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Strange occurrence in Chennai

I was asked to publish a story told by one of Polish players. It seems that something is rotten in the kingdom of bridge.

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S T R A N G E   O C C U R E N C E   I N   C H E N N A I

by Andrzej Jaszczak AJ DIAMENT

I would like to share with you an interesting happening that took place during the Transnational Teams event in October in India. The story is interesting only because it is about two director situations: the directors’ behavior as well as results that were posted during the last match at three tables.Our team AJ Diament in the end took the 17th place – the most disliked by all players because it’s the first place that doesn’t qualify for playoffs. Of course everything was in our hands. For instance, we could have played better throughout the tournament and to qualify in a laid back fashion. Unfortunately, at times we played without any luck and at other times, we just played badly.

The situation before the last match was clear, we had to win 14:6 and it would be better if we succeeded 15:5 so there would be no question about qualifying, which meant that we would lead by 12-16 imps. We played the last match against Polish Ladies, who were in a similar situation to ours. We assumed that this will be a contentious and pretty even match. After 9 hands, we led by 18 imps, which gave us a comfortable advancement and our opponents would be eliminated from further play. However, the last hand needed to be played. This is where our opponents had a beautiful bidding sequence against us and a normal, albeit unfortunate, contract by our partners at the other table which resulted in losing 6 imps – which meant the result being 14:6, which, according to our calculations, advanced us into playoffs.

We left the playing room and were looking at results from other tables. We are 11th. That’s good, although differences are small and everything could change. Anxiously, we are looking at the posted results and now we are 14th. There are three tables still playing, so theoretically, we could be 17th. We look at the results again and we are wondering why is it taking so long to play the last hand. We finished quite some time ago, 20-30 minutes went by and they are still playing. Results from two of the three last tables are not good for us and now we are 16th. The very last table brings in a good result for us and we have qualified. We are elated that we managed to squeeze in.

A part of our teams goes for supper; our captain goes to captains’meeting where decisions will be made who will be our opponent in the first playoff. 10 more minutes go by and slowly captains are gathering in the room. The selection is starting. Suddenly, a director shows up and changes the name of our team to a different one: China Red. Does it mean that we are no longer playing? Unfortunately, yes. There is a total lack of information about reasons for such a decision. Our captain goes to the director to ask about the change. He gets a very dry statement that 30 minutes haven’t gone by and that directors have the right to change decisions at their discretion.

Personally, I think this is scandalous and when scores are changed, there should be a full explanation as to why the decision was made. This is the responsibility of the organizers and directors. The team paid quite an expensive entry fee, there were costs associated with being there, transportation, etc. For three days we played trying to qualify, we saw the final results and … a total lack of information. It is our team’s opinion that something is amiss. Do we play for the directors or are directors hired by us, the players?

We doubt we will ever play again in an event that is so badly organized. We are left with a disappointment for the way we were treated. We need to change something as the bridge community, because things cannot be left dangling like this.

But there is a second part of this story and it concerns results from other tables and the time when the last matches ended. As I’ve mentioned previously, the three last tables finished playing 20-30 minutes after us and out of those three matches, five teams qualified.The first interesting table was table #15 where the Askgaard team had a surprising 20:0 result (the last three hands they gained imps because opponents weren’t really opposing).

The next match was at table #6 where team Chagas was playing against the German team. The last hand, opponents have 25 points and 7 trump in one suit and 8 trumps in a second suit. Unfortunately, no game makes. So what kind of a result could be expected at this table? It was 3Sx= with strong hands and a qualification for both teams just in front of us. This is the second interesting situation. Of course, it could happen, however, two very good teams are playing and this result gives both of them a spot in the playoffs.

The last match is between Netherlands and Chinese women’s team. Here the situation was very interesting. As you know, the match ends well for us. But it turns out that both teams seeing final results calculate that additional 10 imps will give the Chinese team a spot in the playoffs. How can that happen, the match is over? It’s very simple. They both go to the director and state that on some hand there was an incorrect claim. Instead of -4 imps, they get +6 for the Chinese team with the outcome being that they qualify by 1 imp in front of us."And again we are talking about an infamous 1 imp".

It’s an interesting thing, the difference in the claim from making to down two. Again, this year’s European champions from Holland couldn’t calculate tricks and the Chinese women’s team didn’t check how many tricks should be taken.Something stinks, too many coincidences and then the directors’ behavior makes us object as to the organization of these championships as well as to the clarity of results. As a team, we don’t wish to participate in these kinds of tournaments. We are for a full transparency and for a fair and a just treatment of all players by the directors.

One more thing – what would have happened if team AJ Diament plus the Polish women went to the director and announced that there was an error in the claim on last hand and instead of 10 tricks there were only 9 taken? This would qualify us. Is this how sport rivalry is supposed to look? It’s our opinion that nothing of the sort ought to take place.

With sporting regards,

Andrzej Jaszczak

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