Q.During duplicate games I am rushed because  of slow play 
(by one of us at the table; or by playing behind a slow pair). 
I panic when the director or the next team are standing near 
the table waiting fro me to finish. What should I do?
A. Play faster?! That just deals with the symptom, not the cause of the slowness. For that try this affirmation: "It is easy for me to make excellent decisions under pressure."
       If you are still behind and there is a special problem with the hand in play that you have to work out, then you just have to do it. Take a deep breath, relax and block out whatever is happening around the table. You can't hear and you can't see anyone. It is just you and the cards. Time has stopped. You can then solve the problem, make the right play and go on to the next hand. 

Q. Sometimes I just look at the next opponent and get scared. 
They have an impressive convention card or are discussing in 
detail a hand from a week ago. I am completely intimidated. 
What should I do?
A. Cry or leave the room. Or maybe cry and leave the room. Remember what Hamlet said to us Bridge players: "the play's the thing. . ." Forget about the convention cards or talk. Let's play Bridge! Too many conventions can sometimes lead to the opponent's confusion and downfall.
        In life there are three possible activities: you can do 
something, do nothing, or eat  Maybe go to the movies, which is really doing something. In Bridge there are two possible situations: either you are better than your opponent's; or they are better than you. In the first case you stand to win, so just play your game. In the second case you have nothing to lose. If they win so what, they beat a weaker team. But if you win, that is a big deal. You the underdog have beaten the favorite. Do not, however, over or under estimate your opponents. Consider them neutral, harmless 
robots. (see Making the Movie.) 

Q. How can I remember what was played or bid?
A. Take two glasses of ginkgo; don't forget to take your memory pills; drink lots of liquids; get plenty or rest; and call me in the morning. TIP 1. Instead of trying to remember what was played, remember what cards have become winners. Example:  You have K Q J 4 and you play the Jack which is taken by the Ace. Then it is easier to remember that the remaining King and Queen are winners, then that the Ace has been played. TIP 2. Play a low card from top of a sequence. If you have the A K Q 4, play the Queen. Then you can see that the remaining Ace and King are winners. If you played the 
Ace first and were left with the King and Queen, then you might forget that the Ace was played. TIP 3. Ask fro a review of the bidding before the opening lead. TIP 4. . . . I forget what it was.

Q. We sometimes lose to a team that is much weaker than ours. Why is this happening and what could be done?
A. Did you ever have something like this happen? You are playing against a weak East/West pair who bid up to 3 No Trump and with good defense you held them to 4. You lost 430 points. You look at the traveling score slip and see that every other East/West pair bid 6 No Trump and went down 1. All the other North/South pairs got 50 points, while you lost 430. And you did not do or say anything. You have just been fixed. It happens and is part of Duplicate Bridge play. But there are also gifts that the opponents give you (you fix them). Usually in a match the fixes and gifts balance out.
        Sometimes against a weak opponent you try a deceptive maneuver or a brilliant false card. The opponents totally ignore this and continue to obliviously throw cards. To fool a beginner is harder to do than to fool an expert. The expert watches every card and reacts accordingly. Not so the beginner. He just merrily rolls along. Another reason why you lose to a weaker team is because you play their game. (See Attitude Signals.) You get down to their level. For them it is a natural way to play. They have been doing it for a long time. Play your game, not theirs.