Nancy Evins: Consider the rest of the story

Somerset Maugham said, “Bridge is the most entertaining and intelligent card game the wit of man has so far devised.”
Jul 27, 2014
Nancy Evins

Somerset Maugham said, “Bridge is the most entertaining and intelligent card game the wit of man has so far devised.”

In 1934, some author at Collier’s magazine wrote, “Undoubtedly, the game is the greatest waster of time and money, ever devised by man.”

Everyone knows about Somerset Maugham, but whatever happened to Collier’s magazine?

On July 13, Vanderbilt Bridge Club played host to 170 newcomers (and some who needed refreshing) to a five-hour “How to Learn Bridge in One Day” seminar with 60 of its members on hand to serve refreshments, help with parking, registering and setting up the 42 and one-half tables and to help with questions, clean up and give out prizes from O’Charley’s, Dalts (these two restaurants are on White Bridge Road where  bridge players often go to eat before the game and especially during home tournaments) plus four other contributors, Publix, Civic Bank, Brueggers Bagels and the Athens Family Restaurant.

The whole seminar, including refreshments, learning manuals and a professional teacher was $20 with three free games (costing $8 each for non members) for the future, and a chance to come back for another such meeting on August 3 when, if having attended this one, the fee would be only $10.

I wonder how many went away agreeing with Maughm or with Collier’s unknown critic.

Should any of you who missed the July occasion want to find out more about the upcoming event, you can email gracieallen225@

Say “good night, George.”

Grace Whitlow can also be reached at 615-830-2295, and you might want to know more about the youth play date, which is every Saturday morning from 9:30-11:00.

For anyone who has moved into a new town or has lost friends who have deceased or moved elsewhere or for any other reason, can surely find soul mates (or at least card mates) at events like this.

Now for a bridge review, which was later questioned by South after North had given his version of how to bid. (Note that bridge players gnaw over hands that have baffled them for days and even years.)

South had held: 

Spades:  A 10 x x x 

Hearts: K Q 10

Diamonds: A x x

Clubs: J x

Now he hears North open one spade so South bids two no trump to show a four card support of spades and at least 13 high-card points. North bids three spades, which is a stronger bid than four, and South bids Roman Key Card Blackwood, which lands them in a mess because players shouldn’t use it with a worthless doubleton.

In the discussion that followed, North contends all the bidding is correct until the Blackwood convention and says it should go like this:

North: one spade                                            South: two notrump

            three spades                                                     four diamonds (shows the ace)

            four hearts (shows ace)                                   four spades (also shows the ace) 

            five clubs (shows second round control)      six spades

After giving this a lot of thought, South goes back to North and asks, “How do I know it is second round control and not showing another ace (of clubs)? If I thought it was the ace, I would go to seven spades.”

“Uh, I guess I should have placed it at six spades myself.”

And that’s the rest of the story.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at


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