Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The CBF … one more time

As blog readers will know I have decided that I don’t want to play internationally anymore.  I still like going to world championships and Ray and I are likely to go this year.  We will finalize that when we know the time and place of said championship which is sitll up in the air.  I would like to go as a journalist, writer and book publisher.  I can blog remotely but there is an advantage to be able to talk to the players and captains and just being in the “atmosphere”. 

I recently found out that my dues to the Canadian Bridge Federation are due in March and to the ACBL in July.  I had planned to pay both of them at the same time in July.  I have been warned that if I have this “four month” gap that I cannot play internationally for Canada in 2012 or 2013.  I can play in the events but if I win the event I would not be eligible to go.

This wouldn’t seem to much of an issue for me but there has been at least some discussion that I might have to fill in for a player at the last moment.  I could do that and if the team wins they could replace me and all would still be well.  No problem.

But it got me to thinking about two things:


With the small pool of women players it seems strange that the way Canada picks its teams is through a trial.  There are just not enough good women players to put together more than one high caliber team (and even that might be tricky some of the time).  So instead of doing that we hold a team trial where the really good players are spread among all the teams.

Well I guess its democratic.  And any method of team selection has problems.  Still I doubt it gets us our best team a lot of the time.  It probably worked best during a number of years where there was a core team that won the trials a lot.


The CBF has a adopted a rule that says that if you have not been a paid up member for two years straight then you are not eligible to play internationally.  Remember we have a limited pool of women players who can play internationally.  At the last trials all the teams were 4 person teams mostly because none of the teams could find 6 players.  Now you have to find 6 players who have paid their CBF dues for 2 years in a rwo. 

Even if you believe that the goal of the CBF should be to raise lots of money this approach seems counter-productive since it reduces the pool of players who will play in the CBF trials.

Suppose there is this desperate team which has to find a fourth (or fifth or sixth) and can’t because the people who have the skill to play are not 2-year CBF members.  So somebody who perhaps hasn’t paid much attention to this CBF Rule or maybe wasn’t thinking about playing internationally joins a team, wins the event and their team has to break up a partnership and find an alternative player (with almost no time to practice).  Or the team has to play 4 even if the players (who may not all be quite as young as they once were) have trouble with this. Or the team has to accept a pair that isn’t as good as they would like.  You can see the problem.

When I realized all of this I got so mad AGAIN that I decided not to renew my CBF membership at all.  I know that nobody will care about my few dollars but it would make me feel better.  I think this whole policy is completely wrong headed.  The problem is that I like other things the CBF does.  I like the Hall of Fame, the magazine, the website, the charity work and so on.

My paying the fee or not paying the fee will be a kind of moral decision.  Should I make a point of how silly this policy is and vote with my dollars OR should I support an organization that does a lot of other good work?  What do all of you think I should do? 

What do you think of this policy?  Is it really more important to make sure that long term dues paying members represent Canada OR that we get the best teams we can?  Maybe Canadians don’t care even matter who represent them?





PaulFebruary 14th, 2012 at 9:05 am

I think you are making far too much over just $12 a year.

But if I were on the selection committee I would also be reminding those players that I want on the team, or even in the trial, that they need to renew their membership.

lindaFebruary 14th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

You dont have to pay the fee to play only to represent Canada. That is the point, being the best and winning won’t matter. Imagine a whole team of players who hadn’t played in trials before. They didn’t really think about the CBF previously. They haven’t been members for 2 years as a result. They play, they win by a mile, and they can’t represent Canada.

Does that make sense.

It is not about the money … believe me I have donated much more than that to the CBF and other related organizations every single year. It is about the principle.

This is the wrong thing to do. It is worth making that point.

Bobby WolffFebruary 14th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hi Linda & Paul,

To me, Linda brought up an interesting discussion, with Paul adding a disciplined comment, and although some may liken it, at least to me, similar in title to Shakespeare’s play, “Much Ado About Nothing”, it is really not so.

In order to understand, let me try and inject some logic, humanity and conversation, primarily concerning the human condition, into this subject.

Crusades for success are usually made up of people who bond together with a common goal, each in charge of, or at least working toward, fulfilling a specific need for its success. Call those different blends, left hand, right hand, left foot, right foot, and full face all representing integral parts of the whole.

1. The left hand may, at least at the beginning, be the one with the good idea and a hope it can be accomplished.

2. The right hand could then attempt to be the organization of who should be involved and a democratic, but always practical way of selecting the “right stuff” people to get it done (make no mistake and probably the most important thing said), in the form of the right bridge partnerships both in talent and in harmony).

3. The left foot should be involved with important functions such as satisfying financial and logistical problems necessary in order to complete the project satisfactorily.

4. The right foot should be in charge of overseeing the actual challenges which will inevitably occur, sometimes threatening the whole project, but not being allowed to be destructive intruders.

5. Finally the face is the final step of making every effort to insure that these necessary parts have come together to achieve what that goal happens to be and it needs to wind up in the cross-hairs of a very likely successful overall enterprise, including the right captain (non-political) and the right coach (the best in the world lives right next door).

Yes, the above steps are all necessary in order to form the best and most likely organization to put together a bridge team which is the very best possible and therefore one which befits representing a great country and to which all the above, and all its non-committees, but enthusiastic supporters, can be most proud.

Without the above, and especially when the feet, hands and face become entwined and enter each others area is when the trouble starts and the goal in about 99 out of 100 cases seldom is accomplished, not to mention never passes even square one.

Nothing is easy, but the sweet smell of success is there for the taking, if the commonality extends to each group doing its job, meaning all dues will be paid, all groups respect the other ones, the best partnerships are cajoled, pampered, financed (in at least a small way), and otherwise encouraged to feel loved in return for the very elusive victory that is the very reason and purpose for everyone being there.

No room for nay sayers, politicians, too many short cuts, lack of preparation, or for some who tend to take more than they give.

Together this enterprise will be invincible, especially when done by Canadians, who while small in number, are big of heart and effort and together with the right groups working together as outlined above, have a powerful chance of success.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune, omitted all the voyage of their lives will be bound in shallows and in misery.” Now is the time and place to go from the misery of Linda’s stated plight to what is necessary in order to overcome.

David Memphis MOJO SmithFebruary 14th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

“it seems strange that the way Canada picks its teams is through a trial.”

I think team trials are the way to go. Any other selection leads to politics, etc.

lindaFebruary 14th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I understand that Dave… but when the pool of players is as small as the group for Canadian womens teams than maybe you have to accept politics if it will generally lead to a substantially better team.

But I do understand your point. There are other methods as well. Pure selection is flawed.

Still there are other possibilities like a pairs trial.

LakFebruary 14th, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Surely, if the pool of very good Canadian women players is small enough, they can talk to each other and form a team? Perhaps the reason that they are spread among multiple teams is that these “best” players do not get along … In that case, a pure selection process would only lead to acrimony, and the teams you have are the best group of players who can get along.

Secondly, having a two-year membership requirement is not that outrageous, but I would suggest that if CBF really wants to make money, they be willing to sell a retroactive year’s membership, for say, $112.

ACFebruary 16th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

A pairs event with IMP style scoring seems like the best way to get the top pairs together as a national team, if the goal is ending up with the best team from a small field.

PaulFebruary 18th, 2012 at 9:09 am

In Scotland we have exactly the same problem with numbers. In the past three years the Women’s trials have consisted of four, seven and nine pairs. Within this there are four clearly stronger pairs. Their position in the IMP-pairs trial is largely dependent on how much they beat the weaker pairs by and by how often they ‘line up’ with their peers. It is essentially random.

Now we are having team trials for the Europeans in June. There are three teams of four, since two teams of six would leave a single strong team and a weak team with one of the four good pairs having no chance of playing.

To my mind the selectors should really select. Trials in such circumstances are not really giving every pair a fair shot.

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