Monday, 26 July 2010

Playing cards is a dangerous pastime

A few years ago a friend at work persuaded me to take up the game of bridge.  I'd come across it in older novels, such as Agatha Christie's, but never played it.  She told me it was a cheap, interesting evening out, and lessons were due to begin at her club.  It seemed quite genteel, and gentle.

I loved it from the first evening lesson - I marvelled at the new language I was learning - how a simple couple of words could convey to my partner so much information, it was amazing.

I progressed and enjoyed the game, but then, moving from the shelter of lessons to the cut and thrust of the real gaming world, I discovered thinly veiled aggression awaited at many tables.  I experiences partners who would berate their partner for tiny slip-ups in bidding, or for failing to remember a conventional, ie not true to the bidding, bid.

At one club, a couple partnered each other regularly, and both were good, though he was better than she.  I remember seeing them walk out of the club room on a couple of occasions to "discuss" a point on which they disagreed.  Acrimony was often in the air, and it could be embarassing sitting at the same table - though that could be the case with many partners, not just these.

An article in a friend's newspaper caught my eye - the grainy photo of the lady's face looked familiar, if a little fatter in the face.  I found myself astounded as I read on.  This poor lady had been found dead - stabbed over a hundred times.  Her husband is accused of the crime of murder.

She looked familiar because she was the lady whose partner had often ridiculed her, and taken her outside to remonstrate with.  I find it so sad that a life can be taken over a disagreement in a game of cards.

It is only a game - it shouldn't need a health warning. 


  1. Oh my. That's horrendous. You have to wonder, though, which came first - was the agression really a product of the game, or was it just one of many areas where a violent, controlling man could "express" himself.

  2. I'll consider this if anyone ever invites me to take up Bridge. I'm so awful at Hearts, I'm sure I'd need a body guard to protect me from my poor play.

  3. Indeed, Rachel, you do wonder - I suspect that the "alpha male" simply couldn't be controlled, and if it wasn't bridge it would be some other outlet.

    Joey, bridge is a lovely game, it really is - but not if you get caught up with the aggressive "I must win at all costs" brigade!!! I would only play it now with friends, not at a club.


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