Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The strange events last night on BBO

I played bridge with Colin last night on BBO.  The first part of the evening we had a very nice session of bridge against quite good opponents especially a chap with called “pshvarts”.     After 16 boards he left.  He was replaced by a nice fellow who it soon became clear was not a strong player lets’s call him Mr Newby.  Mr. Newby was not conversant with fairly common bidding conventions. Our other opponent lets call him, Mr.  Wantowin, had only been with us for a few hands.  We had a couple of good results which might have been irritating to him when this situation come up.  I do not have the exact hand because we never played it but here it is from my memory.

With no-one vulnerable, Colin opened 1NT (12-14) and Mr. Wantowin bid 2◊.  I had the worst hand for this auction I had something like this

♠ 5 ♥ A1043 ◊ K104 ♣ Q5432

I want to compete but I have some problems.

I have no way to find out if partner has hearts without forcing to game.  I can’t make a negative double without spades (we don’t actually play this but even if we did…).  My clubs aren’t wonderful but I decided the most pragmatic thing to do was just to play 3♣ and hope it was right.  So I bid 2NT (Lebensohl) and so alerted.  Mr. Newby asked in the open what Lebensohl was and both Colin and I answered.  We both said more or less the same thing, “it asked the notrump bidder to bid clubs.”  I suppose in retrospect we might have added that there were a number of things that could happen after that. 

Mr. Newby passed and Colin bid 3♣ which was passed out.  This looked like a below average board for us because Colin had both clubs and hearts and we can make a heart game.  The opponents probably can make a partial in either of the other two suits. 

Before making the opening lead Mr. Wantowin started to send me messages.  He was incensed about our explanation of Lebensohl.  He kept saying shame on you.  I repeated what he said in the clear and asked what his problem was.  I was very polite and would have been happy to skip the board.  He just kept sending me “flame” messages. Things like you are “not very nice” and “shame on you”.  I kept asking him what his problem was and offering to help.  I just didn’t understand the problem. 

Should we have done something different?  Did we do something wrong?   Does anyone have any suggestions about how to defuse the situation, I tried humour, being conciliatory, apologizing (well I am Canadian).


Paul GipsonNovember 7th, 2008 at 9:00 am

On the very rare occasions that this happens there is little you can do. Some people just seem to take the online game too seriously. If they really think you are cheating why do they stay at the table?

Once it gets to this stage I always leave the table, or boot the person from the table (after a friendly warning), and mark the person as an enemy so further messages are not seen.

Life is too short to get involved in this sort of nonsense.

Luise LeeNovember 7th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

I agree with paul — just ignore him.

I often wonder if people do this on purpose just to be antagonistic and piss you off so you go on tilt… I suppose that type of behaviour is more common in poker than in bridge, but I’m sure it happens at the bridge table too. Also there is the impersonal factor of online play to consider — its always easier to get carried away with flaming someone when there is no face-to-face connection, and without the facial expressions and tone of voice to consider sometimes even the most innocent of comments can me mis-read or mis-interpreted.

I agree with Paul, life is too short.

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