Here in the States (as well as elsewhere), there is continual chatter about declining interest in our once majestic game .. particularly Contract Bridge, which came upon the scene in 1927. As with most issues, everyone can cite reasons for declining participation. Read the rest of this entry »
The beginning of our beloved game came about in the 1800’s with Bridge Whist — continuing until it was converted in 1904 to Auction Bridge and continued that way until Harold Vanderbilt was credited when he brilliantly converted “Auction” into “Contract” Bridge while on a cruise in 1927. Then along came Eli Culbertson, Milton Work, Charles Goren and others who helped pioneer the game as we know it today. Since then Contract Bridge has appeared in many forms, including social at-home games. The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) was created (in 1936) and The WBF (World Bridge Federation) at the urging and support of James Ortiz-Patino was formed in 1958 and under its auspices hosted many world championships/olympiads. Competition comes in all forms and shapes: individuals, pairs, teams … and more. Name your poison and pay your entry fee. At the duplicate clubs, the majority of events are focused on daily pairs with an occasional Special Club Championship (with an additional charge and extra masterpoints ala ACBL).
Judging from what we see locally here in Vegas, most play because of their love and enjoyment of the game enabled by leisure time. We also have Sectionals and Regionals. This Month (February 20th-24th), our Sectional will be held at The Plaza (which was the popular downtown site for the record breaking attendance of the 80’s and 90’s). I am pleased to add .. the advanced reservations are quite sizeable with nearly three weeks to go. All games (even at the neighborhood club level) allow the players to be ranked within their peers… new, intermediate and more experienced — depending upon their level of play). Obviously, it varies from social bridge all the way to the top .. National and International Competition where many high- level experts from both here and abroad compete … something like a Game for All Seasons. Bridge has shaped my life phenomenally beyond description (blessing me with both Norman and Bobby) and thus the necessity to express my concerns for the future distresses me!
Because of modern day technology, much has changed! I refer specifically to the current fabulous facilities employed to detect and document stealthy cheating (at all levels) with research and scientific methods not available previously. Early on .. perhaps sixty or so years ago, some adventuresome pairs illegally exchanged information and when discovered and corroborated .. some were booted out of our game .. many never to be seen or heard from again. Others paid a shorter period of penance .. but later resurfaced. However, with more experienced, clever, culprits (both nationally and internationally), it continued to thrive and is in the active stage of being proven and soon (I pray) to be stopped. I cannot go into the details myself, as I am not qualified to offer up proof .. but many top players (in 1963 when I came on the scene) KNEW and would have staked their lives on the undeserved wins of certain “glorious” teams (and pairs) whose names always appeared as No. 1. Many are familiar with the details after reading The Lone Wolff, but hold on to your seats .. there is more in the offing.
Since I truly believe the issue of deliberate underhanded, stealthy action is in the process of being squelched, we are exerting our efforts toward a new concern. On another site, most of you may have read about a second try (which failed over two decades ago) at introducing into universal bridge a proposed new contrived bidding system in conjunction with the striving for use of ‘Ferts.’ Yes, it is aptly nicknamed for the word ‘fertilizer’ which needs no elaboration. Just read between the drops. It is what it is! No doubt, most competitions are subject to change — and certainly favored .. IF in the interest of improvement (v. complicated bidding methods of confusion). Those of us old timers are appreciative and captivated by the majestic level to which bridge has ascended. However, there exist strong attempts to totally renovate our long-used methods of bidding where ‘this’ means ‘that’ and ‘that’ means ‘this.” If allowed (and we pray not), the game will go to hell in a hand basket — bearing no resemblance to what, for decades, we have proudly known as Bridge.
The most destructive element of this attempt at wreaking havoc on our long used, improved and rather simplistic bidding structure involves confusing techniques. Besides resembling a Halloween scene as it is very deceptive, it will cause contestants to play against trumped-up intentionally concocted bidding systems, slow down the game indescribably by unfamiliarity with the newly arriving chicanery, and force longtime players enamored by their favorite pastime to change their own bidding and defense to cope with it. And, how about all the extra time needed for those relatively in the dark who cause a delay of game. Certainly, they should not be penalized. With the revival of this second attempt to allow ‘ferts’ to infiltrate the system, I fear we will lose many avid players .. either giving it up or returning to relaxing mama-papa social coffee klatches. Is this attempted bridge revolution what you want? I didn’t think so!
Should (by some very dark and distant miracle) ‘Ferts’ and their accompanying ramifications officially ever sadly see the light of day … our once-great game’s replacement should be re-named GARBRIDGE!!
Take advantage of the upcoming Unit 373 Glitter Gulch Sectional rates at the newly renovated Plaza in the traditionally celebrated area known as The Fremont Experience. I have been in touch with Chairlady Extraordinaire, Angie Clark, who served as Hospitality Chairperson for the last two Chicago NABCs. I’ve gleaned the following from her which I want to share with you:
The playing site is conveniently located and has fresh new carpeting where they have installed an additional bank of can lights to the already-existing adequate light system to make a very well-lit attractive playing area which is almost adjacent to the restrooms. There are restaurants and coffee shops in the Plaza as well as numerous dining facilities and other casinos just steps away.
The dates of our tournament are Monday through Friday (February 20-24th). The Starting Times are 10 & 3. The room rates (including resort fee and tax): MONDAY ($54.25); TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY ($44.25). Be sure to make your hotel reservation by January 30th USING OUR RESERVATION CODE: SPACBL! (The card fees per session are $12 per person/$15 for non-ACBL members). The popular starting times of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. allow our players to enjoy relaxing meals in incredibly exciting surroundings.
The bridge schedule encompasses: PAIR GAMES: Two Sessions Every Day with an exciting BAROMETER PAIRS on Thursday; KNOCKOUTS Monday through Wednesday… with SWISS TEAMS available for those knocked out early. The tourney closes on Friday with a two-session STRATIFIED SWISS TEAMS and PAIR GAMES as well. Our 0-299ers have games every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. No section top prizes will be provided; however, trophies for I/Ns have been arranged. Check out our Unit 373 site for more specific details.
With the expected success of the February Sectional, we can ensure many more events at this location in the future. We look forward to your joining us at The Plaza.
More details to follow!
Do you remember as kids how intrigued we were with magicians and all that phony-baloney stuff? It was always a fascination and here I am… still mystified even at my age. Read the rest of this entry »
Bobby and I were saddened to learn that his friend of countless decades had passed away yesterday… I only knew Betty Ann personally through Bobby… but casually at the card table as a terrific and ethical bridge player who always said the right thing at the right time… just as what would be expected of the “Perfect Southern Belle.” Unfortunately, I might add (as her opponent) her bidding, declarer play and defense followed suit. She will be sorely missed!
I want to share with you an impressive view expounding on this much-talked about subject that I stumbled upon on HBJ’s site!!
Howard Bigot-Johnson’s Bizarre World of Bridge
Monday, 3 October 2016
JUST LISTEN TO WHAT BERNARD YOMTOV SAYS ABOUT BRIDGE AND WHY SOME CONTROL IS NEEDED TO REIN IN AND OUTLAW COMPLEX AND CONVOLUTED BIDDING SYSTEMS
Since bridge is a partnership game and chess is not, greater efforts are needed to stop opponents gaining an unfair advantage by having complex and convoluted bidding systems.
“If your opponent in a chess game does something very unusual you can, at least in principle, figure out how to counter it right there at the board. Advance preparation would be nice, but is not required.
In bridge, players faced with complex and unfamiliar systems cannot do that. Any counter requires agreement between the partners, and that can’t be done at the table, by the very rules. Even pre-alerts and the like don’t solve this, because of time constraints, incomplete understandings, etc.
Further, at bridge you will not know all the twists and turns the opponents’ auction might take. In chess it is all right there in front of you, if you can just figure it out.
What I’m saying is that in chess there is no inherent obstacle to countering an unusual move. In bridge there are such obstacles.”
No obstacles, no constraints ……it’s a recipe for anarchy.
The following series of corrrespondence (in reverse order) will inform you of what persistence can achieve… meaning Try, Try and Try Again! Read the rest of this entry »
…especially when it comes to our unique game.This appropriately pertains to the huge realm of bridge players’ leanings from all parts of the world. I was fascinated by the post below which doesn’t make any effort by the author to restrain this individual’s strong views on recent changes to ACBL policies.The writer’s solution is quite humorous but I must confess the game has been so desecrated by so many recent happenings, I would not attempt to disagree. See for yourself!! Read the rest of this entry »
What you see above is not a mistaken reversal of the old concept. It has been happening over the last few decades and presently, with all the ugly whispers, everyone is aware of the decline of the ACBL from numerous vantage points. My greatest concern at the moment is of huge magnitude: Exactly WHO is at the helm of our once-great ship .. and WHY?? Read the rest of this entry »
For purposes of this frothing at the mouth, I have altered the name of our local exterminators which enticingly is named Bugs Limited (although I am told it was once called Bugs Unlimited). Read the rest of this entry »