“That’s Exactly What I Needed”

Today was the annual “Holiday Bridge.” I went for years, but during my bridge playing hiatus I stopped. Now that I am fully back to bridge I thought it would be fun to go and play with many old friends I don’t see as much.

Holiday Bridge is not duplicate, which is all I play these days. Duplicate is a different animal because you are playing against the whole room with the same hands. It is about how much better you and your partner can do versus all the other pairs. It takes the luck out of it because it is not about what cards you have, but what you do with them. If you are a non-bridge player this makes no sense, but just read on.

Today was what is called Party Bridge. Deal the cards and play. Not the same skill level, but still fun. One of my friends I played against was my original bridge teacher from 18 years ago, Helen. As her partner bid Helen up and then laid down her cards as dummy, Helen would exclaim, “That’s exactly what I needed.” It was an excellent intimidation thing to say. Of course, as Helen’s partner put down her cards I would look at the board and think, “I have exactly what I need to stop Helen.”

After I moved tables away from Helen I could still overhear her saying her signature phrase at least two more times. Then the rest of us started saying it. It worked! Just telling the opponents that I have what I need to make my bid was scary enough to have them make a mistake or two.

Now, I didn’t win the whole Holiday bridge, but I did do well enough for the cards I was dealt. At the end of the play we have a gift exchange and we pick in the order of how well you did at bridge. I was squarely in the middle. But I felt like I had won in the knowledge department. I will be saying Helen’s signature phrase more often not just at bridge, but at anything competitive.

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