Friday, January 20, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 20th Installment

extreme ruthlessness would begin to build. All too often, a pleasant Bridge game would escalate into harsh words about mistakes and losing, and one time nearly to blows between father and sons.

       “Doesn't matter, I’ll play for both of us; you just hold the cards and, please, try to learn.” Phil challenged. Phil was smart man, and I knew he was very smart at any card game and deadly smart playing bridge. Bridge is the most difficult card game in the world when played at a high level. Edith even told us there were a gazillion ways to bid and play each hand. She believed bridge was even more difficult than chess because you were playing with a partner and had to know each other’s skill set. You either need ESP or you have to bid smart enough that your partner knows what cards you hold. The two partners (four players) are dealt 13 cards from a regular deck of cards. Then the bidding starts around the table until three of the four players pass and the ‘declarer’ plays the hand. The partner or ‘dummy’ lays down his hand face up on the table and the bid winner plays out both hands against the opposing partners to try to win his ‘contract’ by taking the number of tricks he declared in the auction or bidding.

       “Contract Bridge is a tactical game,” Phil explained.

       “But it has built in randomness, because of the luck of the deal,” Vernon corrected.

       “’Balderdash’” I can win with whatever I'm dealt,” Phil stated bluntly, and I believed he could.

       “Well imperfect knowledge is where I come in – I know nothing,” I added.

       “And restricted communication, Edith,” Phil commented. “When you float around behind the players 'tut, tutting.' I just have to listen to you to know how to win.”
Edith ended the sparring telling me, “sit down and shut up.” I sat down.

I was wondering why they didn’t pick on Russell when I heard Edith say, “Russell, you partner with Vernon; Casey, you’re with Phil and I'll kibitz.” Edith liked to play cards but loved to kibitz, floating around behind the players, reaching over our shoulders to arrange cards and making a tut, tut, tut, sound when we would lead out with a stupid card.

        “All right, let’s play! I'll be the starting dealer,” Phil said as his fingers flew. Berip berap he completed three perfect shuffles, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, the cards slid into piles in front of us so quickly and accurately he was done in a flash, and we barely had to straighten our stacks.

        Vernon was next and bid one diamond. It was my turn. “Wait,” I muttered, “I haven't even straightened and arranged my cards.”

Edith appeared behind my back quickly putting things in order and whispered, “One club.”

        “One club!” I whispered. “Why?”

Edith quietly explained, “You can

500 more words tomorrow

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