COUNTING AT BRIDGE REVIEW
By: Brent Manley
Originally Published in The American Contract Bridge
League BULLETIN, August, 1996
Of all the activities involved in bridge, counting is arguably the
most essential. Once you learn to count at the bridge table, mysteries
you once thought unfathomable begin to unfold as if by magic. All of a
sudden, you are confident at the table. Silly mistakes that once seemed
inevitable are memories.
As important as counting is, it's not easy for many up-and-coming players
to learn to do it automatically. What it takes is practice, practice and
With the introduction of a new Windows program by Mike Lawrence and
Fred Gitelman, it's now a lot easier to get that practice and to take a
giant step toward fulfilling your potential as a player.
Lawrence has been writing outstanding bridge books for nearly three
decades -- and he has a gift for zeroing in on topics many other writers
gloss over. Gitelman, a member of the Canadian team which was second in
last year's Bermuda Bowl, has earned a reputation as one of the top bridge
software writers in the world.
Together, they have produced a terrific new product that can help average
players transform their games. If you're struggling with this aspect of
your game, Counting will be a boon.
There's more in the program, however, than a deal on the screen and
a counting regimen. As you read along, it's like receiving a private lesson
from Lawrence, who "talks" to you informally and asks questions
as you go (you type in your answers). You get sound advice on bidding,
and Lawrence talks you through the steps to become a real counter. He helps
you think like an expert, which is part of the battle.
Here's one of his tips: "The name of the game is to think. You
can learn rules and you can use the most complex bidding methods. Bridge
will reward you if you know all these things perfectly. But bridge will
also punish you if you ignore signals that tell you the normal approach
is not going to work...." Knowing how to count will give you a much
better chance to recognize such situations.
The interactive program contains 100 problems, and with the wealth of
material in each one, the supply will last for weeks. Counting is
user-friendly -- one mouse click or key stroke takes care of just about
If you're an aspiring player right on the edge of making a breakthrough,
this program could help you take that big step forward. Your opponents
won't like it, but your partners will be delighted.