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The Trials and Tribulations of an NLM Who Does Not Play 2/1 or Support X’s

So, I went to bridge one Friday night hoping the director could find me a partner for the game. The director reluctantly attempted to set me up with a woman who plays regularly. It already seemed to me that playing bridge with the wrong person had the potential to be worse than the worst blind date imaginable. And it occurred to me that cutting a bridge session short by an emergency phone call or a claim of food poisoning would not work well.

“How many master points do you have,” the woman asked me. “None really,” I responded. At this point I had accumulated a few, but hadn’t joined the organization that counted them. “Do you play 2/1?” the woman asked. “No,” I replied. “You don’t play 2/1,” the woman exclaimed. “I don’t really play conventions,” I stated. I wanted to master the simplest form of the game before complicating matters. The woman questioned me further, “how about support doubles?” “No,” I replied. Had she not just heard me about conventions? The woman paused, “I am sorry. I am a few points away from being a life master. I need to find someone I can win with.”

I might have been offended, but I was pretty confident that was not how it worked. But if she wanted to measure skill with conventions and master points, I wasn’t qualified to convince her otherwise.

The director was wandering around setting up the tables with the bidding boxes and boards, but made his way back to where he had left me with the woman.

“She won’t play with me,” I told him. “Figures,” he said, not at all shocked by this information. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, “I’ll play with you.” At that moment, having come up empty in her quest for a better partner, the woman returned, “Okay, let’s give it a try.”

I looked at the director, sighed, and shrugged my shoulders. As the woman was walking to our assigned table, the director said, “That’s too bad. I was looking forward to playing with you.”

During the next three hours, the woman seemed pleased enough with the game. “Should I have bid more?” she would ask when I made overtricks. “Umm, no, you did fine,” I would respond, confident enough that we were in the proper contract. Why did she keep asking me that...was there some rule I was not familiar with…the if you’re going to make it, bid it rule! All I knew was that an hour earlier I wasn’t good enough to play with and now she was asking my opinion! I must have vastly improved playing one session with her!

At the end of the game, the results showed we had earned a couple master points. “We should play again sometime,” she suggested. I nodded. I couldn’t say what I was thinking—doubtful.

I went to the director’s desk to get a hand record. “Since I didn’t get to play with you tonight, how would you like to play tomorrow?” he asked. It was usually my museum, book, martini day…“Sounds good. See you then,” I said on my way out the door.

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