Monday, 12 December 2016

THE ULTIMATE CLUB SECRETARY : THE JOB SPECIFICATION


The ideal candidate needs to possess the following abilities , attributes and skills if wishing to become an effective bridge club secretary :

1.   Thick skinned and pig-headed
2.   Incapable of apologising or showing remorse
3.   A fantasist
4.   A master of brevity and spin 
5.   An expert in the art of giving out misinformation . disinformation and meaningless cliches
6.   Manipulative and controlling
7.   Full of guile and cunning
8.   Dogged and determined , never prepared to let things go , forgive or forget, bury the 
      hatchet, forget the past and acknowledge compromise as a sensible solution
9.   Power crazy
10. Fully committed to converting personal agendas into committee ones
11. Passionate about promoting despotism and nepotism within the officer ranks of the 
      committee 
12. A natural and egoistic hypocrite forever doing what she/he tells others they can't





Thursday, 1 December 2016

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE WHERE BRIDGE CLUBS ARE DYING BY THE THOUSANDS........ ( As depicted in a poem adapted from a Leonard Cohen classic ) 


The chairman called me over
She fumbled for my hand
" I want you to take my office
I'm giving you command "

" Command of what, there's no one left
There's only you and me
All the members are dead and gone
On that we can agree "

" Complain , complain ...that's all you've done
Ever since that awful cost
Of hefty sums on legal fees
For a case I'm afraid we lost "

" May Christ have mercy on you soul
Your actions were a sickening joke
This wretched episode destroyed our club
As valuable funds went up in smoke "

" I know that you have suffered more
But consider this for a while
Whatever makes an opponent sad
Always makes a declarer smile "

" Sorry but I'm leaving now
You need to surely understand
So get this into your tiny head
There's no point in making a stand 
There's no hope in members returning
They've all gone to pastures new
Everyone is into internet bridge
Where robots players are fair and true
My commitment to this club is done
You'll rally me no more
I don't even know what I'm doing here
What the club is  really for
I've spent far too long aboard this boat
Which has been leaking money fast
We are now in deep dark trouble
The die has been surely cast
I've read the recent AGM report
And most of it is grim if not black
There's no hope for any salvation
There's no chance of going back "

Now the chairman she was pleading
But I steadfastly refused the poisoned chalice
Why on earth would I take command
When my heart was racked with malice




















Wednesday, 23 November 2016

BENIGN BRIDGE CLUB ( USA ) : COMMITTEE IMPOSES NEW RULES IN KEEPING WITH THE STRICT ZERO TOLERANCE REGIME


  • The Committee is always right
  • The Committee is never wrong
  • Even if the Committee is wrong no one is allowed to comment on the fact
  • Dissident members are to be classed as the scum of the earth
  • Anyone who is regarded as a dissident member who will hounded out of the club
  • Disciplinary hearings will always be conducted behind closed doors using all the bias and prejudice needed to get the bastards expelled     
  • No one must ever mention the vast sums of money the Committee has wasted on obscene and financially crippling legal fees
  • The Committee believes very strongly in giving members both disinformation and misinformation in order to maintain harmony and contentment within the ranks
  • Elephants do not occupy Committee rooms despite the fact that huge piles of dung have been used as manure on the garden beds 
  • Approved committee members expect to be voted in unopposed at the next AGM
  • Any club member who does not vote properly will be taken to the cellars and starved to death
  • All members will be obliged to swear on the Holy Bible that grovelling compliance , obedience and  loyalty are their primary duties 
  • Every member is required to snitch on any other member who appears to be harbouring negative thoughts , attitudes and concerns about the never-ending shenanigans the Committee constantly get up to 
  • For zero tolerance to work the Committee must be given a free reign to do as it pleases in a climate where forgiveness of human error is not an option 
  • The days of asking errant members to sit on the naughty chairs are well and truly over , as the wood from these chairs will be used to build a state-of-the-art scaffold 



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

BRIDGE BOOKS SOME LADIES MIGHT FIND OFFENSIVE......


  •  Whoever Farted At This Table Needs To Own Up Right Now.............Otis Mee
  •  Club Chairman's Wasteful Expenditure Makes Front Page News......Ed Liner
  •  Quite Frankly I Would Like To Shoot All Those On Committee...........Mo M. Downe
  •  Why Do Lady Members Turn Up With Colour In Their Hair.................Fanny Green
  • He's Threatening To Sue The Club For Wrongful expulsion................E. L. Knott-Duett
  • I Need To Be Updated On The Latest Bridge Gossip............ ..............Phil Mehan 
  • Madam Trust Me To Find You The Perfect Bridge Partner...................Dizzy Shagwell
  • It's Easy To Spot Those Who Enforce Zero Tolerance Rules..............Jack Boots
  • My Partner's Game Is Hopeless Now He's Turned To Drink................B. R. Waller
  • My Partner Seems To Have So Much Energy And Go........................Dinah Moe 
  • That Man Loves To Partner Juniors Who Are Still At School...............Roger Ringbuoys
  • Winning Is Great When You Receive So Many Accolades..................Pat Sonya Backe 
  • I Can Never Get A Good Result  Against This Cheating Dog............   Beau Geyman
  • I Would Love To Play Bridge Around The Clock If Possible..................Diane Knight

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

BRIDGE : THE PERFECT IMPERFECT GAME....... ( Article by Carp )

Bridge is without doubt a most majestic and beautiful game. The irony of course is every one of its major imperfections plays an important part in making the game so perfect. These imperfections simply add to the enthralling challenge which faces each player at the table.
Some commentators have defined bridge as a two-person zero sum game in that it involves two players forming a partnership. Therefore it becomes immediately apparent that each player has to overcome imperfect recall. One or both will forget things they knew or have experienced in the past. Establishing a perfect wave-length and understanding with partner inevitably takes years of hard work and practice , an objective which unfortunately is never likely to come to fruition.
In some extreme cases a player might fail to recall what is on their convention card , what took place in the auction, what cards have been played during a hand , and what happened in near identical hands they encountered before. The absence of a perfect memory creates an imperfect recall, which becomes a difficult obstacle to overcome.
Another imperfection lies in the fact that during the early play of the hand so many cards remain hidden from view. With this degree of imperfect knowledge of who holds what , difficult decisions and choices have to be made. The challenge here to replace guesswork with logical deduction , clue analysis and sound judgement. Assumptions need to be drawn on all the evidence gathered to date, combined with an imperfect knowledge of the true statistical odds that apply at any given stage of the hand in play. Based on imperfect analysis at the start of play , players strive valiantly to identify the best lines of play , especially when more and more information comes to light. 
The reality of the game is that the number of possible bidding sequences in an auction, along with the possible sequences of cards being played , run into tens of thousands. This means that in a very large field various different contracts will be arrived at , and that the outcomes in an identical contract will vary enormously. An imperfect opening lead, continuation or switch is often the root cause of such diverse outcomes.
Players are required to make imperfect choices based on imperfect information. This imperfection might well be  (a) the lack of any information at all  or (b) misleading information , and (c) inadequate information leading to false assumptions and mistakes. The fact that any player at the table can be guilty of off-centre bids , psychs , and deceptive gambits , not to mention stupidity,  the idea that perfect information could exist is an absolute non-starter.  
However , the main reason why bridge is such an imperfect game is , I'm afraid , down to the fact that too many players cheat. Some of cheating is unintentional , petty and soft. Other forms of cheating have become hard , deliberate , calculating , intentional and highly sophisticated ( possibly undetectable ). The challenge here for the good honest players is to recognise its presence and to report their findings to the governing bodies , The problem here is that whatever suspicions and accusations are made , they must be supported by strong irrefutable evidence.
Finally , we come to the imperfections of each and every player , who will always fall the victim to The Human Condition. The majority of players are prone to lapses of memory , focus , concentration, discipline and ethical conduct. Directors are prone to an imperfect knowledge or interpretation of the rules , allowing prejudice and bias to determine their decisions. Noise and disturbances at other tables create an imperfect environment in which players struggle to maintain focus and concentration.
So yes ,  bridge becomes the perfect game in that players have to overcome all the imperfections inherent in the game. These added challenges are immense ,  but the beauty and majesty of the game makes each and every one worth taking on.    
  



Friday, 28 October 2016

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY .............

Trump :

(a) someone who talks out of his arse spewing hot air and offensive bile , an
      obnoxious megalomaniac renown for possessing all the vile characteristics of
      an arrogant,  racist, sexist male chauvinist 
(b) an american politician being one who clearly lives up to his name ( see above )
(c) a loud blast
(d) a card from the declared master suit which can beat any other card from the other suits
(e) a form of deceptive foolery often used by bridge players keen to persuade opponents
     into making false assumptions
(f)  a false allegation which an unscrupulous member will concoct and put forward to a 
     committee, in a bold attempt to get someone he/she dislikes thrown out of the club
(g) the name given to the loud stomping sound the elephant makes in the committee
     room in a vain attempt to be seen
(h) a bodily function which bridge players should refrain from doing during play , for fear 
     of embarrassment and/or severe reprimand from over zealous , zero tolerance 
     enforcement officers  

Monday, 24 October 2016

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY........ 


  • Pre-emptive raise : getting excited even before catching sight of an attractive lady opponent heading your way
  • Danger hand : the one that your irate partner delivers from behind to smack your woolly thick head into gear 
  • Losing trick count : a negative and pessimistic approach to assessing the trick potential of your hand
  • Top of nothing : coming first in a field full of novices and clueless rabbits
  • Direction : the flight path chosen by the pilot of a flying bridgemate
  • Responsive double : a large whisky consumed during the interval which galvanises a player into staying alert and performing better
  • Rectifying the count : being made to calculate the correct number of tricks your side has taken, having previously inflated the total 
  • Menace : the term given to a crazed, cavalier and maverick pilot of a flying bridgemate
  • Balancing : having to earn countless brownie points from your wife in order to gain essential pass outs for evening and/or weekend bridge
  • Top : what an overly demanding player will blow when his/her partner cocks up a bog-standard defence

Sunday, 23 October 2016

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY REVISITED.......AGAIN


  • Hesitations : the communication technique preferred by most cheating pairs 
  • 4th position : the one likely to be occupied at the end of the day by a team of rabbits in a field of four 
  • Agenda :  a list drawn up by a committee naming all those undesirable members it intends to get rid of
  • Misfits :  the common term to describe partnerships where players operate on completely different wavelengths
  • Good raise :  what an easily excited player experiences when an attractive lady arrives at his table
  • Trump echo : the phenomenon  of a player's rather loud and smelly fart bouncing off a wall for a second attack on members' rather sensitive sense of smell
  • Trial bid : when a club opts to take a dispute to court rather than seeking much more cost-effective options such as mediation and arbitration
  • Rule of eleven : the number of cards a player should have left in his hand after the first two tricks have been taken
  • Smother play : what any player would like to do to his inept partner if a cushion happens to be close at hand
  • Switch : the action of an intolerant unforgiving player who quickly replaces one partner for another in his/her hopeless quest for flawless bridge

Sunday, 16 October 2016

CLASSIC BRIDGE BOOKS I FORGOT TO TELL YOU ABOUT.............. ( Says a sorry Pun ) 


  • Partner We Need To Get Off To A Cracking Start....................Onya Marks
  • 4S On An 11 Count And I Was Only One Trick Light...............Neil Lee Caymen
  • Partner Why Aren't You Scoring For Our Side ?......................Owen Gole
  • There's Only One Word To Describe How Bad We Were........Des Aster
  • Partner Stop Throwing Me Off With Your Wild Antics..............Buck N. Broncoe
  • So Sorry Everyone For Squandering All That Money..............Shay Moynue
  • I Made A Grand Slam Missing 3 Outside Aces........................Candice B. Dunne
  • I've Got One Helluva Surprise For You Partner !.....................Gus Watt
  • This Has To Be The Best Squeeze Ever Made .......................Hugh B. Judge
  • The Cheating That Goes On In This Game !............................Kent B. Levitt
  • Talking Bridge Is Easy But Playing The Game Is Hard............Fuller Flannel
  • Partner At least You Have One Great Attribute........................Dick Fitzwell

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

TWO SMART-ARSE BIDDERS ARE CONFRONTED BY A TOTALLY CONFUSED AND BEMUSED BIGOT.........

- So what do you call this ludicrous bidding system of yours ?
- The Foggy Unusual Club .......FUC for short
-  Is it licensed ?
-  Of course it is....the ACBL sanction anything these days.....not wishing to upset the top
   rank players from devising specially complex and baffling systems to combat and retaliate 
   against the real smart-arses...... who were seeking to put one over them with theirs
-  So tell me then.... what does your 1C opener say about the hand ?
-  In a nutshell..... it can be anything ........ a weak or strong hand......but not necessarily 
   denying clubs
-  And what about your responses ?
-  All bids at the lower levels are completely artificial......and alertable......since the auction 
   will be a series of enquiry bids and stepping stone answer bids outlining short suits and 
   high card strength, the final contract can only be decided upon at the very end 
-  Oh....so how do you know what contract you need to be in having never bid your natural 
   suits and HCPs
-  By a process of suit eliminations , logical deduction  and intuitive reasoning
- That fine for you but how the hell do opponents like me ever get to work out your hands
- You're not meant to. Even if you asked questions about the alerts , the lengthy and highly 
   convoluted answers will either blow your mind , or put you off  from ever asking again
- Well , I suppose I could look at your system card.... which thank God only appears to be
  a 2-sided document
- You could..... but It wont do you much good unless you read and fully understand the 14
   sides of supplementary notes that goes with it
- Christ almighty......this unusual system of yours leaves me in a complete fog
- That's its primary aim alright ......to fuc the opposition good and proper   


Saturday, 8 October 2016

BEAVIS AND BIGOT-JOHNSON DISCUSS PARKING EYE

- So the Supreme Court judges shafted you good and proper
- Yes they sure did
- Well it seems to me that the commercial justification argument for a deterrent fine should 
   have only applied to serial over-stayers and those who overstay out of a blatant disregard 
   for other motorists ,  who.... in over-subscribed car parks..... are desperately looking for  
   any available spaces. Overstaying by a few minutes hardly undermines the effective 
   management of the car park , which aims to benefit all motorists hoping to use its
   facilities.
- I agree
- So why didn't your lawyers set out to make this distinction ?
- God knows 
- The notion of a flat-rate fine for any overstay.....be it 5 minutes or 5 hours ......has              
   to be regarded as an unenforceable penalty ......because it fails to separate and
   distinguish petty breaches from far more serious ones
- I agree
- A fairer system...... so easy to administer.......is to fine offending motorists 50p for each  
  minute overstay ,  in keeping with the way magistrates vary the fines on motorists in 
  accordance with the actual speed they were clocked at......
- So why didn't your lawyers raise this particular argument ?
- God knows
- Well let me tell you that Parking Eye rely on four things in order to secure evidence on w
   which to levy a legally enforceable fine
- And what are those Bigot ?
- A camera that works with a clean, clear lens......a ticket machine with unclogged coin slots
  which accepts the coins and issues a valid ticket.......a signboard which highlights in big 
  bold lettering all the onerous terms , easily legible.... not being covered in graffiti......and 
  registration plates which are both readable and genuine
- Yes.....so what's the point you are trying to make ?
-  Well , if these requirements are compromised in any way......say for example by irate  
   motorists previously scammed by Parking Eye......other motorists would have a cast iron 
  get-out-of-jail card to thwart all these vindictive and mercenary PCNs 
- But wouldn't sabotage like that be classed as unlawful ?
- Yes it would..... but isn't extortion .....and obtaining money by threats and intimidation far  
   far worse ?
- I agree
- Nice talking to you
- It's been a pleasure and an education


Friday, 7 October 2016

J'ACCUSE........J'ACCUSE  ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

The use of club funds for a costly and unnecessary legal defence does , in my view , warrants severe condemnation. Any club chairman who sets out to persuade the membership to back such a foolish course of action , rather than seek other far less costly options on offer , should now hang his/her head in shame.
If members knew or realised that outcomes of trials are unpredictable , and that money spent in mounting a vigorous and robust legal defence is never likely to be recovered , then such a course of action is pure insanity. What gambler would bet on an outcome where even if he backs a winner he wins nothing and loses his stake money.  
Moreover , if the chairman had been asked to pay these exorbitant legal costs from his/her own pocket , then I'm more than certain another course of action would have been chosen , such as a quick resolution through mediation , or an offer to the plaintiff to drop the action in return for getting a proportion of the damages sought after. 
Why the chairman and committee failed to undertake a cost benefit analysis of a long drawn out legal defense beggars belief. If one considers the opportunity costs involved in a club wasting over £130,000 in lawyers' fees , then one would surely end up being racked with guilt , shame and deep embarrassment : a new club house , new facilities , funds for marketing ( and promoting the game to encourage new members ) , sound a much more sensible use of such money. The secured long-term future of the club is, and always will be , of paramount importance.
Sometimes one has to choose the lesser of two evils : pay out a few thousand to a plaintiff who perhaps doesn't deserve a penny , or pay out tens of thousands to lawyers.... who then advise you to accept a hands-down offer to walk away from the dispute , indicating that the judge is far more likely to make each side pay their costs.  
I once heard of a club spending an obscene amount of money on private investigators in an attempt to unearth and track down the author of a series of poison pen letters , when the sensible option was to simply ignore them. So why in God's name spend a six-figure sum on fighting a wrongful expulsion law suit , when a simple reinstatement or begrudging pay off was all that was required. When inmates have taken over the asylum , someone has to step up to the mark and allow common sense to prevail over raw emotions if fuelled by crass stubbornness , prejudice and pride. 
Moral : if you are going to be wrong , do it after careful consideration.
Committee members should always be conscious of the conflict between their personal interests and those of the club. Moreover, they should continuously examine the proposed actions like embarking upon , and continuing with , a dogged and determined legal defence. Is such an action really meeting the club's core objectives ? These of course include (i) staying financially viable , (ii) investing funds for the future development of the game , (iii) up grading the club's facilities and (iv) putting funds aside for other capital expenditure projects.
The answer any sane man or woman would give is an emphatic " no ".
Such expenditure , which to the casual observer seems a colossal risk and a complete waste of money , is both utterly irresponsible and unacceptable , no matter honourable the motives and intentions appeared to be at the outset. Litigation is the road to financial ruin : the folly of fools.
Serving on a committee carries with it a significant legal responsibility. Common sense can take one very far in conducting club activities properly. Listening to advice from all quarters , especially from those who urge on the side of caution and prudence , can help protect one's position. Care , loyalty and fidelity in all committee actions represent the best form of financial protection for the club. The chairman must therefore strive be the guiding influence and voice of common sense and reason.
On breach of that duty I accuse.......I accuse

Monday, 3 October 2016

Bernard Yomtov 
JUST LISTEN TO WHAT BERNARD YOMTOV SAYS ABOUT BRIDGE AND WHY SOME CONTROL IS NEEDED TO REIN IN AND OUTLAW COMPLEX AND CONVOLUTED BIDDING SYSTEMS

Since bridge is a partnership game and chess is not , greater efforts are needed to stop opponents gaining an unfair advantage by having
complex and convoluted bidding systems. 

" If your opponent in a chess game does something very unusual you can, at least in principle, figure out how to counter it right there at the board. Advance preparation would be nice, but is not required.

In bridge, players faced with complex and unfamiliar systems cannot do that. Any counter requires agreement between the partners, and that can't be done at the table, by the very rules. Even pre-alerts and the like don't solve this, because of time constraints, incomplete understandings, etc.

Further, at bridge you will not know all the twists and turns the opponents' auction might take. In chess it is all right there in front of you, if you can just figure it out.

What I'm saying is that in chess there is no inherent obstacle to countering an unusual move. In bridge there are such obstacles. "


System cards loaded with obstacles , yet no licensing constraints ......it's a recipe for anarchy .

Sunday, 2 October 2016

IF BRIDGE IS A SPORT THEN HOW COME THE MEANS BY WHICH THE GAME IS PLAYED FAIL TO CONFORM TO ANY REGULATORY STANDARDS ?........( Article by Carp )

In chess both players start out with the same pieces , which conform to particular rules of movement and placement. In cricket both the ball and the ball must confirm to material , size and weight requirements, and with rules on handling and usage. In golf , players'clubs must confirm to rules regarding the number carried , head types and shapes plus length and weight specifications. Athletes must strictly adhere to rules governing shoes,  intake of medicines and dietary supplements.
Why have such rules one might ask ? The answer of course is to insure that all participants enter the competition on a level playing field , to deny any competitor to seek out and exploit AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. 
So back to bridge and the means by which the game is played : the system card declaring what bids mean and what defensive manoeuvres will be used . If every competitor was obliged to conform to a standard bidding system, the playing field automatically becomes level. Success will now depend upon how well the players master and apply that system if they are to triumph over their opponents. By allowing extreme diversity of bidding systems as exists today the game has become a mockery,  with some players armed with rocket launchers up against others who choose only to start out with pea shooters.   The rocket launchers are designed to benefit the users to the detriment of those who have little or no time to grasp and understand their complex and convoluted sequences . made up of artificial , multiple possibility bids. This is equivalent to having a golfer carrying around 40 odds clubs . one ideally suited for every contingency , or a batsman electing to go in with a 12 inch wide bat, 
Governing bodies have , in my view , lost control of the emerging farce, allowing so-called experts to use their overly complex custom made systems  , designed primarily to achieve two goals  :  (i)  to feed their vanity in naming the system after themselves - a way of achieving immortality (ii) to dope their opponents through sheer mental exhaustion  leaving them permanently confused , dazed and befuddled - a seemingly legitimate way of cheating. 
Bridge can only retain its integrity and majesty once competitors start out FROM THE SAME STARTING LINE .....WITH A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH......HONEST INTENTIONS.... AND OF COURSE STANDARD CONFORMING EQUIPMENT.
No wonder the game is in the doldrums.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

PARKING EYE  v.  BIGOT-JOHNSON  (2016)   Case No.5

This time Bigot was incandescent with rage having received yet another PCN from the biggest money grabbing company known to man and motorist. This was for a second visit to the hospital car park in which he believed he had no duty whatsoever to purchase a ticket , having already paid for an all day ticket. So confident the judge would side with him Bigot had organised a champagne celebration party for after the trial. However, even best laid plans go can sadly astray , as the following extract from the trial's transcript reveals.

Counsel for the plaintiff ( CP ) : Bigot .....is it true you entered the hospital car park at     11.05 am but failed to purchase a ticket  for your three hour stay ?
B-J : Yes.....but why the hell should I. The fact is a purchased an all day ticket at 9.30 am. However ,  my wife needed her lap top which I had forgotten to bring me. So I returned home to collect it and re-entered the car park at 11.05 only to go back to the same bay I used earlier. Naturally , I believed my original all day ticket was still in force.
CP : Sorry to inform you that wasn't the case. You terminated that contract the moment you exited the car park at 10.15am. Therefore when you re-entered the car park 50 minutes later a new ticket was required..........a ticket you negligently or foolishly failed to buy
B-J : Listen muppet head...... you name me another business which asks a customer to pay twice for the same product or service ?
CP : I can't but car park companies are different. They operate on a vastly different business model, overloaded with terms and and conditions , which are drafted by skilled lawyers to be grossly in their favour, to the detriment of innocent and gullible motorists. The legally binding rules built into their contract are..... I'm afraid to say......legally watertight and horribly onerous.....so welcome to the world of freedom of contract. 
B-J : This £70 fine was both uncalled for and unconscionable. If the company had any morality.... or conscience....... it should only issue a PCN when attempting to recover the exact amount which relates to actual loss of income incurred , or when a deterrent fine is deemed absolutely necessary. However, any money raised from this source  should automatically be donated to a worthy charity, such as MIND which has to deal with hundreds of stressed out motorists, completely paranoid about overlooking and breaking parking rules.
Judge : Dream on Bigot.....dream on

  


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

MAJOR ALERT : BIDDING SYSTEMS OUT OF CONTROL........... ( Article by Carp )

In the minds of many,  bidding systems have become the play toy of smart-arse players deviously designed to be convoluted , destructive and overly complex. How and why governing bodies have permitted the use of such systems are questions yet to be answered. Are they afraid of offending those you put forward claims that they are fair and legitimate , thoroughly deserving of a licence. 
What was once a system card on a 1-sided piece of paper now run to a 4-5 page booklet with umpteen supplementary notes. Moreover auctions are peppered with " alerts " ,the explanations of which are often long and confusing ......not to mention the time consuming in the process. So when one alert is followed by another , and yet more , the auction ultimately descends into a farce. Opponents are never any wiser , and in no real position to implement counter-bids of their own. So the smart-arse bidders have gained a very significant but unfair advantage. They know what's going on but no one else at the table does. 
When will this madness stop allowing level playing fields to return in order to restore the integrity of the game.
I often come up against ultra aggressive players who bid on tram-tickets solely with the aim to disrupt their opponents casting doubt and uncertainty in their minds. Pre-empts even on 5 card suits. Weak two ( 2-suited ) openers usually in a 5-12 hcp range,  1C bids which might be a few as one in that suit. Light openers and super light openers non-vulnerable or in 3rd position. Psyches , semi-psyches and off-centre bids. Stepped responses and loads of enquiry bids. And not forgetting weak or strong , either-or bids to join the wonderfully ambiguous multi-2-diamonds  Most of them to be alerted , to accompany dozens of announced bids. No wonder the game has become a big turn off for those who try it out for the first time.
Every one should go onto the Bridgeblogging site to read Paul Cronin's September 21st where he shows genuine concern over opening bids which don't even satisfy the rule of 16. So why don't we all abandon system cards , allowing everyone to benefit from having secret coded bids instead.  

Friday, 23 September 2016

PARKING EYE v. BIGOT-JOHNSON 2016 ( Case no. 4 )

Yet again Bigot was refusing to pay a PCN which claimed he failed to enter the correct  vehicle licence plate number into the ticket machine in order to make the ticket valid. despite using up only one hour of his paid 4 hour stay. The company was adamant he was in breach of this exciting new condition and therefore the fine had to be paid. Bigot of course refused , happy to take his chance in court.

Counsel for the plaintiff : Please tell the court why you refused to pay the £70 PCN ?
B-J : This demand was ridiculous since I paid for 4 hours parking of which I only used up one. Indeed , I feel I was owed a refund but asking for one which be like pissing against a gale force wind. Moreover that freed up parking space was no doubt sold again earning the company another 3 hours ticket income. So how can it be commercially justified to extort another £70 from a hard up motorist like me ?
CP : You broke the rules......you entered an incorrect licence plate number
B-J : An innocent mechanical mistake caused by someone behind me in the queue bumping into me at a critical moment
CP : No excuses please.....you made a mistake and that renders you liable for the fine
B-J : My research has uncovered that Parking eye makes a substantial profit on ticket revenue after taking into account all their costs , which include the administration of issuing and chasing up tens of thousands of PCNs, obtaining details of drivers' addresses from the DVLA , and money spent on legal costs and expensive lawyers
CP : Your point ?
B-J : This means that the income from the 90% of motorists who are forced to pay up has enabled the company to get very rich ,  using the law courts to exploit a very lucrative and vast profit centre to the full. 
CP : That's what good business is all about
B-J : So these fines are not there as a means by which car parks can be successfully managed , ensuring that over-stayers do not clog up the spaces which other car park users are hoping to find.
CP : Good lord no......that argument was used to fool the supreme court judges.....you see , most times of the day car parks have lots of spaces available.....and like you mentioned earlier many motorists leave their bays long before their tickets expire.
B-J : So these PCNs are all about obtaining money by threats and coercion
CP : Indeed , there are .....and remember my client will hound you forever until it gets your £70

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

PARKING EYE v. BIGOT-JOHNSON 2016 ( Case No. 3 )

With regards to his ongoing battle with the most infamous private parking company of all time , Bigot-Johnson deliberated extended his stay by 5 minutes only to receive as expected another £70 PCN demand. As usual he refused to pay willing to take his chance in court for a third time. 

Counsel for the plaintiff : I put it to you Bigot that you have breached Parking Eye's terms and conditions by not having a valid ticket at the time you left the hospital car park. 
B-J : I only over-stayed by 5 minutes
CP : A clear breach of contract
B-J : But the demand for £70 is unfair , unreasonable and unjust . The £70 charge amounts to an extortionate sum which should be by all accounts an unenforceable penalty
CP : Not according to our Supreme Court who in a ruling against Beavis said the such charges are commercially justified 
B-J : Well these law lords got in all wrong
CP :  Oh please enlighten this court as to why ?
B-J : I notice that the company has a variable pricing tariff , which requires motorists to pay more if they wish to park for longer periods
CP : That is true
B-J : But in the case of over-stays there is the same flat, fixed penalty charge to cover this type of breach of contract irrespective of whether the wrongful act is petty and insignificant , or serious and severe.
CP :  Can't argue with that....
B-J : So take motorist A who overstays by 7 minutes only to receive a PCN.......this amounts to a fine of £10 for each minute involved. Motorist B who overstays by 70 minutes incurs a fine equivalent to £1 per minute , whereas motorist C who oversays by 4 hours 40 minutes , the charge per minute is a mere 25 pence. 
CP : Yes ...your maths is correct
B-J : This means that motorist A  who is only guilty of a minor transgression is penalised and punished far more than motorist C who was blatantly and flagrantly in breach of contract ......relatively speaking. Whilst his car occupied the bay for over 4 hours , the company of course...... assuming the car park was busy..... would indeed have missed out on 4-5 hours of additional income ..........which isn't the case with motorist A. The losses caused by these breaches were significantly different and the penalty charges should reflect this fact.
CP : Why ?
B-J : For reasonableness , fairness and justice to apply, proportionality becomes an essential requirement. Therefore, fixed penalties are unjust for lack of proportionality and the supreme court judges failed to address this issue. Siding with businesses who have no soul , heart or moral conscience beggars belief. Consumers need to be protected.
Judge : Or perhaps motorists should get back to their cars in plenty of time before the expiry times printed on their tickets......or better still be prepared to purchase an extra hour or so to allow for any possible problems or delays which might adversely affect their ability to make a prompt return . Might I suggest they set warning alarms on their watches and mobiles
B-J : Do I take it your honour you hate motorists ?
Judge : With pure unadulterated venom


   



Monday, 19 September 2016

PARKING EYE v. BIGOT-JOHNSON 2016  ( CASE No.2 )

For a second time this infamous money grabbing company issued a £70 PCN against Bigot-Johnson who for a second time refused to pay. Determined to crush and punish those who defy their threatening demands for money,  the company hired yet another crack lawyer to take on a doggedly determined Bigot . The following extract from the trial's transcript appears below.

Counsel for the plaintiff :  You cannot deny Bigot that your car was parked at a time when you had no valid ticket 
B-J : What.....I recall the 2 hour ticket purchased allowed me to park up to 4.30 pm.....and I left the car park at exactly 4.13pm
CP : Correct....... but the ticket was purchased at 2.30......and our cameras registered your entry into the car park at 2.05 pm. So for those 25 minutes of parking you  had no valid ticket
B-J : What.......it took me 5 minutes to find a vacant bay......then another 20 minutes to read your umpteenth version of revised terms and conditions in order to fully understand the basis of what contract I was entering into
CP: The rules are strict......a ticket has to cover the time period for which your car is parked up in a bay....and yours didn't
B-J : Hold on......but every motorist has to park up first before making his/her way to the ticket machine, which automatically means there will be a few minutes of unpaid parking which cannot be avoided
CP : Correct .....but that's the way the cookie crumbles
B-J : So that means everyone can be targeted and fined for unpaid parking
CP :  Without a doubt.....in fact Parking Eye have discovered this marvellous way of stitching up every motorist who comes into their car parks , such is the extent of their unending greed and hell bent desire to maximise profits 
B-J : You mean profiting by means of deception and extortion
CP : That's one way of putting it......but the company regards these practices as being commercially justified in a corporate world where consumer exploitation is legitimate and rife

Thursday, 8 September 2016

BIGOT-JOHNSON FINALLY CALLS IT A DAY.........

Sadly , this blog has completed its journey because in essence it was a story , which like any other story comes to an inevitable conclusion.
The motivation behind this blog was to expose ignorance and injustice , and the harrowing tale of two parties locked in a bitter legal dispute wasting huge sums of money on legal fees without resolution. Such stupidity , such insanity.
The story kicked off with the flying bridge mate incident which triggered an all out witch hunt by the club committee to get rid of the pilot member,  who had over the years been involved in other skirmishes with club officials. The disciplinary process that took place breached every known rule of natural justice , which the committee vehemently denied. The fact the accused never had an initial hearing was never considered to be a major issue , let alone the presence of blatant bias which bordered on blinkered lynch mob mentality.
With the club committee spurning the offer of early mediation to right the wrongs of the internal appeal debacle , the rocky road of expensive litigation was soon embarked upon. Six years on,  but a few weeks before the scheduled trial each side was now out of pocket to the tune of £130,000 plus. Then , out of the blue , a reality eventually sunk in that the judge was almost certainly going rule that each party would have to pay their own costs irrespective of the outcome. This of course made the trial a pointless and futile exercise as the recovery of costs had ultimately taken over from the question " had there been a wrongful expulsion ". Why therefore waste any more money ?
However , what really galled me was that the committee members were never at risk of being made personal liable for the legal fees , having secured the backing of nearly all the members to fight the action using club money. Needless to say the these members were never given the full facts at any time about the dispute, or the financial implications of proceeding to court ,  having to vote on resolutions in ignorance of the committee's inexplicable errors of judgement.
When at last the plaintiff's hands down offer was accepted by the committee, the new chairman declared that a line needed to be drawn, and that this sad and sorry affair should be confined to the history books and left alone. Nobody was held to account and certain individuals who were ultimately responsible for wasting and squandering club funds on a lost cause were allowed to remain on committee , never prepared to acknowledge or apologise for their failings. 
As a blogger I wanted to tell this story if only to warn all other bridge clubs to avoid making the same mistakes this club did over a 6 year period. Hindsight may be a wonderful thing but foresight is so much better........and far less costly. 



Tuesday, 30 August 2016

WHERE DO TOPS COME FROM ?.........( Article by Carp )

Ideally, they should come from superior bidding alongside superior card play. A situation where experts manage to cleverly engineer an auction towards an ideal outcome , which creates for them golden opportunities to seize and exploit to maximum effect.
Sadly however in the world of duplicate bridge tops usually arrive as unexpected gifts , courtesy of their opponents ;
- bidding misunderstandings in the bidding 
- gross underbidding and/or bidding 
- careless or inept play of the cards
- costly breaches of the rules ( incurring penalties or damaging restrictions )  
- revokes
- mechanical errors such as pulling out or playing the wrong cards
- crucial lapses of concentration
- magical thinking
- allowing emotions to take over from sound judgement
- an alarming inability to read the cards or piece clues together
Good scores are all to often the result of unforced errors , as in a game of tennis. Too many tops are undeserved, such as  arriving at a ridiculous , impossible slam only to make it against all the odds,  because of woeful and inept defence. If winners are deemed to be the players who make the least number of mistakes , it must also be true that winners  are those who profited most from mistakes committed by opponents than any other pair in the room.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

NORTHERN PRO FACES UP TO AN ALARMING REALISATION...............

- Northern Pro ......why are you looking so worried ?  Is it because our scores are 
  too woeful to even talk about ?
- Partner , can't you see what's going on around here ? I'm the last of the 2 percenters. All
  the others have gone.........and I might be next
- But who are these 2 percenters ?
- Members who the chairman of old declared as the enemy in the camp. Members who 
  openly objected to the decisions being made by the committee. Members who needed 
  to be disciplined and removed. Members who left because no one was willing to hear
  or accept unpalatable truths.
- So how come you're still here ?
- By keeping a low profile and pretending to be everyone's friend
- Smart thinking
- Yes.....just the same thinking that was involved in the development of my incredibly
   brilliant bidding system
-  Of course......I should have guessed that....

Monday, 22 August 2016

NORTHERN PRO STEADFASTLY REFUSES TO ACCEPT ANY BLAME.............

- Northern Pro ....that minus 1100 on the last board was shocking
- Listen muppet-head I had to sacrifice in 5C since the opponents went to game in 4S
- But you triggered them into bidding by opening 1C in fourth position ! 
- Might I point out that my incredibly brilliant bidding system and hand valuation methods 
  warranted an opening bid......so let's look at the hand analysis sheet to see what the experts
  say
- Well....it says here.... " This hand should be passed out .....a guaranteed death trap for 
   whoever ends up as declarer "
- Oh.........but hold on.....why didn't you stop me bidding 5C by doubling them in 4S ?
- Sorry to remind you Northern Pro .....I did double them in 4S .....as well as doubling them 
   in 3S....both times for penalties
- Ah...but you failed to plant the double card on the table with sufficient force so as to get  
  the message across
- So am I to blame for this catastrophe ?
- Who else ....

Monday, 15 August 2016

NORTHERN PRO REJECTS THE EVERY DARK CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING NONSENSE.....

- Partner........have you seen our score ?
- Indeed I have......it's bloody awful
- It's worst than awful ....it's an unmitigated disaster
- Yes....and it doesn't help you to establish your incredibly brilliant bidding system as one
   for the future
- No it doesn't
- Well , Northern Pro....why not try to see things my way and look on the bright side 
- What bright side ?
- The fact it hasn't damaged our average one iota
-  Partner ....how much do you value your life?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

DIRTY BRIDGE IS THE ONLY WAY FORWARD..... ( Article by Carp )

Let's face facts here. Cheating in this game is so endemic , it seems that nothing can be done to eradicate it. Half the players who cheat are oblivious to the fact that their behavioural nuances are being picked up by their alert partners as providing valuable albeit unauthorized information about their hands. Facial expressions , body posture or movements , changes in tempo , and hesitations provide real " tells " . This means that in well established regular partnerships , other channels of communication run in tandem with the bidding and play of the cards.
But wait there may be a solution after all : SEGREGATION.
All clubs ( and tournaments ) should split into two. One group of players , namely the cheats , need to play against each other in the dirty bridge section where anything goes. Then each pair can be reassured that they are playing on a level albeit filthy playing field. No one is disadvantaged because everyone is equally active in the dark art of cheating.
The remaining saints and purists will form the other group where the playing field is clean , open and transparent. Players are are more likely to play with a multitude of partners , everyone keeping to simple bidding systems , committed to making all bids in tempo and retaining a calm , still , placid posture when involved in play. 
Having two clubs under one roof should not pose any problems. As for deciding which group to join there needs to be a criteria for playing in the clean bridge section, which if unmet means players are obliged to play dirty bridge. Criteria should include a previous history of never having partnered someone more than once a month. A reputation for having a dead pan face , and always bidding in tempo with hardly any variation in body movement and gestures. A track record of always being ethical , being the first to admit or confess to having made even the slightest transgression. 
When problems can't be eradicated , then people must learn to live and manage the problems. Hells bells why the Olympic Bodies don't run an event solely for the drug taking athletes is beyond me. Doing all this drug testing is not only a waste of money ( the cheats still find ways around it ) the problem is never likely to go away. Athletes have already started to look at each other with great suspicion. So let's have clean Olympic events running alongside the drug fuelled ones, which Russia no doubt will be eager to place all its athletes.