Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Partner

After winning two out of our first rounds in the Sunday Swiss, Andre and I sit down to play another eight board round. I pick up QJ9xxxx KJ Kx Jx and open 2S showing 9-12HCP and 6 Spades. Andre bids a forcing 3 Hearts and I raise him to four. When I put down the dummy he was clearly visibly upset, and he proceeded to go down a mere 300. I still don’t necessarily disagree with my bidding, but that isn’t the main point of this post.

From this point on Andre looked very annoyed and thought that I had misplayed a 3 Heart contract two boards later although the hand is unmakeable. Nonetheless, I could feel the pressure of him thinking I am playing poorly and being upset with my bridge game. It had been a long weekend with some disappointing results, and I do not blame Andre for being upset; I know for a fact that if my partner does something that I strongly disagree with and it turns out poorly that I can make faces with the best of them. All of this said I think that Andre and I are one of the better partnerships when it comes to getting annoyed with our partner.

When one of us gets mad we’ll say something along the lines of “and the reason was?” or “why?” and the other will respond with a few words about their thinking or just a simple apology and asking to talk about it later. We might remain annoyed for a board or two, but we soon will discuss the hand and move on. In the worst case we will each go walk separately for a few minutes between rounds, and come back to the table with a little clearer of a mind to focus on the upcoming boards.

I think one of the most important things when it comes to getting annoyed with partner is to not make a scene at the table. Put a note next to the hand on your score card and discuss the hand after the round. Andre and I will have a maximum of a few sentences interchanged before one of us says “let’s talk about it later”. This does a few things: helps let you focus on the current board rather than continue to argue about the previous one and it also is a lot more considerate to your partner. He or she shouldn’t have to be berated in front of two other people; if you don’t come to an agreement quickly then talk about the hand privately and discuss what went wrong. Andre and I were playing in the Swiss and one of the opponents made a bid that they disagreed on and the bidder got mocked and insulted by her partner. Andre and I strongly believe that she was correct and that her partner was extremely rude. Trust that your partner had some reason for taking the action that they did and discuss it afterwards if you disagree.

Your partner is trying to work with you. If you get mad at them they are going to play worse, and they are going to start dislike playing with you. Also, when you act inconsiderate to your partner at the table people build quick impressions of you. Remember to try and keep a good mood and through a joke around every few hands even if your partner is the only one who gets it; bridge is a game – enjoy it.


  1. This is why Megan loves screens.

  2. Good post.

    When one of us gets mad we’ll say something along the lines of “and the reason was?” ... and the other will respond with a few words ... or just a simple apology

    A book called "Love Story" was made into a successful movie of the same name. A famous line in it is, "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

    In bridge, isn't it the same thing? Wouldn't it be better to discuss it later? If (at the table) you need your partner to say "sorry," how does that improve his game? Isn't it a mistake to do anything that causes your partner to play less than his A game?

  3. Yes, good post, but I never say sorry for any bid or play in bridge. I think I've written post(s) on this before.
    And screens = awesome for playing serious bridge.

  4. I've talked to both of you about this actually, and I personally want to hear "sorry," and to say "sorry" at the table.

    Teammates in most team sports (except maybe Brett Favre) routinely tell each other "my bad" when something bad happens--it lets you know that they're willing to accept responsibility for the misplay and that they'll try to avoid it next time. I'm at my most frustrated when my partner did something wrong and doesn't realize it--if she realizes it and says "sorry" I'm pretty well mollified. And I hate the feeling when I realize I've misplayed in the middle of a hand and my partner is annoyed that I didn't, say, return the right suit--it's important to me to let her know that I understand that it was 100% my fault.

    It would be nice if I didn't need this, I guess, but I guess it's kind of been trained into me from my team-sports background.

  5. It's kind of weird. In life and work, I need apologies from other people when they mess things up, but in bridge I can put emotions aside and move on easier.

  6. It is a good post. And if you're playing with a partner who's NOT trying to do his or her best at the table, it's time to find a new partner.