Paul Cronin

Missing Posts??

Have been putting off new posts until my 2017 posts were restored, but…..been almost 5 months now and still hasn’t happened. Hmmmmmm…………

Dis & Dat

Dis: my posts from 2017 have disappeared – hope this isn’t tied into the emails the DOJ can’t find 🙂

Dat: what to make of the upcoming “Reach” game – a Regional that will be played at clubs February 3, 5-9, with gold points being awarded. And the 3 day online game that will be held again this year with robots as partner and opponents….with the winner being awarded a national championship. Maybe the next steps should be an NABC at clubs, and then an NABC online with three robots? Come to think of it….why not a totally robot NABC where you hire a robot to play for you? A little hyperbole above to make a point, but…..where on earth are we headed, and why? Maybe to find out why we should heed the advice Deep Throat gave Bob Woodward about Watergate, which was “Follow the money”. Just my opinion, but much of the above detracts greatly from the beauty and majesty of a game which is very near and dear to me. 

Our grand old game!

Through July 23-26 at the Toronto NABC, the ACBL will offer an online, national-rated event on BBO. The 4 session game ($10 per session) will offer a limited National Championship and up to 48 gold/red MPs. However, this will not be your regular game, because your partner will be a robot, and you will be playing against robots. Additionally, all players will not play the same boards. The robots are well known to have significant bidding idiosyncrasies, and knowing those will be a great help to those who are familiar with the robots, and a great hindrance to those who don’t. The human player always gets the hand with the most HCPs – this does not represent bridge as we know it, and changes the frequency of being on defence, etc. The whole concept simply boggles my mind – and makes me worry even more about the future of our grand old game.

The selling of master points!

In session 1 of a recent 7 1/2 table – 28 board B/C/D Sectional pairs the MP award for coming first was 1.72 silver.

At a recent “Grass Roots Fund Month” 3 1/2 table 24 board open game the MP award for coming first was 2.04 black.

Leaving aside the colour of the awards, is paying an extra dollar to play in the “Grass Roots Fund Month” game a better deal than going to the expense of attending the Sectional?

In the past, the accumulation of master points was, in a number of cases, simply a matter of “attending” a lot of club games. Now it’s a combination of attendance and paying an extra dollar or two for some special “cause” that increases the master point award.

Lots of you will remember getting .26 MPs for winning the Wednesday night game some decades ago at your local club – must make you wonder about getting 2.04 for winning a 3 1/2 table game.

Home sweet home!

With over 4 months to go until the Summer NABC in Toronto, hotel room availability at the three ACBL booked hotels has just been updated from completely “Unavailable” to “Up to 95 rooms” available at the Fairmont Royal York. The “Intercontinental Toronto Centre” and the “Westin Harbour Castle” remain “unavailable”. Rooms at all three were listed at $164 per night. Parking at the Fairmont Royal York is $53 per night. Entry fees range from $19 to $32.50 per session. Add to this the cost of meals, and you’re looking at over $300 per day. Visitors from the USA will receive a premium on their $US, with $20 US = $25 CDN. The unavailability of rooms seems to apply to the KC Spring NABC as well, as when reservations were opened on January 16, 2017, all the rooms at the host hotels were already sold out. Hopefully people will have found other accommodations, and attendance will meet expectations. In any event, tournament bridge now seems to be priced out of the range of the “common man”, and into the range of the well-off or rich. Add to this the ever-increasing average ACBL player age, and the disinclination of older people to drive at night or in bad weather and… the future of tournament bridge does not look bright. Except perhaps for “Regionals At Sea”, where you can play for 7 days for $1400 US, get three great meals a day, and see interesting places.

Oh the tangled web we weave !

In Wednesday’s “Bulletin” from the Orlando NABC the following hand was written up:





       Q107                                                                        AKJ3

       1095                                                                         A3

       QJ4                                                                          9652

       AK92                                                                        J105





The auction went     N     E     S     W

                                 1H    X     P    2S     All Pass

North led one of the top diamonds, and declarer proceeded to take 11 tricks.

To quote part of the article “Naturally, Joel bid the “obvious” 2S”.

Can’t argue with the result, but is this the kind of hand that should be given the official imprimatur of being printed in the daily bulletin?

What would someone learning the game make of West bidding 2S rather than some number of clubs? Does East’s double of 1H show preference for the other major? Would East still have doubled with  AK3   AJ   9652    J1054 ?  If so, wouldn’t 3NT be the best landing place rather than a 3-3 spade fit?  

Oh the tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.


The selling of master-points ?

In a recent club game, stratified Open/1500/300 there were 5 tables, comprised of 1 “A” pair, 7 “B” pairs, and 2 “C” pairs.

The winner was …….the “A” pair, who received 2.19 master-points.

Half of the 5 table “field” received master-point awards, the smallest being 0.55

What we have come to !

Is this bridge ?

In the recent world bridge championships in Wroclaw, Poland an auction went

P     P     1H

where opener’s hand was

J984     Q5432     J     Q107

Another auction went

P     P     1D     where opener’s hand was

A982     65     KJ953     97

Still another was

P     P     1S   opener’s hand being

108432     J63     QJ52     6

In each case the opening bidder was non-vulnerable.

Is this what bridge is now about? Or is it some new game, perhaps a combination of poker & bridge, called porridge? If so, then we have, IMO, reached a truly sad state of affairs.


A situation came up at the club today on the following partial auction

RHO     Me     LHO     Partner

 1         2     3       3

I alerted partner’s 3 call, and later in the auction LHO asked me to explain same.

When I explained it as “a diamond raise denying the A or K”, LHO remarked that partner’s call was not alertable, and RHO added that it shouldn’t be alerted as the alert might “wake up partner”.

Leaving aside the issue of whether or not opponents should be telling other players at the table what is or isn’t alertable,  most players at the club do not look at their opponents’ convention cards, and would not be aware of the meaning of the 3 call. That puts me in the position of having information that they do not have, and

even if the ACBL does not require an alert (is this true?)

even if opponents should look at my convention card but don’t

I believe I have an obligation to alert them as to the 3 call.

Opinions on this will be appreciated!

Here they go again!

The re-opening of the MP case on the BW website is now up to 334 comments, and that number is growing by the hour. Many, many people are still baffled that the decision of the ACBL Ethical Oversight Committee, which was comprised of bridge experts, and which was

Probation = 13 months     and  loss of  18,000+ masterpoints

was overturned by the ACBL Appeals & Charges Commitee, and changed to

Suspension = 14 days over the Christmas holidays, and loss of  15.4 masterpoints.

The re-opening of the case on BWs is due to a posting, for the first time, by a member of the team MP was playing against. That member states that he complained to the director at the tournament about the incident, and was told that his best course of action was to file a Player Memo. This he did, and the Player Memo, rather than going to the Unit 102 Recorder or the District 9 Recorder for handling at either of those levels, somehow ended up being handled by the ACBL EOC, making them the de facto body of original jurisdiction. This, in my experience, is …….unheard of, as the normal protocol would have been to have Unit 102  hear the case first, with that result being appealable to the District 9 Appellate Committee. The findings of the D9 AC would then be appealable to the ACBL A&C Committee, with no involvement of the EOC at all.

Also unheard of is the making of a joint statement by MP and the ACBL following the decision of the ACBL A&C Committee

There is considerable feeling that such treatment would not have been afforded to a “lesser” player, and that any perception of a double standard being employed is very,very bad for the game.