Ballade of Unwarranted Presumption

Author: David Burn

Occasion: Belgium versus England Bridge Match



Playing against a Belgian side,
I reached a dodgy contract, where

Although to beat me long they tried,
They hadn’t any cards to spare.

Instead of merely sitting there
And waiting for all Hell to freeze,

I rose politely in my chair
And claimed it on a double squeeze.

Directors came from far and wide,
Out of some dark infernal lair.

He can’t do that! .... the Belgians cried,

It’s not allowed!

It isn’t fair!"


Bill Schoder fixed me with a glare.

What were you doing, if you please?

It’s quite all right – don’t lose your hair –

I claimed it on a double squeeze.

They called Committees to decide
If I was mad, or took no care.

And are you normal?.... I replied,

I try to be, when I declare.

Are you inferior? What! You dare

To ask me questions such as these?

The end position wasn’t rare –

I claimed it on a double squeeze.


Envoi - EnvoiEnvoiEnvoi - Envoi

Prince, all the Laws are pure hot air,

And made for sheep by chimpanzees.

But that is none of my affair -

I claimed it on a double squeeze.




David Burn




Author's Note, by way of introduction:

Here is something I wrote for BLML that might amuse a few readers of this list.

Some dramatic licence has been taken with the facts of this incident. The Belgian players, as well as being worthy - almost too worthy! - opponents, were exemplary sportsmen who took the incident referred to here and the ruling in the best possible spirit.

In the Belgium versus England match there was an appeal that was decisive for the outcome (appeal 16).

Envoi - Etymology

Middle English envoye, from Middle French envoi, literally, message, from Old French envei, from enveier to send on one's way, from Vulgar Latin *inviare, from Latin in- + via way

Date: 14th century

Definition: the usually explanatory or commendatory concluding remarks to a poem, essay, or book;

especially: a short final stanza of a ballad serving as a summary or dedication.

Bill Schoder: A member of the WBF Laws Committee.

Footnote: Mr. David Burn employs the noun Ballade in the title of his poem, which is the spelling in the languanges of French, Belgium and Germany. This may be an intentional reference for those bridge players from Belgium, and whose native tongue is French.