Paul Cronin

Psychs continued!

I am very much impressed with Judy Kay-Wolff’s account of Bobby’s solution to psyching at the 1990 WBF championships in Geneva. Should the ACBL institute such a rule requiring that (a) any psychic bid be “exposed” to the opponents at the table at the completion of the hand by the person who made the bid, and (b) that the details of the bid be reported to the director at the end of the session by the person who made the bid for inclusion in a “psychic bid file” indexed by player names? There would be a penalty (matchpoint or other) for failing to comply with either (a) or (b) above.

In a slightly different vein, I am surprised that of all the issues I have written about, such as the implementation and effectiveness of the ZT policy, the removal of the right of club players to lodge complaints with their Unit, the election of ACBL BoD members by Unit board members rather than by the membership at large, the largest number of comments has been on the issue of psyching, and the nature of those responses in general has been to praise the value of pyschs and insist on the right to use them. Should we be concerned that this topic seems to be of more interest to players than other topics that, IMO, affect the future of the game in a much more important way?  


Howard Bigot-JohnsonJanuary 27th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

HBJ : Psychs often get under everyone’s skin for the following reason. In practice they are weapons which only good players really know how to handle….but here lies the rub…..surely good players don’t need to resort to below the belt punching when they are quite capable of inflicting KO’s with a few well aimed right hand jabs on the chin.
In my humble opinion psychs best belong to the cut and thrust world of big money rubber bridge, where as in poker bluff is an essential part of the game. And if there are to be used in bridge at any level, the tendency to use them or any other deviations needs to be disclosed on the system card as ” random unilateral possibilities “.
As for ZT tolerance policies these will always be flawed because as in law all cases need to be judged on their individual merits. If someone stands on and nearly crushes my foot I might well understandably swear, but that outburst should not suject me to a reprimand under ZT policy for foul language…..whereas to turn on an opponent using unwarranted abusive foul language is a diffirent kettle of fish.
In every incident of reported bad behaviour, THE ROOT CAUSE AND MOTIVES NEED TO BE LOOKED INTO AND CONSIDERED before implemented ZT disciplinary proceedings. This is what is known as fair and just procedure.

Judy Kay-WolffJanuary 28th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Dear Paul:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Less attention to psyches and more focusing on the real, stealthy problems created by modern day bridge. Bobby and I have given our all, but the powers on high (the administration) seem to like the status quo.
Cerrtainly Convention Disruption should be given immediate attention but it rocks too many boats and rattles too many bigshots who like it just the way it is.

However, you have given it a good try. We’re behind you!


Jeff LehmanJanuary 29th, 2012 at 2:40 am

Well, in the words of the old Miller Lite commercial, I feel strongly both ways. That is, I support the right of players to psyche (just as I would support the right of players to falsecard), but I would also subscribe to the suggestion that players be required to report their psyches at the conclusion of play (just as players are required to then tell the opponents that their partner on defense missed an alert). Although I would not describe this practice as unethical, I do think players should try to refrain from psyching against highly inexperienced players.

As far as the other subjects you mention: (1) I also support you in enabling club players to submit to the unit recorder actions that violate ZT (and learned that that can’t happen when I tried to complain about an opponent who basically accused my partner of cheating, when my partner happened to make a poor bid that worked in our favor); and (2) I am not familiar with the issue of electing our District rep; in fact I thought that is done through election by the players in the district: am I wrong or does practice differ from one district to the next? Maybe I am wrong, because at least in my recent (perhaps feeble) memory, I do not recall voting on district rep and alternates although I definitely recall voting regularly on candidates for the unit board.

paul croninJanuary 29th, 2012 at 2:53 am

Hello Jeff,
You do vote for the members of your Unit Board, and it, along with each of the other Unit boards in your District, votes to elect the District representative to the ACBL board. There is no connection between the two elections, and thus the membership at large has no say in who gets elected to the ACBL board.

Steven GaynorJanuary 30th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

The vast majority of ACBL members do not care who is their BoD rep, they just want to play bridge.
Those who do care usually can make their wishes known with the Unit board members (or are board members themselves).

paul croninJanuary 31st, 2012 at 9:14 am

Hello Steve,

Thanks for the input – much appreciated!

Is it possible the reason ACBL members don’t care about who represents

them on the ACBL Board is that they don’t get to take part in the vote? I

hate to think that the vast majority simply don’t care at all.

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