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All comments by Robb Gordon
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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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I hear the ACBL has invested in a Predator drone that will fly around the room detecting cell phones and zap their owners. Seriously, I think banning cell phones and devices from the playing area is bad for many reasons and should be reconsidered. Cheaters WILL cheat, with or without devices. The amazing thing is this policy was developed in response to a bogus rumor (perhaps started by backers of the policy) that a Chinese women's team was cheating at an NABC by text messaging. Instead of a policy, they should have published an apology.
July 20, 2012
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NF. If you don't know who owns the hand, it isn't forcing, and from the auction I certainly don't know.
June 14, 2012
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Over the years it seems that we have made great advances in creating an atmosphere where behavior and separately, ethics are much better than even 30 years ago. Do you agree? What changes in culture and/or regulation still need to happen to make our game even better?
June 9, 2012
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Thank you all for your comments!
June 6, 2012
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Personally, I think I am in the Phillp & Peg camp as a player here. However club games (especially with novices or casual players) are different. My policy at our club is to only get the director involved when the infraction creates a problem in playing the hand normally. But we are fortunate at our club that we use these unpenalized infractions to educate our opponents as to proper procedure. I would NOT recommend this at most clubs.
May 9, 2012
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Jenni thanks for your comments. On the slam, you don't even get to the point of Law 50. Law45C2:

Declarer must play a card from his hand if it is
(a) held face up, touching or nearly touching the
table; or
(b) maintained in such a position as to indicate
that it has been played.

You played the card. Ergo it is a played card, regardless of mental/physical process.
May 8, 2012
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I don't want to argue semantics. Obviously self-serving doesn't mean untrue. But most experts know the “right” answer to questions and directors shouldn't be in the business of deciding that Joe is being truthful but Zack isn't. Besides, sometimes the person will honestly believe that he made a physical error…and be mistaken. I hope a tournament director joins this discussion because discounting self-serving evidence is exactly what he will do.
May 8, 2012
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You have to assume that because any statement by the player involved must be deemed to be self-serving, and it is impossible to distinguish between a physical and mental error unless there is actual fumbling or some physical indication. Also, if a player takes a card out of his hand and plays it, however inadvertently, without looking at the face of the card, or despite looking at the face of the card it is, ipso facto, a mental error.
May 8, 2012
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Good comments Michael. I believe I clarified my view on mental vs. physical in my last post about minor penalty card. Since we are not mind readers we have to go by the physical evidence of what took place. For example, all of us have “pulled the wrong card out of our hand”. You reach for the spade ace and pull out the club deuce and it hits the table before you notice. Mental or physical? No way to know, but we have to assume mental.
May 8, 2012
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If indeed the card dropped out of defender's hand it would be a minor penalty card. But if he pulled the wrong card out of his hand it would be a played card. The director must make this determination, and resolve doubt in favor of the non-offenders.
May 8, 2012
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