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The AHA Moment

It’s no surprise to most of us that bridge is a fascinating game; it’s simple enough that ABCL advertises that it can teach "bridge in one day”, yet it is complex enough that some of the best and the brightest minds take a lifetime to master the game. [Query whether anyone truly masters bridge.]

In any event, along the ACBL bridge path from Rookie (< five Master points) to Grand Life Master (> 10,000 Master points — including sufficient number of specified pigmented points — in addition to a least one (1) victory in a North American Bridge Championship) there are bound to be several AHA moments: a eureka moment when a sudden realization or comprehension takes you from your plateaued status upward on your continued journey towards bridge nirvana. What was/were some of your AHA bridge moments? BTW, this query is not limited to ACBL members. I believe that I have something to learn from everybody!

I have had several AHA moments on my quite young bridge journey. In one of my earliest face to face tournaments (I had played bridge exclusively online for approximately 10 years and was brand new to the F2F world), I remember calling the TD and asking (in an open event) “I’d like to know what the score would be if I went down 3 in such and such contract non-vulnerable as opposed to the opponents making the vulnerable game?” (Silly me, I still believed my mom’s admonishment that the only dumb question was the one never asked.) Note, I had asked at the table first and both opponents and my partner laughed and suggested that I call the TD. The TD also laughed and said that he could not help me remember that which I had forgotten. I said, I have not forgotten anything. But the TD also warned that my p would be prohibited from bidding on should I pass. I bid on. Turns out -500 is better than +620. I was more than happy to have the computer keep score in a 60 minute game on-line, but I wanted to make the best move possible in a face-to-face tournament. I learned that it would only happen if I knew how to keep score. Hence forth, I learned how to keep score. Such knowledge helped not only my f2f game, but also my on-line game.

For me, another AHA moment came when I was playing in a sectional tournament some 6 months later. I was declarer in a 4 contract. I had received no information about the opponents holdings from the bidding. My p held long and I held long (so in my mind there was a risk of a ruff setting the contract.) The query was, with 9 trump missing the Q, whether I go for the finesse or for the drop in pulling opponents trumps. Of course, as a BBO stalwart, who had learned the percentage plays via BridgeMaster (and also from Richard Pavelick’s incredibly fascinating site), I knew the percentage play was to go for the drop. So, I tried it. I still remember exclaiming: “it works!” when the Q of fell. Since that time, I have memorized all the common percentage plays…and rely on them when I am stymied.

But enough about me, what about you? What were your AHA moments? My mom also said I would learn more when I learned from others mistakes/good fortunes than I could possibly learn from my own….it was quicker…and less painful. Please share.

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