Friday, October 30, 2015

Bridge and money

Bill Gates was asleep when the phone rang:
"Hi, this is Jessica from the lottery. I am happy to inform you that you just won 2 million dollars. Congratulations!"
"Million? I am not familiar with this number. I'm not familiar with numbers bellow one billion. Especially not at 7AM," and he hung up.
The phone rang again, and his secretary was on the line:
"Hi, I called to remind you of the half billion deal at 8AM in your office."
"I feel lazy today. I am not getting out of bed for any deal bellow one billion," he grumbled and hung up again.
His secretary again:
"They just called about that one billion donation. You promised them an answer today..."
"Give them two billions if they promise to never call again at this hour." He hung up for the third (and hopefully the last) time.
This time his bridge partner was on the phone:
"We're on for a money bridge table one hour from now. $5 a point. Are you in?"
"Oh! The first call today worthwhile to get out of my bed. I'll be there!"

But he was not in shape, and they lost LOTS of money. Like this hand, for instance, where Bill could have made a slam.

Dealer South, all vulnerable

West lead a diamond.

Bill thought for a while, then won in dummy and lead a low spade to his ♠J. His goal was to make 4 spade tricks: "I'll make 4 tricks in spades every time East has ♠Qxxx or if spades split 3-3," he thought. As cards were, Bill did make his 4 tricks in spades, but that was not enough.

With 4 spades, 2 hearts, 4 diamonds and 1 club, he was still one trick short. So... he tried the club finesse, and down he went. "How unlucky," he murmured.

His partner wasn't happy: "Unlucky?! They call to tell you that you won 2 millions and you get upset, and now you fail a cold slam when you are SO lucky to make 5 spade tricks – if you play it right! Try the club finesse first! If the finesse succeeds, play spades as you did to get 4 spade tricks. But if club finesse fails – You must play for 5 tricks in spade. Play the ♠J, and win West's ♠Q with your ♠K. Go back to hand and finesse again to the ♠9. As cards lay – You make 5 tricks".

Bill was upset. As always, when he was upset, he went for his other hobby: fishing. He turned off his cellphone to make sure no one will bother him and sailed to the open ocean on his fancy boat. He silenced the engine and sat fishing, enjoying the silence around him.

"Hello!" said a tiny voice.

Bill looked around but there was no one there.
"Down here!" said the little voice again.

He looked down and saw a little golden fish on the hook.
"Yes, it's me, and I am talking to you, Bill," said the fish.
"This is one of the worst days of my life... Nonsense calls before sunrise, lousy bridge, and now here I am talking to a fish when I desperately need a quiet moment," he thought.

The fish read his mind. "Don't be upset, Bill. Your luck is going to change. For I am the famous gold fish, surely you heard about me in stories when you were a kid. If you remember, when you catch the gold fish, it's time for a wish..."
"I don't see how this changes my luck, but OK. I'll grant your fish wish – Tell me how much do you want, and go away!"

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