The Last Book Review … Practice Makes Perfect
Sally has the habit of handing me a new Master Point Press book to review whenever I walk into the MPP office. So Sally, this will be my last review for at least a month, okay?
I do want to do some other blogs especially some for my favourite Israeli bridge player Norm, who I play with on BBO. Norm has been with me through house moves and toothaches and all sorts of other personal things.
But I have a special feeling for 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know: Practice Makes Perfect. It take me back many years to when Master Point Press was a baby and we published 25 Conventions You Should Know. My mother and I were very much a part of that book.
My mother, who will be 91 in a few weeks, is no longer able to play bridge, but I know that through a lot of her life and especially after my dad passed away getting together with her bridge ladies was an important part of her life. And 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know was their bible.
Practice Makes Perfect is a companion to 25 Bridge Conventions, and is written by Barbara Seagram and David Bird. The idea behind it is to remind people of the conventions but also to provide some bridge hands to play to help readers understand exactly how to use them.
The book works perfectly well in a bridge class since each chapter (one convention) has four hands, which is about what Ray and I would get through in a class of beginners or intermediates.
What I particularly like about the book is the bridge hands. Of course with David Bird as a co-author you would expect good hands. And with Barbara as a co-author you would expect the content to work very well for teachers and students alike.
And with some tears, I just wished my mom still had the mental capacity to enjoy this book.
Here is one deal I liked: the first hand in the third section, Sophisticated Stuff, Chapter 8, which discusses Lebensohl 2NT. I am going to focus more on the play not the bidding, which is described and explained in more detail in the book.
A very brief description of the bidding (by me not David or Barbara) 2NT by South is not a notrump raise but an example of Lebensohl. North dutifully bids 3♣ and South can now play 3♦ after the opponents pass.
The opening lead is the ♥ 10. East overtakes with the ♥ J and continues with the top two hearts. How do you play the hand? (Okay, so double dummy its pretty easy, but think about your options).
Its all about guessing who has the trump queen. East did overcall but he has six hearts. As the authors say, given that East has six hearts, West is a favorite to hold diamond length. You therefore trump with the ace and finesse East for the queen. While the book takes you through the rest of the deal you can take it from there.
Also the authors point out that a switch at Trick 3 can defeat the contract. Do you see it? Would you have found it?!