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Psyches, Conventions, Popularity, and Bans

A Reply

by Adam Beneschan, Mission Viejo, CA, USA


Alex Martelli wrote:
I sure wish you neophile guys dropped this losing and discredited line of argument about restrictions on psyches, conventions, etc, diminishing the popularity and vitality of the game. There ARE good arguments against the proliferation of such restrictions, and your mindless adoption of this easily demolished "strawman" is impeding you from making them.

I wish the same thing. However, arguments like this are entirely in line with the r.g.b posting standards, which state that the preferred way to comment on the declining state of the game in North America is to

  1. Pick the thing you like least about playing bridge; and
  2. Assert that your pet peeve is obviously the reason why people are staying away from the game in droves.

From what I've read, I would guess that the ACBL Bulletin has similar standards for its letter-writers. Thus, we can positively conclude that the reason fewer people are playing bridge is too many restrictions on conventions, too many conventions, too much psyching, too much bias against psyching, too much smoking in the hallway, too many restrictions on smoking, increased fees, rude players, too many bridge lawyers, unfavorable starting times, poorly-maintained restrooms, directors who make bad coffee, etc., etc., etc. In fact, my personal application of the above procedure allows me to assert positively that "People are staying away in droves because their partners insist on making one or two atrocious bids every session." However, you are not allowed to say things like "The reason bridge is declining is that too many young people would rather play with their Nintendos than learn a hobby that actually requires them to use their brains". This is not allowed since it does not fit into the above paradigm.

P.S. (this part is serious) I strongly agree with your complaint about SO's trying to regulate bidding judgment. Bidding judgment is an art, and I have problems with people who try to turn it into something mechanistic, saying things like "You can't bid that because you don't have enough HCP or you don't have four cards in that suit" or whatever. It's bad enough when people try to give bidding advice based on such absolute, unyielding rules, but it's a lot worse when bridge organizations try to prevent people from using judgment. In the June MSC, Jeff Rubens and a few others judged to rebid 2H with AKT832 AKQ T83 T after 1S-1NT; I'm horrified at the thought that someone might want to ban this kind of bidding judgment because hearts isn't a 4-card suit and therefore must not be allowed. But if you're right, and bridge is heading in that direction in some places, that's just the kind of thing I expect to happen eventually.


Gopher Editor's note:

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