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All comments by David Caprera
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I think I should know all this, but I don't and I would appreciate if someone could clarify the US role in the WBF.

We have an ACBL and a USBF. Which is our NBO? Which belongs to the WBF? Who pays for our membership? (I understand this to be a big issue.) If our NBO is supposed to send a representative, how is that representative chosen? If I want to do as Sabine suggests and ask my representative to raise the serious questions, who is that and how do I do contact him/her? If I don't like the choice of my representative (I have no idea who it is so I certainly have no opinion), how do I express that opinion? Is this all spelled out somewhere so that the issues can be clearly understood by all?
Aug. 18, 2016
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This should come to be known as the “Mark Lair Model.” Take the high road. Rather than raise any doubt about the appropriateness of his team (the ACBL ethics hearing had been postponed until after Poland and there is no doubt he would have been eligible to play, and his team had already been certified by the USBF), Mark voluntarily “excused himself.” I know Mark to be a very competitive person and I am sure he wanted to represent his country, but he sacrificed his own interest for the greater good. I hope the WBF, the EBL and the various NBO's take notice.

There is a standard applied to judges and corporate board members in conflict situations of “avoiding the appearance of impropriety.” It isn't just enough that Mark qualified to play. The test Mark appears to have applied was, “Does it look bad?” And if the answer was, “Maybe”, better to not play. Bravo.
Aug. 17, 2016
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Just because you missed your flight isn't a good reason to be anti-running. You have the build of a distance runner, unlike 98% of bridge players. I think it would be fun to have a bridge running biathlon. If I can get one organized, would you reconsider?
Aug. 17, 2016
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Ira, I challenge any married guy alive to say, publicly and on this site, that, “My wife cannot be convincing.” I don't think Ellen has it over the rest of us.
Aug. 16, 2016
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Let me suggest a different solution that I believe would be effective with respect to sponsored teams and professional players. Provide that there be a mandatory disgorgement of all payments (with interest) received by a player or pair caught cheating plus a penalty amount which is paid to the organization responsible for their being caught and enforcing the applicable sanction.

I have previously suggested that a sponsor retaining a professional provide in a contract that there be a disgorgement clause. This would make such a provision mandatory with respect to major events. I recognize that most sponsorships are based on a handshake, but when the amounts paid get into six figures, the American lawyer in me has trouble in not having a simple written contract.
Aug. 16, 2016
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Michel Siffre is a chronobiologist who has studied what happens when a person spends extended periods without sunlight, clocks and contact with the earth's surface, typically in underground caves. He personally spent 208 consecutive days in a cave with electrodes attached to measure his bio functions. His studies have shown that not all people react the same but that for many there is an extension of their day, sometimes as much as 36 hours awake followed by 12 hours of sleep.

While impractical, the idea that a bridge tournament starts an hour later each day might find some support in his studies. But the principle, “not all people adjust their natural time clock in the same way”, probably explains why there is so much disagreement voiced in this discussion.
Aug. 11, 2016
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I am flattered by your thoughts but I am just a pawn. With respect to the US, it starts with the USBF and in particular Joe Stokes and Jan Martel. The real heroes are Michael and Debbie Rosenberg who oversee the program, with the assistance of Barry Goren, and who have put in, literally, thousands of volunteer hours. I can't even begin to describe their efforts. Add to that the mentors and coaches who have given of themselves to help train our players. And my fellow NPC's here in Salsomagiorre, Roger Lee, Jim Munday, Kent Mignocchi and Brady Richter have certainly all done at least as much as I have. It takes a lot of work to make our junior program successful. My recommendation for anyone wishing to get involved is that the effort is worth it.
Aug. 11, 2016
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Before you throw the entire WBF down the well, I have to say I have just spent a week at the world youth championships. The tournament was run extremely well, the organization appeared to be without a flaw, the venue was suitable, and everything was orderly and on time. When I needed assistance, the staff and directors were incredibly accommodating. I am not saying there are no flaws in the system or that there is no room for improvement, but the WBF did a fine job in running this tournament and should be congratulated for doing so.
Aug. 11, 2016
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Ok, sports fans, this is likely to be my last posting from Salsomagiorre. U21 had a tough day. I am back in my hotel room and Annie (my wife), hearing me bellyache, asked, “Why do you do it?” I responded, “Even though we lost, I will come away feeling that it was a positive experience.”

I took my kids out to pizza tonight and I told them the following,

1. It is an insult that you were called “youngsters.” You are all mature adults. (I did not intend that as an insult and I don't think they took it as such.) I told them I was paying for the beers I owed them. One Coke and four waters.

2. I was most impressed that throughout all of the ups and downs I never heard a single word of recrimination. Not one. These guys were in the trenches together and had each other's back.

3. I don't know what their bridge future is, but I am certain that in the bigger game of “life” they are all winners. If they sold stock in these kids today, “I am in.”

4. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be their captain.

5. They play tomorrow in the consultation BAM. We needed a team name. I suggested, “The No Trumpers.” Second choice was, “Team Monaco.” Fortunately, they are more mature than I am. Please cheer for “Team Manitoba” (with an American flag.)

I love these guys.
Aug. 10, 2016
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It was a scary day for USA U21. We were bouncing between 5th and 7th all day until, with two boards left, Taipei made a tough 4S game. We dropped to eighth and then sat glued to our seats and watched the results come in. A squeaker. Annie said I poured myself too much bourbon when I returned to our hotel. She was right, but wrong.

We had a bad match against Italy and they get max carryover against us tomorrow (11.) I have no doubt we will come ready to play.

One deal. Bid this pair.
Dealer: AKQ, Axx, AKQxx, Ax
Responder: Txxxx, xx, x, QJTxx

Our boys bid
2C-2S (negative, 5 Spades)-6S.

Our opponents
2C-2D-2H-2S-2N-3H-3S-4C-7S.

“A short auction is a good auction.”
Aug. 9, 2016
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I have had the pleasure of sharing a hotel with the Bermuda team and their NPC. They appear to need more experience, but in spite of their results they are outstanding representatives of their country and were well liked and respected. I hope we continue to see them in years to come.
Aug. 9, 2016
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Don, could you please provide the cite to the authority for your proposition that the District still has jurisdiction once charges have been brought by the EOC? I am reasonably certain that no report of the incident was ever made to the chair of the District Disciplinary committee.
Aug. 8, 2016
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Woo Hoo! Ok, my job as captain/coach of USA U21 is to make sure that my team doesn't get too low or too high. The first two days were rocky and I tried to pump my team up a bit. But today, after outscoring their opponents 230-50 over 42 boards, winning 57 VP's out of 60, including beating France (today's leader) by 30 over 14 boards, their job is to bring me down.

Yesterday, I kept saying, “It's a marathon, not a sprint.” (In my thirty years of running marathons I never ran a negative split). So, right now I need them to slow me down.

They played well and were lucky. That is a good combination. For example, they bid a grand on a hook. +2210 thank you. ( Declarer had a very solid eight bagger plus two bullets and partner opened. He drove it.) The first two days, the hook was off. Today, roses.

Mark Lair says, “Some days you have to do more than just follow suit.” I think Zia calls it, “In the zone.” We were all of that. I just don't want to use up all our luck now. I hope to have some left for the finals.

(And the luggage came! An omen. Look for our team picture with matching shirts.)
Aug. 6, 2016
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My observations so far.
1. Food is incredible. My personal over/under is ten pounds gained.
2. The junior preempts are sick. x, xxx, Kxxx, JT8xx. “Skip bid 3C.”
3. While there are not a lot of highly unusual methods, Mother ACBL isn't doing our kids any favors by limiting the creativity of our juniors. Kids from the rest of the world have more exposure and experience in dealing with situations with which they have not been exposed. Playing with chaos.
4. The result is the imps are flying. But it is still about not doing dumb things.
5. U21 has been struggling a bit but I think today we are going to get things going. We had a good team meeting last night and spirits are high.
6. Our big match today is the third, France, on BBO. If we can play them solid, I predict we will Q.
7. It is a real insult that the under 21 group is called “youngsters”. We have five very mature members on our team.
8. We got warned yesterday because not all our team was wearing our blue USBF shirts. I replied, “I apologize. I assure you that when the rest of our luggage arrives, we will wear our shirts.” Hopefully today. We think it made it to Milan.
Aug. 5, 2016
David Caprera edited this comment Aug. 6, 2016
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Yes, in a precision context we do play 2 way UMJOODO, but we still play 1D-1S-2D-3H as 5-5 GF. I don't strongly object to splinter, but sometimes it is easy to bid a “natural” 3H.
Aug. 3, 2016
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Weak hands start with 2N. 3C should be invite+ in diamonds. Dbl is penalty.
Aug. 1, 2016
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Having served on the Appeals Committee, I cannot be objective but I felt that they were good people trying hard to do a good job. Now that we have gone to director rulings, I am ok with that SO LONG AS THE DIRECTORS GO ABOUT IT THE RIGHT WAY. I observe that it appears to work well in Europe. I can only hope with more experience that the directors will figure it out.
July 31, 2016
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In PGA v Martin the court held that allowing Martin to use a golf cart did not “fundamentally alter” the contest. The question it raises is whether bridge is a timed event and allowing one player more time than others is a fundamental alteration. My opinion is that it is.
July 25, 2016
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I think there are two points being missed. First, there is nothing in the ACBL rules that gives the director discretion in deciding to assess time penalties once it is determined that a pair is responsible for slow play. Second, I have no problem with providing accommodations in a local tournament or club game, to the contrary I would be in favor. But in the third day of the LM pairs, I see the issue quite differently and I believe that the rules, including applicable penalties, should be consistently and uniformly applied.
July 25, 2016
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NOLAN! We be going to Italy. Chianti for everyone.
July 24, 2016
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