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August 2018 English Bridge

www.ebu.co.uk

BRITISH PLAYING CARDS

The best cards seem to come

from Piatnik in Austria and I've

played with good ones from

Belgium. BUT are there any

good quality cards out there

made in Great Britain? (And this

is nothing to do with Brexit!)

Ian Shaw

Any readers able to help? Ed

UNAFFILIATED CLUBS

I play regularly at a non affiliated

club and was amused to be

accused of being mean minded

for doing so (Letter, June

2018/p53). I rather think the

reason players like non-EBU

clubs is that points-obsessed and

litigious minded players, (the

sort who write to your feature

Ask Robin) stay away, and we can

enjoy ourselves without

continual shouts of Director.

They seem to take particular

delight in demanding to know

the point range of your partner's

1NT opening when no one in the

club has ever opened anything

but a weak no trump.

I am sure there are very good

and necessary reasons for the

EBU White Book, but the

average player manages quite

well without it. Edward Blincoe

Michael Fairclough's letter asks

about using EBU material from

the open access website by a nonaffiliated

club.

Unless he wishes for a closed

shop then the question of

affiliation and the cost of 50p per

head per play is optional. It is a

tax - the club is the collector.

One local club has an average

of 34 tables each week and plays

all but one week each year. The

arithmetic is simple: 34 tables

playing for 51 weeks x 50p per

head is £3,468. A very handy sum

for the EBU. Melville Bishop

I would expect such a successful

club would think it worth its

members paying (more like 38p

per head plus county charges) to

fund a body whose sole objective is

to promote bridge. If every

unaffiliated club signed up the cost

could go down. Unaffiliated clubs

are asking others to pay the 'tax'

while reaping the benefit of a body

that actively pursues keeping the

game alive. Members of

unaffiliated clubs are also denied

the benefits of playing in several

tournaments, including the

NICKO, and not seeing their

progression through the NGS, as

well, or course, of receiving the

magazine! The sad thing is that

some entrenched committee

members don't care and fail to

realise that younger, newer

members might be interested in

these benefits. Ed

COMPUTER DEALT HANDS

We obtain 32 sets of computer

dealt boards from a local club

but often we use only 24 of them.

The accompanying statistical

analysis claims they are balanced

over 32 boards. However, I've

observed that there is often a bias

of hand strength, and more often

than not in favour of N/S, over

the first 24. This is of no

consequence in two-winner

events but seems to skew the

results in favour of N/S in onewinner

events with one arrow

switch (eg seven tables) -

especially if the arrow switch

falls on a hand containing a

slam. Modern computer dealt

hands are far from flat, and

people have written books on the

statistical nature of bridge

hands, but I wondered if the data

was based on manually dealt

(often flat) hands, and as such

might be no longer relevant to

modern computer dealt hands?

Our club has always played

one-winner events (I think to

make the Master Points 'worth

having' when there are only

seven or eight tables but I am of

the opinion that one-winner

events with a single arrow

switch, using only 24 boards out

of 32, is very likely to be

unbalanced. Steve Woodward

Computer dealt hands have

been around for several decades. I

can see no logical reason why

using 24 out of 32 boards would

affect the randomness or skew

hands in one direction. If you

really think this to be the case, I

would suggest making a record of

the points and/or distributions

from all the games in which you

play over a period of time. If the

results do support your

impression, then the club might

benefit from considering using a

different dealing program. As for

arrow-switching, conventional

wisdom is that you should arrowswitch

once with 3-board rounds,

but twice with 2-board rounds.

Gordon Rainsford, EBU CEO

SHORT MEMBERS' SURVEY

I see on the EBU website a short

members survey is available. I

am 5 ft 8 inches - do I qualify?

Dave Robinson

Send your letters lou@ebu.co.uk,

Lou Hobhouse, Raggett House, Bowdens, TA10 0DD, or e-mail lou@ebu.co.uk

The editor reserves the right to condense letters. Publication does not mean the

EBU agrees with the views expressed or that the comments are factually correct.

LETTERS TO THE

EDITOR

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