Friday, 5 February 2010

THE TOWER OF BABEL : THE TRUE STORY......( By Bridgemeister Gibson )
It is a little known secret that this biblical story was in fact pinched from the earliest historical writings about the greatest of all card games. A story which owes its origins to the bizarre world of bridge.
Years before Christ was born, the game of bridge was played in one city. Here players from all over the world came to settle down to play the game they so dearly loved. But they used only one language....ACOL.....a bidding system for all players to use and understand. So it came as no surprise when every player in this micro-bridge world became skilled in Acol's simple construction. With all this knowledge and understanding, they decided to build a library tower, placing rack upon rack of Acol-related books so that they could reach the heavens. By building this impressive tower library, the Acolites wanted to make a name for themselves, believing their system to be God inspired.
However, God was not impressed, and being a bridge player himself He came to loathe Acol, the tower library, and all the books contained within. He perceived the Acolites as both narrow-minded and misguided. And in His infinite wisdom, He knew this tower had to be destroyed, if only to spare the Acolites from bidding their way to hopeless and inferior contracts .
God also felt uncomfortable about their unity of purpose, which He interpretated as closed minds and blind obedience. As a result He decided to create hundreds of new bidding systems....... strange new ones, which players suddenly discovered that's all they could speak. So each player was destined to bid and communicate in a different way, using a different bidding language. So in an attempt to destroy this Acol-only bridge world for good, God decided to scatter the players across the face of the earth to pass their new systems onto that were more inventive, complex, subtle, scientific, accurate and precise.
However, although God succeeded in one sense, the plan clearly back-fired. For what we have today is a multiplicity of bidding systems brought to any bridge event. Bidding systems that even partnerships which use them don't fully grasp. Bidding systems that opponents haven't got a-cat-in-hell's-chance of understanding, especially when they receive inaccurate and botched explanations of bids they query. Players will be seen babbling away about the meaning of bids to their opponents causing even their partners to question their level of understanding. During any sequence of bidding, confusion and misunderstanding becomes so commonplace TD's are overwhelmed with panic-stricken table calls. Ultimately, the misunderstandings lead to accusations...even the frustration of not knowing what the bid means becomes too much to bear.
And the moral of this story ?......God may have boobed. Why ? Well, it seems to me that the world of bridge is far better off with having just one bidding system in operation....a simple one like ACOL ?

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