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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Duplicate


Duplicate

I am not a serious duplicate bridge player like Jim, but I have learned enough to enjoy playing.  Contract bridge now seems like a game in which chance is as important as skill.  Unlike social bridge where it’s good to be lucky in being dealt good card, in duplicate that luck doesn’t matter.  Everyone plays the same hands, so ability to bid and play are primary, although it still helps to be lucky.  The last time we played I ended up in a three no trump contract even though my partner and I had only three clubs between us. The highest card we had in clubs was the Queen.  Our opponents had ten clubs. If they had attacked by leading clubs until they ran out of the suit, they would have taken the first five tricks and decimated the contract. They led clubs only once and I made the bid plus one more trick — that’s luck!

The first group I joined took the game so seriously that there was very little talk during the afternoon.  People were patient with me, but there was an underlying sense of impatience with me not knowing the unspoken customs of play, such as not talking about anything unrelated to the game. At first  I didn’t have a convention sheet. Of course, I didn’t know many conventions to write down.  When people asked what my partner’s bids meant, I often had to admit that I didn’t know.

Once or twice my partner and I did well, but largely I believe because by chance our mistakes turned out to yield higher scores than standard bidding and play.  I liked my partner, the director and most of the players.  The director advised me not to worry about unfriendly players because after a few hands they would move on.  The director kept the game moving.   Eventually I decided I was not obsessive enough for that particular group.

With the second duplicate group I started by subbing in for partners who could not attend a game for one reason or another.  At the end of the session I would say I enjoyed playing and would ask the person I had played with to request me as a partner when his or her regular partner was unavailable.  There was one exception.  Once a woman who had just been my partner disappeared with a speed that Houdini would have envied.  I think she didn’t want to listen to me asking her if she wanted to have me as a partner again.  Now I play regularly with the same man.

I enjoy playing defense.  Mucking around with someone else’s plan has an element of controlled disorder that I find satisfying.  I am now beginning to better appreciate the offensive strategies needed to make a bid.  I am working at learning when to bid above the value of a hand and take an expected loss. Sometimes opponents get fewer points for setting us than they would have gained by making a bid.  I am gradually learning more about scoring the hands.

In this group talking about things besides bridge is acceptable. That slows down the game.  Also the director will delay starting if someone who promised to play is late.

I’ve noticed that even in the more relaxed atmosphere of the second group people get emotionally engaged in the game.  The director is called when there is a disagreement or uncertainty.  I’ve heard people argue about the director’s decision.  Loudly.  One player picked up a board (a thin piece of metal shaped like a board with slots holding the four hands to be played) and threw it across the room. She announced her team would take a zero on the rest of the hands. Then she led her partner (her husband) out of the room. Another player insulted his opponents using quite colorful language.  He apologized some weeks later.

Historically, bridge resulted in a murder.  If I have the story correct one man insulted his wife for not making a contract bid. Next he insisted she bring him his gun from upstairs.  Eventually the man ended up shot and killed.  His wife went to trial and claimed she acted in self-defense.  I don’t know if she was convicted.  Reportedly analysis of the hand by experts showed unless the opponents made a mistake the contract bid could not be made.

4 comments:

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I've played a lot of different card games over the years but never bridge. I belonged to one card club, eight members, and we played 500 with partners. We enjoyed it, but I don't remember that we were excessively quiet or got upset with our partner of the evening if they goofed. My whole family played cards when we were kids and grownups. A small group of six of us for three or four years got together after I retired to play cards at a local small cafe style restaurant after we had lunch. That game was everyone for themselves, and we did so much laughing. I miss that. My sister-in-law and a cousin - the only ones still alive except for me - are planning to get together again and play cards on a regular monthly basis.

KM Rockwood said...

When she heard we were getting married, my husband's ex-wife told me that if I wanted to stay married to him, never be his bridge partner. She's a very intelligent, competitive woman, so I thanked her and have declined all offers to teach me bridge or get me lessons over the years. Ditto with golf.

Kara Cerise said...

I rarely play cards--Old Maid or Crazy Eights with my nieces now and then--and didn't realize that people took card games so seriously unless a pile of money was at stake.

But it sounds like a bridge tournament would be a great setting for a murder mystery, Warren.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Warren, I’m glad you share my enthusiasm for the game.

The ACBL (American Contract Bridge Leage) has specific rules about bad behavior, called zero-tolerence. At the clubs I play in we would not put up with such behavior as throwing a board. The player would be suspended and if something similar happened the player would be barred from playing at the club.

~ Jim