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Outraged by the USBF

The conduct of the USBF and some of our luminaries is reprehensible.

All bridge events have rules. Two of the most sacrosanct of them are that if you enter an event you must complete it, and that you cannot enter two events that overlap. The ACBL has taken that last rule so seriously that they have created a "Bye Swiss" for those who have byes the first day of the Vanderbilt or the Spingold. 

Nonetheless, the USBF has thrown those rules out and made a mockery of the World Championships. The Trials, which are being played right now, take weeks to complete, have very diligent rules which are strictly enforced (9 imp penalty for a cell phone in a match decided by 2 over 120 boards).

It is the highest honor in bridge to fiercely compete for the right to represent your country at the World Championships. There is nothing quite like that. We all remember that Migry was denied the right to play in Bali for a long time. Eventually, at the 11th hour, she was admitted. Had she not been permitted to play, her team would have had to play 5 handed as those are the rules. In a fairytale ending the USA team won the World title and we were all so proud. 

The USBF has now said that none of that is important. The only thing that is important this week is pandering to players taking two paychecks and intentionally destroying the fabric of the teams which have fought for as long as 10 days for their chance to be part of history and to represent the United States of America in the World Championships. People that have created their teams months ago and put together a group which has a legitimate chance to contend and win. 

But look what the USBF has done to destroy this. 

Winners of the Mixed teams included Steve Garner and Howie Weinstein. Sounds like congratulations are in order, but not so fast. You see, each of them is also entered in the Senior Trials. The Mixed and the Seniors will be played in China AT THE SAME TIME. How can this be? It has never before been allowed. Remember, all of our bridge lives, you cannot enter an event in which you do not intend to finish it. Yet here we are. 

Garner and Weinstein happen to be on different teams, but they could have been on the same team. That means that the Ivatury team, which won the Mixed would be destroyed, losing two of their 3 male teammates. What then? I am pretty sure the WBF would not allow them to compete with only one male so the USBF, geniuses that they are, will then allow Ivatury to augment with two additional players; players who DID NOT win the Trials. So anyone who lost to Ivatury should feel cheated if they are allowed to go play with one or two new players who did not actually win. Well, not everyone will feel cheated. Two more paydays have been created. 

Here are some of the double dippings happening: 

Garner-Weinstein won the Mixed and are playing the Seniors

Karen McCallum won the Women's and is playing the Seniors

Michael Rosenberg is playing today for the right to be USA2 in the Mixed, yet he is entered in the Seniors. 

According to Chip Martel, if you win the Seniors, the "RULE" is that you must play on the Senior squad and relinquish your position on any other Trials that you happen to have won. At least there is some rule. 

I won't belabor it here, but please draw your own conclusions as to what Marty Fleisher and the USBF Board must have been thinking the day they approved this. Approved it, I might add, over vehement objections of some Board advisors. 

I have represented the United States before and it is special. Not sure that it is as special any more. Some players and team captains have to be actively rooting for their own teammates to LOSE, so as not to decimate their own team. Is that what we want for bridge?

Greed-1, USBF-0

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