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At the Bridge Table by Sussan Gross

The spectator 2 August 2014

The brilliant American bridge writer and former world champion Eddie Kantar once overheard two wives in his bridge class arguing about which of their husbands was the worse player. The first wife said, ‘Look, there’s no contest. Last night, my husband was in 7NT with 11 top tricks, and dummy had the AQ with the K onside, so a finesse would have worked. But he managed to wind up in dummy at Trick 11 and, with two cards left, led the Q from AQ!’ The second wife simply shrugged and said: ‘What’s so terrible about that? Against my husband, that play works.’

I was reminded of this exchange last week when, playing against a husband-wife pair, the wife erupted at her husband for failing to duck a trick. She was being a little harsh, I thought — but then husbands and wives do tend to be harsh with each other at the bridge table; there’s no place better to release their pent-up irritations:

Sussan Gross M1

West led the J and declarer — the husband — won with the A and played the 10. West covered with the K and declarer won the trick with dummy’s A. A fatal mistake: with only one more heart in hand and no other entries to dummy, he had no way to make the contract unless hearts divided 3–3. When they didn’t, he was restricted to 8 tricks. Of course, had he ducked West’s K, he would have made his contract. You could argue that he was unlucky East didn’t hold the K, in which case the contract might have made. On the other hand, East was my partner and I think I might have had a mini-explosion myself had he not ducked the trick… what a quarrelsome lot we bridge players are.


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