Almost Bridge AZ53   Main

The Mother and the Orphans

  by Richard Pavlicek

My wife Mabel loves to create analogies when explaining bridge principles to her students. This is one of her favorites, which she uses to explain an important technique in suit establishment. Suppose you are declarer in 3 NT and must establish the following suit when dummy has no entry in any other suit:

Notrump A 8 7 6 5 
South leads 4 3 2 

Most of Mabel’s beginning students are too eager to win the ace, hence they miss the key play of ducking the first two rounds to keep the entry to dummy. Or as Mabel would explain it:

“You must pretend your cards are a family. The Ace is the mother and the low cards are the children. You know what happens when a mother leaves her children? They become orphans, and that is a terrible thing to do to your children. Therefore, when you play this suit you have to keep the mother with the children. Don’t make them orphans!”

For amusement I sometimes question her about these stories, and something about this one was unsettling. When she tells her students to duck the first two rounds (keeping the mother), isn’t this like giving away some of your children? As I see it, you start with seven kids, and you’re asking the students to give away four of them as soon as they can. Talk about breaking up a family! Mabel thought about this for a moment and rebutted:

“No! You’re not giving them away. Some of the children must leave for school. It’s just important to keep the mother around to care for the younger ones still at home. So there!”

I must admit I had no counter to that. At least she kept the daddy out of the story.

Addendum: [2-14-16] With tears of love… Honey, I Miss You

Almost Bridge AZ53   MainTop   The Mother and the Orphans

Copy this and Mabel will put you in her stories!
© 1995 Richard Pavlicek