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Moving the I/N discussion out of the chart thread

I made a comment in the new chart thread that I love what Danny has done but I want to make a case for a simpler chart for 299er games that would reflect what a player who had taken a dozen or so lessons would know. This idea has generated some discussion but has absolutely nothing to do with the proposed charts feedback so I made a new topic. After I wrote what I said in the paragraphs below I decided to make this article. Some of the below might read out of context if you were reading some of the content in the other thread.


I have been around novice rooms for over 25 years. I am a certified Director and pretty good, although a little rusty, with the laws - did the Casebooks with Rich Colker for 10 years and I played 0 bridge (except for an occasional club game) but I did do a ton of teaching and I/N work.

In the beginning it was non LM but that had to be changed around when silver points came along because folks with 700 points wanted to play in the non LM game. NoT!! That's when I think it changed into the 299er game.

Also in the beginning there was a vast difference between a 10 point player and a 150 point player so the games were flighted based on who showed up - NABC's the breaks are pre-defined - at a club or 299er Sectional it was easy to do on the fly. As a Director, if I was called to a table in the top flight - let's say for a claim problem - they could usually tell me the bidding and the opening lead and a few tricks into play. The bottom Flight would be afraid to call the Director. (I am very strict about throwing rules in as I teach and very very early they are taught NOT to mush the cards or they are sol - and the Director is their friend) This is before "convention-ism" set in.

About 10 years ago (maybe longer) I/N rooms were no longer flighted. I was mortified when I went to check on my new players at a local NABC with no points playing against what I knew were 150 point players. I then had a long talk with my good friend Priscilla Smith from Atlanta who has been running I/N rooms forever. When she was starting out she was the Director assigned to run our 299er Sectional. Things are very different now - the level of play is getting much lower. Now, in the I/N room if the Director is called almost no one remembers the bidding, and getting an opening lead and a few tricks into play - forget it. They all think every hesitation is against the rules and have no concept of how fast action can create different UI. They don't know when asked how to properly state agreements to opponents.

Why has all this happened? There are many contributing factors

1. Age (huge of course)

2. Were not properly taught

3. Too many conventions that they have no clue how to use and their entire game collapses

4. No requirement to learn any of the rules to play the game (which I personally detest greatly)

5. Club bridge is generally pretty bad

6. There aren't enough Rosenbergs to go around! (Among many other eminently qualified teachers!)

7. They have always played with hand record

8. They have real fear of playing against better players. I know - I have comforted many tears. Don't see much of my generation who was happy to get their heads bashed in the open game anymore - probably a lot to do with 1. I learned when I was about 30.

(is there a way to not create a blank line after a paragraph?)

I don't want the I/N point range to go up - that would be a disaster - but I do want them out of the I/N room if they are playing a lot of the stuff on the Basic Chart. Flight A is usually separate and they need to get out of the I/N room and start learning and stop passing their horrible habits onward. I am generally against pushing players anywhere but I now believe it needs to be done.

An example: I was playing against a player that has about 800 points. He was in no trump and led towards AQJxxx in dummy I played my stiff K turned the trick and led. He said "it's not your lead" I showed my K and the A was still in the dummy and he wanted to change his play. I didn't let him and thank goodness the local Director knew the rule. Plus I give the dummy HUGE credit for pulling the queen but I suspect he wasn't paying attention either - a non-reaction by dummy is hard! My opponent didn't speak to me for a month - really - he has zero concept of the difference between a mechanical error and change of mind. He has enough points to not be allowed to get away with this. I would never call the Director against a newbie but I would gently remind them they need to pay attention to lots of stuff! This player also happened to live in the I/N room. Gold Rush got him over 750. So - now he has to play in Flight C in the BCD game and is not doing well. He is screwed and (the royal) we let it happen. I know there are many, many more like him. He is 3 yrs over average age, owns and runs a bridge club very well but he is not a Director.

I bet everyone in here has a similar tale to tell.

I need to find out but I would guess folks with under 300 points might be close to 50% of ACBL members. I was afraid to guess higher but I bet it is!

Sorry for the rant, but letting them live in the I/N room forever is not good for the future of bridge. And the usual apologies for bad editing (I just noticed I mis-spelled editing - sigh)

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