Monday, February 06, 2006

Creating the right atmosphere

What is the best way to create a good atmosphere for Bridge that will provide competition for good players but a good social occasion for those whose first priority is not necessarily to win everything?

There seem to be lots of different approaches. Some clubs allow only very simple systems of bidding either in all competitions or on certain evenings only.
  • See a Simple Systems Approach

  • In other clubs a Zero Tolerance approach to rude and unpleasant behaviour is the norm.

  • See an American Zero Tolerance Policy
  • See a British Zero Tolerance Policy

  • One aspect of this that is slightly scary but rather amusing is the bit in the policy that bans opposition with dodgy personal hygiene. I really can't see the Tournament Director being called to complain that the opposition are smelly! I supose it gives a new meaning to the phrase "Creating the Right Atmosphere"

    I suspect in most clubs a kind of uneasy compromise exists where the atmosphere is set by the personality of the Tournament Director who tries to please all the people all the time.

    In my own case this seems to involve helping to foster a friendly atmosphere generally by being as respectful as possible to everyone and encouraging others to do the same. So outright rude behaviour is unusual but other things which might fall foul of zero tolerance happen quite a lot. Perhaps the most common is unasked for criticism of others bidding and play. We have no restrictions on bidding systems and, personally, I wouldn't want there to be since I think even those players who generally keep things simple do like to learn from others.

    Another example is whether to re-deal passed out hands. Strictly this should not happen but does! Only if someone objects because they passed with a 'bad 12 points' does the hand not get re-dealt.

    Is this 'play it by ear' approach really best or should we have a much more 'up-front' policy decided after proper debate and discussion?

    What works for you? Tell us your experiences.


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