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In The Beginning

In my post "You Be The Director," many posters were concerned about the feelings of the inexperienced pair. They did not want them to be so angry that they would then choose to not attend tournaments or - worse - give up bridge.  I wholly agree with those sentiments. 

That being said, I do not think that the solution is to have different rules for newer players, intermediate, expert and world class.  The solution is to help the players understand the rules, what happened at the table - and - how to handle similar situations in the future. 

Let me share a personal story from one of my first ever regionals. 

I was in Oklahoma, courtesy of my Aunt Rosalie of Tulsa, the person who originally got me on the tournament trail.  As declarer, I had a 2 way guess for a queen, and wasn't quite sure how to go about figuring who might have it. 

With Kxx opposite AJ109x, I led my jack toward dummy.  As I detached the card, I noticed that my RHO had already detached a card, and was disinterestedly tapping it lighty on the table (face down, of course!) 

Me, neophyte - and concurrently, naive dummy - thus deduced that RHO couldn't possibly have the queen.  Of course, if she had, she wouldn't be able to pull out a small card before I had played from dummy.  So, I let my jack ride.  As soon as I did, the tapped card went back into RHO's hand, and the queen appeared. 

I was in shock. 

Later, when the game had ended, I saw Roselie's friend, head director Phil Merry.  (For those who never knew Phil Merry - he was right up there in the Director's Hall of Fame.)  I told him what had happened; how incredulous I was that someone would do what my RHO had done. 

Phil told me that if anyone ever tried to do something like this again when I was at the table, to call a director right away.  Phil said that if he had been called, he would have inquired of Ms. Tapper, "Are you planning on playing that card, no matter what card is played from dummy?"  If she'd said "Yes," - you can bet I would have won the trick!  If she said "No" - you can bet I would have found the queen. 

It was an important lesson for me to learn - that in many situations, if you are unsure if something is OK, then call a director! 

Phil was kind and informative and funny with me.  This is how you teach beginners - and keep them coming back.

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