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By: Brent Manley

Originally Published in The American Contract Bridge League BULLETIN, December, 1999

The next time you play a session of bridge, think about how many key decisions you had to make during the 26 or so boards you played. Sure, you are aware that virtually every bid and play involves a choice, but think about how many of them made a difference to the bottom line of your session.

You may be surprised at how often you were at the crossroads, how many times you could have made a less-revealing play, how often the spot card that you played or the discard you chose made a huge difference.

Perhaps you are saying that you donít think you could tell how many key plays you made - or that hindsight is always 20-20 so why bother? If so, you should look at Larry Cohenís new bridge software - one of the best products to come along in years.

In a slick, easy-to-use package, Cohen presents 56 deals from the first day of the play in the Life Master Pairs, the six-session championship contested last summer at the San Antonio NABC. Note the title - Day 2 will be released next spring.

In an exhausting detailed recap of each deal, Cohen guides the user literally step by step through two sessions. You learn from watching, reading and participating - at certain points, you are given a choice of a bid or play.

Do not be concerned that Cohenís narrative will be over your head or that you might feel he is talking down to you. The presentation is balanced and suitable for every level of player who wishes to improve his or her matchpoint scores (Cohenís Trick One Lecture is practically worth the price of the software on its own).

The format is such that the user is always declarer or defender, never dummy. At the end of each deal, the score achieved is matchpointed against the actual scores of 194 other pairs in the LM Pairs. Itís fun to gauge how you would do based on the plays you chose.

One of my all-time favorite books is one by Mike Lawrence in which he guides the reader through a two-session pair game. Cohenís new product updates and greatly improves the format.

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