Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Day 12 on the Internet the young the old and in between

Just for fun I look on the net and see what some stories about bridge that show up.  Wouldn’t you know the first story to pop out was one about old people playing bridge and reducing their risk of dementia.

Bridge is continuously recommended by experts because it’s more complex than other games, and requires planning, strategizing, and logic.

There are lots more like that.

I find a nostalgic story in the May 11 1053 edition of Time Magazine

In the White House, Saturday night is usually bridge night. The evening begins about 5 o’clock, in the solarium on the White House roof, is interrupted for a snack or buffet supper, then may continue down in Ike’s second-floor study until 10 or 10:30. Guests arriving for a bridge date are likely to find the host waiting for them at the card table, impatiently riffling the decks.

Classic & Sound. Ike has been playing bridge for more than 25 years, ranks as an expert just a shade below tournament class. His game was once described by Ely Culbertson as "classic, sound, with flashes of brilliance." His favorite bridge partner, NATO’s General Alfred Gruenther, is one of the few military men who have long been regarded as better than Ike at the game.* After one crucial hand, in which they were soundly set, Partners Eisenhower and Gruenther mulled over the game play in an exchange of letters that went on for two years.

Much more cool I discover that iPREPpress has released how to play bridge for iPOD bridge fans.  The ACBL seems to have supplied the material.

But back to the main purpose – learning.  I wind up looking at Zar points.

I am firmly of the belief that point count doesn’t work all that well and I have this thing about aces so this might be interesting.  Zar points claims to be three times better than standard point count.  You seem to need 37 points to open.  I hope that you are allowed to bring calculators to the table.  The Zar approach considers both high card points and fit.  One of the most interesting things to me is Zar’s Theorem

In bridge you always have a fit


Applying mathematics, we see that THE WORST-CASE scenario when talking about fit and misfit is that you either have at least two 7-card fits (the so called “Italian” fits) or one 8+ card fit.

There are no misfits.  This concept brightens my entire day. Although playing hand with two seven card fits may not be that much fun.  Still as he says it means that you goal in bidding is to find your fit rather than to find out whether you have one.  But this situation apparently only occurs 15% of the time.  It makes me feel better about open weak notrump hands vulnerable.

A few other goodies, convention cards from some top pairs. a discussion of some important  bridge matches and a tool for calculating Zar points.

Well having hit the old guys I decide to look at the younger generation and head over the

The most interesting thing on this site from my point of view is definitely Mike Develin’s blog

 My Photo


What do you think of this hand from Friday September 5th.

♠ KQ10xx
♥ AK10
◊ AQx
♣ Ax


You have a balanced 22 and in your system you open 3NT.  (I hate that Mike).  Partner bid 4◊.  transfer to hearts.  RHO doubles and you like your hand so you redouble.  Mike doesn’t have a clear agreement here and come to think of it neither do I in this auction.  Usually I play it is an offer to play right there).  Partner bids 5NT.  What do you think that means and what do you do?

Could this be grand slam force?  Could it be pick a slam?  I am going to guess that it is pick a slam but this auction needs discussion.

In some partnerships I could bid 6♣ to say I had a good hand and no extra heart length (if the redouble does indeed show hearts).  This auction is way over my head but at imps I would bid 6♥.  Partner knows I have at least 22 high card points.  At matchpoints I would bid 6NT.

Anyway notrump is the spot.  Partner held

♠ Ax
♥ Jxxxx
◊ Kxx
♣ KQx


7NT makes since the spades work but 7♥ does not make.  I wonder whether partner will bid 7NT over 6NT.  It is a pretty good grand.

From here there is a link to Kitty Cooper’s website. with all sorts of material for students and teachers.

I enter a poll which asks what your favourite use for a 2D bid is.  I expect that the juniors will have some interesting answers.  I pick multi.  The most popular answer is weak 2 with 36% but multi is second with 18% so perhaps in the future it will be allowed in more ACBL events!

There look to be some interesting articles too.

I finish up tonight at a page which gives homage to Terence Reese by

Ates Gulcugil

There are a lot of reference to "The Great Bridge Scandal" and some interesting articles.  Also his obituary in the January 31, 1996 Times.  Here is a bit of it..

John Terence Reese played his first tournament at the age of 14. He was a top classical scholar at Bradfield College and then at New College, Oxford, after which, somewhat unusually, he went to work for two years in Harrods.

It may have been during a lull on the counters there that Reese decided to start writing about ­ as well as playing ­ bridge, for in 1938 he published his first book. He proved to be an outstanding author and was still turning out excellent books more than 50 years later. .

Reese was also a highly regarded bridge columnist, notably in The Observer and the Evening Standard. In the latter he pulled off the always difficult trick of illuminating points of great subtlety with astonishing succinctness.

The criticism was sometimes voiced that a man with such a fine mind should not have devoted his whole life to a card game. But, most creditably, this former classical scholar discovered many of the arithmetical inescapabilities contained within the finite world of 52 playing cards.

Some of the concepts Reese identified and named ­ the "vice", the "winkle", the "principle of restricted choice" ­ are today common parlance among rubber bridge players.


I end up at an interesting site.  Thomas’ Bridge Fantasia.

There are lots of interesting things here.  There seems to be a free Open Souce deal generator called deal which includes a built in double-dummy solver called Deal.  Download it from the site.  He has a number of interesting deals to try and also some bridge oddities.  He definitely answers the question are there any deal where neither side can a make a contract.

There’s lots more fun stuff including the Andrews Edition of the impossible bridge book.  Just enter a number (a very long number if you don’t want North to have 13 spades) and get a bridge hand.

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