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Posted on Sep 27, 2007 by Chung-hong Chan

今期的紐約客雜誌,有一篇文討論橋牌的興衰史。文中講到橋牌曾於美國經濟大衰退時流行一時,到六七十年代達頂峰。八九十年代開始衰落,現在玩家只有一些年長人仕(例如巴菲特和比爾蓋茨,還有釘了蓋的鄧小平)。八九十年代流行過太多的東西,別說那些遊戲機、電視電腦,就算連知識份子會玩的所謂鬥智遊戲,都流行了幾種。例如 1972 年冷戰時期美國棋皇菲舍爾 ((Bobby Fischer)) 擊敗俄國棋皇士巴斯基 ((Boris Spassky)) 所引發的西洋棋潮、因西方電腦理論研究其複雜性而流行的中國圍棋 ((Go)) ,還有就是同樣用啤牌去玩, ESPN 有節目的 Texas Hold'Em 。
學生時曾代經想去學打橋牌,但那時太魯鈍根本不明白運作。年紀少時舅父曾經教過如何玩德國橋牌,但與橋牌的關係不大。現時廿幾歲人才學懂橋牌在做甚麼,可是我只是和電腦玩。也有在 Yahoo! 和電腦後的人對打,但只試過一兩次。但未試過與人打橋牌,因為沒有 Partner 和對手。反而曾經和盟友玩過 Texas Hold'Em.
很多人都怕玩要 bidding 的遊戲 ((即要預先計劃要拿幾多個 Trick)) 。同樣是 Trick-taking game ,沒有 bidding 原素的傷心小棧( Hearts )會比較易為人所接受。一到要 bidding 例如黑桃 (( Spades )) 或橋牌,接受程度就差很多了。估計這也是為何香港街機的「篤篤機」有「拱豬」 ((傷心小棧的一個變種。最近更要被國內正名為「華牌」,因為聲稱是中國發明,救命!)) 而沒有橋牌的原因。

後記:在一本國際橋牌雜誌網站見到這樣的說法:Carnegie lists six ways to "break the worry habit before it breaks you." The first of these is to distract yourself with something else. It is therapeutic to provide yourself with an alternative activity (文章指橋牌) that occupies your attention sufficiently to prevent your mind's continually focussing fruitlessly on sources of worry.


1. Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Plenty of action is one of the best therapies ever devised for curing "wibber gibbers."
2. Don't fuss about trifles. Don't permit little things--the mere termites of life--to ruin your happines.
3. Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. Ask yourself: "What are the odds against this thing's happening at all?"
4. Co-operate with the inevitable. If you know a circumstance is beyond your power to change or revise, say to yourself: "It is so; it cannot be otherwise."
5. Put a "stop-less" order on your worries. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth--and refuse to give it anymore.
6. Let the past bury its dead. Don't saw sawdust.

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