This blog provides supplementary thoughts and ideas to the site. If you haven't seen the main site, there is a lot there including the Martel and Rodwell interviews, photos, and articles. This blog is focused on advancing bridge theory by discussing the application of new ideas. All original content is copyright 2009 Glen Ashton.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bobby Wolff in his book "The Lone Wolff" (2008, Master Point Press) mentions how the ACBL Board of Directors approved the annual Ottawa regional in 1993 or just before then (page 66). Readers might assume Ottawa did not have a regional before then, but this would be wrong.

The Ottawa regional dates back to at least the 60s. In the 70s and 80s it was held every 3 of 4 years, but would give up the fourth year to allow other smaller cities in the district a chance to hold a regional. Since the Ottawa regional was a success (capital, 4th largest metropolitan city of the country, beautiful to visit), it was pretty clear to make it permanent.

What the ACBL Board of Directors were actually voting on, in Wolff's book, was making the Ottawa regional permanent and then this action would provide the district with a floating regional for the smaller cities (currently alternating years in Quebec City and Kingston split with New Brunswick). Given District 1 is over 20 hours of driving time from side to side, having a fourth regional (Montreal, Maritimes, Ottawa, Quebec City/Kingston-New Brunswick) was a very good thing to promote bridge.

Certainly some of the Board did not see it that way, but District 1 Director George Retek did all of us a great service by meeting with some of the other directors before the meeting and explaining the situation. Wolff in his book seems flabbergasted that pre-meeting discussions would take place, which, in my opinion, shows a poor view on how the Board meetings should work. Would one really want to have things decided at meetings without the board giving any thought beforehand, and then some directors speaking at the meeting with whatever popped into their mind about the subject?

When a contentious item is on the Board's agenda, directors need to discuss it before the meeting with other directors, and with the ACBL members of their district. They need to give the matter considerable thought before the meeting, and gather the necessary information about it. This is part of the job, and if Wolff couldn't see this, and was attending the Board meetings at member expense without doing proper preparation work on agenda items, I'm glad he gave it up. However I'm also happy he used his free time to write "The Lone Wolff", which is a great read on a wide variety of bridge subjects.

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In the early 80s, when I was a bridge puppy, I was playing against the late Barry Crane in the Ottawa regional main knockout event. In those days the knockouts were not bracketed, so us puppies had to play against the big dogs.

I knew Crane liked to open light, but I did know his full bag of tricks. We were vulnerable, and they were not, and Crane opened one heart on my right. I overcalled one spade, and the bidding was 1H-1S-2H-2S-2NT-? back to me. I had a 6-4 with good playing value, but would need my partner to have a full maximum to make game possible, so, after a lengthy thought, I bid a no-game-interest three spades, and this went all pass. Turns out partner had the full maximum. Crane had bluffingly made a 2NT "game try" on a 2-5-3-3 11 count with soft values!


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