Perhaps this is just educating the new guy (who just got access to the moderator tools), but this questions was recently given a vote to close as not constructive:

What caused this world-class player' to respond inappropriately to her partner's transfer bids?

I don't understand the arguments FOR closing.

This question fascinates me as I think examples like this can be really good tools for understanding high-level bridge play. I earnestly want to know how that could happen.

I don't see this as too different from any other question asking about strategy.

  • I think it's a good question, and I've not seen a great answer to it yet. I'm not a bridge expert, but I'm sure there has to be a good reason for why the bidding took that route.
    – tttppp
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 18:53

3 Answers 3


What was going on through the players mind, is a question only the player can answer. Apart from giving opinions, no one here can really answer that question in a constructive way.

Given the embarrassing situation, I suppose an answer from the player involved would not be forthcoming soon, and even if it did, you will likely be disappointed with your expectations of gaining insight into high-level play.

Frankly, I am surprised that any experienced bridge player would be fascinated by this, with expectations of gaining insight into high-level play, even after reading the article by Zia Mahmood which does not even attempt to justify the bidding.

Note: this is not one of those situations where experts have a difference of opinion. This was just someone turning their brain off. If it was truly a subtle/discussion worthy situation, Zia's article would be something completely different.

btw, you can find some info here: http://www.worldbridge.org/tourn/Veldhoven.11/Microsite/Bulletins/Veldhoven.2011.Bulletin.%5B6%5D.pdf, which does imply that it was an embarrassing moment for the player involved (See page 15, the numbers game).

If you are interested in the opening 1NT bid, there might be a question there.

Also, I would like to point out that a question being closed does not mean it is the end for it. It can be edited, and reopened.

And your "new guy" made me laugh (sorry!).

  • I wasn't taking it as a literal "What was this guy thinking" but taking the implied means of the phrase "what was he thinking" to mean what were the possible game situations that could have lead here. Are you saying that we're not allowed to use idioms in questions? Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:13
  • @NealTibrewala: I suggest we let the author of question decide what the question was. Until then, I suggest we go by the title, and the questions that were actually asked.
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:16
  • Also, are you implying by "Frankly, I am surprised that any experienced bridge player would be fascinated by this" that a question can be closed because it doesn't apply to experienced players? I would expect the bar to be low enough to at least interest beginners, perhaps even low enough for dabblers. Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:17
  • 1
    @NealTibrewala: No, I am just stating my surprise at this meta question being opened. Apologies if that offends you, that was not the intent. And yes, there really is nothing even for beginners there, apart from perhaps, "see what happens if you shut off your brain".
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:19
  • @Aryabhata: if that's your answer - "there is no possible explanation for this hand, apart from a temporary brain malfunction", then maybe you should have given it as an answer. Voting to close because YOU think the question is stupid, when others have upvoted it and - obviously interested in the question - tried to provide answers to it, is just arrogant. And Neal is obviously right about the idiom in the question. Of COURSE I'm not literally asking someone to phone up the player and find out precisely what they were thinking (maybe about whether they'd left the bathwater running). Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:34
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    @thesunneversets: Let me ask you this: Did your question really get answered? I don't see any arrogance in casting a vote to close a question which I think is un-constructive (according to the rules of the site). What else do you expect me to do? If your question was something else, please at least have that somewhere! Note: your question has not been closed yet (requires at least 5 total votes), and if it did, you could always edit it and flag it for reopening.
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:46
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    @thesunneversets: btw, I don't think the question is stupid. Just that, for the stackexchange format, it is not a constructive question. And as to your comment about answers already being there, I have seen questions with more than 30 answers being closed on stackoverflow. There is no arrogance there. Only somebody's (subjective, of course) opinion of what is a valid question for the stackexchange format.
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 7:53
  • 1
    @Aryabhata - sorry, I didn't mean to suggest you were being irresponsible by casting a vote to close, it's your right. I do think there needs to be more discussion about questions about analysing a particular game state or initial position (in Magic as well as Bridge). I feel a meta question of my own brewing... Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 9:13

I think there are, broadly, two ways to interpreting what is required to "close as not constructive".

There's the conservative way, that takes a very hard line. There's a liberal way, which wants to give questions the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, it takes only 5 exponents of the conservative school to be active to close all "borderline" questions. (I wish there was a "don't close" vote that could counteract a "close" one.)

Closing as not constructive requires the opinion that answers will not be able to be based on "facts, references, or specific expertise". Well, on the Bridge question in hand, there are definitely facts and references you can bring to bear, about bidding systems, transfers, the forcing nature of requests to transfer or otherwise. Specific expertise is bound to be useful: a great Bridge player could have a lot to say about such a hand, how they might have bid it, what went wrong at the table in question.

Yes, this question doesn't definitely have a right answer. But an awful lot of questions on BG:SE don't have a definite right answer. If we want our site to have just simple fact-checking requests like "how many points do you need to make a pre-empt bid in Standard American" or "what happens when you block a creature with Trample" then that's fine, if unexciting. But it should be made rather more clear than it is that questions without simple, objective correct answers are unwelcome.

  • I agree that the close/reopen system is assymetrical, but at least it exists, so reopening is a (distant) possibility. Your idea is a popular one, btw, but was completely vetoed by the powers that be. Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 16:04
  • Surely there are standards that have been figured out on other stackexchange sites? I'm unclear as to the process of the site, in general, is each site supposed to make this decision on its own? Or are there global guidelines than can be read? Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 5:22
  • @Neal Tibrewala - There are global guidelines, but in the end the choice is based on some level of subjective interpretation, and there are always disagreements. The notion of subjectivity on these sites has changed over time, quite dramatically. See for example meta.stackexchange.com/questions/107073/…. In general, meta.stackoverflow.com is an excellent place to discuss these broader questions, or to ask e.g. your guidelines question. Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 22:22

I voted to close the question because I see it as "I'd like to discuss this bidding." It's certainly an interesting situation, but to me, a SE question needs to pose something more specific.

There is, I suppose, also a danger that this could lead to a series of questions on specific hands that might, in some way, all be related (although one would hope they would come from a level of play below world championship level). Based on this concern about poker questions, I wonder if perhaps a better approach would be to ask "How can I get my partner to bid a suit I desperately want?" or perhaps "What should I do when my partner seems to want a suit I absolutely do not want to bid?", playing the part of North or South as appropriate. That might lead to more specific answers that would be useful in multiple situations.

This may also be related to our previous discussion about scope and chess questions, which didn't really draw a lot of interest. It would be nice to get more input from the community about all of these questions: there are times I feel that only a handful of us are discussing these issues, and that's not a good thing. (It may be because people don't feel qualified to discuss questions on chess or bridge or poker, but if that's the case, then we need to attract significantly more people to the main site and to meta, or else we will have problems moving forward.)

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