Sunday, 4 July 2010

Yes folks, I have in my possession a rare and priceless 16th century copy of the Stratford Daily Gazette, which clearly proves that Shakespeare, long before establishing himself as a playwright, started off writing short articles as the local bridge correspondent. So here, for the world at large, is the only piece of work like it in existence , which all Shakespearean scholars and historians will relish:
MID-SESSION NIGHTMARE.............. ( By William Shakespeare )
South consumed by gross intolerance and suffocating impatience finally broke silence : " is you Sir to bid...nay , I beseech you Sir to make your prediction, and unfold the secrets of your hand, before I am forced to commit unspeakable acts of butchery. Time is seeping away.....and you are the cursed rival of my watch. Bid quickly and make haste with this auction ".
East sensed daggers were being aimed his way, but was truly thankful they were coming from South's menacing eyes and not his hands. With false bravado, he loudly retorted: " You doth protest too much, methinks....but you shall wait no more. The gods have dealt me an awkward hand, but one which I trust will put you, thy vile and venomous enemy, in mortal danger of a wretched score. So heed this 4H opening of mine and be done with you ".
This reply only goaded the gloating South to snarl back : " I charge thee with a double for I too am a man blessed with cards of such awesome power, I swear the devil himself has ordained me to inflict upon you a hefty punishment.....which befits your brazen arrogance and wayward bidding ".
West's ashen, and woefully pale, face suggested little assistance for his partner. either in the way of top honour cards or trump support. And so the bidding move swiftly back to East. Questions filled his troubled mine : " I have been dealt a heavenly hand, but my odious opponent is a known master of the cards. But does not his double foretell of a cruel and vicious distribution destined to deliver me into an odious pit of shame and sorrow ? Yet it may be nothing more than a fantasy on South's part ? This dreaded double doth make me wonder if 5 clubs might just have a better play.....a safer haven into which I can retreat. What sore decision must I take ? If bridge be the love of fools then I must bid on. " Indeed, South's imperious double had clearly wounded East's fragile confidence, but having been gifted this warning of impending doom he seized upon an bid blessed with inspiration and imagination: " Four no trumps ! " That it should come to this was not a random act of madness, but a bid which could have been equally forged on the rock of reason and logic.
Again, South sensed blood, and the prospect of unbridled carnage resulted in a second double, bellowed loud for all and sundry to hear. West, acutely aware of his partner's two suited hand ( clubs being the other ) had no where to go, and was forced to pass. North did likewise, but East, however, remained unmoved......seeing himself as a serpent waiting beneath an innocent flower. If picked by his enemy, this was going to be his last mortal act . So in a final gesture of calculated defiance, East boldly replied : " Redouble..... for I say to you I'd rather go down as a swashbuckling hero than a cringing coward. Doth thou really take me for a fool who would put himself in such perilous circumstance, choosing to play in some grotesquely absurd contract ?....I think not Thane of all misjudgement ! Indeed, I pray that you do not further lose your sovereignty of reason by falling victim to moments of defensive madness. Your suffering must result solely from the pained knowledge that this contract was cold from the start.....". And on those words the auction ended.
Behold then, the hand on which South's Mid-session Nightmare unfolded :
West : 10xxxx......(void ).......K1098xx....Kx
East : ( void ) .....AKxxxxx...Q...........Axxxx
South : AK....QJ1098....AJ......98xx
North : QJxxxx.....x.......xxxx.....QJ
( Analysis : no matter what South leads, East will eventually get in with a top heart or club, after which the diamond queen will be played. If South elects to duck it, East will overtake it in dummy to then drive out the Ace. The club King of course allows East to gain re-entry to dummy to run off 4 remaining diamonds. All in all South can only make 2 top spades and the Ace of diamonds. East will score 5 diamonds, 3 clubs, and 2H to secure the contract.........all down to the fortuitous layout of the cards. 4H of course stood no chance whatsoever with 4 certain winners in South's hand. )

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