Many scholars believe that the phrase " carve up " was an English bridge term meaning to spoil a player's chances, or to scupper his prospects of making the contract. Other scholars claim that the term referred to the share out of prize money illicitly earned by players , who had taken the art of cheating to unprecedented levels.
However, they are all wrong. The phrase " to carve up your opponents " goes back back to the days of Sir Francis Dashwood, who formed a private bridge club like no other. Here such words had a more literal meaning, in that Sir Francis mercilessly picked off and gruesomely murdered any opponents , who dared to breach the rules of acceptable play and etiquette. Inevitably, the end-of-year profits of the club would be carved up between Sir Francis and the few surviving members, giving them a far bigger share than they deserved.
The term " carve up " had since been applied to motorists, who aggressively cut in front of another driver, an action which has led to the phenomenon of " road age ". In fact today, there are now all sorts of " rage " situations to describe the frustrations of modern life. " Trolley rage " in supermarkets when shoppers get carved up by queue jumpers. " Air rage " when passengers on board a plane have their itinerary plans carved up when told of unscheduled diversions, landings and stop-overs at another airports.
However, in the modern game of bridge , carving up the opponents has now come to mean beating them hands down, and metaphorically tearing up their score cards into tiny meaningless shreds. Not surprisingly, the victims then display a behavioural phenomenon that dates back centuries , but one which has become far more extreme in today's highly competitive world of bridge ....... " TABLE RAGE " .