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Not everyone thinks 2001 a Space Odyssey is a great movie(1)

In previous threads about great bridge books and authors we’ve seen an awful lot of personal opinion announced as if a statement of fact - well I’m happy to present some ‘facts ‘of my own.This is the first in a series of articles about disappointment, specifically bridge books that I feel have fallen short in some way. Some are downright bad ,others good but IMO could have been much better.I was going to do this many months ago but thought it only fair to re read my selections to see if my original opinions had changed.

I’m starting with the most contentious choice ‘The Rodwell Files’. Maybe I lose 90% of readers straight away as I’m clearly mad - people love this book, it was IBPA book of the year, Michael Rosenberg (who knows as much about declarer play as anyone) says it’s a great book so what do I know? Well, as art ‘philistines’ have said over the years ‘I know what I like’.

Don’t get me wrong , there’s lots of very good material here(one small example - 2nd hand high to gain an entry, I’d never seen that). No one would be ahead of me in a queue to read anything this great of the modern game had to say about bidding, so I think the sky high expectation that I had was a big part of the letdown.

So,some of the reasons why I find it less than perfect:

1. The ‘building blocks’ - everyone is meant to get something out of the book but really anyone who needs to read parts of this section is going to struggle later. We move on to a squeeze discussion where the concept of L+ is introduced, I’d expect a lot of people to be confused here.

2. I mentioned ‘2nd hand high’ earlier - you can find this any many more useful manoeuvres that you can remember by looking in the contents,but this play(by dummy) to gain an entry is the entry or KO fly, which together with the ‘ shortshake’ ‘Sky Marshall finesse’ etc I found not helpful as descriptions at all.

3. Moving on to the representative hands,can you have too much of a good thing? I think yes in this case. Mark Horton has scoured the archives far and wide for the selection and there are some very good hands indeed but there are a lot, I just feel (in conjunction with some of the ‘building blocks ‘) that the book has been ‘padded out’ - it just wasn’t necessary(or lMO desirable)

Well,there it is(Amadeus) - try not to be too hard on me. As for 2001, in my youth I thought it marvellous(one of the very few films I went to see at a cinema twice)but once the special effects wear off it’s actually pretty tedious. As Rossini may have said about Wagner ‘has good moments and some awful quarters of an hour’.

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