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All comments by Robb Gordon
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Chris, thanks for you input but I am not sure what you mean. Jeff presented his situation (now) 46 minutes ago and the last prior post was (now) 14 hours ago. So if the suggestion was germane (not clear to me) then obviously Jeff did not understand it. Since he seems to be sincerely trying to understand I though my post might be helpful.

Jonathan, thanks for your comment. No thread is complete without something useless and snarky from you.
July 26, 2013
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Jeff, you are missing part of the equation. First of all, the board does not get thrown out. The result is achieved and then if damage has occurred the director adjusts the result according to Law 12C - in the US specifically 12C1e. But wait, there is more! If the director determines that your violation of 16 or 73 is sufficiently flagrant or intentional, he may assign a procedural penalty (which does not accrue to the opponents) in addition to the score adjustment. He might also refer the result to a recorder and/or to a conduct and ethics committee. Crime here really does not pay.
July 26, 2013
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Jonathan, we often disagree, but I sure agree about this. For myriad reasons, Linda & I will not attend any 10/3 NABCs in the eastern or central time zone.
July 24, 2013
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“Yes, I am aware of that…but clearly it is not something that is strictly followed, else all professionals would be recusing themselves. ”

This statement on the face of it reveals that we have irreconcilable differences :)

I can only say with that attitude, if I was a professional, I would tremble at the thought of being an appellant before YOUR committee!
July 24, 2013
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“In American legal proceedings, judges/justices are expected to recuse themselves if they have a potential personal interest in the case. ”

So are appeals committee members. Also, the first question asked by the chair at any NAC appeal is whether either of the parties have any objection to a committee member. The committee is the final arbiter of who must recuse, but I have never seen a committee member stay after somebody objected.
July 24, 2013
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“My main suggestion was just to have as a requirement for serving on an NABC+ appeals committee be that no committee member may have had any professional bridge obligations at an NABC in the last n years, ”

Greg, as a non-pro I have to respond to this. Professionalism does not equal dishonesty. I am thankful that there are many (not enough frankly) professionals who have enough love for the game and enough regard for the organization that they are willing to work to improve it. There are top professionals scattered through many ACBL committees including Conditions & Conventions, Laws Commission, Ethical Oversight, Hall of Fame, Appeals and many others.

Also there are professionals who have volunteered their service for specialized appeals, often for late stages of major knockouts, where a “standard” appeals committee would raise the question of whether the committee was qualified bridge-wise.

I think American Bridge would be much the poorer if we discouraged professionals from serving on committees.
July 24, 2013
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I think Bob's statement is incorrect, but I do not find it offensive. It probably has some basis statistically since expert players are also often more expert in Bridge Law than average players and have better knowledge of when to seek relief from the director. On the other hand, these same experts are held to a higher standard than average players, both ethically and bridge-wise. An infraction that might damage an average player might be ruled not to damage an expert if it is felt that he had the ability to protect himself.
July 23, 2013
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There might be reason to have a director on a committee but this is not it. A Director presents the appeal to the committee and comments on points of law. In addition the director is available to answer any law questions the committee might have.
July 23, 2013
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There are many interesting points on both sides of this discussion here. I wish to make a few myself. Starting with my favorite:

1. “… it is time to let the refs make the decision…” This argument states that in sports like baseball and basketball there are no appeals to the ref's ruling. But it ignores the fact that you do not need to be a major league player veteran to judge whether the runner beat the tag or whether the pitch is a ball or strike. Surely we agree that one needs some bridge expertise to make bridge judgments in appeal situations. It is a flawed analogy.

2. CONFLICT OF INTEREST (caps are Jonathan's) - yes, we are human beings and different factors influence our decisions. But since I have been on the NAC (1984) I have seen very few (admittedly more than zero) such incidents, and of course this is in the eye of the beholder. But aren't directors human beings too? Do you think directors are totally objective and like/dislike every player equally? Now I don't suggest that there would be deliberate tilting of a ruling. Most of these conflicts, whether from player or director committees are unconscious and not deliberate. There may even be situations where somebody tries to go against his feelings to be “fair” which is just as bad. Director committees do not solve this problem.

3. “Geoff Hampson recently posted, “There is no number of committee members large enough to insure correct rulings. From my experience it appears that committees want to avoid “wasting” their time and therefore like to alter what occurred at the table, thereby making their time seem to have value. Committees like to change rulings. This is an inherent flaw in the existing system. “”

I will accept the quote without further research. Geoff in a bright and sincere person and is entitled to his opinion. But that opinion comes from his perception and is not borne out by fact. Look at the appeals books and see how many committees confirmed table rulings and how many did not.

Ideally, we could have professional committees but the cost would be prohibitive.

Finally, a little off track but I am dismayed by the vituperative comments about recent appeals that I have seen on this and other boards. Committee members serve (sometimes till 4 in the morning as Danny said) with little or no recompense (they get $10 at NABCs, no matter how long the committee lasts, nothing at USBCs). From my observations, which are much more extensive than the average person, they sincerely want to do the right thing. Furthermore, some heavily criticized rulings by committees are actually correct, but flawed in the write-ups (we don't have court stenographers). Please consider this next time you think a snarky comment about an appeal is appropriate. Criticism and questioning are fine. Questioning the committee's integrity, its intelligence, or its bridge skill is out of line.
July 23, 2013
Robb Gordon edited this comment July 23, 2013
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So, um, nice to see the WBF trying to buy acquiescence (with someone else's money).
Clearly “José” is José Damiani.
July 9, 2013
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Mr. Ferguson. I have heard those words. I have also heard English words like the “N” word and “Kike”. But I do not use them (in any language). However If I were to call you something in Yiddish, it would not be “Sheggets”. It would be a word that I wouldn't say in public that begins with “P” and ends with “z”.
July 8, 2013
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I have to say a couple of things as a Bridge player, as a Jew, and as a friend of Roy Welland.

Let me begin with the last. I have known Roy for about 25 years, before most of the bridge world had ever heard of him. During that time we have had various personal and business interactions and I consider him my friend. I profoundly disagree with some of Roy's points in this discussion but I have to say that I believe he is the farthest thing from Anti-Semitic or anti-anybody I have ever known. It gives me great pain to read some of these rants.

As a Jew who grew up in a Gentile suburban environment 15-30 years after the end of WWII and the knowledge that 6 million Jews perished, I witnessed and experienced occasional subtle anti-Semitism. It wasn't usually overt as the Shoah was too fresh in peoples' minds, but it was there. I got in more than one fight as a child because of this.

As an adult in the 1980's I worked in a US government installation with over 300 employees. There were about 50 “supervisors” one of whom was Jewish. People griped about supervisors as they will but they only called one of them “that f…ing Jew”.

So please don't tell me there is no Anti-Semitism. In fact it seems to be becoming more open in parts of Europe sadly enough.

Also realize that Israel, as much as she would wish for it, is NOT like any other country. They have essentially been at war, not of their choosing since their founding. Common sense would dictate that a team representing that nation would need more reassurance about security. Yes millions of people travel to Bali annually, but how many do so carrying an Israeli flag?
July 6, 2013
Robb Gordon edited this comment July 6, 2013
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Congratulations again to the team on its great win as well as on a great choice for 3rd pair. Congrats to you and the supergenius for participating. You will excel!
June 14, 2013
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I am in full agreement with Kit but I would also add that on hand 2 bidding 4H would not occur to many players, even fine players, even assuming they treated 3H as a natural game/slam try over the FSJS (as opposed to Kit's Last Train, surely a better treatment). Therefore I would not compel 4H, and like Kit, I would not permit 4S.
Aug. 24, 2012
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I have to disagree. There are many unintended consequences to slow play, and it is actually quite unpleasant. The discussion of WHAT to do about it is complex and has confounded the ACBL board and COC committees for years. I kind of like the new regulations, although I am uncomfortable with the idea of breaking up pairs DURING an event.
July 23, 2012
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Pulling boards (an penalizing when appropriate) is certainly a reasonable way to address slow play as long as it is in the COC. But I find the incident described by Bob Heitzman disturbing. The “rules” or COC should NEVER be changed after the start of an event for anybody's comfort or convenience. If the building is on fire, or there is an emergency, of course that is different. I would hate to be a team in contention but behind after 4 matches and then find out I have only 3 matches rather than 4 to catch the leaders.
July 22, 2012
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It seems from the comments that I do not write clearly, as they do not seem to relate more than tangentially to what I said. Bill, I would not conduct business at the bridge table in Sedona nor anywhere else. I simply said that the schedule in Philly (and Atlanta) is not conducive to conducting my business because to the times when bridge is NOT is session. I understand that different people like different schedules, but I actually think it is weird that the only 10/3 NABC schedules seem to happen on the east coast! As to the rules concerning cellphones at NABC's - I am against the rules, and in favor of the rules for regional-rated events (cellphone OFF in playing area). I don't suggest that I ever have or ever intend to violate the rule that now exists.
July 22, 2012
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the schedule doesn't work for me Henry. But I am one person who happens to have a business. I have never been good at leaving my work at home either :)
July 21, 2012
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There was a time in the not too distant past when most bridge players worked for a living. Session times were arranged to accommodate work schedules including occasional “horizontal” scheduled events at regionals. The bridge playing population has aged and many are retired now. But some of us that aren't quite at that age yet still do have to conduct business. I skipped Philadelphia because the playing schedule would not allow me a couple of hours (west coast time) to do my business. Now I don't think Mr. Sharples proposed to set up his workstation at the bridge table. All he wanted is the right to “possess” his cell phone so as to get and respond to messages during breaks or between sessions. If you have a problem with that, you should probably expect the median age of tournament players to increase another couple of years.
July 21, 2012
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Ahh, yes. This is exactly the bogus rumor to which I referred. NOBODY was caught cheating with cellphones in SF, but there was a lot of talk about it, some of it spread by ACBL Board members.
July 20, 2012
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