Bridge players are a little absent-minded these days as they keep thinking about all the Christmas things they need to do as they sit at the bridge table. But they keep coming to the table. No game will be played Christmas Eve, as the senior center will be closed.

Games will resume Thursday. The center is open on New Year’s Eve, but only until 5 p.m., so we will have a game that day, but we will have to hustle to finish and be out of there by 5.

We finally remembered to vote on how many boards we will play during the darkest months, and most people voted to play the full 27 or 28 boards. Lately, the game has run quickly and smoothly, so maybe we can always be out of the senior center by 4:30 p.m.

New players have a hard time adjusting to the rules of the game, what they can and cannot do.

Last week, Sterling Jarrett was playing a hand, and her left hand opponent pulled out the queen of diamonds and exposed the card. Realizing what she had done and that she did not have to play the queen on Sterling’s king, she put the queen back in her hand. As kindly as she could, Sterling said, “I’m sorry, but I saw your card and you have to play it.”

A hard lesson because it meant that Sterling made overtricks that she should not have made. We all remember when we were corrected by more experienced players. A lesson to be remembered.

Let’s talk briefly about a lead out of turn. If you had listened to Mabel Edmonson’s advice, you would always place your card face down when you are leading until you are positive that it is, indeed, your lead.

If you make this error, someone must summon the director who then gives declarer five options: 1. Accept the lead and let partner play the hand. 2. Accept the lead partner lays his hand down immediately and he plays the hand. 3. Forbid the lead of that suit by the offender’s partner as long as he holds the opening lead. 4. Require the lead of that suit by the offender’s partner the first lead. 5. Treat the lead as a penalty card.

Got all that? It is complicated and a lot to learn, but nobody said bridge is easy.

One final footnote on the 72-percent game Tommy Franklin and I had last week. We ended up second in District 7 Monday afternoon with a total of 212 tables playing, and we got almost 15 silver points. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Congratulations to Bob Harding and Maureen Prys, who finished first in C last Thursday.

Merry, Merry Christmas. Think about taking up bridge in the New Year.

Thursday’s results: N/S first, Sterling Jarrett and Barbara Ann Vinson; second, Sue Wilson and Jeannie Exum; third, Dayle Pond and Tempie Pierce. C — first, Bob Harding and Maureen Prys.

E/W first, Tommy Franklin and Joe Exum; second, Krishnaprasad and Selby Corbett; third, Kaye Langston and Shelby Bizzell. C — first, Lib Braswell and Linda Watson.

Monday’s winners: N/S first, Shelby Bizzell and Sherry Owens; second, Sue Wilson and Billy Bizzell; third, Doris Baddour and Kaye Langsston. C — first, Pat Keim and Bill Allgaier.

E/W first, Cathy Howell and Sterling Jarrett; second, Tommy Franklin and Barbara Ann Vinson; third, Linda Greenwood and Mickie Braswell. C — second, Anne Pate and Theria McPhail.