Bridge is only a game - have fun playing it

lb Lundby 


      'The reason why you play bridge is more important than the result. Me, I play bridge because it's fun.'    Zia Mahmood

BRIDGE is only a game - have fun playing it like Zia, regardless of the results. From the day you play your very first tournament until you reach the highest level of competition, bridge will reward you more if you remember that it is only a game. Why not be like Zia and play bridge because it's fun?

I had a great time participating in the first Journalist World Championship in Salsomaggiore in 1992. Against Tommy Sandsmark and Rolf Olsen I opened very light and immediately lost control of the auction. I couldn't stop the train rolling until I arrived in 6NT, with myself as declarer. Perhaps my partner had also overbid a trifle because, after the opening lead and a look at the dummy, Rolf as West made a generous offer: 'Down two?'

Tommy apparently agreed, but I didn't: 'No, down three.' The Norwegians protested wildly so I had to play the hand trick by trick - down three. I got a zero, but bridge is only a game, so have fun playing it as we did.

New round, new opponents, new hand.

This one was a piece of cake - the final contract at every table was Four Hearts by South. The opening lead was obvious - West had ace-king-queen of diamonds and the suit broke 4-3-3-3. Ten tricks were made everywhere except when I was declarer. Why?

Well, like everyone else, I received a diamond lead, but from the wrong hand, out of turn. East found the lead from four small and although he deserved a prize for this he got a zero, because I used my right to forbid the diamond lead.

Naturally East apologised for his mistake, but West's remark is worth mentioning: 'That's all right, partner. I'm not sure I would have found the diamond lead anyway.' They got a zero, but bridge is only a game - have fun playing it as they did.

New round, new opponents, new hand:


  South Dealer Q 7 6 4    


N-S Game

 A 9 7 4





 A Q 7





 K Q









A J 8     K 10 5 4

 Q 8


W                          E

 J 10 6

 10 8 6 4 3




 10 9



 6 5 4 3 2









 9 2





 K 5 3 2





 K J 5





 A J 8 7



                            North-South were Alan Truscott and Phillip Alder. Peter Lund was East, and I held the West cards. This was the bidding:





















I started with a low diamond to the ace in dummy and Phillip immediately played a low trump to the king. I followed suit with the queen.

Afterwards my dear partner called my play a mishap. Peter has never accepted me as a player on his level (where he stands alone). But my play actually gave us a chance to defeat the contract, so I may have some sort of talent. What happened?

From the South seat Phillip continued with a low trump and paused when I played the eight. Phillip: 'What's going on around here?'

Finally, Phillip decided to guard against the possibility that I was trying to get a hand with a Grosvenor Coup* for my daily column. In that case, I might have been trying to fool him by playing the queen of hearts from QJ108.

(*A humorous psychological ploy whereby a player makes a deliberate error that he knows his opponent(s) will never take advantage of because of its irrationality. The purpose is to demoralise.)

He asked for the 'safe' nine of hearts from dummy without realising the risk. So Peter, as East, got an unexpected trick with the ten of hearts and now it was up to him to finish the work: a spade return and a diamond ruff with the jack of hearts (perhaps the king of spades and a spade to the ace makes it somewhat easier for partner).

Unfortunately my partner didn't co-operate. In with the ten of hearts he returned a club and my deception was to no avail.


Even after this experience my BOLS bridge tip is:

Bridge is only a game have fun playing it.