Thursday, 30 September 2010

( Bigot-Johnson was hauled before the Crown Court to face the most serious charge of his life : the murder of Pongo Pantopod, Percy's younger brother. On the night in question Pongo, who had been drafted in at the last moment to be Bigot's partner, proceeded to play bridge like a complete lemon. He successfully binned every contract he found himself as declarer, and not once did he ever lead suits that Bigot had bid. Their team contribution of minus 264 imps incensed Bigot so much, he dragged poor Pongo off to the potting shed ( behind the club's premises ) to hammer home some essential points about bidding and play. It was two days later that Pongo's battered body turned up in a compost heap . So what follows is a short extract from the trial's transcript, which covered a critical phase of the trial. Bigot as usual elected to defend himself. )
B-J : I would like to call Pongo Pantopod as my next witness..................
( A coffin is brought into court and laid across the witness box )
Judge : Bigot....this is most irregular. What can you possibly hope to achieve questioning a dead man ?
B-J : Your don't seem to understand.......I can still communicate with him......even as a bridge player he was just about able to master the requirements of simple signalling
Judge : But your witness is dead .........
B-J : In medical terms yes......but his spirit has not vacated his body......and it is that which I can get in touch with..............
Judge : So he's not completely dead then ?
B-J : No...... he's not completely dead. Physically dead, yes. Certainly brain dead......well, that's been the case even when he was alive. But the spirit.... thank God...... is still hanging in there just...... for the purpose of establishing my innocence in the trial.
Judge : I don't quite get this.....If he's not completely dead, why is he in a coffin ?
B-J : Well, he's due at the crematorium in 2 hours time, so I would like to crack on with my questioning of this witness....
Judge : This is unprecedented...... but if you must
B-J : Pongo......listen carefully to my instructions. All my questions will simply require a yes or no answer. Bang once for "yes" and twice for "no"..................Pongo do you understand ?
( A single bang is heard from within the coffin )
Now Pongo.............Is it true that I didn't lay an actual finger upon your person ?
( Just one bang is heard )
I guess that wraps up the questioning .......and puts an end to the prosecution's case
Prosecutor : Not so quick Bigot..... because we aim to prove that you hit him from behind with a hammer
B-J : Pongo.....please now tell the court.......did I hit you with a hammer ?
( Two bangs reverberate from inside the coffin )
There.....the defence rests its case
Prosecutor : So what's that remote control gadget you have in your hand, Bigot ?
B-J : It's my comfort toy...
Judge : Let me see it.....
( Within seconds of fiddling around with the buttons, repeated bangs are heard from within the coffin. Bigot now looks extremely agitated ...)
Bigot-Johnson you are contemptuous cheat .... you have attempted to carry out a dastardly wicked plan to pervert the course of justice.....and I'm in no mood to be forgiving....
B-J : I'm buggered............
Prof : Well Doctor...... what has caused you to turn your back on tournament bridge ?
Dr : Firstly, I find the whole expense thing far too much, and not being of a calibre to attract sponsors I find the prize money on offer absolutely pitiful. I ask you if 300 players are asked to pitch in £25 a head, stumping up £7500 in total, and the best they can offer as top prize money is around £400.....if your lucky.......the financial incentives are zero. In poker competitions.....I might add..... over half that money would end up in the pockets of the outright winner. It is not surprising then that tournament poker is on the way up whereas bridge is on the way down.
Prof : Any other reasons ?.............
Dr : Well, as you already know......... bad behaviour really bugs me....
Prof : What the bullying ?.................
Dr : far worse than that. I'm talking about blatant hypocrisy and smugness. These are the greatest off-putters by a mile. Far too many players who rant on about the faults and misdemeanors of others are the biggest culprits themselves. And as always it is these same arseholes, who openly relish and bask in mirth whenever opponents make mechanical and unforced foolish errors. They laugh whenever opponents go down as a result of bad breaks, awful splits, and the unfortunate lie of the cards. Then to add insult to injury, they later congregate together in circles, bragging and chuckling away at the gifts that came they way. Who wants to encounter people like that.......not me for one.
Prof : Any other gripes concerning bad behaviour ?
Dr : Yes, I do believe that far too many players are guilty of elitism, intolerance, impatience , back-stabbing and petty mindedness.....
Prof : Some list....
Dr : Add to that slow play, complex bidding systems....... designed purely to baffle and obstruct the opponents' bidding....... and TD's being used to help those who cheat by exploiting the rules.....and you have a scenario that makes the world of tournament bridge a place I am happy to see the back off.
Prof : So where will you be playing your bridge now ?
Dr : Over at the Walnut Tree Allotment BC partnering Bigot-Johnson of course...........

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

BRIDGE CLUB SUB-COMMITTEE DISCIPLINARY HEARING No.128 ( Only one week had elapsed before Bigot found himself again facing the wrath of the committee. This time however the charge was far more serious, in that a complaint had gone in from the club steward regarding criminal damage to property. )
Chairman : Bigot you have been brought back before this disciplinary sub-committee to answer a very serious charge indeed. The club steward claims that someone.......namely you......has drawn a man's whatsit on the newly painted men's toilet wall. Several witnesses are prepared to identify you as the culprit having seen you practice " the said drawing " on your scorecard repeatedly throughout the whole evening. This crude form of picture graffiti would be classified in any civilised society as both lewd and offensive. Have you anything to say at this juncture ?
B-J : No comment......although I would question whether bridge clubs are places where civilised people go
Chairman : So our poor over-worked club steward has been obliged to leave his other duties in order to get a wet cloth and rub the whatsit off. However, on your next return to the club......lo and identical but slightly larger drawing has suddenly appeared on the same the same place. This meant for a second time the steward had the unpleasant task of rubbing off this vulgar and shocking image.
B-J : No comment.............although I would argue that every part of the human anatomy is a beautiful thing having been created in God's image
Chairman : Then, on your next visit to the club, yet another discovery of the drawing took place. This happened only minutes after someone remembered seeing you leaving the toilet with a felt tip pen in hand. However, this time not only was there a larger picture than before, but a message was written underneath it in big bold block capital letters : " DON'T YOU KNOW, THE HARDER YOU RUB IT THE BIGGER IT GETS "
B-J : No comment.............although I would argue that all your evidence against me is both flimsy and circumstantial
Chairman : Well, I have no option but regard your failure to deny the charge as a confession by default......entitling us, the committee, to impose a £500 fine on you......... instead of the usual 3 month ban. This of course is to cover the cost of cleaning and the installation of CCTV cameras throughout the premises. So now have you got anything to say ?.....................
B-J : Bugger.....

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A CONVERSATION I OVERHEARD THE OTHER DAY........ ( By Bridgemeister Gibson )
Club member (CM) :'ve got a puzzled on your face ?
B-J : Well, I have to admit......I just can't believe my luck...
CM : Why .....what's happened ?
B-J : Well, I've found a new member who is more than happy to be my partner......
CM : No kidding ?
B-J : Not only that but he actually rates me as a top player ....
CM : Wow....what can one say ?
B-J : And the best thing of course is that he never argues, always willing to acknowledge and accept all my critical observations about his play....... but most of all he takes every insult I throw at him in his stride
CM : Now.....that is something !
B-J : But there's more.....he's not that bad at bridge either.....and the icing on the cake is that he's incredibly courteous, respectful, and generous with his praise towards me
CM : So why the puzzled look ?
B-J : Well, when he is away from the bridge table you begin to realise that he's a total and utter prat.....the most stupid man I have ever come across...
CM : I figured that ......... given all what you've just said about him
B-J : Now that remark warrants a two worded response.........bugger off...

Monday, 27 September 2010

DR. JOHN'S CASE NOTES....................
It has come to my attention that an alarming number of bridge players have an irritating habit of humming, while contemplating their next bid or play of the cards. Whether this humming is a deliberate or subconscious ploy to rattle and upset the opponents' equilibrium and composure , I just don't know ? In the majority of cases this constant need to hum would be written off as an obsessive compulsive disorder, one which tends to be so annoying to others because of its tuneless and toneless nature.
However, one particular client of mine had a more melodic variant of this disorder, which had moved it into the realms of a syndrome. Indeed, I had seen this disorder several times before when I attending bridge congresses in Cardiff and Swansea. Somehow I knew why this poor man was unable to stop himself humming at the tables, despite the incredible number of savage looks and death threats which had come his way. He tried to explain that it helped him to think better, if he hummed song titles that popped into his head. Whenever this need to concentrate harder intensified, he felt compelled to hum classic hits like Mama Told Me Not To Come, I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Delilah, She's A Lady, and the Green Green Grass Of Home. Then, as he continued to rattle off more song titles, I instinctively recognised the particular syndrome he had.
" I am very familar with this affliction of's has a funny name........but it's incurable. "
" Tell me...tell me....If Only I Knew "
" What do you mean ? " despaired the man, "..... Is it a common complaint ? "
" Yes, I too have it ........It's Not Unusual......especially, if you've ever been to Wales. "

Sunday, 26 September 2010

  • Hey, I've Just Scored Over 70%..............................Lloyd D.Lord
  • Partner, Did You Need To Trump So Big ?................Ulrika Pugh
  • I'll Give You A lesson You Wont Forget...................Ed Master
  • How To Go About Knocking Sense Into Partner.......Wade N. Everley
  • I've Just Been Selected For The 'A' Team.................I. B. Blode
  • If Your Bridge Season's Too Long, Take A Break......Kit Catt
  • Sponsor Lures Top Pro With A Barrel Load Of Money....Carmen Gettit
  • Why I Lose At Bridge............................................Bjorn A. Pratt

Friday, 24 September 2010

short article
by Dr.Sigmund T.
Schukelgruber )
Gone are the days when bridge players attended their clubs with a sense of occasion. Gone are the days where attendance required sartorial standards of dress, so clearly evident in the 1930's and 1940's. For men, suit and ties were the compulsory norm ( tuxedos and monocles were especially welcome ).
As for the ladies, smart evening gowns, or matching skirts and blouses, were their preferred choice of style and refinement. They more than anyone knew what was needed to create that sense of occasion.
Sadly, massive cultural changes have taken place over the last 70 years. So today, as far as men go " anything goes " when it comes to turning up to play their beloved game : T-shirts, sandals and torn-off jeans now take the place of bespoke tailored suits and black leather shoes.
So it is no coincidence that with the demise of dress standards, there was a parallel demise of behavioural standards. Gone are the days when refined and courteous table talk reflected the well-mannered behaviour associated with gentlemen and ladies. What we have now is a world full of bridge playing maniacs displaying irritation, impatience, frustration and anger, whenever mistakes by partners, or misdemeanors by opponents, come to light. Even the nostalgic Evangeline Holland, in her recent article The Bridge Mania , was quick to endorse this demise. Here she quotes the damning words once used by the pseudonymous Frank Danby : " It is futile to argue with a bridge club member as with an opium eater or an inebriate. The habit has outreached all rational discussion. Duty, common sense, reputation have become meaningless words before the victim's devastated conscience. " Words indeed which become more apt as each year passes.
And what of future changes ? Can it be possible....... to turn back the clock, and see the world of bridge return to the way things ought to be ? The answer to that question I'm afraid is.... " only when hell freezes over ".
BRIDGE IN THE BIG LEAGUE....... ( By Johnny Supremo )
What amazes me about top class players is not only their relentless desire to push for game when fits come to light, but their ability to pull off all these fragile contracts. For them distribution and shape count for everything, with HCPs being of little consideration. I too subscribe to that view but I tend to be a tad more circumspect. So let me tell you what happened in a recent teams match, when my inexperienced team-mates were up against two of England's best. On both tables the East/West pairs both reached 4H on a combined 22 count, after South had opened the bidding 1NT.
West held : Axx.......10x.......xx.....AK10xxx
East held : K107x...QJ76xx...KQx......(void )
On one table it was an opposition South who looking down at his Q6....AK9....Axxx.......xxxx, thinking what to do for the best . " Partner must have very little. However, it is within the realms of possibility he might have something in spades. If I volunteer the queen of spades, there is the vague hope partner might just have the king setting up a natural spade trick and a spade ruff. However, if he hasn't the king, but the jack instead, then my lead might well fool the opponents into believing that that card lies with me. "
So our declarer on this table sensibly took the first trick in hand with the King. But it was the play at trick 2 which was critical. The chosen card here was a small heart up to dummy's 10. Oh dear....the opposition South hopped up with the Ace, cashed the heart king and returned the 6 of spades. Declarer not surprisingly allowed this to run round to his presumed 10 of spades winner. So when North popped up with the jack to then provide his partner with a spade ruff with his one remaining heart, the contract proceeded to go 2 down.
At my table, it was my partner who was sitting South, and he too found the inspired queen of spades opening lead. But this time the opposition declarer had a little deceptive plan of his own. Taking the opening trick in hand with the king, he cunningly led at trick 2 the queen of diamonds. South unwittingly ducked. Quickly, declarer went across to dummy with the Ace of spades, pitching his two remaining diamonds on the A/K of clubs. Coming off table with the 3 of spades, he only had to lose two more tricks in hearts tricks. Game made.
And the moral of this tale ? Well firstly, if as declarer you are in dodgy games...... subterfuge may be your best bet to bring home an almost impossible contract. Secondly, if you are defending a beatable contract and your deceptive lead might well have created a winning position , then don't allow sloppy play to give back the initiative to a grateful declarer .

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The first group of bridge players to be diagnosed with this syndrome were intercity team captains. All too often the weakest member of the team became the target of abuse by all the others, having been scapegoated for the team's miserable and wretched performances. The syndrome inevitably affected those, who were entrusted to make " selection " decisions, but ironically the consequence of the condition meant that captains became fearfully reluctant to do so.
In every instance, they found themselves unable " to see any fault on the part of the heavily maligned team member ". However, they were also acutely aware that their status of captain was under threat, if they failed to take appropriate action to appease the baying lynch mob. So once the PPS locked in, victims with this fear-induced condition, decided that the best course of action " was to wash their hands of the whole matter ". This required them to let a more democratic process of decision making take its course......which of course allowed mob rule to take over.
Indeed, any bridge player with this affliction is usually one who has acquired power, but then aims to retain and protect it........ even if it means selling his/her soul in the process. The fact that others are allowed, on occasions, to usurp their power, is of no real concern. For clearly, what on earth is wrong about being magnanimous, and choosing to embrace the spirit of democracy whenever the thorny problem of team expulsions crops up . The wash basin therefore becomes an symbol of delegated power, rather than one which depicts power draining away down the plug-hole.
Those afflicted with PPS start to believe that power includes the right to do nothing, the right to delegate....and of course the right to hold onto power. Moreover, if the mob decision to expel a team member proves to be a big mistake, then the victims of course can avoid any subsequent flak by smugly retorting, " It's not my fault ".
But the most shocking aspect of this syndrome is how it has developed over the years within the world of bridge. A whole raft of other symptoms are now beginning to appear, which clearly affect vast numbers of rank and file club members. These associated symptoms include :
- an unwillingness to learn
- an unwillingness to examine what is happening around them
- the fatal paralysis of judgement
- the weakness of complacency
- the preferred option of passivity
The Pontius Pilate Syndrome has become a very serious and widespread problem, which needs to be addressed by those in power. But tragically, those in power are the first to be affected...... causing them to turn a blind eye, to bury their heads in the ground, and to take themselves off to the washroom ( which happens to be very place where I hang out these days ).
REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG........................
Dear Rebecca,
What the hell is this game coming to ? There was I partnering a so-called club expert, when the following uncontested bidding sequence took place : 1H - 2H - 3H - 4H. My hand was Qx....QJxx....Jxxx....Kxxx, which certainly warranted a simple raise of 1H to 2H. However, when he came back with an invitational 3H, I felt with my 8 HCPs, I was good enough to bid game. So when the contract went 1 off for a near bottom, did I get it in the neck. He rounded on me good and proper calling me a cretin into the bargain. Did I do wrong or was I partnering someone devoid of human decency and compassion ?
Yours Pretty Perplexed
Dear PP,
Either you belong to the dark ages of kitchen bridge Acol bidding, or you haven't a clue as to what the 3H bid is actually all about.
When the opener rebids 3H over your 2H, he is certainly not inviting game. Surely to God you can see that the bid is simply pre-emptive. For if he was to pass, as sure as eggs are eggs the opponents are bound to protect. His 3H was made with the sole intent to discourage protection by the opponents.
Moreover, if he knows you're fairly limited, and that he has nothing more to spare, then the opponents might well have the same 8/9 trump fit as you ( in the unbid major ). And does it matter if 3H goes down one ? Not a jot, because the likelihood would be that 2S would make ( with only 8 tricks available in both directions ).
And what action might partner take if he wanted to look for game ? Any bid except 3H !!! So please..... either give up the idea of competitive bridge, or get a book on the fundamentals of tournament Acol bidding.
As for your partner's reference to you being a cretin, he made well have hit the nail on the head.
Yours Remarkably Rood

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

BRIDGE CLUB SUB-COMMITTEE DISCIPLINARY HEARING No. 127....... ( Although this hearing involved another tiff with Bigot-Johnson, the committee felt it necessary to treat this latest complaint, against its most notorious serial offender, with an urgency the reported facts clearly merited. However, it turned out to be the shortest hearing on record, as the full transcript of the proceedings can confirm. )
Chairman : Bigot-Johnson....a very serious complaint has been made against you by Percy Pantopod, who it seems had turned up to the club that Thursday, only because he had been told you were away on holiday. But what really shocked him that night was seeing you brandishing a gun in front of club members situated in the bar, where he too was standing.
B-J : Well, let me tell you...... I have a permit to possess and own a fire-arm.....
Chairman : But the club's constitution does not allow you......despite your enter the premises with any weapon whatsoever....let alone a lethal one..... like a gun. So unless you can provide us with a valid excuse, then handing out a lengthy ban is the only sensible option available to us......given your appalling track record of bad behaviour and outrageous antics.
B-J : Look.....any man with the number of sworn enemies I've got inside this club needs all the protection he can get....
Chairman : My God're right.......Crikey .....everyone I know in this club, including myself, would certainly wish you dead. Complaint're free to go....
B-J : Well, I'll be buggered....

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY...........................
  • Trial bid : an attempt to bring a bridge club to court, say for example over a claim for damages following the wrongful dismissal of a member
  • Suit : an action one takes up in a court of law in order to obtain some form of legal redress
  • Bigot-Johnson : an impetuous fool who is forever putting his foot in the proverbial dung heap. Therefore to do " a Bigot-Johnson " means to drop a right big clanger.
  • EBU : an acronym for " Everyone Buggers Up ", given that no one can play perfect bridge all the time and never make a mistake
  • Italian " Blue " Team : an appropriate colour reference used to describe a key feature of this highly successful world championship side. After being accused of cheating, all the members sank into deep depression. Such was the sheer scale of their abject despair and despondency, to even describe the team simply as " blue " seemed a gross under-statement.
  • Myrtle Bennett : the first woman to be given the label of " top gun ". One of the founder members of " Equal Rights For Women In Sport ", she more than anyone tried to put a stop to male chauvinism running rampant in the world of bridge.
  • ACBL : an acronym for " Amazing Cock-ups Bewildering Lapses " which aptly describes the decision making process that inevitably takes place in bridge committees and governing bodies the world over
  • Bridge bloggers : generally, a sad and disillusioned bunch of writers operating in cyberspace. Like blind fools, they carry on publishing their works, choosing to ignore the fact that possibly no one is ever bothering to read them. What's worse is that should the opposite be true, then they remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that much of their stuff is written off as " utter crap ".

Monday, 20 September 2010

In the world of tournament bridge there is always a small minority of top class players who regularly turn up expecting to win. In contrast there is a vast majority of humdrum, rank and file, players, who turn up every now and again only in the hope of winning. But here in the UK there is a well established culture, which encourages bridge players to enjoy the status of underdogs, and to always support and back the underdogs, regardless of who they are taking on. They love the label of " underdog ", but sadly they are all victims of this terrible syndrome. Indeed, the name given to this affliction ( and other one mentioned below ) owe their origins to character called Ken Hunt, who had set about trying to define what character traits Aussies possess.
However, no one realised until recently that the condition was far more relevant to bridge players. Indeed, I vividly remember when I was asked to deal with club member, who relished the idea of being an outsider, a no-hoper, " just one of faceless majority ". As far as he was concerned the kudos of giving the experts and champions a run for their money was far more satisfying than the prospect of actually winning a major bridge event. The syndrome became more acute when he realised that all his peers loved him...... as being the little bloke, the ordinary Joe, the David with the sling, prepared to take on and slay the giants against all the odds. Such was his dogged and persistent challenge to knock as many spots off these top dogs, to ruffle their furs, and to upset the status quo, he soaked himself in the glory of defeat, like those brave and foolish men who fought alongside Sparticus.
Tragically, once the syndrome has reached its full blown stage, a victim becomes compelled to strive even harder to upset even more apple carts. He allows himself to wallow in the accolades of becoming the people's champion, as opposed to being the tournament champion. Real champions and expert players are nothing more than fairground ducks, targets to aim at and knock over. Yet the curious thing about this syndrome is that when a victim, or should I say underdog, ever goes on to win a tournament .....and in the process become a real champion......then clinical depression sets in. This of course is based on the knowledge and awareness of the forthcoming pain and anguish when a replacement syndome takes over ( see below ).
This subsequent and replacement syndrome is very short lived, owing to the fact that underdogs who win a major tournament will soon experience the reality of crashing back down to earth. Only then can the underdog label be picked up and worn again. However, during the short honeymoon period of being real champions, life for these usurpers and upstarts quickly turns into a real bummer, plunging them into a rare type of depression. For while they have the newly acquired status of being top dogs, deep down they know they haven't got a cat-in-hell's-chance of living up to it. Moreover, they are now the easy and hated targets of all underdogs who previously loved and worshipped them. In bridge tournaments before, coming half-way was still something that could earn warm applause and congratulations. But now such a result earns derision, ridicule and scorn. Therefore, any tall poppy, who stands out from the riff raff of ordinary non-achieving Joes , will inevitably find himself cut back down to size. Knowing that this will surely happen, along with the painful experience that comes from being abruptly thrown off your pedestal, is the very thing that brings about this temporary depression. The reality of the situation becomes all too clear: winning a trophy as an underdog is not so much a blessing as a curse. Indeed, for the ordinary players of the bridge world there is far more joy in the pursuit of a dream than bringing it to fruition.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

BIGOT GETS HIS COMEUPPENCE................... ( Another nearly true story by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Years ago Bigot was desperate to get onto the Walnut Tree Allotment BC committee, if only to push forward a proposal to get rid of Percy Pantopod for once and for all. All he needed was just a few more guaranteed votes to secure his selection. But where from ? Time and friends were now in very short supply.
With minutes to go before all the all important AGM, Bigot was touting for support in the rapidly emptying bar room. But there in the corner was a new member, just finishing off his pint of bitter. This was the perfect moment for a bit of smart bit of canvassing to promote his selection credentials. The young man sitting there seemed very approachable, and possibly open to persuasion.
" Allow me please to introduce myself name is Bigot-Johnson......a well respected player and long serving member of this club. Can I count on you to put a cross against my name in the forthcoming ballot for new committee members ? "
" Not a bloody chance ", the man replied, " I'd rather nail you to a cross . Why, in the short time I have been at this club, I witnessed your appalling behaviour, and heard countless stories about your outrageous antics and crimes. You are nothing more than an unscrupulous scoundrel, completely devoid of intellect, decency, morality, integrity and charm. You are an infamouus bandit, a man who lives up to his name, a man whose sole aim in life is to nurture your self-interest and overly-inflated ego.... a man who is out to feather his own nest at the expense of making everybody's life a misery. You, Bigot, are a blot on the landscape of humanity. "
" can I take it then...... that's a definite NO ? "
" YES.... "
" Bugger....."
And on that over-used expletive the conversation ended. Bigot of course failed to get elected.......... being as it happened just one vote short.

Friday, 17 September 2010

I always insist that my partners bid to my system. This involves a " prepared club " which only they are obliged to use. This means I can always open one spade, but they must refrain from doing so, opting instead for the ambiguous 1C opener. As a result I, as responder, can bid spades first on as little as 3 small. This has a double whammy effect : either I end up as declarer in a spade contract, or if partner has no spades I keep the opposition from finding their spade contract. Is that brilliant or what ? Another part of my system is that partners must never respond 1/2 NT to an opening suit bid of mine under any circumstances. They must choose their best minor suit no matter how bad it is. Moreover, there must never open 1/2 NT, choosing instead the artificial and available 1C/2C bids. The crucial objective is that I must be given every opportunity going to bid no trumps first. Indeed, my partners are obliged to follow the general guidelines of making a suit bid, where they have little or no desire to end up as declarer in that suit.
So allow me now to give you a wonderful illustration of how my system triumphs over all others:
Partner ( West ) Holds : AKxxx.....xx.....AQx....QJx
Sitting East I Hold : xxx.......AQ10x....Jx.....K10xx
The bidding correctly goes 1C ( spade bid is forbidden ) , 1S ( showing 3 or more in the suit ), 3D ( good hand, better minor, jump confirming good spades ), 3NT ( first there, over to you partner to make final decision ), Pass. On a heart lead I wrapped up 10 tricks taking 4S, 2H, 1D, 3C despite both red kings being off-side. Using other biding systems most Wests end up in either 3NT or 4S, struggling to make the former and going one off for certain in the latter ( losing a trick in every suit ).
The beauty of the compulsory 1C opener from partner is that you are in control, and are well place to play over 70% of the contracts. Indeed, really good partners, who really get into the spirit of anti-hog bidding, boost that figure to almost 80%. Jesus, I didn't take up serious bridge just to become a dummy !
So allow me to give you one more example :
Partner ( West ) Holds : xx.....Ax....QJ10xx.....AK10x
Sitting East I hold : xxxx...Qx....Kxxx.........Qxx
Partner yet again is obliged to open 1C. Naturally, my first response is 1S showing at least 3. Now comes 2H from partner ( indicating no spades, useless heart suit, but two good minor suits by inference ). 3D by me ends the auction. As expected I received a heart lead allowing me to make 10 tricks, losing 1D and 2S tricks only. Elsewhere, other East/West players were only making 9 tricks in diamonds or going off in frisky no trump contracts. For further details about my system and how to really hog the bidding (and the contracts ) turn to chapter 46.....
  • How To Celebrate Winning The Buffett Cup................Dan Saul Knight
  • It's So Vital To Keep Your Partner's Pecker Up.............Tilly Cumms
  • Captain, I'm Good Enough For This Team...................Ike N. Hackett
  • Victory Isn't Quite There Yet.................................Will B. T. Morrow
  • How To Take Sponsors For A Ride.............................Gray V. Trayne

  • Good Defence Is The Key To Success..........................Barry Cade
  • Bigot-Johnson's Secret To Reading The Cards.............Betty Peaks
  • Partner, You Played That Hand Like A Wizard...........Eugenie Horwatt
  • In Bridge Get To Know Which Way The Wind Blows. ..Lee Ward
  • Play Like The Devil And Be Damned...........................B. L. Zebub
I must have inherited my talent for bridge from genes passed down from my parents. The game is in my blood. Mind you it's not as though either of parents taught me a damn thing about the game. In fact, they only discovered their liking for bridge later on in their lives, which meant they left it far too late to make a name for themselves. Unlike me of course !
As mentioned in a previous chapter, I was orphaned at the age of four. People at the home told me that my father was an ex-Eton school boy, who fagged for a 6th former called Archibald Percy Hardman. When he left at 18 he joined the navy, signing up to become the rear-admiral's skivvy and right-hand man. However, it wasn't long before my father was flung out of his job in disgrace. Sadly for him, there's a real stigma being labelled as a " discharged seaman ". Mind you, news came through years later that he found a lowly paid job in a factory, which manufactured a well known haemorrhoid ointment. Starting at the bottom he rose up through the ranks to the top, in no time at all. I heard rumours that he made himself a right pile. Anyway, with all that dosh he took up bridge, sponsoring big name players to partner him in top class events. Success however eluded him, despite the best efforts of his celebrity partners . Bottoms you see had become a permanent feature of my father's life.
As for my mother, she split up from my father five years after they were married. With both parents refusing to take responsibility over my welfare, the only option available to them was to leave me outside the local orphanage with a placard tied around my neck. The words read " Here.... you can have him......we're off. " She apparently went up north to run a small laundrette in Hartlepool, but very quickly her life got into a real spin. Trapped within a loan-debt cycle of disadvantage, she decided to iron out a few of her problems by robbing a post-office. With the police hot on her trail, she fled to Spain, where she shacked up with a one-legged evangelist. He turned out to be an ex-missionary with a drink problem, forever hopping from one bar to another. Years later I heard that both of them ended up working in a dingy back-street bar ( strictly for ex-pats ), but tragically the bible-basher's life came to an abrupt end, when he fell headfirst into a barrel of whiskey. Nobody knew how much alcohol he had consumed before drowning, but when my mother cremated him there and then in the back-yard in a make-shift furnace, it took 10 hours before the fire went out. Last I heard, she took up with another man who introduced her to the delights of bridge. He apparently had won her over, by simply describing her " as the apple of his eye, the peach with the biggest pear ". Between them they set about a career in charming, and then fleecing, dozens of rich little old ladies, who were desperate for a game or two whilst away on holiday.
Yet none of these news bulletins made my time at the orphanage any happier. Indeed, my whole time there was a living nightmare. This is why, so my analyst claims, I have a multiple personality disorder. Yet, despite the constant bullying and ridicule I received from both staff and in mates, I came out of the place a truly focused and determined young man. Since then, this bloody analyst of mine has tried to convince me that because sorrow cut so deep into my cup, I should rejoice at the fact that the vessel can now hold more joy. What a load of bloody claptrap ! I am still the same miserable sod, but with a mission. A mission of atonement . I see bridge fields as my killing fields..... battlegrounds, where my well honed predatory skills can be employed in a highly effective way . Yes.....yes, carnage at the tables is what I call therapy.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

I was watching the great man defend a contract the other day that looked unbeatable. He was sitting East holding A73....AQxx......Kxxx.....xx. North opened a weak two in hearts, and South bid on to 3NT with supreme confidence. West kicked off with the 2 of spades, which Johnny read as his 5th ( rather than his 3rd ).
Declarer called for the 10 from dummy, which had showed up with Johnny really started to think.
" Surely declarer will make one quick spade trick, if I play the Ace, and then continue the suit with the 7 . Partner will be obliged to duck in order to preserve communications. Add this to a certain diamond winner, his obviously long solid suit in clubs, ands it's all over for the defence. For us to take this contract off, the defence needs to make 2S, 2H and 1D, requiring of course the king of spades to be with partner. Therefore, it is imperative I take the first trick with the Ace.
And what of declarer's hand ? If he has 7 solid clubs, and AQ of diamonds, a diamond switch will provide declarer with 9 tricks regardless of spades. However, a club switch will of course give declarer 7 tricks to cash......but what then? Yes, he will exit with a spade, which West surely to God will take. But partner can only safely exit in hearts putting me in for my AQ . However, at this point I'm screwed having to finesse myself in diamonds, or play a spade or heart into dummy's winners.
Solution: I must play the 3 of spades at trick two, conning partner into believing I only started with a doubleton. Then if he takes his King and switches to a heart, I can take my two winners and now exit safely with a club ..... waiting for my diamond trick at the end. "
So that was Johnny did, and with declarer unable to gain access to dummy, the contract failed as predicted. What a man. What a mastermind. What a player.
( Declarer's hand was as Johnny envisaged : Jx...x....AQ10....AKQ109xx )

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

BIGOT FINDS THE PERFECT PARTNER............. ( A nearly true story as told by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Bigot-Johnson has for over 20 years been on a quest to find the perfect partner. But success in this mission has completely eluded him. His last partner survived 3 outings until he was kicked into touch in a brutal and unforgiving fashion. The poor man mistook a splinter bid as a suit length bid. This compelled him to take charge of the auction and end up as declarer in a doomed 6NT contract...............when 7 of a minor was on ice. Bigot in sheer desperation now felt it was necessary to advertise for a new partner.
To his surprise 3 club members put their names forward to be interviewed by the big man. The vetting process involved was incredibly quick and simple. Each applicant was asked the same one question : " What do you respond to my 1D opener , holding this hand : x..x... QJxxxxx.....Axxx "
The first candidate confidently answered : " 5 diamonds ". Well, he didn't get the nod because Bigot felt the bugger was far too cocky, and completely full of himself.......a right smart arse if he ever saw one.
The next one tried a more tentative response : " Possibly 5D....or maybe a crafty 3S.......or may be.....". Bigot had heard enough and immediately sent him packing. He couldn't stand weak, namby pamby, wishy-washy, indecisive ditherers, under any set of circumstances.
The third candidate, who knew exactly the type of man Bigot was, had no difficulty in finding the perfect answer. " I will bid whatever you would like me to bid, for who am I to usurp your control of the auction, because let's face it ......... it needs you, with your vision and experience, to figure out where our best resting spot should be. " Bigot was over-joyed : he had finally found the perfect partner.
( It's amazing how a man like that can be so easily blinded by sycophantic creeping and undeserved flattery . )

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

BIGOT'S PERFECT RIPOSTE......... ( A nearly true story as told by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Bigot had called an EGM having press-ganged 20 members, all with grudges of their own, to force a vote of no confidence against the present committee. Bigot was decidedly unhappy with the committee's 3 month ban ( due to start in 14 days ), simply because exposed his bum. This shocking gesture was born more out of exasperation and utter frustration..... than mischief and wickedness. So when it was his turn to stand up and rant, he tried to make a point about the injustice of the committee's decision to temporarily suspend his membership . However, an incensed committee member started to shout back, challenging one of Bigot's naughty little lies.
" Stand up, sir ", Bigot bellowed at the top of his voice. Almost immediately, a tiny runt of a man stood up from his padded seat .
" Sit, sir " said Bigot-Johnson. " The insignificance of your appearance and stature is sufficient to answer the impudence of your objection ".
So for the first time in Bigot's long and troubled history with committees, he received the membership support he was looking for, when a ripple of warm applause gently echoed around the room.

Monday, 13 September 2010

In the 5th match of the series, Bigot's boys breezed into town several days ahead of the scheduled date. Here was a heaven sent opportunity for them to demonstrate their amazing card skills in the poker and black jack rooms of the world's biggest gambling dens. Nothing or nobody was going to stand in their way. Millions of dollars just simply given over to this formidable band of card sharps.
One casino owner had both the wisdom and foresight to offer $500,000 and a lavish banquet meal if they stayed away from the gambling rooms. Five minutes of haggling resulted in a revised offer of $750,000 plus crates of expensive champagne thrown in with the meal. However at another casino a rather foolish bouncer made a fatal mistake of trying to deny them entry into the VIP suite and the high stakes poker room. Police found his body 24 hours later with a curious blank piece of paper in his pocket marked in a very unusual way. In fact several bodies turned up over the next few days, each one found with a small marked piece of paper, tucked away in their pockets.
As for the match itself, the USA selectors opted to put in a far younger, more fearless team of talented players.....but to no avail. It was like putting lambs to the slaughter. Indeed, straight after the match many of the USA team were immediately taken to nearby psychiatric centre that specialised in post traumatic stress disorders. Many were reported to be babbling away incoherently. but time and time again one name above all could be gleaned from the nonsense that spewed from their mouths........Larry Pugh. Here was the man who Bigot singled out as his star player.
Never in the long history of international matches, has any player managed to get away with so many match winning sacrifices, as Larry did that over that incredible weekend. Whenever he and his partner had flat worthless hands, he just simply kept bidding the opponents' games and slams.....but without ever receiving a double. On one hand that stunned the viewing public to the core, the opponents were just about to bid a rigid 7NT when Larry beat them to it. When this was left in undoubled, the plus 65o score to the USA team was scant reward for missing out on their vulnerable grand. What on earth was possessed the Americans not to double has become the nation's million dollar question. On another board Larry " Black Spot " Pugh was in 4S, destined to go off with the missing AQ sitting over dummy's king. When spades were played, Larry led up to the King and noticed his LHO showing out. At this point he offered his RHO a small piece of paper. Seconds later when the King was called for in dummy, his RHO made the strange play of throwing his queen underneath it. Contract made. Larry, of course, politely turned to his opponent and calmly whispered " Very sensible play ".
In the post match interviews one brave reporter showed real bottle when he asked Larry " How did you manage on so many occasions to avoid getting doubled ? ". His answer was sweet and simple. " In rare instances, my partner and I had a safe suit of our own to fall back on, which persuaded the Yanks to just take what was on offer. But in all other instances they took the safe option. I ask you.... would any sane player stick in a double and put his neck on the block in the process ? Have you not heard of a sucker double ? " Well, there was no answer to that. Clearly, Larry was a grand master in the subtle art of intimidation. His table presence had to be seen to be believed. Even his team mates go out of their way not to upset him for fear of that little piece of paper. Bigot, of course, had a real soft spot for the man with the black spot.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

DR. JOHN'S CASE NOTES....................................
Just when I thought I had reviewed all the major afflictions which have devastated bridge players across the world, lo and behold I chanced upon another, whilst reading a recent copy of The Lancet. The article in question, written by Neil Peck ( a former student of mine ), almost knocked me off my perch. At first I doubted the author's conclusions, but detailed case notes fully justified his findings. This disorder appears to be so commonplace, I am amazed as to why I had never spotted or suspected its presence before. The symptoms all seemed to indicate and show that the afflicted person is plagued by a very serious long term psychological problem.
Ignoread Vicede Mentia is an extremely disturbing condition, which is not linked to old age and the onset of grumpiness, obstinacy, and stubbornness. Sufferers can be young and old alike , of both genders, from a multitude of socio-economic backgrounds. DNA evidence seems to indicate that there is a genetic predisposition to behave in an ignorant and dismissive way.
In every case, no matter what advice has been given to the victim on how to improve his/her game, it is immediately ignored. Even if victims go through the charade of listening and agreeing to take on board the advice offered, they immediately discard it, or choose to forget it. Even if the advice is volunteered over and over again from a number of top players and experts, it makes no difference whatsoever. Victims of this rare form of dementia simply appear to have empty heads. Nothing said to them will ever be recalled, or taken on board for future reference.
This condition was first diagnosed by Neil , during a pairs event at the Cardinals Bridge Club in 2008. Here a farmer, Eli D'Gayne, was spitting feathers about his hapless half-brother, partner Bryn Deed. " That useless git is either daft or deaf. 'E never listens to a bloody word I say. In one ear...out the other. It's like floggin' a dead horse ". As it happens Neil's break though in diagnosing this condition has meant that players, previously berated for their wilful refusal to heed advice, are now more likely to be treated more sympathetically. Their purported ignorance is not a conscious decision to be awkward, but a genetic blueprint that so ingrained into their psyche, they simply can't stop themselves behaving this way. As yet, no drugs or therapy programmes have proved successful in arresting or subduing the symptoms.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Dear Bridge Club Committee,
You buggers are a load of stuck up, toffee-nosed, two-faced hypocrites. You come down on me time and time again for being " politically incorrect ", when you continually produce committee meeting minutes full of shockingly lewd language, and crude innuendos. The fact that you have recently banned me for 3 months just for adopting a bit of toilet humour on the club's bridge forum blog site beggars belief.
So please allow me to point out the outrageous double standards being applied here. Thankfully, I had both the wisdom and foresight to read on the notice board your last set of published minutes, before the anonymous graffiti boys got to work.
First off, our esteemed leader refers to himself as chairman. What sort of kinky sex fiend is he ? I ask you what does a " chair " man get up to......when a decent law abiding married man will always adopt a sensible missionary position. What this club needs as a leader is a normal, ordinary, everyday " bed " man. To top that ......the minutes refer to his side-kick as " vice " chair man, clearly suggesting that he too must have a liking for chair antics.....but well away from home, choosing the nearby red light district of Upper Hornby instead.
Then through the whole narrative, one cannot help but find countless references to toilet matters. Phrases like " passing motions ", " any other business " , " forcing motions through ", and " job assignments " appear everywhere . Such awful crap language : such blatant hypocrisy. Not to mention the constant use of the word " member ", as in phrases like " members sticking up for this or that " and " the need for more upstanding members to ". Surely to God, there are much better euphemisms you could use for an active one-eyed trouser snake.
Consequently, I want this committee to regard this letter as a formal written complaint about the politically incorrect language contained in its minutes. I therefore demand that you place on the notice board an open letter of apology, along side a cancellation notice of my ban....... which is accompanied, of course, with both a personal apology and an offer of £200 compensation.
Yours, having really got you over a barrel, good and proper this time.......... Howard Bigot-Johnson

Friday, 10 September 2010

( In one of the most talked about trials in recent times, Bigot-Johnson was brought before Sheffield Crown Court to face charges, primarily under the Public Order Act 1986. As usual, he elected to conduct his own defence, and a short extract from the trial's transcript can be seen below. )
Prosecutor ( P ) : Do you Bigot-Johnson recall an incident on the night of March 17th this year at Kingdom Hall, the temporary venue for the Walnut Tree Allotment Bridge Club's regular Thursday duplicates ? This, of course, was because your club premises......or should I say shed...... had been the target of a Percy Pantopod arson attack .
B-J : Vaguely.......but I regret selling a can of petrol to that lunatic arsonist !
Judge : Well, I never.....
P : Please allow me then to refresh your memory. That night you started whinging and wailing about your bad luck. So much so you started to blame God for all your woes. Then after your partner dropped a card face up on the table.....which the opponents were quick to accept......the doomed slam they were in now came rolling which point you dropped your pants ( gasps from the gallery ) for all and sundry to read the message that was tattooed on your naked posterior ( more gasps from around the courtroom ). This read " God always buggers me up big time ". ( Thuds began to interrupt gasps as spectators and jury members alike fainted and collapsed to the floor. ) Never in the history of bridge has any player behaved in such a contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous, and squalid way.
B-J : I was upset....
P : That gesture was made with provocative intent.......designed to upset your opponents, who happened to be devout Christians, keen church other words.....a right couple of prudish, pompous stuffed shirts. This extremely petulant and outrageous act my view,,,,,,and no doubt the jury's ........amounts to " religiously aggravated, intentional harassment, alarm or distress " ........a statutory offence under the Public Order Act of 1986.
Judge : I concur ......
B-J : Hold on a mo.....this is nothing more than a charge of blasphemy coming in through the back door. But is it not a fact that blasphemy was abolished only a few years ago ? Moreover, my gesture never intended to slag God off.....I merely wanted the world to know that good fortune is never on my side. I accept that my behaviour was a tad over the top, possibly rude and abusive.......certainly out of order......but there was no intent to ridicule or insult religion in any way, or bring religious beliefs or values into contempt. " God " was simply a synonym for Fate, Destiny, Bad Luck.......the dark forces that are out there constantly trying to screw me up........always thwarting my efforts to come first.... or to achieve some recognition or reward that my talents richly deserve.
Judge : Jesus, I think the court is now with you're on a roll.....
P : Excuse me.....this man's behaviour still adds up to " aggravated intentional harassment "
B-J : No way ......Let's get real here. Most bridge clubs, I am aware of, are renown for being institutions where this kind of behaviour goes on all the time......despite all attempts to enforce Best Behaviour At Bridge policies. It's not intentional's habit !!
Judge : Well, I never.....
B-J : And moreover, whatever happened to our fundamental right of free speech in a society that prides itself on liberal attitudes and tolerance. Tell me..... is anybody in today's world offended by a bare bum ? I think not. It's all good fun.....and I recommend it anybody.
Judge : You're right....
P : Well, not exactly.....this man still has another charge to answer....
Judge : And what might that me ?
P : Well, because the incident took place in a church hall, Bigot has committed an offence of " violent and/or indecent behaviour in a place of worship "......which I might add includes a church hall. Indeed, I have documents here which verify that Kingdom Hall has been certified as such, under the Places Of Worship Registrations Act 1855.
Judge : Goodness gracious me....that puts Bigot well and truly in the frame. No choice here but to advise the jury that the accused is as guilty as hell........and certainly well up for a custodial sentence.
B-J : Oh bugger
( As Bigot tries to pull his trousers down for a second time, two beefy, rather hefty looking court officials quickly intervene to lead him away down to the cells. )

Thursday, 9 September 2010

THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY.......................
  • Double : the order you give to the steward when in desperate need of something to calm your nerves
  • Penalty doubles : the ones you are always put upon to pay for at the club's bar
  • Axe : ( i ) slang term for double , or ( ii ) a sharp metal object you like to have on your person when high and mighty opponents need cutting down to size
  • Whack : ( i ) another slang term for double, or ( ii ) the unfortunate sound that occurs when hard steel comes into sharp contact brittle leg bones
  • Sputnik double : an out-of-the-world bid that cleverly shows possession of two suits, without even having to name one
  • Sucker double : one that a muppet partner is likely to make, which is destined to convert a harmless part-score into a match winning game score...... for your opponents
  • Striped-tail ape double : an apt name given to an opponents' double, which your monkey of a partner allows to stand. Only then, after realizing that the doubled contract ( with overtricks ) produces a far inferior score to the slam he's been huffed out of bidding....does he go ape-shit. Usually, this would be the appropriate time for his partner to ram a whole bunch of bananas down his throat. This of course requires partner to have both the good fortune and foresight to carry them on his person ......along with his axe.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE A BRIDGE EXPERT.......... ( By Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )
In amongst my many piles of literary treasures, I came across a poem ( unknown author ) that struck a real chord........a poem that superbly describes the smug delight I so often experience partnering a phony expert. All true experts, such as myself, who can always recognise the best bid and line of play, get great delight in pointing out where these " we-think-we-know-it-all " partners went wrong. There is so much joy to be had in getting them to acknowledge their responsibility for any scoring catastrophes. So with a little bit of tweaking here and there, here is my adaptation of a wonderful literary masterpiece...... re-titled " The knowing Expert " .
It gives me sly but sharp delight
To know how often I am right
How often, and, alas, how long
My partners insist on doing wrong
In all big games the fools dissent
From what I find self-evident
And end the maddening debate
Reluctantly.....perhaps too late
It can be comforting, I know
To say at last , " I told you so "
Whenever partners umm and arrh
They make decisions way off par
For while they dicker and delay
That's when their thinking goes astray
How much better our scores would be
If all these bastards agreed with me
But still it gives me sharp delight
To recollect that I was right

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

SO WHO AM I ?.... ( A poem by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )
Can you guess who I am ?
Do you care ? Do you give a damn ?
I spend a lot of time flying
I spend a lot of time crying
But I'm always cooking
And desperately looking
For something better on the very next deal
Can you guess who I am ?
Do you care ? Do you give a damn ?
Shooting for tops, I crave for a hit
I hate being dealt a load of old shit
But when I'm on track
There'll be plenty of crack
Should I score big on the very next deal
Can you guess who I am
Do you care ? Do you give a damn ?
After getting too high, I know I'll be down
Going over the limit, just call me a clown
But even when I make that really big score
That wont be enough, I want to make more
So I beg you..... don't let this be my very last deal
The answer's too obvious
For you're no flunkie
Hell.... I'm no dragon chaser
Just a... hopeless bridge junkie !

Monday, 6 September 2010

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A 1O MAKES.................... says Johnny Supremo
Over the years I have come to love every card in the pack. Each one at some point in time has played a significant part in either seeing me home as declarer, or securing a stunning defence. One of my favourite bridge books is Right Through The Pack by R. Darvas & N. De vere Hart.......where a similar sentiment has been exquisitely and beautifully expressed.
But out of all the cards it is the 10 which I have come to love the most. Whenever it nestles alongside another honour it becomes a far more powerful card.......a " strong 10 " so to speak. Why, it was only a few weeks ago my partner opened 1NT on a wretched 12 count and found himself as declarer in 3NT. The contract was hopeless for many reasons, but one of them was his 4 card heart holding Qxxx opposite my Kx. Once his RHO got in, he found an inspired heart switch from his J98, and with his partner sitting there with A1076 , the defenders took three heart tricks with ease. But several boards later a near identical hand cropped up where I was declarer in 3NT having opened INT on a more robust 12 count, with four hearts to the Q107x. So with Kx of hearts in dummy, it was my turn now to take 3 tricks in this suit...... to make 3NT + 1. So although my RHO opponent popped up with the same J98, his partner's holding of Axxx offered sod all resistance to an attack on this suit. The presence of the 10 and 7 in my 4 card heart holding made a stunning 2 trick difference.
The reason of course is easy to see. Whenever 10's appear in long suits that contain a higher honour it often creates a finessing position for your side ......not your opponents. And that is why I cherish and caress my 10's with such loving affection.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

( As usual Bigot-Johnson was upsetting the club's officers despite being one of the first members to pay next year's subs. Strangely, this simple act incurred the wrath of the committee members to such an extent, they rapidly summoned him to a disciplinary hearing. An explanation behind this mischievous act was at the forefront of their minds. A transcript of this most unusual hearing appears below . )
Chairman ( C ) : Is it true Bigot that you wrote out a cheque for next year's subs on an egg ?....
B-J : As I recall......yes
C : A giant goose's egg less
B-J : The biggest and best I could get my hands on
C : Well, we take this " joke " of yours very seriously indeed. This was nothing more than a blatant act of mischievousness on your part.....
B-J : But I ran out of proper cheques......and plain writing paper........and my good wife........God bless her.....had just arrived home with a basketful of geese eggs.
C : Did it not occur to you Bigot that such an object cannot be processed in the same way as proper cheques ? Moreover, I am absolutely certain that banks would not entertain the idea of handling such an object to go all the way through their clearing system. Surely, it would require the employment of special receptacles and messengers ?
B-J : Might I remind the committee that any legal object can be adapted and used as a cheque, providing all the necessary requirements and details are present, and made clearly visible. Napkins and labels of brandy bottles come to mind. I recall seeing dozens of lottery winners receiving giant over-sized cheques, and in 2003 a certain Mr. Nick Buxton wrote a £120 cheque to pay a court fine on a concrete slab.......which had the appearance of a mock gravestone. Indeed, there have been other precedents of bizarre cheques.....none of which could compete with a farmer who wrote a rent cheque on the side of a live cow !
C : But no doubt these people were lunatics with grudges.....
B-J : Or....... they were great improvisers....
C: I've heard enough......the fact remains your cheque was written on a freshly laid egg, which was..... to say the least....... both delicate and fragile to risk of cracking open if dropped.
B-J :'re right....I should have hard boiled it first
C : Your cheek beggars I put it to you Bigot.....your motive behind all this seems all too were out to make life difficult for us, and that any attempt by us to process the egg through the banks would have incurred an a substantial handling and levy charge. So unless you pay over a proper cheque, or make the payment in cash, we will presume that you don't intend to renew your membership for the coming year.
B-J : OK then,......but I want my egg back....
C : You can't...
B-J : Why not ?
C : My wife and I ate it for breakfast this morning....
B-J : Bugger.....
THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY ...........................
  • Master : the top card remaining in a particular suit, but never the Jack. This of course gave rise to the age old saying " Jack of all suits, master of none ".
  • Low : (i ) a term used to describe the majority of bridge players, who are destined never to make the grade. As for all the hapless half-wits, who are labelled the " lowest of the low ", there can be no worse insult. (ii ) the position you quickly need to get into, if intending to avoid a fast flying bridgemate heading your way.
  • High : the degree of optimism even modest players start out with when entering a tournament event. However, this unfounded optimism quickly evaporates away once the inevitable run of wretched scores begins to tot up
  • Hold-ups : ( plural ) an item of clothing worn by lady players renown for being " top heavy " , structurally designed to offer essential uplifting support
  • Touching : an adjective one might use to define those rare moments in bridge where a player will actually offer words of comfort to a distraught partner, who has just blown a relatively easy grand slam