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All comments by Robb Gordon
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Now that the motions are out, I would make one further point. The motions as published are not what the BOD members receive. Missing are the proposer(s) of the motion and the “discussion” in which the proposer(s) explains the rationale for the proposal. Why these are removed, I have no idea.
July 21, 2015
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Sounds like an official ACBL Star Chamber
July 21, 2015
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There is a lot in this post and I am going to just make two small points -

1. Like it or not, bridge professionalism is not like any other sports professionalism. When you can get sponsors to start putting up millions in prize money for pro tournaments, maybe that will change. I am not holding my breath.

2. More importantly, nobody is making you play in “Flight B”. Except for events like Bracketed KO's, the LM pairs and the Blue Ribbon or Platinum Pairs at NABC's you can always play “up”. Just march up to the director selling and buy your Swiss/Pairs entry in Flight A. I would encourage it. It will make you a better player, I promise.
July 20, 2015
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I am amazed that this is such a big deal. Our NABC's are notorious (you might say laughingstock) for their late starts on the first day. Foreign tourneys are generally pre-registered. To do that in ACBL land will be a cultural shift. It isn't too much to have these deadlines. I am sure enforcement would be gentle at the beginning but the first time somebody gets charged or barred will be a learning experience. Nic's suggestion about “instant” seeding works great for seeding by MPs but NABC+ pair events are not seeded by masterpoints. They are seeded subjectively by committee and unfortunately a good seeding formula has not been developed to automate it. This motion came out of the BOG in New Orleans and I think it is an excellent idea. As far as I know it only applies to NABC+ events.
July 20, 2015
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I must confess that I am startled by the direction of this as I thought it was settled many years ago, however I will consult the Laws Commission for a sanity check.

I think that when Edgar Kaplan wrote in the Bridge World about “consequent and subsequent” the standard applied only to the non-offender. The principle was that if a non-offender was put in a position where they could achieve as good a result as a consequence of an infraction, they were entitled to adjustment. This included inferior play on the non-offender's part as long as it wasn't careless, reckless, wild or gambling (subjective standards that would be relative to that non-offender's bridge ability).

However if a non-offender was put in a position where they could not get back to where they would have been (for an example a save based on UI that can go for 500 against a vul. game but sloppy defense got the non-offenders only 300) then they get an adjustment regard;ess.

Nowhere in any of these discussions was any kind of sympathetic adjustment to an offender.

John Adams said “To say a revoke is at all probable would mean you need to consider that possibility even if there was no revoke in 5♥, and that is blatantly wrong.”

I agree that in considering an adjustment the chances of a revoke that didn't happen are sufficiently infinitesimal that the revoke would not be considered. However a revoke DID happen. Yes the director was called. This was entirely proper, actually mandatory depending on how one reads the law. To declare that the revoke was a consequence of a director call is speculative at best. My contention is that there WAS a revoke so ipso facto a revoke becomes more than a trivial possibility when considering an adjustment.
July 19, 2015
Robb Gordon edited this comment July 20, 2015
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Sorry Barry, but I think that you have it exactly backwards. The ‘failure to play bridge“ aspect should be used for the non-offenders to determine whether an infraction has led to damage. For example let’s say that UI causes the offender to pull a double of 4H to 4S. Fortunately for the non-offenders both contracts are booked for down 1, but the non-offenders allow 4S to make because of their revoke. Now the non-offenders get to keep their score because it was their revoke, rather than the infraction that damaged them. However, suppose that 4H was cold. Now the revoke makes no difference since they had no chance to regain equity through ”playing bridge“ so the score should still be adjusted.

In your example, I would rule 4Hx making. The director/committee has no right to give the offender the benefit of the doubt and must give him the ”most unfavorable result that was at
all probable" according to Law 12C1e.
July 19, 2015
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David, thank you for your response. I am sure there are people who only wish to complain - that exists in any group.

Whether the view that recruitment of working-age people are necessary to the long term health of the ACBL is difficult to determine - there is no data to rely upon. I do know this. Ever since I began playing bridge in my teens to today, I have always been one of the youngest players in any tournament (I am now about to turn 59). Intuitively this would seem unhealthy for an organization interested in the long term.

I don't know whether it is necessary to attract working-age people BUT it seems like the youth/retiree formula is problematic at best. What happens to the “youth” when they become working age? My anecdotal experience suggests that a few of them who are quite gifted become full-time professional players. The majority of them stop playing. Will they come back? Time will tell. But do we have the time?

Now this is a very important issue facing the league, but far from the only one. Unlike some of the people posting here, I feel that our current BOD contains many conscientious, dedicated, and talented people. Unfortunately, I think management has cowed the majority of BOD members, reminding them of past BOD “micromanagement” (an accusation not without foundation). However it isn't micromanagement to set goals for an organization and to hold management responsible for achieving those goals. I see little evidence that this is taking place at this time, and this is something I would like to change. Ideally the present board members will realize the need for this. If this does not take place, then we need a grass roots effort to replace those BOD members who are not properly acting as our fiduciaries.

The structure of the ACBL makes this difficult. The members do not elect the BOD. The members elect Unit officers and board members. Those unit boards elect BOD members. This indirect election makes it harder sometimes to oust a non-productive board member. Harder, but not impossible.
July 19, 2015
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David, I can't speak for anybody else, but I don't seek the Chicago motions so I can “bash” ACBL. I seek them so that I may contact BOD members who might be interested in my opinions and express them. Whether those BOD members are interested in my opinion or not is, of course, their choice, but I only want the ACBL to be better for all of us.
July 19, 2015
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Whether one agrees with the ruling or not should depend, for starters on whether an infraction occurred. In order for there to be an infraction UI would have to be transmitted. In this case the UI itself would not be the infraction but the actions of the partner must be measured for careful avoidance of any advantage gained through the UI. If you decide (as I would have based on the facts shown) that there was no UI, then there is NO basis for adjustment.

However, to find the ruling “offensive” as did the OP, one would have to think the committee was corrupt or incompetent. I think neither is the case so the word isn't appropriate. People are very quick to make armchair criticism of committee rulings. That isn't going to change but I would hope that they would do so respectfully.
July 15, 2015
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Your story reminds me of the first time I played against Zia. It was a 7 board Swiss Match. None of his clever ploys worked and we happened to be in what Zia would call “Heat 1” - we could do no wrong. I think we won the match about 30-0 or so. At the end of the 7 boards Zia stood up and said “There is a disease at this table”.
July 11, 2015
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There is a point about volunteer army vs. draft. Personally I think a draft would make our leaders more circumspect about getting involved in war as long as the draft was universal. But I don't begrudge a person who feels an obligation to serve his/her country regardless of the politics of a particular war. I certainly don't begrudge a person who is trapped because he/she was enlisted when the war started. You don't get to “quit” the army when you feel like it.

This all reminds me of a line from “Draft Dodger Rag” by Phil Ochs - “And if you ever get a war without blood and gore I'll be the first to go”.
July 10, 2015
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I had the interesting experience as a teen of working for the Omar Sharif Bridge Circus in the early '70s. It was probably the best publicity the game received since the heyday of Goren.
July 10, 2015
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I think it is a fantastic idea and would work to support it. Sadly, during the Vietnam war our soldiers returning home were shunned and reviled as if they created the war. We don't and won't make that mistake again. It is the politicians who should be shunned and reviled (many of them anyway).
July 9, 2015
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Not enough info to vote. Obviously to get to the “damage” and “logical alternative” stages one first has to establish whether or not unauthorized information existed. Knowing nothing else, my gut feeling is that an “experienced” player of some ability playing in a pickup partnership with a less experienced player would tend not to bid 3S so I would lean toward finding that there was UI. But I would certainly investigate further before making that finding.
July 4, 2015
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“Mr. Monzingo has labeled a large group of serious lifetime players as cheaters.”

Ken's article was without doubt inartful. But to extrapolate what he actually said to the above is a stretch at best. He was highlighting a history of cheating and cheating accusations in bridge going back to the 1930's and only mentioned a handful of cases. This suggests that despite his tone, cheating is rather rare (which is what I believe).

He does not vilify people as such but he questions the wisdom of ACBL dollars going to support the international bridge competitions dominated (from the US at least) by pros and sponsors.

As Jan Martel pointed out very well, his whole argument (referring to ACBL “donations”) is specious, but let's criticize it for what it says, not what it does not.
June 27, 2015
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Wow - a lot of issues here.
Going backwards somewhat - the amount of control an NABC chairman (BOD or not) has over tournament logistics is nil. The chairman basically is in charge of hospitality and entertainment. Almost all aspects of NABC's are handled by league management and staff for better or worse.

Somebody mentioned Jeff Johnston - he was indeed a genius and will be greatly missed. But even Jeff had no control over attitudes and priorities.

The ACBL serves (or is supposed to serve) many constituencies. I agree that more, not less consideration should be given to high-level events. The situation Ira Hessel described is deplorable, and not unique at all.

The league needs to recognize (and here is where I disagree with Ken Monzingo) that while the vast majority of members will not participate in these high level events, and certainly not in WBF events or Junior events, it is these activities that promote bridge as a competitive sport that often garner us the publicity that stirs interest.

If one wanted to take it further, we could say that the vast majority of members do not attend NABC's so why have them at all. Clearly this numbers game is specious.

Going even further - in my opinion at some point the ACBL turned into a tail wagging dog operation, where “management” (the paid leadership) has taken control of critical decisions. By and large, these are people who are not serious bridge players. Yet they are making decisions, largely unchecked, that profoundly affect the future of our game.

For many years, it has been suggested that the ACBL BOD “micromanages” management. With 25 members of the BOD I suspect this meant that too many of those 25 treated management as their personal employees, and also gave conflicting orders or “suggestions”. Unfortunately I believe there has been a backlash where that BOD is now reluctant to question many dubious decisions current management has made that have cost the league many dollars and many months of stalled technological development.

Finally, although I often disagree with Ken Monzingo, I am profoundly grateful to have people like him involved that care about the future of bridge and strive to make it better, even if we see that betterment differently.
June 25, 2015
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As somebody who has run club games occasionally since about 1972, and as somebody who has seen almost anything you can imagine get messed up (wrong boards passed, pairs to wrong table, playing 4 rounds before somebody notices a card is missing as examples) I am a firm believer in KISS. Complicating the movement to create better comparisons is a fools errand when you are dealing with inexperienced directors OR inexperienced or inattentive players. To use the old cliche - this isn't the Blue Ribbon Pairs.
June 24, 2015
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Nice win, nice guys, and a heck of an exciting match!
June 15, 2015
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What I have been begging them to do is to convert BW to an e-zine format. They could cut the price in half and be more profitable.
June 10, 2015
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Henry was somebody who loved the game and contributed to it in many ways. He was a friend and he will be missed.
June 10, 2015
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