Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

I Love Love

I am now working on the downloads of additional squeeze problems that we will offer for free on for anyone who is interested and particularly for readers of our new edition of Clyde E. Love Bridge Squeeze Complete.  I was reading through my preface to the second edition.  I realized how important this project was to me and how much proud I am of the product.

I hope you won’t mind if I share some of the preface with you.  Where you see … I have left something out.

Ray and I were very pleased when we were offered the opportunity to republish Clyde E. Love’s Bridge Squeezes Complete. After all, it is still on many people’s lists as one of the best and most important bridge books ever written. We both recalled the book fondly from early in our bridge careers. I read and reread it; I remember getting out a deck of cards, laying out deals for the Exercises and Problems on my bed and carefully working through them. Professor Love was absolutely correct: reading this book will make you a better bridge player. You cannot possibly work out at the bridge table what you need to know about how squeezes operate, no matter how often you play. That is something you need to learn.

However, at the same time we both remembered that we never actually finished reading the whole book and that we didn’t always fully understand what Love was trying to tell us. In a way he reminded me of my university mathematics professors who would either leave things as exercises for the student or give very terse mathematical explanations……

Love’s book still forms the basis for all discussions of squeezes, and the squeeze vocabulary he invented has become part of the language. Only a few days ago, I saw several online bridge commentators joking about BLUE – and every one of them knew exactly what it meant. Squeeze theory has also advanced, however – subsequent writers have built on the foundation that Love’s work provided.

All of these developments in the game and its language, as well as advances in theory, represented challenges for us. They meant that we would have to make substantial changes to the book while still attempting to retain the wit, insights and approach to squeeze theory of the original. And even though we recognized that the word ‘complete’ in the title would never really be true, we needed to include at least some of the important new ideas in squeeze theory of the last half-century.


The next decision was how much new material to include, and what it should be….  In some cases, new material could be included in the appropriate chapter, but in others it just didn’t fit. Finally I decided to add a new chapter, which would provide a brief survey of some fascinating (if generally fairly rare) squeezes that are too far beyond the scope of the original book.

One of the big decisions was whether or not to change any of the nomenclature. I ‘loved’ BLUE, but there were other acronyms and terms that didn’t seem to work as well. More than one generation of bridge players has learned to use these names, though, and many of them are pervasive in squeeze literature. So I knew we had to tread lightly. Every idea for a change was carefully weighed. For example, I couldn’t understand why Love had used ‘A’ for ‘access’ instead of ‘E’ for ‘entry’ when talking about a type of strip-squeeze, leading to the awkward acronym CLA. However, in one place in the book he did refer to it as CLE; that, I felt, justified making a change and using the more felicitous mnenonic CLuE. The most significant other issue was in the realm of the double squeeze. In this edition we refer to the threat jointly guarded by both opponents as ‘C’ for ‘Common’ and not ‘B’ for ‘Both’, since references to ‘Common suit’ and ‘Common threat’ flow much more smoothly………………………..


I do remember being 18 years old and laying out those hands from Love.  At that age even though I was in a family of five including three sisters I was lucky enough to have my own room.   My room was one of the few places in our house where there was any chance of some quiet.  When I went to university in Toronto I was still living at home.  I spent too much of my first year at university playing bridge in the University College refectory.  But that first year I was still living at home and still laying out hands from Love on my bed at night from time to time.  I read other bridge books as well, of course, but very few of them required this treatment.

I believe now more than I did at that time that playing cards is a learned skill.  Sure some people have more aptitude for it than others but everyone can be a better card player if they work at it.  Playing cards is not enough.  You need to be study as well.  This could come in the form of software, coaching, lessons, books or even discussions with others.  I think that individual study is probably one of the best forms of learning.  It amazed me how much I learned by working on Love even though I thought I knew a fair bit about squeezes before I started.

I wish that there were more opportunities to work with coaches and to study bridge for expert players.  By that I mean players who are beyond what is generally taught in lessons today.  Maybe a blog is a way of setting up a study group.

I am expecting to get a lot of criticism by book reviewers about changes in the nomenclature.  I am sure that every change we made will be criticized by someone.  But in the end I did what I thought was best along with substantial input from Ray and Julian Pottage who was an advisor and much more during the updating of this book.  Whenever I subject myself to critics as I know I am when working on this type of project I just remember a paraphrase of the some famous lines:

You can’t please all the people all of the time.


Chris HasneyDecember 17th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

It’s amazing how much different it is to lay out the cards on a bed, table, or other surface and work through a problem rather than trying to do it on a piece of paper. To me it is the difference between walking through a building rather than looking a its blueprint.

As to changing nomenclature, an appendix with the original names and what they became would work just fine and be less cumbersome than trying to explain the change in the text, if that’s what you had in mind.

” I spent too much of my first year at university playing bridge in the University College refectory.” I wish that were still true of today’s college students!

rossDecember 18th, 2009 at 6:31 am

All you need is Love! (Great show at the Mirage too I might add)

AlanDecember 22nd, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Are you still working on editing the text? In addition to the obvious stuff (like a hand with two club suits and no diamond suit), I spotted one or two places where he makes a claim that is untrue – for example, on p111 he says there is no simple squeeze in the hand, so you must fall back on a strip-squeeze. However, a trump squeeze is in fact available, which is certainly a type of simple squeeze. If there’s still time to get this stuff in I could go find the other occurrence I spotted a while ago.

By the way, I’m one of the young strong-club-relay players you played against in the LMs at the San Diego NABC. We discussed something about canapé openings, and I think you said to write you for some suggestions or references. So anyway, hi!

LuiseDecember 22nd, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Alan — I think it’s probably too late, but send me an email at just in case (if you can’t do it by today or tomorrow morning, then don’t bother). The book is going to print very, very soon.

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