[M.M.X.I.V. 238] Pass

This post is essentially a continuation on an idea that I wrote about nearly a year ago.  In that post, I considered connotation versus denotation, with respect to the phrase “out of town” as it relates to going between municipalities of a metropolitan area.

Well, this time I will start with a seemingly contradictory sentence.  But first, a message if you are reading this from the Home Page/Archives:

If you just clicked here from Home Page/Archives, sorry, but this is NOT another radio post.  Instead, I have a sentence that I have read before, and knew immediately that it was not a self-contradictory sentence:

Pass is not a four-letter word.

Well, by DENOTATION, it is definitely a four-letter word, unless you have some weird metric for what is a letter and what is not.  Instead, the following image will make it clear to some people where pass is not a four-letter word by connotation:

Not a four letter word.  (Image courtesy canadianbridgesupplies.com)

Not a four letter word. (Image courtesy canadianbridgesupplies.com)

Indeed.  This post is about the connotation of “four-letter word” as it relates to contract bridge.

In the game of bridge, pass is the most common call in an auction.  It does not necessarily deny a good hand.  However, in some cases, such as when your partner has made a forcing bid, then PASS is a four-letter word, as it undermines partnership trust if you pass a bid that is forcing.  (The laws of bridge make no stipulations on forcing bids, but all common bidding systems include forcing bids since bidding is a conversation.)

However, when partner has not made a forcing bid, or when you have a lot of points and the opponents are bidding, pass is NOT a four-letter word.  Or, another time when Pass is definitely not a four-letter word is when the auction suggests the partnership has misfit hands.  The advice of two experts that I follow:

Howard Schutzman (hondo717 on BBO): “If there is a misfit, stay low.”

Mitch Edelman (mitche on BBO): “When you’ve dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.”

There are some cases when, despite a good hand, you just have to shut up, or maybe have an opportunity to sic THIS card on the opponents’ auction when you have a balanced strong hand and their bidding has gone exuberantly:

Double!  (Courtesy www.larryco.com)

Double! (Courtesy http://www.larryco.com)

Just watch out for the opponents spewing four-letter words later.  Particularly if one of those four-letter words is: “DIRECTOR!!

Why do I consider “DIRECTOR!!” to be a four-letter word?  It violates the third of these admonitions on the score sheet side of convention cards:

“Always Disclose, Never Abuse, Don’t Intimidate, Practice Active Ethics”

It’s a matter of “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”  I am not intimidated if the call is “Director, please.”  (Another post may consider that penultimate sentence… it has definitely been a big thing that I have learned throughout my formative years.)

And of course, since my posts are usually G-rated, I will not send any stingers of four-letter words before the end of this post STOP


Today is the two-hundred and thirty-eighth day of M.M.X.I.V. STOP  That makes thirty-four weeks STOP

Today is the forty-third day of the Character Building Trial STOP That makes six weeks and one day STOP

Over. click


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