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During the official 30 day mourning poeriod in 2017, an English polyglot decided to learn to recite and write the Thai national anthem in toto.

Did I succeed? Sceptics canwere able to come and challenge me to the ultimate test:  To see if I could write the anthem without any help - and without making a mistake. The challengers merely had to pledge a donation to one of HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha`s charitable foundations. She is King Bhumibol`s eldest grandchild and the lady who sponsored the bridge Cup competition in October that made the achievements of my Samui bridge pupils possible.

Two years on, the challenge remains open. To show Thais that foreign guests are also keen to ensure the late King's tireless`work for children is never forgotten. 


Next stop FRANCE

World Schools Championships

Fifteen Samui youngsters currently aged 7 to 13 have been officially invited by the French Bridge Federation to participate in this event. To demonstrate their skills in front of journalists and TV cameras from around the globe. Same place & same time as the World`s top bridge players compete for the famous      
Bermuda Bowl   



ETHICS COMMITTEES - the cure for indiscipline

When I turned up for the start of the course at Juan les Pins to qualify as a Director, the Instructor told us all "Becoming a director is a very good way to lose bridge friends*

My diploma came at a critical time for French bridge. During a period when indiscipline had become rife.  When lifetime bans were having to be dished out by Federation HQ because the problem had not been nipped in the bud at an early stage locally.

One of the most common unacceptable occurrences was for players to argue with their partner and for one - or even both - of them to walk out. Normally the President would deal with the matter. But when it is the President of the Club himself who is guilty of the offence, the remedies for the Director are limited. A no win situation if you want to keep your friends. My teacher was right.

Although I was not the acting Director at the time, I recall the time when a President walked out of à regular tournament at a well known club for a second time. Following a dispute with his partner during an early round of thé session. When he later refused a rather meek request from the committee to resign, the ingenious solution they came up with was for the whole committee to resign instead. So that the President had nothing to preside over.

Fortunately something was then done. The French Federation decided to encourage Ethics Committees that were totally independent of the club committee. Elected by members at their AGM`s. No members of the General committee could stand for the Ethics Committees. And these ethics committees could ask their Federation HQ for guidelines over what warnings or punishment should be given. In the case of someone walking out of a tournament, a 3 month ban was the minimum penalty for a 1st offence.

Bravo to the French for this initiative which was very soon made compulsory for all affiliated clubs. Knowing that anyone could complain to an independent committee certainly stopped many serial offenders intimidating, belittling or insulting the less experienced members. Significantly, the fact that the guilty ones were friends of the President could no longer be used by the offenders to escape punishment. In othger words, written complaints detailing unsavoury incidents can no longer be swept under the carpet.

In my view, this innovation should be adopted by clubs elsewhere. Mot least because ETHICS committees act as a deterrent. Their existence helps to quickly calm troubled waters - which in turn makes the Director`s thankless task almost bearable!!!

Trevor 7/11/16    


ZERO TOLERANCE - Fact or fiction in clubs?

Many bridge clubs claim to apply a `zero tolerance' policy. What is it and is it enforced?

The 93 rules of bridge which apply to all tournaments run by national Federations affiliated to the WBF are reviewed every 10 years. The next review is in 2017. Generally very few changes are made. The last review in 2007 did however give much more power to Directors. Primarily to improve discipline in clubs. The three most relevant Rules are clear and unambiguous. In my opinion, these laws are still not being enforced rigidly enough. I am not saying that zero tolerance has to be the norm, merely that the rules are there for the Director to take action when required. Especially against serial offenders. If someone leaves the club never to return because of the behaviour of a fellow member who was clearly to blame, then questions need to be asked of the director and the committee. That said, the Director is there to HELP all players. For the long term benefit and enjoyment of all members. Beginners especially should not hesitate to call the Director if they have any query or problem at the table. Trevor 21/10/16

Here then are those relevant WBF Rules: 


LAW 74


A. Proper Attitude
1. Courtesy
A player should maintain a courteous attitude at all times.
2. Etiquette of Word and Action
A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.
3. Conformity to Correct Procedure
Every player should follow uniform and correct procedure in calling and playing.
B. Etiquette
As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:
1. paying insufficient attention to the game.
2. making gratuitous comments during the auction and play.
3. detaching a card before it is his turn to play.
4. prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.
5. summoning and addressing the Director in a manner discourteous to him or to other contestants.
C. Violations of Procedure
The following are considered violations of procedure:
1. using different designations for the same call.
2. indicating approval or disapproval of a call or play.
3. indicating the expectation or intention of winning or losing a trick that has not been completed.
4. commenting or acting during the auction or play so as to call attention to a significant occurrence, or to the number of tricks still required for success.
5. looking intently at any other player during the auction and play, or at another player's hand as for the purpose of seeing his cards or of observing the place from which he draws a card (but it is appropriate to act on information acquired by inadvertently seeing an opponent's card *)).
6. showing an obvious lack of further interest in a deal (as by folding one's cards).
7. varying the normal tempo of bidding or play for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.
8. leaving the table needlessly before the round is called.
  LAW 90
A. Director's Authority
The Director, in addition to enforcing the penalty provisions of these Laws, may also assess penalties for any offence that unduly delays or obstructs the game, inconveniences other contestants, violates correct procedure, or requires the award of an adjusted score at another table.
B. Offences Subject to Procedural Penalty
The following are examples of offences subject to procedural penalty (but the offences are not limited to these):
1. arrival of a contestant after the specified starting time.
2. unduly slow play by a contestant.
3. discussion of the bidding, play or result of a board which may be overheard at another table.
4. unauthorized comparison of scores with another contestant.
5. touching or handling of cards belonging to another player
6. placing one or more cards in an incorrect pocket of the board.
7. errors in procedure (such as failure to count cards in one’s hand, playing the wrong board, etc.) that require an adjusted score for any contestant.
8. failure to comply promptly with tournament regulations or with instructions of the Director.

LAW 91

A. Director's Power
In performing his duty to maintain order and discipline, the Director is empowered to assess disciplinary penalties in points or to suspend a contestant for the current session or any part thereof. The Director’s decision under this clause is final and may not be overruled by an appeals committee. 
B. Right to Disqualify
         The Director is specifically empowered to disqualify a contestant for cause, subject to approval by the Tournament Committee.

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