Thursday, July 18, 2013


Bridge is like life, alright. The more you try to "control" life, the more it will upset you. The same with bridge.
    I thought I could "control" bridge, but I can't. There are too many variables. Your partners. Your compatibility with your various partners. Each partner's mood or level of concentration on the day of play. The different degree of brilliance of your opposition. And so on.
     Control? Phah! You have got to be kidding!
I have also tended to focus overly on the scores, and been known to freak out if I wasn't in the top three. Last week, alas, I hit an all-time low, with a score below 50% two sessions in a row.  But you know, I'm now caring less. Maybe I'll never be a champion. C'est la vie!
    I think bridge brings out a person's true colours. The competitive, like me, cannot hide their competitiveness under a bushel. It blinds everyone, frankly. I've become aware of this, and I'm working with it. I don't always like my competitiveness, but I know that at least I am working on my form, and hence improving. As in life, you can coast along and hope for the best... or you can try and do better. I'm of the latter ilk.
     Some people think bridge is a game for masochists. They are probably right. Like golf, bridge offers incredible highs and lows, much like heroin, I imagine. I'm off to play another tournament this morning, and I'm very much hoping for a fabulous session. Wish me luck... in bridge, nothing is certain and that's what we all love about it!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Hi, it's the bridge diva here, good to meet you! After 40 years or so playing bridge, quite mediocrely I might add, I am now getting serious about this noble art.  Forget boxing or falconry, bridge is THE sport for silver foxes and foxy women like you and me who plan to stay in tip-top cerebral fettle.
      Sitting for hours trying to outwit an opposing team, all on the basis of what you've been dealt from a total 52 cards, may not be everyone's idea of heaven, but you and I know better, don't we?
       Bridge is more than a wonderful way to while away the hours, it's a lifelong journey to seeking mastery of a game that dates back hundreds of years. 
       Ever since I was a child, watching my parents play most weekends with friends, I was hooked. Today I'm a self-confessed competitive-as-hell card shark whose husband would rather run a mile than play with me. (Yes, yes, completely understand, darling).

"For those of you out there considering a commitment to bridge, I guess the first question to ask is: should you partner with your husband or wife?"
     My husband and I happily play 500 with friends, but we always play on opposing teams. At my local club, quite a few married couples play amicably together - I guess it's easier berating a spouse when they've done something stupid - but it depends on the relationship dynamics, I guess. No quick, easy answers there - as is the case, I might add, with most bridge-related topics.
    I've had at least half a dozen long-term bridge partners over the years and some of them have been absolute bloody disasters. In the end, I concluded that choosing a bridge partner is as serious as choosing a life partner. You need to find someone who "gets" you and who complements you on some level.
   Me? I need someone calm, rational and patient to balance my impulsive, irascible personality. And I'm in luck, because all three of my current partners get a big tick in this regard which explains why our partnerships tend to do well.
   Most importantly, though, all four of us share a commitment and determination to keep improving our play. We may say we're not paying attention to the scoreboard, but we're lying. We absolutely are! >>>

Originally, cards were used for fortune telling and gambling. Tarot cards,
used for fortune telling, were introduced to Italy in 1420.
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Saturday, May 11, 2013


Can I have Omar Sharif, preferably in his Doctor Zhivago days (left), as my bridge partner please?
      So what's brought this on? A lousy afternoon at the bridge club, that's what.  Yep, I know it happens from time to time, but jeez, it's awful when it all goes to muck!
     I can't help but wonder if perchance I'm a tad too competitive for some of my bridge partners? I'm the sort who wants to learn new conventions weekly, and put them in practice, and who does her damnedest not to make the same mistake twice.
Pity my poor partners because I can be ferocious! Oh Omar, where are you when I need you?
    Finding the right bridge partner is not dissimilar to finding the 'ideal' life partner. It can take a lifetime and even then, your partner will make you want to tear out your hair from time to time. I play with three different partners, and each is terrific, but only one wants to WIN even more badly than I do. And he/she knows who he/she is!!!         
     At this stage in my life, I've got the time to be competitive at bridge and to aim for the stars - why the hell not? - so here's hoping my partners and I reap the rewards of our mutual investment, and start playing more consistently at a competitive level...

Thursday, April 11, 2013


A recent session at the club had my partner and I in stitches. At one stage the pair of us held on to a wall column for support, both racked with laughter as we waited to sit down and face our next adversaries.
    Both of us had tears in our eyes, literally, as we suppressed mild hysteria. We couldn't look at each other because eye contact would trigger a new wave of out-of-control laughter.
  "We chortled like meerkats drunk on tequila!"
     What was so funny?  I'm glad you asked. We had one of those rollercoaster rides at bridge that landed us with a pitiful 49.5 score (13th, I think, out of a total 18), but you know... for once, we did not care a hoot.
     Admittedly, by the end of the three-hour session, we were also emotionally drained. The reason we were laughing is that we simply COULD NOT BELIEVE the neurotic, mad, annoying, crazy people we met as we sat down at each table; smiled politely at our opponents; picked up our cards; and prepared to play.
     I'm sure it's happened to you too. You arrive at the club excited, your sails full of hope; then the computers don't work; someone spills coffee on a skirt; the air conditioning is freezing cold; someone is having a bad hair day; another person is FURIOUS because you "stole" the table's pen... and so it goes.
      First World whingers, I call them, and though I feel tempted to give everyone a "are you kidding me?" reality slap, of course I don't. I try to jolly them along... hence the drained exhaustion by the end of it all.
     The main thing is that Lulu [not her real name] and I had enormous fun even as we recognised that our competitive spirit had ebbed away completely by the end of three hours of Fawlty Towers, bridge club-style. We went home arm-in-arm, giggling, and looked forward to a triumphant return.
      In bridge, as in life, hope springs eternal. >>>
P.S. The next week Lulu and I came last with a score too embarrassing to mention. Reason? I was a first-class First World jerk, completely thrown by too much noise caused by nearby drilling; a partner that continually passed; and the fact that I was the sucker left to score the results which I intensely dislike doing. So the moral of this story is, let he or she who is blameless throw the first stone, or similar.... Until ze next time!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Greetings folks, it's me again - ze bridge diva - and today I'd like to compare playing bridge to playing Grand Slam tennis. I've been watching the tennis greats from my couch for years and I gotta tell ya... there are similarities between champions, whatever the sport they play.
    To become the Roger Federer of bridge, you have to put in a lot of practice, for starters. A casual once-a-week session with a mate over a glass of wine isn't going to cut it, okay?
    You cannot roll up for a demitasse of social chitchat and expect to simultaneously notice that your partner has dropped a four of diamonds on your lead, indicating... no indeedy! If you want to do well, you have to concentrate, and that's a skill Federer has polished  to a point of world supremacy. 

"A champion completely wipes the previous loss or win from his or her mind"

      I often emulate Federer as I take to the court - I mean, table - and imagine that the next set - um, hand - is at deuce and the next couple of moves  could determine game, set and match.
      Federer's degree of concentration is ferocious and worthy of emulation by any champion wannabe... like bridge tragic me, for example. I believe you need that sense of implacable calm as you survey the cards in front of you and weight up the "conversation" you are having with your partner across the way.
     That's why I practise mindfulness as I enter the club for a session... repeating my mantra as I climb the stairs to my fate. "I will keep my mouth shout. I will remain calm. I will focus. And I will STAY IN THE ZONE."
My partners laugh at my craziness but hey, it works for me, and it's fun.
    Oh, and by the way, another thing I've noticed about a champion like Federer. When he loses a point, his reaction is typically incredibly low-key.
    The point has been played; it's over; and a new one is about to commence. A champion picks up his racket - or his cards, you decide - and starts all over again, completely wiping the previous loss or win from his or her mind.
    Oh, to be a champion! Methinks it's gonna take time.... >>>