Only summaries are included below -
see book for details
21 Rules of
Being a Good
Talks a Good
Obey The Law of Total
21 Rules of Being a Good Partner
“I have always believed that your attitude toward your partner
is as important as your technical skill at the game.”
Rixi Markus, one of the all-time great players
Before you sit down
to discuss what you are playing, you should start your
partnership off on the right note. Half the battle of winning
is being a good partner. Always observe the following:
1. Do not give
lessons, unless you are being paid to do so. “According to
an evening paper, there are only five real authorities on
bridge in this country. Odd how often one gets one of them as
a partner.” Punch (British magazine).
2. Never say
anything to your partner unless you would want him to say the
same to you. If you are unsure whether your partner would want
you to say something, don’t.
“result” (criticize your partner for a normal action just
because it did not work this time).
4. Unless your
intent is to clear up a misunderstanding, avoid discussing the
hand just played. If you cannot resist, be discreet.
5. Remember that
you and your partner are on the same side.
6. Do not forget
that your partner wants to win as much as you do.
7. If you feel
the urge to be nasty, sarcastic, critical or loud — excuse
yourself and take a walk.
8. When there is
time between hands, do not discuss bridge.
9. When you want
to consult another player about a disaster, ask about your
hand, not your partner's.
© Marty Bergen
10. Do not ever
criticize or embarrass your partner in front of others.
that bridge is only a card game.
12. Have a good
time, and make sure that your partner does also. “Bridge is
for fun. You should play the game for no other reason. You
should not play bridge to make money, to show how smart you
are, or show how stupid your partner is¼or
to prove any of the several hundred other things bridge
players are so often trying to prove.”
Bridge legend Charles Goren.
13. Trust your
partner; do not assume that he has made a mistake.
14. Although it
may be unfashionable, it really is okay to be pleasant to a
partner with whom you also happen to live.
“The worst analysts and the biggest talkers are often one and
the same.” Bridge columnist Frank Stewart. Think twice
before verbally analyzing a hand. Do not embarrass yourself
with a hasty, inaccurate comment.
16. When you
voluntarily choose to play bridge with someone, it is not fair
to get upset when partner does not play any better than usual.
17. Never side
with an opponent against your partner. If you cannot support
your partner, say nothing.
18. If you think
you are too good for a partner, and do not enjoy playing
bridge with him, do everyone a favor and play with someone
else. That is clearly much better than being a martyr.
However, be careful before burning bridges — another player's
grass may not be greener.
19. Learn your
partner's style, regardless of how you feel about it. Do not
expect your partner to bid exactly as you would. When partner
makes a bid, consider what he will have, not what you would.
20. Try to picture
problems from partner's point of view. Seek the bid or play
that will make his life easiest.
with partner if he makes a mistake. Let your partner know that
you like him, and always root for him 100%.
© Marty Bergen
He Sure Talks a Good Game
“A man shouldn’t oughtta open his mouth, unless he got a hand
to back it up.
Cowboy on “Gunsmoke”
about major and minor suits. It is also clear what you are
talking about if you refer to the black suits or the red
suits. However, many players would be surprised if they
overheard a player talking about his pointed suits!
Take a careful look
at the shape of each of the four suit symbols. You will notice
that the spades and diamonds have pointed peaks while the
hearts and clubs are rounded. So much for that.
How about touching
Touching refers to suits that are next to one another.
are touching, as are
The black suits,
are also considered touching.
What would you
think if you overheard the following? “I held ace-queen
fifth, king-jack fourth, stiff, three baby.” Here are a few
hands in order of the suits, starting at the top: first
spades, then hearts, then diamonds, then clubs. You don’t need
to identify the suits by name.
2. Small cards
are not specified.
3. The number of
cards in each suit is always stated.
4. “Stiff” is
the accepted bridge slang for a singleton.
represents small cards.
6. Strive for
brevity. Therefore, the hand described is:
“x” is the written
designation for spot cards. If I were using a blackboard while
teaching, I would write:
The class would
know that the suits were, in order going down the board:
spades, then hearts, then diamonds, and finally clubs.
© Marty Bergen
If you asked me
what to bid with “Q975 of diamonds, the ace, king and three of
clubs, the ace of spades, and my hearts were the king, jack,
ten, eight and four,” here’s what would flash through my mind:
I’m pleased you gave me your entire hand. A+. Very often, I am
asked what to bid despite being told: “I had five diamonds
including the ace and king and some nice spades.”
I’m also delighted that this hand contained 13 cards. If I had
a quarter for every hand that I was given with an unusual
number of cards, I would be a rich man. Another A+.
You did a nice job identifying your high cards. I would have
been happier if you had told me the number of cards in each
suit. Also, you did not need to name your small cards. B+.
I was not thrilled with the order in which I was given the
suits. I had to make the effort to arrange the hand into
spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. D+ for this important
Overall, a very
commendable B+. Got the idea? Try another hand.
“I opened 1NT with
a 17-count. Three small, king-jack fourth, ace-king tight,
ace-queen-ten fourth.” Translation:
= HCP. For example: 16-count means 16 HCP.
8. “Tight” means
9. Middle cards
(tens and nines) are named by the same players who have
learned to appreciate them.
One more: “Ace doub,
void, eight solid, three small.”
10. “Doub” refers
to a total of two cards, short for doubleton.
indicates consecutive high honors beginning with the ace.
peers may not be easy, but it is important. Not everyone can
accomplish this with technique, but now that you can “talk the
talk,” you’re on your way.
© Marty Bergen
Thou Shalt Obey The Law of Total Tricks
How often have you
been confronted with this classic situation? You are South
and hear the following auction:
North East South
P P 1
safe in competing to the trick level equal to your
partnership's number of trumps. Avoid bidding beyond
that level in competitive auctions.
CHAPTER 4 -
FITS AND MISFITS