My Blue Suede Shoes

My partner Christine and I had just finished touring Graceland and we had not yet been able to clear our heads of all the Elvis songs when it was time to play bridge in the afternoon game of the M.A. Lightman club in Memphis.

Elvis recorded over 600 songs, and he never played bridge, but at least 20 of those titles seemed to be appropriate for our afternoon bridge game.

“It’s Now Or Never,” I said to Christine. “It’s our only chance to play bridge in Tennessee before we get to the Regional in Gatlinburg.”

“That’s All Right,” said Christine, even though it appeared to her that the neighborhood of the bridge club, near the University of Memphis, had seen better days.

We came in second with a 55% game and got .35 MasterPoints, coming in only behind the director and his partner, who had scored 60%, and leaving the rest of the field “Hurt” and “Moody Blue.”

We’re particularly proud – it just about made us sing “Amazing Grace” – of one board in which we stole a Game away from our opponents, who had 4 Hearts, by opening light and then bidding a No-Trump, making the Heart bidder believe that his partner had absolutely nothing and that it was our hand anyway.

Our East opponent who wound up in “Heartbreak Hotel” for missing his 4 Hearts contract will be Flustered Flo this time, while I’ll be her nemesis, Smug Sam, with the South Declarer hand. Christine will play the part of Sam’s North partner, Shy Shem, although this time she wasn’t shy about opening her 10-point hand with a singleton in third seat.

“Don’t Think Twice – It’s All Right,” she thought – and that turned out to be the right attitude.

South Dealer; East-West vulnerable

K 9 7 4
K J 4 3 2
K 7 3
West East
A Q 8 6 10 3
8 7 6 A K Q J 3 2
10 Q 9 8 5
J 8 6 5 4 A
J 5 2
10 9 5
A 7 6
Q 10 9 2

The Bidding:

South West North East
Pass Pass 1 1
1 NT All Pass

Opening lead: 8 of Hearts

 Flustered Flo hates it when she has a good hand but her partner evidently has nothing. It makes her think of the Elvis Presley song, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” because she feels like a voice crying in the wilderness without any response.

At a recent club game with the nice East hand, Flo overcalled a Heart after North had opened the auction with a Diamond.

When South, Flo’s nemesis Smug Sam, next bid a No-Trump and her West partner, Loyal Larry, passed, Flo thought there could only be “Trouble” ahead. Apparently her partner Larry had absolutely nothing and it was the opponents’ hand as they seemed to have the majority of the points. She felt a “Burning Love” for her Heart suit, they were probably going to take the bid away from her in 2 Spades or 3 of a minor, and she thought she had a good shot at 7 tricks right off the bat in No-Trump, so she decided to trap them in 1 NT.

It’s “Always On My Mind” to put them down instead of sticking my own neck out, thought Flo, as she passed the 1 NT bid. “I’ll hound them into negative points, just like a ‘Hound Dog’,” she told herself.

She got on such a hot streak that she almost developed a “Fever” as she took the first six tricks with Hearts, then led a Spade to her partner’s Ace and also collected the Club Ace when her partner led a Club back. Eight tricks went to Flo and her partner before Sam even got in and managed to take the last five tricks. That made the score Down Two for a plus-100 for Flo and Larry.

Flo and Larry then developed “Suspicious Minds” as to whether that plus-100 had really been a good score or not. Maybe Sam had once again been a “Devil In Disguise” by taking the bid away from them.

Sure enough, the hand records showed that Flo could have made 4 Hearts on the hand for a plus-620 instead of the measly plus-100.

“Now I’m ‘All Shook Up’,” admitted Flo. “’Don’t Be Cruel’, Sam. Why do you always have to do it to me? ‘The Wonder Of You’ is that I let you get away with it.”

“You only have yourself to blame, Flo,” said Sam, smug as always. “Your One Heart overcall was too weak a bid. You have to double and make your partner bid. You have 16 points and a singleton Ace. That’s the equivalent of 18 points. You’re strong enough to double and then switch suits to your Hearts.”

“Thanks for the lesson, I guess,” said Flo.

“Just ‘Love Me Tender’,” said Sam.

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