Why I Love Bridge World
I mean this in a good way. In my bathroom I have a bookcase filled with back issues of Bridge World. One of my favorite things to do is have a bath filled with bubbles while I read the magazine. Even magazines from years ago are fascinating to me. For example yesterday I read an article (many years old) about the use of 3C as a response to Multi 2D to ask partner about their holding in their second major suit. The idea is to find a fit in responder’s major when there is no fit in opener’s suit. Colin and I came up with a similar idea when we were working on our responses to Multi but we used 3C by responder to show a heart suit and 3D a spade suit. The way suggested in the Bridge World article seems to me to work pretty well and has the advantage of keeping the 3D bid available for another purpose. With a 6 card major and less than 3 in the other major opener bids his major. With a three card fit opener can bid something else (based on your agreement).
I love reading Challenge The Champs. I try to create auctions in my head using methods I use with different partners to see where I wind up. One thing I noticed is that to do well in Challenge The Champs (where the competitive bidding is minimal) you are best to play relay systems where one hand describes their hand, shape, controls etc. I am sure it is a good method and I have noticed it works well in real life when I have been commenting on Vugraph matches.
But the second and third time around I read most everything. The only thing I haven’t worked out yet is the Swiss Team Matches. The problem (to me) is that the solutions never seem to make all that much sense to me. At the very least they don’t seem inevitable. I usually don’t do very well. Perhaps that is saying something about my ability but it does annoy me. On the other hand the play and defense problems are high on my list. I like the occasional par contest problems. Too bad we don’t have them any more. Maybe somebody will create a contest for the Philadelphia World Championships. Maybe Bridge World wants to step up and provide the material.
So today Ray brought the April 2010 issue into my office. I was happy with our ad promoting three new books all of which should be useful for a Bridge World crowd. First there was Love, “my Love”. I have been answering questions for some readers and it is quite a lot of fun to talk to them. (More please.) The second is a very interesting book by mathematician Bob MacKinnon called Bridge Probability & Information and the third is The Mysterious Multi. We are very pleased to advertise in this wonderful magazine. Ray and I are big fans and supporters.
Michael Rosenberg had an article on the final of the Washington Spingold. He is a wonderful analyst and I am sure I am going to enjoy it, but I haven’t read it yet. I will though, soon. I watched this match so it should be very interesting. Don’t you love that there are 12 full pages of the magazine devoted to this story. I do.
But what Ray wanted me to read was Zia’s interview. Get a copy of the magazine and read it. He isn’t just saying the usual platitudes he has a lot to say about varying your play, how to win, bringing new players (and young players) to the game and more. I can’t repeat the interview but I will say that his comments on how the ACBL is failing at attracting players while some countries are succeeding is spot on. We need new approaches. Here is a brief summary of the things he suggested:
a) Individual events at all levels Make tournaments (and players?) more colorful and exciting. (How about more nicknames, Zia?)
b) Substantial cash prizes. (Just whisper the word Poker).
c) Bridge Holidays which combine tourism and some bridge.
d) More online bridge matches with expert commentary (perhaps edited).
He has some great ideas. Go Zia.
And can any magazine not be wonderful if it has a story by Eddie Kantar called “Playing a suit for no trick!”