COMPUTERS LEND A HAND
By: Matthew Granovetter
Originally Published in The Jerusalem Post, July 17,
With the increasing popularity of the Internet, the game of bridge is
changing. If you have the right hardware and software, you can now play
live bridge on the computer, watch bridge games and even view famous bridge
games from the past.
Perhaps when the Jewish sages said that our entire lives will be played
back before our eyes in the hereafter, they weren't kidding. (Though in
the case of bridge players, you may be very unhappy to see some of your
mistakes a second time!) In this life, anyway, you can now watch thousands
of bridge deals from the past, with the option of pausing the play at any
point to review the position. You do this by logging into "Bridge
Plaza" (http://www.bridgeplaza.com). From there you will find directions
to download the required software and choose among computer "VuGraph
shows" (52-card diagrams in which the cards actually "move")
from championship events.
Bridge Plaza will also help you connect to other interesting web sites,
such as the American Contract Bridge League web page, book dealers, and
private pages, such as Israel's Ophir Herbst's homepage. Two of the people
behind Bridge Plaza are Toronto's Fred Gitelman and Sheri Winestock, who
are here this week as part of the Canadian Maccabiah bridge team (which
also includes Steve Aarons, of Toronto, and Peter Schwartz, of Montreal).
Gitelman was a pioneer in revolutionizing live VuGraph presentations.
A decade ago, VuGraph was presented by simple overhead projector and screen.
Four hands were typed on a sheet of paper and someone at the projector
had to write in the bids and cross off the cards as the hand was reported
by microphone from another room. Gitelman changed all that. He created
a computer version, which showed the bids and plays in large, colorful
illustrations. In the last few years, he incorporated this to the Internet.
Gitelman is also famous as the producer of the best-selling software
for home computers: Bridge Master. This Windows-based product allows you
to study bridge and improve by playing instructional hands on your computer.
Readers who are interested should contact Gitelman this week at the Mecure
Hotel in Jerusalem, where the Maccabiah bridge tournament is being held
(through Wednesday, July 23).
Opening lead: 5
IN 1995, in Beijing, Gitelman's Canadian team reached the final of the
world championships after defeating Sweden in the semifinals. Gitelman
was South on this week's deal from that match. West opened the bidding
with 2, showing a two-suited hand
with hearts and a minor, 7-11 points.
Gitelman's partner overcalled 3
and Gitelman made the aggressive call of 3NT. There were two strikes against
this call: first, he didn't hold a real heart stopper, and second, he had
no club honor to help his partner run the club suit. Nevertheless, his
daring bid succeeded after West's low-heart opening lead.
West's lead was reasonable, however, because declarer rated to have
three hearts for his bid. By leading a low heart instead of an honor, West
would leave East with a heart return if East started with a doubleton.
Gitelman won the first trick and took the club finesse. When the 10
held, he led another club to the J
and the cashed the A. East showed
out and Gitelman now had to guess the location of the Q
for his ninth trick. Since West had already shown up with 10 points (the
A-K and K),
East was almost a sure bet to have the Q.
So Gitelman cashed the A and
led the J for a finesse. When
it succeeded, he had 10 tricks.
At the other table the same contract was defeated when Gitelman's teammate
led the A and K
on opening lead, cashing the first six heart tricks. But at that table
East had raised hearts, so the lead of an honor was indicated.