Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Joan and Karen … winners

I want to relate an incident that occurred early in the Canadian Womens Team Trial final. We were playing a signficant hand and Karen made a mistake (I personally have the record for those in the final.) Do you know what Joan did? She did absolutely nothing. She just picked up her cards, wrote down the score and got ready to play the next hand. Things proceeded as if nothing had happened.

Joan Eaton is a terrific partner and so is Karen Cumpstone. Karen seems to me to more easy-going and Joan more competitive. But each of them values their partnership and understands the need that taking care of your partner is the way to get the best game from them. Besides it makes the whole thing more fun.

I believe that the Eaton-Cumpstone partnership was greater than the sum of its parts because of how they behaved towards each other. Being able to overcome adversity.

Here is my advice to others. Some of it based on watching Joan and Karen and some of it based on years of doing things wrong!

Don’t talk to partner at the table

Don’t criticize partner or put down your partner.

Don’t try to prove your right.

If you have system confusion don’t discuss it (there may be very rare exceptions to confirm something)

Don’t think about hands that are done and don’t analyze them.

Do be calm.

If partner is upset suggest a break or even make a joke.

Let your partner know that you think they are terrific. Saying bravo when partner plays a hand very well is just fine.

Outside the session:

Don’t try to teach partner.

Don’t draw attention to mistakes (I know this is hard. I didn’t but I wanted to).

Try to lighten up the mood.

Make sure partner is being taken care of.

Keep partners problems to yourself.

I have worked hard in the last few years to follow these rules. I have more work to do. I think it is even harder with a husband and a wife. But if I can talk Ray into playing with me again maybe we can see if I can practice this.

When I told Joan I was going to write this she was very happy that I thought she was a “good partner”. You could see how important this was to her.

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