Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Very Moving Story

At the Bridge Center, we play our hands, thank our opponents and move to the next table. In order to remember that we go to the next higher numbered table and the cards we just played go to the next lower one, our feeble minds have a little saying: "People go up to heaven; cards go down to hell."

I didn't realize there was a method to this until one day our director said we were using a Mitchell movement. Prior to duplicate bridge I had only heard of a movement as it related to a symphony or a bowel, so a Mitchell movement was new to me.

Our game directors are so brilliant they could be nuclear physicists, but instead they dutifully come to the Bridge Center every day and compute the number of players for a particular game, divide that by the number of tables needed and then a certain movement is employed. I'm pretty sure they use the equation E=mc2 to figure it all out. It's quite impressive.

The other day the proletariat were assembling unaware of this complicated, high level calculus and two players wandered into another room. They apparently went searching for miniature vanilla tootsie rolls in the hard candy bowl and the director didn't put them into the equation. She scribbled on her blackboard for a few minutes, turned, held up a chalky hand and announced a Howell movement was required. I thought at first she was saying "howl" and that we were to wail each time we got up. So we played the boards and I got up and howled but since I was the only one who did, I figured I had misunderstood.

Anyway, after we played that round the two candy seekers re-appeared, their mouths so full of tootsie rolls their cheeks were all poked out. When the director saw them she was stunned. Stop the game! We have a half-table! Half-tables gum up the works, so it was back to the drawing, er, blackboard.

Chalk dust was everywhere. Our poor, but still brilliant director looked like a Mexican wedding cake she was so densely covered in white but her hand worked furiously across the board numbers and letters filling it until she once again turned to us breathless and said: "I've got it! We are going to use the Three Quarter Extended Howell-Worger movement."

The Three Quarter Extended Howell-Worger movement is one in which you are given a piece of paper the size of a postage stamp with each round printed on it and the table at which your are to sit. Every third table you were to skip if it was odd numbered but if it was an even numbered table you were to encircle it with three other players holding each others' hands singing "Kumbaya." Every fifth table you sat out and rooted through the hard candy bowl until the next round (by then, however, all the vanilla tootsie rolls would be gone).

So the Three Quarter Extended Howell-Worger movement made for a long day of bridge, as you can imagine, with all the skipping and sitting out and singing that had to be done. But I must say, it sure beat the time we used the Swing Your Partner 'Round and 'Round movement. Now that was really exhausting!

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