Luise Lee

Cheating to win: confessions of a foolish girl

All this talk about cheating lately has gotten me to ponder the reasons why people cheat.  I have done a little browsing on the internet and have come up with a few answers to the question as to why people cheat:

1) Because they aren’t good enough at whatever it is they are doing to win “honestly”.

2) Because the thrill and excitement of whether or not they will get caught gives an addictive adrenaline boost.

3) Because they cant stand losing, they are insecure, and winning (at any cost) gives them a twisted sense of pride or ego boost.

4) For the money

5) Because they are miserable, angry, conceited or self-centred people and don’t give a rats ass about cheating their opponents out of a well-earned win.

6) To rebel against authority

I hear people complain about number 1 so often, but honestly, I really don’t buy that as a reason.  You need more than simply lack of skill in order to bring you down the level of cheating to win. 

I actually used to cheat  (gasp!  say it ain’t so!)  No, really, I did… My reasons for doing so were probably a combination of number 2, 3 and 6 — NEVER reason number one, and certainly not reason 5.  I had tons of skill and could have easily taken down any opponent in my path in any challenge or competition I entered (though, I admit, not every time.  There is a factor of luck that one must take into account). Hmm — I suppose I need to add “to offset the luck-factor” as #7 on my list of reasons…

I also stole things when I was in high-school.  I stole a ton of things.  I remember I went to an amusement park for a field trip once, and I didn’t have very much money to bring.  My friend and I were bored, so we decided to go around to strangers to ask them for a quarter to use the phone and call home to get our parents to pick us up.  We would go to the phone and pretend to make a call, then pocket the quarter and go ask the next person.  I think we probably earned enough to buy 3-4 more rides on our favourite roller coaster that day.

There are other incidents that I could relate.  I cheated at games (mostly card games… never any money involved), I cheated on tests in school (not often, because I’m brilliant, but occasionally).  I knew at the time that what I was doing was wrong, but I didn’t care and I did them anyway.  I was so afraid of failing… so afraid of letting those around me down, (afraid to let MYSELF down), that I couldn’t care less how I got the results — I just needed to get them!  Failure was not an option!

I remember the last time that I ever stole anything.  I was at another amusement park with my friend (perhaps I should add “Because you had a bad influence” to my list of possible reasons for cheating?) and we were clearing out the souvenir shop of trinkets that we felt were overpriced.  I liked this small stuffed cat, and I remember my bag was so full of crap that I had trouble closing the zipper in my bag before I turned around to leave.  As I turned around, I met face-to-face with this woman who was staring me down.  BUSTED!  I slunk out of the store, and then I was so terrified at what might happen to me I raced away from that store so fast that I could have given Ben Johnson a good run for his money.  I never stole so much as a dime from anyone since.

When I think about all of the incidents from my past, I am ashamed at myself for being such a foolish, insecure and immature girl.  I suppose everyone has skelletons in their closet.  Well, those are mine.  I hope you don’t feel any less of me for sharing, but I can tell you that it feels good to get that out in the open.

What happened to the good ol’ days?

I wasn’t around the time that my father played tournament bridge, some 35+ years ago — long before my time on this earth.  My father’s introduction to the game was from his friend Ken Murray, who back in the day and in my father’s small circle of friends, was quite an accomplished bridge player.  One day he went with his friend to a tournament where Ken handed my father a single sheet of paper with various scribblings of opening bid requirements:  With a strong hand (16+), bid 1C.  1D response waiting, etc.  1H opening shows 13+ with 5 hearts.  1S, same with spades, etc…

My father was quite a good poker player and eucher player at the time, but had never tried his hand at bridge before.  He watched a few games and quickly got the hang of it, and then sat down with his new partner to play in a pairs tournament.  His poker experience served him well at the bridge table. With his reference sheet of paper and his experience at reading table presence, Ken and my father had a very good game and ended up winning the event!

Things sure have changed since then… I went with my dad on the weekend to play in the Barrie Regional tournament.  My dad hasn’t played compettitively probably since I was born.  His sole exposure to the game these days is through playing online at BBO.

At first, my father seemed quite pleased to be at the event.  As usual, he was the social life of the pre-game party, chatting up everyone who passed by about the good ol’ days and his past bridge adventures with his friend.  My dad has an amazing ability to strike up random conversations with practically everyone he meets and become friends instantly.  I wish I could do that!

Then we get to the table before the game is about to start and my dad immediately starts focusing on the bidding boxes.  “They didn’t used to have these when I last played — how do these boxes work?”…  Then the tournament directors came around with the boards for our table to set up — we played 4 boards per round so there was lots of work for us to do.  My father was obviously intimidated about trying to help set up the hands and was very clearly confused, constantly putting cards in the wrong hands or making mistakes. 

When we started playing, my father struggled with learning how to use the boxes.  We did play in the newcomer game, but of course the event was stratified, so we also played against experienced bridge players, some of whom were not very forgiving or patient, and visibly just unpleasant to play against.  We started the game late because both my father and I had to go in the washroom just before the first round started. By the second round, we were quite behind and the tournament directer asked us to skip a board because of late play. 

In our third round, since the director rushed us along and made us skip, we hadn’t even written down the scores from the previous round yet.  The next couple that faced us was an elderly couple, obviously a husband and wife.  I was sitting North (my father can’t walk around very easily so we had to be stationary) and I was trying to keep up with the scoring and playing/bidding at the same time.  Our opponents had been bidding and I was trying to write down the score sheet from the last round while they were bidding.  A couple times, the bidding got to me and I had to take a second to review what had happened, and then dutifully passed with my 2-count balanced garbage.  When the auction ended with my father’s last pass, my LHO  said impatiently “It’s your lead, dear!”.  If she had stopped there, I wouldn’t have been frustrated, but then she proceeded to say, (while I was thinking about the bidding, the contract, the scores from the last round that I still hadn’t finished writting down yet, etc., etc.), “You can’t hold up the game like that — you should make your opening lead and then write things down after the lead has been made — someone might say something to you about that”…  My dad couldn’t contain himself and was obviously very frustrated at this point, and retorted “I think you just did.  Isn’t this supposed to be a newcomer game?”.  I returned to thinking about the lead and she was still talking, and my father responded “She’s allowed to think though, isn’t she?”.  Her husband was playing particularly slowly at the time as well, so it was quite ironic that she was annoyed by our mild (by comparison) delays.

Anyway…  all in all, we had a decent game.  I can post more about the results later, but I think that it is a shame that my father was so intimidated by the people we played against and by the new system of using the bidding boxes, and about all of the rules about what he’s allowed/not allowed to do.  I asked my father if he wanted to come back the next day to play in the afternoon, but he clearly had had enough.  I was sad to hear him say so — I was hoping it could have been something we did together on a regular basis.  I guess we will have to stick with the impersonal connections offered online.

England vs. Poland — Round 1 a disappointment

I got really excited for England today when I heard the news that they had reached the finals.  I always like cheering for the unexpected surprises that crop up every now and again.  (My work also has a direct connection to England finishing in the finals, so that is another draw of interest for me).  I decided that I would jump on the band wagon and start cheering them on as they started their first round this morning.

I sat down at one of the England-Poland VuGraph tables today to see how they were doing.  Well, I think I might just jump right off that band wagon again.  They stunk the joint out!  The table that I selected to watch, IMHO, was responsible for a large number of the big swings in favour of the other guys…  Now I am by no means anywhere close to world class,  (I’m not even a good player yet), but the game was so painful to watch that I started thinking even *I* could have done better!!

I hope that I speak too soon and that they will have a quick break for regrouping and come back fighting.  I know there’s a lot of bridge left to play, but it certainly looks as though England forgot to bring their game to the table this morning.  Current score:  England 1,  Poland: 62.

Adventures with Pamela Hughes

I had a great time in Washington at the nationals. (I think I mentioned that before, but there’s no harm in repating the statement!). I was a little anxious about my first ever competitive bridge match (not counting the one very bad experience in university), but I was also excited at the same time.  It was an odd feeling!

The first bridge match that I played in was in the 0-5 Masterpoint pairs game. I showed up 5 minutes before the event without a partner, thinking that it was an individual event. (I mis-read the schedule in the daily bulletin. I thought that “single” meant “single person”, not “single-session event”, and I completely missed the word “pairs” in the listing.  Doh!)

Fournately for me, the helpful administrators scrambled to find me a partner at the last minute, and I met Pamela for the first time. We got to know each other a bit over the course of our partnership that evening, and I learned that her boyfriend and my husband were ex-partners when they played as juniors. What a small bridge world we live in!

Anyway, we actually had quite an interesting and enjoyable match  — plus, we had a very good game to boot  (I wonder if the fact that we played well made the game even more enjoyable?  Hmm…) 

Here’s how our score card looked for the session:

1 N NONE 14 100 9.86   13 N BOTH 9 620 4.95
2 E N-S 14 50 4.41   14 E NONE 9 -130 2.23
3 S E-W 15 1100 11   15 S N-S 5 -420 8.23
4 W BOTH 15 110 9.5   16 W E-W 5 200 9.86
5 N N-S 13 120 6.05   17 N NONE 4 -110 1.68
6 E E-W 13 140 9.86   18 E N-S 4 -140 3.86
7 S BOTH 12 650 8.23   19 S E-W 3 300 10.95
8 W NONE 12 -100 7.68   20 W BOTH 3 200 6.59
9 N E-W 11 400 10.95   21 N N-S 2 -400 0.05
10 E BOTH 11 200 10.95   22 E E-W 2 -600 4.95
11 S NONE 10 420 8.77   23 S BOTH 1 -140 3.32
12 W N-S 10 650 7.14   24 W NONE 1 -130 0.05
SESSION SCORE: 161.12 PERCENT: 61.03   SESSION RANK: 1(A) 1(B), EVENT RANK: 3(A)  3(B)

We were on fire until the last 4 boards, but got very chilly after that. (Speaking of chilly — man, was it cold in that tournament room!  That’s the last time I wear a skimpy summer dress to an evening game in an air-conditioned hotel conference room).  With 4 boards to play, I couldn’t believe that our names were first on the print-out of the results so far!  All in all, we did very respectively, and we won 2.06 master points! 

I’m not going to talk about the boards where we got a top — more often than not, it was because we were playing with total novices who, in some cases, had difficulty following suit.  I think it is more interesting to talk about the boards where we didn’t really get a very good score.

I’ll start with board 13, because quite honestly, I have no clue what happened on board 2.  I tried looking at the hand records and I can’t reconstruct anything about the hand.  Obviously we set them 1 trick in something, but I have no idea how or why.  Not even looking at the complete hand records was enough to jog my memory. (I guess the more experienced of a bridge player I get, the easier it will be for me to remember the hands correctly). 


Board 13

Dealer: North

Vul: Both

Q 6 4
A 4
Q J 9
K J 10 9 7
West East
A 10 8 2 J 7 5 3
9 8 7 K Q J 10 5 3 2
10 8 7 6 3  
Q 6 3
K 9
A K 5 4 2
A 8 5 4 2


I don’t understand why we didn’t do well on board 13.  We bid and made 5, which was almost the best we could have done.   (The hand records say that N/S can make: 5NT, 5, North: 5, (4 from the South side), and EW can make 1 and 4).

I was initially confused as to how North/South can make 5NT, but I suppose with careful play, concessions can be made to cope with the 5-0 diamond break.  If the opponents lead a heart, then declarer can win the ace and start with the Q.  If diamonds are 5-0, he knows he will need two club entries to the South hand to finesse the diamond 10, and then to cash the remaining AK.  So he has to hope that clubs are not also 3-0.  Declarer crosses to the A, (being careful not to squander away the precious 7), and leads a diamond to the 9.  He then cashes the remaining diamond in the North hand, then gets back to the South hand on the club 8 to reach the last two diamonds.

If West and East both follow to the first diamond, then declarer knows that he doesn’t need to worry about the fifth diamond trick.  Now he can cash the club ace to guard against the 3-0 club break in the West hand.  Declarer doesn’t need to put the contract at risk by setting up a spade trick as long as he can count to 11 with 5 diamonds, 5 clubs and 1 heart.

I was disappointed with our score for board 13 because I didn’t think we did anything wrong.  But more surprising to me was what happened on the next board:


Board 14

Dealer: EAST


A Q J 9
Q 7 3
A J 9 6 4
West East
5 4 K 7 3
10 9 A K J 6 4
K 10 7 5 Q
7 6 5 3 2 A Q J 9
10 8 6 2
8 5 2
8 3 2
K 8 4



Not vulnerable, it was East’s turn to bid.  He opened with a strong, forcing Two Clubs.  (Isn’t he a little weak to open two clubs?  I thought you needed more than that…).

Anyway, me and my 3 points with no distribution passed, and his partner ALSO PASSED!  East shook his head in despair at this misunderstanding of his bid (it was clear that East was more experienced than his partner).  My partner apprehensibly passed Two Clubs as well. 

I led one of my random irrelevant cards, and when West laid down his hand, East practically burst out laughing.  It was lucky for E/W that they couldn’t have made anything.  According to the hand recordes, NS can make 1, and EW can make 1NT, 3 and 4.

…  to be continued

New tutorial in “Tools” section

I have added a new tutorial to the “tools” section of bridge blogging.  This should assist anyone who wishes to post a bridge movie, such as the one shown below this paragraph, into their blog or website. Happy blogging, all!

Playing bridge with my husband

I played a little bridge when we were in Washington last month.  The most surprising aspect about the experience was I actually LIKED it!  The first session I played was with this lovely lady named Pamela Hughes on the first Friday night of the tournament.  I had showed up to the game with about 10 minutes to spare, thinking it was a singles event.  I was disappointed when I learnt it was a Pairs game, but the administrators were very helpful and scrambled to find me a partner at the last minute.  I actually had a lot of fun playing with Pamela and I hope to get the opportunity to do so again!  

I’ll post more on my adventures with Pamala a different day, but today I wanted to thank my husband for an enjoyable match the first Monday evening of the tournament.  I spoke to Judy today and mentioned that I played bridge with Colin, and her astonished response was “and you’re still married??”.  I couldn’t help but laugh at her comment. 

Colin was a very gracious partner.  There was just one situation that occured that was too much for him to  contain himself: 

J 8  
  K 9 5

Declarer played the J from Dummy, and I failed to cover with the K.  When the finesse worked, declarer repeated the finesse, played low to his Queen and then my king fell under the Ace near the end of the hand.  (Colin’s holding was 10 7 4 3)

After the hand was over, Colin said to me “Oh, you did have the King”…  (or something to that effect).  I think his surprise at having mis-guessed the hand because of my play was too great for him to contain himself — he should have just not said anything.  I responded with “Why, what’s wrong?”.  He realized his error and brushed off my comment saying “nevermind, it doesn’t matter”, but I could tell just by looking at his smiling face what he was thinking.

That was about the only negative thing that I have to say about the entire experience.  It was actually quite pleasant, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again sometime.


I had a great time in washington.  I even played some bridge in a couple of the events — and I thought it was actually fun!   Amazing!

Anyway, here’s a photo that I took of the capitol bidding.  I think it turned out rather well!

Taken at 2009 ACBL Bridge Nationals

Taken at 2009 ACBL Bridge Nationals

I’ll write more about my bridge adventures over the next few days.  As soon as I dig myself out from the mountain of laundry that has piled up over the past 3 weeks of being away at cottages and in D.C., etc.

1999 Far Eastern Championship – The Answer

I posted this question  on Monday.  Here is the answer.  The following is a quote from Entry Management, The Bridge Technique Series (book 1):




A 5
K 7
A Q J 8 
Q 8 5 3 2
West East
 10 9 8 4 2  Q J 7 6
 Q 6  3
 9 2  K 10 6 5 4
 J 9 7 4  K 10 6
K 3
A J 10 9 8 5 4 2
7 3


South Arrived in 7 and West (he has been cursing himself for it ever since) decided to lead the 9.  The obvious route to a thirteenth trick was a diamond finesse.  However, the Japanese declarer could not believe that West would have led from the king of diamonds against a grand slam.  He rose with the ace of diamonds and now needed to ruff out the king of clubs to make the contract.

He crossed to the ace of clubs and then required three more entries to dummy to pick up king third with either defender.  He led a low trump from the South hand.  “Seven, please!” he said.

The finesse won and a club ruff was taken.  A trump to the king permitted a second club ruff and down came East’s king.  Declarer could now cross to the ace of spades and throw his diamond loser on the queen of clubs.

Several other declarers in seven hearts received a neutral spade lead.  At least one of them filed to spot the extra chance in clubs and took an early diamond finesse.  Not the best!

Wow! — would you get this right at the table?

I’ve started working through The Bridge Technique Series… Since I’ve been working hard at creating all of these ebooks, I might as well take advantage and read them myself.  They are at just the right level for me, and so far I’m getting a lot out of them.  I printed off the whole book in just 15 pages, and I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about scribbling all over each hand diagram as I try to work out the solution myself.  So far, I’m loving the ebooks!  Anyway, mini-plug over; here’s the meat and potatoes:

I won’t tell you the title of the book that I started off with, because it will give you a clue as to how to play this hand to maximize your potential for making this agressive grand slam.  Would you make this contract at the table?

You are playing 7 at the 1999 Far Eastern Championship, and West leads the 9.  What is your plan to make the grand slam?


A 5
K 7
A Q J 8
Q 8 5 3 2
K 3
A J 10 9 8 5 4 2
7 3

I’ll post the whole hand with solution on Friday, so if you are interested in the result, check back on the 19th.

Stumped again…

I’m having trouble again.   I keep looking, and looking at this hand, but no matter how many different ways I try to play out the cards, I still only end up with nine tricks!  I’m really trying hard to resist the urge to peek at the answer, but it’s getting increasingly difficult with each failed attempt.

I’m sure as soon as I figure it out, I’ll be like “Doh!  It’s so obvious!”.  Still, I struggle on…

West leads the K into your 4  contract.  No clues from the bidding were offered by your opponents.

 6 5 4
 A 8 7
 J 3 2
 6 5 4 3
 A 3 2
 K Q J 10 9
 A Q
 A K 2

 What is your plan?