2015 President’s Awards

by Matthew Kidd

At the January 10, 2016 unit game, president Matthew Kidd presented the third annual President’s Awards. These awards are based on the unit game results for 2015 and emphasize partnership performance rather than individual performance.

The full set of awards given are listed below:

Award Result Partnership (or Players)
Best Game 68.43% (tie) Sam Jordan and James Martin
David Oakley and Greg Chaffee
Best Partnership 59.37% average Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger
Best Slam Partnership 1.40 slams / session Mac Busby and Ivar Stakgold
Most Improved Partnership +5.42% average Matthew Kidd and Trish Lane
Most Consistent Partnership σ = 3.58% Barbara Norman and Chuck Wilson
Wildest Partnership σ = 6.71% Andy and Patricia Loh
Best Attendance 24 of 24 games Freda Anderson
Best David Partnership +1.86% Lena Jelusich and Alice Lane
Best Meanie Partnership +2.47% Sam and Yoko Jordan
Best Pair-Pair Overperformance +12.07% Ron and Mary Huffaker against
Kathleen Hennessy and Tom Tatham

Best Game is straightforward. Alex Fowlie and Janice Joerger held the lead for two months with a 63.15% game in January before succumbing to Sam and Yoko Jordon’s 65.06% game in March which in turn was edged out by a 65.51% game by Roger Doughman and Suzanne LeBendig in April and a 67.38% game by Bill Grant and Lynne O’Neill in May. This was bested by David Oakley and Greg Chaffee’s 68.43% in June. This couldn’t be beaten, but it was tied by Sam Jordan and James Martin in July.

Best partnership was clear this year. Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger have a 59.37% average based on 12 sessions, a 2.97% improvement on their strong performance last year. They were trailed by Phyllis Yates and Budak Barkan (56.29%) and Bill Grant and Lynne O’Neill (55.17%).

Jeremy Fields and Matthew Kidd slammed their one partnership session in 2015, bidding and making five slams and not surprisingly winning the event. But the Best Slam Partnership award for the highest average number of slams bids and made per session is for sustained achievement rather than a one session fluke. The contenders are Mac Busby and Ivar Stakgold (1.40 / session, 5 sessions), Phyllis Yates and Budak Barkan (1.00 / session, 8 sessions), and Hanan Deeby and Bernard Figueiredo (0.85 / session, 13 session). I’m solving this dilemma in a Bayesian manner where the priors are 1 slams / session Mac and Ivar and a bit over 0.5 slams / session for the latter two partnerships based on available data. This gives good confidence in assigning the award to Mac and Ivar. Keep in mind that Ivar Stakgold is also a regular contributor to the Master Solvers panel of the Contract Bridge Forum, not explicitly factored in as a prior here but nonetheless a further confirmation of the result.

The Most Improved Partnership compares 2015 performance against 2014 performance. Matthew Kidd and Trish Lane zoomed up 5.42%, after a crummy 2014. This is slightly better than the fantastic 5.37% improvement posted by Freda Anderson and Gail Dunham last year. Also improved were Alice Lane and Dorinda Lindvall, up 4.24% in 2015 and Kent Hartman and Maritha Pottenger (2.97%) and Lynne Anderson and Ursula Kantor (2.57%).

Barbara Norman and Chuck Wilson once again won the Most Consistent Partnership. They reduced their already low standard deviation of just 4.03% last year to 3.58% this year over a statistically robust 19 games. 3.58% is below the theoretical long term minimum observed in Partnership Variability. Although this could be the result of a downward fluctuation, it is interesting to speculate whether Barbara and Chuck have a calming effect on other pairs such that they experience lower field noise, violating the presumed independence of an individual pair’s inherit variability and the variability imposed by the field. Clearly more research is needed. Scott and Carole Nelson were the runners up with standard deviation of 3.64% over 14 games.

Andy and Patrica Loh once again won Wildest Partnership with a standard deviation of 6.71%, reeling in their 7.71% from last year enough to put them in a statistical dead heat with the Sam and Yoko Jordan (6.70%). The runner up partnerships were the new partnership of Paul Alesu and Bob Brobst (6.64%) and the Carolyn Casey and Marilyn Peters-Dunn partnership (6.48%).

Best Attendance is straightforward. Freda Anderson won again, the only player with a perfect record this year. Matthew Kidd and Alice Lane put up a good fight, missing only one game each. Matthew’s excuse is that the unit game he missed fell on his sweetheart’s birthday.

Two years ago, I introduced the Payoff Matrix and the examination of pair-pair interactions after factoring in differences in partnership skill so as to evaluate over- and under-performance. The Best David Partnership and the Meanie (formerly Best Bottom Feeding) Partnership awards are based on those results. The Best David Partnership, named for David and Goliath, goes to the partnership which overperforms the most against the stronger half of the field. Lena Jelusich and Alice Lane won with a 1.86% overperformance. Since this award is cast in terms of over- and underperformance, it simultaneously implies they are not beating up as much as they should against the weaker half of the field. The Meanie award goes to the partnership which overperforms the most against the weaker half of the field, and simultaneously underperforms against the stronger half of the field. The Mezin-Chan partnership took this award two years running, but this year their performance against the field was balanced. Sam and Yoko Jordan pickup the Meanie award.

The Best Pair-Pair Overperformance award is subject to a tradeoff between magnitude and statistical confidence. I’m going to award it to Ron and Mary Huffaker’s for their 12.07% overperformance against Kathy Hennessy and Tom Tatham over a robust 26 boards. But Samuel and Yoko Jordan’s 17.14% overperformance against Lynne Anderson and Ursula Kantor over 12 boards is also notable. So is Barry and Emily Berkov’s 16.55% overperformance against Carolyn Casey and Marilyn Peters-Dunn and Freda Anderson and Gail Dunham’s 13.18% overperformance against Sue Kane and Sally Ishihara, both over 16 boards. Meanwhile Alice Lane and Dorinda Lindvall finally broke free of their tormentors, Freda Anderson and Gail Dunham, playing only 7 boards against them and overperforming by 1.98%.