I Have Arrived

In the past (January 31 and February 4, 2016), I have offered some acerbic commentary on the game of “Bridge” and the new rules that govern bidding. My personal preference has always been to abide strictly and religiously to the protocol of bidding set down by The Master of bridge — Charles Goren (1901-1996). His prowess prompted the world to refer to him as “Mr. Bridge.”

However, since 2016, I have ever-so-slowly edged toward the newfangled “Standard American” system of bidding. Donna plays this system and each time we’ve gone to play bridge with friends, she has to remind me what the “Stayman Convention” is. Over the years, I tend to forget from week to week.

During the Covid shutdown, we’ve begun playing a bit more bridge — online. http://www.bridgebase.com has allowed us to play with friends or strangers. Last weekend, we began playing “Speedball” — a one hour 12 hand game where it is possible to acquire “Masterpoints.” Up until yesterday – January 26, 2021 – I had never earned a Masterpoint. Well Pilgrims – fasten your seatbelts. Yesterday, Donna and I played Speedball. Our first three hands, my astute Goren-inspired defense allowed me to set our opponents three times. At the end of the hour and Donna and I were each awarded 0.18 Masterpoints for our stellar play. I figure at this rate, I will be a Life Master (300 Masterpoints) by the year 2116. Hmmmm . . . maybe if I play twice a day. . . . .

Bridge

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. . . . .