This unusually common condition is one of the main reasons why so many bridge players never rise above the level of mediocrity. The syndrome relates to a fixed mind set, where rigid, totally inflexible thinking takes over from common sense, leading to restricted and repetitive patterns of bidding.
Players become ardent disciples to a set of rules which completely dictates the way they bid. Many of these rules command them to reach for the pass card far too often, when it seems obvious to others that better bids exist . The rogue axioms which seem to distort their thinking are as follows :
1. If in doubt PASS
2. Only bid to the level of fit in a competitive auction
3. Leave 5 level contracts to your opponents
4. As soon as you discover a misfit PASS at the first opportunity
5. Sometimes it is best to PASS and leave the final decision to partner
Victims of this tragic syndrome are not necessarily racked with fear, but their blinkered thinking severely impairs their ability to understand the mathematics of the game. They are unable to recognise the fact that one off doubled for minus 100 is a far superior score to allowing the opponents to make 110. Similarly, they fail to see that by bidding on, and going down 3 doubled for minus 500, is far better than conceding 620, given the likelihood that their opponents have a rigid game on.
Passberkers Syndrome is one that condemns its victims to never to win. They continue to lose out in auctions, because the reasons for picking up the pass card become so powerful and compelling . The vicious circle therefore becomes well entrenched and unbreakable.
Sadly, players with this condition can be easily identified, when during duplicate events their irate partners are bound at some stage to end up screaming at them in utter despair and disbelief. Indeed, the name given to this particular syndrome owed its origin to an incident at Young Chelsea BC , when a player passed his partner's 1NT on a rather meaty 12 count. At this point a loud voice boomed across the room ; " How the bloody hell can you PASS on that hand ! Only a BERK would do such a thing ".