We are fortunate to live in one of the hotbeds of Bridge excellence, with typically several Grand Life Masters at a club game and more at tournaments. So the rough-and-tumble of Boston area bridge generally serves us well enough to hold our own when we visit a less metropolitan setting. But one point of etiquette that we try to follow is that it's bad form to actually win when a guest at another club. It's OK to be second, though. I don't know how we manage it but, somehow, we usually end up in that position. Once at the Tenterden bridge club in England, we wanted to play on a night when they were having their Ladies' and Gentlemens' championships. The director welcomed us in, despite our misgivings that we were going to perturb their big event. It so happened that we made up a full table in the Ladies' event so I had the unique experience of playing bridge with three women on every round. It was run as a Howell movement with about 20 tables in order that there would be a single winning pair (and recognition for 2nd and 3rd). We managed to avoid raining on the parade by coming in fourth.
On this Memorial day weekend, as we did last year, we went with our dogs to a quiet spot we like up in the woods of Vermont. After we had made our plans, the date of the Vermont sectional was changed and so it appeared that we would be not be playing any bridge during our stay. But then we discovered that the Brattleboro Duplicate Bridge Club would be playing on Sunday afternoon. We were welcomed by owner Bob Claflin who told us the fascinating history of the club. It was founded by none other than Ely Culbertson, who retired to Brattleboro with his second wife, and died there in 1955 (who knew?). As a result of Culbertson's policy, still upheld by Claflin, visitors to the club play free the first time. Now, of course, we are looking forward to returning at some point and paying for our entry!
It turned out to be a small game (two-and-one-half tables) and scoring was by IMPs with one pair taking a six-board sit-out. They were also most accommodating in allowing us to take the last sit-out. We managed to bid a couple of hopeless slams and found the competition surprisingly tough so were certainly in no danger of running away with an easy win. Here's an example of a good defensive play that contributed to us losing an additional 2 imps:
If you haven't played bridge at another club somewhere, then you're definitely missing a great experience! Our final position amongst the five pairs? We showed our usual courtesy as guests – second place.