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People wonder why bridge is dying so rapidly in the United States. This is what I think.

I don't play chess, but imagine if it was played with tournament-style bridge rules. You sit down against your opponent, who is brandishing a convention card full of special moves not within the realm of traditional rules. He is using something called Lebensohl corridor mates where his knight acts as a rook when he is specifically down one pawn and one rook. Or Smith echo gambits that enable him to use his bishop as a queen for two rounds immediately after he castles. And by the way, he'll notify you when the Lebensohl corrider mate occurs, but not when the Smith echo gambit does. You are supposed to look on his convention card for that one.

Do you have any recourse against this crap? Sure. It's called the pawn defense to Multi 2D and lets you use any of your pawns to move diagonally one square immediately to try to protect your king whenever your opponent's knight is acting like a rook. Or try Unusual checkmates vs. Unusual checkmates that lets your queen leapfrog up to three pieces whenever the other guy tries that himself. Be careful, though; you need to tell your opponent when your Multi pawn defense is in effect, but if you try alerting the Unusual defense, he can call the director and penalize you one pawn.

Are you getting good at this game yet? I hope so, because then you can play in the world champion arena where restrictions are even laxer. Your opponent can Pass his turn whenever he wants. Not that you would even notice because he would be behind a huge screen that divided the table in half. You don't actually make any of your first 10 moves either; you take the piece you want to move, stick it in a tray, along with a note indicating where you intend to move the piece, and pass it to your opponent, who moves it for you. This way, or so I've heard, you won't be tempted to hover your hand over one piece and then move another, thus possibly trying to deceive your opponent as to what your lines of thought are. Don't worry, though. The chess federation routinely changes the rules every couple years, so whatever rules you are grappling with today may simply be changed tomorrow.

And when you win a match, your ELO rating goes up. Well actually, you now have multiple ELO ratings: black, red, silver, and gold. The good news, though, is that your ELO rating can only go up, so beating one palooka 1000 times is as good as beating one grandmaster. Good luck in trying to prove your playing skills. You're going to need it.