Most psychological and personality disorders affecting bridge players are obvious to all those looking on. However, there is one hidden syndrome that many of us fail to notice in others, simply because victims tend to hide the symptoms very well. Called the SIAR syndrome, this debilitating condition leaves its victims depleted, defeated, dejected, demoralised and depressed. It's an affliction that makes these victims cry out to themselves: " Why me ? "
SIAR is an acronym for " Stuck-In-A-Rut ", and a rut by definition is a settled or established habit or course of action, which leads to boredom, misery, and depression. The phrase " in a rut " alludes to having a wheel stuck in a groove in the road, which is hard to escape.
In bridge the " conventional " rut relates to a player who finds him/herself trapped in a never-ending sequence of poor decisions, bad luck and wretched results. No matter how hard a victim tries to escape (or rectify ) this situation , the more entrenched it becomes. Some players, who desperately try to get out of the rut, behave as if they were digging their way out of a hole. All they end up doing is making the hole bigger !
What's worse for these victims is that because it was so easy for them to fall into such ruts, any escape may only provide a temporary reprieve..... bridge being such a cruel and merciless game. Smart arse commentators have remarked that the great advantage of being in a rut is that victims knows exactly where they are at. Well, for them to know they are at the bottom.......trapped in some horrible abyss.......offers no comfort at all, since it is a situation they find hard to accept. As another commentator once remarked, " the only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions ".
As for helping SIAR victims, this can be " tricky ". Changing the mind sets of players, who have this condition, requires them to initiate crucial changes, such as changing partners, system cards, sitting positions, bidding and play strategies, habits and rituals they feel comfortable with...and possibly even bridge clubs. For most victims the idea of change is a " no-no ", as their current mind set convinces them " that'll never work " or " too risky..... need to play it safe ". As a consequence of this negativity, the cycle of disadvantage remains unbroken. Sadly, procrastination and SIAR go hand in hand. " But I might change that in the future " are words that are nothing more than wishful thinking....words that ring disturbingly hollow.