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All comments by Karen Walker
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I share Peg's opinion. I subscribed for many years and found most of the articles educational and entertaining, especially the tournament reports, Edgar's editorials, Challenge the Champs and You Be the Judge. I liked some of the complex play and defense problems, too.

What I skipped were the play problems that could only be solved with rare, double-secret squeezes and most of the “here's my idea for a new gadget” articles. As the frequency of those increased and the subscription price skyrocketed, the relative value declined and I finally let my subscription lapse.

Even though I'm no longer a regular reader, I would be disappointed if the magazine didn't exist. To survive, though, I think it has to broaden its reader base. There's no need to add content for beginners, but it could use more features that appeal to serious players who are not yet seasoned experts – more focus on how to think at the table instead of how to add new conventions, play problems that can be solved by card reading instead of improbable squeezes, Challenge the Champs pairs who use understandable bidding systems instead of arcane relays that have little or no educational value.

The magazine also needs to put more effort into reaching the next generation of players. For years, BW seems to have been relying mainly on its reputation as the “magazine for serious players”, but that message alone strikes some as exclusive and a bit elitist. As John Curley suggested, they need to engage potential readers by showing them what the magazine offers. Some samples of current content might even bring former readers like me back onto the subscription rolls.
Jan. 23, 2016
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For a minute, I thought I was on Facebook, where almost any discussion, no matter how good-naturedly it begins, can degenerate into acerbic attacks on masses of “friends” for their political views.

I was hoping Bridgewinners would be a safe haven from that nastiness for the next 11 months. I was way too optimistic.
Dec. 13, 2015
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You might want to contact someone from Unit 131 (Kansas City). Their meeting minutes from last year mention plans to buy two Bridgesorter machines.
http://www.unit131.org/board-of-directors/approved-minutes/101-board-meeting-minutes-july-19-2014
Dec. 12, 2015
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My plate is MAKING 7 and my partner's is DOWN 13. A friend at the club has 7NTXX. All we need for a complete score is a car with 2980 or 7600.
Dec. 12, 2015
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Yes, an opinion, but from an authority who was so respected that his views often shaped the laws.

Kaplan's opinion applied to trick-one decisions. The subject of the editorial was a committee ruling about a player who had gone into a long tank at trick one before winning a singleton jack, looking at AKQ10 in dummy.

Dec. 10, 2015
Karen Walker edited this comment Dec. 10, 2015
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Regarding the issue of whether it's acceptable to hesitate before following suit with a singleton – or any holding where you already know which card you're going to play to that trick:

“We have often seen players huddle over a play even though they have no problem, in order to conceal their actual problem, which will come on a following trick. This sort of ‘time-switching’ deception is usually practiced in good faith, by players who do not consider it wrong. But it is a violation, in our view, since if you cannot make up your mind quickly enough to play in tempo, your opponent is entitled to the information from your hesitation …”
– Edgar Kaplan (Bridge World Magazine, July 1990)
Dec. 10, 2015
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I just bought a BridgeSorter from Bridgebook Library (Jeremy Lewis, who had the display in Denver). Price was $3200 – $1200 less than Playbridge Dealer4 – plus $55 shipping, no tax.

Jeremy also offers a $100 merchandise credit on books or other products. I used that to purchase hinged boards and vulnerability inserts.

Besides the price, the big selling points to me were the 5-year warranty and 1-year return policy for full purchase price. Jannersten (the manufacturer) claims there have been no maintenance problems in the three years the product has been available.

The machine was delivered right before I left for Denver, so I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. It looks very solid, comes with good documentation and it shipped very fast from Sweden. I installed the BOS dealing software and it was pretty easy to use.

I plan to set it up this week and try a Common Game session in the next few weeks. I'll let you how it goes.
Dec. 10, 2015
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Is anyone familiar with a new dealing machine called Bridgesortrer?
http://www.bridgesorter.com/

It's not clear who manufactures it, but one of the US vendors is Duplimate.
Nov. 6, 2015
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Many thanks for the great ideas. I thought I had done a fair amount of research, but I learned a lot here.

Thanks Jan, Cenk and Kevin for the info about Bridge+More, which I had never heard of. Their web site has a lot of information, but it's vague about some important details, most notably the price. With the need for a device and a tablet at every table, my guess is that it will be more expensive than the dealing machines. It's a very interesting concept, though, and I plan to look into it.

One concern about Bridge+More is that unless there's a way for two tables to share one dealer's output, it appears that a club would have to buy more units than it typically needs. A few times a year, we have a game of 12 or 13 tables, so we'd have to buy 13 units or not use the system for the big games.

I didn't know the Bridgemates offered a way for players to input their hands. Unfortunately, we have Bridgepads, which don't have that capability. It seems to be a good solution if, as Barry pointed out, people can be “trained” to do it accurately.

In the past, I had players fill in their hands on paper forms after the first round and I keyed in the hands in Dealmaster. It was time-consuming and frustrating, partly because of illegible penmanship (I had no idea there were so many ways to write the letter Q), but mainly because players seemed to have attacks of ADD when asked to do this chore. A K432 suit would be written as 2-3-x-X, and it was a miracle if all the hands had 52 cards.

Bridge Composer sounds indispensable. We have the program on the club computer, but I haven't used it yet. I'll do some practicing with it in the near future.

The advice about brands of cards is helpful. That was an issue that hadn't even occurred to me.

Thanks again for the help. If you think of anything else, please share and I'll keep learning.
Nov. 5, 2015
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Thanks for the post, Yehudit. This is a fun read and a welcome break from all the news about the dark side of our game.
Oct. 23, 2015
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My most memorable mistake happened at my first duplicate, and it was memorialized in verse. It's a 100-percent true story.
http://kwbridge.com/c_tod.htm
Oct. 23, 2015
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I spent decades begging students in my English composition classes to eliminate those phrases from their essays and research papers. It's obvious this is his opinion. There's no need to insert deadwood to “soften” it.
Oct. 14, 2015
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It's not a matter of the exact time of the evening session. It's that if the main event is morning-afternoon, the evening session will be poorly attended and people won't want to play in it, no matter what time it starts.
Sept. 17, 2015
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Next year, Bud, how about scheduling your only full-week tournament in Champaign (May 24-30)? I'll buy you a drink in the hospitality suite.
Sept. 17, 2015
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We do 9:30, 1:30 & 7:00 at our small regional. We get fairly good attendance in the mornings and players seem to like the evening games – maybe because there's food after the session and free drinks in the hospitality suite.

We also have locals who still have day jobs, and they appreciate being able to work a half-day and then play in a two-session event that starts after lunch.

My head director keeps nagging me to change to 10:00, 3:00 & 7:30, claiming that other tournaments have seen big increases in attendance when they switched to the “daylight” schedule.

I've balked for a number of reasons, one being that I hate the idea of turning the evening games into a ghost town. Those who want to play three sessions a day are going to pass if the evening option is a 4-table side game or a KO that gets cancelled. Our town doesn't offer an exciting night life, so the only thing for players to do is go to dinner and then watch reruns on TV in their hotel rooms.

So I'll keep fending off the director's requests until public demand forces me to change to the early schedule – or we all get so old that no one can stay awake past 8:00.

And yes, there are way too many tournaments. One year, ACBL scheduled NINE regionals in the eastern third of the country during Memorial Day week, plus a sectional in a big city three hours from us. That was a money-loser for all ten tournaments.
Sept. 17, 2015
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That happened to me the second time I played duplicate. The director rattled off a rule, but I misunderstood and thought the penalty was that I had to leave the card up for the rest of the hand. I had five penalty cards before the hand was over.

The players and maybe even the director made some attempt to stop me each time, but all I heard was “No!” and a crescendo of laughter. Trial by fire at the campus club.
Sept. 11, 2015
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Even the best directors occasionally get the laws wrong, especially when it's an unusual situation. It probably happens more often with experienced directors because they try to rely on memory. Newer directors tend to show up at the table with the book.

I've had directors refuse to show me the rule book or even consult it privately. That was back in my younger days, when my plea was probably along the lines of, “I'm sure that's wrong. I want to see it in print.”

The last time this happened, I tried, “That's quite an unusual penalty. I'm a club director and would like to know how to find it if it ever comes up at my games. Could you show me which rule it is in the book?” Worked much better.
Sept. 11, 2015
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Nine members on a committee is almost unmanageable. I have served on committees with four to seven members, and even seven was too many. It's not just a vote. The issues are clarified by a back-and-forth discussion, and that doesn't happen easily in a big group.

I will also hazard a guess that it WAS difficult to get members to serve on the Passell case, and those who volunteered did not do it gladly. No one is anxious to be put in the position of judging and sentencing a popular player, no matter how interesting or celebrated the case.

To read the other thread, those who did serve are now just a little less popular than Steve Bartman and should go into hiding if their names ever become public. The inflammatory “discussions” going on there may have these players thinking long and hard before they volunteer again.
Aug. 20, 2015
Karen Walker edited this comment Aug. 20, 2015
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Why do you assume that the “total idiot” was on the Bulletin staff? I have worked on the DB staff and I can tell you that in the past, we would not have been authorized to make a decision about publishing something of this nature. The printing of anything regarding League policy or actions was always a directive from an ACBL staffer or Board member and was subject to their approval.

Neither is it clear that idiocy played any part in this. My understanding is that regulations require that members be notified of committee actions and that the DB had little or no discretion in how to word the report.

Maybe that policy should be changed, but for now, all we can assume is that everyone involved was just doing what the regulations required.
Aug. 18, 2015
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I was originally scheduled to serve on this committee, so I have read all the documentation. For reasons not related to Mike, I had to withdraw. Serendipity.

The charges and supporting evidence created questions in my mind about intent and motive. If intentional, why would he so freely admit that he was responsible for touching the cards after the play? And why risk an act that was so likely to be discovered by the opposing team?

Someone who was trying to cheat – and I do know players who are capable of this – would either deny it or claim that the opponents accidentally mixed the cards when returning them to the board. Or maybe invoke the precedent of claiming that stress/depression/the voices in my head made me do it.

Thanks, Mike, for being so candid in sharing the details. I had hoped there was a plausible explanation and I was relieved to read your version, which was consistent with the facts in the charging documents.

About the Bridgewinners discussions:

I read the other thread, and I would not characterize it as a “mob”. With some over-the-top exceptions, even the more strident posters’ tone was a conditional “IF he cheated, bar him for life”. For the most part, it was a protracted discussion of minutiae, punctuated by some wild, but not necessarily accusatory, speculation. That’s a common malady on Internet discussion sites, especially when the vast majority of the posters have Y chromosomes.

Some who described the previous thread as a lynch mob are now guilty of creating another one by making precipitous accusations against the committee. They had a thankless job. We have no idea of what came up in the actual testimony and deliberations nor what constraints were placed on them, and we probably never will. Without these facts, the outrage is unjustified.

Ditto regarding the Daily Bulletin staff. They were required to report the findings and use that language, and they made a wise decision to wait until the last day to publish it. If they hadn’t published it at all, there would be 400 messages on Bridgewinners complaining about transparency and cover-ups.
Aug. 18, 2015
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