Ray Lee

Thanks Stacy

There’s an old saying that the exception proves the rule.  Stacy Jacobs  http://stacyjacobs.com/2008/10/10/tgif/ and I continue to spar about whether playing sponsors are world-class players, and she comments today that Nick Nickell placed highest in the WMSG Open Butler of the 3 US pairs (well, ahem, of course there are other possible explanations for that, but we’ll overlook them), thereby, she seems to imply, disproving my point.

Well, Stacy, if you actually read what I wrote on either occasion that I talked about this subject, I said that the sponsors usually weren’t bad players, just that they were rarely world-class players.  Nick is an exception, and I can think of one other I would put in that category (so I suspect can Stacy, but we may not agree on the name…).  In her recent post on judy.bridgeblogging.com in my support, Judy Kay-Wolff (who is in a position to know, at least vicariously) talks about a sponsor who is an exception, without naming names — but if you didn’t guess, it was Nick she was referring to.

So no, Stacy, naming one of the very few exceptions doesn’t make your case, it makes mine — do you want to swap lists of non-world-class playing sponsors, or shall we leave it there and stay away from libel suits?


LindaOctober 11th, 2008 at 1:06 am

Some time ago I wrote about sponsorship and my changing opinion about it. At that time I said that it made me sad that we didn’t have the very best players on our world championship teams and it would be better if sponsors didn’t play but were NPC’s.

The truth is that it is probably impossible to get the best team for a variety of reasons. How do you get the best players to play together anyway? In fact that process might work best on sponsored teams. In Canada where we don’t have sponsors on our teams except in rare cases we still don’t often get the best team we could field. Part of the reason is that teams form based on friendships and geography and that the winners of trials may not be the best team in the event. I am not convinced that a selection process would work any better.

Still it would be nice if some sponsors, just for the world championships, fielded the best six players they could find and captained them. I wish someone would volunteer to do that for Canada!

EllisOctober 15th, 2008 at 5:24 am

The art of putting together a winning team is exactly that – an art form. I can think of multiple teams that win consistently, that on paper have no chance.And can think of quite a few that look like favourites in any event they enter ,yet underperform regularly.

The art is in putting pairs together that gel, certain players will do well with some and not with others, this is really noticeable when large ego`s are at play.

I have seen players who are the model of ettiquette and sporting behaviour reduced to quivering wrecks mumbling inane comments about their partners level of coprehension of basics, because they had to play with the wrong partner, even when both partners happened to be grand masters with multiple national titles.

on the other hand i have seen the most humble of non life master make perfect plays under the guidance of a benign pro.

The thing that both Nick and George have in common is the ability to put their partner at ease so he doesnt feel the need to over perform on every board therby allowing the partnership to excell in the overall as oppossed to the individual board and that is no small talent.

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