Friday, 29 April 2016


Thursday, 28 April 2016


Sunday, 24 April 2016

( Article by Carp )

Slow players are in my humble view the invisible cheats in the world of bridge: unrecognised and ignored by those in authority. Their personal torment of course is never knowing what to bid or which card to play next. Their world is one of confusion , self-doubt and dithering. Yet their nightmare is nothing compared to the torment they inflict upon their embarrassed partners and distraught opponents. Slow players  test everyone's patience to such an extent maintaining self-control becomes almost impossible. Yet nothing is ever done to root this evil from this game.
So let's look at the consequences of slow play and the way it sullies this cherished and hallowed game :
1. The stress levels for those at the table is akin to a boiling pot with the lid pressed down
2. Unwanted pressure is put on others to hurry their decisions simply to recover the lost time
3. By being cheated out of their fair share of thinking time , other players are now far more to
    make uncharacteristic mistakes
4. The game takes on an unfavourable reputation of being painfully boring
5. Starting times for the next round can be held up risking the cancellation of the final round
6. Any poor souls following a slow pair often find themselves half-a-board down before they
    even get to the vacated seats
7. Slow play might well be used as a psychological weapon to rattle the opponents, which 
    clearly amounts to another form of invisible cheating

Indeed , slow play represents acts of gross selfishness , which warrants both warnings and stiff penalties. If cricketers can be fined for slow play then so should all other kinds of sportsmen including bridge players. To see a player um and arr over a decision in circumstances where
the bog standard choice is obviously right , it's no wonder why those adversely affected by these unnecessary delays tend to blow a gasket. So can anyone please explain to me why zero tolerance policies choose to ignore the shocking behaviour of slow play.

Thursday, 21 April 2016


Sunday, 17 April 2016


One poor unfortunate UK bridge club has been forced to close down having spent nearly £136,000 on window repairs over the last six years.A spokesman for the club said ; " The problem of flying bridgemates had got out of control.  Elderly members were incapable of throwing them with any degree of accuracy. Far too many attempts missed their intended targets only to end up smashing through the windows. "
Finances at the club had been so severely stretched ,  the committee had no other option but to close down the club. One member who had suggested steel meshing to be fixed to the inside window frames was completely ignored . Another poor sole who suggested reverting back to scoring up the boards on travellers was told in no uncertain terms to bugger off. Indeed , the club chairman believed that the bridgemate technology was here to stay , and that in future all members would be given lessons in piloting these lethal objects with precision and accuracy.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

ANYONE LISTENING ?............. ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

Zero tolerance simply equates to zero judgement for bridge club officers.  These rule bound , rigid , inflexible keepers of the peace only act on what is laid down as best behaviour code of conduct , imposing punishments on all who are deemed to have committed rule violations no matter how small....... and certainly never taking into account any mitigating circumstances.
This blind and blinkered approach to enforcing rules come-what-may compels me to raise that warning flag.  Indeed , whenever a club committee adheres to a one-size-fit-all policy injustice will rear its ugly head for sure. There will be a list of unresolved issues when punishment seems unjust and unfair , akin to using a sledge hammer to crack a small nut. Those who dish out unwarranted and disproportionate punishment will either look foolish or vindictive. 
Zero tolerance does in my view has an important part to play in addressing gross misconduct , but in other situations where rule violations are petty and insignificant such draconian policies are flawed. Surely to god there are other preventative measures which can be put in place to improve behaviour without using the proverbial sledge hammer. I'm all in favour of progressive fines as money tends to have a sobering effect on most people. 
What upsets me more than anything is seeing punishment handed out to the innocent for crimes committed by the guilty. Why should a player be reprimanded for showing his /her disapproval  ( with a few well chosen words ) to a slow player. This kind of villain , who one could unfortunately be following all night around the room ,  not only disrupts the play , but also likely to hold up the whole movement ,  often causing the last round of boards to be forfeited. 
ZT policies are by definition inflexible , harsh and lacking in common sense. Law enforcement officers , or should I say bridge police , need to apply both compassion and discretion when mitigating circumstances can clearly be established.
In common law the starting point is always establish a general rule , but over the years in the interests of justice wisdom has prevailed as learned judges introduce exceptions to the rule , and then where necessary exceptions to the exceptions. Everything is judged in effect on the merits of the case , where mitigating circumstances will always be explored and acknowledged. 
Therefore within the framework of ZT policies , there needs to be a measure of flexibility and movement in order to establish a reasonable and fair minded response. Bringing a knife into a club with intent to harm someone is one thing , but bringing a knife in to use in self defence is another.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

( By Carp )

The most telling characteristics , which are there for all to see , are listed below :

1.  Sits sideways on at the table
2.  Leans well back with legs well apart
3.  Portrays an air of superiority ( which his inability at the game cannot justify )
4.  Condescending attitude towards his partners
5.  Loves to hold court even though no one wants to listen
6.  Hums when happy: tuts when distressed
7.  Blames everyone else but never himself
8.  Huffs and puffs when under pressure
9.  Places his cards on the table in a casual , nonchalant way
10. Forever calling the TD over for perceived rule violations 
11. Always a sarcastic tone in his voice
12. Loves the sound of his own voice
13. Never listens
14.  Reacts badly to any form of criticism 
15.  Acts and behaves like a spoilt child and/or injured prima donna 
16.  Oblivious to his irritating habits ( which are many )
17.  Deliberate and annoyingly slow
18.  Oozes smugness when luck is going his way
19.  Greets opponents with insincere politeness and false bonhomme 
20.  Name dropper of the highest order when boasting and bragging  

Sunday, 10 April 2016

     " Doctor......I don't need you to give me a ticking off......I've got
        a bridge partner who does that job very well indeed  "

Thursday, 7 April 2016


In games like chess , backgammon and go there's a one-to-one confrontation. The computer has full information of the board and pieces in play. The process of determining the best moves can be solved by decision trees , with options supported by reference to a large database of previous games , where both winning and losing moves are on record.
Bridge on the other hand would require two computers to operate independently of each other but in keeping with an agreed , albeit programmed , system card. Their understanding will therefore be in accordance with all the rules of the game , agreed conventions ,  logical deductions and mathematical/ probability analysis. What a computer pairing may never be able to achieve is table presence , intuition and an instinct for deceptive play. How can computers pick up the vibes from opponents' pauses , hesitations , moments of indecision and changes of mind ?  No matter how good the programming , computers may not be able work out what is going on when deceptive smokescreens are created by their expert opponents.
Indeed , when computers are hit with high level pre-empts, psyches , and/or off-center bids any decisions arrived at can be based on inaccurate data and/or false assumptions. The experts of course will possess are far greater understanding of the situation , knowing that all is not what it seems.
Playing bridge involves far too many intangibles that cannot be programmed into a computer. For instance experts know intuitively when the time is right to introduce " swinging " onto their bidding and play. Moreover , experts know how to muddy the waters to make life difficult for opponents , and when to adopt a passive or aggressive stance in bidding and/or defence. World class players have of course the ability to be imaginative , flexible and deceptive . They know how to set traps , smell rats , and to weave intricate webs of deception. Often in a well established pairing , each player develops a sixth sense as to what his/her partner is all about. This isn't cheating for it is wisdom based on years of experience. Computers are forced to rely on cold logic , and analysis based on hard facts stored in their memory banks.
Bridge they say is a game which to an extent relies on luck. Decisions often made in the absence of any information require a player to make a guess. Luck they say evens out allowing computers and humans to get the same amount. However , experts make their own luck by persuading their opponents into taking the wrong option .False carding along with other forms of deceptive play may become the only option for a defence , bereft of points , to outwit and outflank their opponents. Can computers recognize these situations at the table, or know how to spot and react to such cunning. ? 
So yes , at present my money will always be wagered on the experts to least for another century.   

Monday, 4 April 2016


- getting up from their seats takes more than one go
- partners constantly diagnose everything they do as possible symptoms of ill-health
- fanning all 13 cards becomes a major problem
- they claim to know all the answers but no one bothers to ask the questions
- at least 30% of their weight is in just one place
- they have to rest immediately after bending down to retrieve a dropped card
- success has now become a case of not coming bottom 
- they constantly peek at their system cards in order to remember what conventions
  are on it
- members who warn them to slow down are all qualified doctors
- instead of combing their hair they focus far more on arranging it
- damp seats forever follow them around the room
- they yearn to wallow in nostalgia but they can't remember their past
- they suddenly switch from slating older members to now much younger ones  
- their idea of getting fresh air involves sitting next to an open window
- their perception of a quick bid is one that takes between 30-40 seconds
- guesswork now replaces logical deduction and analysis
- getting close to the table involves pulling in stomachs before pulling in the chairs
- the faces of their next opponents light up with joy at the prospect of some easy tops 

Sunday, 3 April 2016


Let's face it inept partners can drive anyone to blow their stack. How players are meant to keep their cool when partners keep on pressing self-destruct buttons is beyond me. Indeed , over the years I've had to clench my fists, bite my tongue and bottle my anger and frustration because of partner's carelessness and idiocy. How can anyone be expected to cope with a partner who during a session commits the following sins :
1.  Forgets what's on the system card
2.  Hands out advantages to the opponents by bidding and playing cards out of turn
3.  Makes careless discards which then exposes you to an excruciating squeeze
4.  Pulls your excellent doubles into a doomed contracts 
5.  Fails to return a suit which which you were planning to ruff
6.  Fails to cash a winner because of his/her failure to count  
7.  Ignores both obvious and blatantly obvious signals
8.  Always manages to choose grossly inferior lines of play
9.  Forgets to alert artificial opening bids 
10. Leaves in your take-out doubles
11. Misbids distributional two-suited hands
12. Allows suits to be blocked
13. Maroons him/herself from winners in dummy
14. Pulls trumps when cross-ruffing provides the best chance of making tricks
15. Loves to lead out unsupported honours
16. Gifts opponents galactic tops
17. Can never recall the bidding or cards played earlier on
18. Hesitates for ages before passing
19. Selects a card to be played ahead of everyone else
20. Falls into the simplest of traps set by the opponents
21. Misses every opportunity to punish slip-ups by the opponents
22. Goes on walkabouts
23. Can never recognise what declarer is up to
24. Loves to give opponents free get-out-of-jail cards
25. Doesn't know or understand the concept of safety play
26. Over bids on poor hands while underbidding on good hands

Need I go on because in even in these few examples any saint would succumb to flying into a rage invoking the wrath of the zero tolerance enforcement officers , who of course have no idea or sympathy as to what you have had to suffer.