Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spades to Bridge

For the last couple of years, 3-4 days I play spades during lunch with co-workers. There are often two tables of us, sometimes with an extra player or two, and I've tried on occasion to get them to learn bridge, but there's something about the mentality of people where I work that makes them not want to exert much brain power and bridge is definitely more intense than spades. There are really only two of them who would be decent at bridge - the ones with good card sense, the ones that actually understand basic card play techniques.

Any bridge lessons quickly lost their interest, but I still try to teach them how to play the cards properly. I can tell which ones would be decent at bridge by how well they pick up on things like finessing, leading top of a sequence, establishing tricks in a suit, and to a lesser extent drawing trumps. Of course, spades is much more random than bridge. Two or three of them do consistently play pretty well - they can execute basic plays like finessing with AQ, playing second hand low, leading sequences to establish tricks, but the others just don't get it. They remain stuck in the idea that things like cashing unsupported aces, leading unsupported kings and queens, and playing second hand high are good strategies. Why do some smart people - even engineers who naturally are good with numbers and spatial relations - have such difficulty with bridge?

In my previous office, we had regular scrabble games. It was also a bunch of engineers but generally an older group than the mostly 20- and 30-somethings in the spades group, but I was still by far the best player. I guess it's understandable that engineers may not make great scrabble players, but they refused to learn bridge as well. I guess I did get one lady to come to a bridge class for a week or two but then she quit. Anyway, they've all heard me talk about how great a game it is and are well aware that I travel a lot to play and sometimes make it financially beneficial, so hopefully someday these people will cross over into bridge.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

You know you're playing a high level of bridge when you execute squeezes like they're routine and the opponent being squeezed concedes rather than agonizing over the discard. The latter happened twice last week. Then there was that one time an expert opponent erroneously tried to concede... no further details.

Anyway, Jonathan's pictures from the Dallas NABC are up so there's actually a photographic record that it happened. http://imageevent.com/jon911/2014dallasspringnabc
I really do like that he does this. Many of us bridge players, myself included, get home and realize we didn't take enough pictures. I particularly like picture #80 of Cristal and me. Being an editor of the District 7 News, it is particularly nice nice to have easy access to the photos.

Over the 10.5 days, I ate probably 26 meals (lunch only on 4-5 days I worked out in the morning) including 13 free meals at the hotel and 7 Chipotle burritos.

Next up on my bridge calendar: maybe a Gainesville sectional this weekend, maybe some sectional next weekend, maybe Gatlinburg in 3 weeks, maybe some sectional in May or June, I'm not sure, but I'll consider reasonable suggestions/offers. All I know for sure is I have definite plans for the Columbia regional July 7-13 and tentative plans for the Vegas NABC July 17-27.