Bridge – Part II

Bridge seems to have distilled into the complicated task of memorizing a host of bidding conventions, responses and overcalls.  And a player must inform opponents of precisely what his/her bid means.  There must be hundreds of possible bids.  I have a brilliant idea. How about if each of the four players sits with a tablet loaded with bridge software with every convention under the sun.  The cards are dealt, everyone digitally enters the cards onto the tablet they hold and the software program tells everyone what to bid.

When a bid is made, everyone at the table will be cued by their tablet as to what the bid “means.”   Then everyone bids on the basis of the program’s instruction.  Or the tablet can bid in a C-3PO voice – “one no trump.”  Voila! – no need to memorize.

Frankly – the program could deal and play the cards as well.  The tablet will chirp “play your nine of trump” and a player will pull the card and turn it over.   Bridge tournaments will have no losers.  Masters points will be showered on all entrants.  Bridge would be reduced to four people sitting at a table sipping coffee.  Or wine.  Munching chips and pigs in a blanket.  Eyes glazed over.  Robotically following the directions of an electronic voice – “time to change tables.”   


I play bridge. My bridge protocol is patterned after Charles Goren.  The grand high exalted mystic ruler of the bridge table. 

Recently Donna has been playing serious bridge.  Duplicate bridge.  With other women.   I am told Goren is passé.  “You cannot play Goren.”   Instead of creative bidding a la Goren, everyone must disclose conventions, bidding strategy and the content of their hands if and when asked.  All players are encouraged to ask “what does that mean” when a bid is made.  And the opponent must explain in detail. 

Last week, Donna and I were in Florida.  Visiting Donna’s sister and her husband.   Bob and I are always pards against Donna and Carol.  Bob is inspired by Goren as well.  And we’ve never lost a match in 44 years.        

Sooooo we’re playing bridge.  A hand is dealt.  I bid a club and Bob catapults to 6 no trump.   Donna says “you can’t do that.”  Huh?  I get a glare and a question  “What does ‘six no trump’ mean?”  Heck if I know.  My brother-in-law is counting points.  He smiles.  Nods.  He obviously has a good hand.  But we are told that’s “not the way to play.  You have to communicate your hand.”   “Why?” I ask politely.  And I’m told that everyone must know what an opponent’s bid means.  I offer that we might as well just lay our cards down and then bid.  With that we are lectured that if we ever “played that way” with “real” bridge players, we would be drummed out and maybe pummeled (especially by the women).  Bob and I looked at each other.  Smiled.  Eyes narrow . . . . 

Bob and I have signed up for a duplicate bridge tournament next week. . . . .