08:36 28 March 2014 Dallas North American Bridge Championships by GS Jade Barrett, CsbNews correspondent
«I fought tall fighters, short fighters, strong fighters, slow fighters, sluggers and boxers. It was either learn or get knocked off» – Sugar Ray Leonard
Many matches are not things of beauty. Like great Prize Fights of the 1950’s when boxing was first broadcast, the bout would swing back and forth as each pugilist would gain the upper hand for a moment until a sudden punch would stagger him just enough to reverse the momentum. Sometimes you just have to have an iron chin.
Bridge is not a genteel game, even when played at tea time. It is a true battle of wits conducted against both yourself and your opponents – and on a rare uncomfortable day, your partner. Then there are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
In any long match there are heavy blows that each player must endure: the perfect opening lead, the perfect choice of a bid, the pass at the right time – all of these can rock your boat to the point of capsizing it. Every great team experiences these challenges, and must withstand them in order to emerge victorious.
Your own ability to land a solid strike is ever present, and often this opportunity presents itself immediately after absorbing a punishing hit from the other side. A true competitor must be ever vigilant.
Do not let the physical appearance of your opposition allow you to relax. Bridge is the martial art of the mind and the most diminutive and frail are still black belts.