Monday, 8 March 2010

Dear Becky, Could you do me a real favour by responding to this anonymous guy, The enclosed letter is one he sent begging me ( bad choice on his part ) to offer some bridge-related advice ! Clearly, you are much better placed to do this given your bridge expertise and counselling skills. Remember, you owe me a favour......Best regards, Dr. John.
............( The enclosed letter )...................
Dear Dr. John, I need your advice on two matters.
I am widely regarded in my own household as being the most sartorially elegant and best player in the northern hemisphere. This is a cause of some matrimonial arguments, because I want to know why not the southern hemisphere as well ? However, that's not the point.
1. The fact that I have not won anything of significance other than the occasional Swiss teams event can only be the fault of incompetent partners and team mates that I have. What I want to know is this. At what point in the proceedings should I make them aware of their shortcomings:
- before we sit down to play ?
- immediately after they have failed to understand one of my clever bids ?
- at the end of the hand ?
- when speaking loudly to other people ( after inhaling some dangerous substances ) ?
- when the world at large is present in the club bar ?
2. Clearly, the laws of the game are there to be exploited to the advantage of those, who take both the time and effort to know them. At what point should I use the said laws :
- when opponents have inadvertently and innocently failed to comply with them, perhaps because they have been distracted when I knocked over one of their drinks ?
- when they announce that they are beginners, and are only out to have an enjoyable evening ? ( Is such a thing allowed ? )
- when through serendipity they land on their feet and get a god score against me ?
I do not feel I am getting all that is due to me, and I need your help. Yours extremely Anonymous
Dear Anonymous,
I hope you don't mind but Dr. John passed your letter on to me, because he felt you needed to get advice from someone who was best equipped to give it. And that's me.....Rebecca Rood.....the bridge players' very own world famous Agony Aunt. So please allow me to address and answer the questions you posed.
1. Whoever your marital partner is, it is better to share her ludicrous delusion rather than form an even more ludicrous one of your own.
2. Blaming others for your misfortunes at bridge is very understandable......the bridge world is full of players who think they can play the game, when in reality the opposite is true. However, by failing to find players who are up to your standard is either a case of irrational complacency on your part, or an inability to tell a silk purse from a sow's ear.
3. As to the most appropriate time and place to inform your partners and team mates of your shortcomings, the options you listed all have their merits. However, much depends on what your motives are ? Are you out to humiliate them ? To educate them ? To seek revenge and retribution ? To entertain those in close attendance ? My own preference is to inform them in a quiet corner somewhere in a gentle soothing and reassuring voice. But if that fails to achieve any improvement in their performance next time out, then I do very quickly move onto verbal and whip lashings, after first chaining them to the walls of my sound-proofed cellar.
4. Yes, I agree with you....if the laws give you rights of redress, then you must use them to undo any damage which any breaches may have caused you. Similarly, some opponents may need to be taught a sharp lesson, so they know not to commit any similar breaches in the future. Moreover, if you do choose to use them purely to gain an undeserved advantage, then in my eyes that also seems fair.....if only to redress the number of times that you were once " done over " in this way. Everything, you see, has a habit of balancing out. Anyway, can you name me any other sport where " an opponent " isn't someone you want to completely crush and destroy.
Yours the Goddess of wisdom and insight, Rebecca

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