Wednesday, 31 December 2014



Monday, 29 December 2014

NOW I'VE SEEN IT ALL.......... (  Feature article by Ima Wright -Tosser )

The other night I turned up as a guest at the infamous Slaughter House Bridge Run , owned and managed By Howard Bigot-Johnson. And let me tell you the Hell Fire Club would have resembled a monastery compared to this place.  To say anything goes off here would be a gross understatement , with players of both sexes behaving like thugs and hooligans. The things I saw being thrown across the room left be speechless...... as well as ducking for cover. This wasn't just the bizarre world of modern day bridge but a battlefield in an extremely dangerous war zone. Items I saw players throw included ....

  • towels  
  • tantrums , fits and paddies
  • all manner of glances , mostly menacing 
  • massive wobblies
  • rule books
  • cold water  ( on decent suggestions and ideas )
  • bridgemates
  • huge dollops of dirt  ( on all and sundry )
  • punches 
  • insults  ( by the dozen )
  • money on lost causes
  • salt on someone else's game
  • babies along with the bath water
  • caution to the wind 
  • one's weight around 
But I must say that this was bridge which had me on the edge of my seat , for the longest and most amazing white knuckle ride of my life.  

Sunday, 28 December 2014


FMD is a rare form of foot and mouth disease affecting humans , where victims are often referred to as foul mouthed devils.  Bridge clubs unfortunately are notorious for being the breeding grounds for this particular human strain of the virus. Victims develop devil like characteristics, along with cloven-hoofed feet ,  such as spewing out bile and abuse to anyone who dares upset or annoy them.
Infected players develop an unwavering desire to put their feet right in it , by opening their mouths once too often , screaming obscenities and accusations to all and sundry. As a consequence of relentless screaming and shouting ,  victims' mouths become badly blistered. In some cases the constant foot stomping results in ruptures and acute lameness. 
FMD is beginning to have severe implications for the club's finances, since being a highly infectious virus it causes widespread fear and panic to those who free of any symptoms. With clubs seeing unaffected members leave in their droves , table numbers have plummeted well below their break-even points. 
The virus responsible for the disease is a piconavirus , the prototypic member of the genus aphthovirus. Infection occurs when the virus particle is taken into a cell of the host. The cell is then forced to manufacture thousands of copies of the virus , and eventually bursts , releasing the new particles into the blood. The virus can be transmitted in a number of ways , including body-contact with carriers , handling contaminated cards , and being over-powered by blasts of hot-air abuse bellowing out from victims' mouths
Control measures involve vaccines and quarantine. In extreme cases sufferers need to be put down or banished completely from the bridge playing areas. Government compensation schemes are in place to help off-set the costs incurred.          

Saturday, 27 December 2014


Friday, 26 December 2014


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

NOT SO LONG AGO..............

I challenged the committee's decision , not only with regards to a ruling , but also the manner and way by which it had been reached. From where I was standing , I thought significant mistakes had been made , which reflected a complete lack of rational thinking.
When I voiced my concerns I was both shocked and perturbed as to why none of them had been acknowledged or accepted as deserving further discussion or debate. I asked the chairman why my views have been dismissed as irrelevant ,  and the reply I received left me speechless : " No one else on the committee agreed with you ".
" Excuse me......but I'm a mathematician ......and I know two plus two does not equal five "
" Well , five is the answer we all wanted....five is the answer we were all happy with....and five is the answer we are all determined to keep "
" But the method you used to get the answer is flawed "
" The method we used clearly served its purpose since it ended up with five  "
" But you must all be blind to the fact that there is no sound logic or reasoning to justify such an outcome  "
" Might is right..... so logic and reasoning don't come into it....... moreover , by allowing bias and prejudice to dictate the process , we can make two plus two equal number we like in any manner or way we see fit. " 
And so in that short exchange of words , the perplexing problem of The Human Condition was revealed : no matter what merit , truth and validity may exist in an argument , if it threatens to undermine one's pre-judgement and/or firmly held belief then it must be ignored or treated with contempt.

I introduced an elephant into the committee room that day. As far as I know it is still there waiting for someone to finally see sense ,  and recognise the error of their ways.  


Monday, 22 December 2014


Sunday, 21 December 2014


Saturday, 20 December 2014


Thursday, 18 December 2014


On your behalf........we passed an anti-cat exclusion
policy at our last meeting....only applicants with mousey
credentials will be considered for membership......any
objections ?

( Footnote : For the benefit of readers " mousey " credentials include
the following....

facial whiskers
a background in laboratory research
connoisseur of cheese
an aversion to farmer's wives carrying large carving knives
an ability to scurry about
regular tea party goer
shy and quiet
fondness for old houses
a longing to be part of a large family
wary of spring-loaded traps
a liking for white fur coats
unfazed by elephants
refined eating habits 
a desire to use clocks as playthings , especially those made out of hickory
can recite the lyrics of "Speedy Gonzales " )


" We find the accused member has failed miserably to adhere
to the club's zero tolerance policy rules. Therefore we vote to 
have him suspended.............preferably by a rope with a noose
at the end of it ! "   

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Monday, 15 December 2014


Judy Kay-Wolff posted a comment recently where she correctly condemned a modern day tactic ( or is it obsession ? )  to stick in bids simply to rattle and disturb the minds of their opponents. By creating the illusion that none of villian's bids can be believed or trusted , the unfair advantage gained can now be thoroughly exploited to great effect on subsequent boards. 
Psyching a 1NT on a complete yarborough is an abomination of the what really matters in the game of bridge : the integrity of the player and what is actually on the system card. Any bid which is an outright lie , or designed purely to create havoc and or confusion , should be outlawed. leave psychs to big money players of rubber bridge , where the poker tactics become part and parcel of the game. 
Whenever a player makes an opening bid which goes far beyond a major deviation , the tactic should be classified as a form of cheating , or an outrageous prank , where the culprit just wants to get " one over " the opponents. Players owe a duty of care to the rest of the field.   By handing out a top as a consequence of this unacceptable behaviour , the guilty pair might well leap frog others on the leader board in undeserving circumstances ,  forging ahead of all their opponents who fought hard  ( and genuinely ) to earn a part-score average. Similarly , if the psych worked against producing an outright bottom , then others in the field will all get an undeserved albeit improved score on that particular board.
Foolish , reckless and insane bids adversely affect the whole field , inevitably distorting the scoring and the final placings in the process. If the authorities are so adamant on pairs having their system cards available for close inspection , and abiding by the strict " alert " rules , then why in God's name do they allow players to deviate from what they have agreed ,and what is clearly written down in black and white ? Players who psych  a conventional 1NT can only be described as liars and cheats.
The whole idea of auction bidding is to communicate details about one's hand to partner: information which the opponents are also entitled to share. The real skill of the game is for players to absorb all the information revealed in an auction to make winning decisions on how to proceed in the auction , and the subsequent play of the cards afterwards. 
What the game of bridge needs now , even in top class tournaments level , is a level playing field. This in turn means working towards standardising what conventions are permissible , and the introduction of bans on all psychs and gross system deviations. Moreover , I would be much happier to see conventional bids having one meaning only , properly described on the system card , or explained in a single sentence. Bids that have 2 or more possible meanings ( which may well come to light later on in the auction ) have in my view an ambiguity that is meaningless at the time the bid is made. 
Integrity, fairness and honesty should be the bedrock on which the game of bridge is built. Players should focus less on enigma-code system cards , and rely on the knowledge gleened from the auction  to help determine the best way to make more tricks than the rest of the field. The game of bridge should not be corrupted and spoiled by smart-arse cheats.    

Friday, 12 December 2014

( Carp finally speaks out )

How come archery , rifle shooting and darts are all classed as sports when the key objective of all the competitors is to remain perfectly still , before executing shots by the the oh so careful pull and release of an arm , the finger squeeze of the trigger  and a forward flick of the wrist ?
What physical element there is in these sports falls into absolute insignificance when compared to the physical demands of bridge
Indeed , I have examined in detail the physical movements highly competitive bridge players undertake when performing in top class events. And let me tell you ,  many of them are energy sapping and exhausting. So let's look at some of the physical demands put upon bridge players which people ( including judges ) have failed to see......

1. Repeatedly getting up and down from chairs
2. Holding up cards for long periods of time
3. Placing and picking up cards onto and off the table
4. Sorting cards into suits and rank order
5. Repeatedly fanning , folding and re-fanning their cards
6. Shrugging shoulders in abject disgust and despair
7. Leaning well back in condescending delight and smugness
8. Leaning well forward to eye-ball unethical opponents
9. Squirming about in seats in absolute discomfort and distress
10. Strumming fingers on the table to flag up impatience or boredom
11. Nervously scratching forbidden zones of their bodies
12. Tensing facial muscles prior to making an awkward or difficult decision
13. Violently grabbing partners to shake some goddamn sense into them
14. Launching bridgemates with some velocity to demonstrate frustration and anger   
15. Ripping up score cards in absolute disgust
16. Slamming exit doors with extreme gusto for dramatic effect
17. Jumping up and down either in rage.... or with glee
18. Craning necks in order to obtain a better view 
19. Regularly going off on intelligence gathering walkabouts
20. Racing after officious TDs to give them a piece of their mind
21. Running to the bar for urgently needed therapeutic refreshments and/or liquid stimulants 
22. Jostling for a better position in the buffet queues
23. Ducking and diving to escape the wrath of their team-mates
24. Puffing out chests to bloat and inflate their self-importance even more 
25. Writhing about in shame and embarrassment as their wretched scores come under 
      close scrutiny   

Thursday, 11 December 2014


( Acting on behalf of this well known but infamous bridge club , Bigot-Johnson decides to mount another legal challenge against the HM Revenue and Customs ,  to reclaim VAT on competition entry fees. Despite the fact that the EBU lost its case earlier on this year , Bigot was of the opinion that their lawyers had clearly missed a trick by relying on inadequate and flawed arguments. He was determined to get this precedent over-ruled , if only to ensure that bridge is revered as a sport in the same way as boxing. The case came before a High Court judge , who thankfully approached the issue with a fair and open mind. ) 

B-J : Your Honour ........I don't give a fig as to what happened several months earlier when the EBU failed to win its case. The earlier judge got it completely wrong. So to follow the precedent he laid down would be absurd and obscene ......creating yet another example of unacceptable British injustice
Judge : The judge you are referring to happens to be my brother
B-J : Oh....
Judge : Nevertheless I am prepared to hear what arguments you are going to put forward to establish bridge as a sport...... equal to say.....boxing ? 
B-J : I agree that many sports have a physical element to them , but the essence of a real sport has nothing to do with muscles , hand-eye co-ordination or steroids.
Judge : Please go on.....
B-J : Well , first off to call an activity a sport requires of course the element of competition , where each participant enters an arena to pit his/her skills and abilities against others in the quest for glory and fame. Bridge certainly meets that criterion.
Secondly , all sports involve rules , which by and large are designed to create a level playing fields and to crack down on cheating. And let me assure you that the sport of bridge is deluged with rules...not to mention the tens of thousands of cheats who continue to ignore them....
Judge : My God is the problem of cheating that bad ?
B-J : So bad your Honour that in major events screens have to be put up so that competitors can't get to see their opponents.....or their partners. 
Judge : Heavens above......I never would have guessed
B-J : Moreover any proper sport requires all competitors to go through the pain barrier in order to succeed. And nobody suffers more pain then when a bridge player sees his partner bin a simple contract ...or allow the opposition to make an impossible contract. The pain is excruciating... 
Judge : Any other observations ?  
B-J : All sport champions rely on their mental discipline ,  sustained concentration and focus, in order to push themselves to the limit so as never to allow their exceptionally high standards to slip....not even for a second. Again bridge is no exception.
Judge : But how can you equate bridge to the physically demanding sport of boxing ? 
B-J : Boxers and bridge players are in fact very alike. Boxers get physically bruised....bridge players mentally bruised. Each is trying to inflict maximum damage to their opponents. Prior to entering the sporting arena , battle plans and tactics are drawn up , where it becomes essential to identify and play upon an opponent's weakness. Mental stamina is essential if both types of sportsmen wish to succeed. But the main thing that boxers and bridge players have in common is the ability to anticipate what an opponent will do next....and how to counter the move. Moreover , both will set out to seize every opportunity to break through an opponent's defence.
The ability to think quicker and react faster than your opponent is what makes a winner and a champion....nothing to do with physical size , weight or strength. Why the best boxers knock their opponents out with a split-second combination of fast small punches as opposed to one single almighty wallop.
Judge : Yes.....I see what you're driving at....sportsmen need to be " clever " as opposed to fit in order to triumph 
B-J :  Exactly , bunny bashing requires hunting down and outwitting your opponents before going in for the fact I would equate bridge to the fiercest form of gladiatorial combat ...
brutal and beautiful to watch 
Judge :  Well I'll be damned......bridge is indeed the ultimate sport......and yes you can reclaim VAT on competition entry fees. All costs  therefore are to be paid by the defendants.
B-J : Your really are a gentleman and a scholar  
Judge : And my cheque will be in tomorrow's post ?
B-J : Count on it.....       


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

 "HAVING A FIELD DAY " : THE TRUE ORIGIN OF THIS SAYING........... ( Research by Pun )

Most people use this figurative expression for a day or occasion or time of particular success , often associated with great excitement in the world of competitive sports. However , the myth that such a saying was first used by the military , to describe a day when troops were engaged in manoeuvres , exercises or reviews out in the field , needs to be dispelled immediately.Often the area or place in which military operations were carried out were nothing like open fields. The army in particular would use barren or rocky terrains , woods,  along with derelict sites where houses had been reduced to rubble. 
My research has shown that the expression was first coined at the Long Buckby Bridge Club during a pairs tournament in 1902. The winning pair , a couple of well-to-do farmers , scored 76% , having crucified the opposition from start to finish. As one laid his blood stained hands on the trophy, he was heard to remark to his partner " In all my life  I've never come across so many useless tossers all gathered together in the same place ....... in fact any half-decent player would have a field day against this load of bunnies ". 
Consequently from that day on big hitters would turn up at tournaments referring to all other competitors as rabbits , expecting of course to have a field day of remorseless, enjoyable , highly rewarding slaughter . 

Monday, 8 December 2014


Yet again Bigot-Johnson managed to embarrass himself , and many others , when he got up to address the committee on a matter of urgent concern. Annoyed at the way the committee had stripped him of a trophy on the grounds of cheating  ( allegations of God helping him to walk on water and perform miracles at the card table ) , Bigot removed his top coat to expose his naked body for all and sundry to look at in absolute wonder and amazement.
The lady chairman was so taken back she nearly had a stroke , but she was just too far away to reach......


Friday, 5 December 2014

DO THE ENDS EVER JUSTIFY THE MEANS ?.......( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi  )

The answer has to be an emphatic  " NO ".
Take for instance the criminal justice system. Should a man who is clearly guilty of a crime walk free because the trial itself was flawed in some way ? The answer here has to be an emphatic "YES ". For what matters most is the reliability and integrity of the criminal justice system , which must be preserved at all costs. Trials need to be fundamentally fair and impartial, such that an innocent person can have complete faith in the fact that his/her innocence will be surely established, and that a " not guilty " verdict will be the obvious and inevitable outcome. The price of bending over backwards to ensure innocent people walking free is , I'm afraid , the outrage of seeing rogues and villains also escaping punitive consequences.
Any verdict or sentence which has been brought about by a perverse trial has no legal validity whatsoever. Judges must be seen to be completely impartial , juries unbiased and untainted by bribes or threats.  The evidence presented by the police must never be fabricated , false or doctored in some way. Defence evidence should never be suppressed or ignored. Witnesses should never be tricked or confused by sharp silver-tongued lawyers. Justice is best served by fairness , objectivity , impartiality and honesty.
So what of bridge clubs and disciplinary hearings , which are so often conduced as quasi-criminal trials ? Should the same criteria apply ? Again the answer is " YES ".  If an unruly club member is guilty of say assaulting another member, following a heated argument , he/she is entitled to a fair and open hearing by an open-minded , impartial committee. However , if that hearing or disciplinary process is flawed in some way , then the validity of the decision to suspend or expel that member is clearly open to question. Any defects in that process automatically raises doubts about the fairness of that decision ,  and therefore the best course of action is to retract that decision straightaway. 
Again it is the integrity of the process that matters , and not the fact that an unruly member is allowed back into the fold. Members must have total confidence and faith in a disciplinary procedure , which guarantees their membership cannot be terminated on just a fanciful whim , or by false or unproven evidence of a wrongdoing seized upon by a committee with personal axes to grind. 

So once again  I say hats off to Plymouth Bridge Club for doing the right thing. 


Thursday, 4 December 2014


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

SO BRIDGE IS NOT A SPORT AFTER ALL.......WHAT AN OUTRAGE !......... ( Article by Carp )

Well , I never ......if bridge has been excluded as a competitive sport because it lacks that real or significant physical element ,  then will someone tell me WHY IN THE BLUE BLAZES ARE DARTS AND RIFLE SHOOTING NOT SIMILARLY EXCLUDED  ! 
When one considers darts , where is the physical element there ? Because what we have are obese , fat-bellied , beer swilling men standing on the oche mat with their bodies and heads utterly still and motionless , taking careful aim , before making only an elbow movement  to execute the throw.
As for rifle shooting the physical element appears to be the movement only of the trigger finger. 
Competitors are either sitting or lying down , again attempting to be utterly motionless and still , such that when the triggered is squeezed there's no body movement at all to distort the accuracy of their aim. 
In my view , these two sports ( like bridge ) require absolute focus and concentration, which requires physical fitness to help maintain the intense mental effort and stamina to perform successfully at the highest level.
So even judges don't understand the demands of bridge , which clearly suggest that it too is an extremely challenging sport !

( The Telegraph report can be seen below )

The English Bridge Union loses legal challenge against HM Revenue and Customs aimed at reclaiming VAT on competition entry fees

Contract bridge is a game, not a sport, a tax tribunal has ruled
2:57PM GMT 24 Feb 2014
To its legions of fans, contract bridge can be every bit as gruelling and competitive as football or cricket.
It may therefore come as a surprise to the 300,000 regular players in Britain that a tribunal has ruled that it is a game and not a sport.
The English Bridge Union had argued that its members should not have to pay VAT on competition entry fees because they were taking part in a pursuit that is recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee, the Charity Commission and several other European countries.
It pointed out that croquet, darts, billiards and gliding were regarded as sports by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) even though “physical skill or activity plays second fiddle to mental skill”.
Playing bridge regularly promotes both physical and mental health, and studies have shown that it may benefit the immune system and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease or suffering mental deterioration, the English Bridge Union argued.

However, the Tax Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal rejected the claim, concluding that contract bridge does not involve a “significant amount” of physical activity.

Judge Charles Hellier said: "To our minds, sport normally connotes a game with an athletic element, rather than simply a game."
The English Bridge Union brought the case against HMRC in an attempt to reclaim the VAT paid on bridge competition entry fees between June 2008 and December 2011. In 2012/13 alone the income from fees totalled £631,000.
Dr John Petrie, the union’s treasurer, told the tribunal that national bridge organisations in France, Holland, Belgium, Ireland and Poland were not charged VAT on entry fees.
He argued that the proper meaning of “sport” included contract bridge as an activity which promotes mental and physical well being.
David Ewart QC, for the English Bridge Union, asked whether it was possible to “draw a distinction between the mental skill needed in planning a snooker shot, or a croquet stroke, and the physical skill used in executing it”.
Judge Hellier accepted HMRC’s argument that it was the physical, rather than the mental, aspect of sports that benefited from the VAT exemption.
Dismissing the appeal, he concluded: "Contract bridge involves some physical activity, but not a significant amount.
"The physical activity is not the aim of participation and physical skill, as opposed to purely mental skill, is not particularly important to the outcome of participation".
However, the judge did note some qualms that failing to recognise bridge as a sport might discriminate against older people given that a high proportion of the card game’s players are elderly.
He said it could be argued that the sports exemption was “skewed towards the young”, but added: "We console ourselves with the thought that, although the direct beneficiaries of (physical) education are the young, the old may benefit from their labours."

Monday, 1 December 2014