Saturday, May 24, 2014

Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, Homo Sapiens and the Stone Bowl

The Neanderthal Man, it seems, played bridge ("and what about the Neanderthal Woman?" will ask the feminists; in fact, and very seriously, we cannot say for sure women existed at that time because science books only mention the Neanderthal Man). Stone tablets have been found lately, from year minus 32,000, on which one could read:

An archaeologist, himself a bridge player, suggested that the numbers, and their disposition, looked like bridge. It was easy, after that, to decipher the abbreviations. A funny chap said that the game had probably been played between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Canadian National (Railroad company, owned by the Canadian Government), hockey players' behaviour seeming to come out directly from the middle Palaeolithic, and CN's old equipment probably dating from the same era.

After protests from NHL and CN representatives, the experts concluded that NHL meant Neanderthal and CN, Cro-Magnon. Then again, we don't know if women existed because experts talk solely of Neanderthal Man (from year -150,000 to year -35,000) and Cro-Magnon Man (year -30,000).

Further research established that Neanderthal opened 1NT with 16-18 points and Cro-Magnon, with 12-14. Why this difference? was the big question. Well, it seems that Cro-Magnon was a bit snob. Being the first representative of Homo Sapiens, he had invented 1NT 12-14 to really distinguish himself from Neanderthal.

The numbers show that the score was game all, 1220 to 710 for Cro-Magnon. We don't know what happened during the third game. One theory is probably that the mockery of Cro-Magnon Men finally used up all the patience of Neanderthal Men who simply killed their opponents.

Experts also found out there was a bridge match, later, between Cro-Magnon Men and Homo Sapiens. In fact, they have only discovered a newspaper article in the England Daily Stone from the year -25,000. Here is that article, in its entirety, written by a Homo Sapiens named Standard American, freelance at the England Daily Stone. Notice the tone full of mockery of the article, that would nowadays be totally out of line and severely condemned by every organism for the protection of visible minorities and endangered species.

The Stone Bowl: Homo Sapiens proves his superiority over Cro-Magnon
by Standard American, freelance journalist
England Daily Stone

Cro-Magnon, in first position, opens 1NT, 12-14 points, and you, Homo Sapiens, have:

Do you double for penalty? You have 16 points and Cro-Magnon, only 12-14; the question to ask is not: "Do you double?" but "Do you have a good lead?," and the answer is no. Therefore, you must pass, in tempo. A good tempo is very important because primitive people, I should say especially primitive people, have very good instincts.

If you hesitate, Cro-Magnon will feel something and be on guard. In addition, before opening 1NT, Cro-Magnon very shrewdly puts his index in his mouth and then points it towards the sky to register any variation in the air. If he feels a vibration from you, he will know.

But you have discovered his trick a long time ago (you are not Homo Sapiens for nothing) and you always sit downwind when you play against him. Cro-Magnon can only feel hesitations from your Woman Sapiens, who cannot hesitate because she is sitting in the 4th seat.

Cro-Magnon suspects that his trick is not working, but his limited intelligence cannot yet find the reason.

Cro's partner passes and your partner also. You lead a small spade and you see :

Cro-Magnon grumbles something and, when his partner says "You're welcome" you understand that he said thank you. Cro-Magnon cashes three spade tricks (on the 3rd spade trick, your partner pitches the diamond Jack, promising the Ten) and you comment :

"They missed their 4-4 spade fit."

Cro-Magnon groans again and his partner translates :

"1NT making 2 is better than 2 spades making 2!"

Cro-Magnon then runs the heart 10 to your Jack. You shift to a small diamond, under AQxx. Dummy's king wins. Cro-Magnon now plays the 9 of heart from dummy, small by partner, small by Cro-Magnon and you DUCK also (you have seen Gabriel Chagas do those things before)!

A broad smile forms on Cro's short face: 8 tricks are there, +120, to beat all those Homo Sapiens with +110. Under his bushy eyebrows, you can see his little eyes full of joy.

He snorts a long triumphant grunt and you understand that he is looking for words that will avenge all past humiliations, all failures, all defeats to the hands of Homo Sapiens and their superior bidding system.

Cro-Magnon plays a 3rd heart from dummy, partner plays small and, with a splash of confidence and scorn, Cro thumps the Queen... that you win with your bare King. Cro-Magnon roars with anger. One moment, it seems that Cro-Magnon will take his axe and split your head, but his partner intervenes :

"Down, Cro, down..."

Cro-Magnon huddles up and soon, you see only his creased forehead above the table. It is clear that he is wondering how the King of hearts, which was on his right for the second finesse, suddenly appeared on his left after the third finesse. His partner, reading his mind (!), says :

"Relax, I will explain later."

You play a small diamond under AQ, your partner wins with the 10 and switches to a club. You cash AQ of clubs and AQ of diamond: 1NT down 1, + 50 for Homo Sapiens, instead of 2 spades making 2 for Cro-Magnon.

If you had doubled 1NT, Cro-Magnon would have played two spades. His partner has taught him Rescue Bids, which are really Homo Sapiens' bids designed to pull Cro-Magnon out of his misery.

If you had doubled 1NT, you would also have doubled 2 spades. Logical, isn't it? Cro's logic, but logic (even Homo Sapiens still has certain macho traits of Cro-Magnon).

And Cro-Magnon would have made 2 spades doubled.

Do you really want to face Cro's elephantine irony when he will score + 670? Not me.

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