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August 2018 English Bridge

Steering the EBU

From the Chairman by Jeremy Dhondy




ith this issue comes your free EBU diary,

unless you opted out. I hope you find it



Shortly after you receive this magazine our four

junior teams will be off to China to play in the

World Championships they qualified for in 2017.

We wish them the best of luck and hope they return

with a medal or two. I'd like to take this opportunity

to thank the clubs, counties, companies and

individuals who have contributed to help them go.

Your generosity is very much appreciated and the

Vice Chairman, Ian Payn, has more to say on p58.


Sometimes players who are experienced and with

relatively high NGS grades express a reluctance to

play with less experienced players whose NGS

grades may be very low. Perhaps these partnerships

may be one of mentor and mentee. It has always

been the case that the lower the NGS of your

partner the lower your score has to be to maintain

your own NGS. Nevertheless that didn't satisfy

everyone (indeed some did not believe it). We

consulted and then looked at the NGS and made

some changes noted a few months ago and these

can be found at

Essentially, if you, as an experienced player, play

with someone who has only just started to play

competitively, then for their first graded 150 boards

their NGS score will count for them (to help

establish their grade) but not their partner.

I have had it said to me that as many players as

wish should be able to exempt their session from

counting for the NGS. They accept this needs to be

done before the session starts so players can't

exempt their 35% session but count their 75%

session. Of course if a significant number of players

were to be able to do this then the whole session

might not count for NGS purposes as it needs about

2/3 of players to qualify for NGS. The player who

then scored 76% in their session would, perhaps,

not be best pleased. I do keep a gentle eye on my

NGS from time to time but I confess it would never

occur to me to decide who I might play with

according to their grade even if I knew it. Perhaps

this is an example of NAD (NGS affective disorder).


Around eight months ago the American Contract

Bridge League got rid of the stop card in all its

tournaments. They left it up to clubs to do as they

wished as the card was a matter of regulation not a

law as is also the case in England. The acceptance of

the card was always significantly lower than it was in

England. It is perhaps something we might

consider. Please note this is about playing the card -

not the procedure where you are required to pause.

It's a fundamental principle in bridge that you

base decisions on authorised information such as

what your partner has bid or what is in your hand

or perhaps what the opponent has done. You don't

do it based, for example, on how quickly or slowly

partner has done it. If an auction goes (1´)-Dble(4´)-?

and partner thinks for 25 seconds, asks some

questions and then doubles it is not hard to guess he

has not got three trump tricks. The reason you

know is because of his demeanour and speed which

is not something you are allowed to use. The stop

procedure was supposed to even player tempo and

it has done a partial job in this area. Some find it too

difficult to understand why they should bid in

tempo. Given we have had 45 years to get used to

both the procedure and the card do we any longer

need the card itself? Are we all capable of bidding

ethically whether partner waves a large red bit of

card or not? I'd be interested in your the L&E will consider this with a view to

making a change (or not) next August so perhaps

letting them know how you feel would be helpful.

Writing to or the editor or the

secretary to the L&E to express your view would be

welcome. r


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