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All comments by Tim Bourke
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It's possibly an Eddie Kantar deal. I recall him using a deal where the point was to duck with the king when the queen is played from Q-J-x in dummy and A-x-x in hand. The end of the story (as I recall rather sketchily) is that all of his students play the queen and everyone covers with king so the contract makes.

A variation of this has appeared in columns as:

A72
K9843 J6
Q105
The contract is 3NT West leads the four and East plays the jack and you duck because you have to develop two tricks in QJ109 opposite xxxx!
Feb. 20
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Victor Mollo was a skilled presenter of bridge material but not a first rank player. One only has to work through “Card Play Technique” to see the former.

BTW CPT was based on Nico Gardner's lesson books on play and defence at his “London School of Bridge”.

CPT was wonderful in 1955 and in 1969 when I first began my multiple readings of it. The good news that it is even better with Mark Horton's updated version, published by Master Point Press in 2013. It is probably my number one all time work on the game.

To me, his absolutely wonderful “Menagerie” articles are remembered more for the interaction of the characters than for the deals. (In my view most are very much on the South side of interesting.) He was, in the right circumstances, a gifted writer on our game.

I re-read many of his books about 5-6 years ago. Most were terrible. The ones on bidding were antiquated in their day. The books of his hand collections reiterate time an again some of his tiresome and, to me, just plain wrong concepts about the game.

His quiz books are full of errors of omission and commission. Nonetheless they are valuable to a columnist with an analytical bent - publishing a corrected version of the write-up of a Mollo deal is quite satisfying.

In summary Mollo was a writer more than a bridge author.
Jan. 9
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I agree with the review in the 7/72 issue of “The Bridge World” of this item. It accurately summed up this intermediate-level quiz book on defense by observing “that many of the answers are wrong, incomplete, debatable or matters of (non-standard) partnership understanding”.
Jan. 8
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“Lenz on Bridge” might be one to look at. It has some good, though basic, deals that would be suitable for newspaper type columns.

Work's two “Par Auction” books would serve the same purpose. (Though I'd check the analyses - I remember there were flaws in some of the problems.) Also, there are a number of small booklets by Work that have some useful material in that vein.

Personally, I'd like to see copies of pamphlets that I know exist but I have never seen - it's the collector in me! (“My Bridge Opponents are Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by Paul W Black is one example.)
Jan. 5
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Paul Ryan believes the most likely person being this author is Harold Henry Thorne, 1888-1964 but it is still unconfirmed.

Paul has not found an obituary as yet.
Sept. 10, 2018
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x = also see
Sept. 7, 2018
Tim Bourke edited this comment Sept. 7, 2018
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The best biographical data person I know (Paul Ryan of LA) has

Phillips, Hubert, 1891-1964.

Biographical article appears in Wikipedia.

x Petronius.
Sept. 5, 2018
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I analysed and wrote about Australian bridge teams finals for about 20 years (1975-1995). In that period I found only one pair that was clearly better as defenders than as declarers on multiple occasions.

About 20 years we played against them: 1NT(weak) from partner 2C from me “What's 2C says my LHO”. We reach 3NT and my RHO leads CJ from CJx. Alas his partner held only CKQ10x and we made 3NT.

There was no point in complaining to anyone. Nothing would have been done. Sad, but true.

My most regular partner and I had agreement the if either of us hesitated under dummy when declarer was playing

KQ10x

xxx

When the ace was on the right then both the king and queen would win.

BTW That Roth story is apocryphal

The great English player Kenneth Konstam version of this is declarer has two KJx's in dummy and has to get both right. Low towards dummy, hesitation, K wins. Same with the other suit.

At the end of the hand it turns out Konstam has both aces.

“Why didn't you take your aces?” the guilty party asked

Konstam said something like “From your hesitations I thought you has both of them.”
Aug. 17, 2018
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In general, the items in “Bridge Books in English” are those that were sold for some amount. We did not include Ephemera, such as catalogues, tournament programmes or post WWII booklets for nationwide games.

I have 10,073 items in my data base, about 7500 of which are marked as first editions. I have marked 7832 of these items as having been owned by me (almost all of which should be at the State Library of Victoria by this years end - the bound sets of magazines and almost all of the Ephemera will be there too). (We are downsizing big time.)
June 7, 2018
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That is a lovely tribute to someone I only knew through Edgar Kaplan's wonderful match reports in TBW and Roy Hughes's book.
May 24, 2018
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Research like that proposed by Professor Punch is necessary if the Bridge community is to persuade policy makers that the game can make a difference to young people's lives.

Several times in the last 25 years members of our Bridge community have run programs that introduced “troubled,/economically disadvantaged” young people to our game: all reported that the participants demonstrated an increase in social skills, calculation skills and in self esteem. However, as far as I know, there was no support from those in the educational establishment for these efforts: followups seemed to have died “on the vine”.

As an aside, we helped (very, very slightly) finance the 2014 the short documentary film “Game Changer”. It is a about teaching bridge to incarcerated aboriginal juveniles in Australia's Northern Territory. Betty Mill (then 80) took it on as project to help make these young men them feel better about themselves. See http://www.coolwhitebunnie.com/ for a trailer. I believe Betty was successful but…

The results from all of the efforts I know of were positive but none(to my knowledge) had any support from that powers that be that resulted in long-term, positive outcomes for the kids and Bridge.
May 5, 2018
Tim Bourke edited this comment May 5, 2018
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There were exactly 18 issues (I found the list of my magazines). I can probably do so next week if my planned trip to Melbourne to attend an AFL football game goes ahead. The most remarkable things about the magazine that I recall is that it was glossy up-market job (like the last few issues of the Work-Whitehead Auction Bridge Magazine) and that the page size was quite large. On the other hand the content was uninteresting (from memory) as it seemed to be largely directed at the ordinary social player.
April 3, 2018
Tim Bourke edited this comment April 4, 2018
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I have collected bridge books and magazines somewhat compulsively for 45 years, amassing perhaps 9000 books & pamphlets and over 10K magazines as well as unknown amount of Ephemera.

One of the things that still amazes me is the number of self-published pamphlets on no-hope systems that I have found.I love the fact that our game induces the passion to produce such items.

That said, largely, who your favorite author is a matter of personal taste. For example I found Watson's “Play of the hand” dull because it didn't go fast enough and labored the obvious. Others have found it a nicely paced book for their skill level.

Reese called Love's “Bridge Squeezes Complete” a “pedagogic monstrosity”. My wife, a fine player, couldn't cope with it while for me it was “just another math text book” and I found it relatively straightforward.

I preferred Kelsey to Reese as I found the latter a little too cold (a fault I could level at my own writings sometimes). I wish Kelsey's defensive quizzes were modernized.

I like Mollo's menagerie series a lot, despite the somewhat limited set of deals that he uses. Other Mollo writings are for me somewhere between dreadful and pointless.

I have provided thousands of deals to David Bird (over 99% of which he finds interesting) since 1995 and his use of some of them in the Abbot series still amazes me. To me he is the best writer of all time because he seems to write well for beginner, intermediate and expert. I found that Reese & Kelsey's books for beginners seemed to assume to much.

I disliked Sheinwold's “Five Weeks to Winning Bridge” for the same reason as I dislike Watson: too slow. But, if anyone wants to get an idea of how to write a syndicated bridge column I recommend studying his LA Times stuff.

My least favorite serious book is “Adventure in Card Play”. The chapters are in a strange order and the sailing metaphor just plain annoys me. However, I have put all of the deals in a format that can be read by “Deep Finesse”, which made me appreciate the intellectual effort of Ottlik in putting the collection togeter.
Feb. 22, 2018
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This problem was faced in Sydney in the late 1930s. A pair was outed as signalling using movements of pipes/cigarettes. The NSWBA decided to make all events “invitational”: you had to get an “invitation” to play in a NSWBA event. Guess who didn't get the invitation!
Dec. 13, 2017
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This is sad news. I only met David once (in Toronto in 2011) and we had nice conversation.

I had the pleaure of providing deals for his last three books and he was a delight to work with.
Feb. 26, 2017
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Apparently, he did the equivalent of winning S7 lead (denying a high spade) with SA, then cashed CK, played C9 to C10 and then played a diamond. The defenders were fixed. At best they could cash three diamonds and SK. If they took DA and played a H declarer wins HA, comes back to hand with CJ to CA and leads SQ.
Dec. 1, 2016
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The idea I used for the Australian Bridge Federation's dealing program in 1996 or 1997 was to generate a number between 0 and the total possible number of deals -1 (approximatelty .7 time 2^96) and then use some algebra to convert that number into a deal. I did this thanks to manipulating three 32 bit random numbers into a 96 bit number so that some add-on software would give me accurate arithmetic to 30 digits in base 10.

The problem with the ACBL's old approach was that it took at least 39 numbers (more probably 52) from a 10^48 spectrum to generate a bridge deal (using 39 is akin to taking 52 cards and dealing out 39 of them randomly to 3 players with the fourth player getting the balance). Also, the ACBL's program was using a modulo arithmetic random number generator which, in my experience, are terrible for dealing bridge hands (a typical fault is that you get too many partial poker straights in suits).

Big Deal uses a similar approach to the one I adopted for the ABF but, from what I perceive from recent comments, it may only transform numbers between 0 and 2^31 -1 into bridge deals. I hope this impression is not the case.
Nov. 22, 2016
Tim Bourke edited this comment Nov. 22, 2016
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Why not play transfers after Stayman?

One scheme after 1NT:2C, 2D:?
3C puppets to 3D then
3H = H shortage, 3S= S shortage, 3NT/4C = D shortage
3D/3H transfers to H/S
3S C shortage

After 1NT:2D, 2H:?
3C and 3S are as above
3D transfer to H (3H is a min, 3NT max with 3433)
3H a forcing raise in H

After 1NT:2C, 2S:?
3C/3S are as above
3D/3H are spade raises
(I'd keep the meanings the same as over a 2H response)
Aug. 7, 2016
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I first read TBW in 1969, thanks to about 8-10 years worth of issues that were part of the library of University of Melbourne's Bridge Club.

The thing that grabbed me most about it were Sonny Moyse's reports on previous Bermuda Bowls and that was the catalyst for my collecting bridge books and magazines. (My first major purchase, in 1970, was the then available World Championship books - which excluded only 1958.)

In 1972 I was able to buy a complete set of the magazine and take out a lifetime subscription.

The only real criticism I have of TBW are to do with its layout: the bidding should be in WNES order because West is on the extreme left (SWNE is a ridiculous choice).

The Swiss matches are very poorly laid out too: I have given up trying to figure out where everybody is in the associated defensive problems and skip them.

The stars of the magazine for me are the “Test Your Play”, “Improve Your Play”, “Improve Your Defense” and “Kantar for the Defense”. (Perhaps this is because I have been a problem and deal composer for a very longtime.)

Also, I pay attention to the book reviews too. As I hardly play these days, I no longer have any interest in articles on bidding treatments and conventions.

Of course, it was no surprise to me when I got the letter Peggy mentioned. I was happy to help out, effectively becoming a paying subscriber again.

Finally, I believe that any active advanced or better player would benefit from reading the magazine regularly.
Jan. 24, 2016
Tim Bourke edited this comment Jan. 24, 2016
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In 2008 I had a Bridge collection of 8000+ books and pamphlets, 10,000+ magazines and uncounted items of Ephemera. I am a serious collector of such material: indeed I have been rated by fellow collectors to have the best English-language print-based archive in the world.

Over the years, I have bought three major libraries of Bridge books intact as well significant selected parts of another one. For close to 20 years I helped the ACBL with their Library. I am as serious a collector of print-related Bridge material as anyone on the planet.

(BTW: in 2008 my wife and I started the process of donating my bridge stuff to the State Library of Victoria. Check their website via Google.)

I have bought, sold and traded large amounts of print -related Bridge material with dozens of fellow collectors since 1970 : “Have you?”.

Now you should understand that you and the dealers for the Robertson book are relatively uninformed compared to myself.

Basically, my handling 12+ copies of the book over 45 years makes their description of “rare” a fallacy.

So, as I am regarded as an expert on Bridge print-related material by my fellow Bridge collectors, Mr Rogoff, I find your comments contains uninformed, baseless, tasteless and, dare I say, offensive statements. You should apologize.
Jan. 9, 2016
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