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CHRISTMAS OFFER

BRIDGE EQUIPMENT HIRE

For returning bridge players who have decided that they only feel safe playing with friends, a reminder that the Tenerife Academy can loan equipment to enable you to play a competition in the comfort of your own holiday homes.

Using the golf analogy, the sets of specially prepared hands allow a “match play” competition format to be played by just four people. Comparing the two pairs` score to the `par` after playing each hand makes for a very enjoyable and keenly fought contest from the outset. As explained elsewhere on this site, the system allows for five players or more to play an equally fair and competitive individual competition where players take it in turns to sit out and rest their brains!

Because the Academy has a very large stock of new boards and bidding boxes for teaching purposes, it would be possible for players to have a different set of prepared boards every day. Provided, that is, you book this service in advance of your visit to Tenerife.

CRISTIANOS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL OFFER: 50 Euros for the hire of 3 different sets of prepared boards + four bidding boxes for one week. With free delivery / collection to any address in Los Cristianos. Note that these three sets will allow you to play at least 6 different 16 board competitions if you so desire.

Trevor 14h40 on 21/11/21

Your QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Online or Face to Face. Where does bridge go from here?

How can we play competitive F2F bridge NOW?

Will bridge clubs survive?

Will table fees increase when clubs reopen?

When will “clinically vulnerable players” be able to safely return to the bridge table?

In the perceived absence of any sensible and useful guidance from bridge administrators, I endeavour to reassure players via my diagnoses and prescriptiona for resolving common concerns. You can read my analyses on the “Keep Bridge Alive” page.

Trevor 22h40 on 10/1/21

Trevor 1838 on 22/7/21

DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

It was certainly a very happy birthday yesterday for Valentina.

Despite her physical handicap, she made it to my party to celebrate her own big day. By her own admission she is a crazy Rumanian lady.

I can certainly go along with that self assessment after partnering her at the club the past two weeks. 

But, with equal certainty, I can say that she is a very good bridge player.

Update 23/2/21.
Update 23/2/21.

The ACES mobile club - and especially the bridge school - is now in full swing. Last week it was the French connection when Irish and English were invited to join Thierry at his home in Santa Cruz. Yesterday it was the turn of our friends in Palmmar. This time it was Gaby and Juergen from Hamburg honouring us with their presence.

Trevor 15h00 23/2/21

DINNER DATES in Tenerife

Life goes on at ACES with the ever popular Bridge (or Rummikub) sessions with dinner. For 4 persons only, they are afternoon games played outdoors starting at 3pm. Dinner is likewise served on the terrace. Charge inclusive of table fee plus 3 course dinner with drinks is E12 p.p.

Here are the home-made menus available:

Menu 1

Cream of spinach soup

Duck in orange sauce

Lemon or Chocolate Cheesecake

xxxxxx

Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble

xxxxxx

Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 

xxxxxx

Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad

xxxxxx

Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6

xxxxxx

Fish soup

Albondigas in tomato sauce

Apple pie and ice cream

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dinner dates can be enjoyed as much by beginners as by experienced players in search of competitive bridge. 

You will need to provide evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that you are not a carrier of the virus. To protect the existing members of the “ACES bubble” of which several are, like me, categorised as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. That assessment will be subjective and based on my experience over several decades of working with severely ill cystic fibrosis sufferers. They necessarily had to avoid close contact at all costs with anybody suffering from even the most innocuous of viruses (such as the common cold) which could prove fatal to CF sufferers. 

Trevor 00h05 on 20/7/21

Los GIGANTES, Tenerife
Los GIGANTES, Tenerife

An ACES bridge star finds serenity at the foot of the giant cliffs from which this coastal resort gets its name

TMW 12/2/21.

Keep Bridge Alive
The Wild West of the Bridge World

ANGER  MANAGEMENT

Bridge Murder case

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
Date February 23 – March 6, 1931
Venue Criminal Court Building
Location Kansas City, Arkansas
Also known as Bridge Table Murder case
Type Murder trial
Motive Self-defense after physical abuse
Target John G. Bennett
Suspects Myrtle Adkins Bennett
Charges Murder
Verdict Not guilty

 

The Bridge Table Murder case was the trial of Myrtle Adkins Bennett (born March 20, 1895) for the murder of her husband John G. Bennett over a game of bridge in September 1929.

Murder

Myrtle and John spent much of Sunday, September 29, 1929, with their upstairs neighbours, Charles and Myrna Hofman. The husbands played a round of golf at the Indian Hills Country Club that morning, and then went back to the links that afternoon with their wives joining them. At dusk, they returned to the Bennett apartment. After dinner, they sat down to a game of bridge in the Bennett living room, the couples playing as partners, the Hofmans versus the Bennetts. After midnight, as the Hofmans began to pull ahead, the Bennetts began to bicker. In the ultimate hand, John failed to make his four spades contract and Myrtle, frustrated by the failure, called him "a bum bridge player". He stood and slapped her in the face several times, and announced he was leaving. He said he would spend the night in a motel in Saint Joseph, Missouri. As he packed his bags, he mocked his wife. Myrtle told the Hofmans, "Only a cur would strike a woman in front of guests".

After an ongoing argument as he packed his suitcase, John Bennett told Myrtle to retrieve the handgun he typically carried on the road for protection. Myrtle walked down the hall to the bedroom of her mother, Alice Adkins. Still sobbing, Myrtle reached into a drawer with linens and pulled out his .32 Colt semi automatic. She walked into the den. brushed past Charles Hofman, and shot at John's back twice in the bathroom of the apartment. John escaped into the hallway, but fell to the floor in their living room.

Trial

The trial began on February 23, 1931, and lasted eleven days. Her defence was a former three-term U.S. Senator and onetime democratic presidential candidate. He showed jurors that John Bennett had been previously violent and abusive, and attempted to explain that Mrs Bennett was either insane or acted in self-defence. After an eight-hour deliberation, the jury returned a not guilty verdict. The prosecution's assistant, John Hill, said, "It looks like an open season on husbands".

Press

The case caught the public imagination, and was subject to press attention by the New York Journal, not for the trial itself, but for the bridge game. The case was a media sensation and a flashpoint in the bridge craze sweeping the nation. The Journal invited speculation from bridge experts on the game, what hands had been played, and whether different play, or alternative hands, would have prevented the murder. None of the people present in the apartment at the time later recalled exactly what the hands were.

Ely Cuthbertson watched the trial closely from New York. Culbertson used the Bennett tragedy to his advantage. He sold bridge and himself, telling housewives that the game was a great way to defuse the marital tensions pent-up in daily life. He told housewives that, at the bridge table, they could be their husbands' equal, and more.

Cutbertson wrote about the killing and trial in his new magazine, The Bridge World. In packed halls on the lecture circuit, he analyzed the so-called "Fatal Hand" – even though he knew the details were fabricated. In lectures, Culbertson suggested that if only the Bennetts had been playing the Culbertson System of bidding, then 36-year-old John Bennett might still have been alive.

Life after the trial

Only 35 years old at the time of her acquittal, Myrtle Bennett lived for another 61 years, dying at the age of 96 in Miami, Florida, in January 1992. She had moved into obscurity soon after the trial, her name fading from headlines. She never remarried, nor did she have children. The widow Bennett later travelled the world working for a hotel chain, and played bridge until nearly the end of her life. At the time of her death, Myrtle Bennett's estate was valued at more than $1 million. With no direct descendants, she left most of the money to family members of John Bennett, the husband she had killed more than six decades before.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

A sad story - but a true one. Recalling that event should serve as a wake up call to bridge administrators in this 21st centruy.

Stamp out aggressive behaviour firmly is my message to Directors. I can recall no less than five serious incidents of violence at bridge clubs in recent years. In one case, two police cars came to the scene. That ultimately resulted in a club member being given a two year suspended prison sentence. In another incident in 2007 in front of 130 experienced players at a very well known bridge club on the French Riviera, an ambuance had to be called to take a seriously injured player to hospital. A septuagenarian had got up from the table after a dispute over how many tricks he had won, grabbed his opponent and banged his head against a plate glass window which shattered.

This was not the first time he had lost his cool after miscounting his tricks. Because I was instrumental in ensuring he received the ultimate sanction of a lifetime ban from all 1300 French clubs, I was invited to play with him five years later when he was 84. To assess whether he could be reintegrated into clubs. I duly agreed to be his `parole officer`. My conclusion: only if he played with me or either of two other players he respected and obeyed - but never again at the club where his loss of self control was witnessed by so many shocked players.

Such is life still elsewhere in the bridge world, I`m afraid. 

Trevor  28/10/21 

 

An OPEN LETTER to BRIDGE ADMINISTRATORS

SWIMMING AGAINST A TIDE OF DISCONTENT

In this pandemic era, excuse me for using a few medical terms to illustrate my points regarding the parlous state of bridge.

The lack of an adequate response from the paid members of the ruling bodies to the multiple crises in bridge circles is beyond my comprehension. Inexcusable. If you don`t make any serious attempt to diagnose a patient`s complaint, you can never find the cure. With the result that clubs and national bridge associations continue haemorrhaging members at an alarming rate

To find the correct prescription, the policy makers ought to know by now exactly what discontented players and ex-players are thinking. By asking simple questions and getting honest answers, it is not rocket science to then work out what needs to be done.

Below is one of the latest tales of woe that I have found in my inbox. Emanating from yet another disgruntled bridge lover. One I have never actually met. It tells the same old story. Echoing the thoughts of so many other disillusioned players. The worrying point for bridge governing bodies in this case – and the EBU in particular - is the fact that it comes from a good English bridge player who just happens to be one of the most eminent, influential and respected member of the one million strong island community. Take a look at this extract from what he had to say in a mail sent yesterday:

Hello Trevor,

We have played bridge as a pair for a couple of decades, both in the UK and here in Tenerife. Neither of us are in fact very comfortable with the atmosphere in a bridge club, and we are baffled as to why such a beautiful game can attract such horrible people - not everyone of course but enough nasty individuals to make the bridge evenings leaving an unpleasant taste. We far prefer a foursome in peace and quiet...

I can add that we have tried bridge clubs here and decided they were excellent disease spreading opportunities, and the only times I have been ill here are after catching something nasty in a bridge club. And that was before covid! This is all a preamble to explain why we no longer contemplate bridge in a club...

Having said that, I applaud the bridge teaching which provides something in school which is actually useful later in life in addition to a practical application of probabilities and other mathematical topics. It is the kind of teaching I would have loved to be involved in myself. I'm afraid that neither of us feel the inclination for courses or learning, not that we are so good that we have nothing to learn, but maybe we just lack the motivation...

with best wishes..."

Shocking as the comments no doubt seem to administrators, that mail could have been written by any number of nice, sociable people who enjoy the game. Surely the WBF and the EBU realise by now that there are countless numbers who think that way. We need those people to return to the clubs. If the authorities do not immediately get their heads out of the sand and do something to stop the rot, it will be too late, There will be hardly any bridge clubs around to offer us the pleasures we once enjoyed. 

If this increasingly common perception of bridge were not bad enough, we now have a new plague blighting the game: Online cheating. It already threatens to spread like a pandemic out of control. With the authorities just pussyfooting around in their pathetic reponse to the issue  To illustrate my point and to give an idea of the scale of the problem, let`s start with an extract from the EBU chairman`s take on the current lamentable situation: 

“The overhead to dealing with online cheating has been horrendous. I can’t imagine how many man hours go towards the completion of the case. And some cases – the more confrontational ones – can be very stressful. Disciplinary Panel members are just normal members – people like you and me. They are in situ as peers of whoever is accused of anything, not in any sense as some sort of superior beings. And further down the line, the prosecutors and the investigators take on a great deal of work and carry a heavy burden of responsibility, which, I happen to know from talking to some of them, they take very seriously indeed. And yet they are willing to carry on, as everybody is, with one intention: to clean up the game, to make it a level playing field for everyone.”

For good measure, here also is the reaction of the WBF after a member of the Polish Team that won the Bermuda Bowl in 2015 and 2019 admitted to being a serial cheat: 

"The Management Committee of the WBF took note of the confession made by Michal Nowosadzki admitting his cheating during the online tournaments of the last three months and, whilst underlining the fact that online bridge competitions organised by private groups do not have any relation with the WBF and its organisation, unanimously on behalf of the WBF:

1. reaffirms its strong revulsion, unwavering rejection and firm condemnation of this kind of aberrant and unacceptable behaviour which, wherever and whenever it occurs, causes great harm to bridge and threatens its credibility;

2. reiterates its full support of the players in the fight against cheating and improper behaviour, adopting all measures needed to prevent and to repress these actions;

3. remarks that participation in WBF events is subject to the approval of the Credentials Committee, which carefully considers all submitted requests regarding players involved in suspicious cases, wherever and whenever they occurred. Lausanne, 20 July 2020"

"Horrible people" and "nasty individuals" in clubs - plus an "horrendous" online cheating problem.   

WHAT a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE  MESS 

Trevor 7/8/21

**Footnote to the WBF statement: Despite his confession and having undoubtedly earned millions of euros as a Professional bridge player, as far as I know the WBF took no disciplinary action against the Polish player. He is still able to participate in competitions at venues around the world. But not at our club, I hasten to add. So...

.Cheer up. At least playing at the ACES Academy will always be good fun

Come and join us.

The BEAUTY of BRIDGE

Bridge is a mindsport full of contradictions

On the one hand it can make fit players almost suicidal. On the other hand, it saves lives

The cheats who win loadsamoney never have a smile on their face. Yet the terminally ill players are rarely happier than at the bridge table

Players who don`t want children in their clubs are invariably the ones with grandchildren whom they would love to see playing bridge

The Hideous Hogs at the club are the nicest of people away from the tables etc. etc.

The list goes on and on to evidence a phenomenon which I call "bridge schizophrenia".. 

Anyone reading my articles will notice that I have signed them off with the date they were originally written. That is to help the team at Stirling University.where they are running an intergeneration bridge club as part of a world federation project researching the sociology of bridge. One of the strangest contradictions is that I find myself motivated to help Samantha and her team at Stirling when I was refused a place...on a sociology course there in 1969.  

Near the bottom of this page you can read an echange of mails which help explain why there are so many contradictions / paradoxes prevalent throughout the bridge world. Note when they were sent. They reveal the extraordinary MOOD SWINGS players experience in a short space of time during and immediately after the battle at the bridge table. The player concerned is an adorable but handicapped octogenarian French lady with whom I regularly had the pleasure of playing.

Bridge Schizophrenia explained

Here are the copy mails (referred to at the top of this page) which ilustrate the extraordinary MOOD SWINGS players experience in a short space of time during and immediately after the battle at the bridge table. The player concerned is an adorable octogenarian whom I regularly had the pleasure of partnering.

EXCITED 

Sun, Feb 24, 12:01 PM

MAGNIFIQUE...  FELICITATIONS...
VOTRE INITIATIVE EST EXCELLENTE...   BRAVO, BRAVO

(No tranlation needed for readers. Even those who never learnt French at school)

 

DOWN in the DUMPS

On Sun, Mar 10, 2019 at 7:47 PM

Bonsoir,

Je crois n'avoir jamais eu une partie de bridge aussi pénible..

Oui, pénible, et j'avais pas besoin de ça, à un moment où je suis un peu dépressive...

(Translation: I have never had such a disagreeable game of bridge. Yes, disagreeable. Something I did not need when I am a bit depressed) 

 

BUOYANT & REJUVENATED 

On March 12, 2019, at 8:35 PM

Bonsoir Trevor,

On est arrivés 1ers...  et, pour deux donnes, c'est moi qui ai demandé les  As et qui ai demandé 6 Piques et 6 SA...  J'étais contente mais j'ai eu très peur...

(I finished first. And on two boards it was me who asked for aces and who bid the 6 Spades and 8 NT. I was happy because I had been afraid...

 

ECSTATIC but PRAGMATIC

On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 10:59 PM

Allez... Allez...  tu te moques de moi, mais avec gentillesse, donc OK...

Mais c'est vrai, ça n'arrive pas souvent que les cartes te permettent de faire ce genre d'enchères ...  pour moi, c'est une des rares fois que ça arrive...

(Come on. You are joking with me. But nicely. So it`s OK. But it`s true that my  cards allowed me to make those bids. But it is one of the first times I have done that) 

============================

I should explain that she made those final comments in response to my message congratulating her on her slam bids - whilst pointing out that it didn`t make her a world champion! On a serious note, if we all know the problem of changing moods exist, why are clubs and federations not taking measures to manage the problem. Given any mental disorder will be exacerbated as the competition rolls towards its climax with people getting tired and irritable if they do not rest their brains, why are most clubs not having a break for... 

 AFTERNOON TEA

All my friends will be astonished to discover that this Englishmen`s favourite place for afternoon tea was in the north of France. The Bridge club in CALAIS not only offered me and my son the best of welcomes and the best afternoon teas, but they had the most comfortable chairs as well. The perfect environment for us to play to the best of our capabilities.

Trevor 

 

The future of bridge

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

A year ago it was very much on the cards that bridge would be played at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Twelve months on, bridge as an international “sport” is in a dire situation.  For the administrators, burying their heads in the sand is not an option if the trend is to be reversed before it is too late. Improvisation and radical ideas are required. 

As an Englishman who has been promoting and teaching the game around the world, I am entitled to give my opinion in particular on the English Bridge Union and the World Federation. Neither deserve any medals whatsoever for their response to the pandemic to date. The lack of initiatives and guidance is mindboggling. With the inevitable result that bridge is being driven on line and away from clubs.

I personally still never play on line. For me it is not bridge at all.  At best I would class it as a computer game which is a useful learning tool for youngsters.  i.e. those who know how to resolve being cut off from partner when the internet signal fails! As happens frequently with senior citizens who are even more senior than me. Being cynical, the only conceivable plus is that on line bridge reduces the average age of players. By eliminating from the sport the computer illiterate geriatrics and the arthritic!

To offer some insight into the scale of the potential problems for bridge as a sport, I am addressing some of the common Covid related questions which blinkered administrators at club, national association and world federation level have left unanswered throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

The pictures and commentaries on the first two pages of this website already tell half the story. Showing how safe F2F competitions are possible. Putting a smile on the face of every participant to boot. As you will see,  it is a simple formula that can be applied anywhere. I rest my case.

Trevor 21h15 on 10/1/21 - updated 7/8/21

Online or Face to Face. Where does bridge go from here?

I play for the camaraderie. To meet other sociable people from all walks of life and from all corners of the planet. Some fascinating stories told with a refreshingly different cultural perspective. Not to mention the apres-bridge, the aperitif, the dinner / dances, plus the interclub matches in pastures new.

On-line bridge can never fulfil all of those items on my wishlist. In any event, sitting alone in front of a computer for three hours is not my idea of fun.

Yet, for many aficionados who think like me, there appears to be no choice. The bridge associations are doing absolutely nothing to suggest there is any alternative. Play on line or you cannot play for the foreseeable future is what they are saying. Which explains the reported fourfold increase in on-line bridge players in the past 12 months.

Many have given up playing altogether because of their aversion to computer games. They may never return to playing at their clubs when the opportunity arises. And even if and when clubs are allowed to reopen for multi table sessions, 6 months later there will still be no more than 50% of the pre pandemic numbers. That, in my opinion, is the inevitable scenario if the national federations don`t come out of their cosy little bubbles and try some innovative intitiatives to keep F2F bridge interest going. Instead of simply being content to confine their activities to collecting a commission from the on-line companies that they eagerly promote.  

The solution:

To prevent the game and the clubs haemorrhaging an ever increasing number of  players, we must keep F2F bridge going whenever humanly possible. To remind people of its long term advantages for our health and mental well being. If I and many others are currently able to play F2F bridge competitions legally and safely here in Tenerife, there is clearly no reason why the national federations should not be encouraging clubs to try mimicking our example.

 

Can anyone play COMPETITIVE F2F bridge RIGHT NOW?

YES

Even where Covid regulations only permit 4 people to get together.

How can that be competitive with just one table of four, you may then ask. You will find a more comprehensive explanation elsewhere on this website. So let me just remind readers that not only are individual, pairs and team tournaments possible, but those competitions can be organised in such a way that they produce a fairer result than traditional club tournaments. Due to the fact that participants have the opportunity to play every board.

The only pre-requisite is for each bubble of four to acquire an appropriate set of boards, cards and bidding boxes. In the case of our ACES club, we have a large enough stock to loan all the equipment to 11 bubbles. Enabling the boards to be played up to eleven times by 44 different people before the results are collated. 

Here in Tenerife, I prepare sets of boards which subsequently do the rounds of the households. 

It`s as simple as that!

TMW 06h00 on 13/1/21 - updated 9/8/21

Will bridge clubs survive the pandemic?

Some have already closed permanently. Others will find it very difficult to reopen. 

Fixed costs, fewer members and cashflow will be the main hurdles to overcome.

 A word of caution for club administrators

There have been several surveys which suggest that no more than 50% of members will ever return when the club reopens. Worse still, that figure will probably be much lower if masks must be worn throughout the session. These findings are supported by the footfall figures for clubs which are already open in Europe. Reduced numbers of players not only dictate that clubs put up prices to cover fixed costs. It also devalues the competition. Noone wants to play a two and a half table Howell movement with a half hour sit out. But that ia what in happening. Which all adds up to a vicious circle with ever decreasing player numbers and spiralling costs relative to the income generated.

The prescription? In my opinion, there is only one option, I`m afraid.  

Keep F2F bridge alive for club members by adopting at least a home-based bubble system for competitions

Do NOT reopen clubs if the wearing of masks is still to be compulsory.

TMW 16h00 on 13/1/21

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It`s a dog`s life

A lighthearted look at what transpired at a club on the Costa del Sol last summer

The local authorities duly responded efficiently and sympathetically to the request for the green light for the club to reopen last July. But the council insisted on sending their own team of workers to completely disinfect the building before human beings could enter. Unfortunately, the caretaker forgot to tell her four legged friend who sneaked into the premises and hid behind an armchair. The poor little thing ended up in intensive care. Dog lovers will be relieved to hear she made a complete recovery.

8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 :

Will table fees increase when clubs reopen?

Club committees will undoubtedly be facing the conundrum of how to cover fixed costs (rentals and standing charges plus registration fees etc.) with fewer players. Then there are the variable costs such as cleaning which don`t drop in proportion to the reduction in income. 

These problems will be compounded by a reduced cashflow affecting the club`s ability to invest in refurbishment and equipment. A point which leads me to yet another problem that has come to light. Redundant dealing machines. Not only are some now superfluous to requirements, but clubs who were considering purchasing a machine are unlikely to have player numbers in the foreseeable future to justify such an investment. 

Whilst the need to increase income per head in proportion to a shrinking membership is unavoidable, administrators will thankfully have the opportunity to raise the extra cash in different ways. The overriding considerations should be how to maximize the numbers playing - and how to keep members and new recruits coming. The best and most approriate package of measures will vary from club to club. Here are a few ideas to put on the agenda for consideration:

  1. For next year, offer a freeze on prices at pre-pandemic levels to all those who play a minimum number of games in the first three months after reopening.
  2. Offer a 10% discount in membership and table fees to couples living in the same household. This should help, in particular, married couples for whom bridge fees take up a larger proportion of their pension.
  3. Make the next end of year club dinner free to anyone who has played, say, 20 times since reopening.
  4. Advertise a weekend “Open Day” at the club with a demonstration game involving a couple of youngsters and two seniors – with the offer of free tuition for those who might be interested.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The number of potential incentive schemes are limitless. As are the innovative ways to publicize your bridge club within the local community. Good luck to you all.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx..

When will “clinically vulnerable people” be able to return to the clubs?

Despite the scientific and practical challenges of delivering an effective vaccine, the good news is that it looks likely the first-generation vaccines will have a significant impact on the global battle against Covid-19. In the short term they will help prevent the most vulnerable in our communities from developing severe disease and dying. I am not so sure, however, about the long term prospects. While the outlook for `at-risk` groups is undoubtedly brighter now, “clinically extremely vulnerable” people (like me) and those that suffer breathing difficulties simply wearing a mask (like me also) need to be extra careful when returning to the bridge tables. 

Whilst vaccines may ultimately end the pandemic, they will not get rid of the virus. All bridge clubs will need to be vigilant for the foreseeable future. Especially in relation to visitors who may be less honest than club members when, for example, it comes to disclosing whether they have recently visited a country where they might have contracted the virus.

On a positive note, there is one good thing that has come out of this pandemic. It has exposed - and hopefully eradicated - a common problem that I have faced for years. Namely, selfish and ignorant people who insist on playing at the club to spread their germs. Catching flu at a bridge tournament put me in intensive care (twice in ten days) at Wythenshawe hospital 40 years ago. That was not the only time it has happened. The influenza virus has always been just as dangerous as Covid would be for me. Which explains why the past year has been, paradoxically, the healthiest of my past 70 years. For which I am duly grateful.

Trevor 19h40 on  19/7/21

 

Why is ACES playing competitive F2F bridge during a pandemic?

My answer to the previous question partly explains why I consider the current ACES system far safer for the clinically vulnerable than the environment in other clubs ever was pre pandemic. In the past, bridge clubs did not protect people like me who pleaded for windows to be opened to improve ventilation. Instead, the tendency was to pamper to the few who preferred a warm, stuffy, (virus friendly) card room. Similarly, in the summer season, poorly maintained air con units were often switched on in preference to opening windows. Even in West Yorkshire long after the sun has set! Crazy.

A mail I received yesterday raises another concern relevant to this question: Social distancing. Here is the message:

"Hi Trevor

l hope you are well and safe and enjoying yourself in Tenerife. Due to government and medical restrictions l will not be coming there till January 2022. l hear you have started a small school of actual bridge which is great. Trust it's socially distant though l don't see how and hope it's successful and safe.."

If I were to ask that friend to tell me what distance he would suggest is safe, he might say 2 metres  Simply because that was the figure most touted by the media in the UK. Yet here in Tenerife, bars and restaurant terraces are full of people safely sitting 4 to a table without masks. Two metres is the distance between tables, not between each person on tables of four freinds. 

Hysteria fuelled by misinformation is clearly exacerbating the crisis. Logic seems to have gone out of the window for many people. What is important is that you sit with people who likewise take sensible precautions when they are not actually with you. If rational thinking and pragmatism do not prevail, then those of nervous disposition will stay cocooned in their homes for the rest of their lives.

There can never be a linear definition of what constitutes a safe distance in any event. So many variables come into play. Indoors, outdoors, ventilation, wind direction, humidity etc, Not to mention air conditioning. With the result that social distancing rules on airplanes allow one to safely sit next to a Covid infected passenger on a 4 hour flight from the UK to the Canaries! Compare that to the plight of cystic fibrosis sufferers. They should not be in the same room as another CF sufferer at any time of their lives, let alone in this Covid era.

I mention that lung disease because my experience of looking after CF sufferers over many years required me to fully understand how susceptible they are to common viruses. And how they might cross infect one another. That knowledge proved invaluable in understanding the way Covid spreads – and how to protect myself and my bridge friends.

In a nutshell, there was always a health risk going to a bridge club and there always will be. But common sense tells me that, if we ignore the misinformation about social distancing and take the minimum of risks. then I am more likely to be run over by a bus than to catch the virus playing bridge with like minded friends..

Trevor  updated 19h45 on 19/7/21

OASIS in a BRIDGE DESERT

 

Fuengirola in southern Spain is a bridge mecca for Europeans. All Europeans, that is, except the Spanish themselves. For Spaniards, it is a bridge desert. 

 

Fact one:

When we conduct a survey 10 to 17 March of all nine of the local bridge clubs, I expect it will confirm that at least  

95% of the participants are NOT Spanish.

 Yet Fuengirola is in Spain!!!

Incidentally, there are bridge competitions every day that week. All the clubs are within walking distance of each other and welcome visitors. If anyone wants to come and play, note that at least one is open on Sunday 10th. You will be spoilt for choice on Monday 11th when no less than four will be running competititions in the afternoon. The same day, a bridge course is scheduled for beginners in the morning where visitors will also be very welcome. Whatever their nationality

 

Fact 2

Anyone who currently enquires via the website of the National Association where they can learn and play bridge, will be told to

travel to ANOTHER PLANET

(The nearest bridge club affiliated to the AEB - and the nearest bridge teacher - are 100 km from Fuengirola)

 

The first ACES academy on a desert island in the Gulf of Thailand proved that the impossible is possible. Hopefully it`s sister club can achieve the same in a bridge desert on the Spanish mainland. With a little help from our Spanish friends.

The support we are getting from the AEB (Associacion Espagnola de Bridge) and the local authority (Ayuntamiento de Fuengirola) makes me believe that the fruits of our labours could be evident within months. By the end of August, I hope that...

50% of the bridge players in Fuengirola will be Spanish 

FANTASY or FACT?

Periodic reports on progress will be given on this page. The first report will be published here as soon as the mid March survey has been completed.   

 

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All the news from Samantha and her team on the WBF project at Stirling will follow shortly.

 

In the meantime, I would like to congratulate Sam and the rest of Scotland's team - Liz, Anne, Paula, Helen and Fiona - on their exploits in qualifying for the Venice Cup finals at the World Championships in China in September

On behalf of all the English, I wish them well.

May the best team win!

Trevor 18/2/19

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