The Bridge Road Warriors: Tucson

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The hardest part of my job as CEO of Tournament Bridge Services is evaluating the true potential of the athletes applying for a position within the company. Photo: GS Jade Barrett, and Anna

Jade Barrett & Anna
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Tucson Regional Results
02:06 13 October 2013 by GS Jade Barrett, USA CSBNews correspondent
Bill Parcells

Bill Parcells

“I’ve been around enough to know what it takes to get a team to reach its potential, and I want players who want to reach their potential” Super Bowl Champion Head Coach Bill Parcells
The hardest part of my job as CEO of Tournament Bridge Services is evaluating the true potential of the athletes applying for a position within the company. There are thousands of skilled players throughout the world, but technical ability is only a small part of what I look for. Everyone who competes in the bridge world is smart, but it is wisdom that concerns me most.
 The wise person recognises that they are an unfinished project, discontented with their skill or experience level despite all the success they have achieved. Find someone who believes they are great and you have discovered another player whose skill set is preparing to decline. It takes a great deal of hard work to attain and maintain excellence –  it disturbs me when an otherwise good prospect suggests that they are prepared to win for the team. There is no room for arrogance of this nature on any team, especially at the bridge table – the team wins, not the individual.
While it is true that a single player can dominate a match – even perhaps creating the conditions for victory – it is the chemistry of the team that establishes the environment  for long term success. We have had several athletes of exceptional skill wash out due to their inability to control their ego. We do not need someone to carry the team – we need them to become part of the family.
Each individual needs to be content with being part of the reason we win, as opposed to being the sole reason we lose.
So we seek out those who are dissatisfied with their skill level, who hunger for competition and are prepared to work as hard as they possibly can to improve. Everyone pays lip service to these principles, but only the very special few actually follow them. The other requirement is that they enjoy fine dining.
We are well practiced in the victory banquet as well as the consolation dinner. Both of these special outings. are critical to team bonding, where we share our ups and downs while never starting a conversation with the words “You hold”.
Unless you are prepared to pay the $50.00 fine.

00:31 8 October 2013 by GS Jade Barrett, USA CSBNews correspondent
Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm

“You can’t just beat a team, you have to leave a lasting impression in their minds so they never want to see you again” – Mia Hamm, World Cup USA Football (Soccer) Champion 

 “Many times it is not the best team on paper that wins a specific game. The fiercest competitors will often defeat stronger teams, essentially by strength of will alone” – GS Jade Barrett

I have had the discussion countless times, in regards to the evaluation of one team over another. Many former Coaches and Captains pick on technical ability alone, but I have come to the conclusion that many exceptional scientists of the game are only adequate competitors. They look great, play great, but fail to win when they choose the “correct” play over the winning one.

So our company selects winning players over great ones.

Steve Weinstein

Great competitors create problems for their opponents through subterfuge and aggression – though occasionally they will choose exceptional passivity in order to mix things up. The odd thing about this particular beast is that they often perform better against superior pairs than they do against their peers. I believe that this is due in no small part to their utter lack of fear of derision – they simply do not care what their opponents think of them. Steve Weinstein referred to this admirable trait in a discussion of difficult opponents (and I find him one of the greatest challenges on Earth to face at the bridge table), about how the lack of fear in an opposing player increases the likelihood that they will take an action that a more practiced player would not. While this may randomize a result, it does create a fair amount of chaos in the game, and the more unsettled the auction is, the more the opportunity for error exists.
In simple terms, if you do not give a player a chance to make a mistake, they never will.

Fred Karpin wrote over sixty years ago “no expert truly plays a book game, they would become too easy to play against”. In my experience that is essentially true – particularly when they are competing against their peers. They will play a highly technical game only against weak opponents, knowing that their practiced skills will triumph virtually all the time.
 The key is knowing who is who.

13:01 9 October 2013 by GS Jade Barrett, USA CSBNews correspondent

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there” – Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra

Many people have expressed to me their envy of the journeys I have taken during my tenure as a professional player, others recognize the amount of time spent on the road can be a trial. On Sunday, 6 October 2013, I had one of the longer road trips I have taken during my twenty five years as a full time bridge athlete.
Leaving Monroe, Louisiana at 11:30 US Central Time, I drove the 127 miles (204 km) East to Jackson, Mississippi, where I boarded the 15:55 Central Time Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta, Georgia which took me another 341 miles (548 km) (and another time zone)  further East.
Karen Lee Barrett

Karen Lee Barrett

  We landed in Atlanta in the middle of Tropical Storm Karen (I am certain that it was not really named for my wife, but you can never be too certain about these things), complete with wind shear, thunder and lightning – all in all, a great show.


 Given that I was traveling with Anna the Dog, we needed to use the ninety minute layover to race outside to the dog park, where I was drenched in the downpour. Anna did not seem to mind so much, but then again she is a Black Russian Terrier. Making our way back through security took a while, so we took the train to our concourse (Atlanta is a huge airport)  and boarded the 1,946 mile (3,132 km) flight to Los Angeles.
Arriving in LA at 22:15 Pacific Time, I took the shuttle to pick up a rental car (which included forty seven minutes in the queue) and continued my trek by driving 125 miles (201 km) South to San Diego.
Esplanade Bridge Center

Esplanade Bridge Center

After a quick stop to switch suitcases and take a three hour nap I taught a class at the Esplanade Bridge Center in Solana Beach, California before loading up Anna in the car and heading out to Tuscon, AZ 

 509 miles (819 km)  later, I arrived at 20:19 Pacific Time with eleven minutes to spare, before playing the second half of the opening Foothills Knock Out (our TOUR team eventually lost in the Finals to an excellent performance by Billy Miller’s squad).
All told, the trip covered 3,048 miles (4,904 km) and took thirty three hours, including my rest and teaching time.
Just another day at the office.

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