Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jonathan Steinberg
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I have great respect for Barry R as an expert analyst, writer, and bridge player. Barry has served on/chaired hundreds of appeals committees so yes, as he states, he is biased in favour of them. But most telling is his “no opinion” comment on this appeal. Really? I can understand not wanting to go public - who wants to incur the wrath of Roy Welland or Pierre Zimmermann - but that is the problem.

I congratulate Rich R who had the courage to publicly state his beliefs in this forum.

One candid NABC Appeals Committee member (a bridge professional, well paid at the table)told me about the time he found himself on a committee that would decide the outcome of a Spingold match between Cayne and Nickell. He felt that whichever way the committee ruled he might “get shot”! An overstatement to be sure, but it illustrates the problem.

The player-based appeals committees are no-win propositions for the committee members, the players, and the game of bridge. When professional players who make their livelihood from the game are involved, the optics are bad.

Some of you may have read Appeals case 7 on page 15
http://www.acbl.org/nabc/2013/01/bulletins/db9.pdf
of the Saturday, March 23 Daily Bulletin. It involved an “inferior” line of play by 23 year old Shan Huang, a Toronto player - 5/8th in the Vanderbilt - who has a great bridge career ahead of him.

What you don't know is that he was recently in a skiing accident and is temporarily on crutches and in a wheelchair. As Shan informed me: “The director who made the ruling actually warned me that I had to attend the hearing, otherwise I'll probably lose no matter what. I couldn't do that in St. Louis because no one's there to wheel me back to the hotel if I stay there for another extra 2 hours.”

As a result, only the appealing side who gave the misinformation attended the hearing. Shan had no chance.

The current systems caters to those who can afford to stay at the over priced ACBL host hotels, who are still awake and available in the wee hours of the morning, and who are best at “lawyering” their way to victory in front of tired appeals committees.

With all due respect to the volunteers who serve, the current system sucks.

Bridge players should play bridge, Referees should referee.

This will be my final comment. In two and a half hours, the premier event at the Toronto Regional, the Percy Sheardown seeded KO will commence. I will be playing bridge for the next four days.

I invite you to join the 331 unique visitors who have viewed my photos from the St. Louis NABC at: http://imageevent.com/jon911/2013stlouisnabc

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all my friends (if I still have any :)!
March 28, 2013
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
No. It is at NABCs where you have the necessary manpower and training for TD panel appeals. All appeals below the NABC+ level at NABCs are handled by TD panels with input from players. NABC+ events still have player-based appeal committees.
March 27, 2013
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Jeff L asked what is wrong with having your peers as your judge? For more than a decade Appeals Committee administrators have attempted to do just that…without success. Look at the Auken/Monaco Committee as an example.

There are a few basic issues. 1) Consistency of rulings.
Player-based appeals are not consistent - it depends which bodies are available on any given day. Further, the “experts” never agree. From my perhaps reasonable sample (perhaps not?) the overwhelming majority believe the Auken Committee got it wrong. A minority think they were correct.
Look at the second appeal in the same Daily Bulletin also involving misinformation. Some believe there should have been an Appeal Without Merit Warning. Others believe the player was robbed - the exact opposite! Some draw parallels between the two cases - others do not.

Trained ACBL TDs will at least be more consistent - players will never agree or be happy but the rulings will be more consistent and easier to understand. Hey, the TDs have been doing it for Regional events at NABCs for almost 15 years! No complaints that I have heard.

2)Bias and conflict of interest. Wake up and smell the coffee, folks! There are tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars in play. There are far more wannabe bridge pros than there are wealthy sponsors. There is BIG money at stake. The bridge world is incestuous - everyone knows everyone. The appealing party may be your next bridge partner or sponsor or best friend or not. This is not the forum for specific incidents, but bias and conflict of interest are very real and self-evident problems with player-based Appeals Committees.

Don't deceive yourself. Trained ACBL TDs will be significantly more impartial and fair.

3) Many top bridge professionals will not go near an Appeals Committee - on either side of the table. I've spoken to them. I hear them clearly. They want to maintain their good reputations. Player-based Appeals Committees are a no win situation for everyone.

4) Tim D makes some excellent down-to-earth and practical observations. Having tired players make middle-of-the-night rulings that overturn the table results and TD rulings are bad for everyone. Let's not have to wait until the next day to discover who won a team event.

Bottom Line: Bridge players have humongous oversized egos. Get over it! Bridge players should play bridge and let the TDs direct, decide appeals, and do their job. The game will be better for it.



March 27, 2013
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
In North America, large for profit, full-time, full-service bridge clubs have always been in the minority. Community Centers, churches, synagogues, unit run not-for-profit clubs have been the norm.

The ACBL has made it clear that they are not in the Franchise business. All they do is sanction masterpoint games to private clubs. The ACBL sells masterpoints. They do not get involved with rules and regulations as to how to operate a business.

This is not a new problem. Perhaps the most publicized case involved two large NYC bridge clubs that operated across the street from each other – I believe their “war” made front page news in NYC. One club survived, one is gone.

Several years ago, three clubs in close geograhic proximity in the Toronto area did battle – it was not friendly. The City Public Health department was called in regarding one club serving coffee in China/ceramic cups. The club did not have a dishwasher that met city standards. They had to switch to paper/plastic disposable cups!

Regrettably, I do not know if there is a viable solution to this problem. I had been told that the ACBL Board was going to discuss this issue in San Francisco last November. I have not heard anything further. Perhaps ACBL management can provide us with an update and the current ACBL position.

I have been in the Boynton Beach, Florida area for the past 10 days. One could open a small club just with all the Toronto snowbirds who are here - even most of Hazel's family & relatives spend the winter months in Florida. It is one of many difficulties that Toronto and other full-time Canadian bridge clubs face.

Personally, I have played at and been a member of Hazel's Bridge Club since day one. It is very sad to watch her current struggles.

Jan. 19, 2013
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I believe it is a pretty standard agreement. Against transfer responses, double shows the suit they bid. Bidding their suit is Take Out.
The choice is between the TO double or a natural 2C. One usually assumes the 1C opening is a weak NT.
Far better to get into the auction early rather than having to wonder about how (if) to balance later.
Aug. 21, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
My expert/world class partner who Danny was lucky to play with in the CNTC & Lille has always told me: at match points, you don't want to give up a trick, at imps, aggressive leads are called for. With AJTx of Spades in the auction given, a spade would be led. Why would 87xx of hearts be led?

Thus the 9 is the correct play catering to QJ87.

Agreements on opening lead strategy/style is critical. Bridge is a partnership game.
Aug. 20, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I would bid 2C over the double. Far more likely that pard has both minors and we are now well positioned to compete intelligently. Bidding 1H is a very narrow target (anti-percentage IMO)and leaves you in an awful position as the auction (not surprisingly) unfolded.
Aug. 18, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
A few years ago, the Canadian Bridge Federation decided to take the issue of slow play seriously. The time limits are generous enough that few people ever run into problems.

That said, one expert pair exceeded the two year 60 minute limit in 2011 and were barred from play from the 2012 Canadian Bridge Championship.

Note that in the KO rounds, ALL boards will be played but slow play minutes will be noted and recorded.

The regulation below refers ONLY to the Canadian Bridge Championships which are held once a year. Just FYI.

11. SPEED OF PLAY
In all stages of this event, speed of play will be at the standard of about 8 to 8.5 minutes per board.
In the Round Robin time will be called after one hour forty minutes and a five minute grace period allowed.
If a table is unable to complete all boards of a given match, the result of that match will be based upon only those
boards completed at both tables unless, in the opinion of the Tournament Director, only one side is at fault. When a
match must be curtailed due to tardiness or slow play, the non-offending team receives three IMP's per board
curtailed. These three IMP's are added to the non-offending team's total. 8 minutes per board will go on the players'
individual late play records.
For each board removed from a match, due to slowplay during the Round Robin, players will be assigned 8
minutes on their personal late play record. When no fault is assigned all four players at the table will have the
assigned minutes added to their individual slow play record.
These penalties are cumulative over all sessions, and apply with equal effect to the last match of any given session.

In the KO stage all boards will be played. If a match finishes 0 - 25 minutes late, a 1 IMP per minute penalty is
assessed. After 25 minutes more serious penalties may be assessed including forfeiture of the match. The
actual number of minutes late will go on each players individual record. When no fault is assigned, all four
players at the table will have the total minutes late added to their individual late play record. When fault is
assigned the minutes added to each record will be passed on the percentage fault assessed to each pair.

ANY PLAYER THAT ACCUMULATES 60 MINUTES OF LATE PLAY OVER TWO CONSECUTIVE CBCs WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NEXT YEAR'S CBC.
July 28, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Thanks, Shane for your excellent post (despite the “C” word come-on!)

A few years ago, the Canadian Bridge Federation decided to take the issue of slow play seriously. The time limits are generous enough that few people ever run into problems.

That said, one expert pair exceeded the two year 60 minute limit in 2011 and were barred from play from the 2012 Canadian Bridge Championship.

Note that in the KO rounds, ALL boards will be played but slow play minutes will be noted and recorded.

The regulation below refers ONLY to the Canadian Bridge Championships which are held once a year. Just FYI.

11. SPEED OF PLAY
In all stages of this event, speed of play will be at the standard of about 8 to 8.5 minutes per board.
In the Round Robin time will be called after one hour forty minutes and a five minute grace period allowed.
If a table is unable to complete all boards of a given match, the result of that match will be based upon only those
boards completed at both tables unless, in the opinion of the Tournament Director, only one side is at fault. When a
match must be curtailed due to tardiness or slow play, the non-offending team receives three IMP's per board
curtailed. These three IMP's are added to the non-offending team's total. 8 minutes per board will go on the players'
individual late play records.
For each board removed from a match, due to slowplay during the Round Robin, players will be assigned 8
minutes on their personal late play record. When no fault is assigned all four players at the table will have the
assigned minutes added to their individual slow play record.
These penalties are cumulative over all sessions, and apply with equal effect to the last match of any given session.

In the KO stage all boards will be played. If a match finishes 0 - 25 minutes late, a 1 IMP per minute penalty is
assessed. After 25 minutes more serious penalties may be assessed including forfeiture of the match. The
actual number of minutes late will go on each players individual record. When no fault is assigned, all four
players at the table will have the total minutes late added to their individual late play record. When fault is
assigned the minutes added to each record will be passed on the percentage fault assessed to each pair.

ANY PLAYER THAT ACCUMULATES 60 MINUTES OF LATE PLAY OVER TWO CONSECUTIVE CBCs WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NEXT YEAR'S CBC.
July 28, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Glad folks have mentioned Canada's largest Regional, Penticton. It is also hard to reach but a beautiful location, on the shores of Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. Bridge by the Beach! Mid-June, great weather, party town. A mini Gatlinburg that attracts 3,000 plus tables yearly. Visitors welcome!
http://www.d19.org/penticton/2012/PentictonRegional2012_Flyer-schedule.pdf
April 24, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Lots of people would have liked another “U28” youth event. Others think there are too many junior events on the schedule. Teams are expensive, the more you sponsor…

Given that the World Championships are less than 6 months away, I have no doubt that the WBF has been under a lot of pressure to finalize the contracts and sites for August, 2012. The official March 5, 2012 notification from the WBF President said:

“We believe that Lille (France) would be a more suitable host city for the 14th World Bridge Games. We expect that a final agreement with the local Authorities will be signed in the next week or two.
snip
An official communication will be issued in the next few days, but in the meantime we wish you to be aware of this possibility.
snip
Further detailed information will follow as soon as possible.”

It may have been premature for the USBF to “announce” that Lille, France, August 9-23, 2012 had been finalized. Bridge Winners picked up the story and so has Bridge Topics (from the USBF site). Communication, accurate or otherwise, travels quickly in today's world.



March 6, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Update: I have unofficially heard that the Lille World Bridge Championships will be under the umbrella of the World Mind Sport Games. Unfortunately, the junior bridge events will remain separate (China in July), but Chess, Go, Draughts may be included. Stay tuned for an official announcement from Jose Damiani, President of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA).

Many bridge players expect a tournament to magically happen. It takes a huge volunteer effort to produce a good tournament. The current world economy and Euro crisis makes finding, negotiating, getting sponsorship funds, all the planning that goes on behind the scenes, harder and harder. Yes, not having details five months away from a World Championship is bad, but one should understand the difficulties involved.
March 6, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The previous announcement informed us that the choice was between Strasbourg, France and Cardiff, Wales. Decision due mid-February. Now we FINALLY get the official announcement, just 5 months and 4 days before the opening ceremony. Amazing! At least we have a playing site and firm dates. Lille is 522 Km or so from Strasbourg. Close enough, I guess.

Hopefully, the official WBF website will be updated soon. Bridge Winners gets the news first :)!
March 5, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Agreements are good. In my regular partnerships we will bid aggressively with shape over strong NT but we will always have values when we come in over a weak NT. Therefore, West has an easy 4S call. With no agreement or a more aggressive style of bidding, I like the double of 2NT followed by 3S to indicate more than just a competitive 3S call.
Feb. 29, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Great article and AWESOME photo (#3 from http://imageevent.com/jon911/2011atlantalabourdayregional). Let's see more of your adopted cat! Hope to see you in Memphis (with my camera)
Feb. 25, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
One may argue that the International teams are for the “elite”. I would argue that history has shown that those players progressed to become the stars and leaders of today. Look at Jeremy's record at 25 – he is a tremendous asset to bridge, teaching, getting new ACBL members, etc.

However the former ACBL bridge camps (and current European bridge camps) were always open to all juniors with widely varying bridge skills. It was for bonding and fun, not a training session for the experts.
Feb. 21, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Thank you, Jeremy, for your heartfelt message. My only hope is that the ACBL Board of Directors are listening and that you will still be eligible for Junior Coupons this summer. See you in Philly!
Feb. 21, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The last I checked, ACBL membership in Mexico is VERY small. They are often unable to produce an adult team to compete with Canada for the right to play in the Bermuda Bowl. I do not believe they have a junior program.

For the purposes of the World Bridge Federation, Bermuda is no longer part of the ACBL (Zone 2). Bermuda has chosen (and was given permission) to compete in Zone 5,the Central American & Caribbean Bridge Federation (CAC).

Feb. 21, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Dan, that was ACBL policy until the “compromise” position that required players 21-25 to be full-time students.

The ACBL school initiatives and Youth NABCs have achieved some success. Young teenagers become “hooked”. Many will have reached 500 points by the time they enter University, when most people face the greatest financial pressures. So now, we remove their Junior discount!?!

I can think of no other organization that punishes their members for being successful.
Feb. 21, 2012
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Most experts play that North's double of 4 Hearts would show cards, do something intelligent partner. North is a passed hand who couldn't take action over 4H. I pass and hope for a plus.
Disclaimer: If I know my opponent has a reputation for bidding on air, it might be different. Table presence!
Feb. 20, 2012
.

Bottom Home Top