Wednesday, 30 December 2009

BRIDGE AND SUPERSTITION.............................. ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi ) Superstition has always been associated with card players, ever since card games were first introduced to Europe in the 2nd half of the 14th century. The game of bridge is no exception, and even today superstitious practices take place in bridge clubs the world over.......such is the extent of players' eccentricities and irrational beliefs. Bridge results, unlike chess, often require luck. For many observers, the game is equally as much about chance as it is skill. Which opponents you meet on which boards. Which option you take on a two-way finesse. Whether to play for the drop of the queen or take the finesse. These are typical examples where the prayer mat is called for. In any game where chance and fate play a big part, there are bound to be runs of both good luck and bad luck. This is understood by all bridge players. They expect fluctuations of fortune due to chance, but if anything at all can be done to prolong runs of good luck, or to end runs of bad luck.....then whatever needs to be done must be done. Now of course superstitions come into their own, and if what they recommend works then the verification of those superstitions becomes firmly rooted and established. The past experience of being able to control their fate only reinforces the belief in players that these superstitions work....and therefore must be adhered to with both loving devotion and fanatical resolve. So let's now look at a few superstitions, which even the best players in the world have come to rely on :
  • never walk under a ladder, or cross the path of a black cat, prior to entering a bridge venue
  • don't start the session at table 13, or in the case of Italians at table 17
  • when playing at your club make sure you take the same seat, at the same table number
  • always bring with you your lucky charm, amulet, or mascot
  • remember to wear the same clothing you had on when you achieved your best-ever result
  • carry out the same ritualistic routines before the session commences, and/or during the play
  • undertake the whatever steps are needed to lock in good luck, and to drain away bad luck
  • follow self-adopted rules that have proved so successful in the past

So what we have to accept is that superstitious beliefs are firmly held by many top class bridge players, who are truly sensitive to the vaguaries of chance. They more than any one believe in the fickle hand of fate, and the importance of enticing Lady Luck to be their constant companion. Indeed, the following quote by Grant Baze ( a most celebrated American bridge expert ) given during an interview for an article in the San Francisco Chronicle reveals the link between superstition and success : " Well, I never regarded myself as a superstitious person.....but that of course changed when I took up bridge seriously ".

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