Nov 062002

Dear Dr. Robert:

I am fascinated with Gee’s theories on captaincy. Is there a limit to the number of times that the captain and the crew can switch identities during the course of bidding a hand? Also, when one member of the Gee partnership leaves in disgust after a disastrous hand, does the remaining member inherit the title of captain so that he may go down with his ship? Just sign me,

–Andrea Doria

Dear Andy:

The number of captain/crew role reversals is limited only by the number of bids in an auction. I have witnessed hands where Gerard was captain, then crew, then captain, then crew, then first mate, and eventually swabbing the decks of the bloody mess he left behind. Besides, a limit to the number of switches might prevent Gerard from becoming captain at the end of a difficult auction to save the hand before his partner drags them both down! After all, the last thing we all need is more website material for Aaron. [Well, perhaps not the last thing. –Ed.]

When one member of the partnership leaves in disgust, all ranks cease to exist. Now think: a helpless life raft with one frightened passenger is about to be swallowed up by a tidal wave. You need a captain and crew?

Man overboard!

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