Sunday, April 23, 2006

Light openers and passed hands

This contribution was sent in by Roy Strange.

I would like other peoples thoughts and comments on a problem that existed at two bridge clubs I belong to and the method we used to overcome them.
A minority of members opened the bidding with less than 12 high card points adding points for shortages etc.

We then, at subsequent tables got a high proportion of ' pass outs'. In fact at my table one evening with three boards to play, the last two I recorded as 'pass outs' so had to sit there in silence, twiddling our thumbs, whilst the tables about us played the other boards.

I then discovered that some other tables were breaking the 'pass out ' rule and going around again in secret to stop a 'pass out' being recorded. This annoyed some members including me, so this practice was brought up at one of our committee meetings. We had no definite proof of how many members were doing this, as quite obviously nobody wanted to even talk about it. The only common comment being 'Oh well, it probably goes on at many friendly clubs.' We are not members of the EBU so at the AGM we then put a proposal to our members to adapt a club rule as follows: ''The bidding of the boards at the first table can only be opened if it contains 12 high card points minimum or a pre-emp. No points can be added for voids or shortages etc.'' This proposal was passed with a 20% majority at both clubs, and over the last 12 months has been quite successful, only having five accidental 'pass outs' being recorded and scored in the correct manner of course. I remind members at the beginning of each session to remember this club rule. We could if required add that if this rule is shown to be broken on any board, it could be eliminated and not taken into the score of that session. We have not had to do this as if it happens, it does not take a super detective to discover the table it started at. Subsequent tables can play as normal as there will always be one hand at least with 12 points. We go to a bridge session wanting to play all boards I believe, not twiddling our thumbs.
I do not think we are in isolation about this club rule, as I have read comments about it in the monthly Bridge magazine. Nevertheless I would welcome other peoples comments to see if this is known on a national basis.

Here are my comments on this letter. Firstly, it isn't the usual problem of boards being passed out at the beginning and then re-dealt. In this case light openings are causing others to pass out and produce a higher number of boards played by only a few people. This may be a problem in these particular clubs but not generally, I think. I do think light openers are a basic part of Acol and can include pre-empts and weak two bids. I note that pre-empts are allowed but these can vary greatly and seem to me to add a lot to the game. Obviously, if the club is not in the EBU it can to some extent make its own rules though it could be argued that the game being played is not Bridge if any rule can be changed by the club. I do have some sympathy with the practice of re-dealing a hand which is passed out at the beginning though, strictly, this is also against the rules of Bridge.

What do you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Players that pass a board out and then have a 2nd bite of the cherry are simply cheating. Nothing else to say about it - it is not on!

1:46 pm  
Anonymous pattayabridge said...

At our club we solve the problem easily. The hands are pre-dealt by Dealmaster Pro and a parameter is put in to say that at least one hand should contain 12 or more points. This is very popular at our club which is simply a friendly club.

4:57 am  

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