Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Twenty Years of MPP

Before Master Point Press

Sometime in the early 90’s I had an idea (always dangerous, if you ask Ray) that it would be nice if Canada had a national bridge magazine.  My thought was that we would try to break even while producing a quality magazine and making it available from coast to coast. I always come up with the ideas but it is up to Ray to make them happen! Somehow he agreed and we set up a committee which included us, Maureen Culp and various others from time to time over the next few years (Diane Bryan, Shelagh Paulsen, Ron Bishop and John Gowdy, among others).

Ray’s idea was that we would give the magazine away at bridge clubs and that the printing and distribution would be paid for through advertising. All our writers and other workers would be volunteers to keep costs down. We started local in the greater Toronto area. We asked fellow bridge players to provide articles. We called the magazine Canadian Master Point. The advertising was initially most from bridge clubs, teachers and tournaments. Over time we were able to reach bridge players coast to coast. It’s fun even now to reread some the articles we published — you can see them by downloading the magazines from Still free!

Ray Takes the Leap

It was a small step from a magazine to books, and indeed, our first books came out of the magazine — Mary Paul’s Partnership Bidding and David Silver’s Tales out of School. We called the company ‘Master Point Press’, without giving it much thought, as basically it was a hobby. One early book was There Must Be A Way by Andrew Diosy, which came out in 1995. I remember this book very well because I wrote the published version, after figuring out how to present Andrew’s quite brilliant problems and solutions in just the right manner.  I loved the hands. They made you think about bridge in a different way: hence the title, a pun of sorts. At the time we had a condo in the Miami area, on gorgeous grounds overlooking the Intercoastal. Every day I would write up my quota of hands and then linger in the sunshine.  One week I had to do a gig teaching computer project management in cities across Canada. It was a bit startling to leave warm sunny Miami and fly to subzero Edmonton. I still like this book a lot. It may not have a fancy cover but it will change your bridge “vision”.

In 1996 Ray was president of the Canadian arm of a multinational book publishing company. But this was a time (it probably still is) where publishing companies were consolidating and in one such consolidation Ray got a buy-out. The kids were grown up and I had a good job as a computer consultant. Ray thought about what he wanted to do – he was fed up with the corporate life. He wanted to run his own business. He was and still is a wonderful editor and a fine bridge player. Ergo, a bridge publishing company. At this time there were quite a few companies publishing bridge books but that didn’t stop Ray.

New York New York

So Ray started actively trying to acquire new authors and titles, while at the same improving the sales of our existing half dozen books.  About this time I read an article about a ‘micropublisher’ in British Columbia. Their little business was selling about $25,000 worth of books a year (or something like that). I thought this was funny so I mentioned it to Ray. He didn’t think it was quite so funny and asked me how much I thought we were making. Gulp!

It was time to spread to the Big Apple. From his corporate publishing days Ray was close friends with a book marketing maven, Karen Strauss, who had set up her own business. She agreed to take Ray on and market his books in the US. She also introduced us to Lyle Stuart. Lyle was a book publisher and distributor who specialized in books on gambling and other even more borderline illegal activities (The Anarchists’s Cookbook was his lead title). He was the kind of guy who liked to thumb his nose at authority and was always involved in lawsuits. Lyle took us on. He provided warehousing and distribution in the US. He also gave us one terrific piece of advice… no cheap covers. Covers sell books, spend money on them, make them look good. Lyle later on tried to buy our company and even later stiffed us for a bunch of money. That was Lyle.

The Big Time

Ray says that two books made the company. The first was 25 Conventions You Should Know by Barbara Seagram and Marc Smith. Well, they wrote it, yes, but the real star of this book was my mother, Toby. Toby loved bridge and played every week (usually twice) with her bridge group. They played for money — half went to savings and half went to the winner and runner-up. This could amount to as much as $5 I think. Years later the savings money paid for a cruise for the entire group. Often when my mother was playing I would get a call asking me about a bridge convention. “What are the responses to Jacoby 2NT?” or “What do I do when partner opens a weak two?” she would ask. We could see that there was a market for a beginner level book on conventions and put together the writing team. 25 Conventions has been translated into many languages and remains the best selling bridge book of the modern era.

The second breakthrough was Eddie Kantar agreeing to let us republish his classic defense book, previously known as “big red”. Our updated and revised edition was called Eddie Kantar Teaches Modern Bridge Defense. It still sells very well and if you check on Amazon US it is rated 5 stars by 32 reviewers.

Since then Eddie has become a good friend and we have had quite a few bridge adventures with Eddie and his wife Yvonne. Eddie LOVES playing bridge and will do so anywhere and everywhere. Once we were having dinner in a nice restaurant in Hawaii and Eddie wanted to play while we were waiting for the food to arrive. So off he ran to a nearby drugstore to get cards… usually he has some on him, but this time he had forgotten to bring them.

MPP Hires Distribution

In the early days, the way we provided books to most customers went along these lines. Originally the books were in our basement. Later we had a storage locker. Ray would go over (I would help sometimes) and pick the books from the shelves, put them in a box with packing material, tape them really well and mail them out. Ray was the best packer ever and I can’t remember any damaged books. But as business picked up it was time to let someone else do the packing and shipping. We negotiated hard and picked a company we still use in Georgetown Ontario. They could handle both Canada and the US, which was important.

Digital Books

I think the move to digital books was a big step for just about all publishers. Bridge books were particularly hard because we had to keep the hands and auctions from being reformatted as fonts and page sizes changed on the reader’s screen. We also had to deal with multiple file formats. We made a couple of decisions early on. First we would have our own website to sell our digital books. Second we would give the customer all versions of the book: PDF, .mobi (For Kindle) and .epub (for pretty well everyone else). We would also allow the PDF to be printed. We would trust our customers. And we would provide very good customer service. If you have a problem we want to fix it so that you leave happy.  It took a long time, a lot of freelancers, and some third-party conversion help, to convert all our paper books to ebooks. We are current now … hurray!


Today we manage several websites. Besides, we have, and a website for teachers which is run jointly with the American Bridge Teachers Association (ABTA),, and of course

Master Point Press works closely with the ABTA and supports them as much as we can. We also provide funds for an award administered by the ABTA, for the Bridge Teacher of the Year.

We sponsor a book award by the International Bridge Press Association and a sportsmanship award for juniors by the ACBL. 


Over the last few years we have taken advantage of technology to move older books to ‘print on demand’. That means books are always available. Before if the demand for a book was very low it was not economical to reprint it; now we can literally print a single copy of a book and ship it to a customer. Using this technology, we can also publish books we think are worthwhile but have a small market.

The Future

If someone had asked me to foresee the Master Point Press of 2014 twenty years ago it would have been beyond my imagination. Not only have we grown and changed but the world has become a much smaller place. MPP books are published in many languages and sold all over the world.  I am proud that we have kept pace with the technology and I am proud of the quality bridge books that we have made available to readers of all abilities.

Our Authors, in no particular order (and without whom we would not exist)


  • Terence Reese
  • Mary Paul
  • P.K. Paranjape
  • Dan Romm
  • Michael Rosenberg
  • Zia Mahmood
  • Andrew Diosy
  • David Silver
  • Peter Mathieson
  • Roy Hughes
  • Julian Pottage
  • Mark Horton
  • Eric Kokish
  • Barbara Seagram
  • Marc Smith
  • David Bird
  • Julian Laderman
  • Victor Mollo
  • Bill Buttle
  • Mike Lawrence
  • Brian Senior
  • Eddie Kantar
  • Matthew and Pamela Granovetter
  • Marshall Miles
  • Tim Bourke
  • Barnet Shenkin
  • Robert McKinnon
  • Jim Priebe
  • Jeff Rubens
  • Larry Cohen
  • Roselyn Teukolsky
  • Alan Sontag
  • Frank Stewart
  • Andy Stark
  • Alan Truscott
  • Dorothy Hayden Truscott
  • Willy Dam
  • Ib Axelsen
  • Nick Straguzzi
  • Danny Kleinman
  • Jonathan Berry
  • Paul Thurston
  • Fred Gitelman
  • Ned Downey
  • Ellen Pomer
  • Jude Goodwin
  • Sally Brock
  • Neil Kimelman
  • Danny Roth
  • Bobby Wolff
  • Gary Brown
  • Nick Smith
  • Ian McCance
  • Frank Vine
  • Sandra Landy
  • Patrick Jourdain
  • Barry Rigal
  • Jan van Cleeff
  • Clyde E. Love
  • Peter Winkler
  • Eric Rodwell
  • Jeff Meckstroth
  • Ken Allen
  • Mary Ann Dufresne
  • Marion Ellingsen
  • Paul Holtham
  • Boye Brogeland
  • Patrick O’Connor
  • Jim Jackson
  • Bill Treble
  • Nico Gardener
  • Carole Coplea
  • Krzysztof Jassem
  • Sabine Auken
  • Guy Leve
  • Ken Rexford
  • Ken Eichenbaum
  • Mike Dorn Wiss
  • Michael Schoenborn
  • Ian McKinnon
  • Roger Trezel
  • Kathleen Vishner
  • Gary Brown
  • Joan Anderson
  • Patty Tucker
  • Rosemary Boden
  • Jeff Chen
  • Cathy Hunsberger
  • Matthew Thomson
  • Bill Jacobs
  • Harry Smith
  • Alex Adamson
  • Robert Munger
  • Matthias Felmy 

 List of Awards

 ABTA Book of the Year

A Second Book of Bridge Problems    Patrick O’Connor

A First Book of Bridge Problems    Patrick O’Connor

 The Bridge Technique Series   David Bird and Tim Bourke

 Modern Bridge Defense    Eddie Kantar

Advanced Bridge Defense    Eddie Kantar

 25 Conventions You Should Know    Barbara Seagram & Marc Smith

 Bridge with Bells & Whistles    Mary Ann Dufresne and Marion Ellingsen

 How Good is Your Bridge?    Danny Roth

A Bridge to Simple Squeezes    Julian Laderman

A Bridge to Inspired Declarer Play    Julian Laderman

 25 Steps to learning 2/1    Paul Thurston

 Gary Brown’s Learn to Play Bridge    Gary Brown

 Hands-on Weak Two-bids    Joan Anderson

 Declarer Play at Bridge: a quizbook    Barbara Seagram & David Bird

 Planning the Play of a Bridge Hand    Barbara Seagram & David Bird

 Take All Your Chances at Bridge    Eddie Kantar


IBPA  Book of the Year

 North of the Master Solvers’ Club    Frank Vine

The Principle of Restricted Talent   Danny Kleinman and Nick Straguzzi

I Love this Game   Sabine Auken

Duplicate Bridge Schedules   Ian McKinnon  (Truscott award)

Fantunes Revealed   Bill Jacobs

The Rodwell Files   Eric Rodwell with Mark Horton

Canada’s Bridge Warriors   Roy Hughes

The Contested Auction   Roy Hughes

Play or Defend?   Julian Pottage

A Great Deal of Bridge Problems   Julian Pottage




Dave Memphis MOJOSeptember 22nd, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Fascinating stuff, thank you for sharing. Congrats on your tremendous success, and the 20-year milestone! Didn’t you also contribute to some Canadian women’s teams to play internationally? Anyway, thanks for all you do for bridge.

lindaSeptember 22nd, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Yes we have contributed to Canadian teams of all types over the years. The most recent was the Senior team. We make a lot of other small contributions as well: we have given books to tournaments for juniors or newcomers. We support the BIL (Beginner Intermediate Lounge) with both prizes and I act as a mentor to new players … and many other things. We like to help!

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 22nd, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Hi Linda,

What a delightful recap for fans of The Lees and Masterpoint Press. It was refreshing to learn all you have done to help perpetuate the game! Hope you guys are doing a better job of getting bridge off the ground and into the schools North of the Border than we are down here! We need the right people to accomplish such a leviathan job but so far, despite some meager efforts, we have struck out here in the States! Without it, our marvelous, challenging game will go the way of all flesh!

Regarding your involvement with the Internet, you have provided a fabulous venue for caring bridge lovers (not unlike yourselves) to share universal views about our game. Because of the generosity of Bobby’s syndicate, his Aces on Bridge column has been appearing daily on with a two week delay since MPP published ‘The Lone Wolff’ about six years ago. He has a loyal following who add so much to the presentation each day. And, at Ray’s suggestion, I innocently began writing my own column at about the same time .. sharing my unique personal experiences and liaisons having been thrown in with our game’s hoi polloi via my good fortune of ‘getting it right’ twice (forty years with Norman and my eleventh anniversary with Bobby coming up on Pearl Harbor Day)! Besides expounding upon my treasured memories of decades gone by, I dare to delve into controversial bridge issues as well.

Again .. I speak on behalf of all your fans and readers in appreciation for sharing the history of your past two decades on the bridge scene. Bobby and I wish you happiness, good health and the strength to continue your generosity and allegiance to the game. You are indeed special!


lindaSeptember 23rd, 2014 at 2:04 am

Judy, it has been an honor to be friends with you and Bobby, Both of you have in your own way made a substantial contribution to bridge and the bridge community. You have raised important issues in your blog and fought for things you believe in.

Keep fighting the good fight! Best wishes ,,, Linda

MichaelSeptember 25th, 2014 at 1:57 am

Congruations to you and Ray in your successful venture with Master Point Press. Wishing you continuous success.

On behalf of Candian bridge player everywhere a big Thank You for your support in international competitions. World championships are getting very expensive, you involvement is much appreciated.

I am also thankful to you for providing this site where I can express my thoughts.

MarkSeptember 25th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

This is such an amazing story. It sounds like you have not only figured out how to be a successful publisher, which is so rare these days, but also how to combine your work with so many things that you love. I particularly enjoyed the part about “best packer ever” and the do whatever it takes spirit it captures that is so important, so exhausting — and so memorable! — in the start up days and the part about Eddie Kantar going to the drugstore to get a deck of cards. Talk about love of the game!

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