The Mind Wanders (& Other Thoughts I’ve Had This Week During Bridge)

The art of meditation is a practice that’s meant to quiet down the mind and achieve a certain mindset where there’s either a complete absence of thought – or the focus needed to concentrate on a more specific problem until an answer appears out of the mist of thought.

Any practitioner of meditation in most forms will tell you that it’s normal for the mind to wander around at first when you’re trying to focus.

The mind tends to react like a Labrador that sees the ocean for a first time, or a cat that spots a squirrel. (In short, it runs away – chasing after the topic like the two aforementioned examples while you’re trying to get it to stop.) 

Playing bridge is like meditation to me. It always has been – and the same is true for poker, blackjack and other card disciplines. It helps me to think, and I’m grateful that I don’t have to sit cross-legged to do it.

And like any other form of meditation, my mind wanders around like a pet without a leash.

Sometimes, I like sharing. 

Here are some of the wandering thoughts that crossed my mind during bridge this week.

(What did you think of during bridge games this week?) 

“I’m literally being clubbed to death.” 

Just Declare is one of the ways in which I practice – and additionally, one of the things I use most frequently combined with a playlist in order to unwind at the end of the day. 

One game this week, however, had the opposite effect. 

It wasn’t relaxing, it was painful.

The contract was in clubs; the result was utterly forking disastrous. 

Opposing team won trick (after trick, after trick – and after trick), while I was stuck with the worst possible hand – and, I’d say, played it in the worst possible way.

Clubbed to death, I’d say.

“Oh, there’s the ace…” 

One of the self-imposed rules I use when playing bridge is to watch the position of the aces.

For whatever reason, I was so busy watching the position of kings, queens and jacks instead of thinking about the more powerful card at hand.

I played the king and took a proud, smug step back.

Then saw the ace come into play. 


“Let’s build GIB into nanny bots.” 

GIB is one of the world’s best artificial intelligence systems for playing bridge – and you can find him at BBO, MSN (powered by BBO) and in a few other places like the ACBL’s Learn-to-Play-Bridge trainer – again, powered by BBO and GIB.

Why isn’t a version of GIB ever built into nanny bots? 

These bots are meant to provide both care, supervision and company for people in need – and usually, the same people can also benefit from a bridge game. 

I say, why not? 

Bring bridge to more people. Let’s think about it, at least.

“Let’s build GIB into other bots.” 

There’s more to robotics than just nanny bots. 

We’re living in the age of vacuum cleaner robots, conversation robots, companionship robots and robots like Alexa.

As one of my random, wandering thoughts this week, why don’t we talk about GIB being built into some of these while we’re on the topic of robots? 

I can’t be the only person here who would be impressed by a vacuum cleaner that knows how to bid. 

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