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All comments by Karen Walker
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Major reasons for drop-outs at our evening game:

1) I got to the age where I didn't want to drive or go out at night anymore.
2) My regular partner moved away (or died).
3) Level of play at the club is too high. I can't win.
March 7, 2016
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To respond to the “why not?” question:

ACBL staff spent days and days setting up the hearings and preparing documents. Five to seven volunteers made commitments to serve on each committee. Some of them changed their bridge and travel plans to be available for morning meetings on three days. Some would have booked different hotels if they hadn't accepted this duty.

That was all set up more than two months ago, but just nine days before the hearing, committee members are told “never mind” because the defendants came up with a last-minute excuse … again. Don't be surprised if it happens a third time when the hearings are rescheduled for this summer.

These inconveniences and the waste of time and resources are reasons enough to reject extension requests that aren't based on unavoidable conflicts or documented emergencies. With Skype hookups available, travel problems aren't an acceptable excuse. Neither is the scheduling of hearings in the players' home countries. For cheating incidents involving ACBL members at ACBL tournaments, it shouldn't matter how or when other incidents are being prosecuted in other NBO's.

The biggest problem, though, is that dragging out this process will diminish the impact of the eventual resolution. If we want to discourage cheating in the future, justice should be if not swift, at least prompt.
March 7, 2016
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This happened many years ago at a little sectional in our area and was perpetrated by the best pair in the field. South was the proper declarer, but North made a face-up opening lead and East then tabled his whole hand.

After the director call, West stood up and announced to the entire room that the leading masterpoint holder in the tournament had 13 penalty cards. Everyone applauded, and for many years afterward, South enjoyed telling the story about the time she got to play two dummies.
Jan. 26, 2016
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Thanks, Oren, for taking the time to compile such a comprehensive rundown of the current content.

Yes, I'm a bit surprised, especially at the entrants in Challenge the Champs. When my subscription ended (around 2001), I had pretty much stopped reading that feature. For several years, there had been a run on pairs playing made-up systems and foreign pairs playing strange versions of Precision. It also seemed like Rubin-Becker were the champs for about a decade, then returned for a super-star version. Their results were impressive, but they had many auctions where I didn't understand a single bid.

And, as Alan pointed out, the CTC problems were becoming so contrived that it appeared that the competing pairs were sometimes trying to figure out how to find the winning 4-2 fit.

At that time, every issue had several pages devoted to “Bridge World Standard - Poll #537”, which further reduced the number of pages I found valuable. And I missed Edgar's editorials.

The price was a big factor, too. For the cost of an annual subscription, I could buy six good bridge books.

Your well-written promo has me thinking that maybe I should give the magazine another try – and that you have a bright future if you choose a career in sales.
Jan. 23, 2016
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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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