Sunday, 28 November 2010

As Bobby Wolff quite rightly said : " Slow play should not disrupt the game. Slow play should be a violation of bridge laws. TDs should be given the power to adjust the scores against slow players ".
Well, in my opinion, slow players are nothing more than low-down cheating dogs. They cheat all the other players at the table out of time they were ( or should be ) entitled to. Whatever is the allotted time to complete a set of boards, each pair is entitled to their 5o% of it....... and no more. But slow players can consume 50% of the total time allowed just for themselves, showing no damn consideration for any one else.
Indeed, slow players can turn an exciting game of bridge into the boring equivalent of clock patience. These killjoys would surely to God test the patience of Job. But what really causes me to flip my lid, lose my rag, get my gander up, blow a gasket and completely lose when these buggers behave in the following way. First, having lost consciousness by going into the think tank, they become oblivious to all the agitation and fidgeting that is going on around them. I've seen the others shifting around on their seats with the most pained facial expressions, as if they were suffering paroxysms of extreme haemorrhoidal discomfort. Some fidget around as if some unseen hand is squeezing their private parts. But then, a moment of relief as consciousness returns. Suddenly, the living dead begin to show signs of life a slowly emerging card appears to have been selected. Alas no. That brief fleeting moment of expectation and joy is completely dashed. Rigor mortis sets in again, as they stop to reflect for a few seconds, only to return the card from where it came. This cycle of card lifting and replacing can go on indefinitely. Sometimes to break the monotony, the playing cards will be repeatly pushed together, and re-fanned in an attempt to see something different, or to re-visit the hand with perhaps a new devastating insight.
These dithering, indecisive, hesitant, confused, bemused, dilatory, procrastinating types can lose all sense of time. Their behaviour is no different to the snooker player or golfer, who will forever hover and circle around the green looking at all the angles, options, possibilities and likely outcomes.....before making a choice. When this happens, the true meaning of boredom becomes apparent, as eyelids begin to turn into lead weights. One's will to live simply ebbs away, as do the seconds on the clock.
Yet....what are TDs doing about this problem ? Sod all..... in my experience. They just leave it to the other 3 players to make up lost time, which requires them to rush their bids and play of the cards. This they do as a gesture of goodwill to the rest of the field. If bridge authorities are really committed to tackling this problem, then non-playing TDs must take on the role of " PACE MANAGERS ". This will require them to observe, and record timings, of anyone who has been flagged up as a sinner. Adjusted scores can be awarded in favour of those damaged by their excessive procrastinations. Ultimately, slow players should be disciplined by compulsory attendance to " PACE MANAGEMENT CLASSES ". These will include speed play tests which must to be passed successfully, before allowing any attendee back into the fold of duplicate and tournament bridge.
Slow players without doubt are the main reason why the game is losing its appeal. The endless waiting..... can anything be more infuriating ? Exciting bridge has to be bridge in the fast line, where the fear of taking risks and making mistakes turns the whole experience into a white-knuckle ride.
And should I ever encounter again the misfortune of partnering a slow player, I will insist he/she strictly adheres to this all important maxim : " Since you are far more than likely than me..... to go down in contracts....... then for heaven's sake, just get them over with quickly ! This will give me more time to play mine. "

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