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Buchwald on Bridge
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EDIT: I have added a couple of pages....

 

My father had an excellent library, both bridge and otherwise. The other day I recalled a book therein that I greatly enjoyed many years ago, Art Buchwald's "Son of the Great Society." It is a collection of Buchwald's Washington Post columns from the mid-60s. On a whim, I bought a copy via eBay.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Buchwald

 

The articles are as good as I remembered. Almost all are observations on the political fights and scandals of the day, but one of the articles is about bridge.  It is on the next page.

THE BRIDGE CHEATERS

As everyone knows by now, the biggest story of the year was the bridge-cheating scandal at the 13th annual World Contract Bridge Team Tournament in Buenos Aires. Two British players, Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro, were accused of using signals to tell each other how many hearts they were holding. They were said to use finger movements, and the evidence was damaging enough for the non-playing British captain to default his team’s points.

The impact of this revelation has made a tremendous impression on bridge world, not only with professionals but amateurs as well. The other evening I was over at a friend’s house where four people who had been playing bridge for years started a game.

After the first hand was dealt, one friend, whom I'll call George, said to one of the opposing players, Fred, “Why did you do that?”

“Do what?” Fred wanted to know.

“Scratch your head.”

“Because it itched,” Fred said heatedly. “What do you want me to do with my head when it itches?”

“Why didn’t you scratch your head before I dealt?”

“Because it didn’t itch before you dealt. What are you trying to say, anyway?”

“Never mind. It just seems strange that I never saw you scratch your head before.”

“Well, it so happens I scratch my head a lot. Do you want me to tell you before I’m going to scratch my head?”

“Why can’t you scratch your head after the bidding?”

“I will if it itches after the bidding. But what’s the sense of scratching it if it doesn’t itch?”

“Come on,” Hilda said. “Will somebody bid?”

A few hands iater I asked if any one wanted anything to drink. Everyone said, “Yes,” and I served them.

George picked up his glass in one hand and held his cards in the other. He said, “Two hearts.”

Fred said, “Why did you pick up your glass with four fingers on the outside?”

"How else are you supposed to pick up a glass?"

"I use three fingers."

"You use three, I use four," George said angrily.

“It’s strange that you would pick up your glass with four fingers and say, ‘Two hearts.’”

“What the hell’s so strange about it?”

“People usually don’t take a drink while they’re bidding.”

“I was thirsty.”

“I’m thirsty, too, but I never lift my glass until the bidding’s over.”

“Are you accusing me of something, Fred?”

“I don’t know. But I'll be interested to see how many hearts you have.”

“Well, if you’re so interested, why don’t you bid?”

“I bid three spades.”

“You scratched your head again. I saw it!” George shouted.

"It itched again."

"How come it only itches when you bid spades?”

"It doesn't only itch when I have spades. The last time it itched I had diamonds.”

"Then you admit you're signaling to your partner,” George screamed.

"I admit no such thing. And I refuse to play with a cur like you.” Fred said, throwing down his hand.

"That goes double for me,” George replied. “Any man that uses four fingers to lift his glass and then bids two hearts has to be cheating."

The two couples walked out of the house and haven’t talked to to other since. It looks as if bridge will never be the same.

There may be some people who have never seen a Buchwald political column.

The next page contains a sample... it has nothing to do with bridge.

If that sort of stuff annoys you, don't go to the next page.

ALL-PURPOSE PRESS RELEASE

Things happen so fast nowadays that the State Department no longer has time to put out a statement for each crisis. To solve the problem, a friend of mine has developed an all-purpose press release to be sent out to newspapers, magazines and television stations throughout the country.

It goes like this:

 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

ALL-PURPOSE PRESS STATEMENT

(DATE)

The United States government welcomes the progress in the the past 12 hours toward freedom and increased stability in ________. While reluctant to condone any resort to violence, we regard the events in ______ as a significant step toward more orderly democracy and the strengthening of the ______ world. We pledge our firm support to Gen. _______of the _______ party, and are encouraged by his promise to return ______ in due course to civilian rule.

His actions have spelled defeat for the tyrannical forces of (a) General (b) Colonel (c) President (d) Premier (e) Prince ______ of the badly split _____ party, and have given new hope for the free people of ______.

Our support for Gen. _____’s. government represents no change in United States policy toward ______.

Nor does it change the United States posture vis-a-vis ______ or _______.

To help the people of _______ get back on their feet, the President has authorized a special fund of ________ dollars to pay for the salaries of the army and new government officials. The President has also promised ________ dollars in loans to ______ and has promised military aid and advisers to prevent another ______.

The ______ U.S. Fleet has been dispatched to _______, the capital of ________ to prevent further bloodshed and to protect American ______ there.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk denied that the Fleet was sent to to influence in any way the internal affairs of the country. The Fleet had been requested by Gen. ______ and under the _______ agreement we had no choice but to provide American support to prevent a ______ take-over.

Mr. Rusk promised that as soon as things stabilized he would withdraw the ______ Fleet and the _______ Marine Brigade which landed three days ago.

The President and the National Security Council met today to discuss the ______ situation and the President is sending ______ as his personal representative to give him a firsthand report and to make future recommendations. This in no way shows his lack of confidence in Ambassador ______ ______, who has been called back to Washington for consultation.

Gen. ______ is considered a friend of the United States, having studied at the _______ War College in Washington, and he has promised strong, forceful leadership for ______, a thing that has been so lacking in the past under the weak regime of _________ and his so-called democratic government.

(a) General (b) Colonel (c) President (d) Premier (e) Prince ______ has sought political asylum in the ______ Embassy and will probably be allowed to leave the country.

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