Friday, July 31, 2009

Simple Etiquette for Bridge Players

The following is excerpted from "Etiquette in Society", by Emily Post, 1922, but contains much that is still relevant today.

That no one likes a poor partner—or even a poor opponent—goes without saying.

The ideal partner is one who never criticises or even seems to be aware of your mistakes, but on the contrary recognizes a good maneuver on your part, and gives you credit for it whether you win the hand or lose; whereas the inferior player is apt to judge you merely by what you win, and blame your "make" if you "go down," though your play may have been exceptionally good and the loss even occasioned by wrong information which he himself gave you. Also, to be continually found fault with makes you play your worst; whereas appreciation of good judgment on your part acts as a tonic and you play seemingly "better than you know how."

There is nothing which more quickly reveals the veneered gentleman than the card table, and his veneer melts equally with success or failure. Being carried away by the game, he forgets to keep on his company polish, and if he wins, he becomes grasping or overbearing, because of his "skill"; if he loses he sneers at the "luck" of others and seeks to justify himself for the same fault that he criticized a moment before in another.

A trick that is annoying to moderately skilled players, is to have an over-confident opponent throw down his hand saying: "The rest of the tricks are mine!" and often succeed in "putting it over," when it is quite possible that they might not be his if the hand were played out. Knowing themselves to be poorer players, the others are apt not to question it, but they feel none the less that their "rights" have been taken from them.

A rather trying partner is the nervous player, who has no confidence in his own judgment and will invariably pass a good hand in favor of his partner's bid. If, for instance, he has six perfectly good diamonds, he doesn't mention them because, his partner having declared a heart, he thinks to himself "Her hearts must be better than my diamonds." But a much more serious failing—and one that is far more universal—is the habit of overbidding.