When playing a straight teams match there comes a point in the game that all of us poorbridge players dread. Just after the eighth board (usually) you look over at the other table and see the enthusiastic wave from your team-mates that tells you it's time to take your sorry excuse for a scorecard over to your better halves and score up. With a bit of practice, you have all your excuses worked out beforehand. My favourites include:
"In this scratch partnership I wasn't sure if 4 would be forcing." (scratch being defined as having played together for less than two years),"I mis-sorted my hand and thought I had six spades and a club void" (I did no such thing, but the truth is more embarrassing), and"I'm sorry, I'm an idiot!" (OK, that one is probably legitimate)
Anyway the scores are read out by two players and the points difference calculated, by whoever can count properly, after which the geezer with the IMP-ing table reads out the score. In the part of the world where we come from, when the scores are duplicated, then "PUSH!" is called. And on a really good day one of those horrid scores that you generated will be greeted by a (very surprised) "PUSH!" from your team-mates, postponing the need for an explanation of your hideous play for a few moments. Here is an example which takes this happy occurrence to a poorbridge.com extreme. The match is the first round of the midweek knockout teams at Brighton. I am playing with Chris Simpson, an occasional partner, when I am dealt the following:
My partner deals and opens the bidding with 1
. Our opponents keep their mouths shut until we reach the seven level, and so the auction proceeds, starting with partner:
Playing fit jump-shifts, 2
is my only sane response, and after the 2
call, I attempt to set trumps with a jump to 4
. From my point of view 4
is a cue, showing first or second round control of diamonds, and the response to the 4NT RKC-Blackwood shows 0 or 3 controls. Well, holding the
K and having seen a cue bid of diamonds in the auction, I take the view that this is 3 controls and after pondering the merits of 7
for a nanosecond, decide that 7NT makes whenever 7
makes, so that's the spot to pick. This gets doubled, at which point I say something rude under my breath. The important aspects of the deal were as follows:
The auction from my partner's point of view was somewhat different. Not being sure what I was up to with the 4
bid (not Gerber!) he decided to use the well known "cheapest bid when not knowing what's going on in a slam auction" convention. At least I assume that's what it was, as that's what I usually do when not being sure what's going on in a slam auction. Unfortunately, as I have the
K he lost the post-mortem: had he chosen to play the "rebid your first suit when not knowing what's going on in a slam auction" convention, then I probably would still have bid the grand, but then it wouldn't have been his fault.
The pair used RKCB in the same way we did, but having no possible way of knowing whether the 5
was 0 or 3, decided that he may as well just bid the grand. When this was doubled, declarer said something out loud, and that was that.
So 7NTX-3 was recorded at both tables and the most unlikely of push boards was recorded.