Cam French

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood


                         Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

                           (Click above to play the music)


You are a member of team Great Britain, in Monaco, 1976 Bermuda Bowl fighting desperately for a medal.

With one match to go and the gold medal within reach (20 VPs available per match) the standings are:

Italy  645

Brazil  634

Great Britain  629

As the team presently in third place, you will need some luck from other countries, specifically the opponents who face Italy and Brazil.

Your squad wins handily and awaits the verdict of the others. Only a gold medal or silver medal is at stake – nothing serious. You find out that Canada (though well out of contention) was playing Brazil. That is good news as Murray/Kehela were well known as anchors for an always tough contingent. Brazil scores an easy triumph, and then it comes out that Canada sat Murray/Kehela in this match. It meant nothing to them – and everything to you. Are you disappointed, upset or enraged?

Was it ethical of Canada to sit its star pair under these circumstances?

Would it be ethical under some circumstances? 

Ponder that for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of the aggrieved.

it is difficult to imagine what circumstances might justify such a decision. Surely fatigue, or business committments or some other modest alibi does not do justice to the moment. It turned out though, the Canadians had a very compelling justification.

Out of contention early, the other four members of the Canadian team had requested to play against the Blue team, as Kehela/Murray had many times before and the others may never see a like chance again. That request was granted. So someone considered it might be fairest to align against Brazil the same foursome that engaged Italy.

Did it soften the blow? I doubt it. But it demonstrated that unlike dumping (which is another fetid kettle of fish) that sportsmanship was alive and well at the upper echelons of the game.

Were Canada’s actions ethical? I will wager Brazil thought so, probably Italy too. Maybe the Brits, well known for their sense of “fair play” (Reese/Shapiro notwithstanding) may well have reconsidered given all the facts. Knowing that extra little morsel about the line-up vs. Italy makes all the difference. One second I sit high on above with a disparaging perspective. The next, I am gazing back with admiration.

You be the judge.




This is adapted from an account by Roy Hughes in Canada’s Bridge Warriors available through Masterpont Press.


DianeMarch 31st, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Hi Cam,

I’m a little confused … you ask ‘Was it ethical of Canada to sit its star pair under these circumstances?’

My question is Would it be ethical to sit them out DUE to these circumstances?



Cam FrenchMarch 31st, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Well Diane,

It was a trick question.

When I heard Canada sat down its premier pair in what would be a critical match (for another country) I was initially aghast.

But then other circumstances came to light.

Would it be unethical to play Murray and Kehela under the circumstances? The answer is NO. It is never unsporting to field your best lineup. Or is it?

So – was it unethical to sit them? I say no, but I can certainly see how others might differ. Are those opinions in conflict? You to judge. Such is the joy of ethics and free discussion.

The Canadians leveled the playing field – which is what sportmanship is all about.


BOBBY WOLFFApril 1st, 2010 at 12:19 am

Hi Cam,

Try as I may to stay out of this, it is just too difficult. There are almost no circumstances which could begin to allow Canada to sit Kehela-Murray when two (much less three) possible winners need to be determined. When Kehela-Murray sat earlier against the Blue Team the circumstances were different and should be deleted from consideration.

Since the two teams (other than UK or whatever they were called in 1976) also had very questionable pasts and then current, it only added fuel to some fire, but perhaps not the determining blaze.

Anyone who sees differently should be the poster children for “Willfully self-deceptive”. Could it be that there are some who want to be a determining factor, although their bridge prowess had already proven that it wasn’t going to involve them up to the medal standard, but anyway they wanted a hand in, even if it was to prove INACTIVE ETHICS! Perhaps the Bridge Puppeteer remembered 1976 when he sat another set of Canadians down for the count in 1990.

There is a time to love, a time to try, a time to hate and a time to die. What the Canadians did in 1976 was nothing short of despicable, but perhaps the Blue Team had earned it, except for one thing……………..

Spirit of Competition is what life is all about and Grantland Rice is 100% right in his pronouncement. Perhaps some of us should try to live up to some of these philosopher’s expectations. I now understand better why Sami Kehela testified for Reese-Schapiro at the Foster Tribunal. Hark! Alice in Wonderland has taken over the world!!!!!

Cam FrenchApril 1st, 2010 at 1:44 am

Hi Bobby,

I can see why you can’t stay out. You are a man of passion – and (as martha says – “that’s a good thing.”

“There is a time to love, a time to try, a time to hate and a time to die.”

Not sure there is a ‘time to hate”, but then again, it is a fervent emotion not so easily dismissed.

Sometimes hate clouds one’s judgment.

As for “I now understand better why Sami Kehela testified for Reese-Schapiro at the Foster Tribunal.” well, that takes the cake. To suggest that Kehela testified based on anything other than his understanding of the facts is slanderous. Better not say that in England, where their slander and libel laws are a lot different than they are in America or here.

History may not have vindicated Kehela, but I can imagine no one more qualified and with less incentive to lie (which is the implicit suggestion) than Sami. He did, as you do, as I do, speak from the heart with his understanding and interpretation of the facts available at the time.

As for the Canadians “despicable” behaviour, I think you are way off the mark. You might say misguided, altruistic, well-intentioned or even unfortunate – but despicable is inflammatory and way off base.

What would (or should) the Italians/Brazilians or anyone say if the situation was otherwise and say Canada fielded its A team vs Italy and then when it counted at the end (for someone else) fielded the B squad?

We would hear howls of outrage, and not just from the Lone Wolff. And deservedly so.

Canada’s solution was not perfect. Perfection was unattainable under these circumstances. But equity and fairness was. To call that “despicable” is disingenuous at best, and that is being kind.

I think your self-admitted “hatred” (justified or not) has poisoned your sense of reason, fairness and perspective.

I think you owe Sami an apology.

However, expecting as much – might be “wonderland” indeed.


BOBBY WOLFFApril 2nd, 2010 at 10:57 am


Why don’t you ask Sami yourself? I didn’t suggest that he was a liar and have never thought so, only that he testified against his own beliefs at the Foster tribunal and for his own loyal reasons which, at least at that time, trumped reality.

After all, he was the fact gatherer during that ill fated Buenas Aires affair and his own evidence was overwhelming for guilt, at least at that time. Now 45 years later, and in order to establish an excuse, the stories circulating may have turned confusing and exculpatory rather than admit the cold truth. Second, why not ask Eric, who while not there at the time is in a position to set the record straight. I would also have asked you to please talk with Alan Truscott, but even though you are innovative, perhaps you will have to wait to get that done.

In your difficult and considered search for why? and how come? the sordid events from Norfolk, 1979, happened and without correction, perhaps you, and maybe for the first time, can realize first hand what happens to some people’s minds which allow depth’s going down to be reached instead of truth’s coming the other way, which you have always cherished, to be reached.

Unfortunately life is about the way it is lived by all people, not just by the ones who you have only respected. Once realized, you may become free to adjust to what you may have once feared, but at least, you will have sought the truth and the truth shall make you free.

Still your friend, if only because you are not alone in your expectations of people, but sadly you are alone in your self-constructed reality about them.

BOBBY WOLFFApril 2nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Hi Cam,

As always, my impatience has caused me to now include a topical interlude which should have been part of my last blog. Please pardon my interruption.

Day before yesterday Judy and I played in the Las Vegas local duplicate when the following hand occurred: I, as dealer, offered the stop card and then opened the bidding 3 clubs NV vs V and lefty held: xxx, AKx, AJx, K87x. BTW the opponents were a better than average pair, generally ethical and always a lady (on my left) and a gentleman (on my right). The lady studied perhaps 12 or 13 seconds, and passed but by her twitching and her manner broke tempo. Judy proclaimed that, at least to her knowledge there had been a BIT and then also passed. Her LHO acknowledged the BIT and held KQxxx, 10xxx, Kxx, Q. He now studied and Judy suggested that we call the director, upon which he said it was premature, but he wanted to consider what to do. The director was called to establish that this was the time to call the director, not later. After arriving, the gentleman decided, perhaps against his will (possibly intimidated) to pass and went quietly, but definitely was upset.

I am bringing this event to the public eye in order to establish problems as yet unresolved in the tournament bridge world. It turned out that the opponents could make nothing and got 75% for defeating 3 clubs 1 trick, but nevertheless it could be a learning experience for all of us.

1. If there was no BIT it certainly is a possibility for my RHO to reopen with 3 spades or possibly even a double.

2. With the BIT my opinion would be that it would be highly unethical for RHO to do anything other than pass. Isn’t “barely a BIT similar to being just a little bit pregnant”?

3. While the fault was, at least according to the ACBL, never because of a hesitation and pass (which is not illegal) but only if the partner of the hesitator takes advantage by his use of UI (unauthorized information).

4. It would then follow, at least to me, that once a BIT is being created it would be best for the creator to bid something rather than pass even though on full reflection pass would be the majority choice. In this case my LHO has 3 choices, Pass, Dbl or an aggressive 3NT.

With the above as a backdrop (it really happened exactly the way described) I would love to hear opinions on how to cope, especially behavior by everyone at the table. My RHO was visibly upset and commented, “Yes it was a BIT, but only barely and yes I would have preferred bidding 3 spades”. No bad words or action followed, however there was consternation that was luckily reduced when the result obtained was favorable to the opponents.

Now to my reasons for including this off the track (or is it?) event. I would think that under the circumstances RHO should be seriously admonished if he had decided to bid. LHO, I hope, learned that it would have been better, after her BIT, to either dbl. or bid 3NT.

As pointed out by Cam after I used the word despicable to describe the Canadians decision to bench Kehela-Murray for the deciding match against Brazil in 1976, at least to me, to violate (again my term) the unwritten spirit of the rules of competition and play a team’s much lesser lineup in such an important match is nothing short of despicable.

How can we get compliance among all the people in the world unless we make it clear what is expected of them? Cam, do you think what happened in Norfolk when the undeserved winners of that event didn’t voluntarily step down because of their obvious and proven cheating during that event and if so, why couldn’t that expressive word, despicable, be used in that context?

An honest answer would always be, what is despicable to some is not to others. We, as a bridge group have failed mightily and through the years in not condemning cheating and from the highest mountaintops. Therefore it still exists. Punishment for some of the worst crimes our game has known have been unbelievably lenient and in some cases never even being publicly acknowledged.

Words are only words, but they do produce emotion. Some of the world’s most famous and infamous people have been great orators, raising their countries emotions to a fever pitch. Some with incredibly wonderful results, but alas some with totally disastrous ones. History will certainly back me up with that statement.

The time is now to not only present the truth to what has happened, but to tell the truth in order to prevent if from happening again. It is doubtful that only one or even just a few truth-sayers can turn the tide, but possibly with a groundswell it could be done. At least it may be the time to TRY before we DIE. WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

bob mcpheeApril 3rd, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I can somewhat appreciate the Brits displeasure, yet would the results have been different? No one really knows.

I am sure the players who were anxious to play the best in the world at the time appreciated the opportunity. The Brits were unhappy because they considered this action dumping.

The teams playing in this event are not there for anyone but themselves. It is the right of the team members and captain to set their lineup for any match. Until now I was unaware you were required to have a reason the other teams playing supported. What a crock that is.

Despicable is one mans opinion (shared with others I am sure) that I find harsh. They put in a squad that another country felt was less than the best. The team was giving support to their own team members before considering any other countries feelings, and this is bad?

Maybe the Brits should have fielded a different team and the results would have been different. I think that those involved would be displeased for players to suggest they were not being ethical or were not good sportsmen.

The real reason this happened is Murray requested the time off to study the other countries national anthems so he could sing along!

David TurnerApril 3rd, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Hi Cam,

I have no doubt that the Bridge World would say “Shame on the organizers for putting teams in a position that opens them to criticism over their lineup choices”. That’s one of the perils of round robins, as we all know. Organizers have tried their best to overcome that problem (teams having to act in a way that someone will always feel bad about, or the perception of “not trying hard enough”) in a variety of ways. For example, the Canadian federation tries to minimize this problem in the CNTC finals round-robin stage by ensuring all teams from the same zone play against each other early – to avoid the possible perception of “friends helping friends” if there’s a surprisingly useful-to-others upset in the crucial final matches. But it’s difficult to eliminate all the problems in this format, as the Great Britain (and Canadian!) 1976 team can confirm.

I’ve started to see the issue of “field protection” come up in KO events lately, too … do teams millions of IMPs behind “owe it to the field” to contest the 4th quarter against clearly superior opponents, to avoid their opponents taking a much-needed night off that’s not available to their future opponents? There’s been a lot of this recently, and I think some resultant unrest.

I would argue that the “proximate cause” of situations that involve the need for “field protection” comes about because of the play to date of the teams involved. That is, GB only cared about the squad Canada fielded in the Brazil match in 1976 because they (GB) hadn’t won enough IMPs to that point to ensure their qualification. If they had an insurmountable lead on the field, they wouldn’t really care who Canada put in.

And, from Canada’s viewpoint, while the team wouldn’t be better on paper with Murray-Kehela on the bench, who’s to say the veterans would have given their absolute best effort with nothing to play for? (have you never been (inadvertently) a mite sloppy with the event already won or lost?), while the other 4 players may have been lusting for a chance to show their mettle against a formidable foe. They had a cogent reason for lining up the way they did (rather than simply “let’s screw the Brits”), so no foul from my point of view. But again, it mattered only because GB hadn’t done better earlier. And Canada was only in that eithically touchy position becaue of the round robin format.

I think in earlier Olympiads there were prelimary round robins that qualified a couple of teams from each section into a KO stage against seeded teams. By getting the KOs started much earlier than in a complete round-robin, the likelihood of these kinds of situations is somewhat reduced, and at the same time if they *do* occur, the impact to the overall event is less.

We’ve all had to rely on a lucky result in another match at some point in our careers, and have often gotten it. But we also know if we’d played better, we wouldn’t have needed it. And we’ve also sometimes said to our teammates at those times “Well it’s too bad Rival B is playing hopeless team Z in this last match … Z are way out of it, and won’t put up much of a fight”.

Not fielding the lineup you want to because somebody else thinks you shouldn’t isn’t how it should, work. But the fact we even need to discuss it means the event needs to be better organized.

— David

BOBBY WOLFFApril 3rd, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Hi Bob and David,

Enjoyed reading both of your blogs and although I do not agree with your conclusions, there is no doubt to me that both of you spoke both succinctly and sincerely. Your main themes, at least as determined by me, is that countries are entitled to make their own decisions without regard to outside pressures or to what some may think of adhering to subjective “spirit of competition” rules. If there are, what some observers may think, not such pure reasons for the bridge playing country not playing their theoretically best pairs, both of your answers seem to be either “lets play a straight KO formula” or play better earlier so a country, now in jeopardy, would not have been subjected to other countries lineup whims.

For any bridge conditions of contest writer to be involved he would immediately know that round robins are almost certainly the method of choice with large fields, since the specific seeding in straight KO’s is much too subjective. The almost 50 year history of the European championship has almost always had the same format, straight round robin with no ending straight KO’s. It has worked, since the European countries always try up to the end and much rather finish 21st than 22d making their competitive administrative decisions very straightforward and to the point. This does not mean that the Europeans are more ethical or more understanding, all it does mean, is that they seem to play their hardest in all matches up to the end.

Since I am old now, while I was being raised in the USA, my father’s generation was thought by some to be the “greatest generation” to come along, at least in the relatively known past. He served his country in the 1st World War overseas and was too old to serve in World War II, but did have the job of Chief Air Raid Warden during the early 1940’s in San Antonio, Texas. Although it turned out that neither Texas nor any other part of our rather large country was in any real threat of being bombed, at that time certainly no one knew for sure that no threat existed. I even remember some rumor of a German U boat being recognized in the Gulf of Mexico, but no one, as far as I knew, ever verified that claim. At any rate my father took his job very seriously and was involved almost every week with some kind of hypothetical activity.

Many other middle age people seemed to take on much responsibility in trying to do their share, with never any real reward for so doing, but rather the patriotism which was felt became contagious for all around to come together and enjoy.

Let’s fast forward to present times and just list the changes:

1. A terrible economic recession which seems to have been brought about by American greed which even after an unprecedented bail-out seemed to result in the main subject corporation AIG and others, trying to continue the irrational bonus structure using the bail out money.

2. Seemingly corruption after corruption with the US legislature passing questionable legislation and declaring themselves immune while all others will be subjected to the new Health care programs. In other words, our esteemed congresspeople are looking our for their own best interests while at the same time pretending to being doing what is best for the long range effects and best interest of our country.

3. Corporate crime seems to have no limits since, as time goes by, the people gain knowledge of what really happened within the Enron and others organizations, leaving many of our mouths wide open in disbelief at the overall chutzpah at the very least.

4. In sports, steroid use is a popular subject with more people than anyone thought participating, while referees themselves are found guilty of fixes and even former gentlemanly sports like bike racing are thought to be corrupted. In college recruiting all sorts of illegal practices are being investigated while even now as we speak the NCAA is seriously thinking of expanding March Madness to 96 teams, all to collect more money though TV advertisers for the extra games, which will go to feather the nests of those involved. Does the Fall of the Roman Empire come to mind, along with, of course the news?

5. What about the recent resurgence of “Hedge Funds” which are at least suspected to be one of the culprits in the severe downturn of our economy?

6. I could continue with other brutal subjects such as the Drug Cartels of Mexico infiltrating the USA and downright corrupt politicians (are there any honest ones?) along with the hallowed clergy, as well as influential politicians, finding so many child abusers among them. How about great athletes who continue illegal activities in spite of their considerable wealth, not to mention the defiance that our so-called super stars (Tiger Woods & Michael Vick) left as legacies to all their fans.

7. Cutting back to the chase, how can anyone really think that the Canadian bridge team in 1976 didn’t owe bridge the responsibility to play their best lineup in their match against Brazil. Sure, there was no specific rule to turn to and yes it is likely that there were other unmentioned reasons for their decision, but no I do not think the Greatest Generation heroes would have opted for anything but their best lineup. Others may say that. “If that is what the group decides then write it in the Conditions of Contest” to which I would reply, that to have to do that is what Bob and David are railing about and therefore we would be better off to let the teams themselves opt for ethical actions.

Active Ethics are among other things very contagious and I, for one, would love to spread that disease. To say that bridge would benefit would be one of the greatest understatements of all time. Instead of so many coming out of the woodwork to cry out for self-serving and total independence which too often leads to lack of responsibility, rather we need role models who opt for what is best for the sport and the competition. IF MY ABOVE HISTORY LESSON IS ANYWHERE NEAR ACCURATE WE DO NOT HAVE MUCH TIME LEFT!!

David CraviotoApril 6th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Dear Mr Wolff,

Your enthusiasm/passion is AMAZING. I have been good friends with Cam, David & Bob for decades and consider them to be among the MOST passionate men I have ever known even if they are usually wrong, however your zeal takes things to a new rarely experienced high.

I must say that I do not agree with your position on ethics your excellent history lesson notwithstanding.

As David points out, a round robin is a series of matches each equally weighted. Imagine you are in a golf tournament and Tiger Woods is in the field. You have a bad round, your toast. In bridge at the highest levels teams always play more than four players. This reality means during the course of the event there may be stronger/weaker lineups being fielded. However, let us not forget that ALL of the participants no matter how weak they may be have qualified and are entitled to play. In my competitive day I was playing against the supposed weak line up that Canada fielded for the match in question and I believe them to be no slouches.

I also agree with Bob who states that players are there for themselves and that is as it should be as I see it. We all want to win or we would be doing something else. To suggest it is something other than ethical to field whomever/whenever is to open our game to the constant navel pondering that plagues Tiger Woods (none of MY DAMM BUISNESS)

Thank You for your enthusiasm sir, so sorry as my dear friends often are, you seem to be on the wrong side of the issue…………………..LOL

lewis richardsonApril 6th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

i could not agree more with the comments of cam, david, bob, & david c & will not repeat them other than to say that in absense of strict rules & regulations from the organizers,the teams should be free to field whatever team in their discretion that they feel is appropriate.

mr wolffs disdain for canada & canadians is well documented. in his book, he criticizes us frequently & often on a factual basis which is blatantly incorrect.

what is trabic is that mr wolff seems to feel that he has the market cornered on ethics & fair play & either will not or cannot accept another viewpoint.

in our courts , for example, some of our most brilliant & ethical minds vary on degrees of fairness, which only goes to show that ethics is not a constant but is subject to different degrees of interpretation. he will simply not acknowledge that so many of us are committed to an equal degree of caring to do the right thing.

he appears tragic in his rigidity. he reminds me so much of the character played by frederick march in inherit the wind. the senator mathew brady who wanted extreme punishment for the teacher who dared teach the darwin theory.

mr wolff , like brady,appears to be the self-proclaimed prophet from texas–the law & gospel according to wolff .

if he does not learn to become a bit flexible or tolerant in his leanings,he will unfortunately be remembered as the buffoon & bigot as was the brady character who professed to have a monopoly on gods word.

mr wolff should also be aware that many of us here come from families who contributed, sacrificed & suffered in times of war.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 6th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Hello Cameron,


Somehow it seemed to me that you and Bobby had a very special bond because your common bottom line always appeared to be striving for equity. However, when you questioned him about Sami Kehela’s appearance in the Foster Tribunals involving Reese-Schapiro, you did so in an accusatory manner in which it appeared you didn’t believe what he was saying.


I was a newcomer back in the sixties but I do remember all the buzz in Philly about the English code being broken — shockingly by the unlikely twosome of B. J. Becker and Dorothy Hayden. I have learned in the last number of years to never question Bobby’s honesty, his judgment or his incredible ability of recall, especially in historical bridge happenings as to what was involved.  If anything, he downplays his opinions and tries to rely on the facts.

I, years ago, while still back on the East Coast (decades before Bobby and I married) had heard about Sami Kehela’s sudden decision to support his mentor, Terence Reese, by testifying for the defense at his Tribunal in London.  In fact I have a recollection of Gerber being the U. S. Team’s Captain and Kehela, the Coach. In spite of what Sami had himself uncovered during the tumultuous events in South America in 1965, he did a 180 degree turn and directly contradicted himself.  Bobby later filled me in on his reasons and tried to convince me not be so hard on him since all people are unto themselves and often dance to the beat of different drummers.

I had occasion to learn that Sami has quite often cottoned to different types of drumming.  He is a sweet man with a sympathetic nature. In the sordid Katz-Cohen scandal, Sami was partnered by Eric against the Katz-Cohen group in the early 1970’s in Vancouver (while playing with Hamman-Wolff and Kantar-Krauss in the Vanderbilt in one of the later matches) — refusing to play the last quarter against the Katz-Cohen duo since it was so obvious what they were doing and he was tired of fighting what is almost always an impossible uphill climb.  He later, because of his great friendship with Patty Katz, his former girlfriend, agreed to support Dick if and when he wanted to renew his partnership with Larry Cohen. I don’t mind being the messenger here, but please do not shoot me (as you did with Bobby) for recounting what happened many years ago when you were probably not on the scene.


For corroboration on this and the English matter please talk to Sami directly or at least to Eric. You suggest an apology by Bobby to Sami. You must be kidding! On the contrary, if an apology is in order, it should be from you to Bobby.

The problem of late is caused by all the Johnny Come Lately’s who read about, believe and speculate on one erroneous version of the actual happening after another. Perhaps coming from the horses’ mouths (about Buenos Aires) may change your mind. Sami is only a local phone call away from you — and you might add Eric to your calls-to-make list as well.

It is obvious, you pride yourself on your devotion to, and honor of, the game and are fiercely against cheating. That is much to your credit as most people won’t touch the subject with a ten foot pole. I believe my suggestion will set the record straight in your mind.


Judy Kay-WolffApril 6th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I don’t have time to answer all the garbage tossed out for thought by the above malcontents. I have only three comments to make.

1) Perhaps, if the people in charge of the Conditions of Contest were more knowledgeable and acted more judiciously, many of the above situations may never have come to fruition. That is what the ACBL committees are now dealing with and working on (despite the humongous differences of opinion) — but eventually they will come up with a more equitable system and fairer guidelines concerning the issues above.

2) Bridge players have a responsibility to the game itself. That was the way it was intended by our founding fathers — protecting its grandeur and beauty — not putting our personal or team egos first but placing our best foot forward to honor the game in the interest of sportsmanship. And, as far as the mention of Tiger Woods — he is hardly one to be used as a poster child. He flunked his responsibility to his fans (especially children) just as bridge players owed it to the bridge world to honor the spirit of competition — not their self-serving interests.

3) If Canada has such wonderful guidelines and offers such great competition to its players, can you tell me why so many of your bridge citizens (or former citizens) have forsaken their nationalistic spirit, jumped ship (or crossed the border) and moved to the States to further their personal interests and bridge careers?

It is obvious the propensity for money and professionalism disgustingly offered in the U. S. takes priority over the pride of playing for and honoring their native Canada. Nobody’s perfect — not even Canadians.

Sometimes, the truth hurts.

And for your information, Bobby has always done what he deemed was BEST FOR THE GAME, not for himself, his partner or his team (as has been documented many times all over the world for countless decades). Unfortunately, the sad state of today’s bridge world in general has become all about ME – ME – ME!!!!!

No Shrinking Violet!

BOBBY WOLFFApril 6th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Hi David and Lewis,

There is little doubt that if Canada was trying to form its best lineup for that fateful match in 1976 vs. Brazil, they were entitled or better yet, duty bound, to field whoever they thought had the best chance to win representing Canada against Brazil. Sometimes, especially decades later, some truths get lost in the shuffling.

I was obviously not there when that decision was made so some speculation was required. Also my judgment as to which pairs were best qualified to play that match for Canada is also not to be taken into consideration. If, in fact, Canada fielded what they thought was their best line-up for that match, I am as wrong as a person could be and furthermore, I apologize for my intrusion. Please keep in mind that I have always evaluated the Kehela-Murray partnership among the best to ever play the game.

However, none of the above proves anything, only that from my considered judgment, Kehela-Murray would have probably been Canada’s best shot to do as well in that match as is possible.

As long as others agree that fielding one’s best foursome in event determining matches, even though the subject country is out of the running themselves, is what should be expected, I would never have a problem with accepting the result.

Furthermore for Lewis to say that I have disdain for Canadians is not only propaganda it is sheer poppycock. Probably the only chapter in my book which conceivably showed any bias at all for or against certain nationalities is the chapter, Losing Team Wins, which featured how Canada was theoretically raped and I was the Lone Wolff who howled out for them, but because of certain political influences, not to mention poor timing brought on by clever manuevering by Canada’s adversaries, I did so unsuccessfully.

My intent and for the good, if not the future of bridge, is to try and turn this fierce “ME” generation into a greater generation of ethical people seeking whatever is best for our game, in the form of “role models” which could be broken down into actions which serve the game specifically, instead of the sometimes skewed emotions of best for whomever is doing it.

Your forced analogy of comparing me with some fictional character or at least one whose thoughts were entirely made up by the writer is as wrong as it can be. I would never begin to even punish anyone who though our evolution came from here or there simply because people are entitled to their own beliefs. I do however, think that bridge ethics, rather than the tempting to some of taking advantage of what they can in the name of freedom of action which invariably results in harm to the game itself is presently our greatest danger. Competition cries out for playing the game ethically which extends to competitive decisions, especially when a team is not mandated by what winning might bring, but rather than by what the spirit of competition demands.

From what you say about right and wrong it seems to me that you are the inflexible tyrant you proclaim me to be. For me to say “Please always do what is in the best interests of the game itself” leaves much leeway to the benefactor, but inevitably will lead to later judgment, at least serving as a learning experience. I’ll challenge anyone to compare what I have always thought and done for bridge to what he or she thinks is better and has more lasting value.

If you or anyone else wants to remember me as a bridge buffoon or bigot, be my guest. We’ll let history make that decision. As of now there will be many lined up with your opinion, though almost all of them are either miscreant bridge politicians, evil bridge manueverers, or worse yet, confirmed, or soon to be confirmed, bridge cheats.

Cam FrenchApril 6th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Hi Judy,

In response to

3) If Canada has such wonderful guidelines and offers such great competition to its players, can you tell me why so many of your bridge citizens (or former citizens) have forsaken their nationalistic spirit, jumped ship (or crossed the border) and moved to the States to further their personal interests and bridge careers?

I will tell you what a Canadian bridge star told me about his migration south.

“I cannot win a world title coming out of Canada.”

That tells me that his Canadian team mates were good, but not quite good enough (yes we recall Beijing) to win at the world level.

I note that Zia, Rosenberg, Fallinus, Shenken and a horde of others have departed their terre natale for the USA, because it is the Big Show. The rest of us pale in comparison. These players want to play with and against the best – and for bridge that is America. And let’s be frank – it’s the money honey.

Canada has about 30 million people and the USA about ten times that. For the record you also poach our doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, academics and other professionals who depart for their own reasons – typically money. America is the big girl on the block in so many ways, she attracts the best in a variety of professions. That she still welcomes many from around the globe is a testament to Amercia’s attributes.

The other comments will have to await another day.


David CraviotoApril 6th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Hello Ms. Wolff,

I am pleased to note your interest in my thoughts even assuming we are on opposite sides of the fence (seemingly no fence sitters here). I mention Tiger Woods as I feel he is the finest player of the day (in golf) and to beat him one must be brilliant THROUGHOUT an event. You feel he is a poor role model, you are entitled to your beliefs BUT that has NOTHING to do with my point.

Why is there such a fixation/obsession on the final match? Why does this match have ETHICAL responsibility when there were so many before?

If the line ups for this match are of such ETHICAL responsibility should we perhaps go back and evaluate the pairings throughout the event. Ah, but that would be so impractical and as such is never considered.

Bridge is a game. Have we lost sight of this? We play for many reasons, most of them personal. How can we so completely distance ourselves from the reality that as people we do what we do and hopefully in games of honour (bridge and golf) we conduct ourselves in ways that are conducive to the enjoyment of the game by all.

Cameron French is obsessed with cheating. We all KNOW this and likely respect him for that. I certainly do and wonder if in this discussion we have lost our way. To suggest the type of cheating that Cameron obsesses upon has any similarity to who a team fields for a final match is in my opinion LUDICROUS.

Do we have a moral responsibility? Yes. The four players who sit in for the final match should always try to play to there best capability as they should have throughout all preceeding matches. Who they happen to be should be the choice of the team themselves and not subject to navel pondering after the fact. These players got here through rigorous qualifying processes (certainly in the case of Canada) and should be free to line up as they see fit, end of story!!

lewis richardsonApril 6th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

i quit. i do not have the energy to continue this. those canadians who sought better bridge opportunities in the usa are somehow deemed unpatriotic? much like my grandparents who fled russia to find a better life. much like entertainers who seek wider fields in the usa–unpatriotic?

soon to be confirmed bridge cheats? paranoia has reached new heights. it is absolutely impossible to have anything resembling a reasonable conversation with mr wolff so i will join eric murray & learn to sing foreign national anthems or be patriotic & draw a beaver.

anything but to try to reason with mr wolff. it cant be done. he speaks and all must obey.

David CraviotoApril 6th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

A final thought has occured to me whilst I wander my neighbourhood with my fine team of pooches.

Team of Four contested by six team mates are usually at or about the same level of competance. Hammon/Wolff (do you guys still play?) would never line up with me, nor I my mother.

This is to suggest that whomever a team fields for this final all important match would have to play at a level that is comparable with their teamates (even if they are Kehala/Murray).

Judy Kay-WolffApril 7th, 2010 at 12:49 am


In response to your quoting one of your expatriots: “I cannot win a world title coming out of Canada.” So be it! What does that prove? They are not all Murray-Kehelas. Obviously, the United States is the big attraction — whether it be bridge, academics, engineering, medicine … whatever … and has been known as the land of opportunity for centuries.

You sound very resentful when you use the word “poach.” According to the literal definition in my dictionary, the word means “to hunt or fish unlawfully.” No one considers it a crime to seek greener pastures. No one forced them to go South. Bettering oneself is what life is about.

It is not the migration of the Canadians that offends me. Heavens no! It is the blindly pathetic defense mechanism STILL being offered as an excuse when affecting the outcome of a world championship by sitting off a world-class partnership like Eric and Sami when so much was at stake for the other countries involved. Everyone has their own standards but no one can force me to accept what is, in my eyes, a dereliction of duty by a competitor.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 7th, 2010 at 1:17 am

Next case — Mr. Cravioto:

Tiger Woods may be the greatest golfer ever .. as was, in the opinion of many, Benito Garozzo, the best bridge player who ever lived. What does that prove?

As far as the issues involving lineups: You say, “Do we have a moral responsibility? Yes. The four players who sit in for the final match should always try to play to there (their) best capability as they should have throughout all preceeding matches…..”

My answer and that of many others more knowledgeable than either of us would be YES, YOU HAVE A MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO PUT IN THE STRONGEST LINEUP YOU HAVE — especially when a world championship title is involved — and actually at stake. THIS IS NOT DING DONG SCHOOL!!!

The word ‘dumping’ is almost as unfashionable as “cheating” — but when a country or team does not exert its best effort (as evidenced by benching a world-class duo), it is without a doubt favoring the team with whom they are doing battle. Yes, as you say — END OF STORY.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 7th, 2010 at 1:51 am

And now to Mr. Richardson:

Quitting is for sissies.

Better you should devote your time toward trying to understand what is being said. Just as Cameron French feels so violent (and with good reason) about the Norfolk incident, you have to be in my husband Bobby’s shoes. Been there, done that — for about sixty years (including presiding over both the ACBL and the WBF). During his bridge travels here and abroad, he has witnessed almost every bridge atrocity capable of being perpetrated upon the unsuspecting public. Some of the cheats have been brought to justice (barred or temporarily suspended and released again to ply their trade) while others continue to roam the streets and still play internationally, nationally, at regionals and sectionals and even at the local clubs. It is a difficult game to police as most organizations have two fears: (1) Law Suits; and (2) Scandals.

Both Bobby and I view the game very seriously and feel all measures should be taken to make everyone toe the line and maintain honorable standards. We should all be playing by the same rules. Not everyone is an expert. Certainly, not I. There is a certain level of dignity that must be maintained by respecting the rules and laws (which by no means are perfect). For those who want to play go-as-you please, there is an old game my grandmother used to play with her cronies. It was called “kitchen bridge” where their motto was ‘anything goes.’ It wasn’t the game as we know it today.

We are talking about the high-level game, particularly world championships and everyone owes it to themselves and the game of bridge to give it their best effort. No more — no less.

Chuck ArthurApril 8th, 2010 at 3:06 am

As usual, this thread has degenerated into tangential issues such as the Buenos Aires scandal and questioning the loyalty of some top Canadian players who flee south of the border in search of a living. Allow me to return to the original question: Was it ethical for Canada to sit out Murray and Kehela for the final match.

I can think of no ethical standard that Canada violated whatsoever. Unless there were specific rules violated, Canada was entirely within her right to field whomever they pleased for the final (or any other) match. The choice should not even be called into question, let alone be subject to accusations of unethical conduct. This decision rests entirely within the pervue of Canada, delegated to her captain. I realise that many citizens of the USA think otherwise; they should be told to “Butt out!” No amount of blathering by Mr. Wolff is going to convince me otherwise.

Can you imagine what would happen if others could interfere with lineup choices? Teams would be required to submit their lineups in advance of play, for the approval of everybody else.

BOBBY WOLFFApril 8th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Hi Diane, Both Davids, Lewis, Bob, Chuck, and, of course, Cam,

For starters, I am beginning to feel like General Custer might have felt both before and at the “Battle of the Little Big Horn”. It is indeed difficult to deal with all these detractors (some not so obvious) and especially ones who appear mostly interested in putting me down and doing so without knowledge of a wealth of crucial facts but banding together as “brothers” in their zeal to protect their apparent freedoms, especially from the madman (me) who purports to take them away.

Next to the facts and nothing but the facts:

1. I have not nor have I ever been a Canadian detractor, much less an enemy. Au contraire! Before the 1991 World Junior Championship, held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I as major domo of the two USA Junior Teams invited the 1991 Canadian Team to join us and arranged a match in Dallas wherein those three teams joined my real life Jimmy Cayne professional team in Dallas (forerunner to the Nickell team) for a long weekend wherein we played a four-cornered match ending with an Aces-type thorough hand-by-hand critique and also including some wonderful social moments replete with banquet type eating experiences and reported on officially in the ACBL Bulletin who had representatives in attendance. Canada had experienced earlier World Junior success but up until 1991 the USA had never finished higher than fifth in all the previous years of that event (which has now become a ritual and a significant event on the WBF calendar). The ACBL teams in Ann Arbor finished 1st, 2d and 4th marking a beginning which has served as an exhilarating motor in the many years since. All the logistics were orchestrated by yours truly and my hard working staff, marking that particular weekend as an important watershed in the development of Western Hemisphere Junior Bridge.

2. Beginning in the very early 1980’s Zone 2 (USA, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda) was awarded three teams to play in the Bi-Annual Bermuda Bowl. Those three teams were apportioned (2 to the USA and the remaining 1 would come from a tri-country playoff between the other 3 smaller countries). In later years Bermuda dropped out and was added to the CAC, Caribbean Zone.

Make no mistake — the USA was awarded two teams not because of the USA being the largest NCBO in the world, but rather because of the depth of excellent talent which the USA produced. The ostensible legal reason for the extra team was having an NCBO of (at that time) 180,000 members. When that number reduced itself to only 140,000, the WBF rules were changed to allow an NCBO of 140,000 to still get the extra team. The WBF major movers always respected the quality of the highest class players and, if at all possible, would tend to recognize that feeling by allowing more higher class teams to participate.

The upshot of that arrangement was good for the USA but even better for Canada since they eventually only had to beat the very small Mexican contingent, a fact which has occurred in every Bermuda Bowl (BB) since its inception — except in 1991 and in 2009 when Mexico pulled the upsets. Since Europe only was allowed 6 teams and they have at least 13-16 teams (of their 30+ number countries participating in their European championship), all capable of at least competing strongly for very high finishes in the BB it results in, without any doubt, that Canada is the most favored country in the whole world in their right to participate in the Bi-Annual BB (please do not overlook the rest of the world competition among their zones which in all cases makes it less likely that any one country will almost always be a representative in the BB). As a reminder the USA is an exception to the above in that there will always be two USA teams which will qualify for that event.

Now for some important history. Canada, as Zone 2’s third representative began in 1983 in Stockholm and then played in Sao Paulo in 1985, Jamaica in 1987 and Perth 1989, Mexico in Yokohama 1991, and then Canada again in Santiago, 1993. During that time the ACBL 3d team (Canada) usually finished last overall, and never higher than next to last, always failing to qualify after the 1st round robin. Sometimes those things happen, but in this case Canada was always sending players no one had heard of instead of the ones we all know as very good, not to mention experienced at high-levels. Some of the ones who qualified were political (high ranking Canadian Board-of-Directors people, but during that whole time I do not remember a Canadian household bridge name representing Canada much less any of their top partnerships).

I took it upon myself to investigate and found, according to the Silvers, Kokishes, Graves, Barans, Molsons — that the qualifying events were hard to get to, at unusual times, and very expensive to attend causing the results to reflect that condition. The WBF then implemented a rule, which I supported, that for Canada to continue to be eligible to play in the Bermuda Bowl their World Olympic Team would have to finish in the top 1/2 of the entries. Not too unreasonable in comparison to recent performances. In 1984 the Olympiad was in Seattle, 1988 in Venice, 1992 in Salsamaggiori, Italy and 1996 in Rhodes, Greece. It was interesting to see that Canada also didn’t have their so-called top players representing them in those years either with predictably very poor results. Finally, in spite of George Retek trying to protect Canada instead of trying to cajole them into sending teams which would make Zone 2 proud, the end result being that in 1995 Canada sent their best team possible to Beijing and presto-chango they were the best team there, although they lost in the finals. Is this or is this not an example of what politics can do to an otherwise sound enterprise? Does my support for pressuring Canada to do what is best for Canadian bridge and therefore also Zone 2 rather than best for Canadian politics make me a Canadian enemy? If so, then I entirely admit to my role, but although some improvement has occurred we still haven’t really solved this conundrum.

Just where has the Canadian leadership been during this long period? Instead of attacking General Custer, please somebody rise and be heard or is that too much to ask?

BTW, as an aside, the Canadian ladies team, although never winning the title, have competed fiercely and have done reasonably well, but now appear to be going somewhat downhill rather than the hoped for other direction.

3. All sporting events probably have an unwritten “spirit of competition” law which is expected to be followed. In these days of big money for TV sports the home office investigates such things as teams not lining up in their best lineups for position-deciding events. All of our major sports (and also world-wide) use round robin formats (nothing else is even remotely strategically probable). Other sports have different problems such as already qualifying teams wanting to rest their best players and have them ready for the playoffs (NFL, NBA, NHL and even MLB). In bridge and in the event in question (1976 World Team Olympiad) this was NOT a factor. No one, least of all me, is suggesting that anyone other than the team itself should choose its lineup, only that (especially Canada at that time who had such a specially good pair available) and because of the mammoth importance of that last match (with 3 teams still in the running for gold) would choose to opt to do what they did.

Fast forward to 1990 when Canada had actually won their semifinal match and, at least according to Eric Kokish, would have liked Germany (Canada’s opponent in that fateful match) to have conceded it for the very good reason that they never won it. I guess all of my detractors would now say that Germany would be fools to concede a match they would win in committee even though they undoubtedly actually did lose it at the table. If this group then says, “Yeh Germany right on” and Kokish & company change their minds and support Germany winning –then I will right now and in front of everyone say OK, the world has changed, I’m wrong and be done with it. But before we arrive at that conclusion, perhaps some of the principals should be asked what Germany should have done.

There are, of course, many reasons (all of them overwhelming) that Canada should have been declared the winner, but as Jose Damiani counseled me after reading my book, “What if a wealthy Canadian had offered the Germans beaucoup money to concede a match they had won, shouldn’t the committee have not allowed that?” And if that actually happened in this case, it would be better believed that there was not a cow in my beloved Texas, but rhetoric goes on and on and groups of people believe what they want to believe (witness the events we are arguing about).

4. I would appreciate to not get tarred by other brushes suggesting I believe what I don’t. I do believe that bridge is by far the greatest game ever invented. I believe there are many political creatures in the bridge world, but more important in the whole world, who only want good things to happen TO THEMSELVES. When some of you accuse me of blathering, perhaps you are right, but my life was dealt a lifetime of intimate association with all types in this bridge world and the vast inexperience and naivete of others who consider their opinions very important (in spite of not being privy to so many important facts) leaves me very unimpressed.

5. Many speak of passion and all agree that it has more plus than minus, but the passion Canadians have for each other is off the charts. I love the USA and think that our President’s most important quality is definitely not intelligence (others can serve that master) but rather just love for our country and patrotism in general. Time will tell, probably not in my lifetime, but possibly so.

6. Also my travels around the world have convinced me that many various cultures value daily things much differently such as senses of humor, customs, and treating people with respect. And I could even go so far as to say my beloved wife Judy and I, although originally coming from Philadelphia and San Antonio, respectivey, also have different value systems for deciding what is insulting and what may not be. Going forward is all about getting along and ‘getting along’ is much about catering to what others may think is either important or not and for us to accept that belief despite always acting on our own conflicting opinion.

Nothing else to say so that Chuck will be glad that the blathering has stopped!

Cam FrenchApril 9th, 2010 at 12:26 am

Hi Bobby,

as I have said before – I love your passion.

As you just said, we all come from different perspectives, and perhaps that is missing from this dialogue.

You said (above):

“Fast forward to 1990 when Canada had actually won their semifinal match and, at least according to Eric Kokish, would have liked Germany (Canada’s opponent in that fateful match) to have conceded it for the very good reason that they never won it. I guess all of my detractors would now say that Germany would be fools to concede a match they would win in committee even though they undoubtedly actually did lose it at the table. If this group then says, “Yeh Germany right on” and Kokish & company change their minds and support Germany winning –then I will right now and in front of everyone say OK, the world has changed, I’m wrong and be done with it. But before we arrive at that conclusion, perhaps some of the principals should be asked what Germany should have done.”

There are, of course, many reasons (all of them overwhelming) that Canada should have been declared the winner, but as Jose Damiani counseled me after reading my book, “What if a wealthy Canadian had offered the Germans beaucoup money to concede a match they had won, shouldn’t the committee have not allowed that?” And if that actually happened in this case, it would be better believed that there was not a cow in my beloved Texas, but rhetoric goes on and on and groups of people believe what they want to believe (witness the events we are arguing about).

If there are (and you did write about it in your book) “There are, of course, many reasons (all of them overwhelming) that Canada should have been declared the winner.”

Then why wasn’t Canada declared a winner with the “overwhelming” reasons supporting them?

As I understand it, and taking from your book, it was a two-fold issue. The one you alluded to was the European preference for a European team – which can hardly be a compelling reason. The second was a debate over what the ACBL calls “the applicable reporting period”.

In the scoring – the Canadians won the match.

And the Germans knew it. Is that pathetic?

And that the sanctioning body should permit that – well I thought I had seen it all but this takes the cake.

I know a player who went to another table in a Swiss match, assuming he had lost by three, and they said – you by five? He concurred (without verifying) and submitted a false result. He was punished with a 30 day suspension.

So we can do that at a Sectional (and he deserved it – don’t get me wrong) but when the Germans knowingly do exactly the same, and wiggle free essentially because of politics and an inexact and debatable rule (the correction period) they walk on, heads high, while we all know their ethics might be printed on a postage stamp with room left over for the National Anthem.

What does that say about the rules?

Forget what it says about the Germans.

If the rules sanction such a travesty, how low have we sunk? What is next?

I know the Canadians involved and I would not call them good friends, or even pleasant acquaintances. But I believe they were swindled, and any rules that permit such a miscarriage of justice deserve a quick kick in the derriere, ok, and the cajones.

You continued with…..

but as Jose Damiani counseled me after reading my book, “What if a wealthy Canadian had offered the Germans beaucoup money to concede a match they had won, shouldn’t the committee have not allowed that?”

a) The Germans LOST, not won.

b) They cheated (let’s call it what it is) to “win”, by knowingly submitting a false result.

c) If anyone offers money to another team to “lose”, they should face sanctions.

Jimmy Pattison is our Warren Buffet and has entertained President Bush and others aboard his yacht off Vancouver. He could buy whatever he wants, although I haven’t heard if he is a bridge fan. Sponsorship has its limits and “buying a title” by asking another team to do something not in their own interest is simply WRONG. I can’t imagine any committee unless corrupt, consenting to such a vile agreement.

I was told by more than one person in the know, that not only did the Germans know the result was wrong, they were gleeful in their glory, hoping to slide by (like a snake?) with their ill-gotten gains.

That such unprofessional and unethical behavior was rewarded with a victory tells all of us what we need to know.

This game needs a makeover. Someone needs to give themselves a shake.

What is the matter with winners winning? Loopholes be damned.

it is not about Canada, or Germany or USA or Poland, it is about right and wrong, and that is a lot easier than international (or apparently bridge) politics.


roger pewickApril 20th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Responding to BOBBY WOLFF

April 2nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

With the above as a backdrop (it really happened exactly the way described) I would love to hear opinions on how to cope, especially behavior by everyone at the table.

Recognizing that I am not in a position to know what you ought to do I will offer what I do.

During the first 7-13 seconds of every hand I arrange my cards and consider what opening actions the cards are worth and which call I will take. I then consider what responses to partner’s different classes of openings and overcalls my cards are worth, as well as rebids. I then consider what overcalls my cards are worth and then class which actions by the opponents I will consider acting on them. [When I am instead trying to figure out the last hand it takes longer.]

As I typically do my planning more quickly than most I then wait for everyone to be ready to start the auction. This usually means I wait for everyone to appear to be ready. For instance my regular partner normally takes 40-80 seconds. If an opponent is eating supper it looks like he isn’t ready. If she is painting her face I know she’s not ready. Sorting cards, keeping score, yakking about the weather, etc.

There are several reasons for this. Players with a plan play better and with better skill making for a good contest. If the opponents are six minutes late on a two board round there is a good chance that we will finish the round on time without rushing- because players with a plan are focused and not wasting [so much] time. And the real reason is that players with a plan are more likely to play fair as by not creating UI. Well at least providing the opportunity to successfully avoid creating UI is the sporting thing to do. Notably, UI rulings are consumers of large amounts of time and it is more efficient to have opponents complete those things that are most important to them so they will accommodate those things that are important to you.

Was W ready before the auction started? I don’t know. Did he create UI? I don’t know. Would he have created UI [not implying one way or another that he in fact did] if he was ready? Unlikely.

Next. What I do is never give skip bid warnings. I believe strongly in skip bid pauses. Skip bid warnings are bossy and intimidation. They communicate illegally with partner. And every player gets them wrong. And players do not need something to get wrong, especially as it is unnecessary; and besides doesn’t work.

Next. What I do is never interrupt a player during his turn. I never, ever want to distract an opponent or influence/ intimidate an opponent’s action except by my own legal calls and plays. I want to arrive at an outcome fairly and the intervention provided by law is extremely unfair which is aggravated by horrible adjudicating skills of American TDs.

Next, the time for drawing attention to damage is when there is tangible evidence that damage occurred. As far as the auction is concerned the earliest point in time is when the offending hand is known which either is when it becomes the dummy or after the 13th trick.

What happened in LV bears some comment:

First considering the assertion that the 12-13 sec taken after the skip bid is a BIT. It appears that the crux of the matter is that a perceived mannerism makes it a BIT. It is imperative to understand that when the specification of 10 sec is given for the pause [it first should be taken as a pause of at least 10sec] there is a range of measurements that might be taken and though not equal to 10 seconds satisfy the specification. In science measurements are taken within a range of precision, as in plus/or minus one half of the unit of measurement. In the skip bid pause the increment of measurement is 10 seconds so the precision of the reading is +/- 5sec. so when someone who is trying to accomplish a 10 sec unit without a precision timepiece asserts it is about 10 seconds when it is actually was 15sec by a timepiece- he is within the tolerance expected and ought not be considered at fault to so believe. This is particularly true where thinking is done since the brain does only one thing at a time and if it is only solving a problem it has no idea how much time has elapsed- it is only being by alternatively working on the problem and keeping track of the passage of time that a player can reasonably estimate a defined time increment. It is under these circumstances that a player is expected to perform.

It appears to me is that JW getting bent out of shape was over the belief that a BIT occurred. Yet it would seem that there was no BIT from satisfying the regulation. And it also appears to me that it was the mannerism as was perceived that was the problem.

Yet, if I recollect accurately, the regulation demands that the player create precisely the mannerism that was perceived. And for this JW proclaimed that, at least to her knowledge there had been a BIT and then also passed- thereby holding the player guilty of high crime. And if not so then why interrupt the proceedings thereby distracting the players so that they must again muster their resources and give them impossible things to think about- except to intimidate and accomplish the things described here?

And after such an accusation would not the man be unsettled? Especially since you had led them understand that you thought them to be good people. And when the man needs time to contemplate shouldn’t this be a primary cause? Yet, it is imperative [according to the TD] to summon assistance even though the man has yet to do anything. Well, the only problem I have seen so far is this mannerism after the skip bid. The man certainly hasn’t acted on UI. And the only way that can be a problem is that a system of communication between partners other than by call or play has been used. Which according to L73 warrants immediate expulsion.

So, why was the TD called but not told of the opponents’ improper system of communication? I haven’t heard of any ruling that the lady created UI, either.

Returning for a moment to the question of the length of the pause. When BW played the stop card was the LHO ready with his plan or was he still contemplating? Having kibitzed some 200 boards I noticed that when dealer, BW often glances quickly at his cards and immediately bids whether or not others have seen their cards.

And back to the man’s pause- and, coming to the comprehension that L16 requires the man to use UI if he has it. Yes that should be a show stopper. But read the law. It requires the player to figure out what was demonstrably suggested- and just how is that to be done without first figuring out the meaning of the UI? I for one am unable to do such a thing, let alone quickly. The upshot is that L16 tells the player to first do the impossible; and then impale himself on his own sword. And that is an unsolvable problem.

As for the protestations of JW one of the inferences either opponent could derive from his holdings is that JW does not relish the prospects of 3CX. And that is a sound reason to keep one’s wits.

I now am exhausted, as for BW’s other queries:

1. I’ll point out that on this auction if pard has stuff she should have the wrong shape- and a balance here will likely catapult the contract beyond the capacity of the cards. If she doesn’t have stuff then 9 tricks is likely to not be nice.

2. if the man has UI [notice the avoidance of BIT] then it appears to me that reopening would breach L16 [see #1]. BITs are like individuals and it is best to treat them as such.

3. the view exists as an excuse to avoid fixing bad law

4. when a player creates UI, doing something other than pass does absolutely nothing to ameliorate the problems the law causes partner;. and, may compound them.

ps It occurred to me that if I had been sitting in your chair I would have been defending 4S 90% of the time.

PeterMay 8th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

At the 2009 Bermuda Bowl in Sao Paulo in Round 20 of the 21 matches, Italy (coming 2nd, a fraction of a VP ahead of Russia) drew Team x which was out of contention. Team x had one pair with a good plus in the datums (higher than Meckwell), one pair in the middle of the datums and one pair with a big minus (minus 0.58 imps a board). Team x fielded their two worst performing pairs against Italy, losing 7-23. For their Round 21 match against Brazil (out of contention), Team x, which is a good team, fielded their top pair to defeat Brazil (who were out of contention) 25-0. The 23-7 win lifted Italy to be top qualifier by 5 VPs, giving Italy an easier draw in the Finals.

A few rounds earlier, Team x had fielded ther bottom two pairs against Russia, losing 5-25.

What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. Team x is allowed to field whoever they like against Italy. Anyone who knows the players in Team x would realize that nothing untoward happened.

It is so easy to build a mountain out of a molehill. This is less than a molehill – it is of no significance whatsoever. There are many similarities to a bygone story which I’d never heard of until I looked at some recent blogs.

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