Neil Kimelman

Bridge in Philadelphia III

Being my first World’s I and my teammates chose to be very diligent in ensuring we understood and complied with the Conditions of Contest, as well as the Supplementary Conditions. it was a time consuming but worthwhile process.

That was until our 2nd match in the Rosenblum when we came up against an Italian pair. I introdued myself as I did during all my matches. My screenmate did not understand what I was saying. Ok, so her English was not very good. Unfortunately her Convention Card was not as comprehensive as the  Conditions require. So I was left with struggling to understand their methods, which  happened to be very foreign to me – they were playing a ‘relay’ system.

The fifth hand in, after asking many questions, I realized that their relay responses could be made on 0 HCPs. I called the Director who informed me that this is very common in his country when someone is playing a relay system. I said I was unfamiliar with this system. I then when on to say that no where on the card does it say this, and when I asked what the bid meant I received the  response, ‘relay’. I complained that I was not fully informed and was damaged from an incomplete explanation. My screenmate then said that I have been asking questions on all their bids, and as result, we were in danger of not finishing our boards in the allocated time period.

The Director, after consulting with a 2nd director notified me that their methods and disclosure were perfectly fine, and that any lateness penalties would be completely assessed against my partnership!

I was completey taken aback from this information. The issues that I had were:

1) I did not receive full disclosure.

2) I was being potentially penalized by my opponents lack of complete Convention Card.

3) The directors effectively said, ‘don’t ask questions of things you do not understand.’

My screenmate could not communicate with me in English on her methods. She spoke to her partner in a language that was not English, which is expressly forbidden in the Conditions.

I was very frustrated and angry. Although I tried at least 10 times to discuss my concerns with Max, the director-in-charge, he was never available when I asked other directors where I could find.him. This was usually just before or just after a match, or pair game.

So I took my Supplementary Notes that I had carefully and painstakingly completed and threw them in the garbage!


PaulNovember 2nd, 2010 at 9:38 am

As normal Max was always to be found about thirty minutes before a session having a smoke at the front of the hotel. At the end of a session he would always be busy with appeals and the like, so a tough time to try and find him.

I sympathise with the problems that you had. It is often difficult to get full disclosure from the Italians (though we had no problem in our match in a different group) as their concept of ‘natural’ or ‘standard’ is often different, although in my experience it is understanding their carding rather than their bidding that has proved more problematic.

More generally, I am not surprised to hear that North American pairs struggled occasionally against unfamiliar systems. Even Meckwell were passing a copy of their defence to Multi through the screen. The ACBL’s policy of protecting their members against new methods can only hurt in these multi-national events.

I already have tickets and hotel for Toronto next summer. Will I see you there?

Neil KimelmanNovember 2nd, 2010 at 3:54 pm


Linda LeeNovember 4th, 2010 at 12:10 am

I have had a similar experience when Ray and I tried to find out methods from an Italian pair in a world multinational mixed teams. The director was no help at all and in the end we never figured out what they were doing.

It was completely frustrating. Maybe everybody in Europe knows Italian but those are not the rules.

You have my sympathy and the WBF director corps needs to handle these things.

Neil KimelmanNovember 4th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I appreciate the sympathy Linda – it was no fun. I plan on sending my blog to the WBF.

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