The Rogue Speak:

 
 
Zugzwang, a German word meaning "obligation to move," is actually a chess term.  To be "in zugzwang" is to be at a disadvantage because the player must make a move, even though he had rather pass when it is his turn to play.
 
I know nothing about chess, except of course the names of the pieces, and what the board looks like.  I am, however, taking a "refresher course" in bridge.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that even though I have been playing bridge off and on ever since I was in college, I never knew what I didn't know about the game.  Oh, I kind of suspected that I didn't know, but we always played "party bridge," where there was always a lot of laughing, gossiping, snacks, and maybe some wine.
 
Now I am learning bridge on a whole different level, and I have a constant fear of being "in zugzwang" if I make the wrong bid or play the wrong card, because if I do, I will definitely "go down," or lose. 
 
The kind of bridge that I am attempting to learn is "duplicate," and there is no table talk, or wine, or snacks.  This is serious stuff!  I have to actually think! My partner and I can have no signals, like faking a sneeze to tell my partner to pass, or stating my bid in the form of a question, like on Jeopardy. To me, bridge is a game of numbers, and math has never been my strong point.  I am always on the edge of understanding it, but just not quite!!
 
There is just soooo much to remember!  I have to add up my partner's points with my points, after I figure out just how many points my partner has.  Then I have to figure out how many points the opponents have, and who has what why.  See what I mean?
 
After we have settled on a contract, then we have to actually PLAY the cards, or if the opponents get the contract, I have to play to defeat them.  I have to "lead," or play the first card.  Oh!  My head is spinning!  I fear that if I play the wrong card I will be "in zugzwang!!"  But this is not chess; it is bridge and I am doing this for FUN.  Really? Hahahaha!
 
I WILL learn how to play bridge!  There is something very satisfying about playing a cerebral game at my age.  I'm old, you know.  Wish me luck!