Review of Websites: Part 2 of Many…..Some of the best from last time.
Today I decided to look at my favorites from the last time I did reviews of bridge sites a couple of years ago.
Sites reviewed in this post:
|Double Dummy Corner|
|Don’t miss this. Lots of useful content (5 stars)|
|Good site. Useful content (4 stars)|
|Worth a look if you are interested in the topics on the site (3 stars)|
|Limited interest (2 stars)|
|Needs work (1 star, or less)|
Site Review: Richard Pavlicek
Appearance: Simple but easy to navigate. Music and pleasing illustrations from bridges to puppy dogs.
Content: The problem with reviewing Richard Pavlicek’s website is that I can’t help myself: I have to play. As soon as I enter the page I find myself doing a quiz on forcing notrump fare. I am doing perfectly until hand four of twelve comes up. Should I respond 1NT to 1♠ with a very nice 11 count 2-2-4-5 or should I bid 2♣ (is the name of the quiz a clue?) I do great on the first play problem I try (Ice Cold Contracts).
I LOVE this website. I could spend days on this website. Problems, quizzes, polls, articles, matches, theory, conventions … I love it all. Don’t miss the humor. Have a laugh with the tipsy story - ‘Twas the Mabel Before Christmas”.
Matches and exhibits include some interesting technical material. For example, if you have a choice of opening 1♥ or 1NT, which one is likely to work out better? (You can see how experts fared). Also very interesting was an analysis of which expert pair did best in major events from 1996 to the present.
Just a few more of the wonders of this site: A variety of “bridge toys,” including hand evaluation and suit combination calculators to help you out; Odds and Theory (have a look at lead safety analysis); and checkout Richard’s comments in the tab “for advertisers”.
Rich, you bring out the Nerd in me, you delight the bridge player in me, you entertain me and you teach me. Thank you so much Rich. If I was trapped on a desert island with only one website, this would be the one I wanted.
Tags: Quizzes, Games, Conventions, Bidding, Play, Defense, Calculators, Humor, Bidding Practice, Utilities
Level: Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
Site Review: ACBL
The ACBL website has come a long way since its early days. It now seems to me to be a great professional website representing bridge in North America.
Appearance: Great looking, with clean lines. I love the pictures. They manage to provide a lot of content and still provide a great visual experience.
Content: The ACBL website has a lot of content. I couldn’t begin to do it justice. Just to sample some of it:
For newcomers: free “learn to play” software and a 36 page Members Guide which has an explanation in alphabetical order of everything from the ACBL Bridge Series to Zip Swiss. For club managers, a special events schedule (keep October 4 free for the ACBL-wide instant matchpoint game). For players: Find a club by city or zip/postal code, a list of tournaments from intermediate events to nationals. Want to know about conventions or find out how the recorder system works? This is your site. For members: Download bridge bulletins back to January 2005 and for fun, play “It’s Your Call”, a chance to make the next bid in 5 selected problem hands and eventually compare your results with experts. Teachers will find a wealth of material. Lots for everybody.
During NABCs, I am on this site every day, downloading the daily bulletins and checking the results.
Tags: Rules and Regulations, Tournaments, Conventions, Club Material, Teacher Material, Learn to Play, Magazine
Site Review: Jeff Goldsmith
Appearance: Primitive user interface. Content is in an ordered list.
A story: There was a very old computer in the third sub-basement of a building. You had to climb down rickety stairs to get to it. The type on the keys was worn off and you could hardly read the tiny screen. But there was a long long line of people waiting for their turn on the computer. Each person was only allowed 60 seconds to use it. When I asked why so many people were lined up at the computer the answer was: “If you type in the name of a stock, it gives you a quote for it.” “Really,” I said, starting to walk away. The next response stopped me: “The price of the stock at the end of trading – tomorrow!”
So, is the content of Jeff Goldsmith’s Homepage good enough to overcome the rather primitive interface?
Content: There are a lot of interesting ideas and useful content on this website. Not all of it is about bridge. Other topics include figure skating, computing and, of more interest to bridge players, other games, including a strategy guide to Barbu). The section on bridge software appears outdated now. You can, however, try the Kaplan/Rubens Hand Evaluator along with the Danny Kleinman Evaluator. There is a long list of problems and polls to try. I enjoyed the ones I tried, only partly because I did quite well. There are also quite a number of bidding/convention ideas. Other interesting bits and pieces. I agree with this bit of wisdom from Jeff: “Partnerships are very synergistic. The sum can be anywhere between a large negative constant and something much greater than the sum of the parts.”
Tags: Conventions, Bidding, Quizzes, Polls, Hand Evaluation
Level: Advanced, Expert
Site Review: Double Dummy Corner
Appearance: The design of the website is pretty basic but there is no problem finding your way around it.
Content: This is Hugh Darwen’s website, devoted to Double Dummy problems. It was started in 2001 and it is still frequently updated. The purpose of the site is ambitious. I quote:
to provide a repository of every worthwhile DD problem that has ever been published; and
to provide a medium for publication of new problems for competitive solving
There is always a competition problem. You submit your solution by the date allocated and you are awarded with DD (double dummy points) towards the year’s “Problemist of the Year”! Certificates are awarded as you rank up as a problem solver.
Yes, you can, of course, use computer assistance from programs like Deep Finesse but as Darwen points out, mistakes can still be made. I think it is more fun to try the solve the problem myself but I would probably check it out with software.
Tags: Double Dummy Problems, Card Play
Level: Advanced, Expert