The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Secret agent


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Oct. 05, 2017 - 10:08 PM

I have been playing bridge now for about eight years.

When I say, “playing,” I really play AT it. It is a very hard game to maneuver. It’s harder than Old Maid. It’s even harder than Go Fish, which means it’s a pretty hard game to grasp.

It was created by a VANDERBILT, for crying out loud. Well, it wasn’t really created by a Vanderbilt, but one improved it. The history of contract bridge may be dated as early as the 16th century. Contract bridge is just what it means – you enter into a bidding contract with your partner.

And Harold Stirling Vanderbilt changed the rules from the former game into what it is today. I’ll spare you from having to hear all those archaic rules of yesteryear. I’ll even save you from hearing about the rules that have been in place since 1925.

It is the second most popular card game in the world. It can be a serious tournament game – duplicate bridge – or you can play it for fun socially – kitchen bridge, social bridge. It is always challenging.

Bill Gates said, “Bridge is the King of all games.” (http://kitchenbridge.co.uk/)

Oh, the joy of playing bridge: “Playing duplicate bridge is the ultimate social game for thinkers.”

“Kitchen bridge has a great sense of rumor.” Get the picture? What had you rather have? Seriousness or fun?

I suppose a golfer has the same quandary. He wants to seriously play well but on the other hand wants to have fun doing it. Of course, it is fun winning at bridge, but you are in a nightmare sometimes until you do.

If you have the slightest touch of masochism, you’ll love this game.

After the cards are dealt, players place them from high to low – sometimes low to high – in their particular suit. Some ladies from my neighborhood bridge club came down to the lake to play cards one weekend, and I ran to the restroom while the cards were being dealt. I returned, picked up my cards to organize them in my hand, and that step was already completed.

Had anyone touched my cards? NO! They were in perfect order from high to low by suit and high to low by number. CREEPY! What are the statistical chances of that happening? I should have played the lottery that week.

Here’s the thing about bridge which absolutely cracks me up: there are codes. You and your partner are bidding – coding back and forth – and your opponents are just decoding as fast as you bid them. I mean why can’t one gal say, “I have an equal amount of cards from each suit, my total points equal between 14-16, and I want to know what my partner’s best 5 card suit is in her hand.”

Instead this is what is said: “One-no trump.” Now that answer is not so bad. But it’s the responses that get me. In Kitchen Bridge one can just ask, “Are we playing ‘Jacoby’?” but in Duplicate Bridge you had better know that convention because one can’t talk. Then when ‘Jacoby’ play is established, the bid turns into something else all together which is known by everyone at the table!

So what’s with all the secret codes? If ‘Jacoby’ is out in the open, there IS no secret in the bidding after that.

There are other ‘secrets’ to bridge that everyone knows about. If you play ‘Blackwood’ or ‘Gerber” conventions (codes) you’re asking your partner for how many aces and kings they have. They answer in a bid, everyone knows and so it goes. So, what’s the big deal with trying to be discreet and yet everyone playing at the table knows what kind of cards you have?

Forget being a good sleuth and thinking you are some Secret Agent discovering hidden bidding clues in bridge. EVERYONE knows.

But here’s a clue: Eye Donut Kerr.