Friday, 14 May 2010

Of all the disorders and afflictions plaguing bridge players across the world, none can be as distressing as mastapo intrabies. This is a condition which appears to be nothing more than an uncontrollable addiction, but I tend to regard it as an alarming form of OCD.
The first time I came across this disorder was when a client came into my surgery seeking primarily financial help. It appeared that the crippling cost of playing bridge to accumulate green ( master ) points had forced him to apply for a personal bankruptcy order from the courts. In his attempt to obtain green points, the means by which he could acquire enhanced ranking status, he had shelled out thousands of pounds on attending prestige congresses and events. Indeed, in a final throw of the dice to attain grandmaster status, he mortgaged his house twice over to sponsor professionals to partner him in his obsessive quest. But being an utterly useless player, money was being pointlessly wasted, as mid-table placings resulted in him earning far less green points than expected.
Sadly, for all victims of this terrible vanity-driven affliction the higher up the EBU ranking ladder they climb, the more acute the money spending symptoms become. The extent of the correlation is frightening. Weak players, who succumb to delusions of grandeur, are extremely prone to this form of compulsive spending. " Mad dogs " is an image which immediately to comes to mind when seeing such people sacrifice everything in the attempt to move up another rung of the ladder. As the EBU cleverly make the ladder higher and higher, the quest becomes even more compelling.......and costly.
( Footnote : As for this particular client, he committed suicide a few months later, following an acrimonious divorce which left him completely penniless. Indeed, all victims of mastapo intrabies are doggedly resistant to any advice or corrective therapies. Telling some of them that they are respected as " good players " is never enough. They have to obtain the EBU's stamp of approval, desperate to see their names appearing on updated lists of ladder promotions. )

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