The Mad Scientist made it a point early on to tell me that his world view is, at least in part, formed by the idea that if he expects the worst he will not be disappointed. I once exceeded his expectations. It took days for him to recover from the shock, but I digress. There is one chink in his pessimistic armor though, and that is, he expects there to be a fundamental fairness, which is to say, he expects the worst for others as well and when the universe chooses to smile on someone who should know better, TMS is spurred to outrage.
We started against the guys who were easily the best East-West pair playing today. On the first board our methods kept the strong hand concealed, but also kept my LHO on lead with a singleton across from Axxxxx. Not many people with the RHO’s hand were going to find that ace lead and so we were held to four when on any other lead, five is relatively easy (though it turned out my LHO also had the ace of trump, so conceivably we could always be held to four). Good methods=bad result, this is totally in keeping with TMS’s world view.
On the second board, our opponents had an uncontested auction:
*Either diamonds or a big NT (opens 1♣ with 16+ HCP)
**1 keycard in hearts
***Do you have the queen of hearts?
Prior to making his opening lead TMS asked for explanations all around. I myself had been curious about the 5♠ bid. TMS led a spade and the dummy came down with:
The declarer played the king and I played my ace which the declarer ruffed. See here’s the thing about this auction, when the declarer got the response of one key-card he couldn’t possibly know if it was the ace of hearts or the ace of the spades. Once the trump was pulled the hand was essentially a lay down, though I noticed that some people only made six. Not surprisingly they were the only pair to bid seven despite an opening bid that violated their system and bidding Blackwood with a void. TMS was livid. Honestly, I expected this pair to give bad boards to every North-South pair they played against — though granted probably through more conventional methods. Meanwhile, TMS was cursing up a blue streak and his outrage carried on for the rest of the game. Unfortunately for him, he’s really funny when he’s angry at someone else. I tried to keep my snickering to a minimum lest he start to notice all the bad plays I was making (didn’t work, he still noticed — but he remained angrier about that auction than anything I managed to do today).
The frustration at no longer being able to see the results at the other tables was minor by comparison. I appreciate that the director wants to keep the game moving faster. I also appreciate that it was noticeably quieter than usual. But it’s a club game, not a tournament, and most of us really enjoy probing the wound by examining what other people have done on the boards. Also, I noticed when looking at our matchpoints for the day (more wound probing) that there is no longer any way to tell what contracts the other pairs were in; while this information was being displayed on the Bridgemates®, it is not displayed on either the club’s result page nor the ACBL’s result & hand record page so one must take a best guess based on the scores themselves — a minor inconvenience perhaps, but still I’d much prefer that the games be kept moving the old fashioned way with a clock and the swift application of late plays followed by penalties.