Ray Lee

In defense of a free press…

Stacy Jacobs (otherwise quite an interesting blogger) really can’t resist taking a swing at me, can she?  OKay, I admit I screwed up — another whoops, I’ve now edited the previous blog so that it properly refers to this year’s world bridge competitions as Olympiads (although with the WMSG happening, I’m not sure that’s their correct title). They certainly are not the BB and VC, which take place in odd years only. My bad.

Stacy took exception, however, to my remark about the fortuitously comfortable number of entries — not sure why, but she seems to feel I’m getting at somebody, and taking it very personally.  All I meant was that it’s very convenient for the WBF to have nice even numbers of teams, and I wondered whether they had ‘encouraged’ some of the smaller countries to send a team to make up the numbers.

I haven’t responded before, but this sniping at me by Ms. Jacobs has been going on since I wrote a blog a year ago from Shanghai about playing sponsors, and mentioned her husband George.   She describes that as ‘ignorant’.  Well, if it’s rude (that sense of ignorant, which I assume is what she means) to speak your mind, I plead guilty.  Along with many others, I find the ‘playing sponsor’ system in bridge distasteful, while recognizing its probable necessity.  I’m not saying these nice folks are bad players — indeed some of them are quite good — just that they’re in almost all cases not world-class. How would those who watched the Ryder Cup last week feel if the first foursome had included some 4-handicapper who was funding the US team?  That’s almost always the situation in bridge, and I think it’s a pity that world events aren’t contested among teams of the very best players.  That’s all.  Sorry, Stacy, I’m unrepentant, and if the truth hurts, too bad.

Let me once again point out the shining example of the right kind of sponsorship — Mrs. Lavazza, the non-playing sponsor of a series of very successful Italian teams.  These guys have won a lot, partly because they are all world-class players, and partly because they have a huge advantage over any US team they face: they’re not carrying a client.


LindaSeptember 23rd, 2008 at 7:26 pm

I am not trying to be picky but there isn’t actually a round number of teams. For example they are 1 team short in the Open Division Group A and have to have byes.

Nick FSeptember 24th, 2008 at 6:09 am

I think you are right on the money with the WBF funding some teams – indeed they have fully funded most (all?) junior teams in terms of airfares, accommodation and board.

Not sure about the Open Teams – although I know Mongolia were hoping to play – that is until they turned up at the recent Zone 7 championships in Australia and were thoroughly maxxed in every match they played. Indeed they were barely out of beginners classes and had learnt bridge on the Net (and boy, did it show).

Ray – you’ll be pleased to know I sent the Mongolians a care package of bridge stuff – including a bunch of essential MPP titles.

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 2nd, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Ray — Your ‘In defense of a free press’ inspired my most recent blog. Thanks for speaking


Leave a comment

Your comment