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All comments by Allan Graves
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Our US senior Bermuda Bowl team in Bali was beaten soundly by Germany and the cheatin' medicos in the Round Robin with two matches to go which contributed to our missing the KO phase by less than .1/4 VP . Mind you perhaps we might have played .1/4 VP better at some other juncture during the round robin. What is only implied in this discussion is just how destructive cheating is. Everyone affected by these bozos had put a lot of time and tremendous effort into participating in this event. Obviously you don't play bridge to win or lose but rather because it is fun ( and winning and losing , essentially transitory flip sides of the same coin , take care of themselves )but to be cheated leaves an extremely unsatisfactory feeling. All bridge organizations should be extremely vigilant about any possible cheating. The ACBL recorder system is not adequate as it is left to local recorders to follow through ,and therefore it is subject to local bridge politics. Of equal concern is that all bridge players must be very careful in their accusations as unsubstantiated allegations can ruin reputations. A few good plays , bids or leads are not enough. People who cheat are always brought down by the “ tolerance factor ”. The main thing about these good old country doctors is the enormous number of ridiculous actions that worked out. I would like to know exactly when the suspicions started against these guys .As one of my team mates said “ What took them so long ” . There have been allegations against “ the good doctors ” for years. Lastly certainly hope their patients re consider their options as I for one, would be nervous with an unethical doctor prescribing medications etc. and that the German Medical association has a morality clause that could be used to disbar them from the Medical profession.
April 3, 2014
Allan Graves edited this comment April 3, 2014
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Well of course it is not going to change if we leave it to the ACBL board
It will only change if we “ take back the league”! in this day and age of instant communication and social media we can force the ACBL board to step away from micromanagement to fulfilling their duties as board members in the traditional role of oversight and guidance
Do a proper review of the current professional staff, and an honest assessment of why so many recreational players want nothing to do with ACBL style bridge .We the people need to organize and petition the board to look in the mirror and begin to change how they govern and manage the league.
Aug. 9, 2013
Allan Graves edited this comment Aug. 10, 2013
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The ACBL has become the quintessential example of the old truism that a camel is a horse designed by a committee Until the ACBL is managed by a competent professional staff and the board of directors stops micromanaging the process things will just get worse
The board has become a dysfunctional group of small time politicians who have created product called ACBL duplicate bridge that the millions of recreational bridge players in North American have rejected en masse , This fact is obvious yet the board continues on this path with zero regard to their overwhelming culpability in the poor governance model they developed that has created such an unpleasant experience that very few people , young and old alike who ever walk into an ACBL
Club or tournament for the first time ever return for a second.
Aug. 8, 2013
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Presumably the ACBL board though a committee of board members would oversee this new model. In 1970 ACBL membership was 170 000, average age only 20% over 65 and US population 203 million. In 1957 some 30 million played bridge. Today US population is 313 million. the ACBL has shrunk to 150 000 and the average age is 73. The ACBL , governed disastrously by its Board of Directors addicted to politics and constant micro managing has essentially destroyed the league with decades of lost opportunities and ridiculous decisions. Why would what's left of the expert community hand off such an important task as these committees to the ACBL ? Are you kidding ?
March 30, 2013
Allan Graves edited this comment March 31, 2013
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Thanks Kevin, if you get the time, perhaps you could tell us what the board does that could not be done better by professional management staff ? what the board has to do that cannot be done by management and lastly what does the board do for 11 days at each of the Nationals that requires that the “volunteer ” board get all their expenses paid. Money incidentally, that could go to hire professional management.
March 30, 2013
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Michael you make some good points. My comment was in regards to forgetting conventions , not mis explanations or misbids. IE I alert a convention that my partner is not playing, or he uses a convention I fail to alert because I am not playing it. In both these cases. regardless of the what the director does or does not to protect the unoffending side , there should be an automatic penalty. The misexplanations etc. often seen most as a problem using screens is under another more complicated cover ( although again if pairs were reguired to give materially similar explanations then they would make the wording of the explanation part of learning the convention. ) . As to my main point. if those pairs who take on conventions they cannot remember were penalized for forgetting they would either commit them to memory or drop them from their card and everyone would have a nicer game.
March 29, 2013
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Well I was told by someone close to the situation that it was more likely ballpark 700 000 G
( perhaps a current member of the board can actually tell us , and the justification for this money being spent on comping the board at all three nationals ) and what is the point of that when meetings can be held so easily over the net ?
The board is not engaged in “governance” it is engaged in “ management”. It would be wonderful if the board was acting as a board and hired professional managers but in fact it is not. It has become a corrupt parliament ,if you will ,with a small civil service it controls.
This is germaine to this issue here as I am sure that somewhere there is a board committee which is in charge of the ethics procedures . Who are they and what is their expertise in this matter ? While the ACBL shrinks and gets older before our very eyes we simply accept the status quo without question. The mis management of the appeals process, in so far as we continue to have extreme dis agreement over its implementation, is but the tip of the iceberg of an organization completely mis managed for decades by politicians, rather than paid professional staff.
March 29, 2013
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This is certainly an interesting discussion.
I was talking about forgetting a convention, not for mis explanations. In my mind there is a clear difference but perhaps I need to think about it more clearly. But lets assume that there is no difference. A pair should be responsible for being able to explain their agreement clearly enough that it is understood. That would be part of playing the agreement, that you both can explain it correctly.
Forgetting a convention is : I bid 2C over the Majors intending it to be both Majors and you alert it as ONE suited or some other convention. And yes I think in this case the penalty should be automatic, even if you go for 1400 . There is simply too many instances of players agreeing to play fairly complicated methods without taking the proper time to commit them thoroughly to memory and subsequently their lack of proper preparation causes problems for the other players.
Having said that. there is obviously more to this than meets the eye. You could certainly view it as unsportsmanlike to parse explanations from each side that were not materially different. And surely a declarer who has knowledge of a conventional misunderstanding through the alert procedure should make this known to the defenders before play begins.
March 29, 2013
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Regardless of the merits of the decision I am not in favour of TD based committees although perhaps a top TD can be the chair. The money is inconsequential compared to the $700 000 spent each and every year on the Board of directors expenses at the Nationals. Perhaps John can lobby his ex board members to have their meeting over the net and put that $700 000 to better use by hiring professional ACBL headquarters staff, disbanding the 31 committees the board of directors use to run the ACBL and then invest a tiny fraction in the player based model.

Regardless , I am many others believe it is high time that forgetting a convention regardless of what the agreement was or was not, is an automatic penalty. If you cant remember it, don' play it. If you insist on playing it, and forget it, you are penalized regardless of what player forgot and what the agreement actually was. Then a separate issue can be trying to restore equity. No more “rub of the green ” zeros when A forgets the convention and it was indeed their agreement. To that I say so what ?
March 29, 2013
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Bridge is such a great game, that is for sure. With only 2 Spades , 8 HCP slow values and JT of hearts responder should transfer out of 3NT IMO. On hand 2 at least you make 3NT if hearts are 3-2 and overcaller has AX or AXX with 3-2 clubs . If overcaller plays Ace you have 9 and if he goes low you make if clubs are 3-2 or if 4-1 then you have info to now duck second heart. On the last one you have to hope that overcaller thinks he has a lead problem ( ie it was not a Duck ) and you subsequently get lucky or that nothing makes and that 4H is also down 2. Regardless kudos to the opps for some timely interference.
Thanks a lot to Danny for taking the time and interest to post these hands . Certainly, practiced partnerships can do better over interference but in a “ casual ” partnership the frequency isn't worth the effort. The old Blue Club system used Double same level bid or non jump major as 6 + HCP ( in our case with 2C opener would be a bit lower in min HCP ) and 2 or less 2-1 pts with next level Club bid starting CNT at 3. ( Q their suit could be SPL ) Would be nice if someone could post a good method over interference after Strong 2C opening as I am sure most of us play basic methods that could easily be improved with a relative minimum of effort.
Sept. 5, 2012
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Given we are in a game force then 3NT shows this hand type. Good grief you have AQ spades and 2NT rebid. System on at this point. I agree with Henry re psyche possibilities . When in doubt bids are natural and logical. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then probably it is a duck. To play bridge looking for reasons that ducks are not ducks is to make the unlucky expert a career path while becoming one of the slow play problems rather that slow play solutions. This is very much like a recent defensive carding problem posed by Danny where one had to “ guess ” whether partner had led from strength in an obvious attacking auction or whether a decent declarer had hesitated holding QJX opposite KXX with no obvious advantage to playing the king. ( You had ATX if memory serves and the ten was the only realistic play ) Not only was this almost certainly an actual duck but to hesitate in this position is to give away the location of the ACE to both declarer and to partner who would now know that declarer had not make a double holdup . To take the next level as a good bridge player you have to appreciate that bridge is a game of “ what is most likely going on ” and play accordingly without wasting time and energy on obscure outliers or complete fantasies. To do this requires staying mindful and relaxed which are skills that can be practiced.
Doing this you can save your energy for situations where there is enough analyzable evidence to justify extra thought.
Sept. 5, 2012
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45 years feels like a heart beat. So long my old friend.
Aug. 25, 2012
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well assuming the hesitation to be about the heart play to some extent. Problem comes after winning the 9 . When you do not continue hearts , he will know you have the Ace so he wont misguess when partner later leads the Q. If partner has 5 hearts and A or K of diamonds then need to clear hearts. but in most other relevant situations A spade switch is best playing partner for relevant holdings in Spades and / or diamonds to go with 3 heart tricks . Declarer is presumably reasonably set for a spade switch as he did not play the heart king. Interesting problem after trick one.
Aug. 20, 2012
Allan Graves edited this comment Aug. 20, 2012
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clearly the 4321 point count is inadequate,none the less , focus on quick tricks, culbertson honour count, quality of 5 card suit if balanced and ease of rebid. Always a 3 honour count, AK,A. or equivalent. Most other A, A , K ( they are powerful transferable values that allow you to control the play on both offense and defense ) especially if in long suits. with two aces or AKK start looking at working supporting honours together with tens , Spades, Majors, Lead direction and shape , 5332, 4432 or 4333
This could extend to passing 12 bal that was quite poor in the above criteria. I agree with above comment that implied not to end up in a position where partner makes an “ action ” double and you have no where to go, neither good playing strength or defense.
Remember that most of the successful super light openers are playing precision style where the bid pass equation is radically different.
I recommend getting hold of an old copy of the Gold Book by Culbertson the first great genius of the game to publish and then appreciate and understand his hand evaluation system thoroughly.
Regardless, why wouldn't you open AXXX, KXX, XX, AXXX and why would you open QX, QJX, QJXX KJXX
Aug. 8, 2012
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Influenced by the vulnerability I also overlooked the the lead directing 3D was worth the vulnerable risk , especially in a club game. When composing commentary on already played hands for a wide audience one can become focused on the main point which was the the promotion defense here. If partner can A or 9 you gain a trick , if Q or K you still have time to ruff club and take Ace of Diamonds. On the suggested bidding in my hand analysis declarer bid 3S and therefore is unlikely to have 7 solid spades. The point of losing the Ace of Diamonds is certainly valid but if declarer has 6 spades of the 7 missing spades then partner has 4 spades that still allow to take Ace of Diamonds and 2 of the those gain a trick. If declarer has 5 spades then chances are partner has a useful spade so that we can still take Ace of Diamonds. I am reluctant my nature to settle for minus a game in a weak match point field. Lastly the discussion around the opening lead should be a non starter. Gavin was probably playing with a student ( student should clearly have overtaken heart Q to play a second and third round ) and I cannot remotely imagine any experienced bridge player not leading the high heart. The diamond opening lead will almost never gain a trick and would often be a disaster, especially as partner will not imagine you have AK hearts.Even on this hand it did not gain a trick but only resolved a guess. By the way these discussions opps on bridge winners are a great feature on this site.
Feb. 27, 2012
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Started playing spirals in the seventies and called it Garozzo after seeing something similiar by Benito Garozzo.
After the possible 3 card raise 3 of opener's minor as natural, invitational , only 4 in major has benefit.
. Less so because of low frequency 3 other minor as 4 major. longer minor invitational. Best perhaps only
at matchpoints where partscore accuracy has good reward or just as passed hand.
March 18, 2011
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