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Director's Diary

by David Stevenson


Day 1

Got up at some awful hour of the morning. Put up tables and put chairs around them for an hour. Put stationery on tables. Checked boards are available. Went to pub for lunch.

Got back for start. Give out starter cards. Let people pick their own by shuffling them and putting them face down on table.

Get players into seats [mostly]. Deal with queries as to what system is permissible.

Try to find players for the gaps. Reconcile the pairs where each member has picked a starter card. Ask the players to sit down. Give out the curtain cards for them to make the boards up. Deal with the new gaps that have appeared.

Play starts. They move the boards one way, move the pairs the other, and start play.

I manage to get a word in eventually, and get the charge of cheating reduced to a vague muttering. I sort it out, and then it is my lucky day: two young ladies approach me from opposite sides of the room. Yippee! And what do they say?

Great. I suppose if we turn the air-conditioning on for ten minutes then off for ten minutes both of them may think we are trying for them. I go to the Hotel Reception, and ask for the air-conditioning to be put on.

Why do they employ Taiwanese who do not speak English? I eventually manage to get the air-conditioning switched on, and go back in. I am called for a ruling: it is a hesitation-type ruling.

Did you think for a time, I ask.

I avoid the hand thrust under my nose, and tell them there was a hesitation, and to call me back if necessary.

I get called back: there is no damage despite the UI.

One of my colleagues is an excellent female Director: she is called to a table.

I have to deal with a psyche.

I have a lead out of turn. I start to tell them that they have five options.

No, I explain.

I explain the Laws.

Next I get a pair of British internationals. I explain the UI laws.

Well, there is a sort of sense, but who sounds like a car?

Lada? I know, I've got it: Skoda!

Someone throws a bidding box on the floor. I get him a replacement, and play patience [solitaire for Americans] for a time with the cards from the box on the floor. However, it does not come out! No 7NT card!

It is time to tear off the top copy of the traveller, and put it face down on the table. This is explained over the loudspeaker four times. I go round to pick them up: the second table has not torn them off.

Several other Directors come to consult with me. At EBU tournaments, Directors are often advised to consult with me rather than anyone else - it is considered my forte. I advise one extrovert lady Director.

I tell her not to worry, appeals are no big thing. Off she goes. Soon, she is back.

The session ends.

Yeah, right. I wonder if I will get dinner. I collect the travellers, including two that are missing: strangely, they are three tables away from where they should be. I appease the scorer, who wants to know why I did not get them to her quicker, clear the tables, collect the boards, strip them of curtain cards, set out the stationery, check the computer input against the travellers. Eighty minutes left. I go to eat dinner with a few other TDs. The service is a bit slow, and it is ten minutes walk away. Eventually, I have eaten. Back to the hotel, change into a Tuxedo, back to the venue.

I try to get everyone sat down. There are posted instructions where they sit.

I go and check for them, and get them sat down. Play starts.

I give a few rulings, people consult with me, I wander round. One particular female Director does what she always does, consults with me, listens carefully, then rules the opposite. She is very earnest, and I never understand why she does not follow my ideas! As usual, she is appealed. I have to find Appeals Committees [usually my job at EBU events]. I ask a player.

That's a Yes.

That's a No.

A few more rulings, a few Appeals Committees, tear off the top traveller ["you did not say so"], last few rounds, everyone finishes.

Now I have to organise the appeals.

I explain that some members are not present, and go to the bar to get David Burn, thus losing two Dhondys who have moved elsewhere by the time I get back. Why do they not issue me with a sheepdog? I eventually get the Committees going, and now have to clear my area of the room: everyone else is gone. [Note: to be fair, with many EBU Directors, they will have cleared it for me once they realise I am busy, but not all of them.]

I clear the tables, strip the boards, put them away, check the travellers against the computer input, and at about midnight, I am finished.

I get to the bar in time to hear the bar-tender say it is closed. Damn. Still, I know one that is open to one o'clock. I greet my fellow Directors, and offer a round of drinks. Three whiskies, four pints, and a gin-and-orange. One of the players strolls in.

Only three days to go.


Editor's note:

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