ACBL Bridge Beat #34: A Game of Chance

Reprinted from the Buffalo Evening News, Nov. 19, 1954

This Bid Deserves a Set

The (take a breath) New Jersey Legalized Games of Chance Commission has recommended that bridge and all other card games, when conducted by qualified groups, be considered games of chance and licensed by law. We leave the larger issue of gambling for another time. Our concern here is with the horrendous concept of bridge as a game of chance.

Chance, indeed! Is it chance that brings home a notrump grand slam doubled, redoubled and vulnerable? Is it chance that leads two partners to unerring bidding born of scrutiny of points, honors, logic, probability and rule? Is it chance when different teams play identical deals in duplicate tournaments but the more skilled scores more points, penalizes the opposition more heavily, game after game, rubber after rubber?

There may be an element of uncertainty in the luck of the deal, in deciding through which hand to finesse, or whether to finesse at all. There may be a blush of chance whether outstanding trumps will divide evenly or lopsidedly. But who can think of rudely classifying as a game of chance an adventure of mind and spirit involving hard study, intense bookwork, grievous concentration, and even pain in the neck earnestness to those others who play their bridge only to fill in the gaps in the conversation.

We here with double the New Jersey commission and will bend every effort by setting it by six full tricks. It is vulnerable and without honor count and has vastly overbid its hand.

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