Outsmart the Bridge Experts
Danny Roth

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168 pp. (paperback)

ISBN: 978-0-9828874-5-5

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Introduction

Do you suffer from an inferiority complex? Do you walk into your local bridge club or tournament terrified of the big names, those who have played at county and international level and are all but worshipped by we lesser mortals? You do? Well, you should not! There is nothing to be scared of.


I tumbled to this many decades ago, when I first appeared on the duplicate scene playing at the Grand Slam Bridge club in the Queensway-Lancaster Gate area of West London. Many recognised ‘top-class’ names regularly turned up for the Tuesday evening duplicate. True, they tended to make fewer and less serious mistakes than the remainder and usually finished higher up the rankings as a result. However, they were far from perfect and their errors, some beyond belief, abounded.


As time progressed towards the present, I regularly read books and articles by so-called ‘experts’ and I started a collection of misanalyses and missing the point of the hand altogether ― by one ‘expert’ in particular. His/her numbers accumulated at such a rate that I lost patience. It was time somebody spoke up and impressed upon these ’gods’ that they were not quite so marvellous as they are thought to be. That was the initiation of my notorious ‘blunders’ series. Spot the Bridge Writer’s Blunder was followed by Beat the Experts at Bridge and You Never Stop Learning at Bridge. This book is the fourth in the series and despite the appearance of the Deep Finesse program and other computerised analytical aids, the cascade continues and I have easily enough material for a fifth already! One point which never fails to fascinate me is the number of hands which are considered ‘declarer’ problems but are far more interesting from the defenders’ point of view, and vice-versa.


At the risk of boring readers who have suffered one or more doses of me before and are obviously gluttons for punishment, I need to repeat a few basics. Obviously, I extend a special welcome to those who are joining me for the first time.


You, the reader, will be presented with a problem in declarer play or defence with just two hands on view, your own and dummy’s. The format will make South declarer at all times so that the exposed hand at the top will be North’s dummy. You will then be told the bidding (with any explanation of conventional bids), the opening lead and early play up to a certain point. Any conventions in defence which are relevant will also be clarified. Now you will be asked for your continuation.


Other relevant information will be given on preliminary analysis under ‘First Thoughts’. On the next page, the full deal will be displayed and I shall detail what actually happened and how proceedings were reported. I shall then point out where there was more to be discussed than may have been appreciated. Hopefully, therefore, you will benefit in two ways, being shown:

1.  How to tackle the problem and

2. What analysis is required


However, in one important respect, I differ from other authors. Almost invariably in bridge-problem books, the reader is taken up to the critical moment. I shall do that most of the time but, on occasions, will stop well short of it or go well past it. That way, I shall try to get as close to reality as possible. At the table in the heat of battle, nobody is there to nudge you and say:  This is your big moment; you will be expected to do something unusual” ― far too easy and unrealistic.

 

The important thing is that you enjoy the problems and benefit by making mistakes away from the table when it costs nothing rather than during actual play when it costs a lot! Good luck!

 

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