TALES FROM THE BRIDGE CRYPT (No. 2)
One of the blackest days in bridge annals occurred in Bermuda in 1975 when an Italian partnership was accused of playing footsie under the table, transmitting unauthorized information to each other. Though there was little doubt about their guilt, the two (facetiously referred to as The Foot Soldiers) were not expelled or even reprimanded as the WBF officials did not want to embarrass or humiliate the host country which had expended a great deal of money to sponsor such a publicized bridge extravaganza. There was quite a brouhaha following the incident and despite the gravity of the disgraceful mishandling of the problem – it was difficult not to smile in the aftermath because of the funny literary footwork that ensued!
Walter Bingham, A Senior Editor of Sports Illustrated, was actually at the site at the time of the scandal and wrote a classic article for the magazine, cleverly entitled “I Get a Kick out of You.” Canadian Internationalist, Eric Murray (who also played on several United States Teams) and who is known for his sensational sense of humor, sent a telegram to the U. S. Captain, Alfred Sheinwold. When play resumed, Murray’s brief message was delivered via the Vu-Graph Room microphone. It was read in English and met with uproarious laughter. When translated into Italian, the humor was unappreciated. Judge for yourself. It simply stated:
Dear Mr. Sheinwold:
I would like to volunteer for the North American Team. I play a reasonable game of bridge and take a size 14 shoe.
Eric R. Murray
On a much lighter note, Bobby related another amusing story in which he was personally involved. Pedaling hands is not an uncommon practice and one day he was accosted by a lovely lady who told him that Harold Rockaway, stationed in San Antonio while serving a stint in the Army, had referred her to Bobby for his opinion. Her initial thrust was, “I held six spades to the Ace, king, queen, jack. What do you open”? Bobby was taken back and explained that until he knew the rest of her high cards and distribution, it would be difficult for him to provide an objective answer. No response was forthcoming so Bobby pressed her again to collect her thoughts. She stood motionless gazing at the ceiling, shrugged, then nonchalantly blurted, “Oh ……. I think I had seven little diamonds too.” Details!!!!!