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Bridge & Humor: A Kibitzer erred…

Ottawa Citizen – 18 Jul 1977

Dictionaries define the word «kibitzer» as a spectator at a card game who looks at the players cards over their shoulders. In the world of bridge, an extension of the standard definition has been added. A kibitzer not only watches a bridge game, but he also has the licence to make comments about the bidding and play — as long as he doesn’t do so while the game is on.

North-South vulnerable. North dealer

Opening lead: K

Today’s deal features a classic kibitzer story. The setting was a well-known New York City bridge club. On the first deal, North-South had bid a game, thus becoming vulnerable. The second deal follows.

After cashing the king and ace of hearts. West paused for reflection. As he was reflecting a kibitizer who was sitting between South and West, leaned over to look at West’s hand. He then proclaimed to West: «You can’t beat the contract no matter what you lead.»

Accepting the kibitzer’s word. West exposed his hand, as did both South and East. Suddenly East exploded: «Another heart lead will beat the hand.» East’s analysis was correct —the kibitzer had erred. The club director was summoned to the table. He promptly convened a committee to serve as a jury to discuss the kibitzer’s «crime.» After deliberation, the committee came up with a brilliant verdict.

They awarded North and South 800 points apiece for making five diamonds (700 for the rubber, plus, 100 for the trick score). And they awarded 100 points apiece to East and West for defeating the contract. They fined the kibitzer the 1.800 points that North, East, South and West collected. At a tenth-of-a-cent a point, that cost the kibitzer U$S 1.80.

The players then continued with the game as though the five diamond deal had been a misdeal. After West had cashed the king and ace of hearts, had he next led the heart jack. East would have ruffed with the diamond queen. Declarer would have overruffed with the king — and West’s jack of diamonds would now have been promoted into a winner, and the setting trick.


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