Shades of yesteryear! On Monday, 8 ½ tables showed up to play bridge. Granted that five of these folks were from out of town, and three of them took top honors N/S.

Players welcomed Nancy Thompson, Sarah Barnes and Agnes Gentry Cherry from Wilson, and Ann Gold and Sarah Weeks from Kinston. Nancy is the former president of Unit 119, and she still likes to see what is going on in other clubs.

She and Sarah Barnes took top honors N/S, followed by Agnes Gentry Cherry and Tommy Franklin.

Tommy Franklin swears this was a real letter to the editor of the Bridge Bulletin: The director was called to a table to resolve a dispute. A novice player was refusing to play her last spade. When asked why and told she had to follow suit, she responded, “If I play my last spade, I can’t keep it between the red suits to see what I have.” My beginner class thought this was particularly amusing.

Beginners have graduated from Book I of Bridge Basics to Book II, which is titled Competitive Bidding.

The first chapter deals with preemptive bids. When a player holds seven cards in a suit with two or three honors, he can open three of that suit, showing a long suit but a weak hand. When he holds a fairly solid six-card suit, he can open two of the suit.

The bidder does not really expect to make this bid; usually, he has only six tricks in his hand, but what this bid does is to mess up the opponents. It is hard to come in over a three or even a two bid when you have no idea what your partner is holding.

Often all other players will pass, and the preemptive bid will win the contract. Many times the opponents have the points for game in their hands, but the opening bid thwarts them.

We practiced this bid last week, and players began to see how it messes up opponents. Mary Emma Stevens said she had used the bid at the game at the Herman Park Center and that it had worked!

Selby Corbett said that the former Lindy Gunderson had hated that bid when it was used by his opponents. He would go all red in the face and sputter.

Just remember that everything you do should give information to your partner and try to mess up your opponents.

Another way to give your partner information is by your discard. In a four-spade contract by N/S, if West leads the ace of hearts from the ace/ king, and partner puts the ten of hearts on the trick, West should realize from the bidding that East had the queen of hearts.

If he underleads his heart king (leads a low heart) and East takes it with the queen, then East can lead a diamond to West’s ace/ queen/ jack and E/W takes two more tricks.

You would have to see the dummy and know the bidding to realize all this. South has opened a weak three spade bid and North has taken him to four, holding three spades to the king/ queen and six clubs to the ace/ king queen.

In other words, N/S has the black suits but not the red ones. This contract would seldom be set, but it can be. Just trust your partner and listen to him.

Congratulations to Bill Allgaier and Bob Meyer for their first place finish N/S last Thursday.

I hope some local players went to the Greenville tournament ending today. I will report success stories next week.

Thursday’s scores: N/S first, Bob Meyer and Bill Allgaier; second (tie) Charlotte Maxwell and Debbie Gray and Sue Wilson and Kaye Langston.

E/W first (tie) Sterling Jarrett and Shelby Bizzell and Sherry Owens and Billy Bizzell; third, Bill Warren and Al Takemoto. C — second, Sylvia Pritchard and Mickie Braswell.

Monday’s winners: N/S first, Nancy Thompson and Sarah Barnes; second, Agnes Gentry Cherry and Tommy Franklin; third, Al Takemoto and Bill Warren; fourth, All Allgaier and Ed Wilson.

E/W first, Cathy Howell and Sue Wilson; second, Sherry Owens and Shelby Bizzell; third, Doris Baddour and Sterling Jarrett; fourth, Lib Braswell and Linda Watson. B —third, Kaye Langston and Mickie Braswell. C — second, Mona McConnaughey and Maureen Prys.