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All comments by Bill Pollack
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Way to go, Jan. Hurrah
for Pittsburgh.
May 24
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Yup, makes sense.
Feb. 15
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Well, first, I don't like the small heart play either (and, so, off to the couch we go!). But in a short match, with the circumstances as described, I'd finesse, as the imp could be important, and the odds seem favorable. I wrote a Bridge World article a few years back about the complexities of these “unsafety” plays.
Jan. 12
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This is a good move in the right direction, enabling USBF-appointed WBF BoD members who really care about and understand expert issues and international bridge. There have been efforts for many years to head in this direction, and despite the financial challenges, IM(ns)HO it's a welcome sign of progress. Note, for example, that WBF appeals committees are largely comprised of BoD members, so more expert participants can only help.
Dec. 28, 2018
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RIP Russ. So sad to see you gone. A fine competitor and ofttimes winner. And his letters were amazingly articulate.
Dec. 15, 2018
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Well stated, Chris. I basically agree, although the disgorgement could get complicated. The Racecars should get life, or close to it – certainly for a longer period than they seem to have been given. And the ACBL's seemingly ‘under the cover of darkness’ reinstatement seems to verify that the powers that be -know- they are doing something amiss.
Dec. 11, 2018
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Well Drewski, what should also concern you is that someone who collusively cheated us in the Semi's in the Lille Rosenblum's (we lost a likely World Championship by 2 imps!) should be able to play again so soon, and with all of this seemingly swept under the rug. I'm not sure -lifetime- expulsion must be mandated, but certainly a longer period of expulsion than this, along with a full airing of the considerations of potential readmission. First we were cheated, and now it seems the whole game is being screwed. If I am scheduled to play against him in -any- event, I will refuse to do so, and for the love of the game will face whatever the consequences may be.
Dec. 8, 2018
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We used to view the trials solely as the event to determine WC teams. The winner won, and everyone else ‘lost’. I think it's morphed a bit – a good thing – such that the trials are a ‘real’ event in and of themselves. So, allowing flexibility and more entrants sounds like a good idea. But it gets complicated when someone wins 2. That will entail detailed rules and agreements among teammates; but I suggest we first decide whether it's worth the effort to devise them.

If we pass that gate, we must consider limiting the number of folks who can drop off their first win (and must anticipate the long-ago abyss of sponsors trying to buy their way in). Will some ‘losers’ react poorly to being beaten by a great pair that then abandons the team – yes, but I don't think we should worry about that.

Now, with mixed teams being added to the trials calendar, it does seem right to allow multiple entrants in every event, all with rules about how to replace people who drop out; otherwise schedule becomes a true mess. This is fixable.
Nov. 13, 2018
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The ‘rule’ is clear, and the auction is over. But do we always play accordingly, even in National Championships and above? Nope. I've forgiven many such errors ‘in the field of battle’, generally asking myself “would this opponent forgive -me-?”

An exception occurred during a late-stage team trials match. At the other table, my teammate didn't see (behind screens) his partner's (-strong-) 2C opening, and it went all pass from there, missing a grand. That was 17 imps out the window. Oh, and the opponent who enforced the pass – the 2C responder's SON!
Oct. 20, 2018
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The problem with playoffs is that they can screw up the timing for everyone, as we may -all- have to wait for the tied match to be decided (if it's mid-day). For a ‘final’ match, however, I agree that playoffs make sense, and will vote accordingly.
Oct. 10, 2017
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I'm a ‘regular’ at the trials, but 14 days (should we survive so long…) seems like a lifetime. I'm in favor of 11 days, 1.5 days per match – that's enough.
July 11, 2017
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We will miss the Hopper dearly. May he RIP, SueEllen. In the seventies, Hopper was the brightest star of all the leading lights in NYC. Al Roth was louder, Vic Mitchell more studious, but Hopper was by far the best analyst.

My best learning experiences were after team games (Hopper hated Pairs). Although I was thrilled whenever I was on Hopper's team, learning was best when I wasn't. We'd go out for drinks, and I'd give Hopper my toughest hands. He always had the right answer – that was routine – but it was the -explanation- of why it was right that taught me so much.

I'll miss you dearly, John, and remember all our good times, even when we set a record for the most places lost in the final session of the Reisingers (in SF)….
March 26, 2017
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With a robust Hall of Fame slate this year, I had difficulties voting for only 3, but Jeff stood out as a clear cut first ballot nominee. Congratz, Jeff, well deserved.
Feb. 17, 2017
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I have successfully used recruiters on numerous occasions, for difficult executive searches (I currently have retained two of them, for CEO and VP, Sales positions). Recruiters can be very helpful, well worth their 25-30% or so. But this is a different situation. The ACBL BoD -might- have strong views that the recruiters and BridgeWinners folks don’t agree with (‘the BoD must remain dominant’; ‘no experts’; ‘don’t rock the boat’). I don’t know the ACBL reps on the hiring panel very well, but do know and fully respect Sylvia Moss and Bob Blanchard. We don’t need any help finding candidates – a key plus for recruiters – but in reviewing candidates’ hands-on management, marketing, technology, and transparency skills, and their ability to build consensus. Let’s hope the BoD has learned from the past couple of difficult years. Let the panel do its work, and good luck, for the sake of the game we love!
Jan. 23, 2017
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I had a similar incident in the quarterfinals of the Lille Rosenblum, about 20 years ago. I opened 1H, and partner, with a 20-count, bid 2H, alerting it as game forcing. I'm told that my LHO then very quickly pushed the tray, knowing something was wrong. It went all pass, a claim for 7. Partner asked what happened, as he'd intended to bid 2D, but the 2H card was accidentally placed. The director ruled that we play 2H (which, upon later scrutiny, we were told might have been the wrong ruling). Lose 17 (but win the match, so partner didn't have to kill himself).
Jan. 12, 2017
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How sad, we have now lost both “Southern Belles”, and shall dearly miss both Betty Anne and “Mamma Bear” Sanders.
Nov. 1, 2016
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The USBF has term limits for Board Members (can only be elected to two consecutive terms) and the Presidency (two one-year terms; however this was extended to three during the detailed planning/execution of the Philadelphia World Championship, and I had no ‘official’ Board vote in the final year). Term Limits are a -good- thing.
March 30, 2016
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Sidney will be sorely missed, as both a great champion and a true gentleman of the game. As one of my favorite teammates, he was remarkably forgiving when I mangled an auction against the cheating Racecars in Lisle, merely costing us a World Championship (we lost by 2). I was in agony, and Sidney, as always, was the voice of reason.

RIP, my friend!
Nov. 4, 2015
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Yup, I sure remember that day. The inital Conditions did not include a playoff for 3-4th, and then the CoC changed midstream. My team (Bramley) got together with the other 3 semifinalists and all agreed to protest. As JoAnn reports, it worked. But, more along the lines of current affairs, we then went on to lose to the cheating “Racecars” by 2 imps, alas…

So yes, the players do have -some- power!
Sept. 28, 2015
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That's a most sincere and well-articulated posting, Roy. I'm sure this has all been most difficult for you and Sabine, and will add to the chorus of “well done”. This has been a remarkable few weeks for bridge, and I'm hopeful that the game will be better off as a result.
Sept. 19, 2015
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