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Bridge Conventions

"Cheaters never win unless they cheat a whooole lot." —Yan Zhang

After all the games of Bridge that were played at MOP and IMO, we decided that the standard conventions just weren't conveying enough information. So we invented a few of our own:

  • The "I have 12 cards" convention: if North has a terrible hand, he pretends to count his cards, and says, "I have 12 cards". If South also has a terrible hand, he says, "I have 14 cards -- redeal," and they proceed to throw their cards into the center of the table before East and West realize what's going on. If South has a good hand, however, he says, "Hmm, I have 13 cards," and while East and West are counting their cards, North suddenly "finds" the extra card and play continues as normal.

    More complicated versions of this convention involve conveying different information with 12 or 14 cards, or even 11 or 15, depending on the logarithm of their opponents' IQs.

  • The "What time is it?" convention: North may convey information to South about his hand by asking "What time is it?", while looking at his watch. Unknown to East and West, North has secretly turned his cards up during this maneuver so that South can see them.

  • "Who dealt?": conveys 10-12 points and a balanced hand.

  • "I don't have 10 spades": conveys the lack of a 10-card spade suit.

  • Yan's knocking convention: a sneaky way of conveying information about distribution without cheating outright. Simply knock out the number of cards in each suit.

  • "Have a heart": conveys information about hearts. It is unclear exactly what information is conveyed.

  • "Blam!": conveys a desire to say "Blam!". The similar "Blahm!" convention conveys a Mahssachusetts ahccent.

  • Jump to 6 clubs: conveys that the bidder is in fact Po-Ru, in case his partner can't see him.

  • The three kings convention: a shortcut through the tedious process of Blackwood in certain special cases. To convey having three kings, start whistling We Three Kings.

  • Creative passing: to convey different types of bad hands, bid in one of the suits "pass" and "no bid". Pass is lower than clubs, and no bid is higher than no trump. Hence, 1 pass conveys a somewhat bad hand, and 1 no bid conveys a medium bad hand. 2 pass is weak (for only slightly bad hands), but 2 no bid is strong (for incredibly bad hands).

    Other variations include "one no spades," "three no clothes," "four no squid," etc.

  • Counting low card points: if not holding many high card points, count low card points for discouragment. Twos are worth 4, threes are worth 3, fours are worth 2, and fives are worth 1.

  • The Gibraltar convention: conveys having one card of each value. This implies 10 high card points (and 10 low card points), as well as one ace and one king.

  • Minus 6 no trump: conveys zero high card points.

  • Fake finesses: a valuable psychological tactic. For example, if North as the declarer holds a K x, and both A and Q are on the board, North pretends to finesse East by leading the x, and, after thinking for a while, taking on the board with the Q. This has the effect of discouraging both opponents, since West believes that the finesse worked, and East believes that West is a moron.

  • The laughing convention: consists of making a noise that resembles laughing. Its meaning has not yet been determined.

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