Magazine article The Spectator

Cold Feat

Magazine article The Spectator

Cold Feat

Article excerpt

I BUMPED into Dominic Lawson, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, the other day. Dominic is a keen chess player, and therefore more interested than most in the world of bridge. Even so, I was taken unawares when he immediately asked me, 'What's a frozen slam?' I looked baffled. 'You wrote in your bridge column that a slam froze.' The penny dropped. 'Oh,' I replied. 'You mean I said the slam was frigid.' 'Yes - what's that?' 'It means it was cold,' I explained. 'I know what frigid means!' he snapped. 'But what on earth were you talking about?'

'Cold' and 'frigid' are metaphors which are used so often in bridge that I had assumed they were used in almost all games and sports. But it turns out that no one outside bridge has a clue what they mean. I don't know what the origins of the terms are (and nor does anybody I've asked), but to say in bridge that a contract is 'cold' or 'frigid' means that it can be made against any defence. …

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