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All comments by Max Schireson
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I have no problem with George disagreeing vehemently with the change. Plenty of people did, and there were strong feelings on both sides.

What I find disappointing (to put it mildly) is to attack the motivation and integrity of those who made the decision with no evidence. He talks about “pandering to players taking two paychecks” “intentionally destroying the fabric” of teams, etc, before saying he “won’t belabor it here” and encourages us to question what Marty and the board were “thinking”. Well he already has belabored it, and made his accusation clear. He did so publicly, without evidence, and apparently without bothering to learn about the process that led to the decision.

I do agree that the hyperbole are outlandish, we just disagree on where they occur.
May 30
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George,

I was deeply saddened by this article.

To see someone whose accomplishments and contributions to bridge I admire so much make such an uninformed, irresponsible and inflammatory attack on those who worked hard to find the least bad solution to what in my opinion was a fundamentally unsolvable scheduling problem was beyond disappointing.

Many people debated this thoroughly. Some may have had self interest but (speaking as an active participant in the discussion with no decision making authority) I believe strongly that the group as a whole was focused on what was best for bridge - both the USBC itself and sending the strongest teams. If you are interested in actually learning about the process, join the relevant forums, read the discussion, and comment there on the substance.

Meanwhile, I am determined to not let this post diminish my respect for you. When I see your column in the bulletin, I will remind myself to think of your Vanderbilt, Spingold, and Reisinger victories, your Bermuda Bowl silver medal, and your dedicated board service and prolific writing, not this post which is far beneath you.
May 30
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I think that there are two different types of issue at play:

1. CoCs for regional events that are unclear, unavailable, changed after the fact, or some combination thereof. I understand that the people who write these and organize regionals (including regional GNT qualifiers) are volunteers, but (to the extent the threads accurately represent what actually occurred) I think this is totally unacceptable.

Unfortunately there is no practical way to hold the responsible parties accountable, so the solution has to be interested parties who would take the role more seriously volunteering, and the decision making bodies (district boards?) selecting the right volunteers.

2. Complaint about the USBF changing the CoC. This is completely different:
- there was a very open process, including extensive debate in a forum that was open to interested parties, where any active USBF member could vote
- there was additional more detailed debate and close to a dozen different votes/polls among the USBF technical subcommittee that worked out the options that were presented to the membership for advisory votes and the board for a decision
- there was a clear majority in favor of changing the CoC in the direction of the actual change, and many who wanted to go further than the relatively more conservative change that was adopted
- the bridgewinners thread on this topic, with no disrespect intended to the author personally who has contributed much to bridge, is an ill informed, irresponsible rant from someone who could have been constructively involved in the open debate at the time and instead elected to attack both the result and the motivations of those involved
May 30
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Congrats to Andrew and team!!! I am so excited for you. Now I have to figure out a team for transnationals so that I can root for you in person in China!
May 30
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Case #2 is labeled as unauthorized information but it is a misinformation case.
May 25
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With a good invite make a game try instead: bid game and your partner will try to make it.

In general when you run out of spade often you lose the room to invite.

I think this is a very different situation than a maximal double, where both sides are known to have fit, so it is worth trading a penalty double for a game invite. Here it is possible that nobody has a fit, so it is more important to be able to penalize.
May 25
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So if partner bids 3N over 3H, I can comfortably pass, feeling like partner probably has enough in spades for us to make and therefore not enough in the red suits for us to have a diamond slam? But if I bid 3S and partner bids 3N, I don’t quite feel as comfortable passing…
May 23
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When I am doubled I like my partner to have the other trump ace.
May 21
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As it turns out Curtis and team was able to appeal the ruling at the table that went against them. The appeal did not overturn the ruling and therefore did not change the result of the event.

Just to be sure we are on the same page, do people really think this is a big problem, and the event would somehow have had more integrity/been much better for fans and the popularity of bridge if Curtis had not had the ability to have his appeal heard?

Edit: typo
May 21
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I love Ron’s 4C and 6H.
May 21
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Randy,

I haven’t personally seen one but it has a name: briar patch coup.

It requires one partner to be ethical and the other to cheat so in any given partnership they won’t happen much more than once, hence they should be rare.
May 20
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Randy Law 73A2 says that you should act without undue hesitation.

If you have a hand where you are desperately hoping partner doesn’t bid then presumably you are not thinking of acting yourself.

If you have no bridge reason to be thinking and think for 20 or 30 seconds you have violated this law.

You might get away with it at the club, but at the level of bridge we are talking about your opponents will notice. I don’t think things will go well for you when they call the director. Again, different if a beginner is just spaced out.
May 20
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Rich,

You need to pause over 5S for about 10 seconds.

If your pause is much longer than that with a hand where you want to be sure partner doesn’t compete to 5H, you are cheating. Not only should you lose a ruling, you should be subject to disciplinary action.
May 20
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Marty,

I understand that people dislike events being decided on rulings but I don’t think electronic playing environments would have solved this issue, or the Blue Ribbons BIT, and I don’t know how to make it better.

The platinum pairs BIT could have been solved by clearer rules for trick 1; I think it needs to be clear whether a) third hand should think about the whole hand than then play when ready or b) third hand should think about the trick then play and think about the hand before quitting the trick or c) third had should play after some amount of time has elapsed unless they are thinking about the trick. If there was a clear rule I expect Kevin would have followed it and Zia would not have been damaged. But trick 1 is an exception, and a rule change to fix this issue won’t help other issues.

Do you have a proposal for a better BIT rule?

Right now my view is that bridge is hard and people will sometimes need to break tempo, and that will sometimes transmit UI and lead to rulings even among competent and ethical players. Sometimes basketball or football games are decided by officiating decisions, and sometimes these decisions are wrong. Fouls/penalties happen, and are hard to judge. I think BITs are similar, but I would love to hear suggestions that would help.
May 20
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Glad to have found a new one :)

For all the times I have gone down thinking about complicated lines that don’t work, at least I have one new squeeze in compensation… The ratio is still quite bad, but at least it’s no longer infinite!
May 20
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Aside from the time penalties? :)

Sure, one of my disadvantages when playing against better players is that they can make the same decision faster. I don’t think that’s their only advantage, or their primary advantage. But if they are better than I am at making decisions quickly, they deserve to gain from that advantage.

FWIW I think I would be much closer to competitive in top level events given unlimited time, but I would still lose.
May 18
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Tom,

I can’t always bid in tempo. Sometimes I can’t play in tempo either.

When I break tempo, I understand that my partner will have to live with the consequences, and there could be a ruling against us.

Nobody is assuming cheating when there is a ruling, or at least nobody should be. We do our best, and sometimes there is information transmitted by our tempo, and sometimes that may mean we lose a ruling.
May 18
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Tom,

Do you think it is fair that players who have trouble remembering their system (whether it is a complex relay system is not) get to think more in difficult situations than players who don’t have trouble remembering their system (perhaps because they elected to play a simpler system, or put in the effort to be able to play their relay system smoothly)?

Nobody is suggesting that everyone will bid in tempo all the time. But when one doesn’t bid in tempo - even for very good reason - we should make sure that your partner is not better placed to get things right than if you did bid in tempo, with close calls (bids suggested by the UI, where a LA is available) going against you.

I think “correspondence bridge” where you have all the time you want would be an interesting game, and I think I would be much better at it than I am at regular bridge. Also there would be no tempo issues. But that is not the game we play.
May 18
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Yes, it should be clear to keep a club but I was thinking about threatening to establish spades so I first thought of N keeping 3 spades to match dummy… then later so saw the same line also worked when N shortened his spades to keep a club or two. While still learning my intuition sometimes takes me in weird directions. (Obviously there are entry problems with establishing spades, but here sometimes the opponents will solve them for you).
May 18
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Sathya,

Do you really want me to spoil it for you?

Remember declarer has two trumps remaining at that point :)
May 18
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