Judy Kay-Wolff

Watch your Step and Watch your Mouth!

In the recent Las Vegas Regional, a big to-do was made over a hand where there was a failure to alert a cue bid.  Said failure was, in fact, because the player making the bid had intended it as a transfer with an eight card suit headed by the AJ10.   The auction eventually led to mayhem when his partner (having overcalled spades) jumped to a game (thinking it was a cue bid fit).  

When 4S got doubled, what person in their right mind (and there are still some bridge players out there that qualify) — would not retreat to his eight bagger????  That is pretty normal and who could fault him (alert or no alert)?   Partner passed.

When the Partner of the opener chose not to double (but bid 6C which was opener’s first thrust), the light dawned and holding AXXXX AKX  Q984  K, the overcaller (a very respected player and a perfect gentleman) figured out partner had a very long suit and bid a slam which got doubled and a greedy lead allowed them to make an overtrick.  That’s known as ‘toughies’!

Soon the Sh_t hit the fan!!!  No one is denying it all started with what Bobby calls Convention Disruption (not knowing your system).  Naturally the opponents (minus 1740) protested. The Director, after consulting with the “local authorities,” mulled it over and on the second board of the next match told the 6D bidder he was reversing the score to 4S undoubled.   How kind!  Sheer madness!  The player got up and left the tournament (fearing otherwise he would explode from this asinine ruling).   His partner started to accompany him out the door but reconsidered and remained though he vented his spleen by turning back and calling the Director "a f_cking idiot" (and well within himself)!

The Ruling of the Disciplinary Committee (and you gotta be sitting down for this one) as it is one that is hard to rival or top:

1)  The player who opted for an early departure from the tournament is not allowed to exit an ACBL sanctioned game before its conclusion FOR SIX WHOLE MONTHS;  Big Whoops!  He’ll really have to exercise control!

But — catch the next one …..

2)  His partner (who remained at the site but couldn’t hold his tongue) is not allowed to call that Director (or ANY Director for that matter) a “f_cking idiot” FOR A PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS!



BlairJune 16th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Throwing the board out or averaging the result is the same difference. The director, by removing the double of four spades, creates for the eight-bagger in diamonds a lack of urgency to improve the contract. Perfect gentleman, well respected, profanity and walking out of a game are not congruous terms. If I had served on this disciplinary committee I would have ruled differently. I suspect that there is more to this story….

Judy Kay-WolffJune 16th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Blair: I have faced biased, politically attuned, uninformed, unqualified appeals committees of the highest order at the NABCs. I sadly received that field experience about inequity in my infamous appeal of four years ago. Besides, many directors do not know enough about the game itself, to be in a position to make “bridge” judgments. If the story is as related by one of those personally involved, walking out and calling the Director a F.I. isn’t nearly enough to even the score. I have had plenty of experience with local directors of that ilk so none of this is a shock to me as their talents (and especially their pompous demeanor) leave much to be desired.

I am waiting to hear back from an extremely knowledgeable individual who was on the scene and perhaps I will learn the facts were not exactly as originally presented. Time will tell.

Directors cannot be beyond reproach and MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE for their actions. However, they are protected like little sheepdogs for fear of casting any aspersions on them or the League for unjust and sometimes ridiculous rulings. Bobby has been a witness to that scene for decades!

Directors at this level are far from flawless and I would like to see all the cards laid on the table by impartial people.

By the way, there must be an error — but I heard that the individual ruled against asked for an Appeals Committee and was refused. IS THAT POSSIBLE? I didn’t think the director had that option — but what do I know?

Judy Kay-WolffJune 16th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I now hear from another source that no one tried to appeal. It is difficult to know who to believe as everything seems to have occurred in the passion of the moment. The reason I challenged it was because I once had heard the tournament staff cannot refuse to hear an appeal. Whatever!

John Howard GibsonJune 16th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Dear Judy, this is a perfect example of what this game can do to people’s minds and personalities. Dr. John would have a field day with these two characters. However, I never like it when a pair cock up their bidding system, yet come out of it smelling like roses. But as for the other pair, they committed one of the biggest sins of all. Doubling a hopeless contract which was going to give them a top anyway ( undoubled ). This of course allowed the slippery eels to wriggle free. Secondly, to then criticise their opponents, when it fact they should be first blaming themselves, is totally out of order. Thirdly, to walk out of a tournament and swear at a director ( no matter how good or imcompetent he/she was ) is unforgiveable. Hell, it is only one board and there are people dying out there in this world for want of a bite to eat.

As for the bans there can be simply reinterpretated as ” you are allowed to do these sort of things…. but only once every six months “. I just hope that if a player gets really smacked by another, the offender isn’t treated the same. Yours HBJ.

MarthaJune 17th, 2010 at 6:36 am

I find the incident inexcusable. Buying an entry commits you to certain conditions. One, you plan on completing what you begin. To have a temper tantrum and then running away, is just not acceptable. Perhaps too much online bridge leads to this type of behaviour. In the privacy of one’s own home anything goes. You and your partner have an auction which is misunderstood by all at the table, then you have a tizzy, because you are prohibited from profiting from it. Next you walk out. Your excuse: Preventing mayhem…hmmm.

The ruling, as described, is also not acceptable. The committee should, at the least, be overturned and a new committee formed. If precedents are set, then we can all walk out and use profane language every six months, but not more frequently.

Could there be more than meets the eye here?

Bobby WolffJune 17th, 2010 at 8:21 am

Convention Disruption (CD) strikes again.

There is no solution once CD occurs, bridge always stops (100%) and chaos as well as unfair and inaccurate clean up is the bandaid applied.

Until we wise up, eliminate CD by penalizing it out of existence and therefore require unusual conventioneers to know and understand their conventions or else not play them, we will always be at ground zero in terms of effectiveness.

Why do we cater to wrongdoers who specialize in wanting their cake, e.g. playing highly unusual conventions (whether good for the game or not), and, at the same time, allowing them to eat it too by forgetting what they are doing and still possibly salvage much recompense from what their selfishness has caused the field and the TD’s and appeals committees to waste time and generally cause our game to stop?

All we need to do is require, under threat of always ruling against, for players to know their conventions or else not play them.

Is that too much to ask? Sort of like what BP did in the Gulf of Mexico.

BlairJune 17th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Judy: No matter how poorly the director’s have ruled against you in the past, or continue to do so in the future, at least in this case, they did get the part where the failure by the offending pair of not remembering their conventional understanding was the problem. Reverting the auction may not have been the best solution, but it was an attempt to prevent the wrongdoers from gain. For the wrongdoers to then disrupt the event with a tirade which included quiting the game and swearing at the staff is an outrage that was completely overlooked by the disciplinary committee and unpunished by said committee. That is so wrong.

I am not sure that an appeal of this disciplinary committee’s ruling that (a) you are not allowed to walk out of a future game or event for 6 months and (b) you are not allowed to call a director a f..king idiot for 6 months is wise or necessary. If they did, I would (a) rule that they had committed two outrageous acts of conduct that were not punished and (b) rule that their appeal of the disciplinary committee’s decision was frivolous, and (c) excuse them from the bridge table for a set time, such as thirty to sixty days. I mean, are you not in agreement that no matter the circumstances, no matter how much you hate the organization and its representatives, such as directors, that one (a) should not be allowed to exit early an event or game and (b) that one should not be allowed to use the language f..king idiot? I deal the World Series of Poker, and the “f” bomb is the one word that is punished instantly, recorded for future judgements and if used again and will lead to ejection without recourse or a refund. By the way, during this same bridge tournament we had a horrific director’s ruling (which, as you know, I wrote to Bobby about), but Little Riki Tiki and I still just shrugged it off and won the event.

The committee’s disciplinary treatment of the offending wrongdoers is an insult to the rest of the field. What would happen if anyone during the next tournament were to get angry with their ruling and curse the director and walk out of the event? Chaos would rule, as a very dangerous precedent has now been set. Martha is dead right. A new committee should be reconvened and discipline should be meted out, even if it does mean that a contestant, having already purchased his ticket for the Nationals, no longer gets to play.

New World Order: Now, because you don’t like your ruling, you to can curse the director and walk out of the game and you will be told not to do it again for six months or else. I would like to think perhaps that’s the moral of this story….

Crime and punishment: Barney O’Malia, a Nevada casino owner who has since passed on, use to play with Gaylord Kasle, David Ashley and Little Riki, just to name three of his favorite pros. Anyway, Barney, while on his way to another week of tournament bridge, left his casino, The El Capitan which is located in Hawthorne, and was motoring down the state highway in Northern Nevada when he was stopped for speeding. The cop took them into the next town to see the judge. The court found Barney guilty and fined him $100. Barney reached into his pocket, pulled out a roll of $100’s and peeled off two with the three fingers left on one of his hands. You can image what happened to the other two given the nature of his career. This colorful character and wonderful friend then slammed the bills atop the judge’s bench and said ” Here’s two hundred. I’m comin’ back the same way!” Now that’s a classy act that you’d expect from a well respected gentleman…..

Judy Kay-WolffJune 17th, 2010 at 12:36 pm


No doubt the Convention Disrupters were the initial cause of the whole brouhaha. And, true — there is no excuse for said behavior or speech. However, they are human too and in frustration, have a breaking point. Your one-sided reflections overlook the so-called authorities” — their methods, demeanors and personalities — and perhaps the possible inefficiency of the individual or individuals responsible for the eruption.

They, like doctors, lawyers, et al. should have good bedside manners. Nobody makes any bones about it here in LV. A couple of the local staff leave much to be desired — especially in the area of personality flaws. However, it is cheaper and more practical (according to those involved in the local administrative selection process) as it saves travel expenses and overnight hotel costs to hire locals. Here again, it all boils down to money. However, luckily there is a rumor (hopefully true) that one of the unpopular ones was promoted (little do they know) and will be moving on to bigger and better things at “Headquarters” — joining the ranks of a few others (some of whom could use lessons themselves about bridge, manners and the one-on-one handling of dues paying members).

It is not only about walking out and cursing at the director. Perhaps we should afford more attention to (and examine) the handling of the issues by those allegedly in charge — both past, present and future. Then, you have made headway!


BlairJune 17th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I have been exposed to those “authorities” (again, as you so well know) more so than you and most of the rest of the field. My view is not one-sided. Part of my view is that the disciplinary punishments do not even begin to fit the crimes. Secondly, my view about the directors being used is the same as yours and Bobby’s. He has stated on numerous occasions the point about the lack of directorial training that is so evident in our tournaments. Yet, swearing and disrupting the game have NO place in our events. I wrote a blog concerning body language and the development of our social morays ( Yes, I took all my blogs down after one of my friends so wantonly criticized all that I had written. ) Social order is mandatory, ergo, no matter how close to the breaking point a player may be pushed, can such aforementioned actions be deemed justifiable. I do not need to be insulted over being offended by the disciplinary committee’s lack of action against my two friends. I am in total agreement, as stated above, concerning the complete lack of professionalism being served on the tournament floor. I will repeat my two-sided view for you one more time. Punish wrongdoing and poor deportment and train the directors in the arts of law and etiquette. Thank you

Judy Kay-WolffJune 17th, 2010 at 3:46 pm


In the heat of battle, these things do happen. Not the first time for Mount Vesuvius to erupt at a bridge table. No doubt, some bridge players are very intense, fierce competitors at higher levels while others take it with a grain of salt as they are just passing the time of day. That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.

I did want to clarify two of your remarks.

First of all, they did not double a hopeless contract. 6D doubled was cold (even producing an overtrick with the bad defense). All they had to do was lay down the Diamond Ace, pulling the only missing trump (the DK) and lay the cards on the table — conceding only the club ace.

Secondly, neither of the men involved are slippery eels. Far from it. They are EXTREMELY ethical, well respected, popular gentlemen against whom Bobby and I play twice a week — occasionally as partners and other times playing with others. They are not a glued-at-the-hip pair and on this occasion had a mix-up. I have been guilty of that many times. Haven’t you?

I really think most are barking up the wrong tree. Maybe if our directors were better trained and the director had not been called by the grieving opponents a full board afer the incident, more time could have been devoted to the problem and been resolved before the start of the ensuing match.

How would you like to be deep in concentration on the second board of another match and be interrupted by a Director, advising your result of +1740 was reversed to -400 (the irrational decision of some “F.I.” of 4 Spades down four undoubled) — a ruling straight from outer space.

I’d be upset — wouldn’t you?

They say that “it is an ill wind that blows no good.” Perhaps this publicized epIsode might call more attention to the important role of (and need for) an intelligent, well-informed, well bridge-educated director and the importance of knowing how to treat the players who are embroiled in an explosive situation.

One of the well-humored great National Head Directors of the sixties and seventies (either Harry Goldwater or Maury Braunstein) was quoted responding to some neophyte asking about the importance of winning. The answer (with a straight face) was something to the effect …. “… More important than life itself!” For some that says it all.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 17th, 2010 at 4:30 pm


You say … “Punish wrongdoing and poor deportment and train the directors in the arts of law and etiquette.” That is very noble!

However, wrongdoing and poor deportment (often provoked) are handled by the directing staff. THEY ARE IN CHARGE. That is a given.

On the other end, where and when do you begin training and educating the directors when Memphis (now Lake Hood) is quite content with the status quo — and the directors enjoy unchallenged power. Just how do you propose to effect the change? Bobby’s been trying to accomplish that for years — with singular lack of success. Maybe you have more influence.

Sounds good in theory — but not in practice! Believe me!


tomJune 17th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

my pd was wrong to have left the game and i was wrong to say with all due respect i think you are a f…. idiot but come on the opps just wanted something for nothing and this idiot director gave it to them not to mention that the director did not explain to the experts he asked opinion for that the opps wanted a doubleshot if id gone minus then np. they waited till cards for next hand were out

Judy Kay-WolffJune 17th, 2010 at 8:26 pm


At least you showed the class and decency to preface your remark by … “With all due respect ….” Maybe it would have been more acceptable had you added the word “Sir.”

BlairJune 18th, 2010 at 1:40 am

Not another put down, please. Nuthin’ noble, just my two-sided view. Yes, I could clean it up as far as our unit goes in a relative short period of time. Just say when. PS-Please try to pick a time when I am in Vegas. Still waiting for my apology concerning the silly reference to my being one-sided. I thought you knew me better than that…..

Darwin AfdahlJune 18th, 2010 at 9:31 am

Hi Judy,

was this the actual ruling, or is this written in jest?

Bobby WolffJune 18th, 2010 at 9:48 am

Hi Darwin,

I’m certainly closer to this than you are, but I, too, think either the TD, the appeals committee (if there was one), the participants, or the on-lookers are quoting in jest, but a week later I am only not sure, but in actuality, have no idea.

The only two positive suggestions I can make is:


2. TD’s need to adopt (as do referees and umpires in highly paid professional sports) a MUCH better manner of presenting the game and themselves, keeping in mind the competiveness of the players and human nature in general. It is no time for the directors to speak or act in a challenging way, but rather instead adopt a very sympathetic manner.

John Howard GibsonJune 18th, 2010 at 11:50 am

Dear Judy, Either I’ve misunderstood the bidding in the story, or made my comments ambiguous. I thought because 4S was doubled, the errrant bidding pair had been given a wonderful reprieve to get into the diamond slam they should have reached, based on a mutually sound bidding understanding. My view was to double 4S was a grave mistake if the doubler knew they were in an inferior or hopeless contract. As for my reference to “eels”, that was a poor choice of wording. I only wanted to convey the idea that they had been allowed to wriggle free from an inferior contract ( by a fortuitous double ).

Nevertheless, to walk out from a tournament no matter what injustice the TD’s ruling had inflicted, was wrong. You let down partners, all others players in the field, and by doing so many pairs might end up having their scores damaged…which then alters the whole outcome of the competition.

We all have bad boards as a result of bad luck,gross unfairness and injustice, but we get them back when good fortune then comes our way. It’s the way things always tend to balance out. Also no matter how intense the battle is, bridge still remains a game in which the joy of participation matters more than the result. To lose one’s composure over a naff TD ruling, or the pantomime bidding of your opponents asks serious questions about one’s temperament to succeed. In my view calmness, control and composure allow players to deal with incidents like this in a very philosophical way, enabling them to play the next board completely unaffected. As you know I really do respect your views and comments, and I hope you regard most of mine as ” balanced, impartial and fair ” despite the connotations of my awful pseudoynm . Yours HBG

BlairJune 18th, 2010 at 1:46 pm


That’s been my point. You cannot walk out of tournaments no matter what a director does. You are insulting the rest of the players, not the directors. I have tried to explain to Judy in several comments already that even though I have a bigger bone to pick with directors than she, it is always wrong to do what this pair did. One left and the other “f” bombed the director. She has used sarcasm and insults, publicly and privately, because I don’t agree with her defense of the guilty pair. She thinks their actions are justifiable. Maybe she is right, based upon what she reported as the discipline administered by the committee. I don’t agree and after our last private emails I do not need to speak with her again. Such is life…..

BlairJune 18th, 2010 at 1:53 pm


Bobby is absolutely right. CD is the culprit and any ruling should always be against the party who violated CD. See how easy this game could be. Keep up the good fight Bobby. The director in this particular case just took to long ( maybe he was actually trying to be a good director, eh? ) to use violation of CD as the justification to rule a different result. I think Bobby would let 6 Diamonds X stand, but award the plus side an average or maybe less. At imps I don’t know how that would translate. Bobby, how would you have ruled this issue?

Thank you

Judy Kay-WolffJune 18th, 2010 at 4:34 pm


You are absolutely correct. When you referred to doubling a hopeless contract, I thought you were alluding to 6D (not 4S) — just my erroneous interpretation. Sorry, strictly my mistake.

And, yes, John (despite your self-styled name), I do respect your views, your sense of humor and intriguing writing style. I am definitely a big fan! Make no mistake about it. I do regard you as “balanced, impartial, fair” and I’ll add modest (in lieu of all the enjoyment you have afforded the blogging public with your quite unique wording, graphics and subject matter).

Now on to the problem at hand …

It is true that walking out of a tournament is a cardinal sin. No doubt about it. But perhaps we have to delve deeper and seek the cause of the problem: poor director/management and mishandling the customers which always seems to be passed over routinely. Remember, we the entry buyers and dues-paying members of the ACBL are the ones who ante up for their salaries. We should not have to tolerate what we consider ‘unacceptable’ directors and it is time we spoke up.

Today at our duplicate, we started off against your eels (only teasing), the infamous “early departing player” and his F.I. blurting partner who did preface it .. “with all due respect.” We spoke at length about the situation and the vengence-seeking opponents who were in large measure responsible for their reaching 6D (ridiculously doubled and making with an overtrick). Let’s face it: one opened with a ‘non-opening bid” and his partner had a Yarborough except for spades (and a four card trump fit for partner’s opener) — hardly describable as defensive holdings. And, now they call cops. They didn’t have to double 4S (and looking at a void in diamonds, they should have suspected their opponents had a safe harbor — alert or no alert) — nor did they have to double 6D. So the opponents get no sympathy from me.

Bobby expressed his views about Convention Disruption (no doubt his favorite pet peeve) and he would have handled it totally differently but that is a moot point.

Let us get back to the real problem (actually, the cause): Directing.

Today we played against several pairs (ranging anywhere from excellent to pretty good). The incident was the talk of the game –although already five days old. When I asked their overall view of local tournament directing in LV, they all knowingly smilled as the general attitude is mutual!

Everyone (yes EVERYONE) named the two to whom they had objections — but adding, “Don’t worry — one of them is going to be gone soon). That doesn’t solve the problem of the other. So the word is out — and there is intermittent dancing in the streets. One down and one to go.

John Howard GibsonJune 18th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Dear Judy, Tx for reply. It is very difficult for me ( or any one else ) to pass any sort of judgement unless we have the full facts. It seems to be that the TD rulings are a real source of frustration for many top players.

Here in England, football managers write in an of match reports on referees, which if bad will ultimately affect their status and opportunities to ref in the premier league.

Referees with consistently good reports can the big matches and the big bucks. Perhaps TD’s needed to be graded, appraised and paid in this way. Yours HBJ

Bobby WolffJune 19th, 2010 at 9:40 am


John Howard, it is apparent that my thoughts and deep seated beliefs are extremely hard for others to understand.

What I am shouting from the rooftops is that when Convention Disruption (CD) occurs, bridge stops and whatever then is done belongs in Alice in Wonderland, because the other three players have no idea what is happening. To make matters worse is that CD does not then explode for everyone to hear. It still maintains a stealthy silence only further confusing everybody and everything.

Consequently the TD’s, Appeals Committees and Players must go back to when the CD occurred and RULE-BRIDGE HAS STOPPED and the CDers must pay the price for it happening. Nothing more nothing less! Reminds me a little of the topical view (at least by the Americans) of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico involving BP.

As soon as West bid 2 clubs meaning diamonds (an 8 card suit no less), but the other three at the table thought it was a 2 club cue bid, showing partner trump support and saying nothing about diamonds all three of the others relied on that (what else should they do?) Bridge has stopped and whatever else which happened is irrelevant. The table was now playing Gin Rummy, Poker, or a yet unnamed game, but certainly not bridge!

Please forgive my ranting. It is only that IMHO the top players do not want my treatment to happen since they do well with TD’s, Appeals Committees and other bridge law enforcement agencies, making it to their advantage to not have the procedure changed.

When Alex Guiness appeared (many, many years ago) in The Man In the White Suit, a British production of many years ago involving being able to manufacture a suit of clothes (no wrinkles) at minimum expense which would eventually save billions of dollars or pounds for humankind, but eradicate the fashionable clothing industry as a result, they couldn’t get it done.

Please understand my impatience and frustration.

You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself. Never ever change, except for understanding what I am trying to do.

Warm regards!

Judy Kay-WolffJune 19th, 2010 at 10:04 am

Yes JHG:

Regarding our NABC directors, there are certain standouts like Sol Weinstein and Chis Patrias and others who may have emerged since Bobby and I stopped attending the Nationals two years ago.

When I first learned about the qualifications of an alleged “certified director” — I was horrified. It was an open book test. Unless the applicant is a complete moron (or F. I.) who is totally incapable of reading and writing, it should be a snap. Most club directors, when called upon for a ruling, bring their little bible and read from it — to fortify and try to give credence to their decisions. Sadly, not all rulings are open and shut and oftimes knowledge (sometime high level) is not within their scope to sort out the details as it may get too complicated.

My bone of contention has to do not only with the bridge knowledge and experience of the one calling the shots — but a necessary component of such qualification is fairness, equity, compassion — but above all one with no latent personality disorders. Maybe they should be going to bridge grooming school but in order to be respected by the players and even their peers, they must be not only knowledgeable — but have a pleasant personality as well.

I despise MISmanagement in any form. You may be familiar with the recent perfect game a young pitcher had going in the ninth inning with no one on and two out. The umpire MISSED the call at first base, allowing a hit that was not a hit to ruin the deserving pitcher’s place in BB history joining others who had thrown perfect games. On replay, it was obvious one of the three blind mice had erred grievously and not called the player OUT — but acording to BB rules — it was TOO LATE to do anything about it. MY SUGGESTION: Amend the rules!

Since Nobody’s Perfect, your brilliant suggestion of having bridge conform to English FB referee standards sure gets my vote — but I don’t think it’ll ever work here as the ACBL likes its comfortable status quo. Until they hire a fair, unbiased, diligent Chairman of the Directing Staff who tries to change course, we will continue to abide by the same stance of laissez faire and the players will have to contend with mediocrity at best.

It has to start at the top and trickle down but easier said than done.

Bobby WolffJune 19th, 2010 at 10:26 am


Yes, you are headed to my way of thinking in my eventual verdict.

The components of what I think is important in that:

1. Effectively bridge has stopped once CD has occurred.

2. Results at the table can be used to mitigate the final scoring, if only to try and resurrect the bridge actually played since so little is left to rely on

Possibly the subject case could result in the following:

EW, the CD’er, but one who out of the ashes emerged with a result of a doubled diamond slam which made with an overtrick would get something like (subject to the committee’s bridge judgment, after eventually using previous decisions to determine precedent):

minus 13 IMPs for their CD, but plus 4 IMPs resulting in -9 IMPs (not based on actual numbers, hence made less because of the theoretical nature) for their good result. The same amount would, of course, be given their opponents +9 IMPs.

In this way most masters would be served, penalizing CD greatly but slightly mitigating the amount by the good result achieved by the offending side.

I would not object to someone wanting a specific IMP penalty for committing CD, like for example 5 IMPs as a starting number, but the numbers should be left for a committee to decide as long as that committee had no conflicts of interest. At least to me, the amount added would directly go to why that particular partnership was so lazy or whatever to not discuss their newly played convention which had caused all the trouble.

Without consistent well-thought out rules we are no where near as effective as we should be.

However as a final comment, I could certainly live with forgetting what ever bridge was attempted to be played after the CD making it a +13, -13 result instead.

LarryJune 19th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

So please tell me: are all forgets CD?

As long as bridge is played by humans, there will always be forgets. I have 5 regular partners and occasionally in club games I have a forget since there are so many variations of common conventions. In NABC / Regional tournaments my partnership has 2 forgets in four years. Neither one resulting in a strange result.

Bobby WolffJune 20th, 2010 at 3:52 am

Hi Larry,

Forgets, as you probably would agree, would only be CD if up to the three other players at the table were to be misled and that in turn, led to the proximate cause of a skewed, not comprehensible, bridge result. Furthermore, if for some reason, the partner of the CDer perhaps had some reason to suspect his partner of forgetting (prior tendencies or maybe confusing earlier discussions) and hedged his bidding to take out some insurance, but at the same time the unsuspecting opponents fell hook, line and sinker, to their ultimate destruction, for the conventional understanding, those circumstances would probably result in the worst kind of disadvantage for the opponents (witness in the subject case of the double of 4 spades with KQxx in spades behind the spade overcaller, and void in diamonds, to my view a reasonable action).

However, since the attempt to mitigate damages in the event of CD sometimes requires a ouija board, making the process practically impossible, the overriding laws should give the discretion to the TDs (and later the appeals committee) to first restore credibility to the non-offending side (without giving a windfall result to them, especially in matchpoint scoring, if possible, protecting the field, PTF) but the second and most important caveat is to penalize the culprits severely with the idea of eventually driving it out of existence. Obviously the subject ruling needs to be publicized for effect, not to blast the CDers, but only to educate and suggest what will always happen unless newly adopted conventions are properly discussed.

If one thinks about it, I do not see why everyone would not agree that the above is only common courtesy to the opponents in this fast becoming scientific bridge world (at least at a certain level).

Yes, I agree that forgets will happen, but when they do, equity will rule, not status or politics, and my guess is that forgets will become rarer and our whole (especially high-level) game moves up a significant notch.

In your case with your stated history, 2 forgets in four years is very mild and let’s hope that the 2 becomes 1 or fewer. To do so, a partnership MUST be conscientious about their responsibilities to opponents and to the game itself and before playing with new toys, delve into subjects about off or on over interference and other connecting partnership subjects. Since neither of your forgets caused a strange result, perhaps the opponents were not disadvantaged and those unfortunate happenings might even have passed unnoticed. No Typhoid Mary, you!

Would anyone doubt that by doing the above, the whole bridge world would not benefit, including the respect for one’s opponents, which would go along with?

Larry, I am finally getting tired, and am certainly old, so, if you see and feel what I see and feel, please, and with your friends, join in the crusade to make bridge fairer, more equitable and certainly more respectful.

I, for one, will openly appreciate the help and my guess is that if the game of bridge was animate, it would be jumping at the bit to secure your services.

Thanks for your interest and for taking the time to blog.

Craig BiddleJune 20th, 2010 at 6:03 am

This is an unbelievable situation, in many ways. First of all, many pairs (even great ones) have a problem with very strong one-suited hands after 1X-1Y-any. If they play new suits not forcing, all jumps fit bids or splinters, and a cue promises support, they have no bid for hands like the one in this issue.

Second, they guy that made the cue-bid without support should not be prevented by the rules from rebidding his nine-bagger, under any conceivable set of alerts, bids, director calls, power outages, earthquakes, or bathroom breaks.

Third, the director should understand the rules at least well enough to know that. The problem is that the ACBL tournament regulations have made bridge a numbers game (your weak two-bids are marked 5 to 10 – then you can’t open 2H with x.KJ10987.xx.xxxx). So in unfamiliar situations like this, directors do not know how to rule.

Fourth, any director that makes a ruling that changes the result of a board, Swiss match, or even outside of the appeals period should be suspended from working for six months and knocked back a couple of grades.

Fifth, any player that walks out of an event should be suspended from entering any event (even a club game) for six months.

Sixth, the guy that called this particular director a f***ing idiot should be given a medal.

I am becoming more and more of a fan of Jeff Rubens’ equity-based adjustments campaign. So there’s an irregularity – fine. Allow the guy with a 9-card suit to bid it one more time, then give the opponents their double-dummy par result from that point and make that the table result for both pairs. If it is deemed that the side with the 9-card suit committed an infraction, dock them 3 IMP, or 1/4 board, or something outside the result. Then move on.

Peter GrayJune 20th, 2010 at 8:23 am

So, what was the auction?

Judy Kay-WolffJune 20th, 2010 at 9:44 am


Are you the same Peter Gray who played with Dan Kasture?

Danny KleinmanJune 21st, 2010 at 9:41 am

Let’s see if I have the auction right:






… with responder having KQxx behind overcaller and opening having almost zilch?

The failure to alert 2C as showing diamonds specifically stemmed from overcaller’s forgetting a partnership agreement, but were the opponents damaged thereby?

I think not. In BWS and other fairly common methods, a cue-bid is advancer’s only forcing bid (even a jump to 3D is played by many as merely invitational) and so does not promise spade support. With no “responsive double” available after 1C-1S-pass, what else is advancer supposed to do with a strong red two-suiter, for example?

So the responder who doubled 4S did so at his own risk, with no evidence that advancer had a fit for spades … and the auction would have been the same had his opponents been playing BWS.

The only rationale for adjusting the score would be if an opponent had inquired about the 2C cue-bid and been told that it showed “a strong raise” of spades, in which case responder’s double of 4S would have been induced by misinformation.

The players ruled against had every right to call the director an idiot, but without supporting evidence from any bed partner of the director was not justified in calling him a “fucking” idiot.

Danny KleinmanJune 21st, 2010 at 10:23 am

Many problems could be avoided by the ACBL if it instituted rational alerting and announcing procedures. All cue bids (rather than none, as many players believe) should be alerted (or perhaps announced). All failures to alert should be subject to procedural penalties. Simple and effective.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 21st, 2010 at 7:42 pm


You got it almost right. After 1C 1S there came a negative double. The rest is like you recanted it. The 2C (transfer to 2D) was not alerted. There began the rub.

And I agree — more alerting (not less)! I’d rather be traveling on a bridge local than an express regardless of the expenditure of time. If accurate, it prevents more problems than it causes. Bridge should be afforded the respect it merits rather than always being in such a hurry to get on with the next board!

[…] of my readers will recall a rather titillating blog called “Watch your Step and Watch your Mouth,” published June 15th, about an incident that happened at a local LV tournament with quite a bit […]

CarlOctober 17th, 2010 at 3:09 am

Do the Laws already covers Convention Disruption but the Laws have historically been applied incorrectly?

Here are what appears to be the three Laws that could be applied:

Law 75C “Mistaken Call” states “the Director is to presume mistaken explanation, rather than mistaken call, in the absence of evidence to the contrary.)”

Law 40C “A player may deviate from his side’s announced understandings always, provided that his partner

has no more reason to be aware of the deviation than have the opponents. Repeated deviations lead to implicit understandings, which then form part of the partnership’s methods and must be disclosed in accordance with the regulations governing disclosure of system”

Law 40B2(a) “The Regulating Authority is empowered without restriction to allow, disallow, or allow conditionally any special partnership understanding.” The ACBL regulations are “Disallowed are psychic controls (includes ANY partnership agreement which, if used in conjunction with a psychic call, makes allowance for that psych).”

Therefore, when “Convention Disruption” occurs, law 75C should NOT be applied, but instead psychic call should be assumed and 40C, 40B2(a) and partnership understanding regulations should be applied.

[…] was also another incident I blogged about which Bobby said was about the worst ruling he had witnessed in sixty years. When it came before a […]

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