Congratulations are in order. Let’s hear it for Maureen Prys and Mona McConnaughey, who came in third at last Thursday’s game. These two have taken lessons and have taken the plunge into duplicate bridge and have come a long way in a short time. They get the guts and grit award for hanging in there. And it’s paying off.

Joyce and Troy Pate came roaring back after Christmas. Monday they finished tied for third E/W. They have placed almost every time they have played since their return.

And look at Bill Warren and Al Takemoto. This dynamic duo finished first overall at Monday’s Junior Fund game, earning 2 ½ points with a 65-percent game.

Bill modestly said, “It must have been a blue moon.”

Not true. These men have worked on their game, taken lessons, read up on conventions, and discussed their strategy. Good job, gentlemen.

Beginner and intermediate lessons have begun after the holidays. Both are free. Beginner lessons start at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the senior center, and intermediate lessons follow at 2:30 p.m. All who are old enough for the senior center are welcome.

Last week was a “Who’s on first?” week at the club.

Monday, we put new cards into the duplicate boards so that they were all ready to play Thursday.

Wednesday, Sue Wilson had to cancel her class at the last minute, so Gary Partin and Betsy Harrold decided to use the time to discuss hands on their own at the senior center.

They went to the senior center, retrieved the boards from the closet and got a copy of the scores that Sue had sent out. They decided to study the boards and the scores to discover who had bid what and figure out if they would have gotten to the same contract. They reviewed Boards 1 through 10.

And they discovered that none of the contracts could have possibly been made. They enlisted my aid as I was finishing with my beginner class. And I was just as flummoxed as they were. On Board One, most players made five or six even seven no-trump, and there were two aces and a king in the hands of the defenders.

It was crazy. No matter what the lead was, the defenders were going to get at least three tricks.

Betsy and Gary felt like they were in the twilight zone, and so did I.

We could not figure out what had happened between Monday and Wednesday.

Finally, in the middle of the night: Ding, ding, ding. I had an epiphany. The cards Gary and Betsy had looked at were not the same cards folks had played Monday.

Because we had changed the cards to new ones.

I texted Gary the next Monday to let him know about my discovery, and he was effusive in his thanks. He said he thought he had lost his mind.

A few hours later, Ding, ding, ding. I had another epiphany. Gary and Betsy couldn’t play those 10 boards they had looked at. So again I texted Gary, telling him that if he and Betsy planned to play, they had better get to the game early and re-make Boards 1 thorugh 10.

So they did. And all was well. At least there is an explanation.

Thursday’s winners: N/S first, Linda Greenwood and Sherry Owens; second, Bill Allgaier and Peggy Seegars; third, Maureen Prys and Mona McConnaughey; C — third overall, Linda Watson and Lib Braswell.

E/W first, Kaye Langston and Shelby Bizzell; second, Bill Warren and Al Takemoto; third, Billy Bizzell and Selby Corbett. C — second, Anne Pate and Theria McPhail.

Monday’s results: N/S first, Al Takemoto and Bill Warren; second, Linda Greenwood and Linda Meyer; third, Sue Wilson and Cathy Howell.

E/W first, Krishnaprasad and Selby Corbett; second, Kaye Langston and Charlotte; third (tie) Joyce and Troy Pate and Lew Rose and Anne Michaux.