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All comments by Allan Graves
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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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Kit is correct . Asking this question of yourself is what doing the right thing is about .
Nov. 13, 2015
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Hi Don . An excellent summation . In my opinion if the cheating is clearly pre meditated either as a lone wolf or as a pair then lifetime ban , no exception . I say this because the consequences of cheating as we have discovered in spades over the last couple of months are severe and the proprensity to re offend very high ( I liken it to pedophilia rather than substance abuse ) . Clearly all partnership or team mate cheating is pre meditated . Lone wolf “ spur of the moment ” cheating , scooping cards in oops hand , boards , overhearing results and using info etc are of a lesser offense . No less reprehensible in many ways but I wouldn't go so far as to say the perpetrater has a deep set habitual pattern that cannot be corrected . Similiarb “ crimes of passion ” . Regardless there must be suspension for even these offenses . No first warnings etc . Obviously the details need to be worked out . We must act soon and decisively or we run the risk of tournament bridge being equated to pro wrestling . All electronic is no solution . We must create a culture where respect for oneself as a player and the game as a great human recreation worthy of being played the right way are the prime directive . This respect for complete integrity in a greater world of rampant deception would , I'm convinced , be a significant factor in increasing the popularity of bridge both recreational rubber and mind sport duplicate .
Nov. 12, 2015
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Well every human being had a “conscience ” whatever ones definition of that is .as it comes with the species . I certainly do not want to begin a psychobabble thread but we can safely say , i think , that they are extremely confused right now. Extreme confusion .,results in extreme distortion. Dealing with reality from an extremely distorted view is obviously a poor approach and will not result in a happy life . Let's just leave it at that and hope they seek out good professional help . Indeed I would wish that for all of the alleged accused . Admitting the truth ,Remorse , restitution and resolve to stop engaging in deception is the least they need to do and that is not easy if you have been involved , allegedly , as long as these 8 . I am in the camp of lifetime bans from bridge due to the risk of re offending .
Nov. 11, 2015
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Regardless of how all this moves towards its conclusion . Everyone but Lotan and Ron will eventually be done with it all . They are the ultimate victims as they will still have to spend the rest of there lives eating , sleeping and being with themselves . If any of their family are reading this I would be extremely concerned with each of their mental states and do whatever it takes to get them professional help .
Nov. 11, 2015
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That is very sad news. For those of us who learned the game on the Pacific coast in the sixties and seventies she was the quintessential professional and i had the pleasure of playing , and usually losing, against her often . She was always gracious ,well dressed and kind . As a very young player I felt fortunate to consider her a friend She was truly a great bridge player.. As a declarer she had an almost unique sixth sense feel for the cards . I thought of her as Glinda the good witch of the North .In the 86 Olympiad in Miami my Canadian team fought through the never ending repichage Swiss to make the top 8 repichage playoff to put one team into the Rosenbloom semis . Our long voyage had clearly run aground on the rocks of misfortune when we met her veteran team in the last match of that little round robin . They were also out of contention but that did not stop Mary Jane from declaring most of the hands and playing each one triple dummy picking off every stray Jack and Queen . On the last hand she again declared and as she perused the dummy my mercurial partner George Mittelman , not usually known for his patience when getting slaughtered ,and again holding some stray Royals fanned his cards with restraint and flair announcing “ go ahead Mary Jane take whatever you want ,you're going to get them all anyway ” . She smiled and thanked us “ nice young men ”. She was the Queen of Hearts of the Golden Age of bridge and elevated the skill and enjoyment of everyone who played with and against her .
Nov. 5, 2015
Allan Graves edited this comment Nov. 5, 2015
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What other reasons are there that would impact attendance at Nationals ? There are quite a few . Before taking drastic scheduling steps let's have a full and frank discussion of all factors affecting attendance and if required , hard data to support or refute that factor . The law of
Unintended consequences should give everyone pause to reflect.
Oct. 20, 2015
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I agree with Don and thank him for taking this up. Excellent to get some headway going on this proposal.
Oct. 19, 2015
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Gary I specifically stated that the major ko 3 day Swiss overlap sat the quarter final stage was a unique situation and did NOT create a precedent
Oct. 9, 2015
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Have we defined the problem? Are we making decisions based on accurate data ? What other reasons might there be as the root of the problem? Are we asking the right people the proper questions ? Nicolas Hammond has hit the nail right on the head. Any recommendations now are quite premature until we have defined the problem and obtained accurate data so as to answer the questions we have posed. There is no hurry. It is much easier to break things than it is to try and put them back together again.

The two issues that have been raised here that I would wholeheartedly support are : 1 ) 2 day swiss to 32 teams for both the Vanderbilt and Spingold. This makes a more enjoyable and challenging event for everyone the first two days. High seeded teams play badly or get unlucky to not make the round of 32 as it is. Nothing there would change , however for all the lower half of the seeds the event would be much fairer, more fun and a full two days to boot. 2) If the last Swiss's , the Jacoby and Roth are expanded to 3 days then the losing quarterfinalists MUST be allowed to join the 2nd day at the median point. This is a decades old well established and very fair approach used everywhere but in the ACBL . This should not create a “precedence”., this is not a court of law. Each event overlap is a unique event. Getting to the quarter finals of the major KO's means you are playing well, That should not disqualify you from joining a gazillion teams in a world class Swiss to end the nationals , rather than play a regional , spend a lot of money changing a flight , or go site seeing for two days in where ever.. It would create very little extra work for the directors or organizers of the Swiss.
Oct. 9, 2015
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