Text message sent to Mr. Miyagi during a particularly disheartening game last week with a beginner (who’s been playing longer than me, go fig):
Just doubled the opps. in 3H and they made an overtrick in part because my p. overcalled on the two-level, vulnerable with 7 HCP…. so this must be what it’s like for you playing with me.
Oh, don’t get so down on yourself … you always have a good 7 when you make that bid.
So tonight, against our better judgement, MM and I headed off to the local bridge club and this was the very first board.
As we were removing the cards for the second board (and after he finally stopped laughing at my less than eloquent claim), MM caught my eye and mouthed the words, “Seven high card points?” I nodded. After the round, I followed him outside to bask in the 70° weather while we waited for the other tables to finish. I started the conversation, “It was a really good seven high card points.” He reminded me of the above text message which he claimed I’d taken offense at, if by offense he meant that I’d called him a cranky old man and told him to go drink some more bourbon, then yes. Still, it was a really good seven high card points.
As is typical of this bridge club, we played well and had an almost perfectly average game. But there were definitely some fun hands lurking around including a fair number of questionable 2/1 bids and a Jacoby 2NT raise on 4-3-3-3 and 12 HCP that was down one when MM found a slightly superior line to taking a club finesse. The club finesse works, the superior line doesn’t. And there was a particularly cute slam, still not sure how to bid it, but since seven doesn’t actually make (despite doing so at every single table) my lack of scientific bidding wasn’t an issue. Note the distribution in diamonds, MM was visibly annoyed at having to ruff so many in his hand before claiming, but claiming at this club is a tricky proposition unless you have nothing left in your hand save for aces and kings and trumps.
On the car ride home, he started back up again about my claim on the first hand, “It was like you were reading from a novel, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times and I’m going to cross back to my hand by ruffing this and pitch the queen on the spade and then the other diamond on the other spade and then I’ll win my ace’ and the opponent was already putting her hand back in the board, conceding the tricks just so you would stop talking.” I laughed. The truth is claims might just be the worst part of my game (and that’s really saying something). For reasons I don’t fully understand, sometimes I have a really hard time putting into words what is so clear in my head. In retrospect this is a super simple claim, “I’m pitching two diamonds on my spades and then the board is good.” But when I tried to say this, it came out completely garbled. From now on I’m going to take the Mike Lawrence approach: just face my cards and say, “I’m not going to do anything stupid,” and hope like h_ll the opponents take my word for it, goodness knows my partners won’t.