Sunday, 30 June 2013

No. 1549



OF HIS                  
DISTRESS                                                             Signed : Bigot-Johnson                               


" So please correct me if I'm wrong........but after the first three or four boards in an evening's duplicate you get this distinct sensation of feeling all wound up ? "

" Yes, I bloody well do ! "

" And what do you feel is the cause of all this negative tension ? "

" My ponderously slow partner who has an annoying habit of making time stand still ! "



  • Why Is It We Always Get Pissed On At These Easter Events ?.......April Showers
  • My Partner's Like A Dead Weight Hanging Around My Neck..........Albert Ross
  • Where The Hell Are You Heading Off To Partner ?...........................Nida P. Quigley
  • I'm Not Feeling My Usual Self Tonight, Partner...............................Drew Peacock 
  • Bigot Seeks Top Class Players To Form " The New Aces "............Ed Hunter
  • Partner, Please Don't Glare At Me Like That !................................Luke Daggers
  • Sitting Seats Caused My Partner To Make A Complaint..................Maya Aitkin-Balls
  • The Day I Told A TD Where He Could Shove His Rule Book...........Barney N. Soude
  • No Way Do I Run My Bridge Club In A Brutal Military Fashion.........Jack Boot
  • So You Went Two Down Doubled In A Rigid Game, That's Life !.......Cilla Vie
  • My Partner Has Done A Really Terrible, Terrible Thing.....................Watts E. Dunn
  • Partner, Please Don't Leave Me, I Love You So Much.......................Omar Darling 

Saturday, 29 June 2013



During a marathon game of rubber bridge Mrs. Ethel Dilly Dalley took over 4 weeks and 3 days cogitating over what lead to make against a doubled redoubled grand slam.......the play of a card she never got round to making.

Towards the end of the longest recorded wait in bidding history one of the emaciated players leaned forward, put in his head into his hands, and said "... my partner's slow play is going to be the death of me ". This rather astute comment immediately elicited a feeble and distraught reply ..." and us  ".    
By this stage all three of the incredibly long suffering players were now losing the will to live, but being so weak and frail in body and mind they were unable to stand up and leave the table. Inevitably as the days rolled on,  each player finally slipped away into a dark and never-ending sleep.

( Footnote : When the bodies were discovered months later, all four hands were still on view. A quick analysis revealed that the grand slam was doomed to fail on any lead !  )

Thursday, 27 June 2013


With membership figures still continuing to fall in so many bridge clubs , it is the height of madness to operate a club in such a way that members resign in protest. Membership income from subscription fees, table money and bar sales is the lifeblood of any social bridge club. Survival depends on revenue covering costs,  and in an ideal situation making a surplus will help generate funds to spend on renovation and refurbishment projects, alongside the purchase of essential equipment.
Sadly, whenever a member resigns, or absents himself in protest , over disapproval or disagreements with management, the income loss can be quite substantial. Possibly as much as £500 a year. However, if one member goes in this way , then there can be a knock-on effect with regards to his/her regular partners. They too might not turn up for a game having no desire to find someone else to fill that gap. This potential loss of " a pair " could push the income loss to the club somewhere in the region of £600-800 per annum.
In troubled clubs, members resigning or not attending  as a way of protesting about an issue could easily reach double figures. In such tragic circumstances the total loss of income could easily reach £5000 a year, which over a 10 year period adds up to a staggering £50,000. 
So in conclusion, protest resignations and non-attendance must be kept to an absolute minimum. It is bad enough to lose members through unfortunate circumstances, such as illness, incapacity, family commitments, death, moving house or loss of interest in the game, but to drive members away through either poor, ineffective or overly robust and ruthless management is nothing short of complete lunacy. Given the pressing need to maintain and improve income flows, every effort must be made to run a club where the aims, concerns and aspirations of all the members are addressed .  Indeed, whenever there is a conflict of aims and aspirations, acceptable compromises must be carefully considered, worked out and implemented. 

( Footnote : I knew of one chap who resigned in protest over alleged favouritism shown by TDs to the club's top players, but then when he was persuaded by friends to re-apply for membership the committee turned his application down. Having been a member for 30 years, he was both well liked and respected by many of his peers, and being a regular player,  the income loss to the club must now be approaching £1800 with regards to his current 3 year exile. As one of his friends I was deeply shocked and concerned over the way he was treated, and how the club committee was prepared to sacrifice a member's cash input on a scale like this,  simply because they disliked and disapproved of his views. )                   

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

2040 AD
Interviewer ( I ) : Hello ladies............just how many members belong to this club ?
Leading lady (LL) : Unfortunately, there's only eight of us fact we are all sitting here today
I : My God.....what happened to all the rest ?
LL : you know members of bridge clubs come and go.....but the Benign BC's been " go " for years
I : How come ?
LL : The game's not appealing enough to attract new members......and what male members we had...... we got shut of them all 
I : Why was that ?
LL : Abject failure on their part to adhere to best behaviour at bridge rules, and the strict enforcement of sub-zero tolerance policies. Moreover, we wanted to double the club up as a Women's Institute
I : So is it correct to say that only men behave badly ?
LL : Indeed it is.....they are aggressively arrogant, full of vulgar pomposity, sexist attitudes, who set out to play the game as though it was a matter of life and death 
I : Tell me a female only club how would you describe yourselves as bridge players ?
LL : Slow......S....L....O....W...
I : You mean pedestrian, gentle paced, languid, sluggish, laid back in your bidding and play of the cards ?
LL : Good Lord no ......S....L...O....W........sweet little old ladies
I : So where have all the men gone to play their bridge ?
LL : Well, many went away to form or join privately owned bridge clubs based on the model of the Slaughter House BC.....which as it happened first originated over the pond in little old England
I : And what model was that ?
LL : The one that was first introduced centuries earlier by Sir Francis Dashwood.....namely the infamous Hell Fire Club......a concept that was successfully resurrected by the utterly vile and notorious  Bigot-Johnson, who transformed the game of bridge into a seriously sick sado-masochistic pastime
I : Sounds like my sort of game
LL : Well on that can bugger obnoxious lump of shit !     

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

In a recent team of 8 intercity league match, Johnny returned a perfect score card, and certainly board 27 was his highlight of his achievements.
On the other table against 6S doubled, the N/S opponents had no difficulty in rapping up the contract when West led 2 of clubs at trick one. After winning the trick in dummy declarer played a spade towards his AQ only to get the bad news, but undeterred he simply went up with the Ace. East's opening bid of 1C suggested most of the outstanding points were in his mitt, and so South decided to play him for three hearts to the queen. His vision was rewarded when the third heart was ruffed, establishing the jack as a winner. At trick 6,  a club from hand was ruffed in dummy, and now the jack of hearts provided a discard for declarer's losing diamond. Slam made...... with only the king of spades to lose.
However, on Johnny's table the same contract of 6S doubled netted our hero with +200 .

" How come you got it off with nothing to guide your partner to find the killing diamond lead ? "
" It was easy.....despite having an identical first round bidding sequence of 1C-4S-5C-5S "
" But did you not bid 6C as an obvious non-vulnerable sacrifice against a vulnerable game ? "
" No "
" How come ? "
" I bid 5NT instead "
" How come ? "
" I had to flag up a message to partner that I did not want a club lead "
" How come.....he might well have had the Ace of clubs? "
" True.....but with such a good club fit, there was a real possibility that one of the opponents had 
   a void in the suit.....and even if partner did have the Ace I would not want him to lead it ( or   
   under lead it for that matter ) in case declarer had Kx "
" So how come your partner found the diamond lead as opposed to a heart ? "
" Easy.......because as luck would have it...... the week before I had showed him an almost  
   carbon copy hand taken from the US team trials the 1966 Olympiad, where one of the world's 
   best players made the same brilliant and highly informative bid "
" Amazing "
" Yes, what's even more amazing was that my partner managed to remember what it meant "
" And who was that ? "
" Bigot-Johnson "
" Now that is amazing ! "



Sunday, 23 June 2013


One rather intriguing topic regarding committee decisions in disciplinary hearings is the concept of confirmation bias. This concept is based on the theory that committee members do not fully analyse evidence that contradicts their preconceived notions about the accused's alleged misconduct. What would an independent observer make of a situation, where the expelled club member had come up against a committee, of which three or four of those sitting in judgement had already expressed strong views that he should have been slung out of the club years earlier. Clearly, these deeply entrenched preconceived notices add up to an extreme example of confirmation bias, especially when contradictory interpretations of the incriminating facts were quickly brushed aside and/or dismissed as irrelevant.
According to cognitive scientists there are two modes that individuals think in : intuitive and reflective. Most of time, committee members operate in an intuitive mode, which is the mode they use impressions, associations, and feelings in order to understand the incident as it is presented to them. The reflective mode would require them to take a deliberate look at the decisions they could take, the possible implications and consequences of those decisions, in order to arrive at an outcome that balances benefits with costs. This is a method of thinking that needs to be prevalently used in all disciplinary cases, especially when expulsion is up for consideration. Glossing over risks as ordinary could well jeopardise the more prudent view about about the likelihood or impact of a threat to sue the club ( or the members ), which in turn could well lead to serious financial risks.
Most commentators agree that individuals always fall victim to intuitive thought and cognitive biases within themselves. As human nature would have it,  individuals cannot control their own biases and faulty logic, but they often have the desire and ability to point it out in others. 
Sadly, committee members will continue to believe they have no reason to suspect their own motivated errors in decision making, even when they are driven by the self-interest ( or self-satisfaction ) to expel a member they are all desperate to see the back of ! People have a habit of falling in love with a decision which they can easily exaggerate its benefits. Such decisions always seem more justified if they are overly attached to the past history of the miscreant concerned. People regularly base their decisions too heavily on what has happened in the past, as opposed to what might flow from that decision in the future. 
The majority view within a committee instinctively want to reject minority dissenting opinions, especially if they set out to expose the associated risks with that decision to expel as being far more serious. Yet the fact remains, when taking on a complex problem, there are many paths the committee can take. Therefore, it becomes necessary to analyse any strong dissenting views, especially about the likelihood and impact of a potential risk, before making any final decision. Caution is always warranted if only to ensure that one is not overconfident in risk assessment. To take the view that a potential threat of a law suit will simply " blow over " is both naive and foolish. Committees also need to be reminded of the economic theory of opportunity cost  given that the decision to expel could easily turn into a costly legal bill.
( Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber speaks his mind )

Taking a dispute to court through a lengthy, protracted and extremely costly litigation process has to be an act of gross stupidity or insanity. Such a course of action flies in the face of common sense and rational thinking.
Given all the other available options, one of which is to back down and accept the injustice that decision may bring, both parties would be well advised to first read and reflect on the following age-old, wisdom packed proverbs.......before crossing the Rubicon in seeking a cost-effective way to settle their differences . 

- When in doubt, don't 
- The best armour is to keep out of range
- Call on God, but row away from the rocks
- Look before you leap
- A fool and his money are soon parted
- Always choose the lesser of two evils
- To know the road ahead, ask those coming back 
- Many receive advice from lawyers, but few profit by it
- Going to court is the triumph of hope over experience
- It is better to lose a finger than a hand or an arm
- Caution is the parent of safety
- Exercising extreme caution does no harm
- Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not so
- Always walk on the safe side of the street
- When parties turn to the courts to resolve a dispute, they are often looking in the wrong place
- Lawyers' advice can be like straw thrown onto a fire
- If you play with fire you get burned
- Don't cut your nose off to spite your face
- Going to court is nothing more than a lottery
- There is never any certainty when an adversarial system leads to creative legal advocacy    

Friday, 21 June 2013

WHY DON'T PEOPLE LISTEN TO GOOD ADVICE......( Article by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )

There is something about The Human Condition that makes people ignore good advice. Is it because of their reckless self-belief in backing their own judgement or what ? Does pride, prejudice, arrogance, ignorance, stubbornness and vanity play a part in all this ? Why, I've seen people reject advice when all they were told was to seek urgent advice from professionals and experts. Moreover, they even ignore the collective wisdom passed down from the dawn of time in age old proverbs.
Advice which backs and supports people's original decision or course of action is warmly ignored because it doesn't undermine their position or judgement. Good advice which usually recommends changing their views, decisions and actions is never well received. Inevitably, such impertinent advice is quickly dismissed, especially if it happens to come from those perceived as adversaries or opponents. 
Indeed, over the years this bizarre phenomenon has been commented upon by learned scholars, poets and writers intrigued as to what motives might be involved. So let's enjoy reading the observations of those who have wondered why people have  always ignored good advice......

- We give advice by the bucket , but take it by the grain   ( William Auger )
- The trouble with good advice is that it usually interferes with our plans   ( Croft M. Pentz ) 
- No one wants advice , only corroboration
- Some of us only ask for advice when we are looking for an answer different from the one we
  know or fear   ( Ivern Ball ) 
- A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others  ( Proverbs 12:15 )
- The advice that is wanted is commonly not welcome , and that which is not wanted evidently 
   an effrontery
- There is nothing we receive with so much reluctance as advice  ( Joseph Addison ) 
-  Advice is seldom welcome , and those who want it the most always like it the least 
   ( Earl of Chesterfield ) 
- The worst men often give the best advice  ( Bailey )
- Advice is least heeded when most needed
- Let men be wise by instinct if they can , but when this fails be wise by good advice
- To know the road ahead , ask those coming back  ( Chinese proverb )  

THOUGHT OF THE DAY........... ( Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

" Fair criticism of decisions made by a committee is the right of any club member , in keeping with the right of all citizens to free speech. So any attempt to suppress protests of members against the actions of their officers, which such members regarded as improper or opposed to the best interests of the club ,  would be to undermine any legitimate claim that due process had taken place. "

Thursday, 20 June 2013


  • The Bennett Trial : The Real Motive Behind His Murder..........Y .F. Beeter
  • Bridge Can Give You This And So Much More........................Joy Ann Delite
  • Members Scream At Chairman To Do The Right Thing..........Stan Downe
  • The Deadliest Female Bridge Players Of All Time...................Isa Topes
  • As A Woman I Have No Problem Finding Male Partners........Pauline Power
  • She's Upset Our Chairman Once Too Often.............................Willie Banner
  • Why Is She Up On Another Disciplinary Charge ?...................Bea Haven-Badleigh
  • We're Off On The Best Bridge Cruise Holiday Ever.................Ann Causaway
  • She's In One Helluva Hole Over This Cheating Scandal..........Ena Wright-Pitt 
  • No Matter How Good The Defence Is He Will Triumph............Adam Buster
  • Most Lady Partners See Me As Solid And Reliable............... .Ivor Woodcock 
  • I Earn My Money Visiting Gay Bridge Clubs Abroad................R. S. Forsayle   

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


R v.

( 1994 )
This particular case came up before a Crown Court judge around about the time Bigot had the misfortune of being paired up with a fresh-faced and enthusiastic Percy Pantopod : a partnership that was destined to be short-lived. So when a horrific incident at the Walnut Tree Allotment Society BC was reported to the police  , Bigot found himself facing a serious criminal charge of GBH with intent. The great man of course elected to defend himself, and this short extract from the trial's transcript sums up his extremely bitter and twisted mind .

Judge : Is this an X-ray of Poor Percy's skull following your vicious attack on him at the club ?
B-J : Indeed it is .....though the presence of a brain certainly begins to cast some doubt in my mind that this head belongs to him..... the man being such a nitwit
Judge : But there's a five inch nail embedded in it !
B-J : Yes....and let me tell you it was really tough going, having to drive it in that far...
Judge : I assume this poor man was a helpless victim of an unprovoked armed attack ?  
B-J : Excuse me......I had suffered extreme provocation from the very first minute I had sat down to play with him. Watching this numbskull butcher one contract after another would turn any saint into a demented killer. How I restrained myself from not killing him outright says a great deal about my patience, tolerance and understanding....
Judge : But why not just speak to him nicely.....and offer a few kind words of advice
B-J : I tried all that....but then there comes a time when more dramatic and effective correction techniques are called for
Judge : Well, in my book brutal force is not the best way to get Percy, or anyone else for that matter,  to change the errors of their ways
B-J : Not bridge teacher , the highly revered and respected "Toxic " Ted Bateman,  told me that the only way to get a point across to an to hammer it home.......and that's exactly what I did....

Sunday, 16 June 2013


Dear Rebecca,
Flushed with success in a recent pairs competition, I immediately put in a letter to the club's selection committee,  demanding that they put my name forward as an automatic choice  for next year's " A" team.
But would you Adam and Eve it I received  a polite but curt letter back , explaining why my 540 local points for winning a Sunday afternoon charity event at Tickton Grange Old Folks' Home wasn't good enough to rate me as "A" team material !  
Well, let me tell you I was completely gutted. Moreover, these short-sighted bastards on the selection panel had the audacity to suggest that my local master ranking needed to upgraded to that of grand master before anything else. The pompous, patronising cretins. 
When top players at my club only choose to partner one another, I'm left to play with the riff raff. In fact looking back over the 2 years I've been playing the game, I've despised virtually every one of the 38 partners I've had to lumber myself with. They were so bad it took all my flair and genius to maintain my current average score of 46.5%. Indeed, it is my firm contention that even a grand master wouldn't get close to that average with such a wretched and inept shower of no-hopers.
So yes, I firmly believe the selectors haven't got a clue when it comes to recognising raw untapped talent when it is standing right there in front of them.

Yours miffed from Manchester  

Dear Miff,
I really do sympathise with your predicament. Why should you wait all those years to prove how good you already are. Climbing up through the EBU rankings means diddly-squat , as many rabbits have made it to the top despite being complete prats at the game.
My advice is simple and based on years of experience. Write in again to your selection committee, but make sure you stuff the envelope with big wadges of the green stuff. It's bloody amazing how any offer of sponsorship will get one the club's grand masters knocking on your door wanting you to be his partner in the next year's "A" team. 

Yours really well up on the the way things are done, Rebecca    

( with himself )

Friday, 14 June 2013

PART 3 OF THE BAWTRY GAZETTE'S SENSATIONAL STORY......( Courtesy of Bridgemeister Gibson )

With no one willing to listen to the sharp words of warning dished out by the concerned few, the single minded majority doggedly carried on bidding and playing the cards. As it turned out the mad axeman had decided to vacate the club house, but not before pouring petrol and setting alight the areas all around the ground floor exits. The fire then spread rapidly through the building,   and not surprisingly another concerned member turned round to speak to his table companions.

North : He's bloody well gone and set fire to the building !
South : Who ?
North : The lunatic killer who has already beheaded two of our members
South : Really ?
North : Yes....really..... just over there by those blood stained tables ......this probably happened no more than 3 or 4 minutes ago
East :  Excuse me.....but your table behaviour is bang out of order.......extremely disconcerting and intolerable.....please don't make me call the director.....
North : What !
East : You sir are interrupting my flow of thought.....can't you see that I'm in the middle of playing a very tricky contract.....
North : My dear lady.....the club house is on fire.....and we are all about to be burned alive
East : For the last time......shut up......and let me think
North : Sod you.....I'm off.....while there's a chance of me getting out alive
East : Right....that's it....I am calling the director......DIR....RECT....OR !!!

( Despite the fact the building was almost engulfed in flames, members remained oblivious to the dangers, happy to continue playing out their hands, and dutifully waiting for the bell to go before leaving the table. )

Director : Yes ? ....What's the problem ?
East : North has left the table before playing the hand out.......
Director : Where's he gone ?
East : He threw himself head first out of the window
Director : Do you wish to put in a complaint ?
East : Yes....indeed I do
Director : Fine....I'll just nip off and get you a form
East : And while you're at it.....can you do anything about the faulty central heating.....the place is boiling in here.....
Director : Yes....I'll turn temperature setting down........
East : Thank you.....and make sure I get an above average score for this uncompleted board
Director : Yes......of course

( The end )

MOMENTS LATER ON A NEARBY TABLE ......( The continuing story as told in the Bawtry Gazette )

North : Did you see that ?
South : What ?
North : That mad axeman chopping off that woman's head
West : Will you two shut up......we're here to play bridge 
North : But that poor woman has just lost her head !
East : Yes......this happens regularly to fractious, hot-headed bridge players when things don't go their way 
North : But she's lost her's been separated from her neck !
West : Will you please stop jabbering's my turn to bid
North : Don't you get it......there's a maniacal killer still running loose in this room 
West : .......1 spade......
North : My God....what do I need to do to get anyone here to heed my warnings  ?.......Oh bugger it........2 clubs....

( A few seconds later another almighty " whoosh " could be heard all around the room as another player fell victim to the axe )

East : ...2 spades
South : ....Pass

Thursday, 13 June 2013

UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE......yet another shocking story from the bizarre world of bridge ( as told by Bridgemeister Gibson )

The Bawtry Gazette reported an incident which took place at the Slaughter House Bridge Club, quoting the table conversation that took place just seconds before a little old lady lost her life in a most horrific way.

A concerned opponent ( ACO ) : I don't like to mention this but a deranged psychopathic axeman has just entered the room
LOL : I'm not in the least bit interested.....can we please get on with the game
ACO : Excuse me ! .....but he's heading straight towards this table
LOL : Oh please be quiet.......we must get on with this hand
ACO : My God woman.....he's about to chop your head off !!
LOL : For the last time....will you please shut up.....and allow me to make my bid

( The very next second there's a mighty " whoosh " and a severed head hits the floor )

ACO : What is it with people in this club....why doesn't anyone listen to what I'm saying ?
LOL's partner : Sorry,  I didn't quite catch what you just said....I'm still thinking about my partner's last bid..... 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Saturday, 8 June 2013

A STORY TO CAPTURE THE IMAGINATION OF ALL.... ( By Bridgemeister Gibson ) 

In the late 1940s a deranged, bridge-loving professor set the mother of all problems, by devising a hand where 12 tricks could be made, but only if one could discover the infinite improbability squeeze. Despite attracting the attention of the world's leading experts, no one could ever get close to finding that elusive 12th trick, by spotting or recognising this aptly named squeeze.
As bad luck would have it,  the insane professor died without ever leaving a written copy of the solution, and so the secret of unlocking this conundrum went with him to his grave. Since then the best bridge brains in the world have tried in vain to solve the mystery of bringing home the slam from a diabolical misfit hand,  which was so dastardly concocted the devil himself might well have been the creator.
Yet remarkably, a student of Bigot-Johnson's bridge academy classes found the answer. He had been given the problem by Bigot as an example of just how difficult and hard declarer play can be. Nevertheless, the young man thought to himself : " Well, if making this contract requires an infinite improbability , then logically this means there is a finite possibility.......and so all have to do is perm all the possible play of the cards to find the one that delivers 12 tricks."
So a software programme was quickly written up to do just that, and when the young student pressed the " start " button he got his answer within seconds. As it happened,  one infinitely improbable line of play involved amongst other things,  a cleverly engineered throw in at trick 9, which forced the unfortunate defender to squeeze his own partner on the very next trick. 
However, what shocked him even more was the worldwide publication of his solution, the WBF's decision to give him an immediate place in the Hall Of Fame, and a $100,000 prize for his extreme cleverness. Sadly, he never got round to spending the money after being hunted down and lynched by a baying mob of bridge experts, organised and led by the infamous Bigot-Johnson. Apparently, they had all comes to terms with the fact that they couldn't stand to be beaten by a smug, young pretentious, smart-arse.           

Thursday, 6 June 2013

AN AMAZING BUT TRUE STORY......( By Bridgemeister Gibson )

One night a half-naked Bigot-Johnson walked into his bridge club soaked in blood , with 50 or more sharp spear-like pins still embedded in his flesh.
Members were transfixed ,  paralysed by a lethal combination of horror, wonder, astonishment and muted joy. Was this act of penance to right the terrible sins he had perpetrated on members he intensely disliked ? Apparently not.  Or was it a twisted and perverted way to punish himself ,  for coming in with a shocking below-40% score the day before ? Apparently not.
The truth it seems was that his very assertive wife made him act as an improvised pin cushion, having been called upon to sew up the split seams in the only decent pair of trousers he had left in his possession.       
BRIDGE BOOKS TO TICKLE YOUR FANCY..... ( As recommended by Pun ) 

He Just Can't Keep His Hands To Himself...........................Moe Lester
The Best Place To Pick Up Obliging Male Partners..............Gay Barr
My Partner Quit Bridge For Something Better.....................Jason Hawes
How Long Is This List Of My Shortcomings ?.......................Miles Long
My Game Has Completely Gone Down The Toilet...............John Outhouse
My Partner And I Love Coming From Behind......................Doug E. Stiles
You'll Know When Your Partner Is Up For It..........................Phyllis Arden
I Can't Understand Why He Partners Young Boys ?............Todd Lerfondler
Partner, I Would Rather Follow Your Directions....................Yul Lee Deway
His Partner Died In Very Suspicious Circumstances............ Didi Dewitt

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


The sad fact about life is that not all crimes which take place are reported to, or recorded by, the police. Yet what is even more shocking is that inside every bridge club in the land, serious crimes against the person are being committed when duplicate sessions are in play. Both the offending players and their chosen victims, usually their hapless and inept partners, seem oblivious to the law of the land. Offenders seem completely unaware of what breaches they have committed, and the victims seem equally unaware of what legal remedies they have with regards to such cruel and unforgiving conduct.
Assault, of course,  still remains both a civil wrong and a crime, but in 1997 parliament introduced the Protection From Harassment Act. Section 1 states the following : " A person must not pursue a course of conduct, which amounts to harassment of another, and which he knows, or ought to know, amounts to harassment of the other. "  
So when one considers how many bridge players relentlessly condemn, slag off, insult, belittle, slate, ridicule, humiliate, nag away, blame, reproach, find fault with, rebuke, deride, lambast, remonstrate, and denigrate their partners, the fact that these crimes go unreported simply beggars belief. Indeed, all these aggressive actions amount to the same thing : unacceptable, unforgivable, extreme " harassment ". No doubt if any outsider had  looked in to see what was going on inside any bridge club, then he might well reach the inescapable conclusion that such places are teeming with sadistic bullies and masochistic wimps.
So how best to define this type of conduct ? : it is both a nasty tort and a callous crime. In fact, all that is required to establish a " course of conduct " is that the conduct only has to take place on two occasions. But more significantly, the conduct can include just speech or gestures alone.  All the victim has to show is that the harassment caused him ( or her ) alarm, or distress.
Even if the perpetrator claimed he did not know that his conduct amounted to harassment, then the objective test to be applied is that of the reasonable man, who happens to be in full possession of the same information about the alleged misconduct. If he believes it amounted to harassment, then as far as the judge is concerned it certainly was.
As for the civil remedies available  ( interested readers please note ) , any actual or apprehended breach of section 1 may be the subject of a claim in civil proceedings by the alleged victims of the course of conduct in question. On such a claim, damages may be awarded for ( among other things ) any anxiety caused by the harassment, and any financial loss resulting from the harassment. Damages are usually for personal, psychological injury, and seemingly for pure economic loss. In addition, injunctions may be granted to reduce the risk of any further incidents.
So the message is clear. Bridge clubs are hot spots for widespread criminal activity.  And if bullies there continue to harass others, then they do so at their peril.  Wimps, who are desperate to fight back, now know they can now sue the bastards, if the harassment doesn't cease.      

Monday, 3 June 2013


Dear Rebecca,
Last weekend I played in a club pairs competition partnering a relative beginner. As it happened we managed to come in the top third, but the two bad boards on the last round cost us a place in the top three.
This was because we encountered two extremely arrogant and smarmy opponents, who did us twice with a rather dubious and highly suspicious convention. Only used at favourable vulnerability and in second position, it was described as the Hoffmeister No Trump Overcall , showing a 9-13 points, balanced hand, with 4 or more cards in two of the unbid suits. I had opened the bidding on both occasions with 1H, but when the INT overcall came in ( alerted ), my partner's natural 1NT response had been snatched away from him. Unsure as to what action to take, he dithered a bit before passing.
So on each board 1NT was played by our opponents, who failed to make either contract. Sadly for us +50 was an outright bottom when 1NT was making all round the room our way. Similarly +100 was no bloody good either,  when we should have making +120.  
Those two galactic bottoms diddled us out of the prizes. 
I have never come across this convention, and I'm desperate to know whether you have....... and what you think of it ?

Yours still feeling miffed as hell, Sylvia Gutbucket

Dear Sylvia,
This convention first come to light in Richard Powell's superb novel " Tickets For The Devil ".  Indeed, the Hoffmeister No Trump overcall has great value in either shutting opponents out of bidding ( as in your case ), or cramping their bidding room to reach a sound low level contract.
Most oddball conventions are licensed these days in a world where there are more artificial bids and responses, than plain simple natural ones. This particular convention always works well when a novice is sitting in the third seat. 
As to what I think about the convention ? Well, like so many others which allow opponents to bid very aggressively on absolute peanuts.....I regard such gadgets as sophisticated and legalised  forms of cheating, equivalent to a cricketer being allowed to use a 10 inch wide bat .......or a golfer having 30 or more clubs to choose from.

Yours still longing for the days when playing fields will be level again, Rebecca Rood

Sunday, 2 June 2013

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

Dear Rebecca,
I have played bridge in all sorts of clubs all over the UK. But never in my experience have I encountered one like the Jolly Roger BC, tucked away in the quaint Dorset town of Rammett Upham. 
I turned up there as an uninvited guest,  but the members went out of their way to be both  warm and welcoming. There was so much drinking going on during the play, the duplicate itself was brought to a sudden halt after board eight, when everyone started to strip off. By then , I had also consumed a fair amount of alcohol, and so I naturally I just didn't seem to care.
The next thing I remember was my male partner jumping me without warning. I knew it was wrong, but I let it happen.
Not once....but several times with many of the other very obliging members !
Now  I feel so ashamed. What should I do ?

Yours still in a quandary , Freda Gossip

Dear Freda,
I'll tell you what you should do. Publish the damn details of what nights this club opens, and the directions to get there. The Jolly Roger is what I see as the future of bridge..... if bridge is to have a future at all.

Yours travelling down there at breakneck speed, Rebecca Rood