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Points Schmoints - CHAPTER 5 -

© Marty Bergen


Order Points Schmoints here   Other Bergen books
Index   TOC

Prior Chapter:
CHAPTER 4 - FITS AND MISFITS                                                        25

Note: Only summaries are included below -
see book for details

Chivalry is Not Dead                                                                                  34

A Deadly Game of Bridge                                                                          35

Unleashing Hostility

    “We believe that the bridge table is used as a socially acceptable place to get rid of frustrations in a marriage.”

                                                Jim and Lois Scott, West Coast bridge couple

Not Just Anatomically Different

“A woman's inner sense of value tells her that bridge is not really a matter of life and death, but a man, whose ego is at stake, is a much harder fighter and treats bridge as a challenge to his mentality.”


Woman Bridge Pro

A female bridge professional graciously agreed to donate her services for a charity event. Her partner was nice enough, but it would be fair to say that bridge was not his game. Late in the evening, he excused himself and headed for the men's room. The hostess asked the pro how they were doing. “My partner is a charming gentleman, but to be perfectly honest, this is the first time all night I know what he has in his hand!”

Husbands and Wives

In an elevator at a tournament, a man and a woman were arguing about the play of a bridge hand. Someone asked them if they were married. “Of course,” the woman answered, “do you think I would live in sin with an idiot like that?”

Teaching Your Spouse

“A husband should never try to teach his wife to play golf or drive a car. A wife should never try to teach her husband to play bridge.”

Harvey Penick's Little Red Book

Page 33
© Marty Bergen

Chivalry is Not Dead

“Bridge is essentially a social game, but unfortunately it attracts a substantial number of antisocial people.”

Alan Truscott, bridge editor of The New York Times

Picture the following: I was playing duplicate bridge against a couple who ended up in a ridiculous contract, doubled and vulnerable to boot. Mr. Smith did not look pleased during the auction, but completely lost it when his hapless wife tabled her dummy. Mr. Smith then proceeded to vent his spleen at his better half. Although no one would have criticized her for retaliating, she burst into tears and ran off.

Boorish behavior is never justified, but it was especially ironic in this case. Mrs. Smith's bidding had been totally reasonable. In fact, if I were serving as judge and jury, my only criticism would have concerned her choice of partner/spouse.

My partner and I were able to quiet things down a little, although the whole room continued to stare at the table where there were now only three players. We managed to finish the hand, and went plus 800.

I would like to have said something to defend the innocent victim. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith was the size of a mobile home. There had to be some clever tactic. What would Confucius say?

And then it came to me. “Angry man fight, smart man write.” I ripped off a corner of my convention card and scribbled the following:  “Your bidding was 100% correct.”

When Mrs. Smith returned, I waited until Moose was studying his cards, and discreetly slipped my message under her convention card. She said nothing, but her smile was worth a thousand words.

Mixed Pairs — Everyone's Favorite Event

“If you feel that you absolutely must play bridge with your husband or wife, I propose this rule. Each time you pick up a hand, slowly and fervently intone to yourself: No matter what happens on this deal, I won't get angry. And stick to it. Who knows, you might both get home that night in a pleasant frame of mind.”

Helen Sobel Smith

Page 34
© Marty Bergen

And now for the pièce de résistance.

A Deadly Game of Bridge

“Husbands and wives make poor partners — unless they happen to be someone else’s husband or wife.”

Milton Ozaki, bridge writer

In many respects, the most disastrous bridge hand ever played took place in Kansas City, Missouri on September 29, 1929. The ill-fated victim was 36-year-old John G. Bennett, a prosperous perfume salesman. According to the police report, he met his demise because he failed to make a bridge hand.

John and his wife Myrtle were playing bridge against another married couple, Charles and Mayme Hoffman. The Bennetts had been arguing all evening, but the situation came to a head when Mr. Bennett failed to make a 4 contract. Mrs. Bennett violently castigated her husband, which provoked him into announcing that he would spend the night in a hotel, and then leave town. As the Hoffmans started to leave, Mrs. Bennett took the family pistol from her mother's room and shot her husband. He staggered to a chair uttering the words “She got me.” On arrival, the police found Mrs. Bennett weeping over the body.

Mrs. Bennett was tried for murder in March 1931 and acquitted! How was that possible?

Legend has it that:

Mrs. Bennett had an excellent attorney.

Mrs. Bennett was extremely attractive and the jury was male.

Got the picture?

Here is the allegedly fatal hand:

Page 35
© Marty Bergen


  North (Mrs. Bennett)


A  Lead

  South (Mr. Bennett)

West          North         East            South
—              —              —              1

2            4         All Pass

Mr. Bennett opened the bidding with less than traditional values, and his wife took a shot (sorry about that) at game with a jump to 4

Mr. Bennett actually took a reasonable line of play. West led the A and shifted to the J. South won the K and cashed the ace and king of trumps. With the actual distribution, he was unable to make the hand.

Mr. Bennett could have succeeded if he had known that West had the Q by finessing and drawing trumps. He would then have cashed the A, and taken a ruffing finesse by leading the 9, then the 8, through East's queen. The ensuing two club winners would allow declarer to dispose of two hearts. He would lose only two heart tricks, along with the initial diamond. Sometimes, a finesse can be a life-saver!

“A not-surprising aftermath of the Bennett case was that Mrs. Bennett found it exceedingly difficult to find bridge partners.”

Ron Klinger, prolific Australian bridge writer

Page 36
© Marty Bergen

“MICHAELS ROW YOUR BOAT ASHORE”                                       37


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