Games: Bridge

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MORE BRIDGE books, many of them excellent, are being written than ever before. I'm sure that the experts sharing their expertise is a major contribution to the rise in the overall standard of play. One thing I notice, though, is their comparatively high price. To pay pounds 8 to pounds 10, or more, for a paperback seems rather steep. But then I look at it from the viewpoint of the authors and publishers. Except for beginners' books, only bridge players buy these books. So the purchasing public is limited, and to make it worthwhile for the writers and the publishers there has to be the financial incentive.

On price I have no qualms in recommending The New Complete Book of Bridge by Albert Dormer, in consultation with Ron Klinger (448 pages, pounds 12.99. Victor Gollancz - The Master of Bridge Series). Nor have I qualms about recommending it on quality. Although originally published in 1996, this is the first paperback edition. The modern Acol system, as used in this country, is comprehensively covered, and there is a major section of very thought-provoking hands.

The point made in today's hand is that the defenders have fewer opportunities for discovery than declarer, and these most often occur in the early play. (There is no vulnerability or dealer given in the book for this hand.)

Against Five Clubs West leads the three of spades. If East plays the king, South wins with the ace. When East is in with the king of trumps he is not sure whether to return a spade or switch to hearts, West's lead being equally consistent with an original holding of either Qxxx or 10xxx. But if he inserts the jack at trick one, which is taken by the queen, he realises that his best chance to defeat the contract lies in the heart suit.