I have been remiss in my postings for quite a while so I thought I would write a quick update. I have today off from work, relaxing and taking care of a few neglected chores before starting play tomorrow in the United States Bridge Federation Open Trials, which is being held in Chicago's suburbs. The winner earns a trip to Lille, France in August to play in the World Mind Games.
I haven't gotten to play much live bridge of late--I was only able to sneak away for 1 weekend of the recent NABC in Memphis. Perhaps I can post a hand from that later on. As usual I have been playing a bit on BBO and reading the Bridge World and from my growing library of material. I have realized that when planning a wedding it gets much more difficult to plow through bridge books at my accustomed pace.
On the bright side, I have bumped into a treasure recently that I can report on. It is "Partnership Bidding at Bridge" by Oliver Segal and my friend from last year's Tangier rubber bridge excursion, Andrew Robson. I have never read a book that has opened my eyes to so many possibilities in the auction. The book is chock full of suggested sequences where you can show a fit for partner with a second suit or lead director. Lots of tools to bid to the proper level efficiently and describe your hand at the same time, often making life awkward for the opponents. There is also a fantastic section completely devoted to "pressure bidding"--the authors' term for preemptive bidding. I have never seen such a complete discussion of the theory behind why we pressure bid and the partnership discussion necessary to do it effectively. The recurring theme in the book is that in a competitive auction the goal should be to give your opponents the last guess. The book can be hard to find since it is out of print, but usually there are a few copies available on Amazon. I recommend reading it and shipping a copy to your favorite partner...the improvement your results will see by applying some of the principles may be topped only by your increased enjoyment of the game! Good luck!