The term “bridge,” as researchers
To investigate this question — or, actually, to satirize the ability of scientists to prove anything with statistics, no matter how ridiculous — Gelman, a Columbia University statistician, and Falk, a vice president of NERA Economic Consulting, examined the play of a major American tournament, the 2015 Vanderbilt Knockout Teams competition. (This was actually played last March, before Trump announced his candidacy, but it was already being talked about in political circles — one of the numerous fudge factors Gelman and Falk salted their paper with.) They compared the number and outcome of no-trump hands to the 1999 Vanderbilt competition, and to the 2015 Dutch championships, both of which, they assumed, should have been less influenced by the players’ feelings about Donald Trump.
And the results? There were more no-trump hands played in the 2015 American tournament (28.81%) than in either of the others (by coincidence, 25.98% in each), and — of greater significance, for statistical reasons we don’t need to go into — a higher percentage of those no-trump hands were “made,” or won, in 2015.
The authors write:
“Trumpmania appears to cause a slight increase in the fraction of games played at No Trump. This suggests either that elite players are more likely to issue the phrase “No Trump” when bidding, or that the phrase stated by their opponents stuns them into silence.”
The paper is a joke, of course, although the data is real, and it has a serious purpose, having to do with the manipulation of statistics by researchers eager to get their work published — a frequent topic for the Retraction Watch website, which has an
Those who already feel overwhelmed by Trumpmania, with months to go till the election, might want to give up bridge for the duration.
They can take up Monopoly instead. Maybe they can build a