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Class Action Against Mr Nicolas Hammond

My lawyers, Grabbit, Obfuscate, Grabbit, Sue and Pettifog have asked me to post this on Bridgewinners in order to ask other BW members to join me in a “class action” against Nicolas Hammond for his posting “Statistically, What is the Best Opening Lead in a World Pairs Event?” They write:

Disclaimer: No partner nor employee of Grabbit, Obfuscate, Grabbit, Sue and Pettifog plays “bridge” nor has any knowledge of the game. So any inaccuracies in what follows are due to your imperfect comprehension.

Our client, Mr Alan Taylor, assures us that he is a distinguished bridge player and, of course, no client would ever lie to his lawyer. Furthermore, he tells us that his average pairs score (whatever that means) for 2016 is 45.78964% (I will admit that we were somewhat surprised that such an average could be described as “distinguished” but Mr Taylor assures us that this is a score well out of the range of most world champions.)

Mr Taylor read the pedagogic post of Mr Nicolas Hammond (hereinafter to be referred to as “the defendant”) “Statistically, What is the Best Opening Lead in a World Pairs Event?” and impressed by the apparent depth of the defendant’s statistical analysis decided to adopt the defendant’s methods. After all, if Mr Hammond's methods were effective at a World's Championship, how much more effective would they be at Mr Taylor's suburban bridge club? The result was disastrous. From the lofty average of 45.78964%, his score plummeted to a miserly 37.91643%. He assures us that this has led to the following negative consequences:

1. His peers are now dismissive of his post-mortems whereas previously “they hung on his every word.”

2. He is now reluctant to play at this club as he feels that some members are pointing to him as “one of the mighty fallen”.

3. He has not slept for two nights as he constantly replays the hands in question to see how the defendant’s analysis became so badly flawed.

Consequently, we will be instituting proceedings to obtain damages for loss of reputation, damage to health, loss of income (people no longer buy him a drink while discussing hands) and mental injury.

Mr Taylor gave us these example “hands” where the defendant’s “advice” (for lack of a better word) caused these issues. There are not many as Mr Taylor assures us that he “defends” less often than most players as his partners prefer him to “play the dummy” and our observations lead us to believe that few would be better qualified for this role.

Exhibit 1: He, sitting West, held AKQJ987 543 65 4

The “auction” (this word confused us – apparently in the strange world of bridge, this does not have its usual meaning of disposing of the widow’s property so as to pay the legal bills but is an attempt to reach a “contract” – which, amazingly, both parties agree to and then (incredibly) don’t attempt to break – I repeat “in the strange world of bridge”)

North South

1NT   3NT

and being on lead with a probable 7 tricks, he doubled. We assume that this is an attempt to gain punitive damages and the opposition redoubled (a typical defendant’s ruse to intimidate, in this case unsuccessfully).

The defendant’s “Conclusion 2 – If you have a black nine, lead it.” Mr Taylor did and was shocked to find that, not only was he the only West not to defeat this contract, but that the result was his incurring a minus score of 2600 – something which he had only done 4 or 5 times in the previous 9 months of the year.

Exhibit 2: And then there is the defendant’s conclusion 3! “Never lead a red 8”.

A simple injunction and so ideally fitted to our client’s mindset when he held:

32 8 765 10986432

And, after the ‘auction’P 1S 5H 6NT,  He followed injunctions 2 AND 3 and led the C9, his partner, holding  A  AQJ10976 inter alia, was not complimentary about the plaintiff’s choice of lead.

Which brings us to defendant's conclusion 5 - If you have to lead an Ace, lead a red one - they do much better than the black ones.

Exhibit 3: Our client held

 A32  A5 7654 8632

And saw his partner open 3S. next hand overcalled 3NT and this became the final contract. (Dear god. How can you have a FINAL contract – what are lawyers for?, Please give us some wriggle room.)

Following the defendant’s advice our client led the A and then Ace and another spade. Once again, our client had to suffer some somewhat acerbic comments from his partner as declarer quickly made his contract via the SK , two Aces and 6 hearts. It seems unlikely that our client is the only one who has been taken in by Mr Hammond’s pernicious and meretricious posting. It is the contention of the plaintiff that Mr Hammond posted this for no other reason than to persuade his opponents, potential future opponents and anyone who might pass within his malevolent orbit to adopt inferior methods. If you wish to join this class action, please contact I. Will Stuffem at Grabbit, Obfuscate, Grabbit, Sue and Pettifog, 666 Upyour Alley, Wotsursismine

Should Mr Hammond and his legal advisors have any doubts about our determination to pursue this matter to the fullest, then I can assure them that we are quite prepared to take this matter to the CAS, IOC and WBF, each of which bodies is renowned for its ability to make difficult, incisive, even-handed and bold decisions


I. Will Stuffem

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