Meets every Thursday at 7.25 for 7.30
at Mountnessing Village Hall, Roman Road, Mountnessing, Essex, England, CM15 0UG


From: "Alaric Cundy" < >


Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2009 10:52 AM

Subject: Acrimonious Board

As you know, there was acrimonious and heated debate over one particular board played on Thursday 8th October 2009. I thought that I ought to comment further. Unfortunately, the boards have been suited so I no longer have the hands available, but I think I know enough about the situation to be able to comment.

My understanding is that EAST opened 1NT, which was passed round to NORTH, who overcalled 2H, which was passed out for an above average score for NS. The NORTH / SOUTH convention card stated that they were playing Cappoletti, which means that with (any) six-card suit they overcall 2C, and so by inference, an overcall of 2H/S suggests five cards in the suit. SOUTH described NORTH’S bid in a manner that was completely consistent with the convention card. In practice, I gather that NORTH had a 6-card suit, and I think there was also a suggestion that the overall strength of the hand may have been a bit sub-par, even for a protective bid.

I hope that I have that summary sufficiently right.

It does sound to me as though NORTH executed a ‘deviation’ but not a psyche. In principle it is not any different from where the convention card promises that a 2H/S opening shows a six-card suit, but in practice such an opening is made on a 7-card suit, or on a 5-card suit. That wouldn’t be a problem if it happened less frequently than once in six months; if it is a more frequent occurrence then the system card should be updated.

In Bridge anyone is allowed to bid anything they like (other than a psyche of a Multi 2D opener at events below ‘Level 4’). The problem comes if a player makes a habit of deliberately making off-beat bids – be they psyches or deviations. There is a page on the club’s website that is based on a collection of extracts from the Laws of Duplicate Bridge and the Orange Book about the subject of psyches, deviations, and the penalties that might apply in particular circumstances. See The final few comments in that summary are the ones that particularly apply to this particular example.

NORTH’s comment that ‘he would do it again’ does not in itself give evidence of a pattern, but it does give evidence that a pattern might arise in the future, and therefore NORTH has given notice that he might breach the sentiments of the final few paragraphs in weeks / months to come. There can be no question of any kind of a score adjustment on this particular board, but NORTH / SOUTH would be well advised to change the system card if, as it appears might be the case, NORTH has an understanding that a protective overcall of 2H, means ‘5-card suit, or longer suit with poorer values.’ 2

COMMENT Just about everyone in the room was aware of the acrimony over this board, and it was the East/West voices that were raised well above the level of the background noise. When an infringement arises, or it is perceived that an infringement may have arisen, the Director should be called in a calm and considerate manner. The situation should then be explained to the Director in a calm and considerate manner. The Director will give a ruling – sometimes a ‘holding’ ruling. That ruling should be respected. There are well understood means of appealing if appropriate. Raised voices can spoil the enjoyment for all other players in the room.

Alaric Cundy

Mountnessing Bridge Club


Hi Alaric

Firstly I think your summary of the facts is correct although I could argue that the bid is not a bit sub-par given that opener has 12-14 and there have been 2 passes afterwards. I can't remember what I had in terms of points but it was clear that partner and I were in the range 17-22, probably at the lower end unless partner had an unbalanced hand.

I agree with your comment that it was the East - West voices which were raised and I commented on that at the time. In my view our table was not the only table at which that East - West pair raised their voices and I commented on the day that that sort of behaviour was the main reason why Essex and Club events are suffering a serious decline in attendances.

In my opinion, if you want to improve the behaviour of a specific pair you need to obtain evidence. One way you could do this is to ask 3 or so individuals to give you feedback on the behaviour at the table including their attitude to each other, to their opponents and, if appropriate, to the Tournament Director. If there is sufficient adverse comment then the pair in question should be confronted and warned that any future misbehaviour will lead to suspension.

You might also like to ask the Blue Section members why they are so hostile to playing in the Red Section and why, when there could be one or two sections, the Blue Section players always ask for two.

Should you so wish, we have no objection to this letter being published on the club web site or notice board.

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