It’s tough enough when you and your partner give yourself bad scores from misunderstanding your and their bidding; like when you renege and give a game score to opponents who wouldn’t have made it without the two trick penalty; when you bid out of turn and it forbids your partner from ever bidding again unless you correct the bid to the right number or when you accidently drop two cards on the table instead of the correct one.
Believe me, I have done all of those things.
What irritates and annoys us most of all is when really bad players do such odd things that give them high scores, undeservedly.
Here is a recent example.
South (Mrs. Bewildered) opens one spade.
West passes as does husband, Mr. Belligerent, and when East passes, the bid goes for one spade.
Mrs. Bewildered brings the hand home, making five spades and husband Mr. B. starts his usual snide comments.
“Why didn’t you go on?”
It is really hard to hold one’s tongue when questions like this are asked and though both East and West had seen his hand, only East said quietly, “How many points did you have?,” knowing full well he had ten. He admitted to that number and neither East nor West pointed out that his pass had denied six or that she could hardly go on when the bid was passed all around.
Mr. B. muttered that he didn’t want to encourage her though the minute before he was wanting her to do it all by herself.
Once a surgeon was playing with these two, a very mild mannered man, got up from the table, went to the snack bar, picked out a knife, came back, thumped it down on the table and turned to the bewildered wife and said, “If you don’t use this on him, I will.”
East and West are licking their chops, now knowing game had been possible though not bid.
Imagine their dismay when it turns out the two B’s got a top board. All the other North-South teams had tried for six and gone down one. So these two were the only North-South with a positive score.
Here are the hands.
Wife holds A K Q T 8 7 spades; K 3 2 hearts; Q 4 diamonds, and A Q clubs. While this is only 20 points, the correct bid would be two clubs, saying, “I have a powerful hand.”
“Points, Schmoints” is the actual title of a bridge book by a bridge expert.
Mr. B. held 2 of spades; A 9 8 5 hearts, K 9 8 6 3 diamonds and K 9 7 clubs.
Had she opened a two-club bid, if they use the system of the response of two diamonds as showing at least one ace or king, he would bid the two diamonds. With some partnerships a two diamonds response is called “waiting.”
She would then bid two spades and he would show five diamonds by bidding three diamonds and denying three spades.
She would rebid spades and he should take her to game by either raising her spades, knowing they have a seven card fit, or bid the safer contract of three no trump.
But since she did open just one spade, his bid should also be two diamonds, not a convention, but showing five diamonds with at least ten points and denying three spades. And with her twenty points and his ten, surely they would get to game.
It turns out that 11 tricks can be taken in either no trump or spades but not six as all the other highly excited North-South team salivated over.
And so East-West left that round trying to get the B’s out of their bonnets.
Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.