Tuesday, 1 March 2011

When a player is diagnosed with this syndrome, it is not a wise move to ask him/her for advice. Putting such a request to a victim, like " how would you play this hand ? ", is asking for trouble. You will only be greeted by a hideous grin, followed by a meaningless quip or vague remark, such as " that depends a good deal on how many tricks you want to win ". In other instances, they will choose to answer the question with a question : " Tell me, is your aim to avoid a bottom or to go all out for a galactic top? ".
Indeed, players who suffer from the Cheshire Cat Syndrome will always avoid giving you a proper answer, one which can be seen as constructive or useful. So when you respond " I'm happy to be somewhere in between ", the inevitable reply will be " Well, if the only result you're after is par, then simply play the hand in a bog standard way ".
Sadly for all of us, Cheshire Cats can be seen in every bridge club the world over, never knowing themselves which way to go about the bidding or play of the cards. The problem for them is that they don't know which direction to go, because they never know where they are at. The fact that they never know where they are equally applies to the people they meet. This makes it impossible for them to tell inquisitive strangers what paths they need to follow to successfully find their way home.
Victims of this disorder spend all their time at bridge clubs wandering aimlessly from table to table, picking up hands, but never arriving at any firm conclusions or decisions as to what to do. They are always able to pose the searching and philosophical questions, but completely unable to provide any practical or technical answers. When it comes to the bidding, they are always lost. They never know the perfect spot to be in , because if by chance they ever landed there they would simply move on to somewhere different.
It is easy to see why these players are so often ignored, and why others find them so irritating. However, trying to remove the awful experience of a Cheshire Cat encounter from one's mind is far from easy, especially when the memory of that hideous smile takes forever to fade away.

No comments: