Warning: Discourteous behaviour at the Bridge-table is against the spirit of the game of Bridge and can result in club directors awarding points penalties. Tread the line with caution and in good humour.
From my woes and suffering at the Bridge table, I have in good humour, been able to collate a list of activities below that have caused me to loose my concentration and patience at the Bridge table:
1. There is nothing more humiliating than defeat, so make the best of a win with lots of smiling and grinning – This is an eternal complaint of my father’s. After playing social Bridge he complains of “the boastful and goading behaviour of opponents during card play, when they get the good fortune with the lie of the cards”.
2. Rub it in some more, by saying something like “Partner, I was wondering how you were going to avoid that certain loser without an error in the defense”. Works particularly well when there was no defensive error! This happened to me only last week when I returned a suit that gave the opponents the contract. What made it worse was my partner echoing their sentiments! – Do not side with the opponents unless you want your partner to blow a blood vessel.
3. Say “Well played!” with enthusiasm to the opponents when they make a contract but when you suspect that most others will being making the contract plus 1 or 2 extra tricks. One of my first excursions into Duplicate (at the Grange over Sands club in the Lake District) saw me make 9 tricks in a 3NT contract. Both opponents said “Well done!” I felt a warm glow of satisfaction… but then on the scorecard I found to my embarrassment that I had scored a bottom.
4. Take credit away from an opponent when they succeed at making a contract by blaming your “silly defensive error” – again particularly if they seem pleased with themselves or if you made no defensive error.
5. Ask daft questions after bidding prior to card play – very good if you sound like you don’t know what you are talking about because they will then assume that you are rubbish and take needless card-play risks.
6. False lead very good opponents that you stand little chance of defeating – An example of a false lead might include playing the 5th rather than the 4th highest card in a long suit. Of course, it can simply cause puzzlement but if you are lucky, can impact on declarer’s game play. I am sure that I once caused an argument between declarer and his partner after a false lead scuppered the game play. That kind of argument can then have an adverse affect on subsequent deals.
7. Mumble indiscriminately (beware: this can result in suspicions that you are providing your partner with unauthorized information: Players are authorized to base their calls and plays on information from legal calls and plays and from mannerisms of opponents. To base a call or play on other extraneous information may be an infraction of law.).
8. Playing slowly and indecisively is incredibly irritating. It can really disrupt concentration. Changing the pace of play in either direction is a technique familiar to good sportsmen who use the technique quite legitimately to break an opponents rhythm.
That’s my list – Over to you now… What have opponents said or done to you that has adversely affected your play?