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All comments by Peter Hasenson
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Even taking into account the above, IMO it should not be very difficult for a journalist worth his salt to provide suitably strong and unbiased copy
Oct. 13, 2015
Peter Hasenson edited this comment Oct. 13, 2015
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Unfortunately IMO several bridge journalists nowadays have become apologists for the authorities
Oct. 13, 2015
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Donald - that's because there is no election for WBF representatives by GA - they are chosen (or possibly elected) by EBL Executive Committee.
Oct. 13, 2015
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Results of 2014 EBL elections:

EBL President

Aubry, Yves 65 votes (57.02%) elected

Gerontopoulos, Panos 49 votes (42.98%) not elected


EBL Executive Votes (114 max)

Kamras Jan 80 elected
Levy Eitan 80 elected
De Pauw Marc 73 elected
Harsanyi Josef 70 elected
Kielbasinski Radoslaw 68 elected
Atay Sevinc 64 elected
Laurant Eric 63 elected
Olafsson Jafet 59 elected
Palma Filippo 59 elected
Porteous Paul 54 elected
Carić Jurica 53 elected
Harris David 49 elected
Gerontopoulos Panos 41 not elected
Bogacki Patrick 37 not elected
Vaders Pim 27 not elected
Oct. 13, 2015
Peter Hasenson edited this comment Oct. 13, 2015
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Jan, thank you for your posting.

I would be interested to learn how various EBL investigations are proceeding.

More specifically, I note that Monaco referred the FN case to EBL and I would be grateful therefore if you could kindly confirm whether formal EBL proceedings have commenced against them?

I assume that the EBL be updating all on how such proceeding are going (as per IBF in FS case) but if this is not the instance, please confirm?

Thank you :)
Oct. 13, 2015
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'…Victor Berger, a club bridge player from London, told of a remarkable bridge four at a pre-war Hastings tournament – Alekhine, Capablanca, Lasker and himself.

He claims the standard of the first three wasn’t good, being wild, dreary and feeble respectively but, for the non-chess players, they were all world chess champions…'

Extract from British Bridge Almanack 2004
Oct. 13, 2015
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If I were to play 48 boards a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, that is only about 17,000 boards a year!
Oct. 13, 2015
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For sure you are right but IMO it is an unfortunate necessity if you are trying to hold two strong team events concurrently.
Oct. 11, 2015
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As an example, the Middlesex Congress Swiss Pairs gets around 60 tables, comprises 7x7 board rounds and uses some 1,000 pre-duplicated boards
Oct. 11, 2015
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And an even more deserved medal for Mr Zimmerman, a man who has put a lot of money in a lot of pockets in the world of bridge only to see his main endeavors brought in to serious question.

Pierre, good luck for the future.
Oct. 11, 2015
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Living, as I do, in London, England and not ever having been to an ACBL National, I have no horse in this race. But in the true spirit of BW, I submit my 2 cents worth…

I can understand the reason for people wanting to introduce the Soloway KO but am concerned that the proposed clashing schedule with the Reisinger will result in two poor events, rather than two strong events, which surely must be the goal.

So, in order to add weight to the two events, I propose that the two day qualification for the Soloway, lead to a 16 TEAM KO (as per WBF Transnational) with drop-ins to all events (with suitably proscribed carry forwards).

Get to the final of the Soloway and you also get a bye into the Reisinger final. Ditto Semi final, etc.

So my proposed schedule would be:

Friday: Blue Ribbon Pairs

Saturday: Blue Ribbons Pairs

Sunday: Blue Ribbon Pairs

Monday: Soloway KO 2-Day Qualifying Swiss/Group Stage

Tuesday: Soloway KO 2-Day Qualifying Swiss/Group Stage

Wednesday: Soloway KO Round of 16 - 2-Day NABC Pairs

Thursday: Soloway KO Quarter final - 2-Day NABC Pairs

Friday: Soloway KO Semi - Reisinger 3-Day BAM - 3-Day NABC
Swiss

Saturday: Soloway KO Final - Reisinger 3-Day BAM - 3-Day NABC Swiss

Sunday: Reisinger 3-Day BAM - 3-Day NABC Swiss

Incidentally, I would run the Soloway qualifier as 12 x 10 board rounds and the knockout phase 3 x 20 or 6 x 10 board matches.
Oct. 11, 2015
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Jonathan: Not only was FF a distinguished member of the WBF High Level Players committee, he was also ON THE WBF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE!!!

I notice BTW that he has been removed on the WBF website from both committees.
Oct. 11, 2015
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I would like to think that there are basic rules in place to ensure that rulings/appeals are always dealt with by the most knowledgeable TDs and players attending. I would image this process would always include the CTD and/or one of the Assistant CTDs.
Oct. 10, 2015
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Over tricks in non doubled contracts do not count in the TGRs high stakes rubber bridge game but the flip side to this is that if there is no claim the defense know that the contract is not lay down and altered to this work harder than they might otherwise.
Oct. 8, 2015
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Almost no leading bridge playing nation sends their ‘strongest’ team into battle anymore (if they ever did) - welcome to the real world, one controlled by sponsors, politicians and egos.
Oct. 7, 2015
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Who wants to be a … Bridge Teacher?
By Mike Pomfrey
Bridge Magazine May 2001

When I took redundancy from the Civil Service some four years ago to become a bridge professional I little guessed what a precarious existence it would be. A very few people make a comfortable living from journalism or from sponsorship, but the market, at least in the UK, is small. I chose the teaching option, there being few bridge teachers in my area. It’s been rewarding, but not in financial terms. Some writing for the EBU’s Bridge for All has been welcome and working with Trevor King on Alpine Bridge holidays is great fun, though that has some way to go to become a profitable venture. So the dread prospect of returning to full-time office life was seriously looming.

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery or of some other quick route to security so when the unashamedly populist but addictive Who Wants To Be A Millionaire appeared on our screens I was immediately attracted. I could do that, I thought, but getting there would be another matter. I must have tried around 100 times.

Bill Hirst had persuaded me to play in the 2001 Australian Gold Coast congress. I couldn’t possibly afford it but went anyway and of course it was fantastic. I returned on Wednesday February 28th, thoroughly jet-lagged, made a desultory phone call to Millionaire and was given a standard multiple choice question. These are usually pretty trivial but mine was on American sitcoms, about which I know absolutely nothing. I made a wild guess which proved to be correct and joined a list of probably several hundred thousand other aspirants.

I got home from a bridge class on the Friday (two turned up) to find a message on the answerphone from Celador, the programme makers, asking me to ring back ASAP. I was on a short list of 100! But now comes the really random hurdle. They give you another question, which has a numerical answer, but which is often so obscure that you couldn’t possibly know it. You have to make a guess, within ten seconds, and whoever is closest (out of ten of you) gets on the show. I was asked the width, in inches, of a water polo goal. I desperately tried to imagine one – ‘five seconds left’ said the voice - and I blurted out “120”. I put the phone down and thought, “you idiot, it’s nowhere near that big, you’ve blown it”. I lay awake that night wondering if I could possibly be right, ran down to the local library in the morning and discovered the actual width is three metres, about 118 inches. No sleep that night either with the excitement that I might have made it. Celador rang back on Sunday to confirm that I was indeed closest, to make arrangements for me to travel down to the studios at Elstree, and of course to condemn me to yet another sleepless night.

Daughter Lizzie was home for the weekend from Birmingham University and she jumped at the chance to be my studio guest. She insisted I take her good luck mascot, Mini Moose (99p from IKEA). Moose has successfully steered Lizzie through A levels and her friends through interviews, but he’d yet to be tested on a really long shot, like her driving tests (I try to get advance warning of those so I can be in another county, or even another country).

To digress for a moment. When Lizzie was seven I tried to teach her to play bridge. In the very first session she was defending my Four Heart contract and steadfastly clung on to the master trump as I ran winners in a side suit. Eventually she gained the lead, cashed the trump and beat the contract. I asked, why she hadn’t ruffed earlier ‘because then I’d have had to lead diamond,' she replied scornfully, if any idiot could recognise endplay, analysis that would have been beyond the great majority regular players at your local club. ‘Move over Nicola and Pat, he comes the next world champion,’ I thought, but sadly she immediate lost interest in such an easy game. She's just started playing under Mike Amos's tutelage, and showing dangerous signs of addiction.

Being on Millionaire is really good fun. First, you meet your fellow, contestants for lunch. Everyone’s really friendly, you all wish each other luck … and of course you are all sizing each other up. In the afternoon you get a rehearsal. Phil takes you through the fastest finger procedure. Believe me; it's nowhere near as easy as it looks on the telly. Your four options are in a rectangular pattern on the screen you have to get the order in your head before you hit the button, which are in a line below the screen (and quite small, so you have to be careful) and then you have to remember to hit the OK. Afterwards you get to answer a couple of practice questions in the chair, which by comparison is far less stressful. Then it's off to wardrobe, dinner, make up, fit microphones and finally on to the set for the real thing!

There was a contestant carried over from the previous night. He was going along fine when a key psychological moment occurred. Have you ever been in a safe 3NT at match pointed pairs, there's slightly risky finesse for an overtrick, you're about to take it… and a little doubt appears in you mind. It nags at you, grows and grows … and you chicken out. Well that's what happened to Dave. Hi was about to say ‘final answer when it dawned on him how much he was risking, and from that moment he was doomed. Those of us waiting recognized it and started flexing our fingers. This is the really tense bit; this is what you’ve come here for.

Our fastest finger question was on political parties. Phil had emphasised that it's all very well being fastest, but it's more important to be right, so don't rush it. I ignored him, convinced that several of my fellow contestants would be quick, and went all out for it. It was a big disappointment to find that Norman, who had been practicing for months, had pipped me to the chair by a third of a second. Norman is a lovely bloke who was going strongly until he blew all his lifelines on a stinker of a question and suddenly it was all to play for again. We had to put four of Snow White's dwarves in alphabetical order - dead simple, but try it at speed - and this time I made it to the chair. There's a short break while they shift the furniture around - otherwise, apart from a little editing, the timing feels very like the programme you see on the screen.

Actually being in the chair wasn't scary at all. It helps to be used to facing a class, and playing high level bridge does train you to think clearly under pressure. But Chris Tarrant is brilliant at putting you at ease, you feel he's on your side and, most importantly, he gets the audience on your side as well. So, a few preliminaries, a reference to Moose, and we're off.

The first question was on boy bands. ‘Oh, no, not popular culture,’ I groaned, but fortunately it proved obvious. After that it was plain sailing, apart from asking the audience about Zoe Ball's father, until the £32,000 question. This is a big milestone and I had determined not to pass at that point. £32,000 would mean a few years grace to try to get the teaching career moving. So, which Hollywood actor founded the Sundance Institute? Well, everyone knows that Robert Redford played the Sundance Kid, so it had to be him, even though I didn't know for sure. It was an anxious wait before Chris said “you just won £32,000” and mercifully we ran out of time at that point, just when I badly needed a breather.

Most of the contestants and their guests had accepted Celador's offer to put us up at a hotel. After a quick drink in the studio bar we were whisked off to consume copious quantities of red wine (my round of course). All the others were incredibly supportive, wishing me luck for the next night, which is a hard thing to do when you could have been in the same position yourself.

A funny thing happened the following morning. Lizzie and I did a little modest shopping and in the shopping mall was a gleaming yellow Toyota MR2 sports car. I thought it was a lottery and, feeling lucky, I asked to buy a ticket. ‘It’s not a lottery, it's a promotion,' said the girl disdainfully. ‘And I can tell you can’t afford it' remained unspoken but clearly implied. (I had a test drive in one the other day, by the way - a transport of delight but no room for the golf clubs.)

So back to the studio in the afternoon to meet the next night's contestants who would be going for it once I had finished. Being an old television hand by now it was amusing to move around, chatting easily with Chris who usually turns up on the set at rehearsals. Then onto the same routine as the previous night - wardrobe, makeup, mike and off to the set.

As the moment approached for our entry into the arena the Floor Manager came up. He was concerned that Moose, who occupied my breast pocket, was making life difficult for the camera crew. But Chris stepped in and, sensitive not to break my mood, insisted Moose should stay. Nice touch.

Back in the chair I felt not at all nervous but very tired. Would the brain function? Fortunately the answer to the £64,000 question popped straight into my head. It was such a relief, knowing the adrenalin was going to keep me focused. From then on I could really enjoy the show and try to make it entertaining.

The best moment was phone a friend. As most of the world knows, I had asked my ex-wife Georgie to be one of my five possible contacts. It seemed the obvious thing to do; she's very knowledgeable, I trust her judgment and was happy to offer her a percentage of anything she helped me win. And when the £250,000 question came up -'What's the symbol on the national flag of India?' - I was sure she'd know. Of course, Chris milked it for all it was worth. When he asked me if he should tell her how much money was involved I was emphatic that she would want to know. So it proved, causing a burst of laughter in the studio.

So, after I gave my final answer and before he confirmed whether it was right, Chris raised the tension by calling a break for adverts. During the break, off camera, he swore at himself in front of the audience for prolonging the agony and called up to Lizzie, ‘How are you feeling?’ ‘I’m fine, I know the answer,' came the reply. What a family of smartasses.

The £500,000 question was a doddle. I know they're only easy if you know the answer but I'd seen capybara in a zoo only last year. I didn't know who Tomas Masaryk was, for a million quid (Georgie's mum does). I've wondered since if I might have been able to work it out, especially if I'd saved the 50/50 lifeline, but hell, who's complaining about half a million.
Oct. 6, 2015
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Maybe the solution is something along the lines of:

1 plays 8 with a carry forward of say 32

2 plays 7 with a carry forward of say 24

3 plays 6 with a carry forward of say 16

4 plays 5 with a carry forward of say 8

You could even allow 1 to pick first, then 2, etc with the c/f for playing against 5th being +8, 6th + 16, etc.
Oct. 3, 2015
Peter Hasenson edited this comment Oct. 3, 2015
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Or better still, England should not have allowed themselves to lose 10 IMP on the last board and cost themselves third place!!!
Oct. 3, 2015
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The music is optimal :)
Oct. 1, 2015
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