The art of playing bridge and staying alive to tell of it

This is the first hand of our new bridge Column, called Ray’s Bridge Column. I used to play bridge quite often when I was younger and still had the remains of an adequate memory. A wonderful game, but one that can be taken far too seriously.

Some evenings spent at the august IBM bridge club in Johannesburg, where you could hear a pin drop, scared me witless and cured me of any desire to become a competitive bridge player. Mind you the lively postmortems at some tables around the room helped to take the pressure off those of us who had stumbled through another hand and trashed our partner’s evening by taking fright and passing too soon, thereby denying her a chance of a slam and a ‘top’.

But then there was the very jolly ‘teams of 4’ bridge that we played with pals in Johannesburg. Relaxed bridge that involved the quaffing of quantities of wine. Ah well now, that was fine bridge, well I think it was, my memory fades.

After migrating to Darling I sat in one afternoon to make up a foursome. My bidding and playing were of such a modest standard that I have not been invited back.

So I thought of an alternative. To run a bridge column on the Dorpskoerant.

I spent some hours scratching around on the web looking for a good site as a source of bridge hands to launch the column.

And I found the answer, an American bridge player and enthusiastic blogger named Ray Adams who has a large number of bridge hands on his very entertaining blog with stories about ‘the adventures of Poor Frank’ a bridger blessed with mixed fortunes.

Bottom line, Ray has given me permission to reproduce hands from his blog and I am calling the Category Ray’s Bridge Column. Ray follows world bridge and is aware that South Africa is well known on the international circuit – he is also a big fan of South African author Deon Meyer.

So to all you bridge players, this column is for you. I hope you read it and enjoy it and pass it on to your friends.

Here’s the first hand and Ray’s summary –

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Greed Strikes Out Again

poor Frank

The first game of the new Dorpskoerant bridge column. How the greed associated with doubles led to a good result for Team Porcupine (more of them over time). Greed also played a big role in a recent encounter between Poor Frank and  Lucky Archie.

Bridge column - greed strikes out

By Ray Adams, frankandarchie@yahoo.com. After Poor Frank opened one diamond on this board, the bidding quickly got out of hand, especially when Lucky Archie jumped to four hearts. Poor Frank probably shouldn’t have bid five diamonds, but he was in the mood to push Lucky Archie around if possible. It all came home for Frank when Lucky Archie could not restrain himself from bidding six hearts. Poor Frank now knew he had his rival just where he wanted him and he tossed the double card on the table. When this got back to Lucky Archie, he tried seven clubs, also doubled by Frank.

The effect of the seven club bid, however, was to put North on lead, not Poor Frank. All would have been well had North led a spade, but instead North made the thoughtful lead of the king of diamonds, assuming that this would hold the lead and Poor Frank would signal North to switch to whichever suit he wanted. This was fine in theory, but when dummy ruffed the opening lead. West quickly drew trumps and ran the hearts for all thirteen tricks. This amazing result propelled Lucky Archie into the winner’s circle that fine evening.

As Poor Frank was preparing to leave the studio, he overheard Lucky Archie talking to a group of bridge buffs who were hanging on his every word.

“Well,” the Lucky One said, “I knew Poor Frank would know what to lead, so I decided to put his partner on lead and make him figure it out. That worked out super when North led a diamond instead of a spade.”

“Simply brilliant, Archie,” Poor Frank heard someone say.

Poor Frank knew that the chances of Lucky Archie having reasoned out the hand as he said he did were about as small as holding a 29 point hand two times in a row. His rival had simply gotten scared and ran like a jackrabbit in coyote country. Frank was suddenly overcome by an irresistible wave of nausea and had to jackrabbit his own way to the restroom.


A very big thank you Ray – Ray’s blog


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