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Bridge vs Ford Thunderbird

In my opinion the 1955 Ford Thunderbird is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. But the designers (and engineers) changed a little (sometimes lots) here and there every year so that the car looked a little (or lot) worse, except for 1964 that was an improvement of the front and sides compared to 1963 (but not the tail).  This went on for more than 40 years until they finally stopped the production in 1997, long overdue.  

The card game Bridge has had an opposite development.  It has gradually been improved by adding bidding boxes, screens, computers to run scores, card dealing machines, bridgemate, made changes to the laws in several revisions, online vugraph from big (and small) tournaments and many tweaks here and there.  All of this has been good for the game.  Bidding has improved much during the years with lots of conventions, gadgets and systems to choose from.  But the way that bridge is played has stayed the same.  Four people sitting at one table each holding 13 cards.  

In my opinion bridge has evolved almost to the point that the Ford Thunderbird once was back in 1955.  

Now there is a panic attack and several people want a radical change.  Cards are out, and tables too.  The players are to sit in different rooms with tablets or computers instead of cards and bidding boxes.  Electronic isolation is the solution to cheating, and to the infractions caused by incomplete bids, revokes and the playing of cards from a hand out of turn.  Some have stated that this will not affect many players or tables because it will only be this way in late stages in big tournaments and that the players will get used to it.  

I mean that only those who reach the later stages in the big tournaments on a regular basis can get used to it.  Those that play there once in a blue moon will be totally unprepared and have a huge disadvantage, mentally and technically.  

Many have stated that those opposed to the changes suggested by World Bridge Production are wrong and their evidence is that some (or many) were against the implementation of bidding boxes.  One comment stated that those who don't accept the changes will end up as the dinosaurs, extinct.  They just don’t get it.  The majority of us that are against the changes into a complete high tech bridge environment are against it because it changes the environment and way that bridge is played. Four people sitting at one table each holding 13 cards.  

In my opinion there are lots that can be done to improve the card game Bridge without going all high tech.  The table, tray and screen can be modified.  

  • The screens are very noisy today.  Lots of improvements can be done with them.  
  • The tray can be implemented in a slot lowered into the table with some kind of mechanical or electromagnetic movement back and forth in silence, maybe a pushbutton in N/E and S/W corners of the tray.  
  • The tray can be a tablet that imitates the tray used today.  
  • The opening lead can be put on a designated spot on the tray.  
  • The board can be put on a designated place on and off the tray.  
  • The cards can be played in a uniformed way and put in a square in front of each player.  
  • Played cards can be arranged in a uniformed way in a designated square.  
  • Dummy is not allowed to see other hands.  
  • Dummy is not allowed back before end of hand if he/she leaves the table.  
  • Implement what that is to be done at the table and by which players into the laws and/or regulations and educate the players to stick with it.  
  • Playing areas often have lots of background echo.  Hang curtains on the walls to dampen the noise.  
  • Two synchronized video cameras with high definition and sound at each table.  
  • Make sure that WBF, EBL, other zonal organizations, NBO's and tournament organizers do their jobs. Their contributions have been a joke the last 20 years.  
  • Establish a committee or player panel of absolute top level players with impeccable integrity that can investigate the reports on players suspected of cheating.  And educate the players to send reports.  

My nominees: Kit Woolsey (chairman), Jeff Meckstroth, Boye Brogeland and 10 others as members (with opportunity to get outside help when needed).  

The fact that the technical equipment and software to separate the players exists don't mean that we should use it.  In a few years we may have the know-how to play football in a virtual reality and the Superbowl will be played by fat guys sitting on a sofa drinking moonshine somewhere in the hills of Kentucky.  I don't want that either.  

  • I want a 1955 Ford Thunderbird and I want to be one of four people sitting at one table each holding 13 cards.  

If everything else fails:  Construct 4 bunkers that don’t transmit radio signals in or out.  One in Europe for the North players, one in Asia for the East players, one in Africa for the South players and one in the Americas for the West players.  All connected through a secure and closed network.  

By the way:  To bid correctly, follow suit and turn is a part of the card game Bridge.  Holding is not allowed in football.  Take the penalty and move on.  

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