Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

>60% = 2.50 Red

Sunshine and I headed off to the penultimate day of the Puget Sound regional, up in Lynnwood. My work schedule was not very kind to the rest of the week, and we are taking care of some shopping and laundry tomorrow. Still, we managed the afternoon and evening sessions (1 & 7 leaves time to eat between!). Our evening session was pretty standard for us: a touch over 40% (see the end for a quickie duplicate scoring explanation), which put us 6th of 7 (falling two spots in the last round). It was not a disaster, but nothing great. Still, that was not the cool part.

In the afternoon session, we played well enough to grab better than a 60% game for second in strat A (partnerships in which the higher player has under 200 accumulated masterpoints), and first in strats B and C (under 100 and under 50, respectively). This earned us 2.50 Red masterpoints each (color won't matter to us for years). Oh yeah, this was in a flight of thirteen partnerships.

Sunshine has now reached the first named plateau of the American bridge world: Junior Master. She will be getting a new ACBL membership card to reflect her new status. It's nothing great to look at, but it still feels good to have it. All in all, it was a pretty good day, especially for a couple of out-of-shape bridge players. But that's not all.

Forget that bridge players everywhere we have gone are a pretty cool (if moderately nerdy) lot (doubters should note that the world's richest nerd passed within about two feet of us at one point), and Seattle produced an astoundingly welcome batch. Steve (I commented to Sunshine that he kinda looked like Steve Jobs even before I knew his name was Steve) was talking to someone at the end of round one and mentioned a club in Redmond, near where we now live. I asked him about it and got not only a wealth of information, but also introductions to, well, the entire Eastside bridge community, with a few Seattle folks thrown in. We could not have been made to feel more welcome.

As an added bonus, the newly elected ACBL President Harriet Buckman was in attendance, a fact I learned as both she and I were looking for standard convention cards before the afternoon session. She introduced herself, and I was a little befuddled. It was, after all, a regional. What is the top dog of the sponsoring organization doing in this little corner of the bridge world? Well, she seems a charming woman, and by all accounts she is. We didn't stop to chat, but I was pleased to have met her, however briefly.

Now, for those wondering about scoring . . .
Bridge, in order to eliminate the luck factor, is played as a duplicate game. A fixed number of hands will get played in small batches by different match-ups. The East-West players will play a few and move a table one way, while the hands they just played (called "boards," after the devices that hold them in fixed order so they may travel unmolested) move the other. Then the new match-ups play more boards. The East-West pairs' scores are compared to other East-West scores for the same hands, and the same is done for North-South partnerships. If Pair One plays Board 14, and ten other pairs play the board, there are ten partnerships that Pair One can beat, tie, or lose to. For each one they beat, they get 1 matchpoint; for each tie, they get 0.5 matchpoints, and for each loss, they get 0 matchpoints. This would mean that there are, in the scenario I just described, 10 matchpoints available, and a partnership scoring 4.5 would have 45%. Note that this is, barring special circumstances, a zero-sum arrangment, adjusted to 50%. A partnership over 50% will probably get points, and it is not rare that some under will, too.

Now, don't you just want to go out there and take some lessons to flex that brain of yours? Seriously: nerds can be great fun.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I just don't get it. Every time I do a quiz to find out what (enter cult film or TV value here) character I am, I get something quite different than anything I expected going in.

Miracle Max

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti