Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Dear Rebecca,
I cannot for the life of me understand why the EBU has refused to sanction my new system of 1 and 2 level multi ( 3-way ) bids.  Heavens above..... the multi 2 diamond bid was approved and licensed without any objections , but there again that's what comes from having a surname like Reese or Flint.
To me this all smacks of double standards and favouritism. Don't bridge governing bodies what a bidding system that completely crucifies rabbits and wooden tops far more effectively that the rather antiquated and blunt-edged multi 2 diamonds convention. 
For instance my multi 1 club promises either a balanced 15-16 , a weak 6 card suit in diamonds, or a hand with 4-4 in the majors , while the 1 diamond promises either a balanced 17-18 , a weak 6 card club suit, or a hand with one good major and a void or singleton in the other.   Indeed this particular bid alone ( when used in rubber bridge ) has earned my partner and I a stack of stunning results and loads of money .

Yours Sick In Despair

Dear SID, 
Let's face smart arse bid is enough to contend when partnering players, who find basic Acol bidding too difficult to comprehend and fully understand.
Your idea of having multi-three way bids on all openings at the 1 and 2 level, which no doubt would involve a system cards running into several pages , would be just another nail in the coffin of a game which is already in terminal decline. Indeed , it could be the thin end of the wedge , allowing the floodgates to open up with numerous mullti 3-way responses ! 
If bidding systems become monstrous complex mazes in which only the inventors can negotiate that elusive path of understanding , then it seems to me that many of the game's top players will left scrabbling around in the dark.
So yes , the EBU did do the right thing.

Yours  " simple bidding systems make for level playing fields " Rebecca Rood




( This blog is in remembrance of an old friend of mine who ,  on reapplying to join a club he was once a long standing , well liked , and well respected member , was told to sling his hook............all because of a zero tolerance approach taken against an off-the-cuff , flippant and foolish remark he made . This comment  of course was perceived to be in extremely bad taste by a rather unforgiving committee. )  

Tuesday, 29 April 2014


Sunday, 27 April 2014


  • Oh No , My Partner's Up To his Old Tricks Again..................................Joe Kerr
  • Ouch !  My Partner Has Just Kneed Me In The Crutch.......................... Dick Riley Hertz
  • A Little Bird Told Me That You Field Partner's Psychs...........................Seth Who
  • Well If You Don't trust Partner's Penalty Double..................................... Bess Pullett
  • That Chairman's Speech Went On For Hours.........................................Wendy Auldbag
  • The Club's So Much In Debt I Don't Know Where It's Going.....................Belle E. Hupp
  • This Damn Game Is Played By Demons , Fiends and Devils...................Ellis Bridge
  • Don't Ask Him About That Bridgemate Incident......................................Esau Soddall
  • I'll Tell You Why My Days Here Are Numbered.....................................Honor Blacklistz
  • Who Is Prepared To Blow The Whistle And Spill the Beans.................... Ewan  I. Shudd

Saturday, 26 April 2014


Rank : the state of the men's toilets after a rather long bridge tournament
Sponsor :  a person who uses his money to play in company way beyond his/her level of 
Inferior contract : one in which the expert soon realises he charged his sponsor far too little , given the enormity of the task of partnering a total jerk
Superior contract :  one in which a third-rate expert seeks out a sponsor stupid enough to pay double the going rate for his services 
Disciplinary hearing : a kangaroo court by any other name , where the committee act as both judge and jury
Part score :  an extremely frustrating outcome for a lady player whose male partner lacked the balls to make a big raise 
Selectors :  a group of people who allow nepotism and/or favouritism  to take precedence over duty , responsibility and objectivity
Private members' club : a place where ever other man is familiar with a Dick , Rod , Nobby , Percy , Peter , Willie , and John Thomas
Pass out : what many men need from their wives to play bridge at weekends
Bottoms : what gay bridge players constantly think about after the duplicate has finished and the night is still young 



Friday, 25 April 2014


Member ( M ) : I didn't know that this year's AGM had already taken place ?
B-J: You weren't invited...... just the chosen few who came round to my house for tea and buns
M : Is there anything I need to know about ?
B-J : Nothing important ....other than membership terms have now changed to fixed one year periods, requiring everybody to reapply for membership every 12 months
M : Oh.....and will membership renewal be automatic ?
B-J : Good God no....
M : what happens then ?  Who decides ?
B-J : A newly formed select sub-committee will vet all membership renewal applications very closely indeed. No stone will be left unturned. If there are any black marks against a member's name , or skeletons in his cupboard ,  it's curtains for him or her. There's no appeal......their decision is final.
M : Oh....and who's chairing this sub-committee ?
B-J : Me of course......just to make sure nothing goes amiss
M : Oh.... but what was wrong with automatic renewals ?
B-J : You implementing this twelve monthly re-admission process,  the committee has found a legally fool proof way of getting rid of members who are deemed to have lowered the tone of the place well as those clearly responsible for creating an unpleasant and off putting atmosphere
M : Such as ...?
B-J : What want the full list ?
M : Yes....
B-J : All those members the sub-committee perceives as  tosspots  , awkward bastards , dissidents , trouble-makers, rogues , agitators , sanctimonious know-alls , bad hats , hecklers , firebrands , loud  mouths , gossip mongers, whistle blowers , critics , bible-bashers , inciters , rotten apples , agent provocateurs , stirrers , meddlers , plus a load of other objectionable sorts....
M : So who is likely to survive this cull ?
B-J : Well you're bloody not for sure......asking all these damn impertinent questions
M : This is an outrage.....I see this as an abuse of power ....members could be kicked on any number of whimsical pretexts......especially if their faces don't fit
B-J : Excuse me.....there's no abuse of power......just the exquisite use of power..... replacing problematic, bitterly contested expulsions with trouble-free, easy as pie , ever-so sweet , fait accompli exclusions
M : I'm speechless !
B-J : Hallelujah ..... that saves me the bother of getting my knuckleduster out 

Thursday, 24 April 2014


As the club committee moves to towards imposing even stricter zero tolerance rules  , the quest to batter the members into totally compliant , submissive and obedient automatons continues unabated.  Indeed , over the past few months many more new sub-committees have been formed in a bold and calculated attempt to make this 1984 Utopian dream come true. The full list can be seen below :

1.   Vetting Panel for Membership Re-admissions
2.   Dossiers On Members : Compilations and Updates  
3.   Propaganda , Spin Doctoring , Censorship and Sanitisation ( of reports and minutes ) 
4.   Fire Fighting Unit ( specialising in stopping leaks and dealing with major disasters  )
5.   Internal Affairs ( oversight investigations , house rules enforcement and door security )
6.   Uncover Surveillance and Covert Activities  
7.   Fund Raising
8.   New Regulations and Essential Redrafts of the Constitution
9.   Brown Envelope Deliveries  ( payments for information from blabbermouths, weasels,  
      canaries, song birds and stool pigeons ) 
10.  Slush Funds : Off-shore Operations and Concealment  
11.  Legal Issues and Ethics : Avoidance and Circumvention
12.  Emergency and Exit Planning  ( just in case club goes belly up )

Wednesday, 23 April 2014





Tuesday, 22 April 2014

THE TRULY BIZARRE WORLD OF BRIDGE........ ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

In an ideal world where law and order needs to be established , one group of people are usually empowered to make the rules , another group to enforce them , and a third group to deal with those who break the rules. In other words three distinct bodies are needed : the executive , the police and the judges. Each must have the power to carry out their duties , but each must be independent of the other in order to avoid any overlap and subsequent risk of abuse of power. With each group able to provide essential checks and safeguards against the other, the abuse of power is far less likely , and members of the wider society can all sleep soundly at night.
Indeed , the separation of powers is such a fundamental concept if one wishes to create and to preserve an ideal society. So therefore one one is left to contemplate the absurdity of what goes on inside small clubs and voluntary organisations , which exist in the secretive twilight world of unincorporated associations. Club committees find themselves in a position of not only having the power to make the rules , but also to enforce them , and to adjudicate over incidents where rules have allegedly been broken. It seems that committees can grant themselves unfettered power to do as they like, with very little in the way of checks and safeguards ever being put into place.
Having such power is clearly opens the way to abuse , and must be considered as a weakness and/or defect in the club's constitution. Unless club constitutions are redrafted to include essential safeguards ,  committees will no doubt seize the opportunity to operate in despotic and discriminatory way. 
Now that scenario is not only truly bizarre....... but truly frightening.   


Sunday, 20 April 2014

SIGNALLING FAILURES........ ( Short article by Bridgemeister Gibson )

Signalling information and commands to partner involves a declared system understanding through the choice of discards ,  the chosen rank of the first card played , or the carefully selected order of cards when following to , or leading out , a suit.  However , no signalling system is perfect , and players inevitably succumb to moments of tiredness , lapses of concentration and mechanical mistakes, causing the wrong signals to be sent out. 
However , unethical players will adopt additional signalling methods to bolster their chances of getting the right messages across. These usually involve the use of body language and facial expressions to convey ,  for instance ,  messages of approval ( please continue that suit partner ) and disapproval ( please switch to another suit ).  Yet here too the signalling failures can occur , as the following nearly true stories seem to illustrate. 

1. Overheard at a table when yet another poor score was recorded :  " looking daggers at you was not an instruction to switch suit......just merely an indication about what's in store for you when I get you outside ! "

2. During the play of a hand a despondent looking East gave a sarcastic reply to his partner's question about his misleading discard : " That discard of mine wasn't calling for anything.....I played it out of total boredom "

3. After a complete cock up in the defence a puzzled North was quick to query his partner's facial expression :  " Why did you grin when I switched to the wrong suit ? "
South coldly looked at him for several seconds , and then replied : " You numpty... that wasn't a was a venomous sneer "

4. When an opposition slam was allowed to make because East failed to switch to a suit which 
his partner could ruff , he couldn't stop himself from asking : " Partner.....I could see the black look on your face , but how was I to know to know you were calling for a spade....and not a club ? ". The reply was swift and to the point : " The look I gave you was a dirty one... which in my book carries the obvious connotation of demanding a spade ! "

5. In the auction East opened a gambling 3 no trumps, but the opponents bought the contract in 4 hearts. Three times partner was on lead , but failed to lead his partner's suit. On each occasion East grimaced , squirming in his seat in absolute agony. When the hand was over , West found himself immediately jumped upon by a deranged madman : " Partner , I could kill you.....I had AKQ in diamonds to cash ? " 
Unruffled and unconcerned , West calmly replied : " Oh , I thought you were upset over the fact I had a void in your suit " 

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Friday, 18 April 2014

FOOD FOR THOUGHT.....( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

Groucho Marx once said that he would not join a club that would stoop so low as to have him as a member. Behind the mordant witticism lies a profound truth in that if the club committee showed poor judgement in this respect , what other aspects of their work might also succumb to similar poor or appalling judgement. Who could trust a committee to exercise good judgement when its approval of Groucho's membership would certainly suggest a lack of wisdom , common sense and foresight. 
Yet with regards to thorny problem of expulsions a curious dilemma emerges. Firstly , a member , brought before a committee on a disciplinary matter , will more than likely fight for his right of choice to stay on as a member, as opposed to being forced to resign or booted out. Similarly , the committee of a voluntary association would also defend its right of choice to eject people deemed to be unfit to retain their membership , even if such decisions prove to be arbitrary , capricious, and even irrational.
As it happens the law appears to be the enemy of the arbitrary, the capricious , and the irrational. Therefore it is perfectly understandable that crusaders for basic human rights become so impatient of any unfairness done , the injustice wreaked , and the emotional harm visited on their fellows by discriminatory individuals and groups. Freedom is the hallmark of personal choice both both individual members and voluntary association committees, but these two competing claims are irreconcilable.Either one , pushed to its ultimate , will necessarily oust the other. The law has to strike a balance , to somehow steer a course between Scylla and Charybdis, somehow to give each its due , and thereby to arrive at that most elusive of man's goals , JUSTICE.
Sadly , for both mediators and the courts , resolutions of disputes  may not be able to provide happy compromises,  aiming only to reach decisions that are both pragmatic and sensible. No grand formulae exists , or may ever be found ,  for the law can be nothing other than a blunt-edged instrument. The process of dispute resolution of course needs to be a thorough and impartial approach , balancing the sincere demand for equality of treatment against the no less genuine claim for upholding ones freedom of choice. Beyond this , the answer must surely reside in the realm of conscience and morality , and not with what is written in the club's constitution and/or any out-dated common law precedents.  

Whenever male bridge players endure a gut-wrenching session of galactic bottoms and well-below average scores , many just want to crawl away and die. The shame , the guilt and the embarrassment can be so great that an overwhelming desire wells up inside them to go out and dig a pit in which bemoan their fate and cry. 
Thankfully , most clubs have the decency to provide brown paper bags , large enough to cover up victims' tortured faces , hideously distorted by utter despair and anguish. Other clubs have an unlimited stock of two litre whiskey bottles in which these poor unfortunates can dive in and drown themselves .  However, when these services are not available , it often results in some of these tragic losers succumbing to the flobberdobberdobberdobber syndrome.
Victims of this condition suddenly realize the enormity of their failings : that they played bridge that evening like complete morons. Unlike other losers their need is find someone capable of providing immediate comfort and solace. Therefore,  they are compelled to seek out ladies of the night or , if money is a problem ,  to go back to their loving and obliging wives ).  Yet in all instances , these women must be well proportioned , possessing loose morals, kind hearts, soft skin and warm beds. Indeed , they must all be willing and able to offer these syndrome victims countless opportunities to place their faces between two rather lush and enormous bosoms , to shake their heads and blow. This inevitably results in muffled noises emanating from the chest area , which sound like  " flobber....dobber....dobber... ....dobber ",  hence the name given to this rather unusual syndrome.
The first two players to be diagnosed with this condition were Bill and Ben Flowerpott from Welling Garden City. One of the classic early symptoms is that the sufferer will have certainly weed his pants during the course of that evening when one wretched score following another , because whenever one hand finally made an average  ( or better-than-average )  score the over-excitement was too much to contain . Nevertheless , syndrome sufferers are happy in the knowledge that flobberdobbing has an amazing knack of restoring them back to a state where confidence and self-esteem will be peaking once again.                   

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

ANOTHER CURIOUS POINT OF LAW.......( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

Not so long ago I came across an interesting case involving a golfer who claimed he had been wrongfully expelled from his club. One particular argument concerned the highly contentious issue relating to " balance of convenience ".
The plaintiff argued that there was no reason to suppose that allowing him to resume membership would cause no significant difficulty , embarrassment or inconvenience for the club or his fellow members. Not surprisingly the committee , supposedly speaking on behalf of the membership as a whole argued the exact opposite. They believed that the effect of having to suspend their decision to expel him , thereby allowing him to resume membership , would no doubt engender an unfortunate atmosphere in the club. The presence of the plaintiff , having taken the club to court only to obtain a judgement ( and costs ) in his favour , would not be very conducive to maintaining a harmonious atmosphere . The focus of attention would be the serious financial damage he may have inflicted upon the club. In other words , ordinary members would feel uncomfortable and annoyed if the man who put the club in jeopardy was allowed to return.
Yet this is an argument that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Firstly , if the plaintiff won then clearly the committee members were at fault regarding (a) the initial expulsion process and (b) their later decisions to ignore all damage limitation options on offer . Therefore , it is far more likely that anger and/or resentment will be directed at them . Moreover, the reality of any sports club is that the majority of ordinary members are apathetic, indifferent and uninterested in the petty politics and disputes going on between particular individuals and the committee. Most just come to play golf , and probably have no idea who the plaintiff is. A few of course will know him personally , while others will know of him , having been told about him by the committee ,   or what they have indirectly gleaned about him from tittle-tattle conversation , gossip and rumours. 
For me the issue is whether the committee members speak just for themselves or do they really speak for all the rank and file members ? Did a sufficiently large number of members previously voice their concerns and objections about the plaintiff ? Were they canvassed about their views regarding this dispute , and how they would feel if the plaintiff was allowed to return ? If not then the committee's argument is nothing more than pure conjecture.
And on a final note , the committee tried to argue that the plaintiff would not be inconvenienced by his loss of membership ,  since he was a member of other golf clubs in the area , and could therefore play elsewhere. In my opinion , this argument too carries no weight whatsoever, because in high profile Scottish case involving an alleged wrongful expulsion , the judge was correct to point out that many members might well have shaped their social , sporting and ( possibly ) business lives around membership. In such instances it becomes no light matter to have that membership taken away, especially in circumstances where the alleged misconduct is merely objectionable , rather than something that needed to be categorised as possibly criminal , cruel , malicious or vindictive. 






Monday, 14 April 2014

CONSTITUTION MATTERS...............( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

Club constitutions, drawn up by committees long gone ,  are then interpreted years later by different committees voted in at AGMs. But how do modern day committees go about interpreting the clauses drafted by those , who were brought up in a society with a completely different set of values and attitudes?  
The harsh reality of a modern day club committee is that its members are usually voted in on a tidal wave of apathy , allowing the despots within the group to dominate the meetings and run the club as they see fit. This process of seizing and implementing control often sees the committee falling back on the constitution when it suits them , or turning a blind eye to its provisions when it doesn't. Despots will never see themselves as servants of those who voted them in , only their masters.
Abuse of power comes in many disguises but two of the most sinister forms focus on silencing dissenters and expelling members they dislike , especially those who seek to question and challenge the actions and decisions of the committee members.  Every club will have a few awkward members seeking to cast a critical eye of what the committee is getting up to , quick to expose and broadcast any instances of wrongdoing , corruption and incompetence. This often drives committees to operate in complete secrecy , imposing a code of silence on its members by reminding them of the importance of collective responsibility and confidentiality.
Typically, a committee will see its critics as troublemakers and/or enemies , and dissenters as undesirable elements  within the club. In every case the committee longs to see the back of them , harbouring strong desires to have such destabilising forces silenced or removed , in order to restore harmony and peace back into the club.

Thankfully ,  most committees can turn to a cleverly drafted clause within their constitution which goes along the following lines :
" Investigations will be carried out against those members who the Management Committee believe are responsible for alleged misconduct , which it suspects may potentially be injurious to the character or interests of the club , endanger the good order of the club , its public reputation o the game of.........more general ; and take disciplinary action as appropriate against the members concerned. "
What a catch-all clause that is ! So many ambiguous words , all capable of being given wide , all encompassing meanings    : alleged , suspects , potentially , misconduct , injurious , character, interests , good order , public reputation . How does anyone go about defining these words and setting appropriate boundaries as to their sensible , common sense meanings. For if the widest possible interpretations are given, then a ruthless and robust committee would appear to have the constitutional backing to sling out a member for alleged whistle blowing , such as passing on documents deemed to be controversial or sending private e-mails to other club members raising concerns about the suitability of people holding senior officer posts
The issue here of course is whether or not the clause is used to hide and cover up the truth exposed by the whistle blower , as opposed to a more legitimate aim of protecting the committee from damaging and malicious material likely to bring shame or ridicule upon the club. 
Clearly , this involves asking the key question : were the whistle blower's actions justified or not? Members are surely entitled to pass on facts which are true , or perceived to be true, and to make fair comments in a society which prides itself on the right to free speech. Exposing wrongdoing, corruption and incompetence are not acts of betrayal or disloyalty , and it is right and proper that committees should be made accountable for their failures and shortcomings. However , when lies, malicious gossip and evil plots are involved , then the errant member cannot use the defence of justification.  His/her motives become highly questionable, being far more likely to reflect a vindictive desire to undermine the reputation of the club and/ or the committee. 
Yet which people are best able to judge the actions of members and to decide whether or not they are in breach of this all embracing disciplinary clause ?  If the committee are expected to deal with this difficult task , then how confident can anyone be that a logical , objective and common sense approach will be adopted. Victims never make the best judges. Vengeance will usually dictate their thoughts allowing their bias and prejudice to run riot.  Only impartial outsiders have any chance of being relied upon to do such a job. Even ordinary club members with their cosy, close knit friendships , closed minds and misplaced loyalties, would be prone to take immediate sides . Indeed , the apathy within the wider, hugely indifferent ranks of the membership often translates into a vote of confidence in the committee, irrespective of what the committee gets up to. An apathy that says it is better not to rock the boat or question the committee's right to do as it pleases.
A frightening scenario wouldn't you say ?

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Dear Rebecca ,

The other night my partner and I scored an amazing top against two very experienced players.
With both sides vulnerable , my partner sitting East opened a weak 2S. South passed , and so did I , holding K10x....Qx....AJ1oxx ....Qxx . However North , who clearly wasn't the type of person to let opponents get away with a cheap contract ,  felt obliged to double.
So what did my partner do ?  He proceeded to bid 3S !!  ( Apparently , he had 7 spades all along ). South , sitting there with a few values of his own , made a responsive double , which I passed.....and so did North !! As it happened the 3S contract made with two overtricks for a stunning +1130.
Therefore , I have 2 questions to ask : (i) was my partner's bidding magnificent or insane ?
and (ii) who else at the table may have sinned ?

Yours HBJ

Dear Howard ,

In my book it is a cardinal sin for a player to raise his own pre-empt, especially when vulnerable. If his distribution warranted a weak 3S opener , then that is what he should have bid. Therefore the adjective I would use to describe his bidding is  " CRIMINAL " .
As for your pass, that too was criminal. I grant you your 12 points wasn't the best in the world , but with a fit in trumps and a decent 5 card diamond suit you should at least stick in a 3S bid , or better still make the regulation 2NT enquiry bid.
With regards to North mis-reading his partner's responsive double what else can I say other than criminal. Clearly duplicate bridge in your neck of the wood bears no resemblance to the honest kind I was first introduced to in the good old days, when players knew what they were doing and always remembered what was on their system cards.

Yours gobsmacked as usual Rebecca 



Saturday, 12 April 2014





Thursday, 10 April 2014

REVOLTING REVOKES..........( Article by Carp )

What causes bridge players to explode, to rise from their seats spitting feathers ,  to go ape-shit , or to blow a gasket ? Slow play by their opponents ?  An out-of-the-blue defamatory remark ? An unfair ruling by an arrogant, officious, extremely biased TD ?'s that revolting revoke which has just converted a potential top into a nailed-on galactic bottom !
What the blue blazes makes any player revoke ? How simple does it need to be to follow suit when a player has one or more of that suit in his/her hand ? Given that bridge requires sustained focus , concentration and alertness of the mind , how is it possible to cock up such a simple task ?
Possible explanations can be both obvious and obscure , but some of the ones I've encountered are listed as follows :
- I meant to play a spade but a club just slipped out ( right intent , wrong execution )
- I played a club because East played a club , not realizing that this was a discard on North's 
  lead of a spade ( complete loss of the plot )
- I thought I was out of spades having originally misplaced one in amongst my 7 card club suit 
  ( mis-suited )
- I thought my opponent was going to continue clubs but he switched to a spade ( step ahead 
  of myself ) 
- I was distracted by a bee in the room ( transfer of blame )
- There's some mistake....I swear to God I played a spade ( absolute denial )
- I could have sworn I had no spades left in my hand but one had got stuck behind another card
  ( victim of fate )
All in all a load of pathetic , weak , limp , cowardly excuses, when the truth is simply " I've the concentration span of a gnat, and the mental awareness of a brain-damaged moron "
When bridge competitions are won by small margins , that top which went begging because of that revolting revoke might well have relegated a pair from top position to a disappointing 4th or 5th place. This will be perceived by that pair as a woeful act of self-destruction , shooting themselves in the foot , and having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. So yes , it is the most heinous crime any player can commit at the bridge table , far far worse than inadvertently trumping partner's Ace , or failing to smother dummy's stiff queen with your king.  
And on a final note,  I shall leave you with an extract from Richard Arkell's wonderful little poem  " The First Revoke " , when Neanderthal Man played a version of bridge , involving two packs of cards.

" Thou hast no club ? "
'Twas East who spoke
His partner answered " Nay "
Alas , that prehistoric youth
Was not adhering to the truth
While North examined every trick
And counted both the packs
South solemnly began to lick
The bloodstains from his axe

You HAD to know the Rules of Bridge
To play the game on Sompting Ridge   

Clearly , capital punishment was considered then as the best and most effective way to deal with players guilty of revolting revokes............and in my view it should also be applied today.  

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Monday, 7 April 2014


B-J : Doc....I need some reassurance
Dr.J :  Why is that ?
B-J : It's the members....they've the bloody nerve to call me a control freak....I ask you how ludicrous is that.......tell me it's not true
Dr. J : Well tell me Bigot.....are you ever prepared to change your ways to accommodate others ....or do you insist that they charge their ways to accommodate you
B-J : Please get this into your thick skull.....I'm their chairman for God's sake.....voted in by these stupid morons make decisions and to give orders......of course they have to step in line....or should I say toe the line
Dr.J : So you attempt then to micromanage others to make them fit in with your expectations no matter how ridiculous and unrealistic they might be ?
B-J : What choice have I got ? Asking numpties to do things is like flogging a dead horse.......I have to keep cracking the whip ....or else apathy would set in 
Dr.J : So I take it then you like to sit in judgement on a member's behaviour , deciding whether it's right or wrong , good or bad......choosing no doubt to sit in silence as a way of showing your displeasure ?
B-J : Are you mad ?......If anyone crosses that line they're in for the high jump and a right good dressing down. I see everything as black or white......either members are for me ...or else they are against me.......and those who are not in my camp need to be dealt with in no uncertain way 
Dr.J : So you want the members to be like sheep ?
B-J : Yes....with me as The Lord Shepherd 
Dr.J : As for committee agendas I presume they are nothing more than your own.... personal....
B-J : Of course.....that's because I'm the only bugger who knows what's good for the club.....the only one capable of coming up with initiatives and ideas
Dr.J :  This leads me to suspect that you're not the kind of person who is willing to adapt , compromise....or meet people half way ?
B-J : Too damn right....compromise pleases no one.....running a club requires a man of vision....who is prepared to take risks ..... not pussy foot around. My job involves attempting to incept the members by managing their impression of me........this in turn requires me to present worse case scenarios as a way of influencing their thinking to fall in line with mine 
Dr.J : You mean fear management ?
B-J : Not really....more a dose of brutal realism and a few hard-hitting truths 
Dr.J : And what about ambiguity ?
B-J : Well ...what about it !
Dr.J : Do you have a difficult time with not knowing about an issue.....or not knowing all the relevant facts regarding that issue?
B-J : I don't need to know all the details......just the ones which confirm decisions which I arrived ages before
Dr.J : So how do you reach your decisions ?
B-J : Gut feelings....instinct.....intuition .....and of course .....being blessed with vision
Dr.J : Would you also describe yourself as an interventionist ?
B-J : Of point sitting back and letting lunatics take over the asylum.....I'm not one for giving members a free reign or sticking my head in the sand hoping problems will just blow away. I'm a mover... a shaker....a do-er.... the one who is always picking up the baton
Dr.J : And whacking people over the head with it...... from all accounts
B-J : So you're also suggesting I'm a control freak ? yourself an analyst .......what do you know about this subject ?
Dr. J : I'm just trying to understand the way you think , behave and react to things
B-J : Well get a load of this reaction then....... I've answering no more of these nasty and  incriminating questions...... your name is now going into my little black book ....which I'll be passing on to Ronnie and Reggie  

Sunday, 6 April 2014




The following article by Bruce Caldow and Elisa Walker explains why sports and social clubs must be careful to apply the rules when dealing with members' rights 
The case of Wiles v Bothwell Castle Golf Club [2005] Scot CS CSOH 108 concerns the contentious issue of reviewing a decision made by a private body, in this case a golf club. Following a fire which destroyed the golf clubhouse, members were given three options to replace the building. During an EGM the majority of members voted to relocate the building, within the club’s grounds. A planning application was made for the proposed new building. Two members of the club, the petitioners, were given neighbour notification of the application. They objected to these plans because of various issues, in particular the destruction of woodland.
The club’s committee invited the petitioners to a meeting, at which their club membership was suspended for acting “discourteously” and “endangering the interests of the club”, contrary, the committee said, to the club’s constitution. At a later meeting of the committee, the petitioners were expelled. The petitioners raised an action for judicial review seeking reduction of the decision of the club on the grounds that the decision was procedurally unfair and wholly irrational, that irrelevant matters had been taken into consideration and that expulsion was disproportionate.
Slow to intervene
The case of St Johnstone Football Club Ltd v Scottish Football Association Ltd 1965 SLT 171 set the tone on judicial interference in the decisions of private sporting clubs. Lord Kilbrandon opined that mere irregularity in procedure was not enough; it must be so fundamental that it goes beyond a mere matter of procedure and is something so prejudicial to a fair and impartial investigation of the question to be decided as to amount to a denial of natural justice. Examples would include conviction for an offence taking place without an accusation being made, or without allowing the person accused a reasonable opportunity to defend himself against the allegations. Since 1965 and the decision in St Johnstone, courts have been slow to intervene in disputes concerning private sporting bodies.

Proper exercise

In Wiles, Lord Glennie reduced the decision of the committee to terminate the petitioners’ membership, holding that the petitioners had behaved properly and within their rights under the planning system. Although recognising the inherent conflict between the petitioners’ interests as private individuals and those of the club, Lord Glennie found nothing vindictive or irrational about the petitioners’ opposition to the club’s proposals; it was not done to spite the club, but rather their actions were to exercise and protect their own individual rights and interests. Furthermore, Lord Glennie found it clearly established that where a member wishes to vindicate his rights in relation to a private club, judicial review is appropriate even where there is a contractual nature to the foundation of the dispute.
Sport and the law have previously been said to be uneasy bedfellows. However, Wiles serves as a clear warning: the courts are perfectly content to sit in judgment of disputes concerning the running of private sporting clubs and the interests of members. Lord Glennie stated: “Whatever may have been the position in the past, I consider that it is wrong today to draw a clear line between, for example, on the one hand trade associations and, on the other, social or sporting clubs; and say that in the former case the courts will be ready to intervene on procedural matters whereas in the latter they will not.”

Valuable interest

The growth of commercial interest in professional sport over the past two decades or so has given rise to considerable regulation, legal challenges and even tailored dispute resolution forums such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Similarities may now be witnessed in amateur sport, even in the absence of considerable commercial interests, with membership of private sporting clubs now more serious and of greater influence on everyday life. As Lord Glennie notes: “Many members will have shaped their social, sporting and (possibly) business lives around membership. That is not lightly to be taken away.” Sports clubs must be cautious to act within the powers of their constitution or rules. They must also seek to adhere to accepted standards of natural justice and due process. This will inevitably help avoid the risk of court challenge by dissatisfied members.
The message is clear. The organisation and administration of all sport, whether public or private, professional or amateur, must be robust and professional. Constitutions, committee powers and procedures and the rights of sportspeople and members must be clearly set out and fairly applied, in every case, or judicial intervention will further increase.

Bruce A Caldow and Elisa Walker, Harper Macleod LLP

Saturday, 5 April 2014








Friday, 4 April 2014

       ( Another nearly true story by Bridgemeister Gibson )

Bigot was on trial for murder of Peregrin Pantopod . There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse.  For once Bigot elected to hire a top class lawyer in order to escape justice.  Things were not going too well at the trial with Ronnie’s evidence to establish an alibi having been shot to pieces.  In the defence's closing statement the lawyer, knowing that Bigot might well be convicted, resorted to a devious but highly successful courtroom coup.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. "Within one minute Peregrin Pantopod, the person presumed dead in this case,  will walk into this courtroom." He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened.
Finally the lawyer said, "Actually, that statement had no substance or conviction to it at all. I just made up it up to prove a point. Nevertheless, you all looked on with anticipation being quite prepared to believe in its truth. I therefore put to you that lurking within your minds there is in fact a reasonable doubt  as to whether Peregrin is dead, and whether he was killed . Therefore,  I insist that you return a verdict of not guilty." The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.
" What the blue blazes is that verdict all about ! " screamed the lawyer. "Surely To God you must have had some doubt...... I saw all of you stare at the door."

The jury foreman replied, "Oh yes, we all looked, but your client Bigot-Johnson didn't."

One day during a bridge class, Bigot-Johnson asked one of his better students, "Now if you were North who had just seen the bridgemate snatched from underneath your nose by an opponent, how would you go about defining the incident in a forcefully written complaint ?"  
The student replied, "He took possession of the bridgemate."    
Bigot was livid. "No! No!... In this club you must think and act like a lawyer! "  
The student then queried, " Well…how would you define his actions ?                                            “ " Like this you numbskull...." , snapped Bigot , …" I hereby declare that EAST in the absence of the registered keeper’s express, implied or apparent consent have wrongfully and unlawfully attempted to acquire my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, benefits and advantages of and in, said bridgemate, together with all its buttons, screen display, electronic contents, and casing, and all rights and advantages with full power to enter scores, read the results,  and otherwise move with great force, the same, or perhaps after causing wanton or reckless damage, to give or throw away the same,  with and without the buttons, display screen  and/or contents, anything herein before or hereinafter or in any deed, or deeds, instruments of whatever nature or kind, whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding..."
The perplexed student replied “ Is all that necessary ? “

Bigot in a flash turned upon him like a preying mantis about to consume a fly : “ Doing or saying anything in this club in ignorance of the law can get you into a whole heap of trouble. So think and act like a lawyer if you wish to stay out of trouble. "  


" Even as a child I
was never put off
from tackling a sticky
problem head on
.....and grasping the
mettle with a steady
hand "

Thursday, 3 April 2014

DO CHEATS PROSPER ? : TOO BLOODY RIGHT THEY DO !! ..............( Says a shocked and deflated Johnny Supremo )

A few weeks ago my partner and I witnessed the most blatant example of soft cheating anyone is ever likely to experience at one of our many centres of approved cheating here in the UK. 
Vulnerable against not my partner opened the bidding with a gambling 3NT on his 1-3-7-2 distrubution. My RHO asked what this meant , and I explained that it promised a solid minor, and possibly an outside honour but not an ace. As it happened he had Kx of clubs to go with his seven trick diamond suit. Armed with this information she went into a huddle.......umming and aring....dillying and dallying.... her arm to-ing and fro-ing towards the bidding box........horribly undecided .......hesitant.....and hesitating ........before eventually PASSING !!
Anyone looking on would have sussed that she had a fist full of points but unsure as to what she should do with her fairly flat 5-3-3-2 hand. 
In the West seat I was looking at my 3-3-1-6 hand with 3 to the Ace in hearts and 6 to the QJ in clubs. Despite having no guard in spades I decided to pass hoping that there might be a play a play for 3NT. Poor choice on my part as it happened. 
But now we come to North , my LHO, who on her flat 4-4-2-3 distribution with just the queen of hearts as her only points....suddenly came in with a double !! ......having certainly picked up on her's partner's " I've got points over here " hand. Well, as far as I'm concerned no other player in the world would bid on such tat....whether he/she was aware of this information or not.
Once the double came in......her partner had no hesitation now bidding 4S , which then duly made ,  because at trick 3 after cashing two top diamonds, my partner switched to hearts which compelled me to take my Ace. This now meant we were unable to establish a club trick in time. Declarer had a simple task of drawing trumps, and establishing dummy's 4th heart for a losing club discard. Tricks taken were 5S, club Ace, 3 hearts and a diamond ruff in dummy, for minus 420.
I called for the director not so much in the hope of getting a score adjustment.....but more to have her questionable behaviour noted for breach of ethical bidding.  What galled me most was her pathetic arguments that there was nothing wrong with her double. Thankfully , the director agreed that no one in their right mind would make such a bid even at favourable vulnerability. Consequently , the 4S score was scrapped with the 3NT bid allowed to stand. The thing was this went off 2 , for minus 200 , with my RHO cashing out the first 5 spade tricks plus the Ace of clubs. This still proved to be a thumping great bottom since all the other North-Souths were scoring either 140 or 170.
Is there any justice in is game ? I think not.....especially when that pair went on to win the duplicate.  

Wednesday, 2 April 2014



(  Having been inspired by John Mayall's tribute ballad " Death of J.B. Lenoir " ,   I have  rehashed the lyrics somewhat so as to dedicate this adaptation to a long-departed bridge colleague of mine . )

The committee's gone and nailed a friend
Who has moved many miles away
The committee's gone and nailed a friend
Who has moved many miles away
When I heard the tragic news
Night came early in my day

E. P. Lenick has gone for good
And it's hit me like a hammer blow
E. P. Lenick has gone for good
And it's hit me like a hammer blow
I couldn't get to grips with what he'd done
And why he had to go

E.P. had a struggle playing
His uncompromising bridge in vain
E.P. had a struggle playing
His uncompromising bridge in vain
Everyone thought the committee did right
And that I was wrong to complain

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Bigot-Johnson : Chairman
Very dysfunctional and dangerously disturbed. Claims to be a good player but nearly all his good boards are purely down to his diabolical and unethical antics at the table paying off. As a devoted admirer of Sir Francis Dashwood , Bigot has made it his life-time ambition to make the Slaughter House a modern day version of the infamous Hellfire Club. 
Ronnie : Vice-chairman
Extremely efficient in purging the club of unsuitable and undesirable law abiding members. Ronnie was the man responsible for redrafting and condensing the Club's constitution and regulations down to just 4 lines , which in effect give the committee carte blanche powers to do what it wants. At present he is on another major project setting up a sub-committee hit squad to carry out the club's dirty work off premises. Long departed critics repeatedly accused him of using mafia style tactics to prompt members to keep their mouths shut at all times. Rumours of him having a concrete mixer in the club's basement have yet to be scotched. 
Reggie : Secretary
Not all there and has a serious problem with anger management. Extremely illiterate and backward in thinking,. With Bigot abolishing the need for (a) taking and publishing minutes , (b) providing reports and house-keeping records and (c) keeping important documents which could contain incriminating evidence, Ronnie's limitations were deemed to be of no significance. His simple philosophy with regards to any major problems the club might encounter was " they will all blow away " or  " the people responsible for these problems will be blown away ". 
Freddie Flywheel : Treasurer      
Having spent many years inside prison for corporate fraud , insider trading , embezzlement , and boiler room scams , Freddie has proved himself to be a wizard when it comes to figures and false accounting. The moment he was voted in as treasurer , on the back of proxy voting set up by Reggie , the committee has successfully syphoned off nearly all the club's liquid assets without any of the ordinary members being the wiser. A recently published article of his " How to turn a failed business into a highly profitable one at the stroke of a pen " has made him a star with the city institutions and the corporate banks.  
" Toxic " Ted Bateman :  Chief Tournament Director
A Devil sent replacement for the former CTD , who in mysterious circumstances went down to the basement and was never seen again. In fact he disappeared without a trace......... of wet cement anywhere. A former rigger and card sharp ,  he was asked by the Chairman to make up the boards for all the club's competitions, and to make sure that as his partner they seized every chance of scooping all the trophies and prize money on offer. At present he is currently replaced the EBU rule book with one of his own , which turns out to be no longer than half a page. In short all club directors ( appointed and vetted by him and Ronnie ) are to make discretionary rulings only , as they see fit. If and when players dare to call over them over  to a table , most rulings will usually be based on an established pecking order of importance and status , but directors may exercise their discretion towards favouring those who dig deepest into their wallets.