The very first hand was an ill portent. When the hand was over, my partner and I slipped our hands back into the board, pushed away from the table and I said, “Well, thanks partner, that was fun. I’ll see you tomorrow.” The opponents were too stunned to prevent us from leaving. Or, anyway, that’s what should have happened.
Two tricks into the first board I was convinced I knew what my next entry for this ‘blog would be about, but the remaining boards contained such a vast array of frustration and general stupidity that by the end of day I could no longer tell, nor much care, what to write about.
The best thing I can say about the session is that on two hands where twelve tricks turned out to be available for the taking (on a finesse or a suit splitting kindly), we were the only pair that even explored the possibility of a slam. Which is to say we were the only pair in five making six. No difference in score, of course, but we deserve a cookie or something.
Perhaps surprisingly, the worst thing was the opponent who asked dummy to run a long suit and then spent thirty seconds to a minute deciding what to discard … on every single trick. Certainly finding discards wasn’t going to be a cakewalk for anyone on that hand, but it was torture watching her agonize over each and every card, taking one out of her hand, putting it back in and then on one trick she failed to notice that I had already played to the trick so that one took even longer. And then when it was all over she still blocked herself out of her hand. By the end I was ready to scream, “For f_ck’s sake, I’m quite sure you could have done that without giving it any thought at all!” I might as well have considering how miffed she got at my suggestion that she could have played the hand faster. “Rude!” she said. Personally I thought it was pretty rude of her not to consolidate her ponderous pondering, I mean, what was she doing over there? Maybe she was mentally rehearsing her lines for a community production of Richard the III or trying to come up with the names of all seven dwarves (that’s what I do when I need to look like I’m deep in thought, but am really not). Clearly she wasn’t thinking about what she should be discarding.
One interesting issue that came up was: what happens if one realizes they have revoked after the hand is over and the opponents have not caught on? While some people might see this as an ethically ambiguous issue, my teacher was unequivocal when he said that the correct thing to do was to say nothing. The reason being that admitting that one has revoked will automatically give the opponents a good score, likely a top, thereby punishing all of the other pairs sitting the same direction as them.
So when I noticed a revoke and said nothing, I thought I was doing the right thing. Then my partner caught on to the error and corrected it. The opponents were, of course, very grateful and gracious about it, and it wasn’t as if our game could possibly get any worse. Still while it wasn’t fair for them to get a bad score due to the misplay, it wasn’t fair to the other pairs sitting the same direction to get a bad score due to the correction. There is no mechanism built in for simply restoring the score to par if one is caught in a revoke by ones own admission. Perhaps the rules should be changed so that when one catches ones own revoke after a hand is played the score is only adjusted to what one would have made had the revoke not occurred. A deterrence factor would still exist because if the opponent catches the revoke the usual penalty would still apply.
After the game I stumbled out into the heat and realized that there was zero chance of my being able to sleep. It was too hot and I was too agitated. I decided to seek respite in the dark chill of a movie theater and went to go see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It was everything one could want from a film of that title. I can’t wait for the sequel, Harriet Tubman: Zombie Slayer.
Unrelated to the above, circumstances beyond my control have pickled my plans for the upcoming NABC. I feel a little sick just thinking about it mostly because Doc had made plans (replete with airline tickets and hotel reservations) to come out for the week and we had been planning on playing most days together. He’s being very understanding about things and we’re still going to try to play as much as possible. I’ve offered to put him together with some of my partners so that he wouldn’t be playing roulette with the partnership desk. I told him that if he was up for an adventure he could play with a couple of the bright beginners that I play with, his response was enthusiastic, “I am more than willing to play with some bright beginners. After all, that was how we met.” And partners like him are what make this game tolerable.