Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Rising from the dead

There are many stories to tell about the final round of the round robins in Penticton.  But here is one story from my point of view.  I have been chatting a lot with the Wolpert team which includes a lot of my friends.  They have been down and out coming into Tuesday with only a faint hope of qualifying.  The situation was so dire that they more or less gave up and the Eastern ladies changed their airline tickets paying a significant sum to do so.  Well they are going to have to change them back.  Things got better yesterday as several of the top teams faltered.   Going into the last round they realized that if they had a blitz or near blitz and if both the second and third place teams lost badly and if we beat the fifth place team then they could qualify.  This was a lot of iffs.

Meanwhile our team had a near lock on first place going into the last match.  We would need the second place team to blitz and we would pretty well have to be blitzed.  We decided to play safe – my mantra was no numbers to insure a top finish.  Losing that match would have worked out better for us perhaps but we did not follow that strategy.

As a result Wolpert got just enough edging out two other teams (including the fifth place team we played) by one victory point.  Later in the hospitality room I talked two of the ladies on that team.  “If only you didn’t double five clubs (which was down two) we would have won.”  “Well I had two aces an almost certain diamond ruff in partner’s hand and Sylvia had made a takeout double so she had something”.  We all agreed that it was the right bid.  “Well why did you have to bid 6H?  We asked everyone and nobody else bid it.”  I knew it would have a good play.  We didn’t have many high cards but every one was working and we had a double fit.   We chatted amicably.  Winning and losing are all part of the game.  So now one set of friends are in and one set of new friends didn’t make it and thankfully I don’t feel like I was responsible for either result.


Ray LeeJune 10th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Jeff Rubens writes a lot in THE BRIDGE WORLD about the evils of what he calls ‘sportsmanlike dumping’ — deliberately losing a match for greater gain later. Here Linda’s team had a chance to affect the qualifiers substantially by losing their last match (which essentially meant nothing to them), thereby probably ensuring a weaker group of opponents in the final four. They won 21-9, so clearly weren’t holding back; that’s real sportsmanship IMHO.

Bobby WolffJune 10th, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Hi Ray,

What Linda’s team did was what the spirit of the rules of the game demand. In all forms of competition it should be expected that every player, every team, plays to win at all times. That does not necessarily mean that a team’s best lineup has to play in every match, but it does mean that it is the responsibility of every team to give their best effort to do what is best for the spirit of competition.

Without the above caveat present, all competitions are phony and politics, not true competition, rules. Yes I am glad to hear about what happened. BUT, until every competitor feels exactly the same about this horrific problem, we will not be where we must be.

Thanks to you and Linda’s team, we now have a chance to air this problem. As far as I am concerned the rules should be written so that becoming champion means not only winning, but winning honorably. The rules should state that anything less should be liable to serious discipline which could change the result , if necessary.

If anyone thinks this subject touches some people’s nerves, they are right!

Nick KrnjevicJune 11th, 2009 at 12:25 am


I can think of 6 Canadian semi-finalists from the 1990 (Geneva) Rosenblum who certainly share your views.

It’s a shame you weren’t on the committee.


pimoJune 11th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Ray’s remark giving credit to his wife for playing honorably is ‘real sportsmanship.’

Is there any doubt that other action is contemptuous?

Bobby’s views seem to be a bit stronger. Players should not be honored for following the rules. He apparently feels that anything less…


Bobby WolffJune 11th, 2009 at 5:33 pm


Linda’s team probably paid the ultimate bridge price for following the rules, losing to the team which qualified due to her team playing their best against the other team’s closest pursuer, allowing that team to qualify for the next stage.

As far as I am concerned, her team are the real winners in the greater game of life as opposed to winning that match on their possible way to qualifying internationally, which would be nothing more than an imposter (Rudyard Kipling), if her team had dumped, in order to illegally increase their chances.

Let’s not let this combination of happiness and sadness die in vain. Let everyone who reads this and after thinking about it, continue to shout to the rooftops what bridge competition is all about. It is not about chicanery and manuevering but rather about the majesty of talent combined with intense mental competition done without illegal communication. Perhaps bridge can even rise to greater heights than “Bridge for Peace’ which is the WBF motto, but instead raise the world’s moral standards so that understanding and respect for one another can replace the obvious hatred for different religions, color of skin and nationalites which exists today.

Somehow I suspect that to be achieved goal is the paramount one which all religions and therefore all possible Gods are waiting to see happen. Let our competitive playing, behavior and ethics in bridge point the way to fulfillment. May God Please Bless!!!!

Chris HasneyJune 12th, 2009 at 6:18 am

“…but instead raise the world’s moral standards so that understanding and respect for one another can replace the obvious hatred for different religions, color of skin and nationalites which exists today.”

Now you are reaching Bobby. Ain’t gonna happen. See Daniel, Revelations, etc. See same in Koran. Let’s confine ourselves to the bridge table, and try to use the game to teach our young manners and ethics and morals regardless of religiosity. Who Is John Galt?

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