Saturday, September 22, 2012

Talk About the Dangerous Hand!!

As mentioned in the last post, one of the culprits who changed polite, manicured-nails, martini bridge to serious, conventioned-laden, headache bridge was Ely Culbertson. Following Harold Vanderbilt's bright idea in 1925 to change auction bridge to contract bridge by tweaking the score and making the game riskier, Culbertson took it upon himself to promote it.

One of the tools he used was his magazine Bridge World. According to Maggie Simony's book The Bridge Table, by the November 1929 edition, the magazine was reporting that a murder had taken place over the game.

It was seasonably balmy in Kansas City that night when four friends gathered to play bridge at the Bennett's apartment. The men had played golf earlier in the day and the women had been busy preparing a sumptuous supper.

Late in the evening Myrtle was dummy to John's (her partner and husband) 4 spades contracts. He went down two tricks; she complained; he slapped her; she got a gun and shot him twice in the back while he tried to run. Shocking!

Even more shocking - she got away with it. Evidence and witnesses notwithstanding, it was a smooth-talking defense attorney and a beautiful, weeping defendant that claimed victory.

But many think it was an additional fact that was discovered which also helped poor, sobbing Myrtle not only get acquitted but collect insurance as well - in an earlier hand, John had trumped her ace.

After that was revealed, bridge players across the country agreed -this was indeed justifiable homicide.

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