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All comments by George Jacobs
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Since I've been “outed” by Peggy and Veljko, I may as well add some input. Just kidding about the first sentence. I am quite proud of my 45 years in Gamblers Anonymous as it has given me back my life.

Suicide used to look like a good alternative. I escaped going to jail many times. I ran with dangerous people and put myself into untenable positions.

Having an addiction means you no longer have any control over it. It consumes you. Many people who have one addiction have multiple addictions. I was 60-80 pounds overweight my whole life. Worked on that as well. Not all addictions are of the self destructive kind, like drinking, smoking, drugs and eating. I am addicted to bridge as well as work and baseball. There are people addicted to exercise or binge watching TV, or golf.

I am happy for those who can gamble without damage to their families or their careers, or themselves. If you like to go to Vegas once a year and gamble on vacation, no problem at all. But when you go 39 times in one year, you may have a problem.

The woman who could not get up from the slot machine because she “knew” it was about to hit, and wore adult diapers so she didn't have to vacate her seat; she may have had a problem.

My mentor in GA used to say that he was partners with a jockey's wife. “Who knows more that she does” he would opine. “She sleeps with the jockey”. They both went broke.

The correlation I see between bridge players and compulsive gamblers is one of intelligence. Each requires an above average dose of smarts. With bridge players there are various skill sets required dealing with math, personality changes, card reading, opponent reading etc.

With the gambler they have to balance and keep track of hundreds of lies, be a good con man or woman, find ways to raise money and avoid repayment. Example: I took out student loans in the late 60s. When I found out that I could put off repaying them as long as I was a full time student, the race was on to see how many years I could game the system; signing up for full time and then dropping out at the last moment.

I gambled to the exclusion of all else; commitments, personal health, pride, family and more. Think of how many bridge players you have known who slept in cars or hotel lobbies. I slept on pool tables and went hungry.

A number of years ago the Daily Bulletin ran a story about me and my gambling. A prominent member of the bridge community carried that article with them for two years, until they had the courage to call me. Their life is forever changed today.

Believe me, NOBODY wants to quit an addiction. But many times it is quit or lose your family, house, job, freedom, or even your life. Once you do quit, you have to take it seriously. Maybe I even became addicted to GA, holding every position including Chairman of the Board for the world.

I will never preach, as what others do is not my issue. GA is there for people who want help. No individual was ever able to help me but a group of total strangers did.

If you ever happen to stumble upon my column, note my email which starts NOBET, just as my license plate does.

Like all communities, bridge contains a cross section of humanity, but more-so an elite cross section. In many cases so does gambling. You may notice the bust-out degenerate gambler at the boat on a daily basis. They may have previously been an accountant or a chef or a football coach. During a “pressure relief” meeting, I made a heart surgeon get a part time job working the ER once a week. It was humbling to him, but necessary.

Curtis Cheek is an amazing bridge player. Do you know what he did for a living previously. He was literally a rocket scientist. That is one smart dude, and we have had plenty of others. Some succeed in bridge and some fail, because something doesn't quite click. Same in GA. There is lots of recidivism, because the addiction is always there, merely suppressed.

This is certainly an interesting topic and it is nice to have it out there. I hope this comment is helpful.
Oct. 2, 2019
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Mike; Janice Seamon-Molson won the Women's Trials and then played with Mahaffey in the Mixed. In addition, Karen McCallum also was a winner of the Women's Trials and is entered in the Seniors. So it is not only the Mixed winners that are in jeopardy, but the Women's as well.
May 30, 2019
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I presume his team would be unhappy about this …

Do you also presume the other teams which are affected are clicking their heels with joy? “The Fleisher rule”.
May 29, 2019
George Jacobs edited this comment May 29, 2019
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My apologies Marty for not knowing that rule; that one could only express their opinions at a time and place designated by you. Apparently you believe that everyone is always on social media and sees every topic being discussed. You are, of course, mistaken.

To that I will add that my outrage, or that of anyone else, was brought by your failure to properly protect the game of Bridge. It would have been very simple to tell that one player that there were other solutions besides this one. That this particular solution would cause tons of other problems, including ethical problems. At a time when we have become the butt of jokes in mainstream media due to cheating scandals, and the Bridge World as a whole is diligently trying to fix the flaws and better our reputation, you have created a mess. Then, of course, you asked for advice, didn't get the answer you were looking for, and overruled the committee.

Instead of focusing on distorting the Trials, and which teams will be screwed potentially, you might have looked at your own rule which tends to cause these issues. The number one difficulty is that we close entries well before the event, unless by adding a team it gets us to a better number. Regardless of the number of teams entered, it is possible to manage the event.

If entries were held open later, teams could still be formed. Who wouldn't want to add Michael Rosenberg to their team if he was available? You could have allowed teams of 4 to add people up until the event started. There could be gaps of time between events, two events could be played simultaneously. There were many good suggestions made in this thread alone.

I am sure that Jan Martel, the hardest working person on the Bridge Planet, can give myriad reasons for closing entries early and the issues thereto, but these new issues that have been created, are far worse.

But that one person that you claim asked for it to be changed, should not have been sufficient for you to champion this cause.

It is a disservice to the USBF which you are supposed to protect and lead. A leader listens.

Why did I start this thread, knowing that people like you would send arrows my way, WHEN I AM NOT EVEN AFFECTED BY IT?

Because doing what is right is not always the easiest or most popular path, but it is always right to try.

I am going to try hard not to respond further, particularly to you, but I will leave you with this thought. All World Championships are important, whether Junior, Senior, Transnationals, or the Bermuda Bowl. We are supposed to send the best team available that has proved their worthiness through a long tournament playing against their peers. We do not appoint teams; they have to win.

What you have done here is to say to the participants in the Women's Trial and the Mixed Trials (75% of that total are Women) that they matter less than others. There is no other way to phrase it. They can play just as long and just as hard as anyone else, WIN, and then have to wait and see if their team is still eligible. You CLAIM you want to increase attendance and give more people the opportunity to play but you are shortsighted as many people will not bother to play down the road when even winning does not secure you a place.

Lastly, let's not forget the adjunct to this new dark path you have led us on; The “Fleisher Rule”. This says that other Trials are fair game for carpetbaggers, but not the OPEN Trials. Nobody can win the Open and play in something else. That would be sacrilegious.

Congratulations on winning this year's open Trials. I am sure you will sleep well tonight knowing that your team stays intact no matter what.
May 29, 2019
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Hi Michael:

You are quite right. I was pretty worked up when I wrote this and if I was allowed to edit the original post I would remove that word and a couple of others. Just passionate about our game. Thanks for pointing it out. Nothing here should get personal or abusive.

Thanks, George
May 28, 2019
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Hi Tom: That sounds like a good plan to me. Let's do this!

Thanks for some added insight.

May 28, 2019
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Hi Sylvia: I'm surprised you would say that as anyone who knows me is aware that I relish playing against the best. No, nothing personal here. I only just recently found out about the new rules and would have espoused the same arguments in a timely manner had I known earlier.

Having sat on the USBF Board for many years and chairing it for 18 months, my only goal was to always do what was best for Bridge. I see this as a step backwards and a potential for misuse. We focus on cell phones but dumping your teammates is okay.

As for you, I wish you the best of luck in the Venice Cup and hope you are able to play 6 handed as that gives you and the United States the best opportunity to medal.
May 28, 2019
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Tom: Please feel free to explain to Lynn Baker how it is that she could put together a great team to play in, and win, the trials for the Venice Cup, the most prestigious Women's event in the World. But that after she and her team have won and been published on the USBF site, on Bridgewinners, on social Media and in the ACBL Bulletin; oh gosh, her team no longer has one of its players because that player played in and won, the Senior Trials, and the RULE is you must drop off the first team on which you played.

Taking it to an extreme example, let's say that four of the players on her team chose to play in the Mixed or the Seniors and won. So we would have had a Trials to qualify a team of 2? In what universe would that make sense?

Crystal has two members of her team competing still so to say that 4 of them might is not such a stretch. How will you explain it to her and her other teammates who poured their heart and soul into winning. This isn't even a pair; two different partnerships are destroyed.

Please take a moment to tell Andrew Rosenthal why he and his teammates are fighting so hard to win today and one of them may have to jump ship.

The rest of us will be happy to sit back and listen to your explanation.

BTW, the Bridge World often takes issue with conditions of contest where it is to your advantage to lose, be it in Bridge or other sports. Doesn't this open the door to possibly losing intentionally? Player A has already won his/her event but took out insurance by signing up for another event. Now that they won the first one, they have some regrets about screwing their teammates. Think that couldn't happen; think again.

I am not questioning that this was done by a vote as it clearly was. I am questioning the sanity of letting it come to a vote. I guess we were jealous of Europe getting all the attention. We surely have it now.
May 28, 2019
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When you use UBER, you risk everything you have. But don't take my word for it. Here is a letter from State Farm.

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Should you require anything further, please let me know.
Bill Scott
March 18, 2017
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Once at a National, Claude and I were playing at a Regional Swiss. Claude had arranged the team and I had no idea who our teammates were. I got there just at game time. Mike (whom I had never met) and his partner were sitting there so I introduced myself and asked their names and asked which direction they prefered to sit. Somewhat perplexed, Mike said that they would just sit where they were so I got up to leave and wished them luck. It turned out that the East-West pairs had already switched and they were actually our opponents! Mike never said a word, but what he must have been thinking…..
Nov. 16, 2013
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First, congratulations to Jonathan Steinberg's team on beating us. They played well.

When we allowed the Women's team to add Migry, we knew in advance that there would be obstacles. As there is an Indonesian Embassy in NY we thought it could work out. Alas, there were roadblocks.

I immediately contacted the WBF. Having previously been through the nightmare involving the Israeli team and suffering some significant negative publicity, they reacted promptly and positively to my request. Within one day, they told us what they needed from Migry and told us their plan for securing the visa.

Migry scanned her documents and sent them on to the appointed person who is a WBF official and who is applying for her visa on her behalf, on the ground in Singapore

While we have no guarantee of success, I do feel that the WBF has taken positive steps to help Migry and the USBF.

Mr. Rona is in Atlanta for the YWOC and I have had numerous discussions with him. The views expressed by many posters on this site and elsewhere have been conveyed.

There were those who were very skeptical of the USBF in the past. With our new transparent and open approach to the inner workings of the USBF, and actively seeking and offering input and collaboration with other bridge organizations, we have been attracting new members and getting tons of volunteers. At our Board meeting 2 nights ago, four sitting ACBL Board members, The CEO, a WBF rep, and a staff member attended for three hours, got to offer their views and heard every item discussed. There was no executive session

By the same token, I think the WBF has made mistakes and has learned from them. There is a new openness of mind and actively allowing outside opinions. While they have been considered haughty in the past, I find that they are also trying to right the ship.

I asked for trust in the USBF and have received it. I have been invited to address the ACBL board in Phoenix for the second time. I cherish that opportunity. I want to extend that same hope for the WBF. They have had some serious missteps, but seem willing to listen to others.

You may not be aware that two Israelis wish to attend the Transnationals in Bali. The WBF is also assisting them.

I will probably not get involved in all the discussion this post may generate, but I promise you that we are involved and supporting Migry's right to play and for the United States to be able to field the team of its choosing.

In bridge terms, we have had a bad set and need to shake it off and move forward.
Aug. 7, 2013

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