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Dig a little deeper on the site; there are partnership ratings as well.
Sept. 30, 2017
Barry Dehlin edited this comment Sept. 30, 2017
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I think a pretty good effort at objectively measuring sustained excellence, at least within the ACBL, already exists… http://www.coloradospringsbridge.com/pr.htm

Three caveats:

1. It's not ACBL supported (to my knowledge). But we should recognize that one of the ACBL's 10 “big ideas” is to build a performance metric…not sure why that didn't garner mention in the OP.

2. My understanding is that this is a one-man creation. So while I immensely respect this effort, I suspect it can be made more accurate with further expert help.

3. I am certain this system could be made better with more comprehensive data. The author of this measurement system has tried to get the ACBL to provide comprehensive club data, but (again, to the best of my knowledge) I don't think that has happened.
Sept. 30, 2017
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Point taken. This is actually the nature of the debate we have had…what is standard for spade length here. (And also prompted the related bidding problem that Richard correctly identified is the facing hand.) But could/should have clarified that it was “undiscussed.”
Sept. 27, 2017
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Do you mean support doubles through (their) 3? If you're willing to play at the 3-level, why exempt their 3 which still allows you to land in 3?
Aug. 30, 2017
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Only read the intro so far, but conceptually the new proposed break between…(a) 2 charts targeted for masterpoint-limited events which generally prohibit approaches unless expressly permitted, and (b) 2 charts targeted for open events which generally permit unless expressly prohibited…is a vast improvement over what we have now.
Aug. 28, 2017
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1 is 4+…added the clarification to the OP
Aug. 23, 2017
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