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Can't trump bridge

What Makes for a Good Bridge Partner?


What Makes a Good Bridge Partner

I'm lucky that I get to play with bridge players who are dramatically better than I am, and who are nice enough that they will understand my game and appreciate why maybe I led the wrong thing or didn't shift to the right suit or evaluated the hand just slightly wrong. They’ll make comments that add to my knowledge, increasing the chance I might do it right next time. And that's a lot of fun.

I'm amazed that some of these bridge players remember all the hands. You play 50 or 60 hands in a day, and you go to dinner that night, and they know every single one. Bob Hamman, one of the greatest bridge players of all times, is kind of the ultimate of that. If I misplayed some hand three years ago, he can still tell you the spot cards that were in there. Bob himself has misplayed very few hands when I’ve played with him, but I do make sure to remember those so I have my modest defense ready.

The classic form of the game is the team format where you have four people and you're playing for the normal game-type scores. Warren Buffett prefers that, because it's just the traditional form of the game, and doesn't make a big deal of the small differences of a no-trump contract versus a suit contract.

I like both team and match point. I like match points because there are just two of you playing, so there are slightly fewer variables. You usually get hand records afterwards, and a lot of tables play the same hand, and so you can look at all those different scores and see what happened. And because it's so excruciatingly important to take every trick you can, match point highlights any sloppiness in defensive or declarative play. So it forces you to think, okay, I've got to learn about squeezes, I've got to keep track of the shape of the hands I don't know as the hand goes on, and take full advantage of that.

So, I really like the mix of the two. If you get the right team of four, that's a lot of fun because it's a social thing as well as kind of a mental challenge.


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