Andre Asbury

Please Don’t Gloat

Do you ever play against people that just really irritate you? Of course, we all have, whether it be for the place they keep their convention card, the fact that they don’t know what a proper takeout double is, the way they turn the played boards, the way the place the cards on the table, their poor analyses of the hands, the fact that they criticize partner at every opportunity, the way they don’t claim when they have all trumps and aces left, or simply the way the look at you. Most of those are just little pet peeves that are generally nothing to legitimately be concerned with but sometimes it can be down right rude and improper.

Take, for example, a player who is in 2SX making an overtrick when the defense has no chance to set it. The player goes on and on during the hand and after about how it was cold and how his partner made a good bid and how they just got a top and that the opponent made a stupid double. Or maybe the player who was just defending 3HX and set it for 1400 but goes on for awhile about how they should have gotten it for 1700. Or maybe, a player psyched or semi-psyched a 1S overcall and got the opponents to a doomed 3NT instead of the makable 4S. After the hand, the pair praises each other for their “good bidding” and tells the opponents they should have bid 4S or how they got a top by screwing the opponents by making a bid or play that was onorthodox. Just accept your good score and move on. You can laugh about it and talk about how you “got ’em” after the round is over but while you’re still at the table, spare them the embarrassment. Would you like it if your opponents shoved your bad boards in your face like that? No, you’d want them to keep quiet and move on.

This all qualifies as gloating. It is rude, and is something I have very little tolerance for unless everyone at the table is drinking. It is probably not as bad as the angry player who critiques his partner after every hand or gives unwanted lessons, especially bad lessons. It is just bad etiquette and very unsportsmanlike. It is also the reason there are many bridge players, particularly juniors, who I have lost respect for or refused to play with. You can be confident and show that you’re a better bridge player without having to tell people about it all the time. Let your score do the talking. If you beat ’em by 50 imps while being pleasant the whole time, they’re realize that you’re good, and they’ll respect you more than if you beat ’em by 30 (after dropping 20 imps by doing silly crap and not getting away with it) but make sure they realize when you’ve stolen a good board from them.


Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 1st, 2010 at 3:58 pm


Shame on you. YOU ARE THE CULPRIT FOR ALLOWING IT TO HAPPEN. If I were in your shoes, it would occur ONCE AND IT WOULD BE THE LAST TIME. GUARANTEED!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know where you play, who your directors are and whether they are aware of it, under whose auspices the game is sanctioned, etc., etc. To be responsible for it in any way, shape or form is tantamount to doing it oneself. If the Bridge Police can’t stop it, I would recommend the Firing Squad. Remove it at any cost!

Bridge is supposed to be a pleasant game — provided for the pleasure of ladies and gentleman — not egomaniacal animals who can’t possibly know any better or are just

cruel creatures of habit.

Maybe instead of the art of bridge lessons, your part of the world should concentrate and specialize in courtesy, respect and a civilized code of deportment at the table. I do hope ths type of behavior is not rampant all over your area — but just in one locale where you have not done your part to have it halted.

To me these are far from pet peeves and I would put a stop to them pronto. People like the ones you describe are blights on the game and they need a good talking to.

I guarantee you if these disgusting acts of ill-breeding and poor sportsmanship occurred at any of the clubs I have ever played in, it would be their first and last appearance.

It is up to you to put a stop to these barbaric acts — unless this blog is some kind of a joke.

Robert E. HarrisSeptember 1st, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Gloating is illegal behavior. Once this starts call the Director and ask the Director to enforce Law 74A2. Repeat offenders ought to be penalized, say 1/4 of a board at matchpoint pairs. Call the Director courteously, says this sometimes Director. See Law 74B.

John Howard GibsonSeptember 1st, 2010 at 4:56 pm

From Howard Bigot-Johnson

Great article which echo my sentiments completely. But however much you moan these obnoxious characters cannot be stopped such is their unempathic blind arrogance. I use my HBJ character, with all his appalling faults, to hammer home this message. The Bigot-Johnsons of this world are to exposed, chastised, and ridiculed……even if it means poking fun at myself. Perhaps ACBL should set up a HALL OF SHAME for all those who clock up 100 or so complaints regarding their unsportsmanlike and abusive behaviour. Now that would work. A kind of virtual reality stocks from the medieval times. Anyway, well done….but next time start NAMING NAMES ? Yours John Howard Gibson

LuiseSeptember 1st, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I had to look them up to satisfy my curiosity. For save others the trouble, I have quoted them below:


A. Proper Attitude

2. Etiquette of Word and Action

A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.

B. Etiquette

As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:

1. paying insufficient attention to the game.

2. making gratuitous comments during the auction and play.

3. detaching a card before it is his turn to play.

4. prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.

5. summoning and addressing the Director in a manner discourteous to him or to other contestants.

Linda LeeSeptember 1st, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Your blog made me think about gamemanship. Do you get a better result by “owning the table?” I suppose that tactic works quite a bit and gloating is a form of the same kind of intimidation.

If you can ignore it and stay within yourself it shouldn’t really work. If it affects your concentration or your play it may be an effective (if perhaps illegal) weapon.

When I play against a player who likes to intimidate and it is a long match than sometimes I will do or say something quite innocently to turn things around. I suppose in a way I become guilty too.

While it may be against the rules this type of gamemanship is a part of the game and you need to be mentally prepared for it.

Andre AsburySeptember 2nd, 2010 at 4:07 am

Judy – perhaps you misunderstood. I was trying to show a contrast between the petty annoyances/mannerisms in the first paragraph to the very bad behavior in the second paragraph.

It’s a bit exaggerated and mostly visible to me online, and in rare circumstances face to face. Rest assured that I am using my influence whenever possible to keep other players whom i come in contact with educated on bridge etiquette, civilized and respectful.

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm


I am sorry if I took out my wrath on the messenger, but anyone aware of it should challenge such behavior. That is what owners, managers and directors have a responsibility to do — though in private clubs sometimes anything goes for fear of antagonizing the cusutomers who produce the card fees.

I, personally, would not tolerate it. It is time our game was run with respectability — and remarks (good or bad) can be made privately after a game.

I have always believed that a teacher’s responsibility (before the explanations of the number of cards in a hand or suits in a deck — the forerunner should be manners and ethics, a simple concept to explain). Much easier at the ground level than after one begins to think he or she is a mavin.

Cam FrenchSeptember 4th, 2010 at 2:28 am


I days of yore, I would say intimidation, not so much gloating was the rule of the day.

Bridge is a game of ego, and as such there will always be a psychological edge to it. That said – Judy is right, only you can stand up for your rights.

Ethics and sportsmanship are woven into the fabric of the game and those who fail to see that are violating the spirit and LAWS of the game.

As for the juniors, when we are young (I speak for myself here and the group I came up with) we were full of ourselves, and a good quick slap on the wrist or better yet – a swif kick in the derriere might help everyone to realize the rules are designed to enjoy the game.

Law 74:

1) Courtesy

A player should maintain a courteous attitude at all times.

2) Etiquette of Word and Action

A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or embarassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.

I think that is pretty clear.

Next time, call the director, cite Rule 74 and smile.

Easier said than done but you will only have to do it once before someone takes notice.



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