Do you think there is a heaven of bridge?
Do you believe bridge gods exist somewhere?
I, for one, think yes.
But not a heaven with a single God: first of all, that God would surely
be a man, a real macho not funny at all, who
would spend his time bragging. No, I am thinking more of a heaven like
the Greeks had, with many gods, men, women,
all happy and very interested in... you know, a heaven where the gods
would cheerfully cheat on their spouse. Zeus
was the master in that domain, seducing all women, mortal or divine.
So, in my bridge heaven, the most prestigious God, and the less
understood, is certainly God
a bit like Zeus in that he slept with everyone and has produced
innumerable bastards: Simplesqueeze,
Doublesqueeze, Triplesqueeze, Non-simultaneous-squeeze (rather twisted,
you don't think?), Squeeze-without-the-count, Trumpsqueeze,
CompoundSqueeze, Crisscrosssqueeze, etc.
The immense majority of players don't hang out with the Squeeze family;
they find them too complicated. You have all
these conditions before you can begin: Do this, don't do that, duck
this, rectify the count, etc. It is hell.
In the emphatic gibberish of today's psychologists, Squeezes would
surely be identified as a dysfunctional family.
Please note that squeezes are a bit like those rare diseases that you
learn about in medical schools: they rarely
happen. Bridge is the same thing: squeezes are rare.
The only thing you have to do at bridge is to count to... 13.
Another God is called Elimination.
He is not funny: you're always on diet, you always have to eliminate,
eliminate, eliminate, it's... drastic. Elimination
might be necessary anytime during a hand, at the beginning, in the
middle or at the end. This God is very useful and
easy to understand: all you have to do is to cash your tricks, one
after the other, no finesse, no ducking, Ace, King,
Queen, bang, bang, bang, that's all.
Next is a Goddess that nobody, but nobody, understands: Goddess Lead.
She is so complicated, you always go wrong with her. You try to be
really careful, but it is never the right moment,
never the right suit, never the right card, etc., so much that some
people say she is the patron saint of women (I just
repeat what I heard here, don't kill the messenger). Several people
have tried to write books about her, the best ones,
the worst ones, but sometimes the best is the worst, and the worst is
the best. In a word, Goddess Lead is
unpredictable, capricious, always changing:
"No, not there!"
"Not there either!"
"That you've already done yesterday."
"Yes, but you liked it yesterday."
"Well, I do not like it today!"
If you ask me, we men also could write a catalogue, and it would be
very, very thick.
To sum it all, Goddess Lead is simply unbearable. Indeed the majority
of players want so much to avoid her that they
bid one more: they would rather play the contract and go one down than
having to find Miss Lead. In fact, she is the
point L of bridge. And she is so pretentious, she thinks she's a star,
a prima donna, because she is always the first
to be seen. As soon as she appears, she begins to hop around and wave
"It's me, it's me, look at me!"
Isn't that REALLY annoying? It is so tiring that majority of players
have settled the matter: they do not even look at
her. That will teach her!
Another God is called Endplay.
The vast majority of players avoid him, as they have only one
objective: to keep the hand.
They do not understand that they can use the opponents to play suits in
Losing the hand is equivalent for them as to lose their honour. If they
have to make 9 tricks, they want to make them
9 in a row. They are the over-eaters of bridge. They don't understand
that a bridge hand is like a meal with 3, 4 or 5
services, with pauses to digest, reflect.
They are bulimic: the first 4 or 5 tricks go quickly, like at
McDonald's. At trick 6, they begin to slow down, 7 is more difficult
and 8 marks the end. They lose the hand and go down.
Endplay's name says he arrives only at the end of the hand, but
sometimes he appears at the first trick. When that
happens, we have Endplay-on-Lead. Well, that is a sight. Can you
imagine that ? Take the kids out of the room,
There is another God, very quiet, not spectacular at all, very
discreet, not snob, not complicated, called Count,
much more practical than Squeeze.
In fact, you need him all the time. Sometimes you hear players talking
"Why did you play spades? Count
was telling you to play clubs."
There you have it: Count
talks to you, he is there, at your service, always ready to help and,
if you don't use him, well, it's
your fault. If your make friend with this God, bridge becomes almost a
child's game. Counting requires a little effort,
but its assistance is invaluable.
In the sky of bridge, you see, there are several gods, and most of them
do nothing (that is the definition of a God job:
having nothing to do) except Lead
with a full-time job. As for the others, you can see it day after day
at the bridge table, the
majority of players do not use them.
There is one last God, a Goddess in fact, extremely popular, so popular
she is the Celine Dion of Olympus.
Everyone sings her songs, everyone buys magazines to hear about her
Do you have an idea, do you know who she is? But the Goddess Finesse, of
really the most popular, the more attractive, alluring, charming,
attractive, you could use the entire
dictionary to describe her.
The vast majority of players spend their time running after Finesse,
everybody loves her, they never have enough of her:
Finesse here, Finesse there. They do not understand that Finesse should
not be relied upon.
The good players are doing everything not to ask for her help, because
she is not reliable: she gives you a chance
out of two, 50% ( sometimes less), and that is understandable: she must
be exhausted, poor Finesse, running
everywhere and without judgement. For my part, I think she suffers of a
Other gods offer much higher chances of success: Count can offer
65%, 80%, even 100% sometimes; Endplay
can assure you of 100%. But we must face the brutal fact: bad players
believe they love to win but, basically, they would
rather lose. Finesse
is so beautiful, so exciting, so sexy...
You are playing 6♥.
Lead is ♣K
A loser in spades, one in clubs and at least one at heart, but nothing
You win the club Ace in your hand. What is the first God who must
enlist? Goddess Finesse,
of course, in hearts.
Not for pleasure, a mandatory finesse is not the same as an avoidable
finesse, here you have no choice. You play,
therefore, a small diamond to the King, and a heart from dummy. Small,
Jack from you and small on your left. Phew!
Goddess Finesse is very nice this time. You now play the Ace of heart
and everyone follows. Re-phew! Voila.
After these 4 tricks, this contract is 100%, you cannot fail. The spade
finesse, you say, may miss? What finesse in
spades? Send Goddess Finesse home, we no longer need her. By the way,
good players do not like to be seen too often with her, she has a bad
reputation and they might be accused of bad dating.
After Goddess Finesse, you should now call God Elimination. Indeed
you have already started, you have eliminated
the hearts of enemy hands. Now you have to remove the diamonds from
your hand. Go ahead, therefore: Ace of
diamonds and ruff a diamond. Here's what remains:
Finesse in spades ? Didn't we send her home ? I told you, she cannot
help you, she can only harm you. She will
tell you that you have to guess who has the Queen of Spades. Do you
believe that it is really helpful? In fact, she
could make you fail.
You should rather use Endplay.
First he will be pleased you called for him in the middle of the hand.
Think about it: if you play clubs, eliminating that suit your hands,
opponents will have no more heart, you will have no
more diamonds, no more clubs, and opponents will have to play spades
for you or they will give you Ruff and Sluff,
frequent accomplice of Endplay.
Why guess spades when opponents can do it for you? That's what the God
Endplay can do for you: he will force
West to play spades for you. If West plays a diamond or a club, you
will ruff in dummy, discard the spade loser from
your hand and register + 1430.
You give one trick to win 5. If this is not a good return on investment!
Speaking of investment, I'll give you a tip: my wife and I have
invested for years in the same stocks and we have
never lost a penny. At the end of the month, our statement is always
higher than what we anticipated. Have you guessed what we invest in?
It's easy, it's Visa and MasterCard!
Do not be afraid to invoke all the gods of the bridge, forget about the
beautiful goddess Finesse, do not use her unless you're really, REALLY,
need. Rather ask help from everyone else, they are kind and
understanding, and they are there to help you really.
As for Goddess Lead
(and stocks), do like me... endure.