January Slam Almanac
As we wind up January and slide (literally here in the Northeast) into February, we face the bleakness and boredom of deep Winter. Some Faithful Readers are enjoying the warmth of the South (and gloating about it, I might add), but the rest of us are having our character made stronger by battling cold, ice, snow and bad driving.
February, while thought of as the most depressing month, also has brought some surprising events over the years. First, at the end of the month, for those of us who are TUROPHILES (factlet: That’s the official term for a cheese lover), National Cheese Lover Day is the last Friday of the month. What will it be, brie? Camembert? A gloriously smelly Blue? All of the above?
Next, for sheer head-shaking information:
In early February 1856, David Dixon Porter imported a shipment of camels from Turkey, hoping to create a commercial empire. No, not cigarettes, CAMEL camels, the kind with humps. One has to wonder what he envisioned: A camel in every backyard? Camels replacing horses? A cavalry of camels in time of war? Obviously this didn't work out or David Dixon Porter would be a household name. I suspect the amount of poop to be shoveled would discourage many prospective camel owners.
Considering the insanity of some ideas should certainly be a natural segue to bridge. Aren’t we glad we’ve got some guides through the craziness?
Our first guide this month is MATTHIAS HUBERSCHWILLER. He’s got some thoughts to help keep us sane. He has a hand that applauds the 10, one of my personal favorite cards. He also attacks when to duck, the order in which to play suits, and how to combine chances for success.
BEN NORTON has a series of six hands with a common theme. He calls it “Two Way Torment.” Each hand can drive us straight into crazy Camel-land trying to decide which suit to choose. He demonstrates how to use percentages, inferences, count and the bidding to find our way.
And I’ve got some truly crazy hands for you. Three of them make slams with not even enough High Card Points to make game. They illustrate how bridge is not a game of points, but a game of tricks. How do we know we’ve got the tricks? Stay tuned.
Finally, to round out our quest for sanity in the game of bridge, MATT brings us two quizzes. One is on No-Trump slam bidding and the second is one of his popular Bid-a-Hands.
There we have it. Fun, instruction, help to get through the Winter crazies. Enjoy!