Wednesday, 31 October 2012

( A snippet from their post-match conversation in the bar )

B-J : I was in magnificent form only when you play the game as well as I can are you in any position to make comments.......
Partner : God, I hate bloody show-offs.....I pride myself on being modest about my abilities
B-J : Too a bridge player you've got a lot to be modest about !

Sunday, 28 October 2012

HYPOCRISY IS EVERYWHERE........ ( Article by Carp )

Oh yes , everywhere you look hypocrisy will rear its ugly head, but the most blatant examples of this appalling character trait can always be found down at your local bridge club. There you find the Bigot-Johnsons of this world,  who seem to have no qualms whatsoever about ............  
- telling others to keep their mouths shut in the interests of confidentiality, only to spread rumours and gossip that suit their Machiavellian purposes
- lambasting their critics as traitors, enemies within, and undesirable troublemakers,  just because they happen to express opposing views and opinions
- treating intolerance with extreme intolerance...... and violent retribution 
- educating others about the finer arts of the game, when they themselves have yet to grasp the basics
- refusing to practise what they preach
- lording the right to free speech, but only when they are in the business of slagging others off 
- condemning others in an extremely condescending, superior way for being a tad smug and arrogant 
- tackling all forms of rudeness by others with a barrage of expletives and highly offensive remarks
- advocating the importance of good communication, but refusing to answer difficult questions, or letters sent in by members, which raise serious criticisms and concerns 
- regarding other members' silly, petty table transgressions as detrimental to the well being of the club, but refusing to acknowledge any wrong on their part,  such as pouring vast amounts of the club's cash in the foolish pursuit of litigation  
- ignoring the advice of others, only to take it on board years later by dressing it up as one of their own inspired initiatives 
- condemning others for making an exhibition of themselves, before taking centre stage and exposing themselves as complete clowns
- projecting all their shortcomings and failings onto others 
- stepping into office with promises of being open and transparent, only to hold meetings behind closed doors , publishing bland, sanitised minutes of little or no substance 
- refuting allegations of bias, while being unashamedly hell bent on carrying out personal vendettas against those they dislike


Thursday, 25 October 2012

                                                                                                                                  A few years ago something very strange happened to the bridge players of Bawtry : a disorder not too dissimilar to what happened to the French-Canadians working as lumberjacks in Northern Maine around 1870. When startled, they would immediately jump up from their seats and wave their arms around in a frantic fashion, or behave in a rather bizarre and irrational  way. This latest phenomenon was therefore labelled the Jumping Bridgemen Of Bawtry disorder.
It may not be the weirdest mental disorder ever — there are way too many contenders for that title — but it's definitely got the weirdest name. The symptoms surrounding it are so strange that it could well have attained infamy even without such a bizarre moniker attached.


I first discovered this affliction when I attended  the Walnut Tree Allotment BC’s  2009 Spring Pairs competition . Every time I made a sudden move, such as moving my hand towards the bidding box, or slapping a card down on the table,  it was as though I had fired a gun ….. causing all hell to break loose.
As such, my research of the Jumping Bridgemen of Bawtry took over two years of my life. For there in the wilds of South Yorkshire I heard other tales of  incidents at other nearby clubs, which as strange as they were all happened to be true. When startled, the players would display exaggerated,  apparently reflexive reactions, which  included jumping, yelling, hitting, yelling commands, repeating back phrases even if they didn't understand the language used (a phenomenon known as echolalia), and imitating the movements of others around them (echopraxia).  But away from the tables the men were seen  to be shy, charming, very reserved and incredibly well mannered.
Having worked extensively with several subjects, who I refer  to as Jumpers, I was determined to find out as much about their condition as I could. Whether  this disorder was psychological or neurological  — or both — the only thing I could say with some certainty is that their reactions were involuntary.

The Startle Response

Sufferers would display the reflex response, possible putting ithemselves, their partners or the opponents at risk of physical injury.  The notion that sadomasochism might be involved when partners caught the brunt of their flailing arms was not the case. Clearly,  the uniform nature of the hits, and the fact that they were never tempered or moderated by conscious thought, argued strongly for these assaults being involuntary actions.
So what exactly causes this behaviour? In my view, it is the game of bridge itself.  Indeed, this cultural component, not only creates a hot house of emotion, but it also causes players to react to any unexpected,  provocative trigger no matter how small. As one colleague of mine  commented “ this disorder is a culturally specific exploitation of a universal neurophysiological response, namely the startle reflex", which is a particular artifact of " closed and aged communities such as bridge clubs."
Whatever the underlying cause, those who possess this rare disorder have a hyperactive startle response, meaning their brains' synaptic response to a sudden movements,  or off-the-cuff comments,  causes a cascade of reactions that go far beyond the sudden rush of adrenaline and quick, shudder-like motion most of us experience. There are a number of neural pathways involved in the startle response, and any one of them could be involved in the hyperactive responses observed in the Jumping Bridgemen.


So allow me to tell you about one incident involving an extreme jumper. Already unnerved by an opponent who had foolishing set out to needle him, the jumper over-reacted when another out-of-the-blue snide remark completely upset his equilibrium. In a flash , his startled reflex response involved picking up a bridgemate , arcing it across the table, and plonking it down in front of his tormentor. This automaton-like behaviour though was  unfortunately regarded as an  offensive and aggressive  act, which led to the poor man being expelled from the club. Strangely, no account of his condition was taken on board by the committee at his disciplinary hearing.   
But my diagnosis of the Jumping Bridgemen has been verified by medical reports of a similar disorder discovered in Eastern European bridge clubs . Known as miryachit,  which literally means "to act foolishly “, Players there , whenever startled, went into such fits of outlandish behaviour, needles and sedatives were often used to calm them down. 
It seems therefore that bridge players,  who are severely afflicted with this peculiar mental or nervous disease,  cannot stop themselves ( when startled ) over-reacting in a violent and physical way. On many occasions tables, chairs, bidding boxes, pens, boards and pint glasses have all been used as projectiles,  seen whizzing through the air at those responsible for causing these unfortunate outbursts .
Indeed, this disorder reflects a sad but general truth about bridge players. The Jumping Bridgemen of Bawtry, and related conditions like miryachit,  may be a very unusual condition with an uncertain origin…. but the Being-A-Total-Dick-To-People-With-this-Disorder disorder is  a far more frighteningly common one in the bizarre world of bridge.

During a match in Swiss Pairs competition held at Leeds , Bigot-Johnson was having a torrid time against opponents he regarded as rabbits. However , on six consecutive boards they had doubled him in contracts , and each time he suffered a whopping minus 500 penalty. Bigot of course appeared calm on the outside , but inside he was in raging turmoil. 
Then on the penultimate board of the set the same thing happened again. He found himself in a doubled 1NT contract going 2 off vulnerable. At this point Bigot completely lost his cool. He rose up from his chair , turned round ninety degrees , pulled down his trousers, and aimed the most enormous fart at his left-hand opponent : " Now try doubling that for penalties !! "  
It was about 5 minutes before the rest of the room had stopped laughing, especially when they got wind that Bigot had now been disqualified for blowing off.  

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


  • Club Chairmen Have A Habit Of Being Stubbornly Unyielding........Adam Antleigh
  • Will She Back The Chairman In Expelling That Troublemaker ?.....Sheila Grie 
  • Some Bridge Players Come Across As Real Scavengers.............Carrie N. Crowes
  • Why Do Play With Complete Strangers At Random Locations ?....Jerome Hallott 
  • Please Can You Tell Me Where My Game Is Going Wrong?...........Annie Pointers
  • Why Can't She Challenge Her Expulsion From The Club?...............Noah Peel
  • This Club Could End Up Being Sued For Thousands.......................Sasha D. Aster
  • Treasurer Admits Club Is Now Saddled With Hefty Debts................Owen Lodes
  • Can Clubs Trust The Advice Of Their Lawyers ?..............................R. U. Kidding
  • Mediation Fails To Resolve A Bitter Long Running Dispute.............C.U. Hencourt
  • Judge Rules Against The Club On Grounds Of Bias.......................Candice B. Wright

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

YET ANOTHER NEARLY TRUE STORY...... ( By Bridgemeister Gibson )

As I hinted in my last post,  every bridge player needs to possess a good memory, but even for those who are blessed with such a gift they can........on occasions........ be guilty of some very costly and embarrassing lapses.
I was once playing in a crucial promotion away match for the club's intercity 'B' team , which involved a rather painful two hour journey through some horrendous rain and snow. Most of the team had managed to arrive in time for the prompt 2 o'clock start , when our larger-than-life captain walked in with just seconds to spare.
As we were being allocated to our table positions, the captain asked : " Are we all here ? I can only count seven of us".
Immediately , one of the team then realised that his stand-in partner was missing. " Yes... where the hell is our ringer , and star player?  Christ almighty....  Larry Lightning Bowles wouldn't leave us in the lurch like this.....goddammit he's a professional and a real gentleman  ?  "
" No bloody idea " snapped a rather distraught and worried captain . " Was he actually down to play in this match ? "
" Yes ..." came the reply, "....and you were the dozy bastard......who had agreed to pick him up....." 

Monday, 22 October 2012

ANOTHER NEARLY TRUE STORY........ ( By Bridgemeister Gibson )

Every bridge player is required to have good memory, but those who are blessed with total recall are few and far between. However , there's one chap in our club , Eddie " Egghead " Milner, who has what can only be described as a perfect and infallible memory. 
Several years ago when touring Italy on holiday,  he bumped into a fellow bridge player queueing  at the Milan train station ticket office, only to recall the first time they met. This was when they both took part in the 1984 Brighton Congress Swiss Pairs.
" Yes...we played against each other on boards 25,26 in round four. I remember you getting an above average score, being the only pair in the room to stop in a safe 3S contract ,  when elsewhere 4S was going down one. However, on the next board I managed to pull of a remarkable 6S contract against you despite missing two Aces......."
" Christ almighty ...." his listener exclaimed, "....what a remarkable memory you have ", but on that note Eddie had to make a polite and rapid exit, when it was announced over the tannoy that his train was about to depart.
Then a decade later their paths crossed again for a third time when they both attended this year's  Great Northern Pairs Final ,  down to play each other in round one.
" Well I's you with the amazing"....... but before the question could be finished, Eddie immediately jumped in with an answer.
" Well, on your opening jack of diamonds lead, which I took in dummy with the Ace , I then relied upon a repeated ruffing finesse in clubs to pitch away two diamond losers. Even so I had to go up with the Ace of spades to bring down the stiff off-side King, only to end up making my twelfth trick on a rather unusual squeeze....."
What a man......What a memory !


Saturday, 20 October 2012

( The terminology of bridge has changed over the years. Many of the terms we once thought we knew have now taken on completely different meanings. So here are a few more bridge terms and what they to appear to mean today. ) 

  • Loyal club member : applications to join other local bridge clubs have all been rejected
  • One of the game's true characters : wears an ear-ring , and is a raging puff
  • An expert : moderately good player 
  • A real expert : the overwhelming delusion of greatness the expert has of himself  
  • ( Has a ) decent all round game : a player who is average at more things than the average player
  • Zero tolerance : a disciplinary system akin to aversion therapy : one which reflects a total cop out on the part of the game's administrators to find a fair but effective way of tackling bad behaviour
  • Bidding restrictions : the laws that trap all but the top players
  • Open field : a poor turnout tournament where players with real ability and technical superiority are noticeable only by their absence
  • Slow players : cheats of the worst kind
  • Committee officers : control freaks who treat the members' club as theirs 
  • Serial psycher : the player most likely to win the Most Creative Bidder Of The Year award 
  • Disciplinary hearing : a non-hearing event where the player up for the chop is tried and convicted in his absence , being denied the opportunity to be heard 
  • Appeal hearing : rubber stamp exercise carried out by friends and supporters of those involved in the non-hearing event
  • Expulsion : the perfect punishment handed out to scapegoats , namely unpopular disruptive players , whose absence wont weaken the club's ability to field strong teams in regional competitions and leagues 
  • Tournament director : well educated on the laws of the game , a person who knows exactly which rules to apply ( or not ) to players according to their status , rank , and likability    

Thursday, 18 October 2012


  • Gay Women's Bridge Is Really Taking Off.....................Les Bowes
  • I Can't Survive Without My Lucky Mascots....................Ria Leigh-Needham
  • My Unforgiving Partner Burnt Me Alive..........................Joan Navark
  • Give Your Partner A Taste Of His Own Medicine............C. Howett-Fields
  • Are You Interested In Playing For The "A" Team?..........Hugh Betcher
  • I Begging You Captain Please Don't Drop Me................Ava Haart
  • That TD Has Really Got It In For Us..............................Ariel R. Sole
  • Poor Bigot's Up On A Serious Disciplinary Charge.........Willoughby Band
  • He's The Best Prospect I've Seen In Years....................Hayden Tallant
  • I Just Cannot Stop Winning.........................................Honor Roll
  • There's Someone Spreading Rumours About Me...........Dickie Byrd
  • Don't Let Your Lady Partner Take The Rap....................Stan Buyer
  • Winning All Those Cups He'll Need One Of These..........Will Barrow
  • If You Lose Badly, You Just Have To Grin.....................Ann Barrett
  • My Partner And I Just Don't Get On..............................Noah Fennety
  • What Makes You Think I Act Like A Mad Dog?..............Ray Bidman
  • The Night My Partner Got Really Drunk.........................Neil Lee Scruder
  • KIll Me If I Don't Make This 3NT....................................Diane Vane
  • He Loves To Pick And Choose His Lady Partners..........Bunny Hopper
  • If A Flying Bridgemate Comes Your Way.......................Bess Taduck
  • There's No Need To Stand On Ceremony Here...............Sid Downe
  • Excuse Me, But I Don't Know Your Face.......................Hugh R. Yew
  • Free Us From The Tyranny Of Zero Tolerance................Libby T. Bell
  • Bidding This Slam Is A Dangerous Move........................Willy Riskett 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


( After introducing sub-zero tolerance policies with a vengeance, Bigot-Johnson and his cronies were on all out witch hunt. This was now the time to set about anyone who stepped over the line. Up next on the long list of miscreants was Pernella Pantopod , on the serious charge of drawing and publishing a picture on her blog of committee members  wearing jackboots,  brown shirts and all sporting little Hitler moustaches. An extract from the hearing’s transcript appears below . )

Armed Steward : All rise for the Fuhrer……
B-J ( walking in ) : Thank you steward… may all sit down now
PP : Can any one explain why I’m here ?
B-J : As if you didn’t know…..why, do you deny depicting committee members …on your offensive and vulgar blog….as fascists ?
PP : No , I don’t……I regard that picture as a work of art
B-J :  Well , my spies have also reported that there have been other derogatory posts on your blog depicting committee members as fascist thugs ….with their straight arm salutes……. and swastika flags
PP : Just like the ones outside this place ?
B-J : Yes…but this is a committee that cannot…..and will not….tolerate any behaviour inside or outside the premises…..which brings the club into disrepute or puts a slur upon the character and reputation of its elite members
PP : What sort of sodding people are you ?
B-J : Sanctimonious Sods…..SS for short
PP : Oh yes.... you and your lackeys have really placed yourselves above the rank and file membership
B-J : Might I remind you that being in office qualifies us to enjoy enhanced status , privilege and the right to promote double standards
PP : But what I was doing was making a general observation about corrupt committees with no references or mention of this particular club 
B-J ; You can’t fool us…..we know who you were aiming your satirical comments at…..but thankfully our sub-zero tolerance policies allow us carte blanche powers to assume what we like….and to do what we like
PP :  My God....your sub- zero tolerance policy has created a cold , harsh, oppressive environment,  which aims to freeze out all those who perceive as a threat. Such a merciless,  uncompassionate policy simply allows you to escape the burden of making discretionary decisions . Moreover, it exonerates you lot from any charges of prejudice and bias, which in turn enables this committee to target  who they like…..or should I say dislike
B-J : Such defamatory rubbish !
PP : By refusing to consider each individual’s proud history and honest intentions , which inspired their actions , sub-zero tolerance policies deny the unique worth and dignity of every person
B-J : So what were your intentions exactly ?
PP : To expose all those in authority who choose to abuse their power ……… by doing away with  undesirable minorities , and silencing all those possessing opposing views and attitudes
B-J : Well Pernella …..our intention has always been to create a very cohesive , warm, friendly and social bridge club , where like-minded people can come to enjoy one another’s company over a game of bridge
PP : You just don’t get it…..your sub-zero tolerance policy puts you…..and your lackeys…into a position of supreme power to make irrational decisions…..and to impose disproportionate punishments on those who , in all innocence , commit a minor transgression….or as , in my case,  who have the audacity to expose wrongdoing and corruption
B-J : Too bloody right…..because let’s face you are guilty of  broadcasting vile , highly provocative and damaging lies…….for which the penalty is seizure of all your worldly assets
PP : Whatever happened to free speech ? ......I thought the days of Stalinism were long gone ?
B-J : Those days came back, when your renewed membership meant new disciplinary rules to abide by
PP : But I don’t remember them being passed by the membership at any recent AGM’s ?
B-J : That particular requirement has been dispensed with the interests of expediency
PP : This is outrageous…
B-J : Ronnie….take this woman down to the cellars to join the others who are being prepared for “ corrective “ therapy……
Ronnie : Your wish is my command….oh Fuhrer 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

In a rather tense and tetchy league match , Bigot-Johnson thought victory was in his sights , being able at last to stick one on Johnny. However , on the penultimate deal ( see above ) disaster struck when Johnny , sitting South elected to bid 1C only to hear an a 1S overcall from Bigot. North passed , hoping for partner to reopen with an obligaory double , which duly took place . This ended the auction.
With both sides vulnerable, a great deal was at stake. North got off to a cracking start with the Ace of Diamonds , followed the two. This was ruffed by Johnny, who promptly played off the A/K of clubs. Bigot ruffed in only be be over-ruffed by the 9. Another diamond was played , which was quickly trumped by South.
Now Johnny forwarded the queen of hearts , covered by Bigot with the King , who inwardly screamed in agony as the Ace take the trick. Back came a heart to South's Jack.........followed a 3rd round of clubs , ruffed and over-ruffed.  With eight tricks already in the bag and another two certain trump tricks to come,  poor Bigot was facing up to a very embarrassing 1100 penalty.
As the score was entered up, Johnny leaned across towards his red-faced opponent, only to whisper ".....but for the unfortunate lay out of the cards that was a reasonable overcall.....but there again might not a 1D overcall been better "
Bigot then rose up from his seat, grabbed Johnny by the lapels of his white tuxedo, and snapped back ....." I'll give you buts ........" , whereupon he head-butted him in front of several concerned onlookers.
When the devastating news came back that on the other table Bigot's team mates had ended up in 6C , going off one doubled , the pot boiled over completely as Bigot took it upon himself to beat them into a pulp. Taking defeat lightly was never one of his strengths.    


Monday, 15 October 2012


As we all know , this topic has been brilliantly covered by many other authors in a variety of ways. Victor Mollo’s animal characters being one of the most definitive and comical attempts to depict stereotypes by their behavioural characteristics at the table.
However , I intend to go beyond what happens at the table by attempting to stereo-type players by their status , bridge abilities , attitudes , values and beliefs .

  1. The Easter Bunnies : Extremely weak players who always hand out to the better pairs gift after gift of fortuitous tops
  2. The League of Women :  An active group of lady members who set out to impose their authority on men , in keeping with what they have achieved in their marriages , as evidenced by their subservient hen pecked husbands
  3. The Establishment : Top players in the club who never bother with the run-of-the-mill weekly duplicates , only turning up to play in the club's first choice teams in the top divisions of local and regional leagues . Their selection is automatically established by historical precedent.
  4. The Prima Donnas : Rather prickly , over-sensitive, and highly volatile players , who completely lose it whenever anyone dares to challenge or confront them
  5. The Octogenarians : who invariably represent 40 % of the total membership of most bridge clubs
  6. The Ostriches : The majority of the members who bury their heads in the sand in order to avoid being embroiled in club politics and affairs, and always leaving others to do the work
  7. The Autocrats :  Members who set out to become officers of the club , thereby gaining permanent residency on the committee . This long standing inner circle can then run the club exactly the way they want to , making all the important decisions in quiet corridors and dark corners of the club house
  8. The Autistics : The large proportion of men who are well and truly on the autistic spectrum , as evidenced by their obsessive routine habits , lack of empathy and awareness of others , possessing of course all the social skills one would expect of a mechanical robot
  9. The Individualists :  All those players who share a whole load of very common and mundane characteristics , with each believing that he/she is completely different from the rest
  10. The Riff  Raff : Unsophisticated , ill-mannered , badly dressed members of the club , who clearly lack breeding and a public school education       

Saturday, 13 October 2012

THE FOLLY OF REFUSING TO MEDIATE……. ( Research article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

Any social club caught up in a long running dispute with a player should never allow the situation to proceed to a point, where one or both parties want their day in court. One would always hope and expect that if there was a provision in the club’s constitution to approach an outside independent body to make a final and binding ruling, then this sensible ADR option would be taken up as a matter of common sense and financial prudence.

Now, as the law stands if one party is pushing for mediation but the other steadfastly refuses ( possibly without good reason ) then this deliberate obstinacy becomes a high risk strategy. Although the courts can’t compel both parties to seek mediation, it may well impose an adverse ruling regarding costs on the party, who has initially refused to mediate …...even if that party ultimately goes on to win the case. These highly instructive words of Lightman J seem to sum up the prevailing attitude the courts currently take towards those that have wilfully refused mediation:    

 "Refusal is a high risk course to take… the hurdle in the way of a party refusing to proceed to mediation on this ground is high, for in making the objective assessment of the prospects of mediation, the starting point must surely be the fact that the mediation process itself can and does often bring about a more sensible and more conciliatory attitude on the part of the parties than might otherwise be expected to prevail before the mediation."

Indeed, parties must make genuine attempts to mediate and the Court will impose costs sanctions on those who do not have strong grounds for refusing to mediate. The recent decision in Golden Eagle International (Group) Limited v. GR Investment Holdings Limited sends the message that parties should make a genuine attempt to mediate before continuing with litigation. Failure to provide a reasonable explanation for refusing to mediate might well result in adverse costs consequences.
 The Defendant in the above case tried to rely on the English decision in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust to justify its refusal to mediate. It was held in Halsey that departure from the general rule that the 'losing party should pay the winning party's costs' would only occur where the winning party acted unreasonably in refusing to mediate. The judge in Golden Eagle concluded that a party must have strong grounds for refusing to mediate.  A contention that a dispute could not be 'easily mediated' is not a strong enough ground since it was noted in Golden Eagle that few cases were unsuitable for alternative dispute resolution. Similarly , a contention that " mediation is completely out of the question if the expelled member is seeking reinstatement " might again be viewed as unacceptable grounds for refusal.  'Reasonable belief of a strong case' is only relevant in clear-cut cases e.g. where a party would have succeeded in an application for summary judgment. Borderline cases will not fall within this category.
Parties wishing to litigate should be warned - they must show the courts that, before engaging in time-consuming and costly litigation, they have made a genuine attempt to mediate the matter, or face adverse costs penalties. Forced to accept ( at the death ) the other side's repeated offers of mediation , only because a case management review judge made it perfectly plain that this was the sensible course of action to take, will not escape the attention of the judge , should in the worst case scenario the unresolved dispute finally goes to court.  As enunciated in Golden Eagle, the Courts will not tolerate a party's unreasonable failure to mediate. Parties should therefore seek advice on and seriously consider whether mediation is appropriate and whether it is reasonable to mediate, particularly where the other party has requested it.

However , it does need to be noted that in 2012 the Court of Appeal did agree that the successful party was not unreasonable in refusing mediation , and therefore should not be punished in costs on that basis ( see Swain Mason v Mills & Reeve ). Indeed , this was a rare move which illustrates that in certain circumstances a refusal to mediate may be justified. This could happen if the party genuinely believed he/she had a watertight case , or that the distance between the two parties was so great that mediation offered no realistic prospect of succeeding. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal still maintained that this was a high risk strategy , and that any unreasonable refusal to mediate ought to carry significant cost penalties. Parties in dispute should not take such a decision lightly.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

( An article by
Professor Hu Chi
Ku Chi )

Where to begin with this sorry tale ? The most recent events of a long drawn out saga have just been reported in the chairman’s and treasurer’s AGM report , but to say that these will be the end of the tale would , I feel , be somewhat optimistic .

Not so long ago a seemingly unpopular player was expelled from his club , following what could only be described as a petty act of misconduct. However, with a long track record of previous skirmishes with past committees concerning other minor indiscretions , this particular sabre-toothed committee had already got it firmly fixed into their minds that “ enough was enough “ ,  and that “ it was time for him to be slung out “.  

Unfortunately for club , this over zealous committee simply rushed to punishment , overlooking the legal requirement for the member to be given an initial hearing to answer the charges , if only to have the opportunity to defend himself . With the committee utterly convinced that the decision to expel the demon was right and proper , the member not surprisingly counter-claimed that the process , which led to the alleged disproportionate punishment , was both fundamentally flawed and unfair.

Clearly aware that the aggrieved member was now threatening to take the matter to court , the committee felt equally happy and confident to go there themselves and obtain the judge’s ruling that both the process and the outcome were fair,  having of course the retrospective backing of the membership .

Inevitably when the battle lines were drawn , claims , counter-claims , accusations and counter-accusations escalated to an unprecedented levels. The contaminated air was now regularly bombarded with poisonous verbal flak. Acrimony , bitterness and fanatical stubbornness completely obliterated any hope for common sense , compromise and reconciliation to prevail.

Thereafter , proceedings have continued relentlessly, and more or less continuously , as evidenced by submissions which run into hundreds of pages , countless supporting documents , witness statements , and letters to and fro between both parties ( and their respective solicitors ). In my view , a mountain of information to keep solicitors busy for years !

However , I must now limit my comments for the rest of this article to the ludicrous amount of money spent by both sides in pursuit of their goals. Money which is never likely to be fully recovered , if at all : money which has lined the pockets of some very happy and contented lawyers . Nevertheless , the judges who conducted the two case review management meetings both pointed out the financial benefits of taking the dispute to mediation , but with so much money having already been invested in pursuit of a comprehensive victory , the notion of agreeing to a compromise settlement would surely amount now to an unacceptable defeat.

So just like gamblers who foolishly believe they have to risk more money in an attempt to recoup earlier losses , both sides will ( I fear ) take their fight all the way into the boxing ring of the court house .

So the folly is there for all to see. A little incident precipitating a costly , extremely lengthy and bitter dispute . Three years in and there is still no resolution in sight . In the meantime , both parties are undergoing financial pain , stress and psychological misery . In fact , a few weeks ago  a legally trained friend of mine astutely observed :  " different stages one party or the other has clearly displayed in equal measure insouciance , arrogance , and an unbelievable disdain for straight thinking and cutting their losses “.

This case has to be one of the most instructive examples of why parties involved in a private dispute should avoid litigation rather than pursue it.  Apportioning blame at this point in time would be a pointless exercise , but I am amazed how both parties at the outset seemed unwilling to settle their differences in a more civil and expedient way , preferring instead to pursue a process which would completely exhaust their time , energy and bank balances. Litigation when it appears unnecessary becomes nothing more than an act of insanity, a form of financial suicide and self-harm .

Indeed , the folly of pursuing litigation just simply reflects the folly of the human condition : “ the willingness to cut one’s nose off to spite one’s face “.                

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Dear Rebecca ,
Have I got some gossip for you.  Our club chairman , the one who sports a big black moustache and mariner's outfit , is in my view completely deranged ( a complete lunatic in fact ). Having been taken to the cleaners by the ladies in recent competitions , he decided to take his revenge on the fairer sex.
The other day he sneaked into a laundry factory , sexually assaulted three of the female employees , only to make a rapid exit before the alarm was raised. 
Now tell me ....what do you make of that story ?

Yours Ivor Whoppintale 

Dear Ivor , 
Strange you should you tell me about this news event , because I was fascinated by a headline in yesterday's local evening paper :  "  NUT SCREWS WASHERS AND BOLTS " 
Now did that article have anything to do with your chairman ?

Yours curiously concerned , Rood      
( Mrs. Bigot-Johnson 
reveals her tale 
of woe )

Sunday, 7 October 2012

( Yet again a tortured and tormented Bigot-Johnson turns up at Dr.John's surgery for urgently needed help......)

Dr.J : So what is this re-occurring dream....or should I say ,'ve been having lately ?
B-J :  The landscape is always the same... stark and unforgiving....I'm standing bollock naked in the middle of a vast desert....lost....abandoned....and without hope.......and when I look back over my shoulder there is a trail of footprints in the remind me of the long and wearisome journey I've been on. But strangely ..... in a few places along the way there are two sets of footprints ..... but for the most part there are only one please tell me doctor what does it all mean ?
Dr.J : The desert represents an accurate review of your life as a bridge player..... an empty , barren wasteland...... never having won , or achieved , anything of merit
B-J : ( Whimpering ).....I know....I know.....and given the talent I was blessed with to play the game at the highest level......that realisation crucifies me......But what of the footprints ? What do they symbolise ?
Dr. J :  I'm glad you asked that..... because where there are two belongs to you....the other of course  belong to your partners'
B-J :  Yes....yes...but for most of the journey there was only one set of footprints ?
Dr. J : Well to me the meaning is clear.....for most of your bridge life your partners have carried you.....and what modicum of success you have achieved.....the occasional Saturday night duplicate win at the Walnut Tree.....was always down to your partner's inspired play....
B-J : Oh my God....this is all too horrible to take in
Dr.J : Indeed......your deep rooted guilt , shame , self-recrimination and remorse will come back.... again and again.... to haunt you ...for in your dreams there is no hiding place from the truth .
B-J : I'm doomed.....Can anything be more painful than what you've just told me ?
Dr.J : Yes....I believe so....the bill for this session will cost you £400
B-J : Bugger're so knowledgeable old scoundrel


Friday, 5 October 2012

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY .....( more definitions from an unknown guest contributor )

AnonymousNEPOMUCEN SAID .....

Tram Tickets - worthless cards that usually take you for a ride down a one-way street  

Off his/her head - originally the decapitated bodily state of two of Henry VIII's wives, thought to have inspired the 'headless chicken' epithet used to describe partner's totally senseless play

Enemy - those hatchet-faced opponents who insist on trying to defeat you in as determined a way as you would do it to them

Bagatelle - a children's traditional mechanical game but now used to describe the most straightforward contract or line of play available

Bullet - i) any of the four Aces in the pack or
         - ii) the bitter tablet which you are forced to bite silently as partner explains in depth the number of ways that you have just gone wrong

Minus 200 - the holy grail in scoring of a bridge hand when incurred by the enemy [qv] but the dreaded score when incurred by your own side, to be expected on several occasions each and every time you partner the magnificent Club Professional

Plus 200 - the score when exactly eleven tricks are made in a grossly underbid major suit contract, especially when the rest of the field has bid game and also taken eleven tricks.

Common sense - an elusive concept that means something different to each person, often used as a substitute reason for committees to justify unconstitutional, illegal and stupid decisions that they may have taken
Plus 100 - the number of gerrymandered members needed to pack an AGM to rig the election of key officers onto a committee

Minus 2000 - (i) the horrendous penalty incurred when going down 7 in doubled vulnerable contract
                  - (ii) the amount of money that will disappear from the club's bank account each month once parasitic lawyers are called in to help resolve a dispute

- i) an uneven weight built in to a bowling wood to give it a curving path or
- ii) the 'curved ball' all-else-fails approach by a committee hell bent on ridding the club of an unpopular player

Sorry - a word of genuine regret in most mouths , but one which is never used by those who are in constant denial

Bridgemate - not a term to describe partner, but a very expensive and fragile, aerodynamic duplicate bridge scoring device often seen moving across a table at speed

Rule 19 - the EBU Rule that explains the alternative disciplinary measures available to a TD in the event of an infringement during play, the non-application of which could be justified by the aforementioned person should he or she be rendered into a state of shock and disbelief , having witnessed the miracle of a Bridgemate in flight [qv] 
4 October 2012 01:54

Thursday, 4 October 2012


Visitor : Bigot.....I think it is disgusting the way you and your partner constantly get at each other..........bridge is meant to be a social and friendly game........
B-J : Listen you muppethead......the idea of two players partnering each other week-in week out for years on end, without having a cross word , is utterly merely reflects a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep.......

(  A few minutes later.... ) 

Visitor : Bigot....I just don't understand it.....if playing bridge causes your members so much grief .....then why on earth do they bother ?
B-J : Then understand this you numb skull...............people turn to religion to seek salvation through pain and suffering.....and that is why their consciences compelled them to play bridge at the Slaughter House

( Later on that evening in the bar room...)

Visitor : Bigot.....The committee here seems full of your cronies, who unbelievably support you with unfaltering , albeit misguided , please tell there anyone on the committee who I might recognise as being honest , decent and trustworthy ?
B-J : Oh yes ( pointing )....him over there ......with all those daggers in his back

( And on a final exchange of words....)

Visitor : I'm still confused by you Bigot..... Has bridge enlightened you in any way at all , which perhaps you might acknowledge as beneficial and worthwhile ?
B-J : A damn good question.....and one I'm sorely tempted to answer " absolutely no way " . However , I have come to know a great deal about the darker side of human nature , which I can say.... with complete conviction...... is all down to bridge....

There are many facets to being a bridge expert but one stands out far and above all others : the ability to distinguish , on every hand , two types of risk . Risks that a player cannot afford to take as opposed to risks that he or she cannot afford not to take. 
To get this distinction right every time is what separates the so-called bridge experts from the truly genuine ones . 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


  • Farmer  : the name given to a mediocre player who is only outstanding in a very small uncultivated field
  • Post mortem : an exchange of words between players with diametrically opposed views , with each one utterly convinced that he or she is right
  • Experience : the ability to repeat one's mistakes at the table with ever increasing confidence
  • Saturday night duplicate : the non-event of the week when only the desperate , who have no other life outside bridge , turn up to play
  • Precision ( bidding ) : a highly sophisticated system of guesswork
  • Re-enactment : a re-run of a terrible crime committed at the bridge table to help jog the memories of those who were present in the room at the time 
  • Movement : the abrupt rise-and-fall manner in which a bridgemate might be moved across the table , without the registered keeper's permission  
  • Misfit : a term given to the type of social inadequate who turns to bridge as his only means of partnering a member of the opposite sex
  • Motion : what is introduced by members attending an AGM ,  requiring of course a great deal of effort to push it through
  • Limit raise : the inevitable consequence of old age and lack of Viagra
  • Shyster : a politically incorrect term given to a player whose ability to get tops through dodgy bids and rather dubious , underhand , tactics has reached a professional level
  • Committee : a group of people who take minutes and waste hours
  • Club experts : players who have never really mastered the  game as evidenced by their perennial lack of success , but nevertheless still feel qualified to tell others what to do         

Monday, 1 October 2012


  • Psych(e) : a nasty device used by devious players who adopt a roving commission to supplement their inadequate system card
  • Sponsor : a player who craves for success : one who is recognised by his fat wallet , arse-licking behaviour and a grossly inflated view of his modest ability
  • Expert : one skilled in the circumvention of the rules
  • Plan : a very apt euphemism for  " dithering " , where the random line of play adopted accidentally brings about an unexpected and fortuitous top
  • Overbidding : a dangerous disorder affecting players who foolishly believe in their ability to perform miracles on modest hands
  • AGMs : events in which committee members are voted in as a consequence of blatant gerrymandering by the few combined with the apathy of the majority
  • Partnership understanding : a concept players strive desperately to turn into a reality but without success
  • Disciplinary hearing : a so-called formal inquiry , where the planned rubber stamp exercise  is masqueraded as a fair and impartial process 
  • Bridge : a dark religion in which many of its disciples remain forever in ignorance of the subtle and infinite understanding required to play the game
  • Ranking : the relative ascent up the ladder of achievement which correlates exactly to  what players are prepared to spend on attending green pointed events 
  • Steal ( a trick ) : to take a trick off an opponent without revealing the indecent and wilful nature of the act
  • Logic : what players claim to have used when a lucky guess pays off , after being complimented by generous opponents