Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bridge Bulletins

What do you expect when you get a Bridge Bulletin at the NABC, the World Championships or other major events?  What do you think they should contain?  Mark Horton joked recently that one of the last Bulletins at the NABC in Boston was a first in bridge history, it contained no bridge deals at all –  a Bridge Bulletin with no Bridge.  I am sure it is not the first.  This happened because it was ordained that the bulletin be a certain number of pages and it was filled with results, announcements, that sort of thing.

I raise this partly because John Carruthers wrote an editorial in the IBPA December Bulletin, providing constructive criticism of the Bridge Bulletins at the World Championships.  I do not agree with most of his points.  See what you think:

a) the results of the IBPA awards should be announced in the Bulletin.  They normally are but were mostly missed this year.  The winners were disappointed and as sponsor of the IBPA Bridge Book of the year I can tell you that the sponsor were disappointed as well.

b) Lack of explanation of alerts in the bidding.  This is a difficult one.  I think that there are times when it is important to provide information about the meaning of bids but a lot of the time I think it distracts from the narrative.  I know that when I was writing up (in BLOGs) the world championships I did have the convention cards in front of me and made choices about when to give an explanation.  Also I didn’t always know what the bid meant.  The convention cards were not adequate to provide all the information I needed.  Sometimes the BBO announcer asked the players and that helped. 

c) John suggested that “dull matches” not be written up.  I have never watched a match that did not have some points of interest.  Most of the time the round robin matches are on BBO or Swan or in China on ‘Our Bridge” for a reason.  They are picked to showcase a team or teams or because they are in a contention in the round robin.  I think it is a thrill to have your match written up (it was for me) and it is a thrill for your countrymen and friends to have a chance to read it.   As a player I enjoy reading what happened at other tables in matches I played and I don’t find it dull at all.  I know that the Bulletin staff has to pick and chose and they can’t fit everything in and I think they do a fine job right now.

d) John suggests that players watch at the table and report on matches not on BBO.  I can’t see any good reason for this.  It isn’t always easy to follow the action at the table and you can only see one half of the match.  It was a shame that the system wasn’t working which would have allowed journalists and others to see what was happening in all the matches on Swan bridge.  Journalist and others in Shanghai who were onsite could see the entire bidding and play of every match.  So it is possible to write up other matches if there is a good reason to do so.  I would like to have access to these matches mostly for comparisons with the match I am featuring.

e) John suggested that the Bulletin collect hands from bridge players.  Sure, why not.  I would invite players, NPC. journalists and bloggers  to submit interesting hands.

I would add that there was a lot written about the World Championships that was not in the Bulletin.  There were many Blogs.  A lot of them featured on this site.   I know in the next few years that Blogs will play an important rule in providing insight into World Championships and other events.  I think the Bulletin staff should consider how they can use that resource.

Generally I think the Bulletins are quite good and the staff manages to do an amazing amount of work to get them out there each day.  It is hard work with a small team to put out a professional magazine every day.  Yes improvements are possible but I for one think they do a great job.

Now if they would only get more hands into the NABC Bulletins.  Maybe they could reduce the amount of pages used to give results and announcements or just add more pages (I know it costs money).  Just don’t drop the report on appeals – that is one of my favourite parts.

What do you think?


Paul GipsonDecember 9th, 2008 at 8:21 am

Sadly I’ve always thought that the NABC bulletins were written mainly for the back 25 pages so Aunty Sally can show her grandkids that she won 1.74 points in the Tuesday afternoon pairs.

The editors do excellent work putting these bulletins together and seeing more top bridge in it would be welcome but, like you, I would not want to see to the appeals dropped.

KungFuChickenDecember 9th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

What Paul said…

I look forward to reading the bulletins from the EBL and WBF event because they’re so entertaining. I’m a intermediate player, and so the articles that actually discuss the declaring/defending/bidding problem are wonderful learning experiences as well.

The ACBL Bulletins contain very little of this stuff… And even the ‘educational’ articles seem to have more of an emphasis on kitchy card humor than I care to endure.

LindaDecember 10th, 2008 at 1:46 am

I like the WBF Bulletins too. I haven’t read the EBL ones but maybe I should. I have found in the last while that I do like the ACBL Bulletins although I mostly just glance at the intermediate/beginner stuff for obvious reasons.

Leave a comment

Your comment