I used to play bridge and “no Trump” was a bid. It didn’t have any extra meanings. Just a bid. A strong no-trump was 16 to 19 points but in other systems, 13 to 18 were good too. Three no trump equaled “a game.” Seven no trump was the bid. You were contracting to take every trick with the suit’s high card always winning the trick. Even a two of clubs could take a trick.
I loved playing bridge. I learned to play when I was a kid and by the time I was a grown-up, I was addicted. I never played tournaments, never played for money. I played because it was the most intense game in the world though I’m sure chess players might disagree. But the thing about Bridge is that it’s a team sport and the aggressive energy involved is intense, especially between partners.
No one ever argues with their opponents, but everyone fights with his or her partner.
It’s also an equal opportunity game. Man, woman, or any version in between doesn’t matter. All that matters is how well you play.
Bridge is more addictive than drugs because there’s nothing illegal about bridge. All you need is a partner and another couple for a foursome. A table. Chairs. A bit of light. Pretzels.
I was one of the crazed players who didn’t think there was anything unusual about watching the dawn rise over a hand of cards.
The entire time I lived in Israel, playing bridge was our prime form of entertainment. There were people to whom you couldn’t usually talk. If you think today’s USA is divided, Israel was always divided. Among Jews, between the religious and non-religious, there were more hot topics to avoid than you could shake a stick at. Talking to people you didn’t know could be like tiptoeing through a minefield. But if they played Bridge, you ignored the other issues because when you played bridge, what you talked about was bridge. This could be enough of a battle without bringing in politics, religion, and all that other stuff.
Bidding. Contracts. Great games you remembered. Hilarious games. Weird games. Bridge players have their own sense of humor, which has nothing to do with anything except Bridge.
When Garry and I became a serious thing, I was appalled to discover I’d finally met a man who really — no kidding — didn’t know a diamond from a club.
He had never even played poker.
How do you make it through basic training in the Marines without learning to play poker? At first, I hoped I might convince him to give it a try, but it was soon obvious it wouldn’t happen. Garry doesn’t play games unless they involve movies or sports. He is a vicious Trivial Pursuits player, but that’s it. He doesn’t “do” games.
I still sometimes play Bridge online, though it’s nothing like playing with live people. You don’t get a lot of laughs playing online bridge.
Playing bridge requires you have at least one regular partner and a spare is useful. Playing with ones spouse as partner can be dangerous, but a single bridge player is like a car with three wheels. It doesn’t roll.
As life marched on, I realized I was not going to play bridge anymore. I have since met other former bridge players. We talk, yearn, and dream of the old days. The long nights with pretzels, cards, icy cokes. Sometimes beer nuts. They were the best.
Trump was the top suit and it helped to hold all the aces. Bidding No-Trump sounds like a perfect bid, too.