Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Rodwell Chapter 2 … Will I Agree?

I approach Chapter 2 with some trepidation.  The good news is it is short.  It is on a subject I already know well.  So after a busy weekend and a busy Monday I can zip right through it.  My trepidation is that I will not agree with the ideas.  I love Clyde E. Love.  I have for forty years or so.  I updated ‘Bridge Squeezes Complete’.  Will Eric change all this?  How am I going to feel about Eric Rodwell’s approach?

I am not expecting to learn much new but I am hoping that I will agree with what is written.  Things start out well.  I certainly understand the concept of a frozen suit but this is the first time I have heard something referred to as a half frozen suit (only frozen from one side).  I always thought of a suit that couldn’t be touched by either defender as frozen.  Still I can see the idea of being half frozen is useful.

After a bit more terminology things move quickly through avoidance plays and partial eliminations and on to squeezes.  I am okay at first but then I hit a stumbling block under a heading ‘the two masters position’.  This occurs when you are playing a simple squeeze so you have two threat suits and the opponents have a top winner in both threat suits.  The squeeze will fail but that is not because the opponents have top winners.  It is because declarer has too many losers.  On the other hand Eric is right, it is going to be rare to have a simple squeeze when an opponent has two top winners –  maybe some kind of trump squeeze or a triple squeeze or something like that.

But wait.  Eric walks you through Clyde E. Love’s B.L.U.E. in the next few pages.  I am happy again.  He gives some great rules of thumb so that you can perform squeezes without knowing all the ins and outs.  And once again a throw-away deal enchants.  He describes a hand he defended where he defeated one notrump on a defensive Vienna Coup.  Wow!  In the end I see this chapter as a fine whip-through what is covered in a few hundred pages in Love.   This chapter for me is like performing all the works of William Shakespeare in half an hour.  It whips through a complex topic, a topic most experts would know fairly well.   It might be a good chapter to read over if you need a quick refresher on squeezes because amazingly it is pretty comprehensive.  It doesn’t include trump squeezes and some more esoteric topics.  But it covers a lot very fast.

Gavin Wolpert was visiting our office today and we talked about whether it was a good idea for such an advanced book to start off with the basics.  After all it will cover the material too quickly for an intermediate player and is perhaps not needed by an expert.  I don’t mind it.  I can skip over the things I know fairly quickly and I find a few interesting ideas.  Besides there are always interesting deals.

Chapter 2 does have an interesting hand that Eric defended in a 2011 Regional.  He had to modify it slightly since in real life the hand cannot be defeated.  Defending against 1NT he envisioned and executed a defensive Vienna Coup assuming declarer could be defeated.

See if you can find the defense that might defeat the contract.  The auction is simple South opens 1NT 15-17 and it is passed out.















You lead a low diamond.  Partner plays the jack and declarer wins the queen. Declarer plays five rounds of clubs throwing a spade and exits a diamond.  What do you do?  I have given you lots of hints.  Can you find the right defense?

I will give answer in the next blog.

My advice.  If you are very comfortable with squeezes and endplays, just zip through Chapter 2.  Don’t worry – lots of good stuff to come.  Looking ahead I see Chapter 3 is long, and has lots of good stuff.  I hope I can finish it by Wednesday.

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