Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Allan Graves
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We have asked repeatedly for this to occur but for liability issues we were told that they prefer to see the resolution of the Lotan ( that is not me in the videos ) Fisher , Ron ( not me either ) Schwartz case . Understandable and they are suspended pending a hearing which is supposed to happen in Reno .
Jan. 30, 2016
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David , you are trolling this sight. Everyone reasonable understands what this implies.
No one on this committee would have impure motives towards not only ridding the bridge world of cheats but more over have ensured that the accused be given ever opportunity to response
Jan. 29, 2016
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Of course the rule that members of bridge organizations must accept such committees ruling as a condition of membership is not yet the case. I thought that was obvious in my comment. From what we now understand to be the case if such procedures had been in place a number of years ago, Fisher and Schwartz would never have been members in good standing of any NBO and hence would have been barred from all organized bridge quite some time ago.
Jan. 29, 2016
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This nonsense is why we need the proposed policy that only players in good standing are allowed to play. Rule one of joining a bridge organization such as the ACBL is to be bound 100 % to committee rulings that withdraw “ good standing” for cheating without having to prove how they were cheating . As has been clearly stated repeatedly on this site the committee would be made of entirely of the those who not only were the best in the world , but beyond reproach. Maybe it is time for the EBL to ban Israel from playing in EBL events until this matter is resolved.
Jan. 29, 2016
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Yes , and that is why a significantly improved recorder system with a computerized data base is required . Am I the only one wondering the video evidence has not resulted in s lifetime ban for Fisher Schwartz from the ACBL regardless of what any other organization thinks ?
Jan. 23, 2016
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One issue is does partner have prior knowledge that their partner is likely the hand without the values or intent their auction suggests and that this style has not been made available to the opponents. For eg Neither vol it goes 1C , 1D, 1H, to you holding 26 HCP balanced. If you assume that it is partner who has nothing for their 1D overcall then that is prior knowledge. Say your convention card says 0-18 as their overcall range. Ok I am not sure that is legal under the arcane rules of the ACBL but lets say it is. Your educated guess says its partner who has 0 and you bid 3NT. dummy does indeed have 0 , good guess. So it is reported. It turns out that overtime partner has far less for his tactical actions you field it nicely . Their is no implications of overt signals ,your card says 0-18 but video and observes note their is always a little something in the air when partner has sub values. You know he has zero.The opponents don't. There is something wrong with that don't you think ? This is the problem that has to be solved. Many “ active ” pairs , especially in " hit and run events like pairs or swiss teams against weaker players get away with this. Is there anything wrong do you think ? This is one situation that increased recording would expose. On the contrary to some of the posts with technology and the programming wizzes we have it would be very easy to have this data base, Simply type in the players ACBL number and look at the cases. The problem here is of course that we do not know of all the disasters that occurred when partner did not field it . What about leads ? Do they field when not to lead it and when to lead it ? I do not know the solution to all of this but surely most would agree it is a problem.
Jan. 23, 2016
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I see , thanks . To say more simply then the committee has final say . All players signed off on that when they entered the tournament . Clearly then the committee is appointed with utmost care . They must be of the very , very highest bridge skill and of impeccable character . It is not a legal proceeding . It is unimaginable that a committee composed of such players would deem a pair as cheats who were not cheating . Obviously such a committee would not come to such a decision lightly . Finally a pair convicted of illegal signaling must be banned for life .One does not have the right to play bridge and I would guess the probability of a convicted cheat returning as an ethical player to be almost zero . The damage caused to the game is so extreme that no second chances are warranted .
Jan. 21, 2016
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In September there was a very well discussed policy proposal of having tournament players sign off on accepting the ruling of such a committee based solely on substantial circumstantial evidence. I hope that this policy proposal is still very much in play. Playing tournament bridge is not a right but a privilege and if a committee of the best players, in the world say that a pair is clearly cheating then that should be the end of it. We cannot be held hostage by cheaters splitting legal hairs when it is completely obvious beyond all shadow of a doubt that they are cheating.
Jan. 20, 2016
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Yes sectionals are part of their charge but why so many sectionals as clearly they hurt a full service club . If they cut sectionals by half the dedicated unit volunteers could focus on new player developemenylt. They could offer and / or co ordinate teaching the game to brand new players in community centers , social clubs , golf clubs etc . We need to begin to teach the public how to play recreational rubber bridge , the mother game and find places for them to play it as home play is dying rapidly . People playing ACBL mind sport duplicate has always been a minuscule fraction on the bridge playing public as the vast majority are not interested in pitting their skill against other players . They much prefer the recreational experience of playing the worlds best game they way it was created with the skill and gamble of a great card game but not as a highly competitive mind sport . However the vast pool of recreational players always provided those who did indeed want the personal challenge and commitment of duplicate . They came to the duplicate already having spent hundreds if not thousands of hours at the rubber table so adjusting to duplicate was not difficult .Then they decided whether it was for them . In the fifties some 40 million Americans knew about bridge but less than 200 K belonged to the ACBL . We forget what a tough sport duplicate is
And regrettably how much fun it is to play rubber bridge at home or a social or golf club with friends . The ACBL has an enormous opportunity to provide recreational rubber bridge to the public without pressuring them to play duplicate Thise who want to try duplicate will do so naturally
What difference does it matter to a club owner where their bridge revenue comes from . Yes it will take some reorganization of priorities but that is what entrepreneurs do . They react to market demand . It is a huge mistake in general to team new players duplicate . The harsh and uncompromising feedback is counter productive to enjoying the learning experience . If we had adapted to the dying home games 40 years ago the ACBL would be thriving now with millions of recreational rubber players and the same 200 K of duplicate players . Moreover the less experienced duplicate players would be much better than those today . Taking up this challenge is one task that progressive unit boards could do within the overall view of creating and supporting full service bridge clubs . One start might be that their are no new sanctions granted to anyone that does not have a teaching program for new players .
Dec. 29, 2015
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Ray i sincerely apologize for failing to state that unit owned community clubs may well own and operate excellent full service clubs , some of which actually host the sectionals but I still stand by the premise that excess sectionals draw revenue from full service clubs who are better placed to invest directly in development . I also stand by my view that silver points were created to benefit units . I suspect that ACBL table fees are higher from sectionals than from club games although I am willing to stand corrected . I also stand by my view that member wide voting for the ACBL board is preferable to election by only unit board members. In general I feel that ACBL sanctions should only be granted to clubs with an active teaching program and a pro active program for development . Way too many sanctions are awarded to operators who run once or twice a week against a full service club and offer nothing to the members other than a cheaper game . The players are developed by the full service club at no small expense and then the cheaper one a two session a week sanctioned games raid the full service clubs for their players . These sanctions should not be granted . Silver points to entice revenue from clubs to unit sectionals are a very dubious policy . Colored points for regionals are enough to test skill
but as was mentioned in an earlier post on bridge winners we now award gold points for restricted events . This policy undermines the main point which is to rate skill so that players can compete with their peers . It seems that “winning Masterpoints ”rather than “ play the worlds best and most fascinating game ” is the main marketing policy . This policy is surely at odds with why people play and enjoy bridge . Andy Robson has a club in London with over 2000 dues paying members from ages teen to over 90. He is not part of the English bridge Union and does not award Masterpoints . His club is packed and has an extensive teaching program. There is a view that people play for masterpoints yet when you ask an individual who has this view if their motivation is MP s they say “no but ‘they’ do ” The they is never them and rightly so . Andy Robson has certainly thrown a large blanket of doubt over that fallacy and has had the courage of his convictions to prove it and create the worlds best bridge club . If we are going to persist with Masterpoints we need to revamp
It significantly so that it accurately reflects ability both historically as an achievement if you will but more importantly to reflect current ability so that players can compete with their peers . We now have newer players who have been given inflated pints and rankings who our now ineligible for their proper peer group and older players who have naturally lost a step but who cannot “ play down ” . Bridge is naturally competitive .Hyping Masterpoints ( gold rush , silver points , etc ) just adds an artificial component that contributes to zero tolerance type behavior . One thing that stood out for me the few times I have played at Robsons is although serious bridge , it was relaxed and friendly . I do not think that fixing the ACBL masterpoint mess would be easy but surely we can start by changing the marketing to “ play the worlds greatest game ” and present sectionals and regionals as regionals as a special gathering of fellow bridge lovers in a nice place to visit and play rather than where you have to go to win silver or gold points . We need to have this discussion sooner rather than later.
Dec. 26, 2015
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You might consider the origins and purpose of silver points and its effects on sectional proliferation and corresponding adverse effect on clubs . In a climate that supports full service clubs the clubs will re invest some of their profits in teaching and other growth activities that would benefit the entire unit . Units have no inherent motivation to invest profits in anything other than further sectionals or donate some amount to charity . Neither of these benefit the memberships other than allowing them to obtain yet another colour of masterpoint that can only be obtained at sectionals . Clearly there are many units that do give a lot back but do they really need to run as many tournaments as they do ? ACBL board members are elected only by unit board members . It is only natural that ACBL board members pay special attention to those that elect them . If ACBL board members were elected by the at large memberships then it would be fair and reasonable to assume that policy re sectionals would change in some way and that the valuable efforts of unit board volunteers be directed at growth and development and in particular that full service clubs ( teaching , dedicated club sight etc . In other words a real social club rather than just a non permanent place to have a duplicate game ) be given the resources and help they could use . This comment was edited in response to Ray's valid criticism.
Dec. 26, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Dec. 26, 2015
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To m Rosenberg . Exactly and that was why I was rolled back to average and given a lecture . It was a long time ago when rulings were more subjective. LOL
Dec. 21, 2015
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I think you missed the point . The fellow who asked if the response showed the Q of trumps was looking at the Q of trumps.
Dec. 21, 2015
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I remember in a pair Olympiad “ misguessing ” the Q or trumps in a slam after an opponent asked if our Key Card response showed the Q of trump. I called the director and later it ended in committee. ( Director ruled slam making for near top . Opponents appealed ) Our opponent was given the result of minus slam making for a near zero for him. I was rolled back to average and a sharp lecture on being a “ born yesterday ” idiot ( from a multiple world champion charing the committee ). This cost us a medal .Actually I think the chair was right.

Slow suit preference when the number of cards you are known to hold is not obvious should be an automatic procedural penalty. ( trumps , trick one or any other situation ) I prefer the “ draw inferences at your own risk ” way to play but these suit preference fumbles should be recorded ( slow 6 suit preference, fast 6 singleton . Oh please )
Dec. 21, 2015
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Sad
Dec. 21, 2015
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Hi Ed Pulitzer poetry prize winner Galway Kinnell wrote this poem called “ Prayer”
Whatever happens
Whatever what is is
Is what I want
Only that
but that
Dec. 12, 2015
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As more and more ( of the less and less) new players are run directly into competitive A CBLmind sport duplicate rather than taught to play rubber bridge and offered , for a table fee of course , the time and place to do that in a comfortable and relaxed setting , these problems will continue to increase . Since the Masterpoint system has been used as a marketing tool rather than as a genuine barometer of skill level it seems it is past time to establish divisions in the ACBL . Two recreational divisions for rubber and duplicate and a third division for more competitive tournament duplicate . Today's weaker players , flight C.etc would have their own division to play in which offers no Masterpoints . I would follow the Andy Robson model he uses in one the worlds most successful bridge clubs in London . Over 2000 dues paying members of all age groups with no English bridge Union Masterpoints awarded .
In my view of this approach for the ACBL the recreational duplicates are open to all players but the culture is that it is relaxed with,minimal conventions , no destructive ones that would require preparation for sure , and germaine to this discussion a more situational approach to the rules ( you don't scream for the director when an older fellow bridge player leads out of turn and their partner realizes without doubt not to take advantage of the information ) The competitive duplicate runs a tighter ship , awards Masterpoints ( a sharply revised system that returns to defining skill level ) stricter adherence to procedures etc and is open to anyone . The current stratification system is not a good idea in my opinion . The idea of coming “ first in C ” with 46 % and being awarded Masterpoints is , to be kind , perplexing . Right off the bat you inform your new members that winning Masterpoints is the real reason for playing bridge . The fact that contract bridge ; rubber , relaxed duplicate or competitive duplicate is by far the worlds most skillful, elegant and engrossing game ever created goes by the wayside . Mixing relatively weak players with more experienced and skillful players can be complicated by mis understandings based on experience levels which the lead to bad feelings on both sides . Mixing new players with the experienced players is like the old joke re teaching a pig to fly . It can't be done and just irritates the pig .
This discussion about the claim is a good example of this . Everyone who has commented is correct in their own way . Assuming he accepted the ruling with a stiff upper lip Glenn handled it very well . I agree with Boye that if this was an obviously weak player then let the claim stand with a minimum of fuss . However I also can well understand those who want to know the law and apply the letter of the law . It is the last day of the Nationals in a very large Swiss. It is an inherently competitive atmosphere . The problem is the stratification principle and its underlying disease of marketing Masterpoints . If the false claimer was not a weak player then should have conceded the Q trick as the consequence for their obvious false claim rather than look to the director for protection from themselves . The players are left having to interpret rules . Creating separate divisions , at the same tournament , would solve a lot of these issues.
Perhaps it's time we had a discussion about Masterpoints being used as a marketing tool rather than as a skill level determinant that is used to classify skill levels of competition .
Dec. 12, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Dec. 12, 2015
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Cheating at bridge is not the same as taking drugs in sports . It is more like sexual abuse of children . The chances of re offending are so high that lifetime bans for cheating partnerships should be the starting point of sentencing . Cheating at bridge is a crime against the relationship components of bridge , the very reason we enjoy the at the table social aspects of the game.We must vigorously protect the relationship dynamic from the assault of cheating partnerships.
Dec. 12, 2015
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I did bring up that we had renounced all titles won with Fisher and Schwartz. but, reasonably enough, the ACBL prefers to wait until the proceedings against Fisher and Schwartz are official.
Dec. 8, 2015
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2+ Aces is number one for me
Dec. 1, 2015
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