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.    

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