Christmas with cut-throat bridge
After serving his delicious lamb chops, Ayyub taught us how to play cut-throat bridge.
I've been playing bridge all my life. My father taught us to play cards and chess as ways to socialise and think strategically. Playing bridge was a way to relax and still exercise the brain in college. Of all the places I had played (Duke, Taiwan, McGill, Oxford, and LSE), it was the LSE bridge players that amazed me the most.
Bridge is a game that normally requires four people. I've played Honeymoon Bridge in which only two players are needed. I've heard of bridge for three people with the fourth being a dummy. But cut-throat bridge is new to me.
Here is how you play cut-throat bridge:
The 52-cards are dealt to four players. The second player, the one directly opposite the dealer, is the dummy. The dealer opens three top cards of the dummy's pile. The bidding begins - clockwise from the dealer, who starts the bidding.
Everyone bids as if he is bidding with the dummy as his partner. After the first round, the dummy's fourth card is revealed. After each round of bidding, another card in the dummy's hand is revealed. This continues until everyone passes to the declarer.
The bidding ends. The playing begins.
The person to the left of the declarer leads. All remaining cards of the dummy's hand are then revealed on the table.
Like normal bridge, you can declare any of the four suits to be trump or declare a no trump.
Ayyub taught us how to keep score, a task I never bothered to learn.
During the game I discovered that it's not necessary to always win the bidding to become the declarer. Winning means knowing your cards and your limits. It means understanding what others have from their bidding calls. And it helps if you have a photographic memory.
I love the excitement of winning a declaration and having to come up with the goods. I dread knowing I'm going to lose because of poor memory or poor playing.
Seeing my rollercoaster ride of emotions and my non-poker face, Ayyub exclaimed, "For heaven's sake, Anne! It's just a game!"
Needless to say, I lost the game from being too greedy (to win the bidding.)
25 December 2003 Thursday
winning the bids = winning the battle
winning the game = overall score - winning the war