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All comments by Joel Shapiro
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I always thought sesquipedalian meant six people on one bicycle.
Aug. 6, 2016
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I remember playing in that tournament myself a couple of times, and enjoying it immensely. Pittsburghers are known for their outstanding hospitality and friendliness in any case.
Aug. 4, 2016
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I don't object to having a non-member surcharge at ACBL tournaments, and I have seen them often waived for 49'er and below events. (The ACBL does keep the money now, by the way.) What I do object to is non-members being eligible for masterpoints. I think that any pair or team that has a non-member on it should be ineligible for any awards. Time and again I see a member who is just a few points short of his or her next level missing out because the last overall place in that event was taken by a pair (or team) of people who are just too cheap to pony up the membership fee.
Aug. 4, 2016
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“Declarer … is deemed to have played a card from dummy … when he names or touches it, unless for a purpose other than play either manifest or mentioned by him.”

Law 79B, from “The Laws of Contract Bridge, 1943 Authorized Edition”.

He called for the spade. He wasn't paying attention. It's played. No different 73 years ago. End of story.
Aug. 4, 2016
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I wonder when this will start to be referred to as Seatgate.
Aug. 4, 2016
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Same thing happened to me at a regional many years ago. I had never heard of choice pairs before. My partner and I played in the first two sessions and were well ahead after that. The evening session was very sparsely attended, and one pair of pros entered it against a very weak field and bumped us to second place. I know it sounds like sour grapes, but I would never enter such an event again. In fact I have never been back to that tournament, because the partnership desk was non-existent, the hospitality nearly so, and the section top prize was all of one (1) whole bridge buck.
Aug. 2, 2016
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I don't like the rubber band idea. Players who want to cheat will all claim to be allergic to latex.
Aug. 2, 2016
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Following the Laws and explaining them to less experienced players is what's polite.

Next thing you know, these opponents will be asking you to politely allow them to take back insufficient bids and leads out of turn.
July 28, 2016
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And if they played with Lucy in the Rift Valley Regional two million years ago, she has some ‘splainin’ to do.
July 28, 2016
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This appeared in our local units' quarterly periodical (The Kibitzer) recently.

“Bridge is a haven for many…it’s a chance to get away from the everyday and focus your mind. Tuesday Open games at Partners is a small game…A. brings M. as often as M. is able…M. is 90+ years old; she survived polio, raised 11 children…she loves her occasional afternoon of bridge and A. is her most patient and dedicated partner.

”Today a pair came to the game and asked to not play against M….they said it’s depressing and frustrating….

“Yes, M. is a bit slow and we sort her cards for her, but she does the best that she can. Make room in your heart and your life…tomorrow that may be you!”

Partners Bridge Club
Toronto

My wife, who was directing that day, told the pair who did not want to play with M. to basically stuff it, and deliberately arranged the movement so that they did play against M. They behaved themselves for the 15 minutes it took. I don't think they've been back, and good riddance.
July 25, 2016
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If I was American, I would vote for No Trump.
July 25, 2016
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I became an ACBL TD in 2001. Back then, card fees for sectionals in my area (Toronto and surrounding area) were generally $10. Now most sectionals charge $12 or $13. Regionals here generally charge $16 or $17. Not much of an increase, really, in all that time.

These are Canadian dollars, of course. We give our American visitors 20% to 25% on their money, so come on up!

My bridge club, which is about eight years old, started off charging $8 to $10 per game, and now we charge $12 for a single entry or $110 for a 10-play ticket. We always provide free coffee and cookies.

A movie will cost at least $12 and that doesn't include parking and snacks. The cheapest ticket for a Blue Jays ballgame is $19 and that's high up in the stratosphere. More if the Yankees or Red Sox are visiting. Don't even ask about Leafs tickets.

I think you're right about travel cost increases swamping card fee increases. Hotel rooms especially have soared in price. This, more than anything, has deterred many people from traveling to tournaments. Not much the ACBL can do about that, unfortunately.
July 25, 2016
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I understand, Corey - and I sympathize. In my area (Toronto) in 2016, there are 17 sectionals in the city and immediate suburbs, or within about a two-hour drive, plus 4 STaC's and 2 I/N sectionals. Two of our sectionals are almost as big as some regionals, and the awards in those can be quite large. So here, anyway, it's not too hard to get lots of silver points quickly if one doesn't mind the traffic. I know that STaC's were originally instituted to give players in more isolated areas more of a chance to win silver points. So maybe it's time to cut back on STaC's in major cities like mine.
July 25, 2016
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Clearly Corey's not been to Toronto recently either. We would have to charge $3 extra per person for a STaC, and since in D2 there are three or four STaC's a year, it IS a big deal to too many players. So we don't run STaC's at my club, at least not for open games.
July 20, 2016
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Tyler - I didn't say that newer players ‘deserve’ points - I said they “need” them. Most of my ‘A" players specifically tell me that they don’t want to bother with STaC's because they don't need silver points and don't want to pay $3 extra for something they don't need. Thanks, Danny.

Here's another thought - ‘A’ players would need silver points (and black points too) if the number required for each successive higher level of LM were to increase past the amount now required for the first LM level. You want to be a silver LM? Win 50 more silver and 50 more black. You want to be a gold LM? Get 200 more silver and 200 more black. Or something like that. ACBL - are you listening?
July 20, 2016
Joel Shapiro edited this comment July 20, 2016
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Yes, the score stood because it was already less than average-minus. And don't forget that I did give them a procedural penalty on top of that.
July 20, 2016
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At a recent tournament at which I was directing (not as the DIC) a player opened 1d, his LHO overcalled 2c, and the opener's partner asked how many that showed. He didn't look at the overcaller's convention card. Upon receiving the expected answer, he bid 3c - and partner passed! Of course, the 3c bidder had a boatload of clubs - a normal 3c opener. They made four, which was a poor matchpoint result anyway with 3nt making also. I let the score stand but gave them a stern lecture and a procedural penalty. I would do the same at a club game.
July 15, 2016
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It doesn't sound to me that the director specifically ruled that there was NO misinformation. It sounds to me that the director ruled that even though there MIGHT have been misinformation, it was not germane to the result (was not the direct cause of any damage to East/West) and therefore no score adjustment was warranted. Perhaps the director was applying Law 12C.1.b.

I'm no expert, but I would never have led any club in that situation anyway. I would have led a trump.
July 14, 2016
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Ages ago, probably before the wheel and fire were invented, I learned to play klaberjass, and was really good at it. During my years at summer camp, I taught my cabinmates to play and we had tournaments, marathon games, etc. One summer (I think it was 1967 or 1968) it was too rainy to play much baseball or go canoeing, so we played cards indoors more than usual. Then one of the counsellors brought a group of us kids a Goren book and said that if we like klaberjass so much, we'd like this game even better. The rest is history…
July 14, 2016
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My club - for the past two years the second-largest in Canada and one of ACBL-land's top 30 - now only runs STaC games for our 499er games and below. Many of the Open players belly-ached about the extra fee (now about $3 per person Canadian) and mostly aren't interested in silver points anyway. The NLM's do want the points, so we continue to run STaC games for them, for now. After we stopped running STaC's in our open games (a loss of about 100 tables for the event), our club's attendance was almost identical to what it was before.

My bigger beef with STaC's is that clubs whose games are nominally Open but in which the vast majority of players are intermediate and below, often contain just one or two real A players who naturally win with big scores and scoop up all the masterpoints from the players who really need them. It then becomes impossible for players in truly Open and competitive games, like the ones I have, to win the overalls.

I have advocated for some sort of strength-of-field adjustment for some time, and even suggested a few possible formulas which could very easily be programmed in ACBLScore, but the powers that be have nixed the idea.
July 14, 2016
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