Judy Kay-Wolff

A Matter of Opinion …

Last evening at a social gathering I was having a pleasant conversation with an ethical bridge friend whom I play against often at the duplicates.   The subject arose about calling the director when an infraction has been committed.   Another guest, seated back to back with me and not included in the conversation, piped up, “Duplicate is only a game where you come to have fun.”   Who asked her?   I countered that when you pay a card fee and you receive sanctioned points from the ACBL it makes you have a responsibility to play by the rules.  If you want a free for all – play Solitaire or Kitchen Bridge, but while at a duplicate you are expected to play according to the bridge laws and if you don’t know them, LEARN THEM!

On the way home, I discussed it with Bobby whom, of course, agreed with me.  He was incensed that the interloper (an average player at best) even suggested that the rules not be abided by … actually a form of cheating.   I don’t look at bridge at any level as a form of frivolous fun, but rather as a serious competition where everyone has the responsibility to abide by the format of the game in fairness to all who entered the competition.  I am heartily in favor of calling a director (in a polite way) if there is an obvious hesitation or miscue.   That is the director’s job.


RKDecember 23rd, 2011 at 6:08 am

I agree with you wholeheartedly.
In fact, for those who are just learning and taking lessons, it is the responsibillity of the teacher to explain the amenities of the game.

Ellis FeigenbaumDecember 23rd, 2011 at 8:36 am

I like that you approach difficult areas of the niceties of our game. Ithink exactly like you,and had no further thoughts on the matter until I moved to Southern California. Then I learned that there is a large sub strata of people who go to duplicate games to meet their friends and play cards and fill 3 hours of the afternoon, and they basically couldnt give a hoot about the ACBL, the rules or even the msterpoints they recieve.
As for myself, my views havent changed, however I do have a far greater understanding of the other view than i used to have.
I have learned that we cant force or coerce people into good bridge or even good table manners, we can only give them an opportunity to learn either by lessons or example.

RKDecember 23rd, 2011 at 3:58 pm


You are right on target. Sadly, however, many teachers are not well versed on the rules and laws of the game, and beginners or inexperienced players may think anything goes.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Dear Ellis:

I could tell by meeting and talking to you (and besides being married to Marjorie) what your ethics and manners of the game would be. However, being from Southern California or Timbucktoo doesn’t give these social dabblers the right to play by their own rules.

It is the responsibility of the club director to explain (in a polite and non-embarrassing manner) that there are certain no-nos of the game that must be observed.

I play at a club where the ethics and manners have improved immensely (after some talking to). They understand that when partner huddles and passes, they must bid based on THEIR OWN HAND.
I’d say the issue of ethics and attempt to do the right thing has improved 90% from the time we started playing there
five years ago.

These things don’t happen by chance. The director (in spite of the possibility of losing a customer) has the expected responsibility to set the records straight and at our club it has been accomplished for the greater good.

Playing for fun for three hours to fill the afternoon doesn’t crack it for me. It’s probably cheaper to go to the movies on a senior citizen rate.

Howard Bigot-JohnsonDecember 24th, 2011 at 1:28 am

Dear Judy, the problem with bridge is that too many mules want to run with and compete against thoroughbreds. All sorts turn up to club duplicates clearly with different motives : there will always be the committed ones who play to win at all costs, most will turn up to play serious bridge to the best of their ability, others bravely make up the numbers as sitting ducks, and an unfortunate few simply use the club duplicate events as a backdrop to a social gathering and to have a bit of fun.
In a way duplicate nights need to split the turnout into smaller fields of say 2-5 tables, with the non-rule abiding fun lovers being required to play rubber bridge or a friendly team of 4 match. But once you put them all together it just doesn’t work.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 24th, 2011 at 6:08 am


Nothing is ideal although your analysis is pretty much on target. All I am saying, or trying to say, is that everyone should be playing by the same rules. I don’t think that is too much to ask — especially in a sanctioned game and it should be respected at all levels.

LenDecember 26th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I hope you were polite in response to the interloper (educate, don’t alienate) but I agree with your reaction completely.

There’s on particularly noxious blogger who advocates people “screw the laws” when she thinks she knows better than the laws commission.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 27th, 2011 at 1:08 am

Hi Len:

No, I didn’t educate the interloper. I’ve encountered her before and she just doesn’t understand so why waste my breath. Her mind is made up. The trap is shut.

I don’t know the “noxious” blogger you are referring to but I leave those things to the directors, who, if they are not sure, will consult with the expert players if necessary. However, some of the laws are out of date as well as some alerts so I do sympathize on a small scale with the individual. Some of the rules and laws need revision but there is so much politicking and personalization on the BOD now, I don’t have high hopes for the immediate future.

Bridge, in my opinion, is going downhill and has a lot to do with the influence of money and professionalism. It has lost its dignity and majesty from my viewpoint. Guess I am just an old fashioned girl.