The buzzer went off just as I was realizing a line of play that would enable me to set up the moth-eaten heart suit, clinching the contract. The line of play evaporated into mist. My hand shot out from under the covers to smack the snooze button. In the next nine minutes, the suit re-materialized but the line of play did not.
I’ve always been a prolific dreamer, my dreams are often both vivid and strange and I seem to recall an awful lot of them. Nowadays, more than anything else, I dream about bridge. Every day, in my dreams there is bridge being played and bridge being watched. I literally dream about new conventions.
Just the other night the Mad Scientist sent me some notes on a convention we had discussed (specifically, TOPS – Transfer Openings Pre-emptive or Strong) and I glanced them over before going to bed. My dreams found me defending against a pair playing that system. When I awoke there was another e-mail, with a refined version — I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking about it overnight. I saw TMS at the club later that day and noted that I been dreaming about the system and I felt that it would enable the opponents to double our riskier preemptive bids easily — a trade off I wasn’t ready to make, especially with my penchant for far-reaching pre-emptive bids in 3rd seat. I hadn’t really given much conscious thought to it, but this was clearly the Achilles heal of the system and TMS agreed.
On another occasion, while away at a tournament, I sat down for the evening open pairs session and on the first hand found myself playing a pretty cozy 3NT contract with 30 HCP between my partner and I. The dust cleared and I was off one. I tried to put it out of my head for the rest of the session, but it was the first hand I looked at on the hand record. Yes, there were two 6-0 breaks, but the hand record claimed it could be made. I stared at it. My partner started at it. Lots of people seemed to be looking at because in a big room full of bridge players only two had actually brought it home and they seemed nowhere to be found — even double dummy it looked impossible. I went to bed that night hoping my need for sleep would trump my need to solve that brain teaser of a hand. I awoke at 5 AM with the answer, but I wasn’t able to fall back asleep and, frankly, I felt as if I had spent the five hours between not sleeping but working that hand out.
Yesterday I was again at the table with TMS. A week ago we mis-defended a hand that boiled down to my desperately needing a heart to be led, and him not believing that I could have the holding that I had and therefore not lending much credence to my signals. Today he solemnly vowed to lead a heart when I asked for one, I mentioned that he had not done so in my dreams that morning. I didn’t mention that in that case I forgave him because a velociraptor had burst into the club which caused a bit of a distraction right in the middle of the hand. (And yes we did keep playing once the dinosaur had moved on. Remember, in a bridge club you don’t have to be able to outrun the dinosaur, you only have to be able to outrun the other bridge players — not a tall order in most cases.)