Ken Rexford’s new book – Modified Italian Canape System
I couldn’t wait to get a copy of Ken Rexford’s new book (available only as an ebook at Ebooks Bridge). Okay, not everybody is going to be interested in a canape system.
Some time before I was around to take notice a man called Charles Goren popularized the system called Standard American. It changed and evolved over the years. One major change was a move to five card majors. But by and large the framework was the same. Later on the idea of 2/1 was popularized by Max Hardy and others. When I came back to bridge after a multi year, kids growing up, absence I learned it. I played both as well as some Acol-like variations of Standard American. Basically the structure was not all that different among all of them,
Finally my son Colin dragged me into the new world of four card majors, canape and strong club. So when I heard that Ken had written about a system built around canape and strong club but with relays I was interested. I have found that Ken is an excellent writer and he has some great ideas.
But Colin and I have been playing forcing club and I have been pushing Colin to add relays so I was pretty sure Ken would give me some good ammunition to present to Colin. I have been watching the Vanderbilt for a lot of days and I noticed that players using similar methods were getting results impossible to obtain in more standard methods.
As I read the book I see that Ken is not prescriptive. He explains a variety of approaches to responding to a strong club and then discusses the pros and cons. The writing is excellent, clear and understandable. But the most important thing is to find the part that explains relays, why they are SUPERIOR and how to play them. The first few pages give a detailed description of the advantages of canape. I have noticed some of these while playing the method and the discussion is quite interesting but in my quest for relays I skim over this for now. Although Ken has a few interesting points along the way; for example
“I think that development of the structure when the opponents interfere is more important than the structure when
they do not, because the opponents interfere a lot.” That’s a great point Ken and most people go exactly the opposite way.
I can see that this book can not be skimmed. There is a lot of interesting stuff on each and every page. Ken may be one of the most creative bridge theorists around today.
Its going to take quite a while for me to read the whole book but I intend to do so, and will report back at that time.