Saturday, 30 June 2012


On this topic one could write a book , and so I have decided to restrict this article to a topic , which lawyers define as procedural fairness .

Following the procedures laid down in the club’s constitution and regulations is one thing , but to do so in a manner and way that meets the broad requirements of natural justice is another. Indeed, in a leading Australian case Kioa v West, the judge equated natural justice to procedural fairness , which could be divided into two categories : one is simply referred to as the bias rule , and the other the hearing rule.

Bias will always feature in small private/voluntary clubs where cosy and close relationships are commonplace. The reality here is that everyone knows each other, having strong opinions on who they like and dislike. Obviously, bias is always present when malice rears its ugly head. Then of course  bias can always be established when negative attitudes and/or intent a have been expressed by committee members in writing about a particular member ,  long before the incident which triggered his/her disciplinary .

Committee members will either be involved in the fact finding or decision making process , but they must all endeavour to be impartial , as  this is a fundamental requirement of being a fair juror. Although bias can be either conscious or unconscious , it must never be seen as unreasonable ,  if courts are to be satisfied that the requirements of procedural fairness have been met.

However, in circumstances where the alleged wrongdoer has not been present at his/her own  hearing, the opportunity to perceive or witness bias has been denied. This increases the likelihood that prevailing negative attitudes and animosity towards him go unchallenged. He/she is unable to ask for the removal of biased committee members , which means the onus in effect falls on such people to remove themselves from the disciplinary proceedings. A situation that very rarely ever happens.

Proving bias becomes that much easier when committee members come to the disciplinary hearing with a personal interest , or opinion already formed in their minds, . Indeed , the law requires committee members to approach their duties with an open mind , which simple means open to persuasion . In an American case Marshall v Maguire (1980 ) , a biased panellist , whose prejudice clearly gave rise to prejudgement, was deemed to have cast a shadow on the university’s entire disciplinary process. Consequently, the court had no option but to overturn the rulings of both the original and appellate hearings. An appropriate test for establishing bias in the UK was laid down in Porter v Magill (2001) as follows :  " whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased ".

It also has to noted that in the heated atmosphere of emotionally charged club committee rooms there is very little chance that impartial decisions can ever be reached. Biased committee members often utilise their passion and determination to steer home their personal agendas . Moreover , when strong allegiances and alliances dominate a committee group, the influence of bias becomes that much greater. Misplaced loyalties and the desire to conform and appease those in the driving seat  , enable these powerful figures  to put down and dismiss any dissenting voices with ease.

Nevertheless , the fact remains courts will continue to review each case solely upon its particular circumstances . The key question now appears to be “ what does the duty to act fairly require in the circumstances of this particular case ? “. However , when expulsions are on the agenda  the damage to the individual is so serious that the circumstances now require far greater care taken by the committee  . This suggests that every effort must be made to act fairly , which can only mean taking reasonable steps to remove bias wherever it is seen to be lurking .

( In my next instalment ,  I shall be discussing the hearing rule )

Friday, 29 June 2012


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A VERY VERY NEARLY TRUE STORY.... by Bridgemeister Gibson

( A week back , the following conversation took place when a rather irate Bigot-Johnson confronted Pamela  Pantopod in the corridor of the Slaughter House BC )

B-J : Hey ...Pantopod.....I want a word with you
P : What about ?
B-J : What about....I'll tell you what's all that slagging off you do about the committee....what with your open letters to members strewn about the club on seats and notice boards.....scurrilous articles in the club's unofficial underground newsletter.....e-mails sent out by you to all and sundry packed full of poisonous criticism.....not to mention all the highly damaging comments about the committee you publish on twitter....
P :'s called free speech
B-J : Sod free speech......this relentless and unwarranted criticism adds up to a complete betrayal of trust and loyalty to the committee and this fact by blackening the good name and reputation of the committee members,  we feel obliged to consider your actions as  injurious to the character or interests of this club
P : Surely members are entitled to hear the truth, and any opposing views to those taken by the committeee ?  Members have a right to be informed about what is really going on inside this club.
B-J : Listen muppethead.....ignorance is bliss......our job as committee members is to pull the wool over the members' keep the lid on misinform members who would otherwise get worried and upset.....heavens above.....they only come here to play bridge and not to get embroiled in political controversies...
P : So you don't believe in my right to free speech ?
B-J : Absolutely not....speaking out against decent ,  highly committed ,  hard working, selfless committee members is an outrage....
P : how do you explain these comments you put in an-email...... to  the previous committee............ when they tried to suppress your criticisms as a concerned ordinary club member .....quote....." Is information which the club should have, and which reflects badly on the Committee, not allowed to be broadcast ? Where has free speech gone ? Have we reverted to the days of Stalin ? "
B-J : You just don't get it.... when you're on the outside looking in certain rules apply.....but then everything changes completely , when you find yourself on the inside looking out
P : Now I would call that blatant hypocrisy...
B-J : What !.....
P :'ve no answer to that....have you ?
B-J : Bugger...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG...................

Dear Rebecca ,
Am I destined to be the victim of yet more blatant acts of gamesmanship ? And what's worse is that on the rare occasions I make a few pointed remarks to the offenders, my unpopularity rating goes up another notch,  and then I become  the subject of venomous complaint letters , lambasting me as the naughty boy. Now where's the justice in that !
Anyway back to the bridge table antics......which never seem to stop...........
First off , there was an incident involving Bigot-Johnson, when he told his partner that he had quartered a trick incorrectly. On being informed of his transgression , he promptly replied    " Hey, we're all friends here " , and continued to play on as though nothing had happened. Such brazen arrogance !
Several boards later another shameful incident occurred , from which I was unable to obtain either sympathy or redress . At risk again of being unfairly damaged , I began to wonder what this game was coming to. When I asked an opponent " how many times are you going to glance at partner to gauge the reaction of your bid/lead ? ", he replied " I never did that...but what if I had ?......try proving it ? " . I could hardly restrain my annoyance, and not surprisingly I found myself the subject of a complaint letter.
Am I in the right or what ?
Yours drowning in despair Neil Peck

Dear Neil,
It seems to me that you would be better off calling over a TD to do the job of protecting you from any damage that flows from these shameful antics.
The first incident isn't such a big deal but the second is a shocker. No opponent should look intently at any other player during the auction and play. Looking with intention at an opponent usually has intimidation in mind, or the desire to extract information from their quirky behavioural traits and mannerisms. Looking intently at partner could well be with a view to encourage or inhibit partner, or to perceive a negative or positive response by partner to your bid/lead. 
Mind you it is very difficult for you to prove, and a TD to confirm , the case against an offending player, because only he/she knows what was in their mind at the time. The point of doing it is to register the allegation, which if followed by others in later incidents , adds up to a prima facie case of cheating. Moreover, the offender can't claim ignorance once informed of the rules.
So please be all means load the gun with bullets.....but let the TD do the firing. Otherwise your own misconduct will overtake you...... and then it's you who becomes the next headline in Bridge Table Antics.   

Yours it pays you not to be too rude,  Rood

Saturday, 23 June 2012

BELIEVE YOU ME.... WITH REGARDS TO BRIDGE " THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' "........( An adapted Bob Dylan classic by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber ) 

Come gather 'round players
Wherever you cried
And admit that the game
Around you has died
And accept it that soon
You'll be playing alone
If your club
Is worth savin'
Then you better start
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'
Come complainers and
Who whinge hard and long
Who observe with their eyes
All that is wrong
So they have to act
To stop the decline
Or there's no way
Of telling

If bridge can survive
One year or nine
For the times they are a-changin'
So come on you chairmen
And officers alike
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the
Don't block up the hall
For he who leaves it to others
Will be he who has

There's a battle out there
And it's ragin'
When attendance is down
Revenues fall   
Which will bankrupt us all
For the times they are a-changin'
The game's in crisis
But who can solve

They don't understand
When numbers are down 
It's beyond their command
The old guard is weak
Rapidly agin'
So get in new members
By lending a hand
For the times they are a-changin'
The game's downward spiral
Is a curse
That's been cast
The slow death of bridge
Will later be fast
The game as we know it
Will later be past
Its once great appeal is
Rapidly fadin'
'Cus the newcomers now
Might well be the last
For the times they are a-changin'

Friday, 22 June 2012

( The Mafia-styled committee had just moved onto the several disciplinary cases listed 4-13 on the agenda , when loud banging noises could be heard from outside. Ronnie immediately got up from his chair to peer through a dirty upstairs window. )
Ronnie :  Bigot....there's a woman out there gesticulating that she can't get in.....
B-J : Not surprising.....I've locked all the doors....
Ronnie :'s Candide Twelvetrees....and she's the one who's first up on the list to attend these disciplinary hearings.....
Bigot : Trust her to turn up .....that woman is barking made......anyway, we don't require her input ....and so let's crack on....
( Several minutes later Candide enters the room in a rather dishevelled state , having shimmied up the drainpipe, removed a few roof tiles and entered the building through the loft space )  
Candide : I want to protest.....I have a right to enter this club and be present at my disciplinary hearing
B-J : the police and have this trespasser removed from the premises...
Candide : You can't.....I'm a fully paid up member of this club
B-J : You were until a few minutes ago .....when the committee unanimously decided to ban you for life
Candide : On what grounds ?
B-J : failing to attend this disciplinary hearing that you called for....
Candide : But the doors were locked...
B-J : No excuse....and secondly, by failing to notify the committee about your absence...
Candide : But I tried to gesture to Ronnie that I was unable to get in.....
B-J :  Might I remind you that....notification has to be either in writing or by telephone.....the regulations are quite clear about this....they do not permit the use of gestures
Candide : What !
B-J : And now that you have entered the club like a common criminal , causing damage no doubt to the property in the process.....such disgraceful behaviour like this only serves to endorse and justify the committee's decision to terminate your membership...
Candide : This is an outrage.....
B-J : Listen Twelvetrees you are the biggest sap I know ...who has failed to twig onto the fact we don't want you in this club........your face doesn't need to branch out and take up a new origami or crocheting......ah.....I hear the police cars arriving....thank God for that...........Ronnie take Candide downstairs and have her cuffed......

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Club member (CM) : Bigot ....I wish to make a complaint
B-J : About what ?
CM : Rude behaviour...
B-J : It's the norm....
CM : But that's  what the complaint is about !
B-J : Listen you ignoramus....if rude behaviour is the norm  ,  then what on earth can you be complaining about ......because the reality is this.... complaints are only valid when something adverse  happens out of the ordinary......
CM : But rude behaviour is out of the ordinary...
B-J : Not at this club it isn't.... you see.... the majority members believe in freedom of speech , witty sarcasm , tit-for-tat banter , hard-hitting home truths and the joy that comes from nurturing sado-masochistic partnerships
CM : Nevertheless .....despite your pathetic defence for such behaviour.....I still want to put in a complaint
B-J : No point......because if the committee cracked down on rude behaviour ....... only to sling out all those found guilty of it......the club would end up having only one member left on the books.....namely you
CM : Well, in that case I will be  sending in my letter of resignation tomorrow.....
B-J : Madam, with an attitude like that you can sod off now.... and take your prudish, holier than thou moral values with you....
CM : Why arrogant , obnoxious, pig-headed , foul-mouthed , evil-minded monster
B-J :'re getting into the true spirit of this place after all.....why I'm even beginning to warm towards you this very second ....
CM : Too late.....and by the way ....that desperately needed £50,000......which I promised to loan the club......well, guess you can kiss that goodbye instead of my arse
B-J : Bugger....

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Saturday, 16 June 2012

BRIDGE BOOKS WHICH BLEW ME AWAY ...... ( Claims a windswept Pun ) 

  • Deceptive Bidding Is A True Art...................D. V. S. Barstard
  • Stamp Your Authority On The Bidding.........Penny Black
  • My Partner Always Looks For Tells..............Andy Peakes
  • Partner, What Is Your Problem ?..................R. U. Cummin  
  • Captain, For Pity's Sake Take My Advice...Stan Downe 
  • My Partner Is Forever In The Tank............... Jerry Cann
  • The Best Trick Of Them All............................April Foole 
  • Where Did His Mental Stamina Come From ?.....Doug Deep 
  • Gambling For Tops.........................................Orla Nophin
  • Calling A Spade A Spade.............................Les B. Frank

Friday, 15 June 2012


( Whilst playing away at a weekend congress , a telephone call came through to Bigot's hotel room , where his shapely young bimbo partner was getting ready for the next session. With Bigot messing around in the bath , she felt obliged to answer the call .)

Sylvia : Yes...who do you wish to speak to ?
Caller : Bigot .....if he's there
Sylvia : Well , he can't come to the phone yet ......
Caller : That doesn't matter so long as you give him this message......
Sylvia : Ok ..I 'm listening....
Caller : Tell him this....... his wife is not getting any better , come home straightaway
Sylvia : Got it...bye now
Caller : Bye
Bigot :  Who the bloody hell was that ?
Sylvia : Some bloke with a message from your wife....
Bigot :  What was it ?
Sylvia : Apparently ....your wife says ....she is not getting any , better come home straightaway
Bigot :  What ! .....That friggin'  contrary woman......why I leave her at home because she's ill in bed......and no sooner do I get here than she's ringing me up asking for nookie....the bitch

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

                                                                                     WHAT DO SOME PLAYERS NEED TO HAVE TO BID A GRAND ?

The answer it seems is a combined 40 count with at least two long running suits....... and no communication problems ?
Why just the other day I was dealt the North hand only to hear partner ( no surprise there ) open 1S. I quietly bid 2C showing 10+ points,  and partner responded with a strong 3D hoping no doubt to hear a 3H bid from me with no trumps in mind. . Instead ,  I went straight to 4NT , then 5NT , confirming  1 ace and 3 kings opposite ......and so bidding the grand was a formality. 
On a heart lead 14 quick  tricks were on view ( 6D, 3H, 3S and 2C ) and so this had to be the flattish board of the session....... BUT NO.
In a small mixed ability field, two inexperienced pairs did not venture beyond game. Five pairs settled for the small slam ....heaven knows why . And so there we were ....bidding the obvious on a combined 35 count , with a long running 6 card suit of real squeezing potential......for a fortutious top.
Clearly , caution , timidity , fear , self-doubt and  cowardice still continue to inhibit many players , who ought to know that bold bidding and playing with the odds is what this game of bridge is all about

Sunday, 10 June 2012


This proved to be a bad board for Johnny. If this 3NT contract could be defeated , then his name was on that trophy.
Sitting East , he had opened the bidding with 1H , but soon found himself having defend 3NT.  In a flash his partner West plonked down his jack of hearts as the opening lead, but declarer dived in with the queen to take the trick. Two rounds of clubs saw East discard a small spade . This gave declarer a very important clue.
On the bidding Johnny was marked with a probable 6 card heart suit, a singleton club and surely 4 spades.....for to throw a spade away from a three card holding would not have been a sensible move.  Surely , East had to have the king of diamonds for his bid......but what was it Kx or Kxx ?
If the holding was Kxx , declarer figured the contract was dead in the water because he needed to harvest the suit for 4 tricks....and East would certainly hold off from taking the first diamond trick . Yet , even if East had the Kx , then West with his four to the 10986 would have the suit stopped anyway !
But there was a way to harvest 4 diamonds tricks if East did hold Kx............and that was to duck the first diamond trick letting West in with his 6 or 8 ! Now when a second heart comes back declarer can take  the trick, play over to the Ace of diamonds dropping Johnny's stiff King, and enjoyed 4 diamond winners, to go alongside 3 C and 2H , for the contract.
When Johnny pointed out to declarer that this line would have failed if he held Kxx , South   looked at him the eye and said  "  your partner's play of the heart jack at trick one convinced me he had a doubleton, giving you a 6 card suit. Moreover, his play of the diamond 8 suggested he was looking to force dummy to play the jack , suggesting that he also possessed the 9 and 10 of diamonds as well. So everything pointed to you having a 4-6-2-1 distribution. "
So Johnny for once had truly met his match....but who was this the unknown bridge maestro ?

( After losing an intercity league match against a bunch of puddings , the captain of the Walnut Tree Allotment A Team rounded on Bigot in no uncertain way . Here is a short extract from the conversation that took place during the post-match briefing. )

Captain ( C)  : Your score card Bigot was a disgrace......and it was all down to you that we lost this match......
B-J : Things didn't go my way......
C : were going down in games and slams that were making.....without any difficulty....on the other three tables
B-J : Those contracts went off because finesses failed .....nasty trump breaks....and other suits not behaving...
C : You butchered those hands because you failed to engineer simple throw ins , end plays , cross ruffs , squeezes.....and essential unblocking plays . It seemed obvious to your partner , and those looking on , that you played each hand without  a plan in mind
B-J :  Too bloody right I did.... 
C : Well , what in God's name made you do that ?
B-J : About a month back I read a book by an eminent philosopher who said if you don't have a plan then nothing can go wrong.... 
C : are without doubt a complete and utter prat ....and what's more you have played your last match for're fired !
B-J : Bugger...

Saturday, 9 June 2012


Dear Rebecca,
The other day I visited a club that made me believe I was in a dream world, where the absurd had become a reality.
The members to a man and woman seemed completely held back and restrained , not wishing to even whisper boo to a goose !
Moreover , the feigned smiles and congratulations were totally out of context with the appalling standard of play. The sweet sickly bon hommie and exchange of social pleasantries was enough to make me feel quite ill.
Indeed, I had this sense I was part of a scene from the film " The Stepford Wives " , such was the apparent level of perfect behaviour of  all those around me. So can somebody please tell me what the bloody hell was going on at this club ?

Yours rather perplexed , Ena Fogg

Dear Ena,
You unfortunately just happened to stumble upon yet another club which has thoroughly embraced zero tolerance and best behaviour policies. My local one..... damn  it .......went the same way a couple of years back. 

Yours (gone are the days where even I can be myself ) disbelievingly Rood

Friday, 8 June 2012


Thursday, 7 June 2012


Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Monday, 4 June 2012

( Bigot-Johnson had convened an emergency disciplinary hearing to deal with an anonymous letter of complaint about Pellegrina Pantopod ,  regarding an incident where she removed and replaced her false teeth during the play of a hand  )

B-J : As you know , one careless mistake by us and we could be subjected to a costly law suit .  This disciplinary hearing must be carried out in a just and proper way. Therefore , if there are any members here who feel they might have even a suspicion  or hint of bias towards this dreadful woman , then they must declare their personal interest straightaway , with a view to stepping down and abstaining from subsequent discussions and votes. This committee is required in law to be impartial , objective and fair..... at all times..... throughout the whole disciplinary process.....which I might add needs to be done and dusted within the next 15 minutes....
Committee members :   Yes...yes...yes
B-J : Well then....does anyone want to declare a personal interest or prejudice before voting on expulsion begins
Ist CM : Yes I do.....that bitch of a woman continues to bug me just by being in the same room. I hate her picky attitude.....especially when she catches me out cheating.....and her abrasive tongue when she has the cheek to scold me off . In fact just recently I've started to poison her cups of tea brought to her during the evening....
B-J : Thank you for that.....but I've see no problem whatsoever with you voting the right way
2nd CM : Well , I'm afraid I must confess to harbouring an intense dislike for the woman. For years I've tried to organise petitions to have her slung out of the club , but to no bloody avail. Far too many dim witted members couldn't be bothered to sign.....others utterly refused too....despite countless bribes , threats and impassioned pleas. Why...if I had my way I would kick the whole bloody lot of them out in one go....
B-J : Dear ....dear.....please don't get too're quite right to feel aggrieved and annoyed by their lack of vision and short-sighted stubbornness......but by jingo... do we need your commitment and level headedness on board to steer the forthcoming discussion and voting down the right path...
3rd CM :  Let me tell you .....that Pellegrina is nothing more than a old wizened bag of puss.......who once  cruelly and with malice aforethought  ran down my cat in her over-priced Rolls Royce . For years I've been planning my revenge......and it's only just recently I've handed over £10,000 to a rather unsavoury man.....with a history of arson and torch her property and to rough her up a bit...
B-J : Very understandable indeed......for I too believe in biblical justice....but sadly , I feel we could have spared you the money. Nevertheless , I see nothing wrong with you remaining here to cast your vote.....................anyone else ?
4th CM : Hang her....
B-J : An admirable sentiment ...but is that your declaration of personal interest in this matter ?
4th CM : Yes....I am a firm believer in capital punishment
B-J : Any final declarations of personal interest ?
5thCM :  Yes ....but please forgive me.........I'm so sorry.... I must confess to liking and admiring Pellegrina.......she's been god send to my family.....helping me out when I was seriously ill........and loaning my husband £50,000 to keep my his business afloat when the economy was in crisis.....I feel I owe this wonderful lady a real debt of gratitude....
B-J : WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU SAYING !.....Declaring a prejudice like that is both shocking and shameful. There's only one sensible thing you can do.....and that's to clear off.....we can't possible allow deep rooted obscene bias like that to undermine our efforts to see this disciplinary process through to a proper conclusion....and oh yes.....while you're at it I would to have your letter of resignation in by the end of the week....  

Sunday, 3 June 2012

RUMOUR HAS IT ............ ( Research article by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )

Speculation abounds that A. A. Milne based his Winnie The Pooh story books on the seriously troubled characters he encountered at his local bridge club. Indeed , the Hundred Acre Wood is a metaphor for a typical bridge club ,  where hundreds of members will have psycho-social problems , many of which are not recognised...... let alone  treated.
The characters in his stories , just like their counterpart bridge players , would all be better off with psycho-active drugs and ongoing counselling. One researcher claims that  the purpose of Milne's stories was to remind the world at large that people who love to play games , often fall victim to a whole raft of unusual and disturbing disorders.
Pooh , of course , depicts a player with limited brain power , who clearly suffers from the condition known as ADHD ( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ). His fixation with honey equates to a player's fixation with cards , and his repetitive counting behaviours mirrors the practice of counting up to 13 over and over again. This suggests that bridge players , like Pooh , have obsessive compulsive disorders as well. Add to that acute learning problems ,   observers  might well reach the conclusion that Pooh-like bridge players suffer from " skaken bear syndrome ", having been regularly thrown downstairs by irate partners , their heads bumping on each and every step.
If one was to take a look at the piglet type player , being one who clearly has a generalised anxiety disorder , then we soon recognise that bridge clubs are over-run with dozens of these panic-stricken little piggy-wiggies. As for the Eeyores of the bridge world there are plenty of them too . Chronically depressed and forever bemoaning their wretched luck , lack of points and lack of the success . In sharp contrast to them ,  clubs will have their fair share of Tiggers , who love to " bounce in " unannounced , show off and take outrageous risks.
However, the story character who  depicts players suffering from an embarrassing form of brain disorder is the owl, who clearly has an unfortunate condition linked to dyslexia. The Roos represent players who behave like delinquents for lack of good role models , while the Kangas are simply  who the thwarted and frustrated types , who suffer as a result of the club's woeful lack of ambition. Their plight is that  club management teams tend to focus on promoting a social and friendly atmosphere , at the expense of developing intense competition in order  to drive up standards to tournament level. 
Finally , we come to the stereotype that most players can be easily associated with : the Christopher Robins. Here we have adults behaving like complete lunatics spending all their time talking to animals , namely other stereotype bridge players. Moreover , they behave like children , the Peter Pans of this world ........ boys who refuse to grow up.  Constantly regressing back to their childhood  the Christopher Robins have only one aim in live , and that is to have adventures and fun with all their friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.
In conclusion , it has to be said that A. A. Milne overlooked one thing. The story book characters somehow turned the Hundred Acre Wood into a place of enchantment , whereas their human counterparts are only capable of turning bridge clubs into  places of disenchantment . Mad houses in fact..... where neuro-developmental and psycho-social problems abound . And because  no one as yet is  prepared to acknowledge this tragedy,  the disenchantment will linger on indefinitely. 
So for all you readers  who were on the verge of taking up duplicate bridge , then I suggest you think again....very very carefully. 

(  According to a BBC News report in Decembber 2000 ,  the original research was first published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal . However  subsequent research , as undertaken by Dr. John and his team ,  then discovered A. A. Milne's must have  based  the psychological profiles of his story book characters on real-life bridge players .  Dr. John himself once remarked " I cannot but wonder how much richer the lives of bridge playing Poohs might be today were they to have a trial of low-dose stimulant medication " . )               

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Most bridge players , and I must be honest here , have no idea or ability to play the game at an expert level. Many commentators have described these hopelessly  inept players as " headless chickens " having no sense of direction at all.
However , research has shown that these random and unpredictable players behave more like wild geese , who embark upon all manner of chases but never to any meaningful conclusion. They chase after victories. They chase after tops. They chase after overtricks . They chase after green points. But they never succeed. They are all victims of the Wild Goose Syndrome.
Fuelled by blind optimism they set out in pursuit of goals that they haven't got a cat in hell's chance of ever achieving. For them bridge has become an endless wild goose chase , which is destined to prove pointless and unfruitful .
Historians, mistakenly claim , that the phrase wild goose chase originated from a type of horse race which took place in 16th century England . This bizarre sport  involved a pack of horsemen following a leader through woodland countryside , but finding real difficulty in predicting  which paths would be chosen . Add to that the difficulty in following the paths that were chosen , and one had the recipe for a futile exercise . Yet the real truth behind the origin of the phrase is something completely different. During the time that bridge was beginning to get firmly established in this country , a certain Mr. Wildgoose , a most eccentric player by all accounts, amazed everyone  by his totally unpredictable , random , off-the-wall ,  and utterly hapless card  play . Eventually , concerned members took him to a psychiatric doctor who , by virtue of diagnosing him with as yet  an unknown mental disorder ,  felt obliged to name the syndrome after him.  
One unfortunate consequence of being a  bridge player, diagnosed with the wild goose syndrome , is that other players  will start to take the piss. Exasperated by the inevitable  bird-brained, scatter gun approach to both the bidding and play of the cards ,   endless sarcastic and cutting remarks will be directed towards the victim without mercy or forgiveness. Examples include...
- let's cut to the're useless
- as soon as you played that card your goose was cooked
- your inept  play has made my bowels movements as loose as a goose
- boy, do you get my gander up
- no wonder opponents cackle when they see you coming
- your random play gives me goose bumps
- be warned.......I'm more than prepared to say boo to a goose like you
In some clubs , the majority of the members will be cursed with this awful syndrome, which usually means they flock together and pair up with up with one another. When both players in a partnership are affected by this disturbing condition ,  nobody at the table will have any idea of what is going on with regards to their bidding and play. Indeed , the wild goose chases they then embark upon will usually lead everyone up the proverbial garden path ...or on a merry dance. And as for a possible cure or effective treatment....... your geese is as good as mine.