Judy Kay-Wolff

CHEATING, ETHICS, ZERO TOLERANCE .. AND ALL THAT ROT!!!

Although I left the East Coast in 2003, I am still in touch by phone or computer mostly with old bridge friends besides more stable and normal acquaintances from all parts of the country not on the bridge circuit. Bobby and I have only attended two Nationals and a few overseas WBF functions in recent years but we have never missed a LV Sectional or Regional and play at a duplicate twice weekly.

I can honestly admit I don’t miss the Nationals. Many directors desperately need better training (not only with rulings but with their personal behavior as well). I believe that just about everything has changed for the worst (not only because of the treacherous U. S. economy) but due in large measure to the drastic descent of the ACBL in representation from some local units and districts which seem to thrive on self serving practices — particularly suggesting legislation that tends to disfavor the future of bridge. This weakness seems to be present from the political head honchos to committees who make rules and laws which, at this time, need major revamping.  Add the preceding to nauseating professionalism which seems to be  the order of the day. Give me the good old times where the majesty of bridge was the focal interest, decisions made were both impersonal and less biased and the game and its participants were given the respect which they deserve. More offensive to me is the nomination to the ‘MAIN’’ Hall of Fame of sponsors (not particularly skilled in the game) but who have high finishes in major events when they are dragged to the finish line by paid professional experts). .. especially  to represent the USA in international events.

I am not alone in my thoughts. I have had many discussions with my bridge buddies and have heard similar stories — particularly about their local clubs. Some of them (even though sanctioned to issue masterpoints) are run like "kitchen bridge" parties — where the clubs are more interested in keeping their regular customers happy and not losing money.

You may be interested in reading "Some Helpful Tips For All Bridge Lovers" conceived by a knowledgeable, well-intended, experienced bridge player versed in the law.  It is certainly a step in the right direction and I think we can all learn something from it!

                                   SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR ALL BRIDGE LOVERS

Contract Bridge is a unique game.  It is a rare partnership endeavor which in addition to stated rules, also requires strict adherence to a code of conduct which does not violate unsportsmanlike behavior and thus the players are subject to disciplinary penalties determined by unbiased tournament directors (TD) who are instructed to give a Zero Tolerance warning or penalty to serious transgressors.

Behavior which is subject to sanction:

1. Unnecessary rudeness
2. Unjustifiable hostility to the opponents
3. Discernible gloating with the possible intention of making the opponents feel worse after one pair or the other gets a good board.
4. Giving unwanted and unasked for bridge lessons to the opponents
5. Any kind of physical threat or unnecessary disdain directed toward the other side.
6. Excessively slow bridge play, without reason, threatening the whole table falling behind in time, especially when it is determined that no, or very simple real bridge problems are involved.
7. Accusations of cheating intended to intimidate.
8. Ugly talk or profanity directed at the others at the table, including one’s partner.

Bridge behavior which goes over the line of being legal authorized information and thus becomes illegal:

1.  Taking advantage of breaks in tempo (BIT) by partner which should be considered unauthorized information (UI).
2.  Not disclosing important information to the opponents which could be called Bridge’s Golden Rule:  Tell the opponents what you would want to be told about hidden partnership agreements or tendencies which might help them in both the bidding and the play
3.  Sending or receiving UI in any way other than during the bidding, making the opening lead and playing the hand to its finish.
4  Going overboard (50%+) to make sure the opponents are privy to what they should know and doing it in an unintimidating manner as well as doing the best one can,  to not take advantage of anything that they are not entitled to know such as overhearing the results of a board yet to be played or intentionally or unintentionally seeing someone’s scorecard displaying the results of a board yet to be played.
5. Always trying to enter the correct score and making it a policy of turning in whatever score corrections need to be made regardless of which side, if any, it favors.
6.  Understanding that the nature of our partnership game absolutely requires no UI to be passed to partner, but if so, the TD needs to be called to make a ruling.

Bridge was and is always a game for ladies and gentlemen and is expected to be played by actively ethical players interested in keeping all behavior and actions above board and subject to scrutiny.  TDs are expected to know the rule book (or be able to read and understand what is being said) and although called to a table, nothing should be felt nor implied of any automatic illegality, but if found and ruled upon should not be dwelled upon afterwards as anything out of the ordinary.

Adherence to all of the above will make it more enjoyable to the field and have everyone playing on a level playing site.


20 Comments

Jane AFebruary 11th, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Hi Judy,

The last time I played in a national was in Las Vegas, and since I live here, I did not have to worry about the expense to get here or pay for a hotel room. The event fees are quite high however, and we played less boards, so to me, we are paying more to play less. The directors seemed so busy all of the time, almost frantic, and were not as friendly as they are at regionals and sectionals. I try to avoid director calls whenever possible because I have noticed a wide variety of skill levels among the directors at the sectionals and regionals. I imagine the nationals are no different. Rulings made don’t seem to be very consistent, so perhaps more continuing education would be beneficial, not only for the directors but the players as well. I have attended about five nationals in the last 20 years. Two of them were in my home town at the time (Kansas City and Las Vegas), but the other three were not. None of them were that much fun, and it is definitely not worth the expense at this point in my life. For those who want to play in national events, then go for it and good luck!

Did you mean to include items 4,5 and 6 under the the paragraph discussing bridge behavior that becomes illegal? Maybe I am confused about what you mean, but those three items seem to belong under appropriate behavior at the table. Just curious.

See you at the sectional.

CPFebruary 11th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Judy:

I am an oldtime player and I can well remember my early days at the clubs and eventually all of the nearby tournaments and nationals. The atmosphere was much more relaxing and informal, shenanagins were few and far between and it was not necessary for punative restrictions such as Zero Tolerance. Moreover, in these competitive days in the race for masterpoints, people seem to play for blood.

Cheating incidents are not uncommon (even among a few of the upperclass) but committees bend over backwards (with political overtones) to tilt the vote in favor of the stars — especially the professionals). True — there is much favoritism at the clubs in favor of the regulars. I could go on and on, but you have made your point — agreed upon by many others.

Bridge is no longer the game it was because so many personal and political issues have entered the picture. Now deliberate dumping is even an issue for discussion among the upper class. By some — personal triumphs are placed far above the integrity of the game. I agree with you — bridge is on the skids.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 11th, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Dear Jane:

Thanks for your sincere/straight from the heart assessments of bridge — then and now. I share your views but would pounce down even harder than you about director training and the need to educate them even more on the laws, their interpretation and ultimate rulings.

My husband (and your good buddy, Bobby Wolff — whom I think was born with a deck of cards in his mouth) was hell-bent on educating the directors when the ACBL was in Memphis. As I have told the story before, he spoke to the person in charge of the directing corps and offered his services (on his own dime) to fly down to the office (then located in TN) and give a much-needed seminar to the directors — zeroing in on the importance of understanding the key issues to make the right rulings. He got a defiant NO — because the one at the helm was a sweet pussycat (and a nice man whom I have know for an eternity) and replied “I wouldn’t think of putting my directors out.” I think the man had his priorities in the wrong order. So, don’t blame the directors — assess blame on the blatant indifference of the ACBL. They have so much money for perks, perks and more perks for their hired and elected officials and directors– but when it comes to the ethical evaluation of bridge rulings at the table, they should have considered that Charity begins at Home!

As far as your mention of Nos. 4, 5 and 6, I was not the author so cannot explain why they were placed where they are.

Thanks so much for taking the time to give the blogging world your views as an experienced bridge lover who has supported the game for so many years.

Cheers,

Judy

Steven GaynorFebruary 11th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

My view in MN is not nearly as gloomy as other places. Our games are for the most part friendly affairs with little conflict. The night games are fading away, but the daytime games are stronger than ever. We have had a decent influx of new players, mostly empty-nesters and baby boomers.

Is it perfect? No, of course not, but it is still a pretty good time at the club and the local tournaments. Virtually everyone plays fairly and are fierce competitors.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 11th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Steve:

Fortunately for you, your surroundings, experiences and observations are far different than I have seen at the various sites I have frequented in the last several years — even as recently as the SF Nationals. I was subjected to one instance of abominable behavior by a director who has acted out of line before.

It is a matter of personal experience, but I am not a happy camper.

Judy

Bill CubleyFebruary 11th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I was playing at a club in Dearborn, MI in the late 70s. I was a beginner. The session ended and a player made an announcement apologizing for slamming a door and being loud a few nights earlier. He was applauded for this.

What helped to make this happen was the club owner told him to do it or be barred. Plus he would tell all the other club owers so that the player owuld have to drive to Toledo to play.

The club owners and the unit always acted and did not simply file behavior complaints. They worked together to keep the game pleasant and honest. Kept me coming.

Then I came to California where the police were called when one player threatened to kill his opponent! This fellow had some issues, but the officer was mystified when he walked into the room.

bobby wolffFebruary 11th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Hi Jane,

Numbers 4,5, and 6 of the second category are meant to call attention to what, at least on the surface, is not markedly intentional (vulgar behavior), but nevertheless against the spirit of the game. True, to violate the 2nd set of suggestions can usually be gotten away with under the heading of nice to do, but also not directly under the scrutiny of others (such as scooping up money which has fallen out of someone’s purse and not known to have happened), but nevertheless, especially in bridge, it is what basically separates the ethics of the game from the ACTIVE ethics which everyone should practice in spite of the not much danger involved in not so doing.

At least to me, the difference in the above is a telling factor in how much one is indebted to the game and therefore generally loves what its about and stands for, rather than just an ordinary pastime, not to be overly valued. For an example, with #6 of the second set, the emphasis should be in calling the director with the idea of securing an official decision.

Perhaps a good overall analogy is comparing family (bridge) to friends (occasional).

Gary MugfordFebruary 11th, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Judy,

BIG RED STAR beside item #6 on the no-no list. Bridge is a timed event. I got INTO Bridge in high school because I was good enough to play with the big boys (a cross-town school and frequent practice partner actually won the North American High School Chess Championship the last year I played on the school team. And I actually held then Canadian champion Walter Dobrich to a draw in a simultaneous event). But I hated when the pointy-headed guy from the other team went into coma-mode one night in a league match with that championship team. I won the match and quit right then and there. Chess was a timed event, it just wasn’t a fast-enough timed event. So I switched to Bridge, a game Omar Sharif once described the beauty of as, “every hand is a seven-minute puzzle to be solved. After that, solved or not, you move on.”

A man who habitually played goolies on trains. But, for the most part, he was right. Rare is the night where post-play, there aren’t several puzzles still in the unsolved stage, even after 2-3 hours of play. After 24 or however many hands, all played roughly at a seven-minute pace.

Roughly is the problem. Every club has The Turtle (sometimes more). Playing behind The Turtle robs Bridge of it’s pace and, for me, a LOT of the enjoyment. The local Turtle back when I was playing locally was one of the nicest guys I know. He was a clever businessman (clever enough not to go into business with me after two promising, but doomed, opportunities) and a REALLY NICE MAN. The perfect next door neighbour and a nightmare to see at your table. He was a decent player but one who’s concept of time didn’t exist.

Ultimately, he drove me to extraction. So, naturally I asked him for a game. The ultimate pairing, the club Turtle and the club Rapid Rabbit. The game proved insightful. I discovered WHY he took so long to play. His bidding was actually fairly paced, even with the simple set of agreements we had made. It turns out that for EVERY TRICK, he considered ever distribution possible for each suit, before commiting to playing a card. The length of those deliberations lessened the further into the hand we got because the possible suit length combinations became less and less to contemplate.

I was shocked because, as a computer programmer, I knew enough to recognize it as a real-brain version of what a bridge program would do. And of course, a computer was a lousy bridge player. A worse one then, then a computer would be now. But my partner of the night was striving for the … middle. And was glacially slow at doing it.

He and I never played again, obviously. I had my answer and knew there was no shaking him on the practice. He figured his middling results with odd successes had proven out. He didn’t aspire to being the next Deutsch or Reinhold. He was, and still is from reports, happy doing the same human rain delay routine at the local clubs.

I did pretty good with your list Judy. I might have slide onto the line a couple of times. And I certainly found playing some of the jerks who invaded my happiness to be a chore to be polite with. Plus, the obvious cheating with intent drove me batty. I didn’t mind the Giggle Sisters leading singletons with their left hand because that was something they ‘always’ did around the kitchen where they ‘learned’ how to play 40 years before as much as the guy who played almost as quickly as I did, getting good to great scores on all even-numbered boards because he listened for the result at the table preceding his. So, I played favourites and didn’t apply the rulebook as if it was black and white.

I hated unfair advantages, especially when opponents didn’t have the hand strength to keep their cards from tipping too forward. It RUINED the game, not to have to deduce (or, let’s face it, outright guess) how to play the hand. Having UI doesn’t help in any way at all. It takes the hand away from you, making what you paid for a little less valuable. And then there’s the opponent who arrives at your table and decides to change the game. Oblivious to the desires of the other three at the table, he or shee decides to play poker. Not doing enough of this or too much of that. Without any idea of the rightness of the bid or play. Somebody who passed on back-to-back hands with opening bids in suits WE eventually declared at the game level, drove me out of playing locally. He did it, because of our reputations as defenders. We won despite the two bad scores. But he’d robbed me of the chance to play Bridge. And he was a nice guy too, just like The Turtle.

I’m not a nice guy, so I took my cards and went home. And stayed there. And I’m still there, lurking on this blog.

You and Bobby have a good time, and keep fightin’ the good fight.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 11th, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Gary:

I enjoyed reading your thoughts and adventures at the bridge table — but am much opposed to your views on alacrity.

Charlie Solomon died back in the 70’s and since no other experts were available (Norman was asked to replace him — but his position and salary at Merrill Lynch was not challenged by the offer) the job became open. Charlie must have mentored over two dozen clubs in Philly and surrounding areas. Eventually, I took over four of the clubs (either alone or with a friend who had owned a bridge club herself and believe me — we were far from experts). We taught the basics and certain card combinations. A quite prestigious suburban bridge club in particular had hired me and it was an honor to be selected. I loved the “girls.” They were classy ladies. One day I was asked how old the average member was. I will never forget my spontaneous response …”DEAD!” Most were really oldtimers with dimming memories, but they loved to play — which is not a crime.

Many older people either retire or are without much to do and have been drawn to the game. Some are on medications and need walkers or wheelchairs to get around;, others are just plain aged and are merely looking for something to do before they meet their maker.

Bridge draws all kinds of players and in many
cases their brains don’t function as quickly as some of the addicts who frequent the games every day.

Some not-so-good players or thoughtless ones just pull the card nearest their thumb. Others don’t take the time to think about entries between themselves and their dummies. There are many options that do not enter the average person’s mind that must be considered and thus slows up a game. Other auctions and dummy plays are automatic — like 1N P 3N or declarer decisions — like pulling trump and spreading your hand. Some require a greater amount of thought.

Bridge is not akin to the Indianapolis 500. In Bridge — there is no prize for speed.

Jane AFebruary 12th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Hi again,

After reading CP’s comments about his early days at clubs and tournaments, it brought back a distant memory for me. I was just starting to play duplicate and went to play a session with a friend at a regional in San Antonio where I lived at the time. My first major tournament. The room was big, crowded, full of tobacco smoke (remember those days?) and loud. The first nine rounds we played were against opponents who acted like they hated their partner. There was lots of critical comments made, actual yelling at a couple of the tables, and by round nine, I wanted the session to end so I could leave. One man got so mad he was red in the face and I thought he was going to hit his partner.

When I left that session, I decided if this was what tournament bridge was like, I wanted no part of it and I did not play in another tournament for many years. I still occasionally played at local clubs, but after we moved to Missouri, I got busy with career instead and did not play for about 20 years. When I returned to duplicate in the early nineties, it was totally different, at least where I lived, and I did not experience the hostility I saw many years before. So for me, it got better, not worse, but as I have said earlier in other blogs, our players in KC were for the most part kind, friendly, and not rude. We would go weeks without director calls. Our tournaments were lots of fun as well.

Vegas is a mixed bag. The competition is strong and we have nice clubs with games available every day. There are some strong personalities here that need to be reined in once in awhile, but for the most part, I find it be a good bridge community. I also enjoy the three tournaments we hold here, but still prefer to avoid those director calls as much as possible. Guess most of us do.

Interesting how there are so many regional differences, but that is the same in life. Viva la difference!

John Howard GibsonFebruary 12th, 2013 at 9:45 pm

HBJ : Great blog….but your sadness of seeing the golden age of bridge lost forever is all there to see. Money has surely corrupted the game, as with the power that certain officials have allowed to colour ( taint) their judgement.
When reading the books of past masters, so often full of character, wit, charm and dignity, I’m left to wonder where it all went wrong.
Life in my humble opinion is made up of virtous and vicious circles…..and bridge has been caught up in the latter. The game is played on a very uneven playing field, corrrupted by opponents who all have their own convoluted and complex bidding systems. Too many players have allowed their moral and ethical standards to be set by those who haven’t any. Role models are in short supply. Zero tolerance has led to a climate of utmost intolerance against those who react badly ( but quite rightly) to slow players and cheats.
Priorities are all wrong. Once it was a game to relieve stress…..now it only serves to raise people’s stress levels. The Bigot-Johnsons have taken over…..and that is why the tragedy truly lies. The world of bridge has surely entered the realms of the bizarre.

Gary MugfordFebruary 13th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

There IS another side in the “Bridge is a Time Event” conversation and I acknowledge that it has logical support. Jeff Rubens is another charter member of that society and I cannot budge him off that side. Alas, I count you amongst them too. Your arguments are reasonable and I won’t discount them.

But we disagree.

Bridge IS a timed event. There IS a personal schedule to adhere to, before and after games, for many players. And the time spent when one player trances is time that affects the other players at the table caught contemplating their place in the universe and the schedule of all players in the game. Nobody, least of all me, wants Bridge turned into a robotic, computer-like, calculate for five seconds and otherwise play the card nearest your thumb contest of following suit. Bridge is a game of problems. And every player is by their nature a puzzle lover.

Each player in the game has their own experience level and ability to react to puzzles in their own ways. The players, many of whom do NOT fit into the elderly group that has issues beyond trying to adhere to “Everybody MOVE for round 2,” are actually NOT the culprits I feel most angered by. The gentlemen in my original comment was in his mid-30’s at the time of our pairing and in complete control of his mental faculties, which were pretty good. Then and now.

Everybody respects the life veterans that play at Bridge clubs. While I remain neutral or in full-on harrumph mode when any of my age peers arrive at my table, I enjoy immensely when somebody with some life lessons available gets to my table. In my high school days, in the 70’s, I always enjoyed ‘Old Joe’ when he got to my table. Joe was a veteran of the first world war, the Great War as he called it. He was around for the early days of the airplane and having a flush toilet in every home. He called the latter the greatest invention in history, [G] I didn’t care then about how long he took playing cards or making bids, although i do admit to playing quickly so that he would get a chance to spin a tale or two.

Nope, it’s the well-informed, competitive, Type-A personalities that wear me down (admittedly, from a VERY short stack of tolerance). Their slow play is sometimes considered, not in an analytical way, but in a “I’m pushing the quick player’s buttons way.” Sometimes, they are young and haven’t seen all the positions before. Heck, I remember the joy when I finally figured out the right way to play ace fourth of trumps opposite ten fourth, and no longer had to sweat my through the calculations on that combination anymore. Experience teaches us what the smart bid is more often. Or the play. So, in my opininion it’s the young bucks that need the hardest kick in the butt.

For my elders, nothing but respect. ‘specially since I’m due the same REAL SOON. Nobody’s called ME ‘The Kid,” in a very, very long time.

Bridge is a timed event. Everything else is just opinion. Including mine. But I DO respect yours. And your ability to disagree with me in such an agreeable manner.

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 14th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Dear Gary,

Your reply is very respectful. However, let me present my personal views on the subject of SLOW PLAY via an interlude leading up to the present day.

While being active in bridge for close to half a century in Philadelphia, I took an active part (by writing and directing several musical productions) for the appropriate sectionals, regionals and even the Nationals in Lancaster thirty-some years ago. I presented an original musical in 1976 for the Bicentennial when the Brittish Stars came to Philadelphia for a Regional and played matches against the local superstars (plus New York’s Edgar Kaplan who was issued a visa to play with my late husband Norman Kay). When the Omar Sharif Circus came to The City of Brotherly Love, I arranged it from start to finish. Also, I pioneered and ran Charity Games for members in dire need and the monetary results were overwhelming (including raising $25,000 for a now-deceased multiple sclerosis victim). It enabled us to buy him a new vehicle, with a wheelchair ramp and top-of-the-line wheelchair and we gave our friend the leftovers to pay for car insurance for several years tto come. Understand — I had plenty of help but it was a true labor of love. I think I have paid my dues to the game.

After Norman died, by some quirk of fate it got me together with the perfect man for me.

FAST FORWARD to 2013:

When Bobby Wolff and I married in 2003, we spent a year and a half in Dallas and then relocated in Vegas to relax and enjoy the rest of our lives together in a marvelously carefree atmosphere — playing bridge together at the bi-weekly duplicates, never missing a Sectional or Regional and frequently dining at the nearby casinos in the suburbs.

OK — now here I am approaching eighty. My mind is still pretty good but because of chronic back problems, I walk slowly, rent a motor scooter at the Sectionals and Regionals and I have been accommodated by the club owners to have a stationary NS. Because both of my hands have tremors, it makes it difficult to remove the cards from the tray, arrange them by suits and frequently drop a card on the floor which takes me a while to pick it up (although many opponents are kind enough to do so for me) I certainly cannot complain about my present life or my results with Bobby but in addition to having manageable physical handicaps, my mind has slowed down (as most of you will eventually learn when you approach your golden years).

Thus, I am sometimes a culprit of the dreaded SLOW PLAY and it could happen to you too.

The big question — Should I call the undertaker today, or wait till next week?

Cheers,

Judy

ReneFebruary 14th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

For an “old lady” — you have a great sense of humor!

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 14th, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Rene:

Once you’ve lost that — life isn’t worth living.

JoanFebruary 14th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Judy

You say your mind is still pretty good. That is an understatement from the way you blog. We’re all slowing up. Big deal!

Gary MugfordFebruary 15th, 2013 at 6:29 am

Judy,

One more kick at this cannard. I used a word in my second reply that seems missing from all of your missives. Trance.

I honestly have never said anywhere in my screeds that I begrudge anybody their coping with life’s infirmaties. Heck, after a couple or three heart attacks last year, a bad back, a torn rotator cuff, arthritis in my knees, a just-today discovered hemorrage in my right eye and a personality that ‘ahem’ can be a bit antagonistic, I probably need more understanding than most, already. I’ve been practicing ahead of the day that has apparently come.

But the Turtles are not the folks you’ve been describing. At least, not as I feel the appellation is deserved. We all measure our ‘trance’ tolerance differently. Once I think past five seconds, I feel like I’VE tranced. And so do my partners, probably. But we all have to agree that there IS a limit to how long is justifiable for a player to think about a problem, even assuming we think there IS a problem (and we, meaning me, DON’T always agree there is a problem). At some point, the trance is just plain rude and unsportsmanlike.

Yes, I know, some of the best of all time, were VERY sportsmanlike and yet slower’n molasses. Mostly with very dicey problems in games with major titles on the line. But some of those long thoughful pauses were strictly for effect. I had two name players admit that to me way back when. Not very sportsmanlike, but the culprits in question weren’t those who were generally respected–and slow.

Let’s agree that age and it’s affects are NOT what I’m talking about and get your response to ‘over-‘ thinkers (I think that’s the polite term). Maybe we have a chance at SOME agreement?

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 15th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

HBJ:

Sorry I missed your comment above and did not see it until this morning. You do so much joshing on your own site, it is unlike you to be so serious and on point in my eyes. The old days on the bridgefront made the game so much more enjoyable. My main reason for disgust is that many directors of today are not as well trained as they should be and even after reading their Bible (the Rule Book) sometimes are unable to interpret them and give an equitable ruling both at duplicate games and tournaments. Yes, there is bias and prejudice which affect rulings and perhaps that is what the powers that be should be concentrating on rather than legitimate reasons for slow play.

Thanks for chirping in.

Judy

Judy Kay-WolffFebruary 15th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Dear Gary:

I am sorry to hear you have had so many physical setbacks recently — but I see it has not affected your thinking or writing.

I believe the reason that minds go in different directions is because “trances” (as you call them) are not necessarily caused for the same reason. What is automatic for some is a problem to others. Experts play correctly by rote but many weaker or newer players think they have a legitimate problem. Nothing is automatic to them. You can’t shoot them for that. I think the “trance process” varies depending upon the individual and their talents, experience or lack of it. And, yes, infirmities do enter into the equation.

To deliberately hold up the game to confuse the opponents is one thing. That, to me, is outright cheating. Quick passes for the same reason is equally wrong.

I think too much is being made out of Slow Play and more attention should be paid to the ethics of the game without fear of insulting the customers and losing their business.

There are always two sides to every coin.

EllisFebruary 21st, 2013 at 8:18 pm

There are players that tank and trance for no comprehensible reason.
I recently had a occasion to play against a world class pair, one of whom is notorious for extended thought processes. After 4 full minutes a card was played, roughly around trick 6.
At this point having won the trick I went into the tank for 4 minutes, the partner ofthe original thinker now called the director for my slow play. I explained to the director that if the world class player needed 4 minutes to think surely I was allowed the same privelege to try and work out what they had seen as my future problem.
Amazingly the game progressed vey quickly after that.
Ellis

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