Judy Kay-Wolff

Pet Peeves

Regardless how much you think you have it ‘all together,’ we all tend to take note of certain habits or idiosyncrasies of others that annoy us. It happens in your every day life as well as at the bridge table.

One of my favorite “normal” pet peeves occurs in restaurants .. especially in fast food places which people usually frequent to grab a quick snack. We go to Wendy’s before attending the neighborhood duplicates. There are exactly four booths with four padded seats in the middle of the room surrounded by dozens of tables for ”twos’, ‘threes’ and ‘fours’ as well. Larger parties can always move tables together to satisfy their specific needs. Today, when we arrived, would you believe (and it is not unusual) that of the four four-seaters, three were occupied by single individuals leisurely reading something while they ate! ¬†Where I come from, that is called ‘chutzpah” — or in the vernacular .. REAL GUTS. I know there are worse (much worse) things in life that create such annoyances and heaven knows, dozens more take place at the bridge table.

I’ll start the ball rolling. Lots of my grievances are no doubt well-covered under Zero Tolerance. My favorite is when the opponents gloat over good results by vocally oozing with admiration for each other’s clever bids, opening leads, switches …. (whatever!) ….., manifesting their glee by speaking to each other as you are not even at the table. Other than actual cheating, that’s as bad as it gets.



AlanMarch 17th, 2016 at 5:42 pm

To me, even more irritating than despicable gloating is when partner huddles, then passes (in a non forcing auction) and partner balances with diddley-squat?

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 17th, 2016 at 8:01 pm


That particular situation I can handle as it had happened to us at the club level more than once when we first moved to LV. I truly believed our opponents (mostly inexperienced) did not know the inferences. As it became more frequent (and probably against Bobby's better judgment ), before I would make my next call, I would address the opponents politely and explain that balancer’s partner must understand the inference and take action (usually a pass) based strictly on his or her own hand. You cannot believe how quickly these type of situations stopped. The actual straw that broke the camel's back that provoked me to relate this story was:

Pass by my RHO, a Weak Two Bid by moi, an inordinately long huddle by Lefty followed by an obviously painful pass, a pass by partner and … hard to believe Righty (vulnerable) balanced with about five points with a six card suit headed by either the queen or jack. It rolled back to my LHO who happily bid 3NT which of course was cold. Now for the kicker …. the huddler on my left had 22 points including AK10xx of my suit, but after going into a seance .. took no action. Of course, the director rolled it back to my WTB .. for a great result. It just took one situation like this to spread around the club and it served as an educational tip that one must bid strictly on their own thirteen cards.

JRGMarch 17th, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Two of my pet peeves are just that, though both are covered by The Laws:

(1) Opening Leader asks “Any questions partner?” BEFORE leading face-down (or face-up).

(2) The player before the player in the Pass-out position ASSUMES his Pass is going to end the auction and just starts to gather up the bidding box cards.

The latter irritates me so much for many reasons, the UI if the player in the Pass-out position does take a call being just one of them.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 17th, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Right on, JRG. The opponents have enough of their own problems without creating any more!

And, as it has been proven time and time again, the auction is not over until it is over — showing three green cards before it rolls around to you to end it all!

Jane AMarch 17th, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Hi Judy,

One of my pet peeves is constant chatter at the table during the bidding and play of the hand. I like pleasant conversation just as much as anyone, but not when I am trying to concentrate on a bridge hand. I normally say very little at the table during the actual game other than greeting my opponents when they arrive at my table if I am sitting N/S, so some may think I am in the bridge zone so to speak, and I guess I am. Before and after the round, I enjoy conversation and am happy to join in. Sometimes the chatter causes some delay of the game as well, and we have enough of that already.

Another thing that bothers me is the frequent handling of the bidding cards in the bid box. Some players pick up a bid, put it back, choose something else, put it back, sometimes put their hand on the entire box while deciding and then knock the box on the floor by accident. If we could all not touch the box until we know what we want to bid, it would be great. We think with our heads, not our hands.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 18th, 2016 at 1:37 am

True and tactful, Jane!

I always try to remember to greet newcomers to the table even if I am laboring over a boo-boo I made the round before. However, socializing should be done after the completion of the boards, but my medication slows me down and I am lucky to finish on time so I protect myself by brief socializing a bit early.

I agree with your annoyance of fingering several cards from your box before deciding on one. I think part of it is just a nervous habit but it is bothersome nevertheless.

I heard there were complaints at our club because a player (a good one in deep thought as declarer) was shuffling his face-down cards around while he was anticipating his next move. There are worse things in life. Some people just get great joy out of complaining!

Bridge can be very exasperating on many fronts .. but none of us would give it up for the world!!!!

SamMarch 24th, 2016 at 2:19 pm

How about when a kibitzer gets into a post mortem discussion without being invited?

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 24th, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Hi Sam,

If you find it so disconcerting, you certainly (in a polite fashion) can request the kibitzer to leave. I believe you have the right. I have found most kibitzers usually ask if the players object to his or her sitting down and watching. There is one particular person who makes himself the fifth wheel and when he poses the question, I usually respond in a humorous fashion .. ‘only if you don’t speak.’ That usually brings a laugh but he gets the message.

ReneMarch 28th, 2016 at 3:51 pm

What is your reaction when a club director is called and even after reading and re-reading the rule book .. doesn’t have a clue?

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 28th, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Unfortunately, it is not only the club level where that can occur. I can site famous examples in high level events where the ruling was ludicrous .. and is still discussed with resentment and laughter. Bobby’s “Oh, Shit” case is probably among the most famous .. but there were some politics and “partial” (as opposed to “impartial”) individuals involved in those calling the shots. It is hard to cite a worse case!!!

I can understand new and unfamiliar directors straying from the correct ruling .. but at the National Level, it is unforgiveable! In a club, if it is ‘suspect’ the ruling is incorrect, an experienced, impartial player should be consulted .. and if necessary, overturn an erroneous ruling. Fair is fair!

Robb GordonApril 6th, 2016 at 1:46 am

Oh this is easy. My #1 pet peeve is the idiots that think it is ok to talk (loudly) on their cellphones in a restaurant. As Gilbert & Sullivan said “they never will be missed…”

Judy Kay-WolffApril 11th, 2016 at 4:20 am

Sorry. Robb. I was so busy monitoring the ridiculousness of some of the argumentative comments on BW, I neglected my own site and didn’t see your message until now.

I agree with your annoyance .. but restaurants are not the only settings. I see it more often at the blackjack table where just about everyone is always getting calls. It is hard to imagine the times when we didn’t have our little “security blankets.” No doubt, cellphones have proven to be part of most people’s everyday life ….. but we did survive without them in the days of yore.

My best to you and Linda,


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