Masters & Johnson. Everett & Lloyd. Wallach & Jackson.
And Peggy & Tony Corino, Peggy & Richard Harrison, Peggy & Tommy Ekel, Peggy & Steve Parker, Peggy & Bobby Lipsitz and, now, Peggy & Lou Reich.
But in tournament bridge circles, just plain "Peggy" (nee Bennett) is enough -- after all, how many bridge teachers and champion players have been married six times, five of them to other world-class bridge players?
Bobby Lipsitz and Steve Parker are world champions themselves. They won their title in 1974, at the world mixed-teams championships held in the Canary Islands. Peggy, who was a Lipsitz at the time, was one of their teammates.
Richard Harrison, Tommy ekel and Lou Reich aren't champions, only life masters -- the highest individual rank in the game. Some say that if Peggy survives just a little longer, and some of these men play just a little better, she will be able to field an entire ex-husband world championship team, all her own. Does that confirm what you've always believed about bridge-table backstabbing?
But while the passion of the tournament bridge world seldom rises to the heights, or the repetitiveness, of Peggy Reich's spectacular marital career, her use of bridge as a happy hunting ground for mates is hardly puzzling.
Few games of skill demand the concentration and the competitive fire of big-time tournament bridge. So when a winning player's blood is still zinging over the double squeeze he's just executed, it's only logical that it will continue to zing over a member of the opposite sex.
Indeed, like the tennis, theater and sexology couples mentioned earlier, Peggy and her latest husband have always been more excellent in combination than separately.
To pick a mate as exalted as oneself in bridge or any other field is an open book to psychology students: It's an obvious way to affirm one's own rank, to cement one's own sense of self-worth.
In Bridge, it's also a way to assure oneself of a partner with whom one can discuss slam bidding during pillow talk. As the renowned British bridge writer Terence Reese has observed "partnership is very nearly the whole game, and to extend that partnership beyond the field of battle is to strengthen oneself in both worlds, to prepare oneself better than before for the passionate challenge at the table."
Passion being what it is, however -- the critical requirement for the winning player and the winning lover -- bridge player/lovers sometimes fudge the distinction.
The story is often told of the world-class bridge-playing pair who had just returned to their Chicago hotel room after the evening session of the national mixed pairs.
"Well, dear," the man asked. "Shall we make love first or discuss the hands first?" Priorities in bridgedom can be that interchangeable.
There is no such thing as privately washed dirty linen, either.
Not long ago, at a major New York tournament, a well-known female player inexplicably failed to make an easy game contract. "You play bridge the way you screw!" her even-better-known male partner exploded at her. He was later criticized -- not for what he said, or for where he said it, but for saying it so loud. Other pairs, you see, were trying to play at the time.
Nor are bridge pioneers safe, evidently. About two wars ago, Edgar Kaplan and Alfred Sheinwold invented Kaplan-Scheinwold, or K-S -- an intricate, coded bidding system that remains one of the most popular in the world. But somewhere in the middle of the system's development, Mrs. Kaplan became Mrs. Sheinwold, and vice versa. Sales of K-S books weren't hurt a bit.
It would be a mistake to conclude that all bridge passion is sexual. Pride often causeth falls, too. Literally.
At another recent New York tournament, two experts became embroiled in a disagreement over an arcane matter of bridge technique. They continued to disagree three hours later, as the session ended. The disagreement accompanied them into an elevator. By the time it and they had reached the lobby, the two experts were rolling around on the floor, flailing away at each other.
And what are we to make of the man at the 1975 fall national championships, held in New Orleans?
Late in the ten-day tournament, probably because he was overcome by the hours of tension and smoke, the man collapsed in the middle of a hand -- bringing an entire folding table and 52 cards crashing to the floor with him.
There were gasps. Someone ran to get a stretcher. A crowd of perhaps 1,500 in the huge hotel ballroom began to murmur -- was he all right?
Not to worry. As he was being wheeled from the room, the casualty bellowed out: "Tell them I bid two spades!?
This is the kind of bravado you usually find only among handpicked commando squads.But then, the bridge world is somewhat akin: a cadre of people who live by their wits, and who believe deeply in their ability to do well what they do.
It's an addictive game, a deeply challenging game, a game in which winning truly does mean that you're a little smarter than the other guy. And to play it at a high level is to take out membership in a society where the game's language becomes a secret code.
For instance, "bridges" never say they disapprove of something. They sneer and say that, like playing a hand on the hope that one opponent holds a singleton queen, it's "anti-percentage."
Some players are known to answer the phone by saying "Redouble!" Others, if you aske them how they are, borrow from duplicate bridge's scoring system and answer "average-plus."
Finesses are "hooks," singletons are "stiffs," being set 1,400 points is "going for a phone number." It's routine to hear a bridge braggart say he "rang the bell right out of the box" -- which means he got top scores on the first two hands of the session.
But even more cultlike is the bridgedom habit of giving one another what-would-you-do-with-this-hand bidding problems. The process is so endless that it occasionally intrudes on real life.
For instance, a Washington-area computer executive delights in telling of the time he was driving to a tournament and had a flat tire. A fellow player, en route to the same tournament, noticed his friend's car disabled on the shoulder of the Interstate and pulled over.
"Hey, can you give me a hand?" asked Mr. Flat Tire.
"Sure," his friend said. "You hold three spades to the jack, six hearts to the ace . . ."
And for sheer monomania, it's hard to top this tasty (and true) tidbit from a Viginia tournament in the early 1970s:
An extremely volatile young men was defeated in a contract he could have made. He became so upset that he punched what he thought was the foam-rubber covering around a stanchion in the hotel lobby.
Unlucky, as bridge folk would say. The foam rubber was on vacation. The punch had found solid granite. Many knuckles were broken.
Our man insisted on finishing the session, holding his cards in his good hand and soaking his bad one in a bucket of ice. He finally consented to be taken to a nearby emergency room, where a doctor asked him what happened. t
"You wouldn't believe I could be so stupid," came the reply. "I had ace-10 of spades, four small hearts . . ."
The flip side of such intensity is a kind of bridge-table ESP -- an instinct that passes between partners, especially between male and female partners, and alerts them when "something's up."
One accomplished area player says she can always tell when her regular partner has made a psychic bid -- even though it would be illegal for her partner to suggest it with facial expressions or vocal inflection.
"I know just because I've sat across from him for so long," she said.
Another woman once asked her partner for aces and was told in bidding code that he had one. To make her grand slam, she needed him to have three. But she bid the grand slam anyway -- and, incredibly, he really did hold three aces and had made a mistake.
"I just knew," the woman explained. "I call it telepathy."
Others might call it cheating. Male-female partnerships, especially where love and/or marriage are involved, have long been objects of suspicion. But the American Contract Bridge League has barred only four players for cheating in the last 10 years: All were male, and all played for money, not for love.
Peggy Reich does not play much bridge any more for any reason, and when she does, she must endure lots of jokes.
For instance, not long after she married Bobby Lipsitz, the newlyweds were invited to a friend's house for dinner.
"Oh, Bobby just loves your potato pancakes," Peggy told the hostess, as the dishes were being cleared.
"Peggy," said her friend, "all your husbands have loved my potato pancakes."
And when her intention to marry Reich became known around the briedge world, there was a nagging question. What to get the couple as a present?
One Washington man hit on the only choice that could do justice to Peggy's many bridge-related mergers:
A lifetime subscription to Bride's Magazine.