Monday, 30 January 2012

Most bridge ones themselves after the district, town or city they are located in. Names that conjure up diddly squat.....nothing but a blank in people's minds......nothing to fire their imagination......nothing to give the club an appealing or exciting put it on the map....and to sell the game to a wider public.
Well, I was inspired to name my bridge club after watching the epic  "  Slaughter House 5 ".....because it seemed to me people might well associate the bridge experience with the adrenalin rush one gets when watching a film full of blood and gore. So for all you club committees out there, it's time for a serious rethink and an immediate renaming of your club. Film titles offer wonderful suggestions,  and every one listed below captures the essence of what the bridge club experience is all about......
- Boiler Room
- Misssion Impossible
- Circus World
- Crime School
- The Misfits
- Deadly Game
- Fight Club
- Psycho
- Foul Play
- Company of Wolves
- The Condemned
- The Damned
- Facing the Giants
- Fuckland
- Old Dogs
- Heartless
- The Defiant Ones
- Dangerous Minds
- On Edge 
- Badlands

Sunday, 29 January 2012

BRIDGE BOOKS : RARE COLLECTORS ITEMS ...... ( Claims proud owner Pun )
  • Solid Defence Is What Keeps Me On Top........Ivor Castleman
  • Defence Is My Forte..........................................Barry Kade
  • Mowing Down Opponents Is Easy....................Tommy Gunn
  • Shooting For Tops.............................................Bren Gunn
  • My Partner's Is A Bloody Liability.......................Andy Capp
  • Success At Bridge Tastes Really Good.............Sue Sweet
  • After 20 Years Of Trying, I've Won A Trophy.....Al E. Luya
  • How To Be Both Awkward And Stubborn..........Asa Moole
  • Partner, You Can Always Rely On Me...............Everard N. Reddy
  • Want To Join A Winning Team ?.......................G.Y.Knott 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

( In a very busy month,  more and more members found themselves up before Bigot and his ruthless gang. Most had been heavily fined but with Perry Pantopod up next, expulsion was very much on the cards ! Bigot was desperate to run these disciplinary hearings in the manner and style of a kangaroo court,  completely inspired by court proceedings so vividly described in Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland )
B-J : Call in the accused.......Perry Pantopod
Perry : What the blue blazes is this all about ?
B-J : As you know you full well.....this club has standards of propriety......and your recent behaviour Perry has been nothing more than disgusting....
Perry : I don't understand....
B-J : Well, allow me to enlighten you.....on numerous occasions you have been seen fondling, fingering , touching and rubbing up the queen of hearts........
Perry : You're  completely mad....stark raving mad....and what in God's name are the committee members scrawling down on those chalk boards  ?
B-J : The " GUILTY " verdict of course...
Perry: But the hearing hasn't started yet ....
B-J : Oh ... well....if you must insist on having one...then let's call in the first witness....
Witness : Why am I here ?
B-J : Did you or did you not partner this evil molesting philanderer the other week ?
Witness : Yes.....but he isn't.....
B-J :  Shut up and answer the questions properly. Do you recall him having in his hands .....on several occasions.....the queen of hearts ?
Witness : Yes...
B-J : And is it true to say that whenever he was subjected to a possible heart finesse he had the disgusting habit of nervously fingering and stroking the queen before eventually sacrificing her under the King 
Witness : Yes....but....
B-J : Thank've been most time for the verdict
Perry : Hold on...aren't there more witnesses outside that need to be called in ?
B-J : Listen, there's no real point.....they're all on our side....but if you feel it is absolutely  necessary in witness number two....
Witness :  Firstly, I would like to say that Perry is innocent....
B-J :'ve been specifically told what evidence to give....comments like that and you'll be up for contempt.  So please stick to the facts..... were you Perry's opponent on hand 24 ?
Witness : Yes..
B-J : Did he have in his hand the queen of hearts, which he foolishly thought was a  winner 
Witness : Yes......
B-J : A winner he believed was going to defeat the small slam bid against him?
Witness : Yes.....
B-J : And did he not caress, and kiss the queen before placing her on the table face up ?
Witness : Yes...I believed he did...such was his joy at the prospect of beating the contract
B-J : But the queen was surprisingly trumped......a victim of a horrible ruff.....and allowing this violation of a very special lady to take place is the eyes of this court..... an extremely despicable crime...
Perry : The queen is a bloody card ....not a person ! Anyway, dozens of players, including yourself.... no doubt..... picked her up during the evening being obliged to handle her in the same way as I did
B-J : How dare you say that.....we are all gentleman.....whereas you are an unsavoury individual who violated and mishandled her repeatedly......and on that shocking and revealing note you are now banned from this club...
Perry : You can't dish out a sentence like that.....before giving me a chance to defend myself .....and the committee sufficient time to consider its verdict
B-J : Stuff and nonsense.....the verdict was decided upon weeks ago.....long before this trumped up complaint ever came Pantopod are a hideously large puss-ridden spot on the face of mankind 
Committee members ( in unison ) : Off with his head !!   Off with his head !!
B-J : Well, I'll be buggered....a committee that for once knows what it's doing....

Thursday, 26 January 2012


In the big league tournaments, psychs are a much vaunted and highly useful weapon to have in one's armoury. Occasionally, a top class player with a tiny catapult of a hand can bring down a goliath with one very well aimed and directed psych. But these are the toys for the big boys, and should be rarely used in the context of a regular duplicate down at your local club.
Serial psychers who target the less experienced or novice players are in my opinion predatory vampires.
Many ordinary club players quite rightly view them as a pain in the neck. Often their motives touch upon sadistic fun or a win-at-all costs creed. These predators do not embrace the spirit of sportsmanship, only looking to create tops by creating confusion within the ranks of the easily confused.
Tragically, victims seem reluctant to report their misfortunes, which simply encourages these vampires to plunder again. By giving them a green light the serial psychers will continue their ways until someone tries to stop them. Reasons for this apparent reluctance to report often include politeness, apathy, fear, embarrassment and the desire not to make a fuss.
Don't get me wrong but the occasional psych by any player is a legitimate weapon that adds a bit of colour, intrigue and excitement to the game. Moreover its single use falls well within the boundaries of ethical conduct and play. However,  one unwritten rule of good sportsmanship   requires perpetrators to target those of equal standing and experience to themselves.

Serial psychers, however, do not discriminate at all, using this device almost on a regular weekly basis , unsettling their victims, and causing many to view bridge in a negative light. Whenever, these predators get a good result,  their faces light up like Christmas trees, laden with baubles of sickening smugness and gloating self-indulgence. But ... I also  turn my resentment towards their partners, who clearly know the type of person they have teamed up with.....therefore being privy to a knowledge that their opponents do not possess. Surely to God it becomes impossible for them to bid and play the cards as they would have done sitting opposite someone else. Subconscious fielding and/or applying caution inevitably takes place.
It is my contention that serial psyching causes a whole stack of problems for all concerned, requiring clubs to clampdown on a player's frequent use of such a destructive bid. The only way to identify and control the problem is by implementing a strict policy for all psychs to be recorded, irrespective of their success or failure. Failure to undertake this reporting will mean only one thing : pains in the neck will never go away. 
So my message is clear....expose these psychers.......because the image of the game is at stake.............victims need to stand up and be counted..........don't allow this grave problem to fester in the dark.......nip it in the bud.... because collectively we have the power to draw their teeth.  
( Says a windswept Pun )   

  • He's Been Nominated For The Hall Of Fame.............A. Lister
  • Always Learn From Your Errors............... .................Jotham Downe
  • I Need To Know Just One Thing Partner...................R.U. Agoa
  • This Bridge Book Is Damn Hard To Read..................Skip A. Page
  • Winning Internet Bridge Matches Is Easy...................Webb Masters
  • I Just Need A Second Of Your Time Partner..............Arthur Moe
  • I've Been Walking To The Bridge Club All Week.......Karen Dock
  • My Partner's Completely Off His Head.......................Egan N. Sayne
  • That Player Never Stops Asking For Favours............Hank R. Ringmore
  • God Am I Up For This One, Partner...........................Wellard Foreshaw

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A PLAYER'S LAMENT.......... ( By Dr.Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )

A poem adapted from the lyrics of a Rolling Stone's classic entitled " The Last Time "

Partner, I've told you once, I've told you twice
But ya never listen to my advice
You don't try very hard to please me
With what you know it should be easy

( Chorus )
Well this could be our last time
This could be our last time
And might we ever play again
Oh no.... oh no....oh no

So sorry partner you just can't stay
Feelin' like I do today
It's too much pain and too much sorrow
Guess I'll feel the same tomorrow

(  Repeat chorus )

Well I told you once and I told you twice
You bid like a prat and paid the price
You were never right you were always wrong
God knows why your bids took so long

(  Repeat chorus )

You're off your head, I can take no more
Your ability's nil  even worse than poor
You've got no idea at what you're doing
Since partnering you I've gone to ruin

( Repeat chorus )

Well, I told you once and I told you twice
The moment I'm riled I can't be nice
Your idiot play has got me so deflated
I'm almost suicidal so utterly frustrated

My mind's made up there's no going back
I giving you the boot call it the sack
And will this parting make me happy
Oh yes indeed...oh yes....oh yes

WHAT ARE THE MAIN DUTIES OF BRIDGE CLUB COMMITTEE MEMBERS ?................... ( Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi investigates )
Signing up to become a committee member isn't quite the same a joining a friendly gathering or family party, where you are at the heart of all decision making, but with no real responsibilities other than to sit and listen, voice a few opinions, and vote on matters of interest every now and again.
Committee members even in small social bridge  clubs are under a duty of care to serve the club and its members first and foremost. This duty can be broken down into several very distinct ones such as :
- a duty to act in good faith
- a duty not to gain personal advantage or gain by improper use of their position
- a duty not to misuse information
- a duty to carry out designated tasks and acts with due care and diligence
- a duty of confidentiality ( non-disclosure )
In essence committee members, being the elected servants of the ordinary members, must put the interests of the club ahead of their own, both collectively ( as a committee ) and individually. In some ways the job is akin to a poison're there to be blamed and shot at if things go wrong. Moreover whatever decision is voted upon,  there will always be critics who strongly condemn you for taking what they see as the wrong option. 
However, nothing is as problematic as balancing these two incompatible duties : the duty of non-disclosure which firmly flies in the face of a duty to whistleblow ( full disclosure ). Clearly, confidentiality matters when committees are dealing with highly sensitive personal information about members, which quite rightly should never be passed onto third parties. Yet in the interests of openess and transparency, it does seem right to inform the ordinary members of a club about wrongdoings or other injustices being carried out against particular members.... or  even the club, being a separate albeit artificial entity
Wherever you look in law, every duty comes with exceptions, and the duty of confidentiality ( non-disclosure ) thankfully is not absolute one. Departing from it is always justified on legal, moral and ethical grounds. Exposing a wrongdoing or injustice which results in harm or damage being done to club members often requires a brave act of whistleblowing.......that is of course,  if no other ways of correcting the situation from within the committee can be found.
Whistleblowing itself must be strictly limited to certain situations, which usually means " only in exceptional circumstances ". Key questions need to be looked into,  before claiming a duty to disclose has now taken the higher moral ground. Would non-disclosure cause more harm than good ?  Does non-disclosure put members at serious risk or harm of some kind ? Is the risk one which has wider implications for the club, or severe implications for the few ? Is there a danger of widespread abuse if the duty of non-disclosure is rigidly adhered to ?
Moreover, if the duty of confidentuality is simply used a way of covering up wrongdoing, or establishing a mafia style code of silence then everyone has the right to ignore it. If however, the duty is to ensure that sensitive and personal information doesn't fall into the wrong hands to the detriment of innocent people, then adherence to it becomes the prior objective. As for the stuff that falls between these two black and white extremes, we now unfortunately enter a large grey area where good judgement, objectivity, and moral conscience are all needed to resolve the impossible dilemma.    

Monday, 23 January 2012

  • If anyone needs a ruling you'll find me upstairs
  • He told us his partner would be the death of him. How right he was.
  • I'm more in the dark now that I was playing bridge
  • Half way into a tricky slam he tempted fate when he said " I think I can make it ". Words that have surely come back to haunt him
  • His dying words were, as he went down in 3 NT contract :  " that was a particularly nasty heart attack "   
  • Deeply missed by all who never knew him 
  • He said his opponent's superb declarer play " completely took his breath away ". No truer words were said.
  • As a player he was forever biting his nails. Now it's just dust.
  • I know I got partner riled, but can anyone shed some light on what happened next ?
  • His last words were " Partner, any idiot can change a light bulb....just watch and learn ".
  • He solved some of the most difficult and complex bridge problems, only to die of complications
  • He said " This is the type of hand I would die for " : truly a man of his word.
  • After years of trying to improve his game, he finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately for him it was a fast approaching train.
  • Died of shock when he fell victim to a killing switch

Saturday, 21 January 2012

ZERO TOLERANCE POLICIES SHOULD BE SCRAPPED..... ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )
Don't get me wrong but I'm all in favour of promoting best behaviour at bridge, but the idea of implemented zero tolerance policies as a way forward to achieving this goal is a nonsense. Zero tolerance is in itself extreme intolerance,  which smacks of blinkered prejudice towards any form of misconduct no matter how petty or insignificant it is. So is there another way in dealing with disruptive players  other than to throw the book at them whenever they step out of line? Well, the answer is " yes ".
Behind every incident there is a root cause that needs to be investigated, identified and understood. Indeed, there are many instances in which players need to be forgiven rather than lambasted. These situations might be when they were themselves innocent  victims of anti-social baiting and/or provocation by others. Why shouldn't a player get upset when others are guilty slow play, soft cheating, coffee-housing tactics, insults and false accusations. It is human nature to react in an impulsive and aggressive way.
Moreover, what is the big deal if the player's alleged misconduct has not caused any real alarm or concern to others.  Nevertheless, when relationships with club members have been seriously harmed by this incident, there are strong grounds to treat the incident as one warranting a formal complaint followed by a preliminary investigation .
However, it is my contention that when faced with " disruptive " members bridge club committees need to tread very carefully, and would be best advised, before taking up disciplinary proceedings, to adhere to the following advice and guidelines :
(a) not lose sight of the nature and character of the game, where petty altercations are common place and where apologies can so easily asked for and sincerely given
(b) keep their own personal prejudices in check by staying objective and impartial at all times
(c)  investigate thoroughly the cause of his/her problematic behaviour in general
(d) arrive objectively and unemotionally at what might have been the underlying factors as to why the member behaved in that way
(e) decide upon a common sense, practical and effective course of action, appropriate to this particular type of disruption and its specific cause ( such  action may vary from a quiet word to securing a written promise to change his/her ways, or from in-house counselling to training or treatment sought elsewhere )
By jumping straight in with the zero tolerance policy 3-strikes-and-your-out rule, and pursuing disciplinary proceedings in the manner of a kangaroo court,  this rather unwise and uncompromising response completely overlooks the more sensible softly-softly behavioural approach.    

Friday, 20 January 2012

  • At Long Last He's Found That Elusive Queen.......Willie Carter-Hoff
  • Is That The Best You Can Offer Me Partner?.........Drew Peacock 
  • They Had A Good Weekend At Brighton ..............Betty Humpter 
  • Players Who Have No Ability Always Turn Up  .....Fuller Hope
  • Boy, Have I Got Some Juicy Gossip For You........Ray C. Storey
  • What Did He Do When She Threw That Paddy ?....Helda Downe
  • Women At This Club Are Most Welcoming............Humphrey Lee
  • I Shafted More People Today Than I Can Recall......Dick Aitkin
  • Why I Don't Like Partnering Men............................Homer Fobick
  • How To Storm Ahead Of The Field.........................Stella March

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

LAW REPORT :  PEREGRIN PANTOPOD v. BIGOT-JOHNSON AND OTHERS                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Peregrin wasn't taking his life ban from the Slaughter House  lying down. Determined to seek justice he decided to sue for damages for wrongful expulsion, alleging  amongst a whole load of things breach of the club's Constitutional rules, along with breaches of natural justice.  By falling victim to what he described as a kangaroo court set up, Peregrin was in no mood for compromise. Bigot of course elected to take on the role of defence counsel. A short extract from the trial's transcript appears below.

Counsel for the plaintiff (CP) : My client ....Peregrin Pantopod is suing for £10,000 damages for wrongful expulsion from a club where he was a well respected and fully paid up member
B-J : We were right to sling him out.....that man's presence  made a lot of people feel a little jumpy....if not hopping mad
CP : But is it not the case  that you ran this charade of a disciplinary process like a kangaroo court ?
B-J : Absolutely not....
CP : So please explain to the court why all the committee members.......including yourself ........dressed up in kangaroo suits seen in this photo ( exhibit no 3 )
B-J : We were celebrating Australia day......
CP : But what on earth  possessed the committtee members  to address each other with names like Bruce, Joey and Sheila ?
B-J : It was important we maintained our anonymity......... in keeping with our earlier decision to conduct all our sordid business in secret  behind closed doors
CP : But isn't that one of the classic hallmarks of kangaroo court proceedings ?
B-J : How dare you insinuate that kangaroos run corrupt courts .....that amounts to unfair discrimination against these incredibly cute animals
CP : Well, let's look at the way you all sprang into action.... to bounce this expulsion through by jumping straight from a guilty verdict to immediate punishment....... poor Peregrin never got a chance to present his side of the story, to defend himself properly, to challenge the verdict or make a plea for a lesser punishment
B-J : There was no  point ..... my decision to get rid of him had already been made up long before that meeting   .....hells bells don't need to have a trial to find a man guilty of murder, if he was caught standing over a dead body, wafting a bloody knife above his head, shouting " I killed the bastard ".
CP : Ah...but the charge against him  was far from clear cut.........this was one that needed to be proved...
B-J : Well....he made lewd sexual innuendoes about my name in front of two very old, very delicate and extremely prudish ladies..
CP : Or so you claim.....but let's consider the fact that many other committee members also harboured prejudices against poor Peregrin..... all brought along to the meeting  inside their little pouches. One member, I believe,  had made it known to the world at large that he was all for slinging him out ....and that was months before volunteering to head up initial  investigation team  required to look into the complaint against my client
B-J : True.....but prejudice against him was everywhere you cared to look.....
CP : But prejudice on that scale simply adds up to prejudgement......and that is the crux of my client's case where he is alleging bias. It is such a roo-dimentary obsevation to say that the disciplinary process was flawed,  completely lacking in any objectivity and impartiality. Indeed, the life ban itself was an extreme punishment for such a minor incident
B-J : That man ought to be thankful that he wasn't taken outside and shot....
CP : But the final nail in your coffin is that you brought the charge knowing it would carry more weight with the committee who were clearly allied to you from the day they swore an oath of personal allegiance .......Moreover,  to act as prosecutor and judge is a caveat that needs to be avoided at all costs if you were to argue that  real justice took opposed to the mock justice my client received
B-J : You sir are beginning to annoy me.........
Judge : In the same way Bigot, you are beginning to annoy me .....why even my roo-matoid arthritis is starting to play me up .....and so I'll not beat about the bush...... you sir have condemned yourself with flippant remarks and unacceptable answers. Moreover, your outrageous contempt and ignorance of the law beggars belief. Therefore I have no hesitation in finding in favour of the plaintiff .....  damages asked for will be awarded, and  all costs to be met by the defendants
B-J : Bugger....bugger.....bugger....  

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Just recently Judy Kay Wolfe reminded us of the 7 deadly sins to be avoided if you intend to be a top class player.  Clearly one of the Dallas Aces knew what he was talking about, by indirectly flagging up the fundamental principles that enable a great team to become an unbeatable one. However I have my own take on what are the worse sins my partners can ever be guilty of.....and believe you me there are more than 7. In fact I would go as far to say there are at least 40 or more, from which this list of 20 certainly take some beating.......cardinal sins of such magnitude that  any player found guilt of them should be strung up on a nearby lamp-post  .... and hanged !
1. Not thinking
2. Not thinking straight
3. Thinking like a moron
4. Thinking without purpose
5. Magical thinking
6  Wishful thinking
7. Mind hopping
8. Blinkered thinking
9. Muddled thinking
10. Irrational thinking
11. Indecisive thinking
12. Daydreaming
13. Panic thinking
14. Mind walkabouts
15. Whimsical thinking
16. Short circuit thinking
17. Rigid mind set
18. Negative thinking
19. Off-his-head thinking
20. Sheer lunacy

Oh yes, bridge is a game for sharp, precise, astute, extremely analytical thinkers. Therefore it is true to say that if you are prone to committing one or more of the above crimes, your chances of remaining my partner...or making the grade... are nil.   
( Article by Johnny Supremo )

Various labels can be attached
to doubles : speculative, nasty, punitive, frivolous, pointless, solid, silly,  thumping,and so on.
Doubling against good players however can be a risky business, because  not only does it alert them to unfavourable breaks and distributions, but it may provide them with that extra bit of information needed to steer the contract home ( when under normal circumstances it would fail). I remember a few months ago one double that landed my LHO in a great deal of trouble. It was the last session of a teams match, and neither side could afford mistakes. On the hand above,  I opened 1H.... 1S from partner...2C....3H (?) .....4H.......DOUBLE !
This was passed out.....and when dummy came down,  on the king of spades lead.....I felt it best not to panic, and set about the play with the air of man who hadn't care in the world. Certainly, dummy's heart holding was not as I envisaged, requiring me to take the view that my LHO's double was based on a trump stack.
So the play went as follows. Spade Ace, followed by a successful diamond finesse to hand. Oh lucky me ! Ace of diamonds followed by three top clubs,  pitching away dummy's  two losing diamonds. A fourth club ruffed with the heart 10. Back to hand with a spade ruff.  Eights tricks in the bag,  with West still clinging to his precious KQJxx of hearts. Dummy was down to 4 small spades plus the heart Ace, while I had 98xx of hearts and a wonderful 4 of  diamonds. 
At trick nine I led this little gem,  and now my LHO's goose was well and truly cooked.  He had to ruff low, with dummy's heart Ace diving in to take the trick. A spade return was of course ruffed with my 8, and although this was over-ruffed, West was well and truly end played with having to play KQx towards my by 9xx.
On the other table our team mates were defending 3NT, which was a lost cause for declarer on a King of hearts lead. With a big swing on the board the match was ours.......but the glory of course was mine !

( A snippet from a rare 1983 interview with Bigot, when he first established himself as a player with ability and attitude.)

Interviewer :  So when did bridge become a major part of your life  ?
B-J : Oh...that was when I started a job as a shelf-stacker at my local warehouse. Three years  into the job,   I remember going to the washroom you do.......trying to make sense of a book about the birds and the bees........and of course struggling to master the art of self-indulgence .....when my supervisor  said  " limp should be getting back to work.......and let me guess....... you don't know anything about sex ? "
Well, I had to admit I knew nothing. Naturally, he was shocked.....but nothing like I was when he admitted complete ignorance about the subject as well. Apparently, his older brother knew everything about sex being an able seaman on the HMS Grafter. Unfortunately, this knowledge died with him, when he went down with the ship's crew during the Falklands conflict, seconds after being scuppered in the stern by a rather large torpedo 
Interviewer :  And for both of you......fully grown adult men...... to be that ignorant, naive and innocent truly astounding
B-J : Mind you......I suppose if had got going with sex .......putting time and effort into heavy, intense physical relationships.....I would never have got so passionately involved with bridge
Interviewer : So bridge then  became your substitute for sex......
B-J :  Indeed, it has.....and why not....because let me tell you that bridge is a sport which involves a helluva lot of shafting.... including your partner. ......but the real appeal of the game is that you don't have to exert any physical energy whatsoever....or carry tissues on your person
Interviewer : Well...I can't argue with that.....

Sunday, 15 January 2012

AS  " NO


Saturday, 14 January 2012



( Editor apologises for typo error : " bit " instead of " but ". Staff member responsible has been firmly reprimanded and shot. ) 


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dear Rebecca,
During a recent intercity league match my partner and I bid our way to 6D, having unearthed a massive 6-5 fit in trumps,  alongside plenty of controls in the side suits.
When dummy came down I had only one side suit loser, missing the Ace of Clubs.  However, the slam required me to pick up the King of diamonds.
Quickly in with the Ace of hearts I played the queen of diamonds from hand towards dummy's Ace, hoping to pick up an inadvertant tell from either of my two opponents. No such luck. My LHO quietly played in tempo the deuce. Decision time : do I go up with the Ace or finesse ? I finally opted to play the Ace only to see ( shock, horror ) my RHO show out.
With other pairs comfortably bringing home 5D,  this was a game swing against us. 
What would you have done ?

Yours Des Perrin
Dear Des,
Your letter reads like a sad story where given a 50-50 chance you just happened to guess wrong. Yet in my opinion you didn't go with the true odds.
With two cards missing there are just 4 layout  scenarios : 
K .........2
And if you were told before playing a card your LHO did not have a void ( which proved true ), then there are 3 scenarios left,  two of which involve your LHO holding the king. This represents odds of around 67%.
So when your LHO dropped the deuce,  you can either take the view that the original odds still apply, or that there are only two scenarios left to consider, where the revised odds move to a straight 50-50 guess on who has the King.
Then of course there is the theory that if there are wild suit distributions all round, this suggests that a 2-0 break in diamonds is more likely than a 1-1 split. Therefore if your LHO shows up with the deuce, he has also got the king.
So I would have gone for the finesse,  because I believe my way of thinking gives me far more hope and optimism than the harsh realities of statistical probability. 

Yours never one for maths at school, Rebecca

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

( Yet again Bigot-Johnson was out to rid the club of another Pantopod . This time it was very popular and well respected Peregrin , the local priest, who had never committed any misdemeanour of any kind in the 7 years he had been a member . Nevertheless a determined and dogged Bigot was out to remove this irrritating thorn from his side, by relying upon his favourite charge of " bringing the club into disrepute " to send him packing. ) 
B-J : You Peregrin have brought this club into disrepute...
P : No I haven't...
B-J : Indeed you pompous prig of a priest......because it's plain to all and sundry that you have caused people to look upon this club as a slaughter house....
P : But...but that's the name of the club....a name which you personally chose
B-J : Yes...I know that....however, I must point out that it was your Sunday sermon remarks about this place which made people  believe it was a place of carnage and death...and not a respectable bridge club with a quirky name
P : Might I remind's never been a respectable bridge club.......dead bodies of missing members keep turning up all over the place
B-J : What the devil are you insinuating ?
P :  That it is impossible to bring this club into disrepute.....since it has been in disrepute from the first day it opened its doors.......when  outspoken members,  who stood up against you, started to mysteriously disappear
B-J : Best we leave that bit of history alone....and move onto the things you said about me...ME the Chairman..... which clearly made the club look bad......and even more disreputable than it was before
P : Such as ....?
B-J : The time you shouted out.... " How hard is it ? " front of two very proper and well brought up ladies, who have a real phobia about such manly things..
P : I simply queried who you were...... when I saw a hunched figure bent over...... clearly feeling a bit low down ....." Howard it ? "  I said
B-J :  Ah... but then you called me  "Johnson " front of the same two ladies, who were utterly shocked and appalled at yet another one of your little member references
P : I was just calling you by your surname
B-J : Or so you claim... 
P : Well, I didn't get your attention when I called you " Bigot "
B-J :  Oh yes....I remember that too.... and everybody who heard that... took it as an accusation of me being an intolerant, two-faced, chauvinistic, dogmatic, opinionated hypocrite....
P : Well all that could be the truth...but at the time I was trying to get your attention by calling out your middle name......
B-J : We all know what you were up to....with your filthy questions, innuendoes and insults
P : Please...please...can we wash our hands of all this nonsense
B-J : Oh yes...we  intend to wash our hands.....but only of you.....because this club is committed to finishing off  the  rigorous and thorough " cleansing " exercise that we initiated months ago, where foul mouthed people like you have been shown the door.....
P : Surely.... these people were decent law abiding folk, caring individuals, charity workers, do-gooders, saints, vicars like myself, dedicated carers, animal lovers....all lovely, kind and generous people......
B-J : Self-righteous bible-bashing troublemakers in my opinion ......the whole lot of them...
P : So that's it then.....I'm being slung out ?
B-J : Yes...and not before time
P : I'm  going to appeal .......
B-J : A pointless and futile waste of time.....I chair these damn appeal bugger off
( Article By Carp )

Most bridge clubs are small voluntary associations made up of people who have a passion for playing a very social yet immensely challenging game. Nevertheless, members use bridge clubs to fulfil many other ulterior motives. These venues are places  where one can acquire recognition, prestige and  importance,  thereby fulfilling some of the higher goals listed in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Certain individuals just love the idea of acquiring status and privilege, being in a position of " power and control ". Self-actualisation is achieved when they see themselves as the top dog, the big fish, the number one,  and in some  instances.... God. 
However, don't let the reality of your current situation leave you as one of the dead-beats, the faceless, the riff raff and worthless nobodies. Don't let that view of being an anonymous, unimportant  and insignificant person hold you back : go out there and change people's perceptions about who you really are. This of course can be easily done by following my guide on How To Gain Importance And Win Prestige :
1. Worm your way into as many of the club's top teams as possible
2. Become a very active and hands-on committee member
3. Campaign for change even if you don't believe in it
4. Stick as many fingers into as many pies as you can 
5. Walk about the place as though you always have a vital mission to fulfil
6. Speak up at AGMs in a commanding way, but only on issues where the majority of members are on your side
7. Only mix with the riff raff for fleeting seconds
8. Make sure you are always seen hobnobbing with the club's elite
9. Beckon people to approach you
10. Wear a club badge of some kind, or clothing that shouts " authority figure "
11. Do whatever it takes get photographs of yourself stuck up on the walls
12. Own that chair you are sitting on,  by spreading out in all directions
13. Hold and play the cards with an air of smug satisfaction and self-assuredness 
14. Get involved in major disputes, but only back the likely winners
15. Volunteer for all good causes
16. Donate a fabulous trophy ( named after you ) while you are still alive
17. Start rumours about yourself which will certainly enhance your fame and reputation
18. Become the fountain of knowledge, over every bit of gossip going
19. Make yourself indispensable
20. Take on the club's Newsletter, packing it full of articles about yourself
21. Appear likeable and friendly even to those you loathe
22. Only make promises on which you can deliver ( usually small ones )
23. Aim to dress a cut above the rest, especially at big events
24. Immediately assume authority in sudden mini-crisis situations

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

One extremely disturbing psychological disorder, so prevalent within bridge club fraternities, is irritatus tosarica, where players deliberately choose to behave like obnoxious annoying brats. The Latin name given to this condition simply translates into  " irritating tossers ".
Victims develop a warped and twisted belief that it is alright to adopt all the worse characteristics of human behaviour which, when challenged, can be easily excused as childish fun, having a laugh, and "'ve misread my intentions ".
Nevertheless, this disorder really does bring out The Beast In Man, where every spoken word, gesture and mannerism irritates others to such an extent, confrontations inevitably follow.
Their behaviour can be so annoying,  that people in close attendance are often lost for words, being completely stunned by a potent mixture of disbelief and shock. Indeed, even when these tossers stand still and say nothing, their unsavoury presence and aura is enough to make a normal man feel sick, start ripping walls apart with his nails, and screaming in pain. Not surprisingly, these players soon become pariahs in their own club.  
Such was the level of resentment against one sufferer, who had plagued every bridge club he had ever joined,  " IT " became his widely adopted nickname. As coincidences go,  he happened to be an I.T.person, but the most commonly quoted story behind this label laid claim to a rather knowledgeable observer referring to the condition by its two initial letters . However, my research has revealed the shocking truth about how the name first came about. Coined in 1973 at Stainforth BC by the lady Chairman, Ima Teesing, it was meant to reflect her view that anyone with this condition had to be sub-human.....a creation belonging the depths of the underworld, a hideous monster one might find in the best of J.P. Lovecraft's weird and wonderful Cthulhu tales.
As for treatment, these type of clients I leave to the true professionals, who are not only psycho-analysts-come-neuro-scientists, but are well versed in the art of exorcism and white witchcraft.

Monday, 9 January 2012

( Carp gains access to the transcripts of all the disciplinary hearings) 
1.  Excessive trumping
2.  Not toeing the party line
3.  Being exposed as serial squirrel killer
4.  Bad mouthing the wrong members behind their back
5   Bad mouthing the wrong members to their face
6.  Not washing hands after toilet visits
7.  Being a mardy bum
8.  Shoving an orange down a TD's throat
9.  Shoving an Orange Book down a TD's throat
10. Standing for chairman against Bigot-Johnson
11. Petitioning for change
12. Being an obnoxious, lying, malicious shit-stirrer
13. Exposing the truth
14. Writing unsolicited letters to the committee
15. Detaching a bridgemate from its registered keeper
16. Talking to, or associating with,  the wrong types
17. Upsetting the wrong members
18. Upsetting the apple cart
19. Cheating against the wrong players
20. Calling a spade a spade
21. Poking fun at queens
22. Not being politically correct
23. Making allegations of cheating against the wrong players
24. Praying to God ( when being a self-confessed atheist )
25. Using pathetic  " it was only a joke " excuses
26. Having a temper
27. Losing one's temper
28. Having distemper
29. Wetting seats
30. Possessing the surname Pantopod
31. Boasting and bragging
32. Heckling Bigot's trophy winning, victory speeches

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Of all the phrases found in Club Constitutions, this one represents an extremely nebulous, all purpose-thwacking rule. Because let's face it, there are so many difficult questions that need to be answered in order to clarify exactly what it means :
- What is the precise meaning then of the word " disrepute " ?
- How does one know what the undisclosed criteria is to establish the alleged offence ? 
- Who is best placed to fix a meaning to the rule ?
- Can a governing body rightfully claim that the club's status is important enough to justify a such a rule ?
- How does one prove that a club's image, reputation, status,  or standing in the community,  has been damaged and/or tarnished ?
- What evidence is required,  and what forms can it take ?
- Is proof just simply the fact that from the committee's point of view, the club's reputation has been converted from a positive one into negative one ? 
- Can breach of the rule be established by just proving one dishonourable act by a club member ?
- And does legitimate criticism, say of a committee,  cross the boundary of bringing The Club itself into disrepute ?
- Will telling the truth, or carrying out any morally justified act,  be allowed as an acceptable/ lawful defence to any alleged breach of the rule ?
- Is a possible to charge someone with bringing a club into disrepute, when it already has a direputable status ?
A bridge club by and large aims to be a voluntary association of good moral standing, with a good name, respectable law-abiding image, offering a friendly and social environment for people to come along and enjoy a game of cards. If  the "disrepute " charge flows from dishonouring or discrediting club/committee members and/or The Club itself, where there clearly is no justification for the attack or where the intent was perhaps malicious / mischievous, then such an allegation would of course be very well founded.
However I have many reservations over such a rule. It seems to me that the original wording   was deliberately designed to be vague and ill-defined. This of course gives the governing body, namely the committee, considerable discretion and leeway in its application. This may well be a good thing if the committee is made up of level-headed, fair open minded, non judgemental people. But on the other hand, if certain committee members have closed minds and are morally bankrupt, then the rule could be applied in many dangerous ways. For instance, legitimate criticisms about the way these members operate will simply be redefined as bringing the club into disrepute, because the committee here will perceive itself as " the club ". 
My nightmare vision is that a vengeful committee would interpret the rule is as follows : " We  want to punish a member who hasn't broken any specific rules, and so this requires us to punish him/her under a completely ambiguous rule covering anything and everything ". In contract law such an ambiguous, potential vindictive, term would be struck out as being totally unfair ( and therefore unenforceable ) , since it would fail the test of reasonableness as laid down in Unfair Contract Terms Act.  
( Lyrics inspired by the Elvis Presley song entitled  "Hound Dog " )

You ain't nothing but a mean hog
Biddin' all the time
You ain't nothing but a mean hog
Biddin' all the time
Well by deprivin' me of good scores
You ain't no friend of mine

You never allow me to play a hand
How selfish can you get
You never allow me play a hand 
How selfish get you get
Well, thanks for all those bottoms, mate
God...I wish we'd never met

You ain't nothing but a mean hog
A self-destructive fool
You ain't nothing but a mean hog
A self-destructive fool
So if you start pinchin' other contracts
I'm gonna lose my cool

Well, they said you were high class
But that was just a lie
Yes, they said you were high class
But that was just a lie
'Cus when I look at where we come
It makes me wanna cry

Dr.J : Oh no's you Bigot
B-J : 'Fraid so.....
Dr.J : So what's your problem this time ?
B-J : Well...I keep having nightmares... about the queen of spades. This dark lady .....this femme a demon, who is clearly out to get me. You see..... whenever I get a really bad board, she is always to blame.
Dr J : Now now Bigot..........I think you are over exaggerating is only a card......just one of 4 harmless queens
B-J : No bloody way........for which ever hand she is in....she still manages to cast her evil spell over me. If I hold the wretched card, then the opponents always manage to throw me in with her for a spectacular end play....or should they set out to capture her, she always alerts them to her presence.  But should the opponents hold the queen and I have a two-way finesse, I'm never able to locate the evasive  bitch. And whenever I hold the Ace/King of spades,  she always manages to evade them both, thereby securing a trick for the enemy
Dr.J : In my opinion Bigot..... you are a victim of an acute persecution complex.... or a frightening form of paranoia
B-J : Listen you overcharging quack.....allow me to explain my plight.....for this damn card has become a which is responsible for me never being able to win an event....and that even goes for a friday night duplicate against complete rabbits down at the Walnut Tree. So allow me to give you an example ( from this hand below ) ...on the lead of the jack of clubs ( covered all round ) , I set about making 4S. I could see that if the King of hearts was right, then pairs who had bid 6S were going to make at least 12 easy tricks. But if the king was wrong I still needed to try and beat all those who would be bidding and making 4S plus one. So I delayed taking out trumps by leading the jack of hearts at trick 2, expecting the woodentop East to continue with clubs if he took the trick. However, when this smart arse won with the king.... back came the heart 8. This was ruffed low by West who smartly switched to a diamond. In with the Ace, East pushed back another heart, which I was forced to ruff with the King of spades. I immediately tackled trumps, but  when West played the 8 of spades...........I was convinced he held the queen as well ......and so I finessed.....losing to that stiff bitch-of-card ........... which of course was lurking in East's hand after all..... giving me another horrendous bottom !
Dr.J : I see where you're coming from now...
B-J : But there's so many other horror stories I could tell you about........
Dr. J : Just how many more ?
B-J : Thousands.....where I've been TURNED OVER, SCREWED, SPIKED, SHAFTED, NAILED, AND CRUCIFIED by that mean sadistic Black Maria
Dr.J : So... I'll book you in then for a few more sessions ?
B-J : Yes......yes.....
Dr.J : But we could be taking about  £2000's worth of therapy...
B-J : Bugger're both as bad as each other

( Hand was
North :  AJ10....AQ109x.... QJ.......Qxx
South : K97xxxx ....Jx.......Kxx.......A
East :   Q..........K8xxx....... Axx.......Kxxx
West :  8x............ x...........xxxxx...J109xx )