Sunday, 28 February 2010

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY.............................
  • Beer card : a card which is often used to stand on your beer glass on, as an improvised substitute for a missing beer mat. Indeed, the first time this happened, the seven of diamonds was chosen.
  • Average minus : a term most top players use to describe all others
  • 14-30 : the time of day during a congress event when most young male players have consumed their third pint
  • Filth : the type of language used by players who are sick of being dealt garbage hands
  • Block : something a player puts his neck on, when attempting an audacious psyche
  • Futile Willie : originally a character in S.J. Simon's book, but now used to describe a player who has lost his ability to make even an adequate score
  • Dump : the place where all the score-cards of average minus players end up
  • Barrage : a term used to describe the sheer volume and velocity of insults that can rain down on you, if you happen to upset your highly volatile and explosive partner

Saturday, 27 February 2010

A very well known ( but not well liked ) lady bridge player was invited to attend the latest HOF award ceremony and banquet. She was a self-confessed man-hater, but her stunning looks and superb brain attracted many male suitors from the upper echelons of the bridge world. However, she spurned all their bids and bold advances, preferring instead to partner her long time lesbian friend.
So when she was called out to collect her award, and with it admission into the hallowed fraternity of the game's most celebrated players, she was asked " what factors contributed to your success ? " . Before she could answer several suggestions boomed out from the audience......
- " Your impregnable defence ? "
- " Your inconceivable single-mindedness ? "
- " Your unbearable table presence ? "
Dismissing these suggestions with utter contempt, she glared at her tormentors for several seconds. Then, with a real cutting edge to her voice, she coldly replied : " men as usual have got it all wrong.....for as a bridge player....and a success in this male chauvinistic world is simply down to two things.....I am both insurmountable and inscrutable. "

Friday, 26 February 2010

As a young psycho-analyst I often wondered why so many club players treat bridge as their religion, and the club house as their temple. But now I know the answer : they are all victims of a disorder known as the Jerusalem Syndrome.
Jerusalem is said to be the only city in the world with its own psychiatric condition. People who come to this city suddenly start to believe in the idea they must go forward in life as prophets, or incarnations of biblical figures. Proclaiming themselves to be the new generation of God's agents, and disciples of the Lord, they start to spout a whole load of nonsense about disturbing revelations and visions of the future, and how Christian values can lead to a better life. Indeed, the city gets more than its fair share of religious fanatics, who rant on and on about the second coming of Christ, or Armageddon. The fact that only sane people succumb to this syndrome seems baffling, in that completely mad people don't. Their transformation into religious zealots causes many of them to wander around the old city ruins, and the biblical wilderness outside, dressed in white sheets......claiming to be the chosen ones and the new Messiahs of the 21st century.
Yet, it is my contention that a variant of the Jerusalem Syndrome has reared its head inside bridge clubs, all over the world. Visitors turn up at these clubs to learn the game, but without realising what is happening, they treat bridge as their new found religion. Their willingness to devote their whole lives to this new calling is frightening. Nothing else at all now matters to them......bridge has become the God of Light........who has enabled them to see their true selves, and their new missions in life. Firstly, they must spread the word of the Wonder of Bridge, persuading others to come to the temples and be converted. Secondly, they must teach the non-believers in the club, the ways the Bridge Gods want the game to be played. In no time at all, bridge clubs are swarming with these bridge preaching zealots, who see themselves as the new bridge gurus....the fountains of all knowledge and wisdom. They preach the gospels of the Acol Bible, and the Rules of the Sacred Orange Book. Nothing stops them in their quest to convert others into following suit. Nothing stops them in spouting out endless loads of patronising, sanctimonious clap-trap. I have tried, believe you me, dozens of theraputic treatments on these poor souls, but all to Noah Veil.
A BRIEF WORD FROM THE BIGOT........................
My editorial team and I have been working our butts off to keep this blog fresh, informative, amusing, and in a few rare instances, shockingly crude. We know we are in a niche market providing a bridge blog like no other. We know that bridge players in the main are a sad, grumpy, miserable lot of individuals who need cheering up. Hey, when we don't win we feel the same way ourselves. But we're not prepared to let bridge grind us down into despairing and pathetic whingers.....NO....we're not the sort to take anything lying down. We are upstanding writers, prepared to make light of our wretched bridge scores, totally committed to bringing back smiling faces to all those who play the game ( as well as those who think they can ). Hour after hour, day after day, we try to dream up alternative content, using outrageous articles to either simply amuse readers....or raise serious issues in a subtle and light-hearted way.......praying of course that whoever reads this bridge-blog has a compatable sense of humour.
Naturally, we are very pleased to be getting interest from all over the world ( especially Venezuala ), with people curious enough to have " an initial look "..................but what this blog needs is a " dedicated following " . We need to know that their are hundreds of warped minds out there who really love this stuff, if only to help motivate and spur us on to produce more. So if you are a fan of this blog, we beg you to sign up as a follower........and if you're reading this Memphis Mojo Man, make sure you're the first up ( because sure as hell, we've signed up to your very entertaining and readable blog ).
Yours the irrepressible, Bigot-Johnson
( And to all those members at Sheffield Bridge Club who claimed to " love " our Newsletters...... who begged us to come back as editors....... well, howcome then, I don't see too many of your names on our list of followers.......? )
A MOST PECULIAR FACT........... ( An observation by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )
I have always been amazed as to how bridge players can calculate the percentage probabilities involved assessing particular lines of play, and the chances of their success in steering home a difficult contract. They seem able to calculate the percentage probabilities regarding how a particular suit might break against them, and what the exact chances are of finding a particular card where they need it to be. So how come then....that 90% of bridge players say, with both knowledge and conviction, that they are better than the other 90%.
PUBLISHERS OF PORN RELEASE YET MORE BRIDGE BOOKS.......... ( Shocking discoveries by Pun )
  • Where Would You Like To Sit, Partner ?.................Honour Commode
  • Develop That Killer Instinct...................................Anna Sassin
  • I'm Looking To Score Big........................................Sheila Blidge
  • Bridge In Alberta...................................................Ed Monton
  • Sorry Partner, I Had Too Much To Drink................Kay Lyde
  • That Grandmaster Can Perform Miracles................Jim M. E. Cricket
  • And So Can His Partner..........................................Gorden Bennett
  • I Much Prefer To Play With Men.............................Dick Stroker
  • Where Was That Grand We Missed..........................Harry Zonah
  • How I Became A Bridge Heavyweight.....................Wade Moore

Thursday, 25 February 2010

REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG..................................................
Dear Rebecca, We're playing teams, so the over-tricks don't matter. My partner is in 4H. On a spade lead he sees in dummy: AKx....Q87....Jx......AK87x, opposite his Qx....A1098x....Ax....J9xx. Contrary to all expectations he went one off bemoaning a 4-1 heart break, and a 3-1 club break, whilst deep finesse says 12 tricks were on. Anyway, what is the safest line to take to steer this contract home. Yous still a bit miffed by his play, Ronald
Dear Ronnie, I'm a bit perplexed as to that why he failed to make a fairly straightforward contract. Initially, there appears to be 4 losers (1C, 1D and 2H ), but the diamond loser can go away on the 3rd round of spades, which will surely stand up. Given the layout of the cards, the double heart finesse restricts the heart losers to just 1. Moreover, if hearts are breaking 4-1 in one hand, the odds favour the clubs breaking 3-1 in the other ( Principle of Symmetry ) .
Nevertheless, care is needed to restrict the hearts losers to no more than 2. After 3 rounds of spades, you're over in dummy to run the 8 of hearts at trick 4. So lets look at what happens if your RHO has four to the king ( worst case scenario ). Your LHO will win with his stiff jack. No big deal. Inevitably a diamond will come flying back which you take with your Ace. Now you must play an unblocking 9 of clubs to dummy's Ace, which according to you sees your RHO play the 10 ( a singleton no doubt ). Again, no big deal. Now play the heart queen, which will pick up the king, either now or later, proceeding of course to clear hearts in the process. Then run the jack of clubs .....if it loses against a Q10 doubleton ( worst scenario ) so what....... you're bound to come home with 3C, 3H, 1D, a diamond ruff, 3S
If the hearts are breaking 4-1 off-side, then sure enough the queen will lose to the king, but on a diamond return you ruff, take out the remaining trumps, and take on the improbable club finesse. I know this means your RHO was dealt two singletons, but if successful you make 3H (including the diamond ruff ), 3S, 1D and 4C. If the 3-1 club break is the other way, the contract was always doomed. The 2-2 split of course never happens when you want it to.
But what if, at trick 2, you decide instead to lead a low heart towards dummy's 8, losing to the jack ? Back comes the diamond. So you rise with the Ace, go over to dummy's boss spades to pitch your losing diamond away, and then run the queen of hearts, picking up the king if your RHO has it, with again only a possible club to lose. If the queen loses to the off-side King to four, no doubt another diamond will come back. Again, it's a case of ruffing, clearing trumps and running the jack of clubs this time, to finesse the queen, putting all your hopes on pinning your RHO's stiff 10.
My philosophy on hands like this is simple ; if one suit behaves badly, then the other might not. If both happen to be wrong, then your score will be no different from any of the others. Yours Rebecca
( Despite being only allowed back into the club on a once-a-week trial basis, Bigot-Johnson still managed to get summoned to appear before this sub-committee. This time it was to explain why he elected to psyche opening bids on every single board. Not surprisingly, several of his opponents wrote in complaining about him psyching on all 3 boards he played against them. The transcript of the hearing can be seen below. )
Chairman : Are you bigot-Johnson aware of the club's policy on psyching ?...............
B-J : Yes...I certainly am....and I as see it the club acknowledges the psyche as a legitimate bidding tactic, which can be used against experienced players.....which the Thursday bunch of whingers claim to be.
Chairman: Yes...but I would like to add that the policy goes on to say that psyches must (a) not be frivolous, (b) come as much as a surprise to partner as they will do to the opponents, and (c) not be part of any secret agreement or tacit understanding, which enables your partner to expect them... and accordingly bid with caution.
B-J ; Well.....allow me to comment on each of these particular requirements. Firstly, none of my psyches were frivolous. Each one had a sound tactical reason behind its use. Deception requires cunning, and cunning requires brains. Often by making an opening bid on a void suit ( below the suit you expect to buy the contract in ) you can shaft the opponents in so many different ways. In no trumps, the bid might inhibit the opposition to lead that suit. Whereas if you're defending a suit contract, partner will no doubt dutifully lead it.....only for you to get in an immediate and damaging ruff.
Chairman : Alright...alright, I can see the logic behind those two examples.....but what if...
B-J : .... Partner raises me ? Remember, I will always have a self-supporting suit to fall back ....of a higher rank. Moreover, should I psyche a spade, I will endeavour have either Ace doubleton, or Ace to three. Even if I'm raised in the suit, with a 4-2 or 4-3 fit, plus at least one top honour, I'm skilled enough to scramble enough tricks for a decent score. But more often than not, it will stop the opponents finding a rigid game contract in that suit.
Chairman : Hmmmm.....interesting observations......
B-J : And as to the club's policy that players should mention on their convention cards any tendency to psyche.....well, there was no need to, because until then I have never bothered to use such risky bids. It was only when I saw who I was partnering that night......a complete wooden top.....I decided there and then, that a whole new tactical approach was needed if I was ever going to win.
Chairman : But you didn't fact, you came bottom on 42%
B-J : Yes....that was all down to partner.....but coming back to these policy requirements......partner could not help but be taken by surprise... he hadn't the faintest idea about what was going on....and importantly he had no bloody idea about what to do later on in the bidding. He never dreamt for one minute that I was ever likely to psyche again on the very next board.
Chairman : Surely, the mere fact you were doing it on every board, surely meant he had to expect more of the same ?
B-J : No....your logic is flawed. After the first disastrous board, my Noddy of a partner would have thought the following : " That's not like Bigot...he'll not risk another bad board with a reckless psyche". So after the a second one, he would have then thought: " What.... two in a row.....surely he not mad enough to consider doing it for a third time. Therefore, by the time we've got to board 15, his thoughts would have been on the following lines: " Surely to God, he'll not do one can be that stupid ? ". Indeed, the longer the sequence ....the greater his belief it would come to an end.
Chairman : I don't see it.....
B-J: Look, let me remind you of an incident that took place at the Monte Carlo casinos. Here roulette gamblers lost vast fortunes because of a sequence of winning black numbers. Once the sequence extended ten, they were convinced that a red number would come up next, and so they were prepared to keep doubling their stakes until it did. But the sequence of black numbers continued, until they all became suicidal bankrupts. So the analogy is no different to my situation: partner became more and more convinced that the sequence of psyches had to end, because at some stage I would have to make a normal opening bid ....if only to balance things out.
Chairman : Even if all this is true, my duty as chairman is to ensure the game of bridge at this club does not fall into disrepute. I must attempt to appease the majority, who by and large dislike psyches immensely. Therefore, you are barred from using such outrageous bids..... or any other bids for that matter which constitute major deviations.....ever again. You Bigot have used up your quota for a life-time in one single event. Have you anything to say other than "bugger " ?
B-J :'ve taken the very word right from my mouth.....

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

PUN'S FANTASY BRIDGE ........( A story based on an unseen film clip from the Wizard of Oz )
Dorothy Gale breezed into the games room and immediately sat herself down into the recently vacated East seat. The moment had finally arrived for the big rubber match winner-takes-all showdown. She would be partnering The Cowardly Lion in the first of 3 sixteen board sessions, and although he was renown for his timid bidding and over-cautious attitude, she was confident that they would do well. Her opponents were the brainless Scarecrow and Nick Chopper, the whisky drinking Tin Man. Each had put in $4000 into the pot, and once they had all partnered each other, the player with the highest aggregate score would be deemed the winner.
Dorothy thought sessions 1 and 2 flew by with easy contracts being bid and made by both sides. All four were still in contention, but Dorothy was narrowly in front. However, she was now to partner the Scarecrow, who was very rigid and wooden in his bidding. After four relatively poor boards, he carelessly binned a simple 4H contract on board 5. Dorothy thought to herself " This is the last straw........I've got no bloody chance.....I've blown it ! " Then on board 9 he did it again. Her opponents, who were clearly relishing these unsolicited gifts, were more than happy to see the puff taken out from her sails. But now she rallied herself ....."Gale....force the bidding a bit more, and push them into going one level too high".
Then came the penultimate board. The Scarecrow had passed without a moment's thought. The Cowardly Lion thought for a while and passed also ( all indications suggesting a poor 12 count ). Dorothy with nothing more than 8 diamonds to the queen decided to open 4C !! The Tin man who had been waiting all night for a hand like this elected to bid 5C, which resulted in a final contract of 6S ....doubled and redoubled. Scarecrow dutifully lead a small club from three, gobsmacked to see dummy coming down with AKQxx in that suit. " Goodness gracious me.....what sort of dotty 4C bid was that ?" The bid was not "dotty" at all, as evidenced by her smartly taken club ruff. Sensing the opponents were also missing an Ace, Dorothy found the heart switch for Scarecrow to top declarer's king, only to be given another priceless opportunity to ruff a second club. Plus 1000 to the good guys.
This result caused the Tin Man to really flip his lid. Drinking like a man with hollow legs, he now had the look of someone who was well and truly canned. As he made his way to the bar for another double whisky, he was clearly wobbling all over the place. Scarecrow ,oblivious to the effects of alcohol, queried whether or not he was suffering from tinnitus.
Still seething about having been done over by a psyche and threatening to kill, The Tin man eventually managed to sit down at the table to play the last board. "Have a heart " said The Cowardly Lion, " She's only a little girl. She was well within her rights to make a bid like that. Anyway, you should have doubled first with a hand like yours, and I would have left the double in. Even if she pulled it, they were at least 5 off vulnerable." These remarks really rattled The Tin man even more.
On board 16, The Cowardly Lion at last plucked up courage, and by stretching his hand somewhat, opened 2S. He tried to mimic the exuberant cavalier bidding of the players from the roaring 1920's. Playing opposite The Tin Man was completely different to the No Fear bridge he was use to back home. All the bridge lions there took pride in their respect for the feelings of others. But now, he felt stronger, braver ....a person who was prepared to take risks. Despite being labelled as a man with no balls, The Tin Man decided nerves of steel were called for, and so he had no hesitation in jumping straight to 6S, with his guaranteed four trick hand. Scarecrow, who had always played his bridge in very large fields, had sufficient nous to double this contract with his QJ109 of spades. This vulnerable and overbid slam also failed by two tricks. The good guys again enjoyed another big penalty handout.
The Tin Man was still complaining at the finish about the 4C psyche, which effectively saw Dorothy walking away with the prize money. " I'm appealing to the grand wizard to have that result scrapped......because of her disgraceful tactics." In a rare moment of inspired wit, the Scarecrow replied: " Like me, Tin haven't a leg to stand on. Taking on Dorothy Gale over this issue would be like pissing against the wind ". And as it happened nothing more was said.........and so they all set about their journey once again along the yellow brick road.
BRIDGE SENDS YOU CRAZY........( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )
It is claimed that there are only a certain number of ways to make a sane man go crazy, and there are many different forms in which this " craziness " can manifest itself. Most of these forms are listed in the psychologist's bible " The Diagonistic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently in its 4th edition. Along with the psych-ward greatest hits like schizophrenia and depression, this wonderful book lists some rather unusual, less-than-common, conditions.
Not surprisingly, nearly all of these are bridge-related. Indeed, my research is beginning to establish beyond all reasonable doubt that the most effective way to go crazy is to take up bridge . Once anybody starts down that loose marble road, then in no time at all they fall victim to some bizarre and amazing mental disorders, some of which Dr. John himself has yet to come across.
First off is the condition known as the Othello Syndrome, which is also known as delusional morbid jealously. Bridge players who fall victim to this affliction behave like men " possessed ", utterly convinced that their partners are cheating on them in some way or another. Crazy notions enter their tortured and twisted minds that their partners are secretly seeking out, and courting others, as their first and favoured choices. Merely talking to another player plunges victims into fits of jealousy and anger, such is the severity of their paranoia.
Then there is the internet addiction, which ironically starts out as a " craze " but very quickly turns its victims into " screen crazies ". The main attraction of course is the inexpensive, interesting, and comfortable world it offers. Once victims get totally hooked, they will spend an absurd number of hours either reading or writing bridge blogs, or playing hand after hand of bridge on one of many of the free game-hosting sites, with people who are just as crazy about bridge as them.
Brain fag is another common type of disorder associated with crazy bridge players. Victims convince themselves that the mental demands of bridge really " hurts " their brains. This conviction is either an irrational desire for constant sympathy, or an advanced excuse for a pending disaster, when they next botch an attempt at bidding and/or playing the cards. Victims will claim they have symptoms such as blurred vision, to perhaps excuse them for diabolical bidding. " Sorry partner, I got my clubs mixed up with my spades! ". They will also allege that they have acute neck and head pains, as a consequence of experiencing too much stress and pressure elsewhere in their lives. Where they lose touch with reality is believing that brain fag accounts for their poor performance, rather than accepting the unpalatable truth about themselves.....this of course being........ they are, and always will be, crap players.
So yes, bridge does something to sane men that no other sport or recreational game ever can do. It heaps upon them all kinds of mental disorders, which in most cases are both progressive and uncontrollable. To visit any bridge club is to walk in and witness a bizarre world full of deranged and troubled souls. God help every one of them.
THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY....................................
  • Blizzard : a hand that is so lacking in colour cards, that players genuinely believe they have been dealt a blank set of cards with a pure white backround
  • Unfinished rubber : one that is best ignored and forgotten........ and, if wishing to play it safe, should be immediately discarded
  • Wolff signal : a clever device used by responder after his partner's 2NT rebid : first he inserts both fingers into his mouth and blows, which is then followed up by a 3C relay bid . The soft or hard whistle tone will of course tell partner whether responder's first bid was weak or strong.
  • Bridge : what you and your partner are obliged to rebuild after your recent falling out, if trust and confidence is ever going to be restored
  • SNAP : what happens to most players' tempers when results go from bad to worse
  • Attitude leads : these are attributed to defending players who slam their cards down onto the table with real venom, in a blatant attempt to convey the following message to partner: " I have a high honour card in this suit SO USE THIS INFORMATION TO MAXIMUM EFFECT.....or else "
  • Stiff : a term which relates to the sensation a member experiences, when he ( or it) gets over-excited
  • Slow arrival : a situation in which two players, after careful approach bidding, finally grind their way to a fulfilling conclusion

Monday, 22 February 2010

SO WHAT IS WRONG WITH BRIDGE ?......( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
In my opinion, bridge is the best game on earth. Its abstract beauty is something to behold. The endless number of adrenalin rushes you experience after steering home a difficult contract, or defeating an opponent's impregnable slam, makes playing the game the most pleasurable experience ever. Indeed, there are dozens of really good reasons why people should take up bridge. The most important being the mental demands of the game help you to retain all your mental faculties for much longer than would otherwise be the case. As a mental health issue this is massive, especially in a world where an ever-ageing population is plagued by Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia.
Years ago, in the 1940's, bridge was on a roll. In over two-fifths of American homes you could expect to find one or more of the occupants playing some form of bridge as one of their enjoyable pastimes. Sadly, the game has failed to maintain the popularity it had back then. So what then is wrong with bridge today?
Many commentators have suggested it's the game's complexity, which has become a barrier to any possibility of a modern resurgence. Has the game become just too difficult to learn? Or is it the case that the game has become even more difficult to master with its vast catalogue of approaches, techniques and stratagems, for playing the 635,013,559,600 possible bridge hands?
Well, when one has a passion for bridge, like myself, it is hard to understand why the "complexity issue" is a major turn-off. The main attraction for me is the game's endlessly unfolding complexity. No matter how much you know, there is still so much more to learn. Yet that aspect of complexity is not what some of the commentators are referring to : for them it is the new generation of over-elaborate bidding systems, with loads of artificial, two-way, three-way bids, leaving perplexed and confused opponents either bereft of effective counter measures, or terribly unsure as to how best to use ones they have. Trying to envisualise what the opponents hands might be only becomes possible later on, when clarification or confirmation bids are made. By this time, the opportunity has gone for the bamboozled opponents to compete. It's all very well having a 6 page convention card on the table for opponents to look at, but if they have never come across that system or that particular convention, they are seriously disadvantaged. Explanations may well be given, when alerts are queried, but they rarely include information as to how to defend or take counter-measures against them.
But if anything is more off putting to people initially interested in taking up the game, then look no further at the ever expanding rule book, and the endless deluge of alerts that the bidding rules now require. Then there is the complexity of procedural rules which attempt resolve the thousands of "situations" that can crop up during the play of a hand. So when a TD is called over for alleged breaches, there is much to be read and digested before a resolution can be made. Hesitations are a minefield, given the complexity of situations as to when, how and why a hesitation took a place. Was it unintentional, bad practice, or just plain deliberate. Did it convey unauthorised information, or not? All too often rules are used as a score-enhancing weapons against naive and ignorant opponents.
People who worry about the future of bridge despair when they see the growing popularity of poker, both on the net and in the big city arenas. If any card game is likely to appeal to the younger set, then it's poker. The simple truth is that poker is far less complex than bridge to learn. It takes 30 minutes to teach the basics of Texas hold'em, and in an hour many new players can be as good as fifty percent of those who have played the game for years. The rules also very straightforward, and the only time an umpire is called over is when there's an allegation of cheating. This in itself is very difficult to do, when the dealer is a non-playing participant. The problem for poker players is not so much about the card reading, and figuring out what the opponents have, but the reading of the way they bet with particular hands.
It has always been my view that bridge players are very complex characters, far more than poker players. If poker players lose a great deal of money, they rarely have tantrums and histrionics at the table. They get up, blame Lady Luck for deserting them in their hour of need, and quietly walk away. Bridge players with their complex personalities do not allow themselves to be so philosophical. There is always someone else is to blame : partners, the TDs, their unethical opponents, plus countless other idiots elsewhere in the room handing over gifts to pairs sitting their direction. One can not help but notice the bad press that bridge has got over the years, with so many players behaving so badly. The complexities involved in achieving perfect harmony and understanding with partner often prove too overwhelming. By taking the game far too seriously, the blips or slips partners make lead to irrational and inevitable outbursts. So any newcomers, who might well be looking on, will surely change their minds about joining the club......purely on the grounds of self-preservation.
So yes, there is a lot wrong with bridge....and it requires a massive culture change and revamped image to arrest its decline......and maybe bring about a resurgence in its popularity and appeal.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Moebius Syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects bridge players in particular. Victims of this condition would be remembered as lively, happy smiling players, but their ability to display exuberance and form facial expressions has now completely gone. The syndrome is often associated with, or linked to, their inability to derive any enjoyment or pleasure from the game. Players with this condition find it impossible to move their facial muscles, but as yet the neurological reasons behind this strange phenomenon remain unknown. However, some of the possibilities relating to bridge players are (a) the fear of being accused of using facial expressions to convey unauthorised information about their hands to partner, or (b) the complete numbness that overwhelms players following their embarrassing cock-ups in the bidding and/or play of the cards.
Acute sufferers lose the ability to smile, frown, suck, or even blink their eyes. Indeed, they are similarly unable to move their eyes from side to side, and have great difficulty in swallowing liquidised food and drinking beverages.....without dribbling on themselves. Outsiders, who have inadvertently stumbled across a duplicate event, all claim to have witnessed a world of the living dead, or one packed full of elderly people locked away in a comatose state . The reality of course is that they have witnessed large numbers of players with the moebius syndrome .....all displaying the classic characteristics of stiff upper-body postures, passive expressions and dead-pan faces. Not a sight for the faint-hearted.

Friday, 19 February 2010

This syndrome, originally associated with mothers who have seen their children leave home, is the name given to a psychological condition that can also affect mediocre to average bridge players. The symptoms always occur around the time that one, or more, of their partners sever their long-standing arrangements to play with them. Victims with this syndrome, who then encounter sudden and unexpected departures, quickly succumb to feelings of being abandoned, and bouts of depression.
" Empty nest " is not a term that you will find in many medical text books, but syndrome has became a useful label to encapsulate the feelings of sadness, loss, rejection and inadequacy that sufferers experience. Being snubbed by partners who no longer wish to play with them causes their levels of self-esteem to reach new lows.
Strangely, the syndrome tends to rear its head around autumn time, when for most bridge clubs the new calendar year starts. This is when there are fresh rounds of club competitions, plus the arrival of both local and regional league fixtures. The symptoms become even more severe when victims see their ex-partners setting up new relationships with each other. This gives a clear signal to them that anyone but them offers improved chances at being successful at the game. This all too often results in the painful acknowledgement that their useful bridge lives have effectively ended. However, some will either fall back on unsuspecting new beginners to take under their wings as partners, while others seek temporary solace from forming partnerships with fellow sufferers. Many will turn to anti-depressants, but the sight of seeing so many ex-partners performing so much better at the game, with huge smiles on their faces, quickly negates the beneficial effects of these drugs.

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

  • Score : something you have to settle........ usually against an old adversary, or ex-partner
  • Tempo : refers to the particular rhythm or beat a player employs when strumming his fingers on the table
  • Inverted raise : an absurdly illogical bidding tactic, in which a jump raise takes you to a level beyond where you need to be, in contrast to a single level raise which takes you to a level below where you ought to be
  • Advanced sacrifice : yet another absurdly illogical bidding tactic, where responder ( on hearing his RHO double his partner's 3 level pre-empt ) jumps to the 5 level on garbage. This insane manoeuvre guarantees them a minus 800/1100 for 4 off doubled, when the maximum loss they could have otherwise incurred, by simply passing, was minus 660 for a game bid and made by their opponents.
  • Novice : one without sin : a rarity in the world of bridge
  • Bust : something every vain and conceited bridge player has of himself in his home, usually his most treasured artifact
  • Length : ( alternative definition ) the size of a club member's member
Following his recent pairs triumph whilst out on parole, Bigot was determined to wallow in glory and boast about his success. That was until Percy Pantopod read the Reuters news flash, which compelled him to bring a private prosecution against Bigot and his partner. Charges were brought against them under various sections of the Theft Act, including " obtaining property by deception" . The final part of the trial's transcript can be seen below, where Bigot as usual was defending himself.
Percy: Are you familiar with the rules of bridge, Bigot ?
B-J : Yes
Percy : Well, by Third-eye's own admission he was able to read the cards by virtue of coded pattern markings on the backs.......... because he was of course the pattern designer. This amounts to blatant cheating. And according to the rules of bridge, this unacceptable behaviour completely invalidates your score-card.
B-J : Oh dear.....
Percy : Indeed, Third-eye's cheating was in effect a form of deception, whereby he pretended to play by the rules when in fact the opposite was true. This means that by taking the trophy, you were both guilty of obtaining this valuable piece of silverware by deception. Furthermore, you your stubborn refusal to hand it back....are guilty of wrongful possession......or should I say.... handling stolen goods.
B-J : Bugger.....
Percy : Therefore, as runners-up in this competition, my wife and I declare ourselves as winners, and that the trophy is rightfully ours.
Judge : I concur with these two declarations......
B-J : Just a minute.....just a minute....You Pantopod, and your wife, followed directly behind us throughout the whole event. What's both cranked up your hearing aids so that you could listen in to all our post-hand discussions. Or else, please explain to this court the curious fact that you ended up in the same contracts as us, making the very same judgement calls, decisions and plays as Third-eye. You might call this an unbelievable set of co-incidences.....I call it cheating. The only reason we pipped you by 0.4% was that we beat you on the boards that you played first....boards you had to bid and play without any prior knowledge of the outcomes.
Percy : Damn you Bigot...
Judge : Well, I never.....this means in the light of these new startling revelations, I must award the trophy to the third placed pair.
Percy : You can't.....they're a couple of accomplished mind-readers.
Judge : Good grief ! Then the trophy must go to the couple coming fourth.
B-J : You can't....Jeremiah and Joshua Fielding are known to be telepathic twins.
Judge : This is getting ridiculous....then I award the trophy to the fifth placed pair.
Percy : You can't.....they're both experts in behavioural studies and body language communication.
Judge : That's it. I've heard enough. This bizarre and crooked world of bridge is too much for me. This ridiculous case is at an end. Give the bloody trophy way to charity.....
B-J : You can't...because Charity poor soul came last... she hoisted herself to death on her own pitchfork, having paid a vast fortune to hire a top class player of international standing to be her partner. It seems she took her 32% score very badly indeed, especially when they started out as odds-on favourites to win the event.
Judge : Someone find me a pitchfork.....
BRIDGE BOOKS THAT TOOK MY FANCY................... ( By Pun )
  • I'm Forever Giving Opponents Gifts........................Jenna Rossity
  • Don't Keep Pinching My Players...........................Bill Jerome Teem
  • Bridge Can Be Electrifying....................................A. C. Deesey
  • The Contracts I've Binned......................................Philippa Bucket
  • Let's Play Bridge..................................................Y. Knott
  • Keep Your Mouth Shut, Partner.............................Ulrika Garlick
  • Bridge In Calfornia................................................Sandy A. Goe
  • Husband And Wife Partnerships............................Mick Stubbles
  • My Partner Needs Sorting Out..............................Alf Hooker
  • How Good Is Zia Mahmood...................................Ray Sersharpe

Thursday, 18 February 2010

At long last Bigot Johnson has laid his hands on a pairs trophy. This happened very recently at the Walnut Tree Allotment BC's grand jamboree fund-raising event. Bigot turned up without a partner, having lost his last one in tragic circumstances. Fortunately, there were a few floaters around, and one seemed quite happy to play with him. Introduced as Ivor " Third-eye" Yurno, Bigot had his doubts about whether this guy could play bridge at all, but these very quickly disappeared as his partner brought off contract after contract. Every guess he had to make proved correct. He seemed to have an uncanny knack of knowing the position of all the key cards. Nothing provided greater proof of this than hand 26.
The contract was 3 NT in which Bigot found himself yet again as dummy. All he had in his hand was AQJ1098 in clubs and 3 small doubletons outside. Third-eye had a goodish hand but only a small singleton club. Having mustered 6 tricks from the first seven, the time had come to play clubs. Bigot, for once had counted the opposition's distribution. Third-eye's RHO clearly had length in the three other suits, leaving his LHO to hold the majority of the outstanding clubs. That favoured the RHO to hold the King. At trick 8 Third-eye lead a small club toward dummy and without any thought or hesitation played the Ace.....felling the stiff off-side King ! Then after gathering up the next 5 tricks, he entered up a score of +690 with Bigot's jaw still firmly fixed to the floor.
Later on after walking away with the trophy, Bigot turned to Third-eye and said : " I know now why you went up with the Ace on that 3NT hand.......because if the LHO opponent holds the king of clubs..... yes.... the finesse will work, but only two tricks are possible since he will have sufficient length in the suit to protect it . The only chance you had of making the contract therefore was to rise with the Ace, and find your RHO with the stiff king. Such simple logic. "
But to Bigot's great surprise, Third-eye replied ; " Logic never came into it. I knew it was there. You happen to be playing with Bill Boy Bunko's oldest and best know, the one who worked for a major card manufacturer. I was incredibly fortunate to come across packs of cards with of one of my patterned designs on the back ".
Bigot was almost lost for words.....except for three......."Well, bugger me..."

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

POETRY CAN SOOTHE THE SAVAGE BEAST............ ( Says Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )
Nothing bugs me more than really slow players, especially when they partner me. Their procrastination over each bid and play of a card sends me crazy. Hard as it is for me to ever agree with the Bigot, I fully endorse his views on how to deal with such irritating players : " Do the buggers in ".
However, not being a violent man I went to see my psycho-analyst and close friend, Dr. John, for some therapeutic advice. He suggested that I write a poem to help release all my inner frustration and anger over being made to wait time and time again. And to an extent writing this poem did have a calming effect. So please share my enjoyment over this little masterpiece, entitled " I Need To Get Even ".
My partner's so slow, its no idle boast
When it's his turn to play, I make myself toast
My partner's so slow, I just bury my head
Thinking why am I alive, I'm better off dead
My partner's so slow, he gets filthy looks
But at least I get time to read a few books
My partner's so slow, his brain must be sludge
Can someone out there give him a nudge
My partner's so slow, he grinds to a stop
If I had an axe on me I'd give him the chop
My partner's so slow, I've not heard a peep
I think the poor sod has fallen asleep
My partner's so slow, it makes my life hard
He takes all of a minute to play his last card
My partner's so slow, I can't take no more
I need to get even to settle the score
IS BRIDGE A SPORT......DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH .......... ( Article by Bigot-Johnson )
I'm on the verge of giving up this game. Why ? Well, I'm an expert for heaven's sake, and yet I'm forever coming second to Mr. and Mrs. Bloody Mediocre.
Now don't get me wrong for this article is not a sour grape diatribe about me just missing out on glory in numerous regional congresses and national competitions, to undeserving, anonymous, moderate ability, ludicrously lucky, jammy toe-rags.....Oh no....This article is about why bridge should never be classified as a true sport.
Not only is the game never played on a level playing field, but players half my calibre can very often succeed, leaving us top class players to question how could this happen. This phenomenon would never happen in any other sport.
Firstly, only in the world of bridge can one find players of all ability levels permitted to enter a premier competition. Perversely, this huge gulf in ability enables moderate players to find themselves catapulted to the top tables by virtue of meeting bus loads of rabbits early doors. Sometimes these extremely average players can even walk away with first prize, if the fickle hand of fate provides them with favourable draws against other non-experts pairs during the final rounds of the competition. This situation would never happen in any other sport.
However, my main point is this. In bridge the luck element is immense. It's not how well a pair does on a particular hand, the score they get depends on what the field is doing. Why just the other day my partner and I defended like trojans a 2S contract taking it one off for a top...or so we thought. But no....we met, of course, a timid pair of gross under-bidders. The field score was 4S doubled minus 1 or 2. So those tossers got a top by virtue of rank bad bidding and inept declarer play.
Indeed, the fact remains that in any pairs event, no pair will ever share the same experience as the others. Yes, a North/South pair will pick up and play the same hands as all the other pairs in their direction.....but different boards against different opponents. Luck might well determine that the mundane, wooden-headed pairs will meet the experts on boards destined to be flat, such as 3NT + 2 scores, because the defence only have 2 Aces to cash. But when the boards are particularly swingy, lo and behold they meet numpties, who will gift them unsolicited tops. And if that's not enough, then Lady Luck contrives to allow these unknown Janets and Johns to miss out altogether some extremely strong East/West pairs in their section. So by taking all these factors together, these undeserving luck merchants end up walking on water, having a charmed life, and submitting impressive scorecards.......without doing anything of any note.
And one other point is worthy of a mention. Sometimes the cards are all in favour of one direction. This could result in par players having hands of either no significance, or of no difficulty in terms of bidding or play. Their fate is determined by how the opposition set about their problematic holdings. Certainly, both experts and rabbits may over-bid on hands destined to fail, whilst rabbits also have a tendency to underbid or get complacent about over-tricks. On too many boards fortuitous tops are handed out willy-nilly fashion to these ordinary Joes.
On a final note, I would like to come back to my first point. In most sports it is only the best that are allowed to compete in a major competition, but if bridge continues to open its doors allowing the numpties to completely saturate the field.....then the potential for distorted outcomes becomes that much greater. And on that basis alone bridge should never lay claim to being a proper sport.

Monday, 15 February 2010

YES, BRIDGE IS A SPORT..........................SAYS CARP
Most people associate sport with an organised competitive event involving physical activity. Other requirements involve commitment, fair play, and a set of rules or customs by which the event is governed. However, although bridge is non-physical ( being only card game ), it is without doubt a mind sport requiring mental skills and agility of the highest order. Players in effect have to perform mental gymnastics in what can be described as an intellectual competitive event. Indeed, bridge requires participants to demonstrate their mental stamina, by maintaining their ability to stay extremely focused for very long periods of time.
If one is to look at the more traditional sports associated with the Olympics, you can't help but notice the role that sports psychologists play in mentally preparing the competitors before an event. It is important they go out into the arena with the right "mind set". Developing competitors' strategic and tactical decision-making skills becomes equally as important as developing their physical capabilities. The huge overlap in terms of " mind sets " is there for all to see.
I can think of several other reasons why bridge ought to be considered as a mind sport worthy of Olympic recognition:
- the mental stamina required
- the years of intense training and practice needed to achieve world class status
- the degree of effort, competence and determination needed to win
- the fact that success also depends upon unrelenting concentration, fighting spirit
and quick reflexes
- often, competitors are required to work together as a team, which means they must strive to develop a perfect understanding and tactical awareness of what to do in any given situation
Bridge also encompasses many other elements that are so characteristic of a sport: fair play, discipline, rules, ethics, application, and dedication. The game encourages competitive spirit, dialogue, communication, aggregation, friendship and solidarity. It is, without doubt, one of the greatest mind sports of all time, and those that aspire to world greatness deserve the same recognition and kudos given to Olympic heroes and heroines. Boxers battle in the ring with their fists for up to nine minutes, but bridge players battle with their brains for up to 4 hours in any one session. The stamina requirements may be different, but both sets of participants will come away from the experience shattered and exhausted.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

THE POWER OF SUPERSTITION............ ( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Barry Crane was reported to have several superstitious rules to which his partners were obliged to abide...or else. One of these was that if you had a two-way guess for a queen, you did not have to think about it. It was all too obvious and straightforward. The queen was over the jack in minors, and under the jack in the majors. So if you held Axxx and dummy had KJ109, you would lay down the Ace and lead to the jack, if the suit was a major. If the suit was a minor, you played low to the king, and finesse the queen coming back to hand. How easy is that ?
Then in a national competition, Grant Baze was playing with Barry Crane, and after ending up in 7 NT, Baze needed to pick up the missing queen of clubs to make all 13 tricks. With a two-way guess available, Baze had no worries about what to do. " I'll just follow Barry's rule, and if it doesn't work....well at least he'll keep his mouth shut . " However, during the play of the hand, Baze got a count of the clubs : LHO had 3 and the RHO had 2. This meant the odds favoured the LHO holding the queen, and so ignoring Barry's rule he finessed for the queen to be under the jack .
It lost ! Meanwhile on the other table, Mike Smolen was playing the same hand, and being familiar with Barry's rule decided to follow it......utterly convinced that if Barry played the contract the board would be flat. However, he also had a sneaky feeling that Baze, with his superb technique, would try to get a count of the suit, and play it correctly in accordance with the odds. To Mike's immense relief, the doubleton queen was offside, and he made the contract.
At this point, Mike turned to his partner and said, " If Baze is declarer in this contract, then listen out for an explosion upstairs ." How true that prediction was. Baze misguessed the queen and Crane went ballistic, screaming like a lunatic, and then running out of the room. When he came back he appeared to threw the next 6 boards in a row, only to discover the team ended up losing the event by 0.2%. Naturally, he blamed it all on Baze.
And the moral of this story is never under-estimate the teachings and wisdom of superstitions. They are powerful pointers to help you succeed in both life and bridge. And should you choose not to abide by will be punished.
( Footnote : After this incident, Baze tried, in the following tournaments to keep track of how many times Barry's rule succeeded in such 4-4 layouts with two-way guesses available. To his great surprise, the rule worked twice as many times as the percentages would give it credit for. Clearly, superstition has an important role to play in bridge...that is , of course , if you want to be a winner. )
A STRANGE THING HAPPENED THE OTHER DAY.............. ( True story by Dr. John )
A wild looking man, sporting a horrendous black moustache, blue and white striped T-shirt and a mariner's hat, entered my office and demanded my help.
" Doc....I need your help right away ."
" I can see that " I replied, with a keen observant eye, " So please lie down on the couch and tell me your problem ."
" You blithering idiot.....I don't have a problem. Have you no bloody idea who you're talking to....I am Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson. "
" Well, I never......."
" Yes....and let's get this's my wife who I am here about. Because God bless her soul, she's in deep mental trouble ."
" Please, do explain.....I'm really intrigued........So what pray seems to be her problem ? "
" For some bizarre reason, she's under the delusion that she's Mrs. Bigot-Johnson . "

Saturday, 13 February 2010

BIGOT IS MADE TO REFLECT.....................................
( Over the years Bigot-Johnson has mentored many students, but sadly the last one decided to take his own life. However, before he launched himself off a high tree with a cord tied around his neck, he left his mentor ....or should one say tormentor....this heartfelt and deeply moving poem.)
Partner, tell me tell me where I went wrong
Was it the time my careless revoke
Caused you to have that minor stroke
Or was it that time my mind was a haze
Where I completely forgot to make a game raise
Partner, tell me tell me where I went wrong
Was it that slam I put in the bin
Having committed the ultimate sin
Of letting the oppo make a small ruff
Because not pulling trumps was a tad duff
Partner, tell me tell me where I went wrong
Was it the time I pulled your double
And got the oppo right out of trouble
Or was it the time I missed your call
And your clever signals with cards so small
Partner, tell me tell me where I went wrong
Was it the time I miscounted my hand
Which caused you to bid the unmakeable grand
Their double was nasty, that was for sure
Minus two thousand was not a nice score
Partner, tell me tell me where I went wrong
I know once I had honours in the enemy suit
But spurned the chance to stick in the boot
Then I can remember trumping your trick
Which caused you to shout " you total dick "
With nothing more to add to this lamentable song
I have a sense now of where I went wrong
So farewell Bigot.... I off up this tree
You'll have no worries now....... about playing with me
...............Yours Fergus Fretwell

Friday, 12 February 2010

BRIDGE WITH THE BIG BOYS............. ( By Johnny Supremo )
What often amazes me about myself and top class players is our desire to push for game, despite the handicap of being short of a few HCPs. Give us the distribution and shape and the bidding will race away. Take this hand for instance where most of big boys reached 4H on a combined 22 count, after South had opened the bidding 1NT.
South held Q5....AK9....A532....9432 . So what would be his best opening lead ? He knows West has a good club suit, and that East ( outside his 6 card heart suit ) must have some useful values in diamonds and spades. Well, both defenders in these two stories kicked off with a cunning queen of spades ( supposedly promising the jack ). The plan here of course was to obtain a spade ruff to go alongside 3 red suit winners. And even if partner turns up with the jack, declarer might well spurn the chance to finesse him for it. This by far turned out to be the best lead possible.
So now it's over to East as declarer to steer this contract home. The East/West hands are as follows:
West: A63....104...97...AK10875
East : K1072...QJ7653...KQ6....(void)
Potential losers look to be 1 spade, 2 hearts and 1 diamond. So let's see what happened at my table first. I took the spade queen with the king ( spurning the unlikely possibility of finessing the jack through North ). However, I did have another plan. At trick two I volunteered the queen of diamonds, and the unsuspecting South ducked. Quickly, I shot across to dummy with the ace of spades, pitching two diamonds on the A/K of clubs. With only a spade and 2 hearts to lose the contract was made.
On another table, the declarer's story here was one of regret and misfortune. It was of course Bigot. He too took the opening lead in hand with the king of spades, but at trick 2 he chose to lead the 3 of hearts. Oops...South quickly hopped up with the Ace , cashed the King and returned the six of spades ! Bigot not surprisingly allowed this to run round to his 10, but to his horror North popped up with the jack to win the trick, and return a spade for South to ruff. With the Ace of diamonds coming next the contract was 2 off.
And what is the moral behind these 2 stories ? Well firstly, if you are in thin games, subterfuge may be your best bet to bring home the bacon. Similarly, if you are defending a contract where the only source of defensive tricks is most certainly coming from your hand, then a little subterfuge on your part might well cook declarer's goose.
Bridge players succumb to more mental disorders, afflictions, and abnormal character traits, than any other group of individuals. The damaging impact the game of bridge can have on the human mind is immense. Bridge can turn sane men into crazies in no time at all. Bridge can transform very ordinary and rational people into irrational, highly unpredictable monsters. The disorder known as Wurrillus Jephilia has the effect of turning male players in particular into control freaks, each with an extremely possessive nature, not to mention other obsessive compulsive behaviours.
Victims with this disorder quickly resent their partners playing any of the contracts. Moreover, their partners must play to their system and instructions at all times, never being allowed to make any changes or offer input of their own.
Striving always to seize control, victims look to take over the captaincy of teams, where all members are expected to do as they are told. Any dissent or grumbles will result in automatic expulsion. If other captains come looking to "borrow" players, they inevitably are sent packing with fleas in their ears. Should partners or team-mates express a wish to play elsewhere, or with different people, the wrath of God will descend upon them.
Not surprisingly, sufferers look for partners who are unbelievably compliant and subserviant, or who foolishly believe they can perform acts of exorcism. However, once these unsuspecting partners fall into their clutches, they are trapped and then isolated from all others in the club, especially ex-partners and friends. These people in the eyes of the control freak represent a serious threat. It becomes imperative therefore to take themselves and their partners away from the club, choosing instead to join quiet, remote, rural bridge clubs. These of course are guaranteed to have only a few geriatric members on their books.....harmless strangers who are unable to offer anything in the way of meaningful competition.
The more extreme the condition, the more likely the victim is to reveal his under-lying inferiority complex. This is often hidden alongside deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy, which is at the core of his problem. It is a curious fact that sufferers are small in stature and short in hospitality. Although I pride myself on being a non-judgemental psycho-therapist, I have to confess I am do not like dealing with such clients. This is simply because I cannot overcome my own painful experience, where one wurrillus jephila tosser rail-roaded my favourite partner to quit me, and play away with him. The bastard.
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG..............................................
Dear Rebecca, The other day I went off in 6 diamonds losing to both an off-side king of diamonds....and an on-side king of clubs ! In dummy I had three small in both these suits, opposite my AQJ1098 in diamonds and AQJ in clubs.
At trick one my LHO led the queen of hearts which I took in dummy with the king. I then elected to take the diamond finesse, and joy upon joy the jack held. Using up my last entry to dummy with the Ace of hearts, I was now ready to pick up the king of diamonds.....and just concede a club to make the contract. However, when I played a second diamond from dummy my RHO showed out. Bugger. I now had a certain loser in diamonds not to mention a loser in clubs, having to play the wretched suit away from my own hand. Am I plonker or what ? Yours forever cocking things up, Harry Huffsnuff
Dear Harry, Yes, you are indeed a plonker....a total and complete prat. For this slam to make you only need one of the missing kings to be right, but entries to dummy of course are limited to two. Your line of play was utterly inept and lacking in foresight. The obvious finesse to take at trick two is THE CLUB FINESSE, which given the lay out of the cards works. Next, you must play the Ace of diamonds, followed by the queen, which of course your LHO will take with the king . His best option will be to persevere with hearts, enabling you to take the marked club finesse. Then, having got back to hand, it becomes a simple task to clear the remaining trump and claim the contract.
Even if the two kings are the other way round, this line of play still offers a better chance of success. The club finesse at trick two would lose if the defender's instinct is to seize the trick at the first opportunity. And once you are back in dummy with the Ace of hearts, now is the time to take the diamond finesse, relying of course that your RHO comes up with either a singleton king, or a king doubleton. Yours always in ascendancy, Rebecca

Thursday, 11 February 2010

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY................................
  • Bottom : the part of your partner's anatomy, on which the imprint of your boot can usually be found
  • Bridgemate : a fellow blogger who actually likes your articles
  • Committee : a group of power-hungry members who, on a tidal wave of apathy, are able to elect each other ( unopposed ) to run the club for the benefit of themselves.... and possibly one or two of the hangers-on
  • Short suit : a term which refers to the appalling dress sense of male club members, who often turn up with trousers barely reaching their ankles, and jacket sleeves riding well up to their elbows
  • Unbalanced : the state of mind most bridge players possess if one is to believe the research findings outlined by Dr. John
  • Deck : what your head hits first after receiving a hefty blow from your partner, who is far from pleased with your abject bidding and declarer play
  • Length : the measurement partner takes of you, to make sure that the coffin he is planning to put you in is suitably long enough
  • Void : the empty space inside a bridge player's head, where one would expect to find a brain
BIGOT'S VERY OWN HALL OF FAME IDEA HITS THE ROCKS........... ( Following lengthy correspondence by letter, Bigot has had a major rethink on his proposed HOF )
Dear Bigot, What right do you have making yourself an honorary member in the World's Best Players Hall of Fame ? Please do enlighten me as to what you have accomplished as a bridge player ? Yours wanting to know Percy Pantopod
Dear Percy, I won the World Junior Teams Championships for 3 consecutive years ( 1971-3 ), playing alongside such greats as Freddie Flywheel, Sylvester Shyster and Billy Boy Bunko. We were awesome. Yours feeling very smug at this moment Bigot
Dear Bigot, Well I've never heard of these characters ? What on earth has happened to them since ? Yours wanting to know more Percy
Dear Percy, Freddie Flywheel was a grand master at reading the cards.....or at least the backs of them. His best friend was a top designer for a major card manufacturer, until he was sacked after being caught marking the cards. As for Freddie he turned his back on bridge for the lucrative pickings of the poker world. However, after fleecing his opponents, he unwisely accepted their offer of a lift home.....and he was never seen again. Sylvester of course was renown for his trick pulling ability, but his over-confidence got the better of him. After pulling one trick too many, a disgruntled client broke every bone in his body, and poor Sylvester paralysed from the neck down is now confined to a life in a wheel chair. And as for Billy Boy Bunko, he went down for the "Swindle of the Century", and is still serving time in prison. Such wonderful team-mates...such tragic lives. Yours with a tear in my eye Bigot
Dear Bigot, It seems to me that your team-mates were both reprobates and cheats. Indeed, these revelations certainly undermine your credentials as a " top player ". It would be a travesty of justice to allow you to stand alongside the truly great players of our time. So what else have you achieved in bridge, hopefully with players who you could describe as highly ethical and honest ? I would love to know. Yours increasingly concerned, Percy
Dear Percy, How dare you question my credentials. Hell, I've won plenty of trophies in my time, most of which were picked up at the Walnut Tree Allotment BC congresses. Here I partnered some of the best bridge players in England today. ( Mind you their hire fees were a bit steep ). Names like Curly Coxcomb, Martin Milquetoast, Ivor Inky-Pinky, Melvin Mundungus, Horatio Nudnick, Quinten Quicksilver, and not forgetting Willie Whangdoodle. Surely, you must have heard of them ? Yours still feeling a little smug, Bigot
Dear Bigot, I've checked these names out and none of them have even attained regional master status. Moreover, the Walnut Tree Allotment events rarely get fields of any size, perhaps four tables at best. You Bigot are a disreputable and most objectionable man. The only thing great about you is your infamy. Yours ashamed even to know you, Percy
Dear Percy, You're absolutely right. I must drop this silly notion of me belonging in a HOF without ever having that label of greatness being placed upon me. But you dear Percy Pantopod have changed all that. You have acknowledged my greatness.And therefore, I am going to set up instead...... the Howard Bigot Johnson's World's Best Players Hall of Infamy......... a Hall in which I'm definitely worthy of a place. Yours forever in your debt Bigot