Wednesday, 30 June 2010

MY NUMBER 1 PET HATE................................. ( Article by Carp )
My pet hate list in bridge could go on for endless pages. Ironically, there are some irritating and annoying things I can comfortably take in my stride....things that would cause other players to go ballistic, and ready to kill. But the pet hate that stands out above all others....that really " gets my gander up "....or to put it another way " gets my goat ".....then it's a partner who double crosses me.
A double cross in bridge occurs when a partner has already passed, or made a limit bid.....but then ( later on in the auction ) suddenly ....out-of-the-blue.....becomes totally overwhelmed by a fit of optimism. It is as though some fairy godmother had floated down from the sky to sprinkle magic dust on his/her cards, improving the hand's shape, distribution, and HCPs.
How on god's earth can players who partner me fall victim to such a lack of discipline and magical thinking ?
How many times can I be expected to watch my partner open a flattish, balanced 1NT ( 12-14 ), and then bid again in an attempt to win the part-score battle ?
How many times can I be expected to remain calm after seeing my partner make a 3-level pre-emptive bid, only to compete again after the opponents have over-called or pulled a take-out double ?
How many times can I be expected not to implode after seeing my partner pass on all previous rounds of bidding, only to decide later on when the auction has reached " penalty double territory " that the his/her hand was worth a bid after all ?
And finally.....hell, I could go on many times can I be expected not to lean over the table and throttle my partner's scrawny neck, after I have come in with a protective bid based on his/her known values...... only for this double-crosser to compete at a higher level on those very same values ?
So yes, double crossers are forever giving me galactic bottoms by either pushing the bidding into impossible contracts ( waiting to be doubled ) , or stopping me from playing in the most obvious contracts where match points were always assured .
( Now has anyone got a pet hate that is more loathsome than that ? If so, I would like you to tell me about it using the comment box and signing yourself in under " anonymous " profile label. )

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

THE GROSVENOR COUP.................... ( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
To be a big player in this game you need " balls " no matter what your gender. Because let's face it, faint heart never won diddly squat. A successful player will speculate to accumulate match points. He/she will need to take risks, do unusual things to generate swinging boards, and use all manner of ploys to gain that critical edge over the other front runners. As a red-blooded bridge player, I love to see elements of poker psychology used within the game. I love it when I pull off a successful bluff, psych, deceptive play and cunning plan to induce an opponent into making an error. This is what makes bridge the truly wonderful game it is.
However the ploy ( or coup ) that takes real guts to use ( especially against top class opponents ) is the little known Grosvenor Coup. Here the player deliberately misplays the hand at a critical point during the play. This is done in order to induce a mistake by an opponent, which may result in either the same or a superior result. Even if this gambit/coup does not yield a material gain, a much more important objective might well be achieved. It induces a big psychological impact on the opponents, which often works against them later on.
Firstly, they will be kicking themselves quite severely for spurning the opportunity of a gift trick, believing that no declarer could be that dumb. Secondly, if they do seize the free trick that is on offer, two possible consequences might follow. The euphoria of snatching an unexpected gift might lead to the onset of complacency , or they start to take risks themselves believing they are up against idiots. This inevitably means the trick comes back almost immediately.......with interest.

Monday, 28 June 2010

THE BIGOT-JOHNSON COUP............... ( By Bigot-Johnson )
In bridge there are many coups, some of which are named after the person who first dreamed them up. Well, because the following three situations all involve one defender holding Kx, I am claiming title rights to this particular coup by simply linking them together.
Given the actual layout in each scenario, the defender with Kx should always take a trick with the king but fails to do so because of erroneous thinking .
1. Here declarer has a 5-5 trump fit missing the AKx of trumps, but with Kx sitting to his left. When he volunteers the queen of trumps towards dummy's J10 to five, the hapless defender hops up with the king only to see it fall under his partner's stiff Ace. Many commenters argue the play of the king is foolish, because if declarer holds the Ace, he had a legitimate line where he can escape even a single trump loser.......either by playing the Ace hoping to find the stiff king, or by taking a simple finesse through his RHO. Indeed, this particular scenario has been well documented in many bridge books, often quoted as an example of The Idiot's Coup.
2. Again declarer has a 5-5 trump fit, but only missing Kxx. Again the Kx is to his left, well place over declarer's AQxxx. However, when he volunteers the queen of trumps towards dummy's J10 to five, the hapless defender decides not to hop up with the king desperate to avoid it being smothered by partner's stiff Ace. However, when the queen holds, declarer then produces the Ace from his hand taking out the king in the process..........another example of the The Idiot's Coup. Many commentors argue ducking with Kx is foolish, because if declarer suspects, say on the bidding, that the king is off-side but guarded......... this ploy is the only legitimate line he's got to hoodwink the defence from taking a trump trick.
3. Yet again declarer has a 5-5 trump fit missing the AKx of trumps, but with Kx to his right. The ploy this time is to persuade the defender with Kx to ruff small when desperate to stop the run of winners from a powerful side suit played out from dummy. By ruffing in prematurely, the hapless defender is shocked to see declarer over-ruff.....which enables him to then produce a small trump to crash the RHO's king under his partner's stiff Ace. Many commentors argue that ruffing small is like sending a small boy to do a big man's job. His partner may have the stiff queen, which means the defence would fail to make a single trump trick. By rising with the king, it guarantees two trump tricks if partner does have the stiff Ace, and certainly one trump trick if partner holds the stiff queen ( classic uppercut stuff ). Indeed, this last scenario has also been well documented in many bridge books, under the title of The Galileo Coup.
So by recognising that these three situations all involved error-prone defenders failing to take a trick holding Kx of trumps in circumstances where idiots might have succeeded, I Bigot-Johnson am the first to bring them all under the same one umbella......which of course entitles me to collectively define them as The Bigot-Johnson Coup.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

( No surprise at all to see Bigot-Johnson being hauled before this sub-committee to answer complaints yet again from Percy Pantopod. These all relate to the defacing the members' notice board, plus accusations of malicious persecution. An extract from the hearing's transcript appears below. )
Chairman : Bigot...your behaviour towards poor Percy is nothing short of scandalous. It is vindictive, and it represents bullying of the worst kind.
B-J : Just a mo.....I think you're over-reacting here....
Chairman : Why ?
B-J : ....Because Percy is the evil-minded wombat.......not me. He's the one that everybody dislikes.
Chairman : Well, he gets on my tits that's for sure....but we are here to review your unacceptable behaviour. Facts have emerged that every time Percy put in a poor performance, his name of course was well down the results list..... a document which the club is obliged to publish on the notice board for all to read. Needless to say.... you have been seen placing a picture of an animal next to the list......with an arrow linking the picture to poor Percy.
B-J : But what's wrong with that ?
Chairman : Well, firstly, the notice board is not for the members to practice graffiti on. Your artistic interpretations represent acts of criminal damage, whereby important documents are being defaced as a result of your twisted and warped sense of humour.
B-J : Did you find it funny ?
Chairman : Indeed, I did.....but that isn't the point. Your actions could put the club at risk as being a joint-party to a costly libel action.
B-J : Not so...the truth always provides a cast iron defence. The mere fact I suggested that Percy's results make him out to be a monkey is right on the mark.
Chairman : But you've also lampooned him as a donkey....a rat...a cheetah....a rabbit......a snake.....a name but a few.
B-J : But the man is an ass.....
Chairman : That may well be the case, but why the constant persecution ?
B-J : Well, to most members he has become a long-standing joke, and members have come to expect my comic animal associations.......which help liven up a notice board renown for the most mundane, irrelevant, uninteresting, boring content imaginable. And what's more.... Percy needs a regular dollop of reality checks. The numpty still thinks he can play bridge.
Chairman : So what you're saying Bigot....and correct me if I'm wrong... is that all your intentions are good, not fuelled at any hatred or loathing (many of us believe ) you have for this loser.
B-J : got it in one....
Chairman : Well, if that is the case,....we will take no action against you........
B-J : Amazing...what can I say other than " thank you " ....and on that happy note I'll be on my merry way
Chairman : Good-day to you Bigot.....
B-J : ( And as Bigot walks away smiling in disbelief, he quietly mumbles under his breath )........You silly buggers !

Saturday, 26 June 2010

EXTRACTING THE OPPONENTS' TEETH : THE DENTIST'S COUP............ ( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
This coup is a clever ploy aimed at throwing an opponent in, but only when it is safe to do so. Sometimes this may involve eliminating all his safe exit cards first in order to minimise the dangers that exist. This manoeuvre will either set up a free finesse and/or provide declarer the lead he so desperately craves. In the hand below, many pairs would never be in 6H, let alone make the contract, given declarer's LHO opponent is sitting there with QJ10...AJx...J8...K109.
In dummy there is K.....K10xx....AKQ10x,,,,,AJx
Declarer's hand is Axx.....Q9876.....xx....Qxx
When West leads the queen of spades, taken in dummy, it is imperative that declarer plays out the AK of diamonds straightaway.............before leading a low heart to his queen, and West's Ace. Because what can West do now ? Absolutely nothing. A spade puts declarer in plus a club discard from dummy. A heart gives declarer a free finesse which he wanted to do anyway. And a club gives declarer a free finesse not to mention instant access to hand to finesse the hearts. After any of these choices, declarer has a simple task of making all 12 tricks.
So why is this coup called the Dentist's Coup ? Well, declarer has set about extracting an opponent's safe exit cards as if they were his teeth. In other words making him " toothless ".
However, the next hand is an obscure variation on that theme. Here declarer is in 4H, and his LHO has an impressive Q10xx....Kx....10xx....AKQx.
In dummy there is AK....Q108....AKJxxx....Jx
Declarer's hand is xx....AJxxx....Q9.....xxxx
Best defence requires West to kick of with the AKQ of clubs, forcing declarer to ruff the 3rd round in dummy. Applying the Dentist's Coup he must play the Ace of diamonds first before crossing over to the queen. ( East following both times ). Then when a heart is played towards dummy's queen, West will swiftly rise with the King only to fire back another club which declarer has to ruff with dummy's queen. Now when a top diamond is played from dummy, sure enough East can ruff it.....but declarer of course can over-ruff to see the contract home.
If, however, at trick four a foolish declarer came straight across to the diamond queen first, desperate to play a heart up to dummy's queen, West's fourth club would now enable East to lob away his last remaining diamond. So with declarer locked in dummy and unable to get across to hand to take out the remaining hearts, he will succumb to an embarrassing diamond ruff by East. Here the 4th club posed a very serious threat. Therefore by Playing the Ace of diamonds before crossing over to the queen, the Devil's Coup had proved to be a masterful example of forethought and planning. West in effect had been rendered " toothless ", and his forcing defence in clubs to set up a ruff for partner had been well and truly thwarted.
THIS COUP REALLY IS THE PITTS.............. ( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
In bridge there are many types of coups, some of which involve far-sighted unblocking, entry promoting, plays. One of the more spectular ones goes under the name of The Pitts Coup. It occurs by ruffing with a card higher than necessary as a sacrifice or unblocking play. In this example it allows declarer to lead through one opponent at the table. Having come down to a five card ending declarer ( South ) needs to take all the remaing tricks to steer the 4S contract home.
North :
East : Qx... xx......K........none
South :
West : x.....Q98....A........none
So South by leading a small diamond crashes the A/K of diamonds, but it is essential that he ruffs the trick with the Ace. Then he finesses East's queen of spades on the way back into his K-J, and with two established diamonds to cash at the finish the coup has been successfully completed.
However, a much better example of the Pitts Coup can be seen in the following hand :
West : x.......Ax....xxxx.....KJxxxx
East :
( Dummy comes down with xxx....K106...KQJxx.....AQ )
Defending a 4H contract, West leads his singleton spade to partner's known suit. East takes the trick with his Ace, and promptly returns the queen, covered by declarer's king, which of course sets up a winning spade trick in East's hand. But the problem is how to get East back in to take the trick ?
Answer: The Pitts Coup. Ruff the trick with the Ace of trumps ! And then exit with either a club or a diamond. Now partner will get in with a heart ( no matter how declarer tackles the suit ) to enjoy his spade winner and defeat the contract.
If, as many impulsive defenders might do, West ruffs the spade with a low trump, and exits in the same way, declarer is home and dry. Once South gets in, the play of a low heart immediately brings out the Ace. This now allows declarer to pick up partner's J9 wihout any difficulty......and his losing spades disappear under a deluge of diamonds and clubs.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Yes, and about time too. I have read what Howard Bigot-Johnson has said on this matter ( strangely, it made some sense ). And I have also read the further research carried out by that weird boffin, the Hu Chi Ku Chi man ( a self-proclaimed professor of goodness knows what ). Well, they both made a few astute and relevant observations, but they didn't ask me for my take on this......and as a result they have both missed out on a quite a few important points.
Firstly, women are quite capable of matching the achievements of men if they so wanted to. But by and large they don't. Far too many see the ascent to top flight as having to deal with " the minutiae " , and this they find incredibly time-consuming and off-putting. The very idea of having to absorb so much information, even down to the smallest details, would require them to spend every waking hour of the day devoted to reading and playing the game. The idea of becoming a bridge nerd is total no-no.
However, I do accept the view that women tend to visualise things differently from men. Some of that fundamental difference is captured in a book title, " Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps : How We're Different And What To Do About It ". Men may indeed be more " field independent ", having the ability to extract a larger pattern from a more complex one........but that only depends if one is there to start with !
The crucial point is that most women find the aggressive aspect of the game very off-putting and upsetting. So many men allow their base instincts to take over, and in the process turn quite ugly. Classic Jekyll and Hyde stuff. It is my firm belief that this factor more than any other causes women, with potential to make it to the top flight, to shy away from serious competitions where Hydes are in abundance. In addition to that, lacking that predatory instinct often inhibits women to push forward to develop their game. The thought of having to play like a man is one they certainly never want to entertain
Moreover, women like myself....and I can play this game as good as any man......prefer to put bridge into a much more realistic perspective, when it comes to ranking life's priorities. The harsh reality is this : the game is utterly pointless in the scheme of things. Building a boat for people to sail in has purpose. Building a well so as people can have water to drink also has purpose. Buiding an understanding with partner that low card discarded in one suit calls for switch to the lower of the other two suits ( outside trumps ) is of no benefit to anyone but you and your partner. The sad fact is that men believe bridge is the be all and end all of their existence on this planet. It is a religion to which they seem happy to devote their whole lives.
Wherever women go in the game, they see men at the top. Men forever striving to run the show, striving to preserve the status quo. They so often behave in a " sexist " way, displaying all the characteristics of male chauvinism. No doubt, it was man who coined the acronym " LOL ", type-casting women players as little, old and terribly polite. Indeed, when one woman stood alongside some the top class men players on the winners' stage ( namely, Helen Sobel Smith ), she was pointedly asked what it was like to partner one of the world's greatest players ? Clearly insulted by the blatant " male chauvinism " buried within the question, she quickly replied ; " Shouldn't you be asking my partner that ? " Now that's what I call a sassy and very astute woman.
So yes, the ratio of men to women at the top seems to suggest that men play the game better than women ......but this is a false conclusion. Women could be there in great numbers, if they choose to be there. Luckily for all those top men , a huge number of talented women will go elsewhere and succeed in other fields....leaving Helen and I to put them firmly in their place.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

  • What Most Top Bridge Players Are All About...........Mimi Mee
  • You Want Me To Play In Your Team ?......................Hugh Betcher
  • Horsing Around At Minor Events.............................Jim Carner
  • My Partner Is So Changeable...................................Jekyll N. Hyde
  • So What If Players Call Me A Nag..............................Ima G. Gee
  • Bridge From Inside..................................................Jay L. Byrd
  • Some Contracts I Don't Bother To Make An Effort..........Mel Inger
  • Signalling At Bridge................................................Peter Ring
  • Bridge Matches That Made Front Page News.............Tab Lloyd
  • Partners Complain Bitterly About My Hands............Moll Ester

( By Pun )

Monday, 21 June 2010

( By Pun )
COMPLACENCY IS A TERRIBLE SIN............. ( Article by Johnny Supremo )
Many bridge players who never make the grade are often victims of their own appalling complacency and lack of forethought. Take this hand for example where my wayward partner went off in 4S. My hand was a tasty, opposite his KQJxxx...Axx...xx...xx. On a queen of clubs lead, there appears to be four losers ( 2H, 1D ans 1C ), but if the diamond suit could be ruffed out one loser ( possibly two ) could disappear on the established winners. So a little care was called for.
Unfortunately, my partner ( sitting South ) took the club with the Ace, and then played Ace of diamonds followed by another. East won with the 10, cashed the king of clubs, and switched to the queen of hearts. Declarer took the trick with his Ace, played the King of spades, followed by the 3 of to dummy's 10. A third diamond was played from the table and ruffed. Had the adverse diamonds been evenly divided all would have been well. As it was, he could cross to dummy's Ace of spades to ruff a fourth diamond.....but there was no way back to dummy to score the fifth diamond for an essential heart discard. Complacency and carelessness had yet again got the better of him.
So what should he have done ? Well firstly, he needed to plan for a 4-2 break in diamonds, and secondly he had to get the timing right. After winning the first trick with the Ace of clubs, he needed to play a low diamond from both hands at trick 2. East of course will snatch his diamond and club tricks, and switch to a heart. However, after taking the heart trick straightaway with the Ace, declarer is now in control. The king of spades is played next followed by a diamond to the Ace. The third diamond is ruffed with the jack. Declarer then re-enters dummy with the spade 10, and ruffs the fourth diamond with the queen, only to re-enter dummy again with the spade Ace. Having now established the fifth diamond as a winner, one losing heart. can be joyously discarded.
Now how easy was that ?
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG.........................
Dear Rebecca,
After having an offending eye plucked out ( in the biblical sense ) by my over-reactive partner ( for failing to see a particular card discarded by my RHO ).........I am , to say the least, a trifle unnerved. Now with only one good eye left, I am seriously worried that this injury will impair my ability to play semi-competent bridge even more ?
Yours " Dead -eye " Dick
Dear Dick,
Although bridge is considered to be a sport, most physically-disadvantaged players can still manage to bid and play the cards. Having only one good eye might well restrict your span of vision, but focus in bridge is more to do with the mind, rather than the eye.
Anyway, if it's any consolation a recent discovery of ancient Greek scrolls revealed the fact that in the days of Jason and the Argonauts, the game of bridge was very popular......and was played by all and sundry. One character called Cyclops, despite his one eye, loved his club....... and his duplicate bridge. So much so that he took up teaching the game, and writing books on how to be successful at it. Many of these focused on aspects of strategic and tactical awareness. Titles included:
- Hands That Were Real Eye Openers
- Don't Turn A Blind Eye To Cheating
- Keeping A Sharp Eye On Your Opponents
- Difficult Hands : More Problems Than Meets The Eye
- Seeing Eye To Eye With Partner
- Playing Hands With One Eye Shut
- Having An Eye For Those Rather Thin Slams
These books are now available in the shops, and will certainly give you great advice on how to become a giant at the game. Indeed, many players with a whole range of profound physical disabilities have already benefitted from reading such great literature.
Yours Rebecca

Saturday, 19 June 2010

DR. JOHN'S CASE NOTES.....................
There are two types of player that irritate their partners the most. The first type of course are the " slowcoaches " , but the second type are the " rushers ". These players are not necessarily impetuous or impatient, they are simply in a hurry. Indeed, they had been diagnosed as victims of the WHITE RABBIT SYNDROME.
Players with this condition always believe they are behind in time, running late for the start of the next board and/or the next round. Despite having loads of time to bid and play the cards, they constantly keep muttering to themselves " I'm late....I'm late....I'm miles behind ". So off they rush bidding and playing the hand at break-neck speed to the detriment of partner's fragile state of mind and mental health.
In Alice in Wonderland, the white rabbit came across the little girl on several occasions, but the questions as to why he was rushing, what he was rushing for, or where he was rushing to, were never answered. Players with the WRS also offer no explanations for their irrational and obsessive behaviour. They just have this sense they are behind the clock.
Believing there is not a moment to spare, speeding up the play becomes their life mantra. Forever anxious and stressed, they live in constant fear of the bell, even to the point of rushing to fill in the scores.
Many psycho-analysts put their faith in hypnosis therapies involving time-distortion ploys. One such ploy involves convincing them that time is standing still, while another one attempts to give them the notion that much more can to done, to "squeeze" the maximum out of every second. However, success has been very limited indeed, and incredibly short-lived. The condition is both progessive and irreversible.
Acute sufferers have been known to walk around bridge arenas with stop-watches in their hands, darting off here and there, and rushing around as though everything is being done on a whim. They haven't the time to stop and think, because they are already struggling to make up time.
This syndrome without doubt is utterly incurable. Victim's can not shake off the belief that they are " in a stew "......something that ironically befalls all rabbits. As we all well know, the concept of time is always relative to one's state of mind. For players who think that time is running out, their only objective is " to rush ", never stopping to consider what particular goal or direction they need to aim for. All they end up doing is misleading themselves up the proverbial garden paths, flying headlong into shed loads of wretched scores .
THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY......................
  • Chicago : a rubber bridge format where the cut can often put the wind up the player, who draws the bumbledog partner
  • Game : a highly desirable characteristic eagerly sought after in an attractive female partner
  • Boss suit : a term used to describe the captain's formal apparel chosen for big match occasions. This is to done in order to ram home the message that " I'm the one with the superior status and position in this team ".
  • Freak hand : this term was first coined during a game of rubber bridge, in which the Frankenstein monster was sitting North. On picking up an 9-4-0-0 distribution, he boldly announced that in his possession he had a " freak hand " , an observation which the other three players readily endorsed. This was not surprising given the fact it had a two-foot span, four fingers and two thumbs........not to mention warts the size of tennis balls.
  • Milton : the name of the person who came up with an easy and heavenly way of evaluating honour cards. However, nearly all top players today regard the method as both crude and inadequate, claiming that the simple-minded Milton must have been in paradise lost at the time.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

This is a disorder which causes victims' partners to pull their hair out in utter frustration. The syndrome is defined as a denial or refusal to acknowledge something that is blatantly obvious, almost as if the sufferer had put his head in the sand like an ostrich.
This affliction particularly targets weak minded bridge players, who all too often capitulate under the pressure of having to make the right decision. It tends to infect a victim the minute a critical stage of the bidding, or play of a hand has been reached. This immediate refusal to see the nose that is in front of his/her face coincides with the recognition of an unpleasant problem, which must be confronted : what to do next for the best ? However, the reasons why they face problems, where others don't, can be easily explained. They have failed to count the cards played, especially trumps. They have failed to take note of the bidding. They have ignored all partner's signals. They have paid no attention to what the opponents are up to, and have no idea of partner's plans.
Some psycho-analysts claim that OS bridge players suffer from a fear of the unknown, and that the following characteristics can be recognised in all chronic sufferers :
- taking every opportunity to bury their heads in the sand
- having a definite lack of awareness as to what is happening at the table
- praying that they will not be asked or required to make any crucial decisions
- not wanting to know
- having no real plan of attack or defence
- choosing to behave as if they are not interested or concerned
- preferring to run away
Players with OS inevitably make blind choices, which of course always prove to be disastrous. Not surprisingly, they will always come up with flimsy excuses, the usual ones being " I didn't realize "....." I must have missed that "...." my mind was elsewhere " ( like one foot under the sand ? ). Often, when they claim " Well........I made an off-the-cuff decision........I took a chance..." they avoid laying blame upon themselves, pointing their accusing finger at God. What they don't realize is that........had they bothered to observe what was going on around them, they would not encounter the type of problems, which lack of knowledge is responsible for.
This woeful condition does require immediate treatment, because if it is left unattended it will continue to cause significant damage to partnership confidence and harmony.... not to mention end of session results. John Bennett, who was one of the first to be diagnosed with this syndrome, caused his wife ( and partner ) to completely flip, when he went off in a rigid 4S. Quite understandably she shot him dead, pleading extreme provocation in order to get her sentence reduced.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

( This rather unusual case was brought before the High Court, where the plaintiff served a writ on the CBC claiming substantial damages for the tort of negligence. A short extract from the trial's transcript appears below. )
Counsel ( for the plaintiff ) : Just how often does your husband, the blaggard Bigot-Johnson, beat you ?
Mrs. B-J : Regularly.....
Counsel : And why does he regularly beat you ?
Mrs. B-J : Because of his regular beating at the hands of others at the bridge club.
Counsel : So please tell the court just how often do these other players beat him ?
Mrs. B-J : They beat him every time.....
Counsel : So what you are actually saying is that the bridge club is responsible for turning your husband into a wife-beating monster, who uses you as his whipping dog ?
Mrs. B-J : Yes......
Counsel : But how can they be responsible for his appalling behaviour ?
Mrs. B-J : Well, I wrote several letters to the club's committee about my husband's attacks, which I attributed to his mood swings following his wretched time at the tables. Having been alerted to the risk ( to me ) a duty of care had now been established. This duty of care, clearly based on a known foreseeable risk, required the club to exercise an appropriate standard of care......which, of course, was to ensure that other players did nothing to rile or rattle him. The committee, turning a blind eye to slow play, soft cheating, and biased TDs, allowed my husband to go ballistic time after time. By failing to guard against these " gross irritations " they failed to exercise the standard of care needed to fulfil their duty of care towards me. The direct consequences of such breaches are all here in my medical notes, and hospital appointment record cards.
Counsel : Jesus, do you know your stuff .....and I can certainly see where you're coming from. Your husband was angry at being beat as a result of widespread unethical practices and incompetent rulings, and not surprisingly used you as a punch-bag to off-load his pent up anger and frustration. But if your bully-of-a-husband is the main tortfeasor, why sue the club and not him ?
Mrs. B-J : For a kick-off he's penniless....but since he is a member of the club, then the principle of vicarious liability applies. Organisations are in law responsible for tortious acts committed by their servants and/or members committed in the course of their activities.....or..... as a result of their activities. The club, in effect, had through its negligence lit the fuse to a human time-bomb...........which only went off when I was around.
Judge : Sound reasoning indeed. I find for the defendant. Therefore, I'm going to award damages of £5,000 to the plaintiff, who ought use the money to file for divorce against the most despicable man I have ever heard of.....
Mrs. B-J : But if I do that........ I'll know what my husband will say ...
Judge : And what's that .....?
Mrs. B-J : Bugger....
( By Pun )

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

( By Pun )

Monday, 14 June 2010

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

  • Overcall : a common occurrence which involves one player shouting over another during a heated argument
  • Wonder bid : a term given to a bid which is so out-of-the-blue and unexpected, it causes a bemused partner to wonder (a) where the hell it came from, and (b) what the hell it means ?
  • Wrongside : this refers to a player's early morning exit from his bed, and the possibility he may have got out of it from the " other " side. This would then help to explain why he is destined to have an appalling night at the bridge club later on.
  • Loser on a loser : another common occurrence in bridge, where the competitive drive is so strong that decent players stubbornly refuse to play with losers, leaving them to seek out one other in a last ditch attempt to make up a pair. In 1925, at Doncaster BC, one player was overheard saying " 'ere comes a loser and a loser " as the next pair approached his table. This got misquoted as " loser on a loser ", hence the origin of the phrase.
  • Curse of Scotland : the name given to the nine of diamonds, when a Scottish international carelessly went off in a rock-solid grand slam in diamonds. The fool simply failed to notice there was still an outstanding trump. His English opponent ended up trumping a trick with the 9, only to hear a distraught declarer scream out : " did ya hav to play that bastad friggin' partna's gonnae gie mi a rite soddin' clout fa sure..." As it turned out this error cost Scotland the match , and so the card in question became synonymous with any disaster befalling kilt-wearing, caber tossing, foul-mouthed bridge players.

Of all the distressing and perplexing phobias I have ever come across, this is the one that is most endemic within the world of bridge. Well over 50% of all female players fall victim to this particular phobia , and no treatments as yet have been successful in halting its alarming spread. Its continued presence within every bridge club across the globe has given rise to misguided claims that sexism and male chauvinism are possibly two underlying factors.
Androphobia Nonsensica affects women players of all ages, from every socio-economic grouping. It typically expresses itself when victims start displaying panic-attack symptoms, whenever in the presence of anxiety provoking stimuli........namely men. Indeed, men might only need to be standing together talking among themselves at the bar, or arriving as a pair at their table, or just simply being overheard rebuking one another in a distant corner of the play area.
However, radical feminism and androphobia are not the same thing and should not be confused. For a start, radical feminists are not fearful of men : they just prefer not to be in the presence of men, let alone partner any. Androphobia on the other hand is an abnormal and persistent fear of men, which is can be both irrational and nonsensical. It is a condition that has no valid explanation, but some psycho-analysts believe it is based on some deep-rooted past experience of men, which was both shocking and traumatic. Others claim it is based on a false belief that men are better and stronger players, seeing women as vulnerable prey, and easy targets. This predatory instinct is what many women find disturbing and upsetting, giving rise to feelings of anxiety and intrepidation, which of course later develop into paranoia and fear.
From my research, most of victims trace back their traumatic experiences of men to incidents that took place at their bridge clubs. These included men exploding into raging bulls, throwing huge tantrums and massive wobblies, and being involved in histrionic outbursts worthy of any Oscar winning actors. These incidents clearly had the effect of turning quiet, shy, harmless, innocent women into nervous wrecks, even when they were just standing nearby as gobsmacked observers. These memories would then stay with them permanently, ultimately changing the initial anxieties into a fully blown man-fearing phobias.
Not until governing bodies step in to address the aggressive and rude behaviour of men will androphobia in all its forms become a thing of the past. Often victims are forced to adopt all manner of self-help strategies. For instance, these include only partnering other females, and playing their duplicate bridge in day-time hours, where male players are a rarity. However in the USA some radical feminists have set up their own " women only " bridge clubs, which enable all chronic androphobics to turn their backs on men for once and for all.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

BRIDGE BOOKS OF THE CENTURY.....( Alternative nominations by Pun )
  • My Passion For Bridge Has Cooled A Little.....Luke Warme
  • When Your Game Falls Apart........................Justin Peaces
  • Some Partners Need Gentle Handling........... Pam Purring
  • Big Hands Excite Me.......................................Ivor Lobon
  • If You Ever Need A Good Partner...................Lucas Hupp
  • Bridge Problems Cause Me Migraine.............Ed Payne
  • Funny Hands Will Be The Death Of Me..........Di Laffin
  • Overcoming Difficult Entry Problems..............Penny Traiter
  • Bids I Never Seem To Cotton On To...............Polly Ester
  • Incidents That Can Brought Me To Tears........Dustin Meise
( By Pun )
  • There's sod all costs involved............other than giving up a few minutes of one's internet time.
  • There's no price whatsoever that can be put on the benefits derived from a right good dollop of humour, satire and parody.
  • Given the sad fact there is only one winner in any bridge competition, where everyone else is a " loser ", then there's a real need for these poor, hard-done-to souls to cheer themselves up.........which this blog of course aims to do.
  • The Bizarre World of Bridge, more than any other blog, keeps on experimenting......looking for original ways to entertain and shock its readers.....willing to go that extra mile to push the frontiers of published claptrap and balderdash into new uncharted territories.
  • Moreover, I have achieved what no one else ever has.....or ever thought possible. I have made the content even more outrageous than the characters it lampoons. It takes broad, sometimes crude.....but never vicious....swipes at what we ( as players ) tend to gripe about. Aspects of the game which are foolish, sentimental, contradictory, venal, stuffy, or just plain scary. In other words it Gilds The Lily, it carries carbohydrates to Farouk.
  • All the feature writers involved have style.............all of their very own.
  • This blog.....let it be its readers meaningful insights to this very strange and unusual world, which will add a new dimension to their otherwise naive understanding of the game. Once their eyes have been opened, the process of enlightenment can one breathtaking revelation will follow another.

Friday, 11 June 2010

( By Pun )
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG.......................
Dear Rebecca,
I am straight from a class for beginners, and completely new to duplicate bridge. However, I have been really shocked at the way some so called experts play the game.
They bid suits they haven't got. They play in NT when they know they have a 4-4 fit in the majors. They bid contracts they know they cannot make.
Can these be the actions of players who claim to have brains and/or card sense ? Please enlighten me.
Yours totalled baffled, Ann B. Mused
Dear Ann,
You have so much more to learn.
Yes, it does make sense to tell partner what you hold, and to finish up in the right contract. However, there are many reasons why deceptive bids are made, and why NT provide a better resting place than a suit contract.
For instance, deceptive bids might well be used to (a) inhibit leads, (b) create more bidding space, (c) obstruct opponents, and (d) ask for a stopper in that suit. Often by bidding a void or a singleton, you are merely showing a first/second round control in that suit. And as for settling in NT as opposed to a contract in hearts/spades, where a fit has been identified, this might well be the result of good judgement. If say you have the same 3 top losers, then 430 scores much better than 420. Moreover, in NT there is no risk of losing top tricks in side suits to irritating little ruffs.
Finally, as for bidding unmakeable contracts, these actions often prove very profitable, even when going off 2 or 3 doubled. Providing the penalty you incur is less than the score the opponents were likely to make, the sacrifice bid is both necessary and imperative. Then, there will be other occasions, where the opponents will choose not to double, to bid on blindly, and to find themselves in unmakeable contracts. Good players believe in two maxims : (i) faint heart never wins a thing, and (ii) one has to speculate to accumulate.
I don't mean to sound patronising, condescending and insulting, but whoever taught you bridge ought to be shot. Clearly, the idiot failed to adddress the real fundamentals of the game, which has left you with no understanding whatsoever about the essential tactics, ploys and deceptions used.
Yours shaking my head in disbelief, Rebecca

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

BRIDGE : A GAME OF CURIOUS CONTRADICTIONS............... ( Some observations by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Bridge without doubt is a very strange game. Aspects of it border on the absurd..........with contradictions everywhere you care to look. And so if you don't believe me read on, because where else you could across a game in which :
  • you treat your opponents with politeness and respect, saving your rudeness and aggro for partner
  • opponents can bid like complete numpties against you, only to end up with complete tops
  • you are required to open at the higher levels, only when possessing hands with litttle in the way of HCPs
  • you can spend vast fortunes on accumulating masterpoints, which then prove to be meaningless because umpteen others are on the same total
  • you set off to the club loving the game, only to leave the place threatening to give it up
  • your final score is not determined by how well you played, but what had happened elsewhere
  • you are told that all bids need to be transparent, only to misunderstand many of your partner's bids, or what conventions you have on your card...... yet when it comes to understanding your opponents bids, well they usually have a system card that is more complex than the enigma code
  • you and everyone else in your club claim to be experts, when in reality the opposite is true
  • brilliant play by yourself and/or partner is not what wins events....because winners are usually those who don't play stupid
  • you spend more time on beating up yourself ( or partner ), than you ever do on bashing your opponents
  • even as a top class player you can often end up being drawn against the mediocre non-entities in a major swiss pairs/teams event
  • you are required to describe your hand as having one particular suit by simply bidding another
  • you believe (bridge) is a sport, only to spend the next 3 hours or more sitting utterly still in a comfy chair
  • you are forced to rely on lady luck and prayer far more than your own ability
  • you see insanity triumph over disciplined logic time and time again

Yes, the world of bridge is very bizarre indeed....and any one who thinks differently is clearly in denial.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I am a firm believer in using the 1NT as an obstructive bid, forcing opponents to enter the auction at the 2 level. However, bidding 1NT with a flat hand containing 1 or 2 four card majors is a no-no.
The 1NT I force upon my partners ( on pain of death ) promises a 5 card minor, and at least one major with a 3 card suit. Acceptable distributions within the 12-14 point range are 3-3-5-2, 3-3-2-5. 3-2-5-2 and 2-3-5-2. Any other distribution/shape requires opening a suit at the one level.
As for responses .....well nothing could be easier. 2C says no game interest, pass if you have clubs or covert to 2D. 2D is the staymanic response which tells partner to bid his lowest 3 card major ( and await developments, if any ). 2H/2S promises 5 in the major, game forcing. 2NT promises a balanced 11-12 with no more than 4 in a major. Simple heh ?
And what's so good about it ? Well firstly, partner with a weakish hand and a 4 card major knows there is no point in trying to find a non-existent 4-4 fit. Partner also knows that with 5 in a major he is well placed to play at the 2 level in either a 5-3 or 5-2 fit. 1NT doubled is less likely to be damaging if there is a 5 card minor suit in which the NT bidder can escape into.
Indeed, the beauty of the bid enables one to open a prepare 1C to show a hand with one, possibly two, 4 card majors, where a 1D reply is the enquiry bid ( to which there are a multitude of informative responses ). Moreover, opponents are less likely make a frisky overcall at the one level with a flimsy 5 card major of their own......knowing you might have that suit. As for all other one-level opening bids ( 1H/S ) : these will show a five card suit or better. 1D will either show a 5 card or better diamond suit, containing a possible singleton or void, or a flat hand with 4-4 in the minors 15+ points. With an opening hand in clubs, which can't be opened 1NT, then it is a case of waiting to bid at the next opportunity if there is one. So the only problem hand is a flat 12-14 with 4-4 in the minors, which requires a disciplined pass on the first round of bidding. Some experts have had the gall to tell me that this Bigot-Johnson 1NT is seriously flawed. Well, my boys are all using it to maximum effect pulling in tops left, right and centre. Never argue with success is what I say to them.
( Footnote: Any comments will be gladly received and carefully scrutinised. Criticisms will be tolerated to some degee, but constructive advice regarding refinements will be much more appreciated. )

Monday, 7 June 2010

The USA selectors had spent weeks floundering around trying to put together a team, because so many of their top players were still in hospital...... and various psychiatric clinics. Nevertheless, such is the wealth of bridge talent in the USA, there was still a big enough pool from which the selectors were offered plenty of choice, and several options.
And so a completely fresh new team was formed to take on Bigot's Boys for this all-important New York match, the third in the series. The pre-match build-up was awash with TV interviews and big name celebrity bridge players taking up positions as chat show hosts. Danny " Slow Death " Waters was the one everyone wanted to see because of his amazing ability to suck his opponents into making fatal mistakes. Indeed, as it turned out he became the man of the match by a nautical mile.
However, neither team made any headway in the first two sessions, but then the fortunes of the USA players took an unfortunate dive. Slow Death started to pull out some excellent results. His in-depth analysis was without equal. And while he was riding on a crest of a wave, all his opponents began to " sense " that awful sinking feeling, as if they were slowly but surely being pulled to the bottom. The pressure he was putting them under caused most to experience the bends...... others were being sent round them. All this defeatism was becoming too hard to swallow.
Elsewhere in the room, the tide had also turned against the Americans. Their precise bidding was replaced by ponderous indecision. " A " rated players were playing well below " C " level. Their vu-graph supporters were drowning in disbelief and despair. The early ebb and flow of the match was just a distant memory as the whole sorry affair was fast becoming an embarrassing whitewash for the USA team. The current form of The Boys was irrepressible......leaving the USA selectors at crisis point. How could this dreadful man, Bigot-Johnson, be allowed to achieve so much success at the expense of such great players....who have clearly found it easier getting into ACBL's Hall of Fame than beating this rag bag outfit from over the seas.
Not surprisingly, BIgot-Johnson suddenly surfaced at the end of the match to take the trophy, and of course all the prize money that had been generously donated by the New York mayor. Bigot, it seemed, had spent the whole time floating around in bar, trying to tap whoever was there for a free drink. Like Danny, he has always been a master in the art of pulling strokes.
( By Pun )

Sunday, 6 June 2010

( By Pun )

Friday, 4 June 2010

( By Pun )
PROFESSOR HU CHI KU CHI INVESTIGATES...........................
According to Dr. John bridge is a game which turns ordinary people into clients with chronic psychological and personality disorders. In other words it is nurture at work, where the whole bizarre experience of bridge ultimately converts harmless minds into ones incredibly twisted,distorted and disturbed.
But is it I ask more likely that people with well established mental disorders, or with strong tendencies to succumb to them, instantly see bridge as the game of their choice ? Are bridge clubs the perfect sanctuaries for these disorders to run riot ? This view clearly suggests that it is nature at work, and that players see bridge clubs as theatres of the absurd in which they can go along to perform....... and take centre stage.
Well, let's look at the facts.
Firstly, bridge is a game which is over-run by players well into their 60's and 70's. People who no doubt are experiencing the onset of dementia, not to mention a raft of age related mental health problems. All of these are brought to the clubs from " outside ", but the symptoms explode into view in the claustrophobic and competitive atmosphere of duplicate and tournament events.
Secondly, one has to wonder why the membership of all clubs has such a high intake of odd-balls, high-level autistic men, geeks, social misfits and other peculiar folk........all with a warped sense of how best to spend their free time. Their " oddity " seems to be a precondition of membership. The number times I have heard players say " You have to be mad to play this game ! ". Well, the realization of the truth has finally dawned on them alright.
Finally, it has to be observed that in the upper echelons of the game, there are people who are blessed with superb minds......... highly intelligent, gifted individuals, whose talents border on genius. Yet, as most psychiatrists will tell you " there is a very fine dividing line between genius and insanity ". Often the two overlap, and therefore it comes as no surprise to see " some very strange things " going on at their tables..... revealing a multitude of weird and unusual disorders.
So in conclusion I lean far more towards the view that to have to first be crazy to take up this game, but if you weren't there's every chance that the bizarre world of bridge might send you crazy.
....... ( By Pun )
TEAM SELECTION : HOW EASY IS THAT ?................ ( Article by Carp )
Let's face it...... picking say the eight best players in your club to represent the "A" team surely can't be that difficult....or can it ? We are all too aware of football club managers, with oodles of money, buying in the world's most talented individual players, but then struggling like hell to gel them into a winning team. So surely the same problem applies to bridge selectors. The individuals chosen might not gel as a team, and more importantly not gelling into successful partnerships.
If this is the case, then the focus for selectors must looking for and picking out the best " well established " pairs, who consistently put in good performances in high profile competitive events. Certainly in the world of tennis, the best doubles players hardly ever make the top individual rankings. But what doubles players are good at is their ability to complement one another, by developing an understanding that is second to none......on which countless points are won, and very few conceded.
So what is it that turns two very good players into a top class partnership. Perhaps the concept of synergy comes to mind : where the total outcome of the whole ( ie the pairing ) far exceeds the sum of the two individual parts. However, any pair worthy of selection must possess the following attributes :
- a well-honed understanding of every aspect of their system
- a total knowledge of the system, its conventions, measures and counter-measures
- absolute obedience to the system, enabling one to have complete faith in the other
- a tremendous level of mutual respect and trust
- compatible temperaments, where no player puts unrealistic expectations upon the other
- a shared passion for the game, a shared desire to win, and a shared belief that positive encouragement works
- an ability to see eye-to-eye on all matters concerning strategy and tactics
- complementary personalities, and an instinct as what each of them needs to do in a particular situation
- complete focus on solid bridge rather than flashes of brilliance
Recognising the existence of these attributes, let alone prioritising and " weighting " them in some way, is no easy task. Moreover, does one look more favourably on recent performances, as opposed to all performances over a longer period of time ? In my view, being a selector means you are on a " hiding to nothing ". For all you know it may be possible for the best individual players to quickly adapt and form themselves new truly invincible partnerships ?

Thursday, 3 June 2010

.......... ( By Pun )

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

  • I Played That Hand Like A Fool...................................Jack Hass
  • We'll Be Carpeted Over This Wretched Scorecard.........Walter Wall
  • Last Night I Finally HIt It Off With Partner.....................Ade Mee-Enderway
  • So You Think You Can Take Us On ?..........................Ewan Huesarmy
  • Are You Willing To Partner Me Then ?.........................Fred Knott
  • That Egit Can't Possibly Be A Grandmaster ?..............Otis Trueman
  • Rubbish Players Who Think They're Good....................Charlotte Tanz
  • Partner, You Played Like A Lemon..............................Mia Pratt
  • Notes On Bridge Technique.........................................Pam Flitt
  • He's Actually Dating His Partner Tonight.......................Will E. Shafter
IN BRIDGE RISKS NEED TO BE INSURED AGAINST......( Article by Johnny Supremo )
Whatever contract you are in consider the risks, which nasty distribution, layout............. not to mention defenders ......might create for you. The whole concept of safety play is to identify and adopt a line of play that minimises the risks which could scupper the contract, by attempting to guard against such risks. This in essence is what insurance is all about. Skillful defenders will create risks, which need to be spotted straightaway..... and neutralised. Take this hand for example my novice partner botched up. He was declarer in 5D, with no opposition bidding, and his LHO led the queen of hearts at trick 1. My hand was: Kx ....Axxx.....J9x.....Axxx, which fitted extremely well with his QJxx ......Kx....KQ10xxxx....(void ).
At first glance declarer could see 11 easy tricks ( 2S, 2H, 6D, 1C ), losing only to both red Aces. Not surprisingly, complacency and impulsiveness both took hold. At trick one he took the heart in hand with the King. Next came the king of diamonds to take out trumps, which was taken by his LHO with her stiff Ace......only to switch to a second heart which was ruffed by her partner. Then the Ace of spades was cashed for the setting trick !
Bemoaning the fact that hearts split 6-1 received little sympathy from me. Why ? ....Well, there was an obvious case for taking out some insurance that was on offer....even against this very small risk. All declarer had to do was to take the heart trick in dummy with the Ace, and then play the Ace of clubs pitching the embarrassing and unnecessary King of spades. Then when diamonds are played out next, the LHO on winning with the Ace cannot give her partner a successful ruff ( since an over-ruff would follow ). As before 11 tricks are easily there, courtesy of 2S, 1H, 1C, 6D plus one spade ruff with dummy's third trump.
And the moral of this story is simple : look to guard against risks, no matter how small, by taking out whatever insurance is on offer.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

( By Pun )
BIGOT-JOHNSON GIVES ANOTHER 2 MINUTE INTERVIEW ....... ( A recent article as published in the Chicago Tribune )
- I see your team of all stars has made quite an impact over here ?
- Definitely... they've certainly kept your selectors and hospitals busy.....
- But aren't the tactics adopted by your players a little unethical or unorthodox say the least ?
- No way....for allow me to quote a few words from Ira Corn Jr's book Play Bridge With the Aces ....which correctly states " Is bridge in fact a sport ? Yes, it is a sport as brutal and as tough as professional football...."
- Hmmm....well, let's leave that unsavoury topic behind...and move onto who you really are, and what events in the past turned you into the " bigot " you are today ?
- Well, as you already know, I was orphaned at an early age, and put into a children's home. This was all in all a very distressing period in my life.
- But a young man ?
- Having been underfed and undernourished for so long, I stood only 5 feet 2 inches tall...with physique that was barely noticeable.....and because of my long expression and big ears, people took me for a Beagle. But unlike all those horrible boys in the orphanage, they were at least polite and respectful.........despite treating me like a dog. Mind you, all this did have its compensations......I was never ordered off the grass in parks, no one complained if I piddled up against lamp-posts.......and pretty girls would frequently stop in the street to scratch me behind my ears.
- then you met the woman, who later became your wife ?
- Yes.....she was the only woman who was prepared to accept me for who I was.....with all my physical handicaps, such as my club feet and buck teeth. Mind you, I was more than willing to accept hers, as she was profoundly deaf and near blind.
- A remarkable woman.....but what about your involvement and achievements in bridge ?
- Yes, the game has been my salvation. With bridge clubs being the perfect haven for bitter, twisted, cantankerous old bastards.... like myself....there, I became one of many. And I knew, because of my obvious ability and flair for the game, I could really " damage " people and get away with it. Take it from me, bridge is regarded by most players as one way of indulging in legitimate, ritualised forms of non-physical violence, where they can stuff one another good and proper week-in week-out without fear of prosecution.
- An interesting and revealing perspective I must say....but what about all these court cases you've been involved in over the years ?
- Ahh...I thought you'd come onto that. Well, I'm a man who has forever been both persecuted and prosecuted...yet somehow I seem to manage to come out of it all unscathed........
- Well, I'm sorry to tell you that......there are rumours afoot that you and your boys are going to be indicted over here for acts of violence, and bringing the game of bridge into disrepute.....and that the tour will have to be called off. So what comment would you like to say on this matter ....?
- Bugger