The Delta Swiss was one of the few times that registering a plus score for the monarch’s opponents was permitted at all. Nevertheless, Pharaoh (Pharaoh-Vizier, Little Joe-Omar the Actor) held a slim lead over the visiting Roman IV (Romulus-Remus, Julius-Augustus), largely due to the Vizier’s discovery of a new defensive play, immediately anointed as the Avaris Coup, to defeat a Roman spade slam.
This segment found the palace team’s two newcomers, Little Joe and Omar, lined up against the older set of Romans. Little Joe tried to cut the tension with some cordial remarks to his opponents.
“I see you’re the senior pair,” he said, turning to Julius on his left.
“Primus inter pares. Semper fidelis,” replied the Roman, indicating that they were first among equals, and always faithful to the team.
Little Joe was impressed with the egalitarian attitude; in the palace, and on the Pharaoh’s team, there was a definite, inviolable hierachy. The Pharoah’s place at the top of the pecking order – or any other order, for that matter — was nothing short of sacred.
As the hands were being dealt, Little Joe verified the halftime score. “Let’s see,” he said, “we’re ahead by 6 DMP (Desert Match Points),” he said.
This time it was Augustus, sitting on his right, who had someting to add. “Sic transit gloria mundi.”
Omar, who was wise in the ways of the bazaar but hadn’t yet been exposed to the wide wide world, leaned towards Joe. “What does that mean?”, he asked anxiously.
Little Joe had prepped on Latin during the intermission. “Literally it means ‘Thus passes the glory of the world,’ and he’s telling us, I think, that things won’t necessarily remain as they are,” he said.
The Roman one-upmanship put an abrupt end to the pleasantries, and both sides got down to the business at hand. The visitors seemed to have slightly the best of it over the first few deals, making a couple of touchy partscores and an even-money III sans (3NT) contract, so the match seemed almost even when this layout came up.
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