Sunday, 29 April 2012


At long last the most eagerly awaited bridge book of all time is due to go on sale next month.   " That Woman Got Me So Wound Up " by Neil Lee Shotter "  is a collection of amusing and shocking tales of high tension table incidents.  Stories about extremely childish tantrums , petty altercations , petulant outbursts, unbelievable histrionics , physical confrontations .....and even murder . 
Most of the incidents portray a sporting arena where players have completely abandoned any desire to show  warmth, tolerance,   respect , and forgiveness  towards opponents and/or choosing instead to go ape shit !
Not surprisingly the last  and most amazing chapter has been devoted to Myrtle Bennett's killing of her inept husband , who unfortunately bungled a straightforward contract in 4S. However, although  the book is packed full of much smaller incidents , readers cannot help but be amused and entertained by stories , where players have allowed their frustration, anger and utter disbelief to get the better of them. The vitriolic comments , offensive and obscene gestures , and  outrageous displays of childish petulance only serve to demonstrate how oversensitive and prickly some players can be , as well as how cruel and imaginative they can sometimes become ,  when looking to seek vengeance on those who have upset them.
So here are a few snippets from the book , all based on first hand witness reports,  of how players have reacted when their darker , more  malevolent emotions , all  products of the human condition , have been brought to the boil...... 
-  during a tempestuous evening at Bawtry BC one irate player after recording 4 straight bottoms rose from the table to symbolically rip up the scorecard into a 1000 pieces 
one night at the Slaughter House BC one poor chap , the unfortunate victim of unrelenting verbal harassment  picked up a bridgemate ,  only to shove it straight into the mouth of his overbearing and nagging partner
- then there was an incident at Neasden BC when a player was man-handled by his rather over zealous partner , only for an enquiring opponent to ask the victim : "  That's is serious disciplinary matter....tell me what steps are you going to take ? " Immediately , he dusted himself down and headed straight for the door screaming : " Fucking big steps."  And on that unpleasant note, he strode off  into the night never to be seen again
- however , down at Stourbridge BC one player had been the victim of pre-meditated provocation by an opponent renown for making off-centre bids and psychs. After being hit with four successive psychs , he turned to his nemesis  and said : " I've  really had enough of your unethical bidding......these bloody psychs get right under my fact this scorecard of yours is nothing more than pure fiction "., whereupon he picked the document up, rolled it into the shape of a cigarette , lit it and placed burning object right under the nose of his adversary , adding the words : " now it's my turn to get up yours "
- finally, back at the Slaughter House BC Bigot-Johnson got so irate with one opponent he stormed off in the direction of the car park , only to return with an executioner's axe in his hands. Repeating over and over again " off ...his head  ", Bigot then met fierce resistance from concerned members , who attempted to overpower him in a brave but foolhardy attempt to retrieve the axe. The horrific scuffle lasted for several minutes , by which time ambulances had been called to wheel away the injured, who needed urgent treatment for cuts and half-severed limbs
One helluva book. One helluva read.    

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Dear Readers,
I sincerely believe that Zero Tolerance polices should be scrapped. They are a load of bollocks. Why since they've been introduced at my club, the atmosphere and buzz of the place has completely gone.
Most of my friends have been forced to behave like  Sistine  monks , going around politely smiling but fearing to speak, in case of saying anything untoward , politically incorrect or off-putting. Even when they encounter opponents they know to be irritatingly slow ,  or cheating dogs, it has become necessary for them to feign bon hommie and engage in  making banal  platitudes.
Yes, these ZT , nit-picking ,  over protective policies  , which target out-spoken , up-front, totally honest players ,  who only have to do or say the wrong thing , have led to an avalanche of petty minded complaints and disciplinary hearings. Heavens above..... I'm up for my third disciplinary in a month for telling a pompous , obnoxious , lying cheat  what I thought of his underhand unethical behaviour at the table , only for the committee to crack down hard on me as the one guilty of inappropriate behaviour !
However, what really gets my gander up about these ZT policies is the way colourful , witty , entertaining , larger-than-life characters have been driven out of the clubs, or reduced to empty,  lobotomised ,  mere shadows of their former selves. It's too horrible to see . Visions of " One flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest " quickly come to mind.
But what also gets up my craw is the hypocrisy of it all , because zero tolerance as a concept smacks of complete and total intolerance . It targets those who are rightfully  intolerant of those cunningly quiet, weaselly devious wrongdoers, the subtle but highly provocative players , who are oh-so-skilled in below-the-parapet unethical tactics .....simply because they respond and react instinctively to condemn such behaviour . Sadly, It is the emotionally reactive players who are singled out as the cardinal sinners , while the proactive instigators and needlers walk off scott free ,  forever pleading their innocence and non-involvement .
If clubs focused more of their efforts in curbing the proactive instigators then the problem of reactive and explosive outbursts would go away. Zero tolerance policies , in my view,  simply provide a huge protective blanket for the real sinners to continue their dark practices  , comforted by the fact that disciplinary action will only be taken against those who attack them.  How many times have we seen foot-ballers sent-off because they have been  duped into retaliation by very clever, cunning, cheating opponents. 

Yours believing it's right call a spade a spade , candidly Rood  

Friday, 27 April 2012


Every so often a hand comes along where only class defenders have the opportunity to shine.
Johnny had been dealt Qxx....x.....QJxxx.....Jxxx,  and in no time at all declarer, raced away in the bidding to reach 6H ,  with little or no help from partner. 
Johnny correctly led a small heart and dummy appeared with , a hand which didn't seem to please declarer despite the presence of an Ace.
In a flash declarer rattled off seven top hearts . What was Johnny to throw ?  Does declarer have a diamond in his hand. Gut instinct said " no " and so all  five diamonds were  hurriedly pitched away. Thankfully, his partner also saw the looming threat of being thrown in to lead a diamond into dummy's Ace........and so he too started to discard the suit at a rate of knots.
Declarer was stumped. His remaining six cards AKx ... the two black suits inevitably surrendered two tricks. One to Johnny's spade queen ,  and the other to his partner's  queen of clubs. 
On the score sheet slams were being made all around the room ,  simply because either a diamond had been led at the start , or later on when declarer successfully engineered a partial elimination in one of the black suits ........only to throw the hapless defender in with his winner in the other ,  thereby securing that all important diamond return. 


Thursday, 26 April 2012

A vision into the future.......

( Up before the Court of Purgatory , and the Lord Chief Injustice Brimstone-Fyre ,  Bigot was hell-bent on suing Old Nick himself for breach of contract. A short extract from the trial's transcript might well materialise as follows.

B-J : Do you agree Luci.....I mean Lucifer.....that you and I entered into a contract....or should I say ....pact .......which you have failed to honour
Satan : Perhaps as I'm the devil..... I'm entitled to do such dishonourable acts !
B-J : Not so.....this contract was utterly binding. You agreed that if I handed over my soul ,  you would in return give me knowledge and technique to be a top class bridge player.....all the secrets  on how to cheat and get away with it....and a place in your fiery kingdom , where I could continue to be a total bastard.....
Satan : Yes , I do recall that agreement....
B-J : Well , I did my bit , and although you've delivered on most of your promises, you have reneged on the one that gains me entry to the greatest den of inequity of all time....
Satan : You're right....
B-J : So can you explain to the Lord Chief Injustice why I .....the infamous and corrupt chairman of the Slaughter House BC.....universally reviled as both a player and a blogger.....the scourge of all those who care about the game.......should not be allowed to take his rightful place in hell.......alongside the most evil , mean-spirited villains , reprobates , and wrongdoers the world has even seen ?
Satan : You just don't get it do you ? I am more than willing to let people in who aspire to being The Devil .......but when there is someone like you......whose black heart and black deeds make me look like Mother Teresa........personal pride and envy compels me to lock the door. To do otherwise puts both my throne and crown at risk......and that must never happen. 
B-J :  You're a rotter.... and a spoil sport
Satan : Therefore,  I beg the court not to hand out  the mandatory order you are seeking.......condemning you..... in the process remain isolated and alone in this netherworld of purgatory and mindless boredom
B-J : I demand justice......
LCI : In this court we only dish out injustice.....which means of course your demand for this equitable remedy has been rejected...
B-J : Well , bugger me....
 LCI : Sorry....I would love to oblige.....but as this trial has progressed ,  I have come to loathe and despise dismissed !

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


(  For the umpteenth time Bigot found himself up before Crown Court judge . Having been reported to the police by the Walnut Tree Allotment BC bigwigs , he and his despicable cronies found themselves accused of offences under an old , rarely used,  bit of criminal legislation . As usual he decides to defend himself, and a short extract from the trial's transcript appears below. )

 Prosecutor  ( P ) : You Bigot have been charged with offences under the Vagrancy Act of 1824...
B-J : What !.....Has the Crown Prosecution Service gone stark raving mad ! ......Goddammit , I'm a married man , who has a fixed permanent address....... although I must admit to having dabbled a bit and there...... at various red light establishments in and around the city ..."
Judge : Any you can recommend ?
B-J : Well. there is one in....
P : Might I be allowed to continue.....
Judge : If you must.....
P : and your unsavoury associates have blighted the Walnut Tree Allotment Bridge Club with your odious presence and wayward behaviour . Indeed , the chairman of the committee should have reported you to the police years ago....
B-J : The bastard....
P : Not so.. ...I would describe him as  " an upright and upstanding member " , who wears a tie, has clean nails and goes to church every Sunday......
B-J : I would too....but Mr. Stiffy is a liar....for I am not a any shape or form
P : In your eyes yes....but in the committee's eyes NO ! ....You see....according to the 1824 Act you meet all the requirements of being a vagrant......and why might you ask ...
B-J : Well.... I do ask ?
P : A vagrant is a person who " wanders "  or trespasses into places he shouldn't be.....and as far as the committee is concerned that includes the club premises ...a place in which you were under a temporary ban. Moreover , a vagrant is one begs......and you have constantly begged for mercy and forgiveness on numerous occasions a desperate attempt to retain your membership status at the club .  Also ,  I want it to go on record that the letters of complaint about you......sent in by shell-shocked, psychologically damaged victims..... all revealing in great detail your disgusting , abusive and bullying behaviour.... make extremely disturbing reading indeed.
B-J : Listen you..... I've been misunderstood....misread.....  and misrepresented 
P : And that's not all.....because you , Bigot , can also be classified as a vagrant by virtue .....if that is the right word....of your indecent and shocking behaviour in a public place .........namely the clubhouse, where you committed ..... amongst many other things........... the foul practice of " peddling "...
B-J : Peddling what ?.....
P : Foul , unfounded ,  defamatory and derogatory comments about the committee.......not to mention obscene , vile and poisonous literature designed  to irreparably injure and damage the reputation of the club.... and of course very provocative material ,  well capable of stirring up hatred and violence against those you view as your enemy....
B-J : Oh.... 
P : Moreover by arming yourself with offensive weapons....such as your sharp tongue , acid wit , pointed fingers , piercing eyes ,  clenched fists , and steel toe-capped boots in particular satisfy all the requirements of being a vagrant !
B-J : This is preposterous........I AM NOT A VAGRANT........I demand an immediate acquittal
Judge : I take it you want to go home straightaway ?
B-J : Well, that might not be possible,  your wife kicked me out this morning for domestic violence 
Judge : in other words , you are a vagrant after all.......shame....because I must now direct the jury to find you guilty.....leaving me the unpleasant duty of dishing out an appropriate sentence.  This as it happens requires me to have you branded with a " V ".....  and  imposing on you two years of prescribed by the Act .
B-J : Bugger....         
I'M  A 2%-er AND I'M PROUD OF IT....... ( Article by Carp ) 

In the United States Naval Academy there is group known as the " 2% Club " . Apparently ,   out of all the midshipmen entering with a girlfriend or boyfriend only 2% of these relationships still exist by graduation.
Here in England Erica Frazier has set up the  " 2% Club " to help senior women raise their profile in their quest to secure the senior corporate positions. And back across in the USA ,  the " Phoenix 2% Club " claim that only 2% of people will reach their financial potential , but what makes this club so unique is that it is the only one that works on the " inner game ".  Here the focus on training is how to recognise your current financial blueprint , so you can identify it in order to change it . 
Another group of 2%-ers one cannot forget is Mensa, which caters for the top 2% with acceptionally big IQ's . This non-profit worldwide organisation has only one requirement : members must have IQ's higher than those of 98% of the population.
However , in the context of Bridge Clubs one might come across other smaller groups of    " 2%-ers " , who are those brave few souls , who are prepared to stand up and be counted , challenging  and fighting for what they believe to be right, fair and just. These  " dissenters "  seem only to have one objective , which is to resist or stop the perceived or actual abuse of power ,  so often exercised by committees tainted by nepotism and/or despotism.
Indeed, to wear the 2% -er badge in these circumstances is to wear a badge of courage ,  always with head held high ......with honour...... and most of all..... with pride.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

THERE'S NO ANSWER TO THAT....... ( A gospel true story given to Bridgemeister Gibson by the and only " Fenboy "  )

It's the Friday afternoon pairs session of the Sheffield U3A.  The players want to better so are very keen to learn. A hand had just been completed and declarer ( West ) has made 3D plus one for an average on the board.
West is in the process of returning the cards to their slots , while North is writing down the score on the traveller. West muses....then poses a question to North,  a far more experienced player , who he believes might be able to pass on some nugget of advice .
" Do you think I could have done better ? "
" Yes ", came the immediate reply , ".......You should have bid 3NT because it has a 60%  chance of making , given the excellent diamond fit , and a likely spade lead up to your King ."
" But..... isn't bidding 3NT a bit of a risk ? "
" may not be safest contract but it scores much better....that's the problem with pairs .  Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes you have to be in what seems the wrong contract to get the right matchpoint score. "
" Well, I wouldn't know about that because we don't play Pairs ! "
 " But you are playing pairs......"
" Oh, I thought you were talking about a bidding system...."

Saturday, 21 April 2012


Interviewer ( I ) : Well Johnny ......I see you've chalked up yet another stunning victory ?
JS : Just can't help it .....too many players keep on pressing their self-destruct buttons
I : So what you're saying is ....winning at bridge is all about making fewer mistakes than your opponents
JS : Correct .....but I would also add that winning bridge is all about making zero mistakes
I : Well that makes sense.....but can you give me an illustration of mistake free bidding ?
JS : Not exactly, because bidding can never be an exact science ....making fewer mistakes has nothing to do with a sophisticated bidding system , but simply applying common sense in initial valuation and the subsequent re-valuations of your hand. For instance , opening a weak no trump for most Acol players is routine  on a balanced 12-14 count. But high card points alone should not be the sole basis on which bidding judgements should be made.
I : Go on....
JS : The presence of 10's and 8's are of vital importance , which far too many players tend to overlook. Imagine you bid 1NT vulnerable in first position with Kxx....Qxxx....Axx...Axx. Such a bid might carry a big risk. If as declarer you get a heart lead with Kx in dummy , you may only be looking at one trick in this suit ,  no matter which card you play from dummy. However if Kx is opposite Q108x , then there is every chance of making three tricks in the suit if J9x are sitting under your 4 card holding. Let's assume the weaker 1NT was doubled going off 2 .  Declarer of course might incur a horrendous minus 500 penalty...... but with the help of those two magnificent fillers ,  and the two extra tricks they pull in , a result of plus 180 makes very healthy scorecard reading indeed.
I : So in essence you choose to  devalue your  hand considerably if there are no 10's and 8's to bolster your longer suits ?
JS : Not exactly ..... but I would be  far more circumspect  when opening the  bidding on a balanced and skimpy 13 point hand.... preferring instead 1C......... or even a pass......only to  sit back and await developments .
I : I love you're a genius and a's been an honour and privilege to share this minute you....  

Friday, 20 April 2012

DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEES AND THE SPECTRE OF UNCONSCIOUS BIAS........... ( Research article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

In the latest law report a brave attempt was made to explain how difficult it is to avoid bias in bridge club disciplinary hearings. This is simply down to an irrefutable fact that  most committee members harbour unconscious biases.
Unconscious is  defined as  " not perceived at the level of awareness , occurring below the level of conscious thought ".
Bias is defined as  " a particular tendency or inclination ,  especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question " .
Most committees are formed with the belief that the views and perspectives from different individuals can lead to better decisions than a single person. However, this means they must take into consideration the minority views, their needs , values, and frames of reference , simply to balance those which have been voiced by the majority. Alternative views must be canvassed , welcomed and considered, and should they be rejected then this is stems from  over-riding and more convincing arguments winning the debate. In such circumstances compromise agreements and well merited decisions should follow. 
Nevertheless , participating in a disciplinary hearing, say within a private members' club , is fraught with difficulty given the close and cosy relationships between groups of members , both inside and outside the committee. Individual committee members however must recognise that they are under a legal obligation  to make decisions in an objective , fair and impartial way.
The disciplinary process must be conducted in an appropriate manner and way, which guarantees  for all alleged offenders a full , fair , and impartial hearing.  In order to achieve this guarantee ,  both the  fairness and impartiality requirements must be maintained throughout all phases of the process .  Committees should be cognisant of a number of dynamics as they work ........  both individually and together as a committee.
First and foremost , committee members must recognise the risk of unconscious bias that may influence them as they proceed.  All of us have natural , built-in biases ,  being long held opinions which make us feel so more comfortable .  These biases are not necessarily bad unless they prevent us from being open to " new and different " perspectives , or prevent us from discarding the stereotypes and prejudices we have held about others.  Unfortunately , these biases tend to be unconscious ones , which have the power to negatively affect and undermine our thinking.
Recognising,  understanding and confessing to owning these biases are  essential steps  to earning respect and trust from ordinary members within the club. It is natural for a committee to want rid of troublesome members , who they consider as " bad apples ", having a mischievous tendency to cause disharmony and distress. Yet at the same time the committee members must strive to resist any temptation to arrive at premature or unfounded judgements.  For instance , it may be necessary to distinguish bad behaviour which stems from malicious proactive intent from that which is an over-sensitive reaction  to unwarranted provocation. 
All too often committee members have already formed their own opinion of  troublemakers long before  they have summoned to attend  a disciplinary meeting.  They might already feel uncomfortable with the troublemaker's' demeanour , the way he/she speaks or answers questions , or even how they regard the committee. Few would claim aloud that these things caused them concern , since they are often unconscious  or unspoken concerns.
Given we all have unconscious bias , then a properly functioning committee needs to acknowledge and face this bias in an honest and productive manner , helping to check each other's blindspots.  It is the duty of every member involved in a disciplinary process to address issues of  perceived actual or potential bias , especially if they see emotions taking over from one's ability to remained detached and objective.
Concerns need to be verbalised ,  and not ignored by pretending that such concerns don't exist. By addressing these doubts and concerns " head on " everyone benefits , allowing the process to take place in a climate of impartiality and good which satisfies the minimum  requirements of the law. This basic standard of course revolves around that of the reasonable independent observer , who would expect all decisions to be the logical outcome of a thorough investigation of the facts , a fair and proper review of these facts , an impartial and  careful weighing   up of conflicting evidence and/or opposing arguments , with reasons given at the end , which appear fully justified and merited . When a decision clearly appears adverse or perverse , then he will perceive the spectre of unconscious bias having been at work. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

BRIDGE BOOKS GUARANTEED TO TICKLE YOUR FANCY......... ( Great discoveries by Pun )

  • I Didn't Pick You Partner For Your Bridge.....Khan L. D. Syres
  • Thank God No One Spotted My Revoke.......Chantelle A. Sole 
  • Bridge Below The Belt......................Sol R. Plexus                           
  • I've A Real Sense Of Foreboding, Partner.....Eve L. A. Foot
  • A Superb Bridge Holiday Destination.............Ben E. Dorm
  • What On Earth Is Up With Your Bottom ?......Ivor Hugh Boyle
  • Bridge Well Below The Belt..........................Belle E. Button
  • What ! You Call That A Decent Suit.............. Polly Hester
  • We're In For A Right Battle Now Partner........N.M.E. Cumming
  • If You're Clueless Give Up The Game............Chuck Hittin
  • What Possessed You To Admit To Cheating?...Ida Lydewell
  • That Trophy Is Mine You Cheat !.....................Ann Dittover
  • Only God Could Have Created Bridge !.........Ima B. Leever 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


This time Bigot-Johnson was being sued for wrongful expulsion by Pippa Pantopod , as she was the next in line to find her membership brutally terminated by the Slaughter House BC committee. Apparently , she had referred to them as  lowdown, filthy, evil, brownshirt fascists ,  which caused Bigot to take umbrage over the word " brownshirt ". He was very proud of the fact that he and all his lackeys wore smart clean black shirts. A short extract from the trial's transcript appears below.

Counsel for the plaintiff ( CP ) :   So far we have established that the committee failed to follow its own procedure as laid down in its own constitution and regulations
B-J : I refute that.....
CP : And we have also established a complete absence of natural justice in the manner and way the flawed procedure was carried out
B-J : I refute that....
CP : But what's more damning is that the degree of bias shown against Pippa Pantopod was so extreme , there wasn't a single shred of good faith to be seen anywhere during this shameful episode
B-J : Absolute rubbish.....all the committee members behaved in a proper and correct way with complete objectivity and impartiality.......and what's more .......... private club's disciplinary proceedings are not subject to judicial review
CP : Not so ..........for even when it comes to a private members' club.... the process , by which expulsion decisions are reached ,  are equally open to review by the courts. I admit that in such organisations the context of expulsions remains a difficult and grey area of the law , given their non-profiting-making character. However , the reality is that in all private member clubs there are far too many close and cosy relationships between the members , which therefore makes it  impossible to find an unbiased decision makers.....
B-J : Well, there you are then.....we didn't behave out of the ordinary.......but what's more is that you still cannot prove the precise nature...or the extent of......any alleged bias
CP : Allow me to put you right on a point of law.....courts have acknowledged that  the very nature of a domestic tribunals creates biased decision makers. However,  the standard procedural fairness in respect of  alleged  bias or the apprehension of bias needs be no higher than the requirement that decisions makers approach the procedure in good faith with open minds....
B-J: We did ...we did...
CP : Not so....for I have documentary evidence to show the court that certain committee members had expressed both their burning desire...and fierce sling poor Pippa out of the club.....long before the disciplinary process had even begun....
B-J : Oh.....
CP : The charge against you and your cronies is one of prejudgement , where all I have to do is establish a degree of closure, in that one or more members participated in the process with a closed mind . For instance , was the decision to expel the plaintiff reached after a fair and proper discussion ? For let's imagine independent observers had been there ....would they not regard your decision to expel as an adverse ....possibly perverse...... conclusion , given  the one-sided  discussion  which actually took place ? Objectivity and impartiality was clearly missing from that discussion. All members must strive to be open minded and be prepared to listen....only to be swayed by the superior and weightier arguments........which were backed by concrete evidence. Closed minds will always imply bias by prejudgement.
B-J : Excuse me....some degree of prejudgement is inevitable ....and certainly inherent my role as chairman.....
CP : I agree....but when a committee member has a personal agenda......which you clearly had..... or an axe to grind.......or a personal ego at stake......then that decision maker should step down , or disqualify him/herself from being involved in the process. No one can claim to be exercising their duty to act in good faith , when a reasonably well-informed person looking on would conclude that the bias or prejudice had clearly influenced the exercise of that duty...
B-J : Oh......
CP : What you don't realise Bigot is the simple fact that bias is such an insidious thing that , even though a person may genuinely believe that he was acting impartially , his mind may unconsciously be affected by bias....
B-J : Which idiot said that  ?
CP : Lord Justice Devlin in the Barnsley Licensing Justices case ......
B-J : OK then  I'll come clean and admit my bias and hatred for this woman.... but even if I had voted the other way ...or abstained.... the rest of the committee's votes would have carried the expulsion decision through....
CP : I'm glad you raised that point.....because there lies the key question......whether or not the decision of a collective body is vitiated ...that is the apprehension of bias in one or more of its members ?  Courts have recently concluded that the collective decision could well be vitiated , even though the vote of the biased member was not decisive........simply because the decision making process has by all accounts been tainted in some way.  
B-J : How come ?
CP : The reasoning should be obvious......given the close relationships that exist between certain committee members there is always a real possibility that other members will be easily affected .....eager to support and confirm......  the dominant biased member's views.... adopting in the process his/her actual or apparent  inability to be fair .....Indeed , the concept of open and shut cases does not sit comfortably with the court's notion of justice and fairness. Therefore , all disciplinary proceedings require the alleged wrongdoer's conduct to be fully and properly investigated and explained.....followed by an even-sided and balanced discussion....... before a proportionate punishment  can be ultimately determined.....Rushing to punishment refutes the claim that the above criteria had been met
B-J : Oh bugger.....
CP : So Bigot.....we have heard your confession of harbouring extreme  bias against the plaintiff....which unfortunately for you and the club  has undermined  both  the validity and credibility of the committee to act impartially.....therefore this  court  cannot help but come to the  inescapable conclusion...... that the speedy punishment imposed upon poor Pippa was both wrongful ..... and very naughty !
B-J: Oh bugger....
CP : So finally we come to the matter of damages....and costs
B-J : Oh bugger.....


The name of this extremely distressing condition is enough to make a grown man cringe. Thankfully for the rest of the male population , this affliction is solely confined to an older generation , being a culture specific disorder exclusive to bridge clubs. Sufferers , who tend to live and die by their results , have an astonishing belief that their scores are irretrievably linked to  the current state of their manliness and virility . Therefore , whenever poor results began to accumulate they are quick to recognise that  their little pink members have already deflated and shrunk in size , almost to the point of disappearing into nothingness. Similarly , a succession of good results , which have pumped up their self-confidence and self-belief, is a natural outcome of something down below now looking up , and feeling very perky.  Indeed, it is this phenomenon which explains why the game of bridge gets them " so excited ". 
However, since the reality for most bridge players is one of disappointment and failure, with so many scores never getting above average , then the syndrome inevitably locks in on a regular , almost permanent , basis.
Never a day goes by with out GRS sufferers going into panic mode that their scores are  the consequence ( or cause ) of their shrinking penises , and that these deflationary episodes will carry on throughout the whole 3 hour session at the tables.  Occasionally , for the more accomplished player, an anxiety attack will be isolated , and limited to just a brief, fleeting outbreak, but as for the majority the condition remains chronic with lengthy reoccuring attacks.
 On top of the apparent shrinkage , other symptoms include the perception that the poor results at the tables will certainly mean their performance in the bedroom department will also suffer badly  ........when the reality of GRS is that  the condition is completely unavoidable , being linked old age and loss of muscular tone.  
Bridge players , unfortunately , have a lot of cultural beliefs in regards to the ultimate symbol of their manhood. To them  "  the glorious pinkie "  is the source of all their mental virility and vitality. When their thinking starts to fade they experience an overwheming sense  of feeling jaded, lethargic and limp. Some even develop the delusional notion that when their potential to perform at bridge is fading away, then death might well come as a merciful release.
BIGOT'S LOST FOR WORDS....... ( Another remarkable tale about the most dreadful bridge player who I might add many would love to see dead !  )

Bigot-Johnson , as anyone will testify , is renown for his arrogance and rudeness at the tables. One night , when partnering Ronnie, he came to a table where a visiting player was sitting. She was clearly a well educated lady of elegance and refinement , a widely respected bridge player revered for her politeness , ethical behaviour and excellent card technique. All characteristics completely lacking in Bigot.
Not surprisingly Bigot felt a little uncomfortable in her presence , despite having Ronnie to call upon as support. This unease was clearly evident when a hesitant Bigot was found wanting in the bidding and play of the cards. On the last hand of the set he found himself under pressure pressure , when the lady made devastating opening lead against his 4H contract.  Getting himself into a complete fluster Bigot simply proceeded to play like a prune , going 3 off to his great shame and embarrassment.
However , the lady then made a fatal mistake by gently suggesting that there was a successful line he could have taken, if he have bothered to get an accurate count of the hand.  This was like wafting a large red rag to a highly volatile bull. Bigot exploded.....jumped up from his chair....and snorted : " DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM ? "
" No..." said the lady ( an answer which caused Bigot even more distress ) ......and if you really don't know who you are .......then might I suggest you call the TD over...... for he might be able to jog your poor unfortunate man...."
At that precise moment in time Bigot was completely lost for words. 

( By Bridgemeister Gibson )  

Sunday, 15 April 2012

BIDDING SYSTEMS ARE SURELY ALL DOWN TO PERSONAL CHOICE......? ( An almost true story by Bridgemeister Gibson )

Bigot and Ronnie were playing in a tournament when they came up against two celebrated grand masters. Despite the reputation of their international opponents Bigot looked very smug and self-assured. Earlier results had certainly put them well ahead of the field.
On the first board of the set Ronnie opened the bidding with 2S.  The expert to his left was looking at a flat and ragged 14 HCPs with a couple of honours in spades. So he turned to wards Bigot and asked ; " What kind of 2 level bids do you play ? "
" Oh .......I play strong 2's........" came the prompt and immediate reply,  "....a hand with plenty of trick taking potential ! "
Not surprisingly, the grandmaster hastily passed and so did BIgot. After the 2S bid was passed out , Bigot soon laid down his dummy hand revealing 2 queens and a jack. The expert heaved a sigh of relief, as he proceeded to congratulate himself for not having stuck his next out in the bidding.
However as the play unfolded the defence ( on their combined 25 count ) started to rake in one trick after another. Within a couple of minutes they had notched up 9 tricks leaving declarer with just four. As Ronnie entered up minus 200 for a galactic top , both the opponents rounded on Bigot.
Eventually , one spoke with thunder in his voice : " you sir are a liar and a please correct me if I am wrong.....but didn't you tell me that you played strong 2's ? "
" Indeed , I did " came the rather perplexed and distraught reply....." And allow me to reconfirm what I said......I play strong 2's.........However , as for my partner he insists on playing weak 2's in 3 suits , 6-10 points........It seems therefore that you asked the wrong person ! " 
At this point both opponents in perfect unison bellowed out the following words : " D...I...R...E...C...T..O..R..........D...I...R...E...C...T...O...R..."

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Judge :'s you again Bigot......What is it this time ?
B-J :  I'm being sued by chairman of the Walnut Tree Allotment Society Bridge Club,  who happens to be that dreadful woman sitting over there...... Patricia Pork-Me-Whenever-You-Like Pantopod ....for making a slanderous remark. She claims I called her " a pig "..... 
Judge : Well , it is a defamatory term , and in my view it is wrong to call Mrs Pantopod " a pig "
B-J : I don't get it.......Does this mean therefore I cannot call a pig " Mrs. Pantopod " ?
Judge : Of course you can call a pig " Mrs. Pantopod "......without any fear of legal action taken against you 
B-J : Well in that case then I will........   (turning towards the plaintiff )....... Good day to you , Mrs. Pantopod....and my sure are looking in the pink of condition this morning 

Friday, 13 April 2012


(  With the Slaughter House BC hemorrhaging players left , right and centre Bigot-Johnson decided to be more proactive in the recruitment of new potential members . The following is a short extract from a telephone conversation between the great man and Jeremy ,  the most recent applicant . ) 

B-J : So you want to join the Slaughter House Bridge Club ?
J :  Yes......I'm really taken by the idea...
B-J : Oh, that's good....but are you really cut out to survive modern day bridge clubs ?
J :  I don't know until I try. You see....I've been going around in circles for years looking for a place to be myself.....
B-J : And who might " yourself " really be ?
J : Just someone who will be bringing along a lot of baggage . Stubbornness , prejudice , fascist idealism , unresponsiveness , uncontrolled aggression , dangerous pre-conceptions , resentment and intolerance......all that sort of thing
B-J : You sound perfect to me......someone who'll easily fit into the culture of this club
J : Really ?
B-J : Absolutely......but tell me what the hell is that grinding noise I can hear ?
J : Oh...that's me..... gnashing my teeth in anticipation 
B-J : Wonderful.....looking forward to seeing you soon

Thursday, 12 April 2012

BIGOT'S DESPAIR CONTINUES...... ( Yet another shocking but nearly true story by Bridgemeister Gibson )

With the average age of the club's membership approaching 75, Bigot was getting very worried and concerned . Here he was.....lost and a surreal world of senile dementia , alzheimers and failing faculties, with players all around him providing disturbing examples of incontinency , deafness , absent mindedness , and short-term memory loss . What absurd incident was he going to witness next ?
Well....poor Bigot didn't have to wait long. The following night he came arrived at a table where his opponents , to put it mildly , were well past their prime. Just as the first hand was about to be played , East woke up to the fact that that West had something protruding from his ear. Forced to shout , he bellowed out the following question :  " I say partner....did you know you've got a suppository in your ear ? "    

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

BIGOT'S DESPAIR........ ( Another nearly true story by Bridgemeister Gibson )

The other night at the Slaughter House Bigot found himself at a table, where the combined ages of his partner and two opponents topped a massive 260 years . Clearly , all three of them were experiencing short-term memory problems.
West at one point set off for the toilet only to lose his balance and fall over. When getting to his feet he looked a little, puzzled.......and asked " Can someone tell me....was I going to the toilet or coming back ? "
Three minutes later it was the turn of North to raise doubts about his mental facilities. " Oh I declarer in 3NT or on lead defending 3NT ? "
However, it was the superstitious East who took first prize in the imbecile stakes  when ,  after loudly tapping several times on the wooden table for good luck ,  he suddenly stood up and announced : " Excuse me for a second...........but there's someone knocking at the front door wanting to be let in ! "
Bigot by now had buried his face in his hands overwhelmed with despair. What the hell was the world of bridge coming to ?

- you ask a passing player to help you cross your legs
- your ears are hairier than your head
- your bidding gets you into contracts your brain is incapable of making
- nobody remembers or cares about your results
- a dull evening's duplicate is the highlight of your week
- bridge has become less of a sporting hobby but more of a mental illness
- having a good raise for partner has lost all its meaningful significance
- your diminishing IQ , expanding waist line and average score all co-incide on 44
- having told your life-long partner to act his age he simply dropped dead
- an announcement for the next movement sent you quickly rushing off to the toilet

Monday, 9 April 2012


  • Winning Crockfords Got Me Front Page Coverage..........Ed Liner
  • The Secret Of Winning Bridge.................................Troy Toby Cunning
  • Bidding Thin Games Is Not My Style..........................Meah Coward
  • I'm Always Getting Into Trouble With TDs.......................L. Raysor
  • Reckless Bidding And Suicide Plays.............................Harry Carrie
  • Cautious Bidding Has Always Been My Downfall.........Issac Howard
  • Just Lately I Can't Stop Winning..................................Ada Goodyear
  • To Bid Or Not To Bid ?..................................................Ima Haskin
  • Anyone For A Quick Rubber ?.......................................Del Mehan
  • Partner, I'll Take The Rap For This Dreadful Card..........Hugo I. Steigh

Saturday, 7 April 2012

CAN BIDDING AUCTIONS EVER BE PURE AS THE DRIVEN SNOW ?....... ( Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi investigates )

The sad answer to this question is " No ". In theory when a player opens 1S then the bid covers a multitude of possibilities ,  such as a hand 10-19 points say with with 4 or more spades. It is only when a rebid comes in that more information about the hand can be revealed.

Yet is the game ever played where it is only the subsequent bidding that reveals a fully picture about the hand ? I think not because communication of information IS NOT limited to the bids made during the auction. The players' senses are on high alert. The subconscious is non-stop automated factory of the mind ,  which constantly processes every scrap of visual and oral information given out during the auction. 

Information in the form of ......
-  grunts , coughs ,  sighs,  change of breathing
-  frowns , grimaces , frozen shock-horror stiffness  
-  posture, such as sitting more upright or slumping backwards 
-  looks that very from the extremely tense to incredibly relaxed
-  hard , glaring or soft  loving eyes
-  lip shaping, smiles or tightly closed mouth ( clenched teeth )
-  quick or slow response time , variation in tempo
-  length of delay/hesitation BEFORE a bid is made
-  the degree of force used to place the bidding card on the table
-  odd out-of-context questions raised about the opponents' bids
-  hand movements ( table strumming, neck stroking, ear/head scratching for instance )
-  degree of body movement and all round fidgeting
-  the intonation in the humming , whistling and card snapping

Most of the above is never meant to be intentional but these subtle nuances of communication are endless , such is the infinite number of body language gestures and non-linguistic sounds available to feed off. And what's more..... we are all experts in reading the tell-tale signs. The subconscious does this automatically feeding through any results or conclusions as fleeting moments of intuition, insight, instinct......what many authors might euphemistically refer to as table presence. Oh yes .....we also have that ability to tap into the opponents' unauthorised communication gadgets as well . 
For  bidding auctions to be clean and pure we must ask the impossible : players to bid in perfect tempo , with dead pan, impassive expressions on their faces ,  using repetitive , identical movements , and all done in absolute total silence. This will guarantee that it is only the bids which can provide and glean information about the shape , distribution and strength of particular hands.
So now we are left with a dilemma. Continue as we do with flawed ,  impure , laissez -faire bidding auctions , or play the game in a regimented way like a scene from the  film " I, robot ".
DEFINING BRIDGE........ ( Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi looks for answers )

Yes indeed....our learned Professor asked one hundred very experienced , extremely astute, but incredibly cynical players to define " bridge ". These are some of their most revealing answers :

Bridge is.....
- the most challenging and rewarding game in the world
- a terrible addiction which takes over your mind , body , and soul
- what many players allow the water flowing underneath to carry off the painful memories of some shocking results  
- something we are obliged to cross when dealing with a serious problem
- the nearest thing to a cure which delays the onset of Alzheimers 
- a game which brings on abuse from all quarters ( sides ) including one's self
- the spot on your face which takes the full impact of a well aimed blow from your irate partner
- a recreational pastime which might well take a marriage to breaking point or beyond ( hence the phrase a bridge too far )
- easily the best form of escapism ever devised
- what most troubled players prefer to jump off in an attempt to end it all
- the main grounds for establishing " unreasonable behaviour " in acrimonious divorce cases
- what foolish players tend to burn when cutting themselves off from their only means of retreat

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

BIGOT SLIPS UP BIG TIME.......... Report by Pun

( At long last the Walnut Tree Allotment Society BC had something concrete to pin on Bigot-Johnson. Several alleged misconduct charges had put him a very sticky wicket  Here below is a short extract from the cricket-loving chairman's closing speech at the end of a very long and protracted disciplinary hearing.) 

" Thankfully Bigot ....we've had someone watching you for quite some time, and as a result a huge list of incidents were meticulously and carefully recorded, revealing irrefutable evidence of numerous occasions you crossed that boundary line.
So have been caught out so often  that your time here as unwelcome member has run out. Accept the fact it's all over. Clearly, you were stumped by the sheer weight of evidence regarding each charge brought against you. Unlike before , when you managed to give previous disciplinary committees the slip , we were not so gullible. Long on limp excuses cut no ice with us. So by hook and by crook we've managed to nail you good and proper. By living your life on the edge it was inevitably we were in for a fall. All this clap trap about having a chip on your shoulder because you were born an ugly baby with deformed club feet, only to be   abandoned as a child outside an orphanage,  cannot be allowed to excuse your behaviour.
We are not prepared under any circumstances to duck our responsibility, and our decision to sweep aside your mitigation pleas was unanimous. The truth is that we are bowled over with joy at the prospect of never seeing you in the batting line up again. Strangely though, your dismissal only came about through an excellent LBW shout..........Good day to you sir  "

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Class bridge players are
able to defeat contracts ,
which on paper seem
unbreakable. On board 17
every N/S pair reached 4S
after East had opened the
bidding ( including Bigot ).
On almost every table West
led a diamond with East quick
to jump in and take the first 2  tricks.The diamond continuation was      ruffed by declarer,  who then proceeded to lead his singleton heart, inserting the 10 from dummy. Most Easts foolishly rushed in with the queen , switching straightaway to a trump. Declarer of course played the king from hand, followed by a second spade to North's queen, clearing the suit in the process. Now came the ruffing finesse of East's Ace of hearts, and the contract came rolling in with losing clubs disappearing under North's established hearts.
But what of Johnny ? He took the 10 of hearts with his Ace, giving declarer a chance to go wrong. Not surprisingly his deceptive plan worked. At trick 4 he too returned a trump for declarer to clear the suit ending up in dummy. Now if West had Qx or Qxx in hearts it was game over for the defence. So he played off the King of hearts, pitching a club, and then played a low heart setting himself to ruff. Johnny calm and cool as ever played low on each occasion. When to declarer's great dismay the queen did not fall from West's hand, he found himself short of entries to set up a desperately needed parking space for his other losing club.  So Johnny yet again pulled out another top from nowhere to finish the night on 71%. 
Is there a better player on God's earth ? I don't think so......   

Monday, 2 April 2012

Dear Rebecca,
I am appalled  at the declining moral standards that now blight this once truly great game of bridge. I fought a war for this country, and the Christian values that we treasured so dearly ... losing goddamnit....... an eye and a foot in the process.
Although I don't rate your agony column or read any of your feminist bridge books.....well, I've always been a man's man.....I do acknowledge that your posts have achieved worldwide acclaim.
Anyway, do you agree that today's world of bridge is polluted with unethical win-at-all-costs result merchants , who haven't a single shred of decency, morality, sportsmanship and honesty left in their miserable bones ?
Yours Gordon Bennett 

Dear Gordon,
It's seems perfectly clear to me that not only are you hopping mad, but you have completely  lost sight as to what bridge is really all about. Perhaps this is due to your unfortunate war injuries....... and a touch of senile dimentia.
For years bridge has become a highly competitive sport , where there is no room for sentiment or turning a blind eye to misdemeanours, unwittingly committed at the bridge tables. In my view ,  it is not unethical or unsporting to crack down on opponents who themselves have behaved in an unethical and unsporting way.  
Bridge quite rightly has become a very sophisticated , highly ritualised, form of non-physical combat, where the sensible thing to do is to take no prisoners..... but to bloody well shoot them. So I say again ,  there can be no room in competitive arenas for soft-bellied,  namby-pamby, willy-nilly, " oh I'll let you off this time ",  lovey-dovey, and  " oh you can pick up that card you inadvertantly played out of turn ", jolly sporting pacifist types. Whatever next ?

Yours a rather battle-hardened battle-axe, Rebecca Rood