Sunday, 31 January 2010

BIGOT IN DEMAND.............................................................
Dear Bigot, I have heard so much about your self-proclaimed prowess at the game, I felt compelled to contact you immediately. As a newcomer to bridge, I am looking for someone like you to be my mentor, as well as my partner. Should you be interested in helping me out in this way, I am more than willing to cover all your expenses. Please get back to me as soon as possible with your answer. Yours respectfully, Authur Brane
Dear Arthur, Yes, I am a man who prides himself at bringing on new players to develop their game to a competent level. Therefore, I am more than willing to take your money in return for being both your mentor and partner. However, this will only be possible if you are prepared to abide by the following terms and conditions, which are set out below:
1. You must on all occasions ( and there will be plenty ) to take all manner of criticism and abuse with good humour and grace. Sullen and sulky responses will not be tolerated, and any incidence of such will result in your name going into my little black book.
2. You must appear to be enjoying the experience of playing with me, even though the opposite may be true. Any whinges, whines, moans and groans must be suppressed and silenced. In the event of my hearing even the merest hint of any vocal dissent and/or dissatisfaction, then I'm afraid it is back to the little black book again.
3. You must always endeavour to let me play the contracts. In no circumstances must you ever introduce no trumps into the bidding first. Moreover, if you pick up a hand loaded with spades, you are to bid clubs first. Then, by failing to rebid clubs ( because this is your suit ) I can then summise that your hand does indeed hold spades . This will enable me to mention the suit first, irrespective of what my holding is, and thereby get to play the contract. Failure to follow these anti-hog bidding manoeuvres will certainly mean your name going into the book.
4. On the few occasions you do find yourself as declarer, you must set about the play of the contract with due care and attention. Should you commit what in my eyes are mistakes that are solely attributable to either (a) blind recklessless, or (b) crass stupidity, then retribution will be swift. Please remember that in the boot of my car I always carry a spade, a shot-gun, and detailed maps of all the local woodland areas.
5. You must completely ignore all the foul and ugly rumours that circulate around the club about my personality and behaviour. And especially ignore the malicious gossip about the whereabouts of my previous partners. Anything you hear will be nothing more than a pack of lies. Obviously, you are free to locate and chat to any ex-partners of mine, but this might prove to be a pointless exercise in that all of them left the club in strange and mysterious circumstances ( never to be seen again ).
6. As your sponsor, I shall give you my weighty expenses claim form on each thursday. Payment must be made in cash, and discretely handed over to me in a brown paper envelope by the following week. Failure to do so will of course incur punitive interest charges and/or fines, not to mention other opportunities for your name to go into that little black book of mine.
Anyway, I am really looking forward to taking you on board, confident in the knowledge that we can start off our partnership on a solid foundation of genuine understanding and respect. Yours the one and only, Bigot-Johnson
THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY...................................................
  • Spot : what a player is put on when his/her next bid will either bring about an outright top...or outright bottom
  • Trump squeeze : the ability of a player to break wind in a controlled and quiet way
  • Touching : a term used to describe those extremely rare occasions where a player forgives his partner in a caring and considerate way
  • Wolff signal : a shrill two-note whistle used by responder ( over partner's 2NT rebid ) to alert him to the possibility that his hand may well be weak
  • Skip : often the adopted motion of an over-joyous player who goes up to collect his/her first ever major trophy
  • Support : what most doddery old players look for from their partners in their struggle to get from table to table
  • Threat : something that is handed out by a highly volatile player to his hopeless and mistake-ridden partner

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Bridge players like the proverbial birds of a feather really do flock together......and often in large numbers. But equally true is the old adage of "opposites attract". The reason why this attraction takes place in the bizarre world of bridge is purely down to an affliction known as maso-sadistica bondunitus. This strange but common disorder affects two groups of players simultaneously, where every member in one group develops a compulsive desire to partner someone from the other group. On one side, we find players who have superior bridge skills, but posses highly critical and psychopathic personalities. On the opposite side we see players who are grossly inferior, pathetically weak, with a "punish me when I'm naughty" mentality. Inextricably drawn to each by means of open invitation and mutual consent, this disorder often goes unnoticed. This may be explained by the fact that once the partnership has been formed, both parties seem very content and happy with the arrangement, so neither one ever wants to leave.
However, what is particularly unusual about this affliction is that the skillful sadist is willing to sacrifice any chance of getting a good score, because he prefers instead the 3 hours of sheer uninterrupted delight gained from inflicting constant abuse upon his/her partner. In a few rare cases a conflict of interests can develop, whereby the sado-sufferers are thrown into a state of confusion and anxiety, simply because their status and reputation as top players is being severely undermined. However, for the maso-sufferers it's pure joy all the way. Not only do they benefit from the conspicuous association of partnering top class players, but they rejoice at the prospect of receiving poisonous jibes and personal insults after each and every board. Moreover, their results are far higher than they could ever hope to achieve if forced to play with their own group members.

Friday, 29 January 2010

THE SIMPLICITY OF BIDDING............................................. ( Article by Johnny Supremo )
There are some deals, where the player with a monster of a hand needs only to find his partner with just one key card to bid a grand slam. Why just the other day I was dealt : (void) AKQx....AKxx....A109xx, and lo and behold my RHO opened the bidding with a pre-emptive 3S. Naturally I doubled, and partner responded 4C. Well, even with 4 small clubs and a favourable 2-2 trump split, 6C looks a good bet. Four to queen offers grand slam prospects, but only if there is a stiff King under the Ace, providing a marked finess of the jack on the way back. However, four to the King either requires a 2-2 split for the grand, or for one opponent to have a stiff honour with falls under the King, enabling the other honour is picked up on a subsequent finesse. Five to the queen could produce all thirteen tricks if the play of the queen finds Kx under the Ace , pinning the stiff jack in the process. But if the King is a singleton, then a low club to the Ace does the business. Best of all is when partner's holding is 5 to the King with the outstanding trumps breaking 2-1, for now the grand is an absolute certainty.
So how best to proceed ? The answer is simple : use Exclusion Key Card Blackwood. A bid of 5S asks responder to show how many of the key cards he has ( Aces plus king of trumps ), but ignoring the Ace in the cue-bidded suit. Once partner flags up one ( that is the King of trumps ) the small slam is near rigid, and the big one could be bid with some measure of optimism and expectation. As it happened my partner denied having the King and so his response of 6C was passed out. When he showed up with a 3-2-3-5 distribution, with the queen and 4 small trumps, I was careful to play the Ace of clubs first. Thankfully, both opponents followed suit, and with the doubleton King off side, there was only the one trick to lose. Not surprisingly in a mediocre field of 24 pairs, there was just three of us who reached slam......... simply because we all used Exclusion Key Card Blackwood.
( Unbelievably, Bigot-Johnson was in the dock again facing various charges of double-crossing his partner. These actions resulted in his partner losing out on a great deal of prize money. A short extract from the trial's transcript appears below.)
  • Prosecutor : I put it to you Bigot-Johnson, you double-crossed your partner time and time again in a major bridge competition........actions which resulted in you and your partner missing out on a substantial amount of prize money......... prize money that could have more than covered his costs of hiring you as the professional.
  • B-J : Absolute rubbish.....everyone marvels at my bidding prowess and tactical awareness. Surely, it's not a crime to take a risk or two,,,,,now and again. Anyway, paying to play with me is a privilege ....not an expense.
  • Prosecutor : Allow me to explain the meaning of " double-cross" in the context of bridge. This occurs when you have a limited hand, but in fits of unbridled optimism you proceed to bid as if you possessed much more.
  • B-J : Might I point out that all players from time to time overbid their hands......
  • Prosecutor : Overbidding is one thing......double crossing partner is another. Can you recall the time you opened 1NT which your partner then took out into 2 hearts. But when the opponents came in with 3 spades, you ....yes you.....unilaterally decided that with a 4 card heart support you could raise to 4H. This was doubled, 3 off, for minus 500 and a complete bottom.
  • B-J : Unfortunately, yes.
  • Prosecutor : Can you also recall the hand, when you made a pre-emptive 3D opening bid......only to bid again over the opponents 3S. Your 4D bid was also doubled for minus 300, which was a complete disaster since 3S was doomed to fail.
  • B-J : Yes, that result did stick in my craw a bit....
  • Prosecutor : And not content with decided....... on at least three occasions after initially passing with a depressingly poor hand.... to enter the bidding later on..... as if by magic you discovered a missing king or Ace from somewhere. These belated bursts of support for partner simply pushed him into unmakeable contracts. Indeed on one occasion, your late optimistic charge simply pushed the opponents into bidding and making a game contract they would not have otherwise reached.
  • B-J : never seem to have what I would like them to have....
  • Prosecutor : You are incorrigible............................for you are one who is on trial for making such crass and hollow bids, none of which were sound....none of which could be unjustified
  • B-J : Yes....I may have erred a tad here and there....
  • Prosecutor : Indeed, your partner played out of his skin that day, and was only denied a share of the prize money because of your double-crossing antics. So what is your reply now to all these accusations ?
  • B-J : Hmmm...I need time to consider this question....
( For two minutes there is total silence in the court as Bigot goes into the tank )
  • Prosecutor : Well...we're waiting.....What is it
  • B-J : .......Bugger.....bugger....bugger....
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG.................................................
Dear Rebecca,
I have never been able to get good scores against better players, especially when it comes to competing in the part-score arena. Can you offer me some winning advice.
Yours desperately needing help, Angel
Dear Angel,
With so much good stuff having already been written on this topic, you can find all the answers you need from getting hold of the right books. However, I could offer you one small tip which on occasions may provide you a few welcome tops. If in fourth position, after three passes, you are looking down at a hand with 12-13 points, but nothing in the way of spades, then choose to pass. When HCPs are even distributed say 22-18, then good opponents even with their inferior allocation will probably have enough ammunition to do you some serious damage.
Moreover, if they hold spades you can bet your life they will certainly find a way of protecting .....discovering of course a fit in their suit. If their bidding gets to 2S you're sunk. Bang goes your best score of + 110 with 2 hearts tick, because the opponents can now afford to go one off vulnerable, or even two off non-vulnerable, for a less than desirable + 100 your way. Should you bid on to 3H down one, minus 50 guarantees you a bottom.
Passing out will always give you a few rank bad scores, especially when pairs sitting in the same direction bid freely in an uncontested auction to find a nice safe part-score contract. But there again, on other boards this passing out tactic might well save you from incurring any negative scores, or grossly inferior ones.
Yours passing on a little gem, Rebecca

Thursday, 28 January 2010

REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG........................................................
Dear Rebecca,
I've been having a rough time of it lately. My elderly parents were arrested at Bangkok airport on a trumped up charge. They are now waiting to be indicted for drug smuggling offences, where life sentences will be the inevitable outcome if Thailand's record for manifestly rigged trials holds true. My wife has run off with one of my favourite bridge partners, having managed to conceal her affair for several years. My only son, who I recently stepped aside for so he could take control of the family business, decided as his first priority to sack me for gross incompetence. And my daughter has run off to join a fanatical religious sect, who believe that we are all descendants of visiting aliens. Mind you this might explain why some apes remained apes, whilst others which mated with the aliens became humans. But what really capped it all for me was when I lost a green pointed event on the very last board. My ass-hole of a partner dropped a crucial trump card on the table face up. The opponents were in a doomed grand slam but, on seizing their rights to have the exposed card played on the next trick, they were able to avoid a trump loser. This gave them the contract against all the odds. Is there no justice left in this world?
Yours born under a bad sign , Jeremy Jones
Dear JJ,
Wow, that letter of yours was a real tear-jerker. Losing a competition like that just because your clumsy oaf of a partner can't keep hold of his cards properly must have been devasting for you. My heart really goes out to you. As for your other so-called tales of woe.....hey, let's get a few things into perspective ! Your parents get an extended holiday stay in the country they love to visit. With your wife out of the way, it means non-stop bridge day and night......especially after your son kindly spared you from all those onerous week-in-week-out work responsibilities. And not forgetting your daughter of course, who found us the answer to the origin of man.
Yours sincerely grateful, Rebecca
BRIDGE BOOKS FOR THE CONNOISSEUR...... ( As recommended by Pun )
  • Simple Bidding Systems For Old Dinosaurs..........Terry Dactyl
  • Bidding Theories: Food For Thought...................Maurice N. Curry
  • The Game's Brightest Stars..................................Sue Pernovas
  • Put A Rhythm Into Your Bidding........................Paul Sayter
  • Observing Bridge Misdemeanours .....................Pat Rollman
  • The Secrets To Wielding The Big Axe ..................Hal Berdier
  • How To Botch Contracts Without Even Trying ... Jerry Bilder
  • Partner, Allow Me To Deviate.............................Abbey Rant
  • Don't Let Those Tops Slip Away ..........................Lee Cage
  • What... Change Our System Now, Partner !..........May B. Layter
BRIDGE RULES.................................. ( A short observation by Bridgemeister Gibson )
For many bridge players, bridge rules their lives. It takes precedence over everything else. Addicts as a result merely pay lip service to all their other social. family and work obligations. They live, eat and breath bridge. For these obsessives bridge is their life. And so when I came across this joke, I took the view that this superb story more than anything else illustrated the fact that bridge is priority number one............
" On their wedding night a couple arrive at their hotel room ready to indulge in a night of romance and passion. But then the phone rings. The husband answers the caller, only to be given a series of hands to comment on and muse over. The conversation continues for hours as his friend finally goes on to tell him of one hand, where he foolishly went down in 6 spades. After the phone call ends, the distraught wife ( who by now is in tears ) says, " How can he be so inconsiderate ? That was terrible ".
" You're right, honey.......All that he had to do was undertake a simple dummy reversal....."

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

This disorder, one of many in this newly emerging gay society of ours, has certainly been seen within the membership of bridge clubs across the western world. To understand the condition it is necessary to recap on the biblical story of Onan. He was, of course, a man who was obliged to marry his deceased brother's wife, but he did not love her. However, instead of putting her away and leaving her alone, he dutifully chose to have sex with her, but certainly didn't want to have children by her. So his only course of action was to pull out at the last second, and thus " spill his seed upon the ground ". In the bizarre world of bridge, players who succumb to onanisma unnaturelle quickly develop a tendency to pull out of the bidding at the last second, in a calculated attempt not to be lumbered with an unwanted or unwelcome penalty. Tragically, this tendency can develop into a full-blown cop-out syndrome, where victims feel compelled to pull out of any action which places burdensome responsibilities upon them. Their refusal to take on any leading role extends to withdrawing from club competitions, team events, captaincy and scoring duties, committee work, and attending AGMs.
Moreover at its peak, the affliction becomes so acute that victims start pulling out of social and duplicate events, preferring instead to play with themselves on net-based bridge sites. The lack of human contact suits them to a tee. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear that other psycho-analysts associate onanism with masturbation, so much so that the two words are now synonymous. Though for the life of me I've read that biblical story over and over, and I damned if I can see the connection.
( Footnote: Last year leading theologians discovered ancient scrolls which tell of another story. Onan, who had been put under unbearable pressure to impregnate his late brother's wife , said in a fit of temper " Sod me, I would much prefer to be in bed with a man." And from that day on the concept of sodomy was born. )
( Yes, I am still on the topic of how to make bridge sound more exciting. Well, colourful vocabulary is one thing.....context is another.......especially when it involves write-ups about bridge hands. Such stories should be done in the style of "Dark Noir" thrillers as illustrated below. )
Johnny smiled as two unsuspecting guppies arrived at his table. The room was littered with circus tents, with bozos in abundance. His long and bony jaw jutted out from his pitted and acne-ravaged face. His nostrils quivered in anticipation. But now, his piercing blue eyes turned towards his cards. Johnny was a hardrock and was about to inflict his favourite coffeehousing trick upon this pair of chumps. He knew that Hollywood sitting opposite would as always play a great acting role in the unfolding theatre of the auction . After some deliberation, a monotone bid of "three hearts " broke the silence.
Hollywood was a lanky sun-tanned women in her late twenties, whose skimpy dress clung to her slender body with an effect of dampness. Her bright blue eyes and boyish face suited her frisky and playful demeanor. Just as she was absorbing the richness of her hand, the bumble-puppy on her right doubled. She then leaned so far forward her delicate breasts brushed against the top of the table. "Redouble" she said, so softly that only the purest articulation made the words intelligible. Now she slowly turned towards her LHO, but her cobalt blue eyes had narrowed to produce a probing and penetrating look. Her deep red moistened lips parted a fraction, which meant her glistening white teeth contrasted greatly with the murky backdrop of a dimly lit room.
To her left, Coco the clown had sunk deep into his chair. His tortured face was like that of a condemned man about to receive a death sentence. Lines on his face revealed a worried and panic-stricken soul. The smell of fear and dread oozed from his sweaty pores. With no four card suit ( other than hearts ) to bid, a limp and wimpish "pass" spluttered out from the back of his parched and burning throat.
Johnny, with a zombie-like movement, rocked violently back in his chair. He had been a good man in his early days, but how he relished his new role as an angle shooting shark. Viewing his opponents as a couple of stiffs, he smoothly passed. On hearing an ill-fated " four spades " from the Jonah to her right, Hollywood shifted her tall and pliantly slender frame into an upright and erect position. For anyone with vampire blood in their veins , it was the time to go for the jugular . " Double " she purred, with the teasing softness of a cat, whose victim had had nowhere to run.
Three more passes ended this one-sided bidding encounter. Hollywood led a telling low heart to Johnny's Ace, but angle shooters don't need Aces to win tricks. Being void in the suit and ruffing it instead is always easier. That look of sharp attentiveness meant no trouble for Johnny to switch to clubs, with Hollywood quickly in to devour declarer's king with her ace. A strong scent of blood quickly filled the air. Back came another low heart. Ruffed. A club return to Hollywood's queen. Yet another heart ruff to inflict further carnage upon the hapless greenhorns. And with a spade and two diamond tricks still to come, the devastation was complete. Five off doubled for a savage 1400 penalty.
Johnny winked at his partner. Psyching a pre-empt on a void had brought about a satisfying result. With a coy and sheepish look, Hollywood pursed her ruby red lips in her usual aching and longing way. But for "The Man" a few more rounds of bridge had to come first...................................

Monday, 25 January 2010

HOW TO MAKE BRIDGE SOUND MORE EXCITING......... ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )
Let's get real. The reason why bridge appears to ordinary folk as a staid, sombre and serious affair is simply this: it is talked about by players in such a way as to bore most outsiders rigid. Not so with poker players who can make their game sound extremely exciting and hugely appealing. Of course, in poker the characters are intriguing, the stakes are high, the tension unbearable...and the drama spell-binding.....but its the language they use in their conversations, which helps make the game sound really good. The terms they use to describe each other are both colourful and imaginative.....terms which bring conversations alive.........terms which add imagery, humour and excitement to the stories. So until bridge players invent a vocabulary of their own, then nothing will change the drab and dreary image of bridge. So I appeal to everyone, who wants to remove that label of " boring bridge raconteur", to adopt and use the following vocabulary :
Angle shooter - one who takes unfair advantage of another
Goose - a silly player
Blind robber - someone with a weak hand who forces his opponents out of the bidding
Good man - skilled cheat
Elephant - player who plays too many hands
Heavy - a big time player
Greenhorn - a new player
Guppy - a little fish
Hustler - a player who takes advantage of fooling opponents into believing he's weak
Jesse James - a bluffer
Grinder - someone who plays a slow, careful and extremely tight game
Needle artist - one who verbally angers another, often through sarcasm
School buddies - a group of players who always play together
Zombie - a player who seems to have no emotions
Shark - a ruthless, high proficient player
Automatic - someone who automatically raises the bidding every game, irrespective of his holding
Bear - an extremely tight player...never known to offer gifts of any kind
Bulldozer - player who raises too often
Jonah - player cursed with bad luck
Low man on the totem pole - player destined to lose
Bumble puppy - a clueless novice
Flat - a crooked player
Chump - a sucker
Dog - an underdog, someone favoured to lose
Clown - a dreadful player
Jackal - crazy, illogical and unpredictable player
Circus tent - a bunch of clowns at the same table
Squawker -one who complains about losing
Maniac - loose aggressive player who bids far too much
Horse - prone to make silly plays
Cowboy - a fast and reckless bidder
Hardrock - extremely difficult player to beat
Crier - one who complains a lot while playing
Mouse - someone who bids too conservatively
Culbertson - a bridge player who plays poker
Shirley - a timid player
Ear bender - an excessively talkative player
Quack - a noisy complaining player when losing
SFB - someone who has shit for brains
Speedbump - who who slows the game down
Table captain - a control freak at the table
Stiff - someone other players leave for dead
Retarded pit bull - won't stop bidding once he's got the bit between his teeth
Sheriff - someone who calls the TD to ensure the rules are adhered to
Coffeehouser - one who attempts to mislead opponents by table antics
Hollywood - a player whose acting skills can fool opponents as to what they hold

Saturday, 23 January 2010

  • The Secret To My Understanding With Partner......Nona Furr-Yeres
  • Conjuring Up That Extra Trick..............................Madge Ishen
  • Changes I Need To Make, Partner........................Nappy Brown
  • If I'm In A Bad Contract, I Always Panic................Al R. Mist
  • Calculating The Odds..........................................Anna Lising
  • Too Soon To Say We're Out Of The Running.........Earl E. Dawes
  • Anyone Fancy A Rubber.....................................Johnny Forsayle
  • I Need Points To Bid, Partner...............................Ivor Smallholding
  • Stop Me If I Preach Too Much..............................Di A. Tribe
  • A Life Ban's Looming, And There's No Way Back......Noah Peel
  • Some Men Play Like Women.............................. Nancy Boyes

Friday, 22 January 2010

This hand more than any other illustrates the importance of those intermediate cards, especially in a 7H grand slam contract which involved a squeeze coupled with a trump coup. The critical cards that enabled Johnny to pull off this contract were the 9 of spades and the 8 of diamonds. Dummy turned up with K9xx....x.....K8xx....Kxxx, opposite Johnny's Axx....AKQJ93...Ax.....Ax.
Bigot confidently kicked off with the Q of spades from his holding of QJ10...x....QJ109...Jxxxx ( his partner of course holding a troublesome trump suit in his 3-5-3-2 distribution ). Johnny took the opening lead in hand with the Ace. Next came the Ace/King of trumps, which revealed the bad trump split......and a possible heart loser. With nothing better to do at this stage, declarer played out the two minor suit Aces. Bigot who already under pressure was now down to J10 of spades, QJ10 of diamonds and 3 clubs to the jack.
At trick 6 , Johnny played the queen of hearts.....and Bigot was decidedly uncomfortable. A spade discard was out of the question since dummy's K9 looked good for 2 tricks. Throwing a club would enable declarer to play a club, ruff a club and establish a club winner in dummy. The 10 of diamonds was the lesser of all evils ( and so a club was thrown from dummy ). So at trick 7, it was a diamond that was played to dummy's King, with a diamond ruff back to hand......which of course set up the 8 of diamonds as a winner in dummy.
At trick 9 a club went to the King , with the 8 of diamonds coming next.......for either a spade discard.....or an over-ruff should East elect to play a trump. East did dive in with a low trump taken by Johnny's 9.
By this time the following 3 card ending appeared : Bigot J10 of spades J of clubs, while dummy held K9 of spades, and the 6 of clubs. So when El Supremo played the Jack of hearts felling East's 10, Bigot was well and truly stitched up.
Whatever he threw set up two winners in dummy to see the contract home. Never before have a seen a grown man wail.
A DEVIL OF A HAND................. ( A fantasy story as told to Bridgemeister Gibson )
South opened 1C on his 0-4-3-6 distribution. West with his 0-4-2-7 distribution now waited in both hope and anticipation that South would keep repeating clubs.......which meant for the time being he would elect to pass. North who was staring down at his 13 spades had no intention of giving the game away about this devilish distribution. So out popped a bid of 5S. West who was also staring down at his 13 spades could not believe his ears. This bid must surely be the most audacious and most outrageous psyche he had ever witnessed. Either that or North had completely lost his marbles. However.....there was just one other possibility......yes, there is as he recalled the very unusual, rarely used Dinkydonk convention. This allows North to make an immediate slam try by bidding the one suit he hasn't got, providing of course the other three are very strong indeed. Therefore, North must be agreeing clubs, asking South to bid 6C/7C dependent on whether he holds one or both top honours. East fearful of forcing North/South into bidding a saving ( and makeable ) 7NT decided on bidding a quiet 6S. Indeed, this bid could put the cat amongst the pigeons. However, everyone around the table , especially North, thought East had gone stark raving mad, and was in serious need of psychiatric help. A bemused South passed, but West was still thinking. He too had a dim and distant memory of the Dinkydonk convention. Yes, his partner cannot have a single spade in his hand, having a massive 3 suiter.............. which he's prepared to play in one of them at the 7 level ( despite South's opening 1C, which could be a prepared bid ). Best then to bid 7C and await developments. North, who had heard enough of all this nonsense bidding, decided the time had come to bid 7S. A flabbergasted but wary East passed in the certainty of collecting mega penalty points. And as soon as both South and West passed, East was scoring up his + 1300, while North was scoring up his + 1460.
And so to conclude this rather bizarre story, both North and East then claimed simultaneously " All the tricks are mine "........whereupon the argument immediately descended into an all-out brawl. With each going for the other's throat, it took all the efforts of 12 sturdy and concerned club members to keep them apart. Who the hell rigged this board no-one knows, but this devil of a hand certainly brought this night's duplicate bridge to a fiery and sensational end.
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG............................
Dear Rebecca, I am thinking about producing a book based upon the stuff that has appeared on the blog bizarrebridgeworld. It would be a compilation of all my articles, along with Dr. John's case notes and Pun's frivolous fantasies. Please find enclosed a draft copy for you to read, and I would welcome your opinions and views as to its literary merit and market appeal. Yours a living legend, Howard Bigot-Johnson
Dear Bigot, I was quite flattered to be asked, but the book did not impress. It did very little for me. I can see you have tested the waters with your off-the-wall mad-cap blog, but you are fooling yourself if you expect the wider bridge community to ever consider adding such an abomination to their library collection. It would be an embarrassment to them. So allow me to make these observations.
The gruesomeness of Dr. John's case notes on bridge playing stereo-types ( with their appalling disorders and afflictions ) beggars belief. Far too many people will choose to view his material as complete psycho-mumbo-jumbo. Many will engage their self-denial defensive mechanisms to avoid seeing themselves in his diagnostic dialogue. Those that do recognise themselves will not be pleased or amused. Dr. John's articles represent the horror of all horror shows, and I can assure you that bridge players in general are a cowardly and squeamish lot. I ask you would a condemned man really want to know the precise details of what he will experience, when the trap-door opens, the rope tightens, only to find himself thrashing around in the air for just a few remaining seconds of his life. I think not.
As for Pun and his fantasy bridge stories, involving fictional and historical characters, there is far too much emphasis on lewd double entendres. The man must be depraved in some way, if not childish, and I can tell you that bridge players have no desire whatever to sit down with a book full of gutter humour. They are far more refined. And even when his puns are clean, they are usually predictable and limp.
So what can I say about your articles. Well, occasionally you do touch upon interesting and controversial issues, but the reader has a right to expect a balanced debate within the discussions, along with accurate and relevant observations. Your distorted and extremely prejudiced view of the game reveals a mind which is both dangerous and insane. You are the master of clap-trap, nonsense and lies. Most of your material is in bad taste, and people will not pay good money to buy a book contaminated by the rants and thoughts of a lunatic.
If such a book was ever made available in the shops for general consumption, it would ridicule the game of bridge beyond repair. I would doubt very much anyone buying such a book which clearly is the product of a warped and twisted mind. However, if you can find a publisher, who specialises in books on revolution, rebellion, anarchy and might have half a chance. Yours Rood as ever Rood

Thursday, 21 January 2010

ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BRIDGE JOKES..........( Unearthed by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Frank, a rather dominating sort of bridge player, took his shell-shocked partner to the doctors. However, after his partner came back into the waiting room, Frank was completely bowled over when he was asked to go in and see the very same doctor .
" Your partner is suffering from a very severe stress disorder. If you don't follow my instructions to the letter, he will surely die :
  1. Never point out any of his mistakes
  2. Be pleased with him at all times
  3. Don't burden him with conventions and bidding systems he can't understand
  4. Always praise him at every opportunity he gets something right
  5. Always give him words of encouragement whenever he falls down
  6. Never in the discussion of hands lay the blame on his doorstep

If you can do this for the next few months, I think your partner will regain his health completely."

As Frank meets up with his partner outside, he is immediately asked " What did the doctor say ? "

With a mournful look in his eye, Frank repled : " He said you're going to die ."

ANOTHER NERVOUS BREAKDOWN........... ( A sad song adapted by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber........ from the lyrics of The Rolling Stones' classic number 19th Nervous Breakdown )

You're the kind of person

Who attends local bridge affairs

A sad and lonely loser

Seen crying on the stairs

Well, the sad fact is

You've never won in years

And though you try to hide the pain

Your eyes are edged with tears

So it's best you give up playing

If you know what's about to happen it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes

Yet another nervous breakdown

When you were a mere beginner

You were in fact treated kind

But nothing you learned ever registered

Such was your hopeless mind

And though you tried to play the game

No partners ever stayed the same

No one could stand your lack of skill

And those who did were ready to kill

So for pity's sake stop.....and look around

For here it comes again...... yes another nervous breakdown

But I sense it's not you who should take the blame

You look like a man condemned by a curse

Nothing you did ever improved your game

The changes you tried your results got worse

'Cus I remember you in bridge school

Clueless and useless.....a total fool

You clearly had a messed up mind

But the teachers there treated you kind

And around that time I came along

To try and sort out your brain

But I never made any progress

You were driving me insane

So why torture yourself and others

You're destined to be a bridge clown

And with another score well below par

Here it comes it it comes

Your umpteenth nervous breakdown

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Cotard Delusion ( or more commonly known as negation delusion) is a disorder in which a person believes that he/she is dead, or does not exist for real or has lost his body parts or organs. This peculiar disorder is very prevalent amongst bridge players, who encounter traumatic experiences in the form of disastrous results and/or episodes of play. The trauma usually causes the brain to switch off for just a few seconds.....before they suddenly wake up believing they are dead........which is not surprising if they had been crucified by partner prior to the neurological blip. Victims of this disorder can not recognise the club as their club anymore, because they now believe they have been transported to another world. This of course is Satan's den.....Hades itself. Nothing can convince them otherwise. As more miserable and wretched scores are recorded, partners' ongoing tirades of abuse convince them even more of their plight. Comments like..." You headless chicken "........" You spineless wimp "......" You've got no balls "........" You're gutless "........" You're not all there, are you ? "......." You brainless moron "........" What's happened to the hand you were supposed to have "......... " Are you for real ? ".......... "I'm flogging a dead horse here" ......only reinforce their delusions. Often an sufferer will leave the club, whimpering under their breath " I 've had hell of a night " , totally convinced that he has been condemned to return to this fiery pit of duplicate bridge for the rest of his eternal life......such is the punishment imposed on any player who is extremely bad.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG..................................................
Dear Rebecca, The recent articles by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber on cheating were a breath of fresh air. Far too little is said about a subject which remains a serious problem within the game of bridge. Thankfully however, cheats eventually get caught out and exposed, and in my view cheats never prosper. That fact I know to my detriment. Years ago my partner and I devised an illegal bidding system based entirely on body-functioning noises, so that by coughing, sneezing, clearing my throat, nose blowing,etc, I could provide him useful information regarding particular features about my hand ( and vice versa ). For instance a psychic spade was always accompanied by a throat clearing cough. We thought it was foolproof until that fatal day when we took part in a big competition. It was then my partner got a bad cold with uncontrollable symptoms. Needless to say, my head was put into a complete spin, and nearly every board we competed on resulted in a galactic bottom. Yours full of remorse, Shamus Tadeth
Dear Shamus, This letter came as a real shock, but thanks for being so honest.... and as it appears.... repentant. However, as illegal bidding systems go it was both dreadful... and doomed to fail. Cheating if it is be successful requires subtlety, inventiveness, variation, and finesse. Since most bridge players lack these particular skills, the risk of sophisticated, foolproof cheating systems ever being developed is almost down to zero percent. Yours rudely awakened by your revelations, Rood

Monday, 18 January 2010

IS THERE A NAME FOR THIS TYPE OF SQUEEZE, I MISSED ?........ ( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
A few years back I was declarer in 4S. Partner's hand was Axx....x.....AJx.......AQJ109x, opposite my shapely but modest collection of KQJxx.......xxxx......xxxx.....(void). The opening lead was the King of diamonds, which was certainly from a KQ holding. But after stumbling my way to making 11 tricks ( the clubs breaking 4-3 with my RHO holding four to the king , and the spades breaking 3-2 ) , my partner who was a class or two above me in ability immmediately rounded upon me in no uncertain terms. Firstly, he pointed out we should have bid 6S, and secondly on the actual layout of the cards 12 tricks were cold.
Here was his play analysis. Take the opening diamond King with the Ace in dummy. At trick two attempt the running club finesse by playing the queen, pitching a heart if it is not covered. Then play the jack and 10 of clubs, pitching hearts while the king fails to appear. Should it appear at trick 3 or 4, ruff with the jack of spades. Now is the time to play 3 rounds of spades ending in dummy, whereupon the remaining clubs can be played off allowing all the losing hearts to disappear, plus one losing diamond.
So the 3 card ending is as follows: ( still in dummy ) with Jx of diamonds and one small heart, declarer is now down to one small trump and two small diamonds. But his RHO is the one who is in real trouble? If he has kept two hearts and the now stiff queen of diamonds, then a low diamond from dummy throws him in, allowing the last two tricks to be made by a heart ruff and the established jack of diamonds. If however he elects to keep two diamonds and one heart, all declarer has to do is play a heart from dummy and ruff.........leaving him to play diamonds towards dummy with absolute confidence , knowing the jack with either make at trick 12 ,or trick 13.
But is there a name for this type of squeeeze, where one opponent is fixed by virtue of whatever he does declarer can counter it, providing he/she can read the situation correctly. Something I had clearly failed to do that day......

Sunday, 17 January 2010

CHEATING DOGS..........( part 3 )
In my final article I want to explore two or three areas of table behaviour, which is my view represents soft cheating.....but bizarrely regarded as "permissible".
The biggest issue by far involves partnership familiarity. If one player over time begins to develop an ability ( at the subconscious level ) to interpret every nuance and detailed mannerism of hisher partner, then that level of acute awareness can translate itself into knowledge.....and understanding of what to do. Successful decisions, when questioned by others, might well receive replies such as " I figured...", " I sensed...." and " something told me to...". Perpetrators with this gift of insight tend to equate this talent with table presence, years of experience and acquired wisdom, but in reality it is an ability to read partner like a book.
Indeed, it may be the case that some players have developed a 6th sense when it comes to always doing the right thing. Subconsciously aided by their partner's aura and behaviour, they certainly know when partner has a problem....and what type of hand causes such a problem. As an acol player I will always open 1H on a 4 card suit. Typically, after partner responds 1S my next bid is 2NT ( showing 17-18 ). But when partner now stops to think, I know he has a 3 card suit holding and is unsure of what game to be in. For those who have regular partners, there must be thousands of examples like this. Moreover, in any situation where feelings are communicated, there is always a great deal of information which is communicated with them.
So now let's move onto to unsportsmanlike behaviour. Surely, if this upsets or distracts the opponents to play their normal game, or not focus fully on what they are doing, then such behaviour secures an unfair advantage. Subtle forms of this unacceptable practice include players who set out to control the tempo of the bidding and play, in such a way as to unsettle their opponents. One motive behind "quick" play is to deflect defenders from thinking declarer has a problem. For less experienced defenders being psychologically pressured into playing at the same quick tempo denies them the essential time they might need to determine their best options. And what about slow play ? Whether it is intentional or not, stealing time is a blatant form of cheating. Often opponents are put under pressure to make up for time lost by making their bids, and carding decisions quickly.....denying them opportunities to make the best choices. Moreover slow players can frustrate their opponents to the point of utter frustration and annoyance. This certainly undermines their ability to really focus on the game itself. In fact any kind of unsportsmanlike behaviour can be viewed as diversionary tactics designed to unsettle the opponents, and disrupt their train of thought. In football there are many players to set out to get opponents sent off. This is done by "winding them up" at every opportunity, hoping their retaliation is an over-the-top sending off offence. Even if this tactic fails the wind ups may be sufficient to put them off their normal game.
So as I said at the very beginning of these short articles, cheating and cards have always been uncomfortable bed-fellows. Bridge remains the most beautiful and wonderful game in the world, but sadly one which is so exposed and vulnerable to cheating. To those who do it deliberately and knowingly, shame upon them. But similarly, to those who cheat without being aware they do so.....or if challenged remain firmly in denial.....then shame upon them too. So is table presence a gift ....or is it an ability to spot "a tell". And as for extreme forms of table behaviour, are they reflections of larger than life characters....... or ones who possess a few ulterior motives ? Who can really tell.......
( If anyone would like to air their views or opinions please to do so. I would very much like to hear them. )

Friday, 15 January 2010

In my previous article the focus was on hard cheating, but now is the time to address the issue of soft cheating at bridge. Although this is far more common than the hard stuff ( which is good news), the fact it goes on all the time in every club the world over is I'm afraid bad news. The softer forms of cheating tend to be either unplanned and opportunistic acts, or ones which are seemingly innocent and inadvertent........but acts which nevertheless provide players with unauthorised information they are clearly not entitled to. Perpetrators here take advantage of fortuitous situations that occasionally crop up during the course of bidding and play. Similarly, perpetrators take advantage of reading the tell-tale signs that their unwitting partners give away ( albeit unintentionally) with their facial expressions, sighs and hesitations. On occasions we see unscrupulous players using their knowledge about the laws of the game to an unfair advantage against unsuspecting beginners. Choosing to capitalise on an opponents ignorance, and unfortunate mistakes, can only be viewed by anyone looking on as taking an unfair advantage. However, the forms of soft cheating which seem to cause the greatest concern are :
  • allowing the opposition to score an incorrect result which is clearly not in their favour
  • inadvertantly overhearing discussions and about a board but not disclosing this fact to your opponents
  • " sandbagging " where an unnecessary pause before playing a card is done purely to persuade the opponent that you hold a particular card
  • " coffee housing " opponents, using improper remarks, gestures, hesitations and the like to confuse or mislead them........such as hesitating with a singleton
  • " fielding " bids when partner is known to psyche
  • asking questions during the auction purely to alert partner as to your holding, or to provide clues as to a possible defence
  • using extraneous or overt actions designed to frustrate or distract an opponent, often involving long stares, card snapping, finger drumming and feigned prolonged indecision over which card to play
  • modifying or with-holding information given to opponents when asked to explain any system bid
  • using your experience and knowledge of partner's mannerisms ( and habits ) to glean unauthorised information

Not all forms of soft cheating have been identified above, and in some cases the definitions provided may not be strictly correct, while others lack fuller explanations. However, the purpose of this second article was to stress the problems this form of cheating brings to the game. Not only is it a major headache for the adminisrators and tournament directors ( to detect and prove ), but it is a major irritant to all those players who play the game with honest intent. In my third and final article I shall attempt to explore the murky boundaries between soft cheating, an acquired 6th sense, and unsportmanslike behaviour.

" CHEATING DOGS ARE OUT THERE....SOMEWHERE ? ".... ( First of a series of articles by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )
Sadly, cards and cheating go hand in hand. This probably stems from the fact that the spoils of card games are wealth and fame, which many are prepared to sell their soul for. With much to be gained from winning at cards, certain win-at-all-cost players will resort to desperate and underhand tactics to turn the tide of results their way. Sadly, the opportunities for cheating at bridge are endless, which means the authorities in charge of the game have got to be viligant at all times, and committed to cracking down hard on those who are found to be guilty.
Cheating in bridge is defined as any behaviour outside those Laws, which are aimed to ensure players do not gain an unfair advantage over others. This may involve the actions of a sole player ( say, peeking at an opponent's cards ), partnerships, and even teams, Indeed, the gravest offence is for a partnership to exchange information through pre-arranged methods of communication other than those sanctioned by such Laws.
Linda Lee in one of her recent blogs ( Jan 14th) made a passing reference to players who have been known to signal by means of a pencil, hand and foot movements. Two days earlier Judy Kay-Wolff made two observations about crimes committed at the bridge table; (1) blatant pre-arranged cheating, (2) frequent unethical conduct via tell-tale hesitations, intonations or latent body movements. Well, I have looked long and hard into how cheating manifests itself in the world of bridge. And in this first article I shall be focussing on "hard" cheating, before moving onto the more subtle and perhaps inadvertant forms of soft cheating.
Hard cheating is clearly a direct and most obnoxious form of cheating in that it is blatant, unscruplous, and outrageous by any measure or application of ethical standards. One thing is for certain : the behaviour is both intentional and deliberate. Often planned from the outset, the perpetrators seek to create a permanent flow of opportunities, maximising their chances to secure an unfair advantage on each and every hand. Usually, the focus centres upon pre-arranged signalling methods and undisclosed bidding systems. These secret-coded messages and signals can be sent by a multitude of subtle facial/body language movements, which may involve highly significant time-delays, finger movements and/or positions, foot-touching, pencil and/or bidding card placements.......... to name but a few of the methods used. Developing a system where bids have a hidden but different meaning enables only one half of the table to obtain information, which should be made available to all. That degree of unfair knowledge can lead to significant unfair advantages, where winning becomesfar more likely given the reduced need to guess or play blind.
Other blatant forms of hard cheating include players deliberately peeking at opponents' cards, and eavesdropping on discussions elsewhere about hands just played. I can't help recall the time when an honest team-mate of mine jokingly said during an intercity match, that he was seriously disadvantaged when asked to play in the room with just a solitary table in play: he commented on the fact that he had no opportunity to hear what was being said about the boards on other tables. Peeking at the opponents' scorecards for earlier board results, or the way they sort their hand and the precise position of a card withdrawn from it, both add up to the same thing.........dishonest attempts to obtain information they are not entitled to, which of course provides them with an unfair advantage in relation to the rest of the field. Moreover, body language can easily be employed by defenders to signal for a particular lead or switch, which might not otherwise be made.
Some cruder forms of hard cheating involve score-keepers deliberately entering incorrect scores in the hope that unsuspecting opponents fail to notice. Similarily, if the opposition believe they have taken less tricks then they have, and this error was deliberately not pointed out to them, then dishonesty by omission can be established. Token shuffles can be a dishonest attempt to generate flat boards by a team, who by being well up at half-time are desperately seek to minimise the risk of big-swinging boards. But what is for sure is that man's ingenuity for cheating knows no bounds, and the determined cheat will always find new ways if old ones become too obvious or risky. One can only marvel ( in a perverse way ) at the cunning and inventiveness of the professional cheat.
Have you ever wondered why others get what they want out of it glory, fame, status, money, successful careers, wisdom of the gods.........while you get nothing........destined to remain a no-hoper, a miserable failure, a regular no-goodnik ? Have you ?
Well, thousands upon thousands of you miserable no-goodniks have written to this blog's editorial team begging for help.......beseeching us to provide them with an endless supply of informative articles which offer guidance, instruction, and hundreds of helpful suggestions........but to what meaningful purpose ? Phrases like "pissing against the wind" and " flogging a dead horse " immediately come to mind. Yes, Rebecca and Johnny know that even as gifted teachers they can not convert numbskulls with cows' ears into silk purse players. Miracle makers they are not. So get real and face the facts. We have all been selected to play certain roles in this world of bridge, and your destiny was perhaps to remain faceless, anonymous the extras needed in a Ben Hur movie.
But please don't despair. You are valued. The game needs you as much as it needs the big celebrities. Remember it's you who help make up the's you who provide the funds for big money prizes......and it's you who like fish in the barrel are there to be shot at. So forget any notions of getting more out of bridge. Just simply rejoice in what you have actually contributed to the game . Be happy in the knowledge that others welcome your presence. Wanting more out of the game is an impossible quest, which can only lead to heart-ache and pain. I and many others want you to stay as you are.......because for us there are huge benefits to be gained from preserving the status quo.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY.............................................

  • Escape suit : an item of clothing which enables you avoid the wrath of your team-mates, by means of a clever and cunning disguise. Now you can easily escape ( unnoticed) from the scene of your appalling crimes.
  • Crack : what you would like to do to your partner's skull prior to him finding an escape suit
  • EHAA : an acronym for Every Hand An Adventure, given the risk of really getting partner's dander up with your super light opening bids, thread-bare overcalls, and undisciplined weak-twos
  • Closed room : a place where two team members sneak off to have an adulterous affair......or to practice their skill at making quick tricks
  • Cold : the feeling you get after going off in a rigid contract
  • Fast arrival : something that often happens in a closed room, when over-excitement build up
  • Splinter bid : the only known method to become declarer with a singleton trump in each hand
  • Rule of eleven : the inevitable trick total when you bid a small slam
  • Reverse bid : a clever bidding technique where opening "one club" promises something completely different from " club one". Should you be using bidding boxes, the requirement here is to place the 1C card the reverse (opposite) way round to show a club one bid.
  • Principle of co-incidence : if you have a tendency to over-or-under bid, but then end up with a partner who is completely opposite to you, the inevitable co-incidence of compensating errors might well provide you both with success
  • Bidding Without Fear And Inhibition........................Gay A. Bandon
  • Bridge : Moving Forward The Old Fashioned Way......Orson Cart
  • The Ultimate Bridge Gospel.........................................Evan Gellick
  • How To Win By A Massive Margin............................... Alan Slyde
  • Why I Didn't Play The Ace, Partner..............................Dinah Avitt
  • If I'm Going Down For Cheating, Then So Are You...C. U. N. L. Foreshaw
  • Killing Leads and Killing Defence..................................Eve L. Myndid
  • To Get God On Your Side..............................................Neil Downe / Ann Prey
  • Going For Glory....Or Bust............................................Orla Noffin
  • Why I'm So Useless At This Game.................................Lois S. Team

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG..............................................
Dear Rebecca, I am writing to you because you are known to have a powerful voice within the ranks of those who run the EBU. It has occurred to me, for quite some time now, that the game is indeed controlled by men for the benefit and advantage of men. The degree of male chauvinism, which seems so endemic within the regulatory bodies worldwide, is best illustrated by the fact that all categories of masterpoint rankings all end in "master". This is a clear gender specific word, which suggests to the world at large that the notion of progression has only men in mind....not women. Could you please use your weight and influence to tell the EBU that all this club master, advanced master, regional master, premier life master and grandmaster gender-bias crap has to be scrapped immediately. Perhaps, as an alternative they could introduce non-specific, genderless categories based on (coloured) stars: white, yellow....through to black. This would be very much in keeping with the coloured belt rankings adopted in karate/judo. Yours, speaking on behalf of the new suffragette movement in bridge, Miss. T. Windows
Dear T, You have certainly raised an interesting point, which has certainly hit a chord with me. I too have felt very uncomfortable with the idea of having a ranking title with the word "master" in it. Therefore, it seems to me that the EBU could be running the risk of being charged with either sexist attitudes, or sexual discrimination against women ( for their continual non-recognition of the female gender in their masterpoint rankings. So yes, I will raise this issue with the EBU bigwigs, but in the meantime I suggest you obtain legal advice from the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Yours feeling quite forceful and masterly, Rebecca
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG.............................
Dear Rebecca, I am a transsexual. Or should I say, I'm midway through a series of operations to complete my change from a woman to a man. The reason behind this gender-change decision is purely down to one overwhelming desire of mine. And that is to break into the male-dominated elite of top class bridge players. It was obvious to me that as a woman the path that would get me into the top flight was strewn with numerous man-made obstacles. By becoming a man, I am convinced that I have a much better chance of gaining the recognition and acceptance I thoroughly deserve. Do you think I am doing the right thing ?.
Yours, not now a woman, Nora Mann
Dear Nora, In many ways I agree with your view of a male-dominated bridge world, and I also empathise with your frustration at being ignored and/or spurned by the closed ranks of top flight men. However, to undergo a sex change seems to me a rather drastic and extreme step to take. So do I think you're doing the right thing ?.....To be honest. I would say "no". I have for many years held the view that " I am so glad to be born a woman.....because if I were a man I would have to marry one ! ". Yours admiring your balls, Rebecca

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

FORESIGHT IS WHAT MAKES JOHNNY SUPREME..................................
The other day I watched Johnny play a few boards. Nothing spectacular...but Johnny is not that type of player. But he does have foresight. The hand he played to defeat 6H illustrates his ability superbly. ( Other declarers in the room had much easier times against weak and wooden defenders. ) But Mr. Foresight was on lead, and so he naturally kicked off with the king of diamonds from: (void)...K974....KQJ1083....K86.
In dummy he saw the following : J10753...Q52...(void)....AQJ104. Declarer took the first trick by ruffing in dummy. then came the queen of hearts, which was allowed to hold. Over to the ace of hearts, followed up by the jack, which Johnny was obliged to take. Based on the bidding ( and the play ) he knew declarer was also out of diamonds, and certainly held the Ace of spades. But what if declarer was holding 9x of clubs....and was allowed to get in with a diamond ruff to draw the outstanding trump......surely, it would be all over for the defence ( 5H, 5C, Diamond ruff, and1S ). Moreover, exiting with a low club was also futile if it allowed declarer to win with the nine. So what card did Johnny play ?......the King of Clubs of course ! He knew that declarer could not enjoy 5 club winners, unless he had 3 to the 9. So declarer would be forced to return to hand with a spade.....ooops.....slam is one-off.......because declarer did indeed have that 9x doubleton in clubs, in a 4-6-1-2 distribution.
THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY...............................................................
  • CHO : a slang term used for a partner who seems solely intent on aiding and abetting the opponents rather than you. So if you are up against 3 players, your partner becomes the Centre Hand Opponent.
  • Closed Hand : a fist
  • Deck : what you inevitably do to a CHO with a closed hand
  • Echo : the sound which rings around your partner's head after he's hit the deck
  • Cross : something one has to bear when required to play with a clueless partner (bumbledog)
To fully understand this syndrome, I need to provide a bit of background about this particular man. Diagones was an ancient Greek philosopher, who lived in a wine barrel and promoted weird ideas of nihilism and animalism. Famously, when he was asked by Alexander The Great what he wanted most in the world, he replied : " For you to get out of my sunlight ! ".
This syndrome is a condition characterised by bouts of self-neglect, reclusive tendencies, and irrational hoarding of things. It is most common in old people, and is therefore associated with senile breakdown. Within the world of bridge there is, as we all well know, an acute problem of an ageing membership. Therefore, it is not surprising to see more and more instances of this syndrome cropping up, especially within the male half of this card-obsessed fraternity.
Far too many bridge playing men choose to arrive at the club in scruffy clothes, inevitably grubby and rarely ironed. They arrive early....and always take up the same table seats with their regular partners, who in most cases are fellow victims of this unusual syndrome. They rarely interact and engage with other club members, always making sure they leave the club as soon as the session has ended. They just simply disappear into their reclusive almost secret lives, until the following week when they spookily reappear at the club. Some sufferers have been known to buy countless bridge books over the years, which they hoard away never choosing to read them or pass them on. Bridge it seems is the only activity which takes them out of their homes, other than essential shopping and trips to the post-office ( to pick up their pension ). When I approached a sufferer at my local club and asked what I could do to help him, he simply replied : " For you to get out of my're blocking my path to the door ".