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All comments by Jean-Charles Allavena
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Yes I sad that x was showing spades, and what we play is one of the options, probably the one played by most people. I've discussed with some top players about something looking like the option you describe, they are not convinced, and so don't I, for a lot of reasons.
Anyway, problem is not there, and in this case our version gives the perfet message : 1S showing 3 cards denies good H stopper, which means that 2NT is something like Qxx, Jxx, maybe Jxxx, which is very good news for the slam in D.
Last point : yes 3D over 1S would have been forcing, but with a more unbalanced hand, at least 4-5, maybe less points but more distribution. 3D after 2H shows this kind of things, many points but only 4D (even if the fit in D is sure after the bid of 1S, it's very important when you move to slam to know if you'll have 8 or 9 trumps, ths helps to make the difference).
June 10
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All this is interesting, and the result clearly depends on the real system you play and what I would call the philosophy of the system. Let me explain this.
1. The opening bid : is 1H so evident, and not 1NT? After 1NT, find the slam in H is not too difficult, find it in D is (for me) very difficult.
2. OK, opening is 1H, but how do you play 2NT? Game force as explained, which means 12-14, or game force and more, which means 12 and plus? And with 3 or 4 H? Depending on the answers, it's easy or not to imagine, from West's seat, that there may be a slam or just a lazy bid of 4H.
3. This means that, depending on how you play 2NT, it may be better to bid 2D and not 2NT. Which means that when you hear the answer or 3D (exactly 4D,5422, because 3S and 4C would be splinters and 4D 55), YOU KNOW that you've the possibility to discard your club on the 5th H (bidding going 1H-2D-3D-3H cue-3S cue-4C cue and then either 4D wait - 4NT - 5C 0-3 - 5NT some King? - 6D no, or 4NT - 5S 2keys and DQ - 5NT something more than promised? - 6D no).
4. And if you decide to bid 2NT, which in my style promises 12 and plus, not limited at 14, opener must describe his hand, as I may have strong hand. And here again, a lot of options for the next bids, the main being 3C relay, very often minimum or no second suit, the other bids natural with 16+. Here it would go 1H-2NT-3D, and again it's quite easy to SEE the discard on the 5th H if we play in D and no discard if we play in H.. which means bid like 1H-2NT-3D-3S (and not 3H which would deny fit in D) - 3NT (cue in S) - 4C cue and so on…

All this to say that I dont really agree with Barry, when he says that try to find such slams is lost time and energy. My belief is that, when you've discussed about what is exactly 2NT and what is not, you're on automatic rails. If you didn't discuss, I fully agree, bid 4H on 2NT ad wait for the next board.
June 4
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so do we, any other bid would have denied 4 spades, which is dangerous when you play matchpoints!!
May 27
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Of course I want to play 4C/D or 5C/D, that's why I bid 3NT, clearly not natural IMO. Because if partner just needed a spade stopper (for example with strong hand and clubs, as x AKx AQx AKQxxx), I think he would have bid directly 2S - 3S…
May 26
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If say Pass now, there's a serious risk that my second bid is after something like 4S Pass Pass.. and now? Pass? Dbl? 5H? 5C? then let me say 4H now ans let's decide of the next bid if it comes 4S Pass or 4S Dbl…
May 26
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I dont think that the point is to ask for doping exemption, I agree that it would be negative, I think that the point is to work on “doping adaptation”, which means, a lot of years after having joined IOC, finally start to work with them in order to decide what is doping in bridge, which kind of things help a bridge player, which kind of things must be forbidden, and finally make the difference between the specific sportsmen that are bridge players and all the other sportsmen. In my opinion, stupid decisions arrive when people dont work and think that rules must be universal…
March 13
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Post after post, masks are falling: if you dont agree with M. Welland, the only allowed thing is to “shut up”. OK Sir, go on talking between yourselves, between those who know all what should be done, who talk talk talk but don't do anything.. bye bye…
March 7
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Dear Steve, what you express is a way of life which goes far over the bridge world and the bridge questions.

When we are in an organized world (I dont say democratic, just organized!!), people build bodies to manage an activity and elect their représentants inside these bodies. The rule is that elected people have mandate to work, must present the results of their acts and from these results, may be reelected or not. This doesnt mean that voters must remain silent during the time of the mandate, but from a usually admitted rule, power cant be at the same moment in the street and in the offices!! Or, when it is, it drives to a change of government, of governance or to a revolution.

That's why I wrote that, like it or not, good or bad, a judgment exists from the CAS, and with the current architecture of bodies, WBF, EBL, NBOs, players are supposed to accept it, the concept being “laws and rules must be supported”. Have a different opinion is of course allowed (not eveywhere)and is expressed by different ways : generally bodies, if they disagree, try to change the things from inside, without changing the global architecture of their world, while people, even if they too may try to change the things (your reference to Vietnam for example), may feel free not to respect the décisions.

There's nothing original in what I just wrote, but I feel that we're seeing today in our bridge world exactly what I've described, and I honestly dont know what the end will be :
* the decision taken by the CAS is officially final and should be applied,
* some NBOs seem to apply it, with or without reserve,
* some bodies, like EBL, say that they will certainly not invite the previously condamned and now not guilty players, if the other players say “if they are here, we dont come”
* I saw that a group of players has written and signed documents in that direction, saying clearly “if they are here we dont come”
* but I also saw that in two tournaments where they were, nobody or quite left, and that within the people who stayed, were some names of people who condamned the decision of the CAS : have they changed their philosophy and decided to respect the law? or are they not so courageous (maybe because they were playing with a sponsor??!!)?
I dont know at which conclusions you may arrive, and if we may trust or not human being. I dont want to be negative, but it seems to me that the tendancy of history is the repetition. Bodies move very slowly, mainly when they dont want to change, while people would like to move fast : but one cant run very fast during long long time, and after some time, people dont run any more and bodies are still here. It's a pity, but I'm afraid it's true. Do you have something else to propose?
March 7
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Dear Sabine, I may be disappointed too, maybe even more than you, because Monaco is the name of my country, but I can only act on the things when I'm in charge or responsible. It's not the case, that' why I speak for myself only and give an opinion which is only my opinion and not an official position. Sorry, I cant do more.
March 7
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Roy, I forgot the answer to your last point, but I had more or less answered in previous posts.

I know that, after the problem with your previous teamates, you and Sabine have proposed to give back the titles won with them, and it's a highly strong decision. I don't know if the different concerned bodies -DBV, ACBL for example- have accepted your proposal or not, but it doesn't change so much, the important point was your decision: you were the boss, the captain, the leader of the team, you've proposed, it's great.

As I wrote it, I've suggested to the concerned people here to give back the titles won between 2012 and 2014. My point was not to acknowledge that the team was or felt guilty, nor to consider that some players were guilty (even if I know that most people would have interpreted such a decision like this), my point was to say “we have been in the middle of a period of trouble, we want to restart on new basis, we want to forget these three years, so that people dont talk about this during years, we want to restore peace among the community”. You know it, my suggestion was not accepted, of course I regret it, but I'm not Monaco, then send your comments to the two other guys!!!
March 5
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Sorry Jean-Pierre, what is TUE?
March 5
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Dear Roy, I really don't understand what you're looking for and why you continue writing things, as if you didn't read or understand what I write.

I've said it a lot of times, I'm not “Monaco”, I'm not President any more, I've no decisionnal role, I'm me and I speak as me. It's not so difficult no?? Then what I say is my opinion, as a person, as a bridge player, as a bridge fan, as the organizer of the greatest private tournament on the bridge planet. Is it clear? Am I allowed to express opinions?

Monaco refused the gold medal in Opatija because we dont accept stupid decisions, nothing else : withdraw the gold medal to Israel was logical after the rulings, give it to the second is stupid. There were a lot of debates, including here on Bridgewinners on this point, nobody can know what would have happened with a“normal” team of Israel, then change the ranking has no sense. It's not perfect, but a title may remain void: when seven “Tour de France” have been retired to Lance Armstrong, we have seven “Tour de France” without winner, and nobody complained or said “I'm the true winner”; when the title of soccer french championship has been retired to Marseille, nobody has been declared champion (of course I know that some other sports decide differently).

I know that you'll be disappointed by my answer, and that you were hoping to read that we decided this because we felt we didn't deserve it, because of the presence of a pair in the team, but sorry, the reason is only this one.

That's the reason why I say that, concerning Orlando, where everybody says that the ruling is a non-sense, the only way for the players to express that the ruling is a non-sense is to refuse the title. And I confirm another thing that I wrote, which is that, from my opinion, if the decision is that the team Zimm must lose the Gold medal, it's another non-sense to give them the Silver medal : if you're condamned, you lose all, where's the reason of this decision?
March 5
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Melanie, do you know why no disciplinary action was started after such results? Was the WADA report based on clear antidoping processes, or just unformal inquiries?
March 5
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Dear Roy, it's strange to see how you refuse to consider the reality when you want to argue.

As I wrote it ou said it a lot of times, we may like or not the decision of CAS (and I dont think that you may find any word from me anywhere where I'd have said that I like it), but it's a decision that bridge bodies, except ACBL, have to accept (as they accept the antidoping rules of the IOC). And correct me if I'm wrong, but after the decision of CAS, all the bodies (except ACBL) changed their rulings, just because in such bodies, no ruling is definitive as long as the last appeal is not closed.

I know, and easily understand that players may not be satisfied with this position (but are they, when ACBL decided to reaccept a previously banned italian player, probably by fear of actions in justice?). And I agreee when you say that people should act rather than speak, but here too: lots of people applaused when two norwegian players left the recent Barcelona tournament, but when I look at the ranking, I see that a lot of others stayed there (even some who had given lessons here or there). Things are not always so simple, and people not so courageous..

And in order to conclude on this item, acts rather than words, how do you consider the decision of Monaco to refuse the Gold medal in Opatija and of Poland to refuse the bronze medal? Is this not “acts”? Of course, as I wrote it, you may consider that we should have made more, and you've read that I suggested it but that I wasn't followed. But it's not a reason not to consider that something has been done, and that others might do the same.
March 5
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I found it positively surprising that, inside this discussion on a specific topic, nobody came back to the previous events.. but of course, Roy arrived!! and as so frequently, arrived to say wrong things (I remain polite).

First, you like it or not, I like it or not, the involved players have been judged “not guilty”, at the difference of some other ones, then situation is not exactly the same, and there's necessary a difference between give back titles that you won and accept titles that you didn't win.

Second, EBL too made a stupid decision with the correction of ranking in Opatija 2014, proposing the Gold medal to Monaco and the Bronze medal to Poland. It seems that your selective memory forgot it, but Monaco and Poland refused this medal, considering that the correction of ranking after the event is a stupid decision. Just note that EBL accepted this decision and did not punish or ban any team, which could allow some others to do the same.

Third, you're allowed to ignore this, but this is more or less two years that I'm no more the President of FMB, and as a consequence, have no power of decision, just power of expression. You're not supposed to know it, but I may tell you that I've made the suggestion that FMB gives back the titles from 2012 to 2014, not to acknowledge that we feel guilty, but to say to everybody “let's forget these troubled times, and let's open a new era with a new team”. My suggestion was not followed, that's life.

And last, when I suggest that runners-up would send a strong sign by refusing this title, it's just because I feel that it's the only way to say to WBF that the decision against Geir is stupid and that WBF must work in order to change the rules and create rules of antidoping adapted to bridge. I'm convinced that if you accept such a title, nothing will change, that's what I wanted to say.
March 5
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I'm not attorney, but it would be surprising for me that, when you're condamned, even as a consequence of the condamnation of somebody else, you're not allowed to appeal.
And I really hope that, within a next future, the internal bridge justice becomes more serious, so that everybody may trust her much more and that nobody feels oblige to appoint attorneys and systematically go to external justice…
March 4
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John, I'm not a specialist, and it seems to me that very few here are, but of course I agree with you when you say that some drugs may improve the conditions of play, and probably these drugs will work “better” within the next years. Then, for me, it's not stupid at all to be active against doping in bridge, and I dont agree with those who say that antidoping and bridge dont have to be connected.

My point, when I say that rules are stupid, is that, from what I know, the list of forbidden products is a global one and not dedicated to bridge (you may admit that bridge players concerns are not the same than most of sports), and that, at today, no real work has been done on the subject : what is a useful drug for a bridge player? what is really improving results? … as I read all and the opposite on this item (some saying : anything which which helps to remain quiet, zen, which reduces stress, others saying things which help to be more aggressive, to see more things, …). This is why I speak from stupid rules, because they are not adapted to the true problems, and the consequence is, for the current case, a probably wrong judgement. Then, let's work on the subject.
March 4
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Thanks Eduard for these précisions on the WBF laws. It helps me (at least) to confirm my opinion on points 8 and 9.
March 4
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Malanie: just to tell you that it's now more than two years that I'm no more President of the Monaco Bridge Fed, which confirms that my comments are purely mine. But as I wrote it in my conclusion, I think that the current President and Pierre Zimmermann globally share my views.
March 4
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All these comments are really interesting and I'd like to try some global synthesis of the points :
1. There's a positive control in Orlando, finding products which are not allowed by IOC, and there's an administrative fault to have not declared these products before the event.
2. In order to declare, you should find a clear list of prohibited products, and if possible this list should be specific to each sport. Is it the case? Not so sure. In order to declare you should know that what you take is prohibited. Is it always easy? Not so sure.
3. The rule exists, it's the consequence of the choice made by WBF to join the IOC. This choice has good and bad sides, we all agree. But did bridge bodies have some thoughts, did they make some studies on the item “what is doping at bridge?”? I'm not sure at all, and if we just accept the full list of prohibited products from the IOC, as if we were any standard sport, it's lazyness and stupidity.
4. Based on all this, a WBF Committee has to judge. I repeat, a WBF Committee, not a WADA, IOC or CAS until now.. we're here judged inside our bodies. Of course we've to deal with the rules we've agreed, but any court of justice is allowed to decide the verdict, assuming things that a lot of people have expressed here over : is there a fault? is there a will to fraud? does the fraud have any conséquences? I agree that we may give different answers to these three questions, but mine would be : YES. NO. Probably NO (I'm not a doctor).
5. And when we judge, we must think, much more than before, when we had no Internet, Facebook or Bridgewinners, to the message that we deliver. And here the only message that people receive is that rules are stupid and that a Committee has not been able or has not had the courage to say that rules are stupid. And dont tell me that it's impossible, it happened a lot of times (please check) that sport fédérations or even CAS didnt condamn people after positive controls, because they heard and judged: judge is appreciate, not be a computer.
6. Concerning the penalty to the player, we're with a very unusual decision : two years is the standard for a first fault when you're considered as guilty. One year looks like a political decision, let's try to look nice in front of WADA and IOC, let's show that he's punished, but as he has other problems today, both things will end more or less at the same moment, then he'll not move. Low level…
7. Concerning the penalty to the team, we're too with a strange decision. In a lot of sports, like soccer for example, when a player is found guilty by WADA, the team is not condamned. In other sports, the team is condamned. Honestly I didnt read the bridge laws on this point, I hope and suppose that the Committee applied rules and didnt invent, but we could think of it.
8. But this being said, if the team may or must be condamned too (and why not), leave the silver medal is stupid. The player didnt take his products just the morning of the final, it was an older thing, then why not cancel the whole championship? why should teams who lost in the semi-finals, in the quarters or even before accept? Here too it seems that judgement tried to be political : we condamn them, but not too much, so that we hope that they stay quiet. Low level (again) and stupid, they will certainly not stay quiet!!
9. I thought that bridge bodies had learnt about the previous problems they had with justice, and that the lesson was : you've lost cases that you should have won, because your processes were not correct and respectful of the rights (and because your lawyers thought that it was not necessary to prepare the cases). In the current case, the only thing I can say is that, one more time, some basic rules have not been respected, and it will open the door to some consequences.
10. And last point (very strange for me that nobody said a word on this item, when I remember a lot of earlier discussions) : when you've lost the final with such a huge margin, when you know and admit that you receive a title as a consequence of stupid rules (and/or of bad decision of justice), my opinion is that you would honor yourself and make the position of bridge stronger if you decide to refuse this title. I've seen no official position of the team, just personal opinion of one of the players on FB, but this is my feeling.
Sorry, all this is a little bit long, it's neither the official position of the FMB, nor this of Pierre Zimmermann, just mine (but I feel they are not so far!!).
March 4
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