Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

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).

e) Handicaps

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!”

Thanks Jeff.

1 Comment

HowardApril 1st, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Dear Linda, Bridge will never be able to offer the same pull as poker, because when you play poker ” you’re on your own ” with no one else to blame, and no one else to let you down. The action is swift, you’re allowed to look for tells, the basics of the game are easy, and the cash winnings can reach the sky. I once came second in a green pointed teams event, and the share of the prize money ( ebu vouchers !! ) just about covered the entrance fee and the travel. Bridge prizes over here are a real joke. What I would like to see is more of a level playing field,

no over-priced posh meals that drain away the entrance money. Prize money that means something for your efforts ( at least £20 contribution from each participating player ). Many more individual events, where all players are obliged to stick to the same bog standard universal system card. As with poker, winners within each of the smaller sections promote themselves to the top sections ( losers stay where they are, or plummet down ). If top players want to play with their regular partners/team-mates there needs to be select INVITATION ONLY events, where only the best compete……involving considerably higher entrance fees £ 100+ plus any sponsorship dosh. Now prize money can really hit 5 figures, with the organisors having their own internet/ TV channel to broadcast key hands, spectular moments, brilliant plays to the world at large. Pay to view?

Hell, over here we have bloody loan companies with their own TV channel. Anyway that’s my small contribution to what my be a large pool of ideas that could provide hope for bridge in the future. Yours Howard Bigot_johnson ( John Howard Gibson ).

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