The real test of a bridge player isn't in keeping out of trouble, but in escaping once he's in it.
If you have the slightest touch of masochism, you'll love this game.
Bridge is a great comfort in old age. It also helps you get there faster. One gets used to abuse. It's the waiting that is so trying.
Bridge is essentially a social game, but unfortunately it attracts a large number of antisocial people.
One advantage of bad bidding is that you get practice at playing atrocious contracts.
South: Alert! East: Yes? South: I'm requested to further misdescribe my hand.
It's not the handling of difficult hands that makes the winning player. There aren't enough of them. It's the ability to avoid messing up the easy ones.
-S. J. Simon
The sum of all technical knowledge cannot make a master bridge player.
The difference between genius and stupidity at the bridge table is that genius has its limits.
I'm not sure whether glory or masterpoints is first on the list of beginning tournament players, but I know learning to play better is definitely last.
I'd like a review of the bidding with all of the original inflections. (George Kaufman)
Regardless of what sadistic impulses we may harbor, winning bridge means helping partner avoid mistakes.
A player who can't defend accurately should try to become declarer (or dummy).
Learn from the mistake of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.
I favor light opening bids. When you're my age, you can never be sure that the bidding will get back around to you again. Oswald Jacoby at 77.
Years ago there were only two acceptable reasons for not leading partner's suit: (1) having no cards in the suit; (2) a death wish.
I think we're all a little masochistic. Otherwise, why would we continue to play bridge?
We had a partnership misunderstanding. I assumed my partner knew what he was doing.
My partner is 20 years behind the times. he still thinks you need high cards to bid.
Your play was much better tonight and so were your excuses.
We play forcing hesitations.
If I did everything right, I wouldn't be playing with you.
Hear about the guy who led the 8 from a 98 doubleton because his teacher told him "eight ever, nine never?"
What do you call an eight card suit? Answer: Trump
A lady is playing in her first duplicate hears an opponent say: "Alert". The lady says: "I am alert".
Know the difference between a serial killer and a bridge partner? Answer: You can reason with the serial killer.
A married couple are not speaking to each other after a horrible game and are driving home from a distant bridge tournament. They pass by a field where there are many donkeys. The husband breaks the silence by asking the wife: "Relations of yours"? "Yes" she says, "In-laws".
Dummy apologizing for getting the partnership too high says: "I was hoping you had a second suit." Partner says: "I didn't even have a first suit".
Teacher gives lesson on Keycard Blackwood using 1430 responses and says a 5C response shows 1 or 4 keycards. Student thinks he hears "one through four keycards" and responds 5C everytime partner bids 4NT!
A lady who travels the world and hasn't played any duplicate in the U.S and is carrying around all kinds of foreign currency, makes an illegal comment during the bidding and the director fines her 3 IMPs. She says: "O.K, but what's the conversion rate?"
John Crawford playing with a beginner for huge stakes. Partner leads the SK and Crawford has the 1098. He doesn't want partner to continue, but knows if he plays the 8 he will. So Crawford drops the S8 on the floor and is slow about picking it up. His partner asks what card is it? "Oh, just a low spade" says Crawford. Partner shifts suits.
Guy going out with this girl for some time and they play bridge regularly, but not much is happening romantically. Finally, she puts him in this God-awful slam and says: "If you make this contract, I'll sleep with you. "He tries his hardest, but trumps don't break and a couple of finesses don't work and he winds up going down three! She says: "That's close enough".
Man and woman who have never played before get involved in a heart-spade war each trying to outbid the other. Finally the woman who has a terrific hand, bids 7H. Not enough, her partner bids 7S. When the dummy comes down he sees that 7H is cold and 7S doesn't have a prayer. He knows there is going to be trouble after the hand so he begins his apologies early by saying: "Sorry, I should have withdrawn." "You should have withdrawn?" says the lady, "Your father should have withdrawn!"
Student in class has xxx facing AQJ in dummy. She leads low and puts in the jack which holds. She plays the ace next. Teacher asks why she didn't take the finesse again? She says: "You told us that only one of two finesses work."
Before I teach a class at Leisure World, a retirement community in Southern California, I am told not to use the term "drop dead bid".
P. Hal Sims a great expert of yesteryear had the reputation of never misguessing a queen in a two-way finesse position. He finds himself playing against two ladies missing a queen and finally announces that neither one of them has it. Sure enough the queen was on the floor.
I am called over to a table by one of my students who tells me she only has 12 cards. Sure enough she is right. I look around and find the SA on the floor and give it to her. She was previously void in spades. Now she says to me: "You've ruined my entire hand."
Two guys play duplicate in the afternoon, go to a restaurant for dinner and discuss all the hands writing all over the tablecloth and napkins. They go back and play in the evening and return to the same restaurant and start going over the hands again. Finally Jim says: "Bill, don't we know anything but bridge? Can't we discuss something else, anything else, movies, politics sports, sex? "Sex, says Bill, I had sex diamonds to the king-queen.."
Four guys are playing bridge at the golf club and there is one kibitzer. Phone rings and one of the fellows has to leave. They beg the kibitzer to play a few hands even though he doesn't play and only knows from what he has seen these last few hours. They say it's o.k. The kibitzer sits in and deals. They all look at him. He bids 4C! Very strange opening bid even for a beginner. Second hand doubles and it comes back to the kibitzer who bids 4D! They are beginning to have second thoughts about this guy. Second hand doubles again and when the bidding comes back to the kibitzer he bids 4H. This is just too much. This will surely be the last hand, but second hand doubles again. When it comes back to the kibitzer, this time he says: "And the jack of spades."
Alvin Roth a very ethical player is defending 7NT, vulnerable, in a money rubber bridge game where the declarer reduces to a three card ending. Dummy has the Axx of spades and declarer the KJ10. The lead is in declarer's hand and he leads the SJ. Second hand has xxx and Roth Qxx. Second hand goes into an act trying to make declarer think he has the queen and finally plays low. Declarer, taken in by the hesitation, also plays low. Roth, holding the queen, also plays low allowing the jack to take the trick and the declarer to make 7NT. When Roth's partner asks him why he didn't take the SQ, Roth says: "Because I thought you had it!"
Helen Sobel, reputedly the greatest woman bridge player of all time, and a chorus girl in her younger days, seldom, if ever, misguessed a queen in a slam contract when she was playing against two men. Her trick was to lift her skirt a little above her knees. It never failed that the one with the queen was too nervous to look around, but the one without the queen always looked. That's how she did it. I tell the ladies in my classes not to try this one on me because whether I have the queen or not, I always look!
Helen Sobel when asked how it feels to be playing with an expert (She always played with Charles Goren) said: "Ask Charlie".
Two wives were discussing whose husband plays worse. Wife #1 says it isn't even close, hers does. Wife #2 doesn't agree and says listen to what my husband did last night playing 7NT. He had 11 tricks outside of spades and the dummy had the AQ of spades and the spade finesse was onside and he had plenty of entries to his hand to take the finesse, but instead of taking the spade finesse he went to dummy and led the SQ from the dummy! "What's so bad about that"? wife #1 says, "Against my husband that play works."
Husband and wife who are playing at the home of friends begin to quarrel. He insults her and she goes to the lady's room in tears. They wait for her to return, but she doesn't come back. The husband says, let's deal out a hand and I'll bid for her without seeing her hand because it couldn't be any worse than if she were here. He deals and opens 1H. Next hand passes and he bids 2H for her. When it comes back to him, he bids 3H. Now he thinks a while and bids 4H for her. The lead is made and when the dummy comes down he sees he is in a reasonable contract, actually the best contract he's been in all night. As the play winds down, he finds he needs a finesse to make the contract. As he takes the finesse, which loses, his wife returns determined to finish the game. He looks at her and says" "You just had to bid 4H, didn't you"
Harold Ogust is chairing a bidding panel taking place after the evening session at a National Championship. It is now running into the wee hours and Harold says he will only take one more question. A lady raises her hand and is recognized. She says she doesn't have a bridge question but was wondering how many people would stay for a membership meeting. They need a quorum. Harold says that is not the kind of question he had in mind, but how many would stay? Three people raise their hands. Harold says: "O.K, one more question. A fellow raises his hand and says he heard if the bidding is opened 2NT and this is passed around to fourth seat, fourth seat should double no matter what he has. Is that true? Jim Jacoby, one of the panelists, says he would like to field this question. He says: "Anyone who would double 2NT in 4th seat no matter what he had, would also vote to attend the membership meeting."
Lady and her partner take my counting lesson and then play in the duplicate that follows. After the game she tells me that they both loved the lesson and they had a big game finishing 2nd overall. They are now both so excited that they are going to start counting next week.
John Gerber tells his beginning class that after the first series of 10 lessons he will play a few hands with the best table. So the series is over and he picks out the best table and deals the first hand playing with his star pupil. He opens 1NT and his partner replies "2 no spades".
I give a lesson on preemptive bidding and then call off a hand. The class divides the cards. The South hand is suppposed to have seven hearts, but North winds up with the 7 hearts and 20 cards and South winds up with no hearts and 6 cards. South calls me over and says: "Mr. Kantar, I have never seen a hand like this before." But she is happy because she likes to count points for short suits. North, on the other hand, is having trouble holding on to all 20 cards and they are falling over the place. But North is even happier than South because North likes to count extra points for long suits. I finally had to tell them what happened.
Peter Leventritt, a famous bridge player, is teaching a beginning class at the Card School in New York. It is now the fifth lesson and one of the regulars is sick. Peter is forced to ask this fellow in the class who has not said one word since day one and is only there because his girlfriend bugged him to try to learn the game to fill in. Actually, he is a poker player. Reluctantly the fellow sits down and is given a set hand that Peter uses to teach beginners. The fellow has 14 HCP and a nice five card heart suit, and everyone is waiting for him to bid something. Silence. Peter asks him how many points he has? Silence. Well, Peter teaches him how to count points and says you have to open something. Silence. Peters says, "it's o.k open anything you want." The guys says" O.K, I'll open for adollar."
Wife holds her bosom before her husband leads. He wants to lead a diamond, but when he sees her holding her bosom, so he leads a heart. A diamond lead would have set the hand. He asks her why she was holding her bosom. She says: "I wasn't holding my bosom, I was trying to show a bust!" (Some of the other stories are better than this!)
Howard Shenken never made a hand in a Truscott column. They were not on such good terms. Ditto with Stayman and Goren. In the Goren columns, a 2C response to 1NT was never referred to as Stayman. It was always 'the two club convention'.
In a beginner's class I had a lady who when playing a hand was afraid to lead any suit that didn't have the ace. Finally, she had to lead up to a KJ combination and was petrified. I tried to explan to her that if she though the ace was to her left to play the king and if she thought the ace was to her right to play the jack. Finally, finally she leads up to the KJ and is afraid to play either one. I said: "Play whichever one you want, but just tell me what you are hoping for." "O.K I'll play the king. " Great, and what are you hoping for?' "I'm hoping they make a mistake."
This one fellows loves to psyche, but his partner has his fill and tells him that from now one he is going to fine him 20 dollars every time he psyches. The 'psycher' agrees and everything is going along just fine until the psycher winds up playing against a guy he hates. The psycher is the dealer. He says to his partner: " By the way, here's the 20 dollars I owe you, one spade!"
David Bruce, Life Master #1, was on lead against a grand slam in a suit contract holding two aces and he knew the dummy had to be void in one of those suits. The dummy was Ozzie Jacoby, who always left the table the moment a card was led. David Bruce decided to lead his gum wrapper. When Jacoby saw something hit the table he put this dummy down and David Bruce saw which ace would cash.
This guy never leads away from a king. He was told not to, so he never did. Finally he passes away and he finds himself in a bridge game. He is on lead against 4S holding: Kx, Kxx, Kxxx, Kxxx. Right then and there he knew where he was.
A lady asks me what I think of the "Island 2C Convention"? I tell her I never heard of it. She says her group likes to open 2C with 18-20 HCP. I tell her it sounds like like a regional perversion. She says: "Tell me what you think anyway, I play with a bunch of perverts.".
Too Tall Tex is playing rubber bridge. Too Tall Tex always looks at everybody's hand before the bidding begins. He is so tall that he usually can see everything. One day he and his partner are on their way to bidding a small slam in spades. Too Tall Tex's LHO has Kx of spades and knows all about Too Tall so he hides one of his spades in with his clubs and shows too tall the singleton king of spades. Too Tall, seeing the blank king, bids a grand slam. When he lays down the Ace of spades and the king doesn't drop, he quits the game because he doesn't like to play with cheaters.
Too Tall Tex has learned to play Roman Keycard Blackwood and is intrigued with the queen-ask. He learns that there are basically two responses: either you have the queen or you don't. Too Tall invents a third response when he is being asked. The third response is: "I don't have the queen, but I know who does."
A lady in my class can only play by rhymes. These are her favorites:
(1) When the dummy is to your right, lead the weakest suit in sight.
(2) When the dummy is to your left, lead through heft.
(3) Don't be cute, lead partner's suit.
(4) The lead of top of three small is worst of all.
(5) The one who knows, goes.
(6) You will lose face if you underlead an ace.
Lady phones me and asks me if I can teach her mother and her friends starting in mid November. I tell her I can't until January. She says: "Never mind, they won't last that long."
Count your winners and count your losers. If the total doesn't come to 13, count your cards. (Sheinwold)
No 5 trick set is a complete failure. It can always be used as a bad example. (Sheinwold)
Hugh Ross is playing 7NT and the fellow to his right is dying to lead an ace. Hugh says to him: "I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that I know you have an ace to lead, the bad news is that your partner is on lead." Partner leads the wrong suit and Hugh makes the contract.
Lady (West) leads the K from the KQ102 in one of my classes. Dummy has the 543, her partner the 987 and declarer the AJ6. The idea is for East to play the seven, South the 6, and for West to realize that the 7 is partner's lowest card and discontinue the suit. Of course this never happens in my classes. But this one lady switched suits. I asked her why she switched? She said: "I've had this lesson before."
Teaching a signaling lesson, partner leads the ace (ace-from ace-king), dummy has Qxx and third hand has 9x. I tell them that third hand should start a high-low with the 9, the higher card from a doubleton. One lady asks: "How will my partner know it is my highest card, what if I have a ten or an eleven?"
I ask Mike Lawrence if he knows all of our new conventions. He says: No, not exactly. I bid 3NT as fast as I can and hope it is not a convention."
I fill in at a table when one lady has to leave. The lesson is on signaling and I emphasize signaling encouragement with the higher or highest of equals. The lady I am playing with has the A10986 and correctly signals me with the ten. I compliment her. She says: "I just read in my Goren book that when you are playing with a weak player that you should make your signals as clear as possible."
After I apologize to my partner, Billy Eisenberg, for overbidding he says (after having overbid on the same hand): "That's o.k, we deserve each other."
Billy Eisenberg tells me after we go over our system: "Our convention basket is overflowing, we are leaking conventions."
When dummy comes down weaker than expected, tell your partner that your name is Simpson, not Sampson.
Another thing to tell your partner after dummy comes down weaker than expected: "Where is the hand you held during the bidding?"
Bobby Goldman and I are playing in a Club Med tourney in France. His French is weak. On the very first hand he wants to make a takeout double. The word for double in French is 'contre'. The way he pronounced it, I was afraid that they would throw us out of the tournament.
John Collingswood, a British expert, is playing rubber bridge at a club in London. It is very hot and all the windows are open. He cuts the weakest player in the game, and older gentleman who never passes and can't play a lick. The idea is to lose as little as possible when playing with him. John's partner opens 1NT and John has KQJxxxx xx xxx x. He knows that if he bids 4S his partner will bid on, so he bids 2S. Sure enough his partner bids 2NT. John bids 3S, his partner bids 3NT. John takes a chance and bids 4S. No good, his partner bids 4NT. John passes. The opening lead is made and John goes to get a drink and glances at his partner's hand. His partner has all four aces including Ax of spades. John can't believe it, there are 10 top tricks. He returns to his seat with the open window to his back to watch the play. His partner wins the opening lead and leads a LOW spade at trick two blocking the suit for all eternity. John picks up his cards and throws them out the window saying: "You won't need these any more."
Former Wimbledon champion, Bob Falkenburg, is about to play in a rubber bridge game at the Regency Club in New York. His friend, Ozzie Jacoby, who is also in the game, tells Bob that it is a tough game and the stakes are high. Falkie says the worst he can do is lose. Ozzie says: "That's the best you can do."
In a novice game declarer calls director over to the table and tells him he is playing a slam contract and he has won the opening lead and played the ace and ruffed a diamond, ruffed a heart, and ruffed a diamond. The director, impressed, asks him why he has been called over. The declarer tells him that the contract is 6NT.
Hearts are trump and West, on opening lead, leads a low diamond. East, holding no diamonds, plays a spade thinking spades are trump. Later when West gets in again, he leads another diamond and this time East trumps with a heart. West says: "No spades, partner?"
George Atelevich a fine bridge player from the Bay Area, used to own a barber shop. One day with a customer in the chair George gets a call from a bridge player and they start talking over hand after hand as the customer sits there stewing. Finally, he rips off the towel draped around him and dashes out of the shop. George runs after him shouting: "And don't you ever come back here again."
Billy Eisenberg and I are playing against George Atelevich and Sidney Lazard Jr. in a K.O match. We are down 13 IMPs going into the last half of the match. When George arrives at the table, he announces that he and his partner have decided to give us chance, they are also going to play Roman Key Card Blackwood.
In a novice game the wife leads a low club and her husband alerts. They ask about the alert. He says" "She is leading a singleton." "How do you know", one opponent asks. "Because she led it with her left hand. If it were from a doubleton, she would have led it with her right hand."
Man meets woman at bridge club and they decide to play in the evening duplicate. They play all the same conventions- Keycard, Transfers, Short Club, etc. so they really have nothing to go over. They have a big game and win. They go to have a cup of coffee at a restaurant and go over the hands which of course puts them in a good mood, She invites him to her apartment for a drink. They are sitting on the couch and one thing leads to another. Before you know it, clothes are flying around all over the place. In the midst of all this passion, he screams" "Alert:" She says: "Yes, what" He says: "it could be short."
Jack Erlenbach a L.A pro is playing with a client who never knows what to bid. Imagine her chagrin when she picks up a hand with 7 clubs and 6 diamonds. Rather than figure out how to describe the hand, she puts one suit in one hand and the other suit in the other hand- and promptly lets her partner play 3S.
Patrick Jourdain, a famous bridge player-teacher from Wales is called over to a table at one of his classes where a hand has just passed out, but 4th hand had 17 high card points. "So why did you pass?" asks Patrick. "Because you told us after three passes the bidding is over, so I had to pass."
More Patrick: Again he is called over to a table and this time a lady tells him that she has opened 1H and there have been three passes back to her so this time she bid 2H. Again there were three passes back to her, but this time she wants to know if she is worth 3H?
Playing in Toronto I wind up playing against a good friend of mine's (Steve Aaron) mother. We wind up defending 3D which I might have doubled and we beat it a trick. I tell her I would have doubled her if she wasn't Stevie's mother. Next hand I wind up in 4S and as my partner puts down the dummy he says: Forget about Stevie's mother and make this hand."
This lady, Charlotte, plays very slowly. She is asked to speed it up a bit. She says: "I'm sorry, but I can't think and play bridge at the same time."
Bobby Wolff is playing with a client who has just driven a long distance to play in this tournament with Bobby. On the first hand Bobby cashes the AK of a suit, his partner playing high-low and when he leads the third round of the suit she doesn't trump. When Bobby asks her why she didn't trump, she says: "Bobby, I was just too tired."
When your partner is playing even worse than usual you might say: "You know, you may not be the worst player in the world, .... but if that person should die...."
I'm teaching a class on counting losers and how to get rid of them. I ask a gal in the class how many losers she has, and she replies correctly that she has three. "And what are you going to do with them?", I ask. " Lose them right away so I don't have to worry about them any longer." And she was one of my best students!
Mike Lawrence, a new partner, insists I learn a new convention. I agree. The convention is that after a major suit opening bid, a jump to the three level of the other major is an artificial bid, showing an opening hand with at least four card support for partner's major plus an UNKNOWN singleton. Opener can ask for the singleton by bidding the next step. Everything is going fine (because the convention has never come up) until we are playing in the Nationals Men's Pairs in Houston surrounded by kibitzers. Mike opens 1S, next hand passes, and I have: S. - H. AKJ10xxxx D. QJ C. AKx. I completely forget our new convention and respond 3H to show my great hand. Mike alerts. They ask and he tells them I have spades with an unknown singleton. He jumps to 4S which means he doesn't care where my singleton is. I bid 5H. He alerts. They ask. He says: "I have a VOID IN HEARTS" and then bids 6S! I bid 7H! He alerts again. They ask. He says: "Cancel all the other alerts, I'm passing!" Mike has: S. AKQ10x H. xxx D. xx C. QJx. They lead a club and I make it! The kibitzers are so disgusted that they all leave!
A club is led against a 7D contract and declarer has four clubs to the jack. His partner, the dummy, says: "I have some good and some bad news for you. The good news is that I am void in clubs, the bad news is that I am also void in diamonds."
This elderly genteman goes to the Dr. for his annual checkup. The Dr. is impressed that this man is in even better health that he was the year before. Curious, he asks him what he does for mental stimulation. The man answers that he plays duplicate bridge. The doctor, a bridge player, tell him that's great. "And what do you do for physical stimulation?" ''I sit East-West" is the reply.
This young woman a bridge player is having an awful time with her life and especially with her bridge. She decides to end it all and goes on this dock. As she is about to jump this young sailor yells "Don't! He tells her that he is about to get on this cruise ship that is going to Italy and he can sneak her into a cabin and bring her food and wine every evening. She has always wanted to see Italy so she agrees. And true to his word he brings her three sandwiches and wine each evening. Then after dinner each night. they make love. Finally, she decides to get out of her cabin and hope nobody asks her any questions. As luck would have it, the captain notices her and asks her what she is doing on the ship. She tells him about the sailor and his offer to see Italy, etc. "I see" says the captain. She begins to feel guilty and says "Oh yes, and he's screwing me every night! "He certainly is", says the captain, this is the Staten Island Ferry."