Tuesday, 28 August 2012

( Unbelievably, it was the turn of Bigot-Johnson of all people to be randomly selected to sit in judgement with two others to hear an appeal from his arch-enemy Percy Pantopod . The appellant was contesting a 6 month ban which was imposed upon him by the committee for numerous assaults on fellow club members. Bigot of course took it upon himself to be chairman. A transcript of the appeal hearing can be seen below. )
PP : I would like to have my learned friend and club colleague in attendance to help and assist me in presenting my case.......
B-J : Not a chance........tell him to sod off.......you're on your own. We don't want any jumped-up Garrick room lawyers messing up these proceedings with their legal gobbledygook, tedious complex arguments and all that nonsense. This panel is only concerned with the facts.....plain and simple. And I would like to remind you Percy....that I should be at home right now watching the Wimbledon Men's final !
PP : But....but... I've come here expecting fairness and justice.....
B-J : For pity's sake man....this isn't a bloody court case......it's a rubber stamp exercise......so please, can we start the process of going through the motions.....
PP : Well, first off I would like to re-iterate the fact that I never committed any wrongful acts in the first place....
B-J : Hold on there.....is it not true that you have this offensive habit of introducing yourself to new members by shaking their hands .....with both vigour and gusto ?
PP : Yes..but....
B-J : But what ?.... My knowledge of the law may be diddly-squat, but I am very aware that shaking of any one's body parts is technically an assault......not to mention trespass to their person. And is not also true that you have this unfortunate habit of patting the backs of competition winners in an overly enthusiastic way ?
PP : Yes...but...
B-J : But what... all these acts constitute unwarranted assaults on members, which this club has no time for whatsoever in this exciting new climate of zero tolerance
PP : Oh.....but what about the way the committee reached its decisions ?.... firstly to uphold a complaint about me ........made by one of its own members.....and secondly...... to immediately impose a 6 month ban ? What happened was clearly unfair. It was the manner in which the process was carried out that was flawed. Many of the rules of natural justice were contravened such was the apparent lack of objectivity, impartiality and good faith.
B-J : How dare you suggest such things. I'll have you know that this committee is made up of decent and dedicated club members, who...yes.... might have unwittingly displayed a certain bias against you.......based quite understandably upon a deep seated dislike for you.....given your appalling dress sense and sick personality. But they did everything by the book so to speak !
PP : I disagree.....the committee erred ...
B-J : What the blue blazes are you prattling on about ? Let me remind you that there is an unwritten law that states " The committee can do no wrong ". Might is right.
PP : But I have a witness here who will testify that partisan bias undermined the committee's proceedings which led to this 6 month ban
B-J : Listen....that bloody whistle-blowing friend of yours is not someone I would trust for a single second. He is a devious bastard....and if I am obliged to hear what he has to say.....I am certainly not obliged to listen and take on board any of his observations. These will all be dismissed in the same way as this pointless appeal of yours.
PP : Oh.....but what about the fact that I never had an initial hearing to present my case to the committee before the punishment was handed out ?
B-J : As I recall, the committee had given you an opportunity to appear before them.....as well as take part in a re-enactment of a particular nasty back-slapping incident.......on dates which you were unfortunately away on holiday in America. That's life......So yes, in my mind the committee followed to the letter all the steps regarding the disciplinary process as laid down by the club's constitutional rules and regulations. It doesn't matter a jot if decisions were made in no faith, bad faith or blind faith......Natural justice ? What the hell is that all about ?
PP : But I've got a rock solid legal opinion here in writing that supports my claim that some miscarriage of justice had taken place....
B-J : All this is causing me to get really pissed off.....no doubt I've already missed the first set of the men's final...and this panel isn't really interested in your legal opinions, views, arguments, analysis and contentions,......we are only here to look at the facts...which are, according to your earlier admissions, as follows. You violently shook the delicate hands of unsuspecting new club members plunging them into a state of fear and dread, as well as thumping your fists into the backs of others without warning, inflicting upon them deep bruising, pain and untold suffering. And you expect us to overturn the committee's decision to ban you ! Are you stark raving bonkers ?
PP : Well, as far as I'm concerned the my balls are still up in the air and I may have to consider going to court...
B-J : Jesus Christ......thanks for reminding me.....I really do need to get back home for the tennis.....so I now declare this appeal hearing is at an end....and yes Percy, I'm glad to say you've lost.... just like Murray has done no doubt...... in his first set against Nadal......
PP : So...... is that it ? Have you nothing more to say to me ?
B-J : No.....except for two words........ " bugger off "

" .....Having to register two huge and extremely off-putting bottoms in a row......"  

The long awaited showdown between 
Johnny Supremo and Bigot-Johnson came to fruition , when they faced up to each other on table 1 on the final round of the Walnut Tree Invitation Swiss Pairs competition.
Bigot was with his favourite partner , Freddie Flywheel , and with this 7 board match very much in the balance , the trophy was going to be determined by the outcome of this hand. By bidding his way to 7S , Bigot seemingly had his greasy mitts on the silverware....but if only he could steer the contract home on a heart lead. 
As the cards lie , he could afford to ruff the third round of hearts high, clear trumps ( discarding a diamond from dummy ) , then test diamonds first to see if the queen falls ,  before playing off 4 rounds of clubs ( discarding his losing diamond ) , claiming 13 tricks. 
But Johnny sitting East had envisaged all this , and being a great believer in the nil desperandum philosophy decided there was a glimmer of hope in redirecting Bigot to follow a different line.....one that might possibly cost him the contract.
So when Bigot took the first heart trick in dummy, he played off two round of trumps with his Ace and Queen , getting the news about the mildly irritating 4-1 trump break. Still full of confidence ,  he cashed the King of hearts at trick 4 , and played another heart to be ruffed by dummy's King......only to see Johnny under-ruff  with his 6 of spades !
What on earth was going on ? Why on earth would Johnny do that ? Bigot's expert analysis came to the only possible conclusion : with 2 H and 4S , the bugger must also be holding 3 diamonds to the queen and four clubs to the jack.  " I can't squeeze him with two more round of spades since dummy has to discard ahead of him , so the finesse of the club with my wonderful 9 will surely see the contract home. But first I must cash my top two diamonds just in case the queen does fall ". 
With no luck in the diamond department , Bigot quickly overtook his spade 8 with dummy's 9 , to play out clubs. However, to his great shock and horror , when the 9 of clubs was played from hand   West pounced on it with his jack , his face filling up with unbridled joy as he did so. Then to add even more misery on a distraught and shell-shocked Bigot , the diamond switch secured another defensive trick for the trophy winners.
Yet again Johnny reigned supreme.  Bigot indeed had been shafted good and proper.......... proving that bad-uns in bridge always get their comeuppance.......... 
DEALING WITH SLOW PARTNERS ........ ( Article by Carp ) 

Should you have sit there time after time watching your partner lose track of time?  I should cocoa . Should you have suffer over and over again the acute embarrassment of partnering the proverbial slowcoach , who seems utterly incapable of ever arriving at a fast decision ?
No you bloody shouldn't. You need to step up to the plate and do something about it : you need a strategic plan to transform your liability-of-a-partner ( a selfish , inconsiderate , cheating time bandit ) into a player , who can maintain a quick and even tempo in both his bidding and his play.
So here is my step-by-step plan which starts with actions which might work , before moving onto actions which should definitely work :
1. First off try jollying up your partner : cajole , charm , ingratiate , suck up to , flatter , compliment and smarm ,  even creep if necessary , in order to get him to change his ways
2. Suggest , hint , persuade , propose , entreat ,  goad
3. Then try the simple approach : ask , request , enquire , implore , beg , plead , beseech and  grovel , hoping to appeal to his better nature
4. Better still , explain ,  negotiate , debate , discuss , convince , reason , justify your case before deciding to instruct , demand, order, command his immediate improvement
5. If at this point no change has been observed ,  try a mild verbal assault :  protest , object , dispute , complain , grumble , moan , groan and whinge
6. Alternatively, adopt a look of quiet , subdued , lost , confused , bewildered child : start to fret , brood , tremble , shiver , and pout 
7. Then again ,  try the wounded deer approach : act depressed , downhearted , upset , sigh , go all glum and plaintive,  or stare at the walls in abject despair
8. Or move up a gear : snivel , wobble the bottom lip , look to be in serious pain , cry , sniff , sulk , mope and pine
9. Now comes the time to be a little nasty : harass , harangue , go on about it , pester ,  nag
10. If this fails go onto the attack : annoy , insult , reproach , denounce , get cross , get angry , fume , seethe , pester , agitate , see red 
11. Before getting even more aggressive : bite , provoke , enrage , push , bully , threaten
12. Last resort involves expressing your feelings in no uncertain way : shout , screech , scream , squeal ,  spark , burn up , ignite , detonate , explode , go completely ballistic even

And if unfortunately no success has been achieved by this point  , then you must resort to one rather gory strategy that is left , but one which is guaranteed to work  : take your partner outside, force him to lie facing downwards on the ground, remove a loaded shotgun from the boot of your car and then tell him that " unless he swears on oath to speed up his play you intend to blow both his knees caps out here and now..." 


Saturday, 25 August 2012


" Problems ?.........What problems ?..........I don't see anything that we need to worry about......"

Thursday, 23 August 2012

( In a room packed to the rafters with his closest supporters , easily bribed members , and paid outsiders posing as members , everything was in place for an easy ride , trouble free re-election of committee officers ........and for several proposed changes to the club's constitution to go through without challenge. However a few disgruntled  opponents had managed to sneak by his heavily armed front door security team , determined to voice their criticisms and concerns. During the meeting the following exchange of words touched upon a rather sensitive and controversial issue. )

Disgruntled member (DM ) :  How come this committee never posts any proper minutes ?
B-J : It does....
DM : Oh yes....half a page of useless information with oblique highly sanitised phrases that tell the members absolutely nothing
B-J : Ignorance is bliss.....
DM : Members expect and demand openness and transparency
B-J : Not here at the Slaughter House........such a concept is ludicrous......knowledge is such a dangerous thing......
DM : Members are entitled to know is really going on behind these closed committee room doors....they need to know the full facts on important issues......they are entitled to know the truth
B-J : Take it from me.....the truth hurts.....and our job is to look after the best interests of the members ......which of course is to spare them from the truth........this can only be done by keeping them in the dark  
DM : But by denying them the truth might also be hurtful and cruel 
B-J : Not as much.....for our job also involves stopping the members from getting into a state of panic.....doing rash things......and over-reacting in ways that could be threatening to committee members and others. There's no point in causing members to get over-emotional, over-excited 
......or to go ape-shit . Non-disclosure as a governing principle makes good sense.......
GM : But the idea by keeping members blissfully ignorant is nothing more than the curse of darkness......lack of openness and transparency is the perfect recipe for deceit , lies and unholy practices . Indeed , the curse of darkness legitimises extensive secrecy.....
B-J : Listen muppethead....the committee must carry out its business respecting the duty of confidentiality.........not to reveal details which could link names with decisions or actions which might expose those individuals to acute embarrassment , and unfair criticism. Committes cannot function properly if put under close scrutiny .......intense pressure like that would stop members from even considering doing committee work . There is a genuine concern for protecting the privacy of committee members , so they are not exposed to " adverse consequences , retribution or negative repercusssions " ......
DM : But exercising proper control over committees is impossible without there being openness and transparency......and where there is no control , there is no accountability .....and this will lead to abuse of power, corruption and other malfeasance . Members should have the right of access to committee meetings  and all relevant documents used ,  if only to establish the opportunity and means for effective control and oversight....
B-J : No can do.....for there is in my mind a critical question concerning  the moral certitude behind openness and transparency.....certain boundaries are needed....but who for instance is best able to advocate where the boundaries should be ?
DM : Clever words.....but they don't cut any ice with me
B-J : Who bloody cares....and there's certainly no need for you to bother yourself more......your days as a club member are over..
DM : What !!
B-J : Yes...the committee sensibly prepared....a few months ago....a hit list of undesriable members who were not going to be offered the opportunity to renew their membership....and your name was on top of that list....
DM : This is an outrage.....I saw nothing about this in the minutes
B-J : Of course not...this information was highly sensitive and confidential 
DM : I'm flabbergasted....
B-J : Moreover , under new executive powers conferred upon me by the committee  I am able to terminate your membership here and now....
DM : This is a scandalous abuse of power....
B-J :  Not so scum bag...this essential power only serves to promote expediency and effective decision making......................so Ronnie.... can you please escort this troublemaking  trespasser off the premises......there are still plenty of " watch this space " holes to use up on the club's grounds just behind the saw shed.....


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A TRUE BUT SHOCKING STORY ......  ( By Bridgemeister Gibson )

Jesus once said " let he who is without sin cast the first stone ". For human nature dictates that we all rush in to castigate a sinner , despite being guilty of such sins ourselves. Hypocrisy is indeed a terrible thing , but what happened a few years ago at Walnut Tree Allotment Society BC beggars belief. 

A certain member , highly critical of the Club Management at the time felt it was necessary on the night of the AGM to place an open letter on the chairs criticising all the members of the committee , and in particular its hard working , highly competent and very accomplished secretary. Part of the letter read as follows :
" .........and the position of the Secretary is clearly untenable . The members of the committee who wish to play bridge on a Friday evening ( at a newly formed social gathering ) could consider attending  the Club , whose interests they were elected to safeguard rather than supporting a rival . "

This new  " club " , incidentally ,  was nothing more than a once a month meal out with friends and associates ( with an evening's  bridge thrown in for good measure ) .   

A couple years later this same member then became Chairman of the Club , but he of course was never going to accept or tolerant criticism or dissent from the ranks. Having invited one disgruntled member to voice all his complaints in a private letter to the committee ,  a rather nasty and stern reply came whistling back  . One line in particular exposed hypocrisy on a scale  that completely shattered my faith in human nature . 
" ....The Committee is elected to manage the Club in the best interests of the members.......The Club exists for people to play a game of cards in a social setting . If a member feels he cannot support the Club Management , he can resign and play elsewhere . "

Now I left to wonder why that member didn't heed his own words two years earlier , taking the opportunity to resign when he was clearly at odds with , and unable to support,  his Club Management ?


Sunday, 19 August 2012

THE POETIC GENIUS OF DR.SIGMUND T. SCHUKELGRUBER..... ( A short poem entitled " Sorry "  having been adapted from a little gem by James Carter )

Sorry, I wasn't observing
Of a single card you played
I drifted off into the mists of time
And a wonderful woodland glade

Sorry, I wasn't watching
What suit you were wanting then
Did you signal the diamond two
Or was it the diamond ten ?   

Sorry , I wasn't listening
Had we agreed to Michaels or not ?
Now having overcalled 1D with two
You've just put me on the spot

Sorry , I wasn't counting
Ooops...is there a trump remaining ?
Why is this whole bridge experience
So mentally taxing and physically draining ?

Sorry , I wasn't thinking
I'm away on another planet
It's the fear of doing something wrong
That freaks me out....

Friday, 17 August 2012


( In a landmark House of Lords ruling ,  the Slaughter House Bridge Club was found guilty of an offence under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. Bigot Johnson , chairman and self-appointed counsel for the defence , appealed to have  the Crown Court verdict overturned , but the Law Lords were having none of it . A short extract from the trial's transcript can be seen below. )

Law Lord (LL) : Bigot-Johnson .....you and your disreputable club have been found guilty of discrimination against a poor , unfortunate , severely disabled member
B-J : You're pulling my plunger.....
LL : Not so.... you cruelly suspended this member for 6 months..... a decent lovely woman, Eve Detser , for nothing more than standing up and shouting out a lot of " f " words during a Tuesday night duplicate....
B-J :  I should say no.....the woman was lucky not to lynched there and then.....her language was atrocious....the loud , vile ,  vulgar , uncouth bitch
LL : But she suffered from Tourettes.....
B-J : She had to go.....far too many members were offended by her outburst
LL : Whatever you think.....her outburst was hardly motivated by malice , vindictiveness or sheer bloodymindedness........she fell victim to her very unfortunate and unforgiving disability
B-J : Listen...her profanity and use of expletives would have made a dead man blush.....
LL : Nevertheless....your committee has over the years allowed the woman to renew her membership fully aware that she had Tourette's Syndrome
B-J : Yes...
LL :  Yet it is clearly evident that she had been discriminated against purely on the basis of her disability...
B-J : What.rubbish.........for a start discrimination can only be established if the club had treated her less favourably than non-disabled members facing disciplinary charges.....which we  never have . Why , the Slaughter House committee has always thrown the book at any foul mouthed pantopod who stepped out of line. 
LL :  That may well be so....but tell me Bigot are there members in your club who suffer from epilepsy and diabetes? 
B-J : Yes...
LL: And do you consider their conditions as " disabilities " ?
B-J : Yes...yes
LL :: And haven't these members also been involved in incidents , where their condition has suddenly caused them to lose control....to fall victim to involuntary movements and automaton behaviour  ....such as suddenly collapsing ....falling on tables in play.....causing damage to property and in some cases injuries to others ?   
B-J : Yes...yes... yes
LL : Moreover , didn't you and other committee members rally round , offering them immediate medical assistance , sympathy and support 
B-J : Yes.....yes
LL : And no disciplinary proceedings were ever taken against them ?
B-J : Of course not.....
LL : So how come you rounded on poor Eve .....when her disability caused her to lose control and fall victim to an involuntary outburst of harmless " f " words ?
B-J : Oow..er...
LL : Yes , Bigot Johnson....... you and your cronies clearly treated her far less favourably than those suffering from epilepsy and diabetes......
B-J : Oh bugger......
LL : So based on that analysis and irrefutable argument ,  your appeal is to be dismissed. The guilty verdict still stands.......and now sir your club has got a rather hefty legal bill to pay.....
B-J : Bugger...bugger....bugger 


Thursday, 16 August 2012

AN APOCALYPTIC PERSPECTIVE......( By Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber ) 

The Four Horsemen in their bridge committee regalia riding roughshod over a disillusioned and demoralised membership.......... 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

( By Dr. Sigmund
T. Schukelgruber )                                           

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

BRIDGE BOOKS BEYOND DESCRIPTION.......... ( By lost for words Pun )

Winning Bridge and Lucky Charms.............Ray Lee Needham
Captain, I'm Not Well Enough To Play.........Dizzy Spellman
Cheats Can't Get One Over Me....................I. C. Hall
My Partner Acts Like A Wild Animal............Will Dabeest
Winning Bridge Is About Pulling Together.....Eve Hoe
Bridge : Avoid Falling At The Last Fence......Tom Bell-Downe
Where The Hell's Our Winning Captain ?.......Honor Bender
My Partner Is Very Unethical.........................Andy Peakes
Bridge Hands That Blew Me Away...............Gail Forswind
I Always Come Good At The Finish.............Xavier Bestilast 
Bridge Hands That Get Me Excited..............Ivor Hugh Lobon
Why Does My Partner Go Into The Tank ?...Jerry Cann

Friday, 10 August 2012


Double :
-  a special bid that can be made only over an opponent's bid that uses up no space in the auction. A double usually has one of two meanings, depending on the previous auction: [i] Penalty double - this type of double is made when you expect the opponents' contract to go down. [ii] Takeout double - this type of double shows strength and at least moderate length in all unbid suits. It asks partner to "take it out" of the auction by bidding his longest suit.
- a term used to describe the kind of trouble a player gets himself into , when falling foul of strict  ZT codes for best behaviour
- the preferred choice of room a player books when taking his shapely partner to a weekend congress
- a double jump is when a frisky player gets lucky with his obliging partner  
- the measure of alcohol which an exasperated player orders at the club bar 
- more often that not ,  what the exasperated player will see after having consumed a right skin full   
- the kind of act  which comic or joke partnerships are often known by
- a reference to the number of barrels on a shotgun used by committee members to silence their opponents
- a clever worded comment with two edges : one which seems to  offer praise , the other which cuts a player too pieces
- the form of dealing disreputable players often get involved in 
- the type of whammy  team players experience where the N/S pair comes back having gone off in a small slam ,  when on the same board the E/W pair also recorded a minus score for doubling the opponents in a contract which made plus three
- a term used to describe the kind of talk idiot bridge players sink into when  desperately trying to impress their audience
- a reference to the kind of life that many bridge are forced to take up when having to keep their bridge outings a complete secret from their unsuspecting married partners
- at the double is the pace which notoriously slow bridge players can only dream of
- what experts do when observing wooden tops playing  bridge: either to double up or double over with laughter  

Thursday, 9 August 2012



 This is the club where  " take out "  takes on a whole new meaning........

Rooney ( forward ) : Would you like to have a go with the ball Joleon ?
Lescott ( defender ) : Why thank you Wayne.....but no ...... it's only right you have a pot a goal....
Rooney : Well , if you insist ....but I don't want to kick it too hard in case I hurt the goalie
Lescott : How considerate of you......best then to gently stroke it towards him
Rooney : But what if the ball passes by him.....I might end up scoring a goal.....and that could easily cause him great distress
Lescott : Well in that case....just gently roll it towards him , and I'm sure he'll have plenty of time to get his body behind the ball to pull off a save
Rooney : Thank you so much for your kind advice...

Lescott : My pleasure ....because the very thought of having to tackle you fills me with great worry and apprehension.......I just wouldn't be able to live myself if I was responsible for you feeling even the slightest bit of pain..... or embarrassment
Rooney : You sir are a gentleman !
Lescott : And you sir have my utmost respect and admiration....

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


The ZT Code (Paragraph 26 ) defines inappropriate table talk as follows : 
(a)  Blasphemous expletives
(b)  Swearing 
(c)  Casting spells and curses
(d)  Naughty " nooky " references ( eg. raise , entry , jump ) 
(e)  Anything in French
( f)  Unintelligible nonsense
(g)  Intellectual gobbledygook
(h)  Toilet humour
(i)   Politically incorrect words
(j)   Suggestive innuendos
(k)  Sarcasm
(l)   Defamatory remarks
(m) Any words that are synonyms of " bum"  ( eg .bottom)
(n)  Any words that are synonyms of " fart "   ( eg. trump )
(o)  Smart arse quips
(p)  Smug , condescending , patronising remarks
(q)  Cockney rhyming slang
(r)   Hyperboles
(s)  Facetious comments
(t)   Racist or sexist remarks ( eg. spade , queen )
(u)  All other types of profanity 
(v)  Scatological references of any kind
(w) Intimidating or threatening remarks
(x)  Rude spoonerisms ( eg shining wit , cunning stunts )
(y)  Inane nauseating social chit chat 
(z)  Obsequious flattery

It has been acknowledged  that by avoiding all of the above from any table talk might well restrict conversation to no more than a simple "hello " and  " goodbye " .  So the real bonus here is that play of the boards will speed up considerably. )

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

( During a routine aisle patrol ,  a ZT Law Enforcement Officer becomes embroiled in a rather  unpleasant table incident )

Player : My God....partner , you're a PRAT !!
LEO : Excuse me sir..... did you just call your partner " a prat " ?
Player : Yes I did....
LEO : Well...might I point out that is a violation of the ZT code ....paragraph 497 , sub-paragraph six..........which requires me to impose a 2 % penalty on your final score
Player : Are you completely stupid or what ?.....I was addressing partner by his surname , who happens to be one of the many PRATTS who frequent this club
LEO : Listen Bozo....from where I was standing it was blatantly obvious that the word " prat " was not you giving him a reminder as to his surname..........but more of a reference to the hopeless , inept , abject failure on his part to return a diamond for you to ruff !   Why .....if I had a partner like that I would wait until we had left the premises before setting about him with a baseball bat...
Player : Surely ....that would be a hanging offence under the club's ZT rules ?
LEO : Not so....because these rules only apply to misconduct on the premises . Anything off-site  is deemed OK. Remember all laws have jurisdiction boundaries....
Player : Excuse me for asking....but where have you parked your car this evening ?
LEO : Outside the club....on the road...
Player :......... I'll be waiting.......
SHOCKED BY ROAD RAGE ...WHAT ABOUT TABLE RAGE ?... ( An article by Dr. John )

Yes, I've been studying videos of bridge players for quite some time , and I've come to some rather disturbing conclusions after watching and analysing their behaviour , witnessed in hundreds of recorded run-ins and incidents at the table.
First thing to note is the vast majority of table incidents are non-contact , low threat annoyances , and nothing more. Rarely is there anything that would result in players having to be escorted of the premises by the ZT squad. In many instances  emotions can simmer away , resulting in arguments  erupting later . This is when in fact the delayed outburst table rage occurs , necessitating of course immediate intervention and control. 
Moreover , a great deal of camera footage shows players getting all revved up in situations that would otherwise be non-events, when they use body language , gestures and facial expressions to then threaten  and , in strict legal terms , assault others sitting at the table. All this seems to demonstrate that table rage has very little to do with an intent to commit actual bodily harm , but has far more to do with being a statement about their frustration and despair. 
Generally speaking table altercations are no more than storms in a tea cup , when in the heat of the moment a player loses self-control. Seconds later he/she might become extremely placid , but what is most odd about this rage phenomenon is that the level of anger shown at the table can be inversely proportional to the incident that triggered it off. Indeed , minor incidents can in fact provoke extreme reactions , whereas major ones are often dealt with in a civilised way with TDs being called over to tackle the problem.
Yet an even more bizarre finding is that table rage isn't necessarily directed towards to the opponents. It can be directed at partners , and players on other nearby tables who may have made the mistake of passing comments over. 
But what is most telling is that I have observed three personality factors ,  which the victim of Table Rage Syndrome tends to possess 
1.  A willingness to violate the rules at will believing they are all irrelevant and  unimportant 
2.  A willingness to berate others for violating the same rules when they believe they are adversely affected as a result
3. A willingness to make up their own rules for playing the game at will , and always feeling aggrieved when others do not obey them
Clearly , with this jaundiced and warped mentality being so widespread ,  table rage will continue to blight bridge clubs the world over. Conflict at the tables is inevitable , and those with this syndrome have unfortunately become victims of a compelling pathological condition to engage in , or seek out , confrontation . As much as these players need urgent medical help and therapy, a much better solution is of course to " sling them out ". The sad fact is that disciplinary bodies have no effective mechanisms to engineer social harmony and cohesion within their club. The very nature of the game , and the hot claustrophobic environment of a packed competitive arena , only serve to create the perfect conditions for table rage to flourish. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012


Yet again The Great Man seized upon a " double "  to steer home a game contract that may well have failed...... but for the well received warning of impending danger. 
After 2 passes East barraged with 4H , fortified no doubt by favourable vulnerability conditions .
Johnny was having none of that and calmly bid 4S. West with 3 certain tricks in his hand could not restrain himself from doubling. And so Johnny took stock of the situation ,  when the opening lead of a heart hit the table.

Clearly, his main concern was to avoid losing 2 spades and 2 clubs , and so a neat little elimination play was called for. Ruffing the heart in hand , he then entered dummy with the diamond queen ,  ruffing a second heart at trick 3. Quickly, the Ace/King of diamonds followed  on which dummy's last heart was thrown. Next came a small spade to dummy's ten and West's fate was sealed.
Forlorn and crestfallen , this impetuous doubler knew he had been stitched up good and proper. The play of either a diamond or a heart would provide Johnny with a ruff and discard ( of a club from hand ). Yet the play of a club would open up the suit for Johnny to restrict his losers to one.

What a man....what a player.... 

Friday, 3 August 2012

ZERO TOLERANCE AND STRICT RULES ON BEHAVIOUR ...... ( A short article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

The problems with having sets of cast-iron rules are countless. Often problems stem from having rules which are either too rigid ,  or too loose and flexible.  Similarly having rules which are either too wide or to narrow can be equally problematic .  Then we have the problems of definition and interpretation , along with the headache of applying the rules to situations , where common sense dictates that  exceptions must be allowed ......along with of course, exceptions to the exception. 
Why not consider this rule for instance : players must refrain from rude and/or antisocial behaviour .
What does  " rude " or "antisocial " actually mean. At what point does behaviour cross the boundary from acceptable into unacceptable ?  Indeed ,  rudeness can come in all manner of forms , from aggressive, threatening foul mouth language to a subtle , cleverly worded, almost witty remarks . Who then is able to judge whether or not the rudeness rule has been broken ?
Drafting any set of workable rules is a nightmare. In the world of politics civil servants are given the daunting task of drafting rules ,  leaving the interpretation to the judges whenever cases involving alleged breaches come to court. By attempting to consider each case on its merits , judges first attempt to define the precise meaning of any critical or key words in the rules , before deciding whether or not the alleged incidents fall foul of the these rules, or do they perhaps qualify for a discretionary exception . Often decisions can go one way or the other if one set of facts can be distinguished from another. 
Allow me to give you a classic example. An over-excited almost manic player loses his composure as a result of mild provocation by an opponent , only to stand up , and swear like a trooper ,  firing off insults and expletives to all and sundry.  A flogging offence indeed ! Many would argue that zero tolerance sanctions can not and must not be overlooked in such an incident. Surely an immediate 3 month ban is warranted , justified and absolutely necessary if repeat incidents are to be avoided.
But what of mitigating circumstances , where the implementation of justice and fairness requires a much more tolerant view of what happened..... and why it happened ? The mild provocation, coupled with the discovery that the player involved had recently started on medication , which unfortunately for him had an unforeseen side-effects , including extreme irritability and highly emotional outbursts . In such circumstances offering sympathy and support is required : not retribution and punishment.

Moreover , in criminal law serious offences require the element of " a guilty mind " ( the mens rea ).  Therefore by the same token the real sinners at the bridge table should be those who have not only committed  " the guilty act " ( the actus reus ) ,  but who possess as well a state of mind where malicious, reckless  and negligent disregard for others' feelings can be established and proved. In the example quoted above I personally would not adopt a zero tolerance stance against the player ,  creating instead an exception to the rule. However , if it could be shown that he was aware of the potential side-effects , thereby recklessly putting others at risk as and when these extreme emotional outbursts occur ,  then establishing an exception to the exception might well be called for.
So yes , it is right and proper to ask and expect players to refrain from rude and/or antisocial behaviour ,  but not to invoke the same strict zero tolerance sanctions to all alleged wrongdoers. Each case must be judged on its merits ,  using common sense and the well established legal concept of natural justice to determine appropriate remedies .                

Thursday, 2 August 2012

LADY VISITOR CONFRONTS CHAIRMAN OF THE BENIGN BC USA.... ( where the zero tolerance policy has had a profound impact ) 

Lady visitor : Excuse me but where have all the members gone ?
Chairman : What....are you blind......why , there's at least 30 or more sitting down at the tables !
Visitor : Oh my God....I can't see a soul......the place is empty
Chairman : You can't see them because they all colourless
Visitor : Colourless ?.....They must be invisible
Chairman : Well, that's all down to the club committee promoting transparency , total blandness and conformity
Visitor : It sounds to me that you've turned colourful , larger-than-life characters ...so full of wit , emotion and individuality...... into faceless , anonymous non-entities....... all this being the inevitable consequence of carrying through an over zealous zero tolerance policy 
Chairman : I do not like the cut of your jib
Visitor : You mean you do not like facing up to the truth
Chairman : You madam are full of crap
Visitor : And you sir are full of pious hypocrisy and unconnected thinking.....and the world needs to know what is going on here
Chairman : Get on your bike then ........ you pox-ridden whore
Visitor : Well....if you insist.....but I shall be pedalling it all over town

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


1. The Cynical Male : In his eyes any worth , affection and friendliness shown towards him is phoney. The perception of himself and others is tinged with a caustic , bitter and resigned flavour. He seems to be saying " there's no way bridge players can really like and care for each other , because now that the game has become so competitive, it is a dog eat dog situation ! "  Inevitably , he justifies his own cynical position , and dislike of opponents ,  by labelling their motives of as nasty , ruthless and vindictive . 

2. The Autonomous Male :  To him feelings of kindness and forgiveness are weaknesses. Whenever opponents make inadvertent and/or innocent mistakes they must be punished and exploited. Adopting more compassionate feelings would be counter-productive to obtaining good scores . His unrelenting focus to constantly attack his opponents is purely motivated by the desire not to have his own vulnerability and weakness exploited by them . Moreover , to the autonomous male exposing altruistic and sympathetic feelings towards others would be comparable to putting one's Achilles heel in the flight path of the enemy's poisoned arrow. 

3. The Intellectualised male : He dissects , analyses , philosophies and endlessly discusses the opponents' motives , behaviour and actions , but never of himself. Often he is seen trying to " educate " others offering solutions to their problems and failings. Yet these responses never come with any sincerity or genuine concern : they are flat , detached , impersonal and dismissive. He distances himself from feelings of warmth and friendship by adopting a persona of aloofness and  intellectual supremacy . 

4. The Achieving Male :  " You can't win at bridge being nice " and " never give them an inch " are the battle cries of the achieving male. However , for this individual it pays to show respect and regard for one's opponents . Such recognition of their potential threat is an essential requirement to the vital process of survival and winning. Know your enemy . Underestimate them at your peril. In his eyes ,  they are out to derail him at every turn ,  and to snare him in their cunning but highly destructive traps. To win involves astute tactical planning , and employing devious methods,    because success can only be achieved if one is ruthless , clinical and precise . 

Indeed , every bridge club is packed with male players who fit these stereotypes. This of course helps to explain way aggressive behaviour remains so prevalent in the tournament arenas today  .  When the Human condition is at flawed at this , the dream of getting a positive outcome from  best behaviour policies in bridge is nothing more than just wishing thinking.