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PRIVATE BRIDGE LESSONS, VOLUME 1
By: Ruth Edmondson

Originally Published in Bridge Magazine, Christmas, 1998


The latest software from Mike Lawrence comes on one floppy disk. It installed quickly on my Pentium 120 computer and I was using the software within minutes of opening the package.

A lot of effort has gone into the display, making the cards and text very clear, and the software extremely easy to use. Unfortunately, the small instruction manual is not up to the same standard. Although clearly laid out, the screen shots are very poor. The software is designed like a book with chapters covering endplays, squeezes, safety plays, percentage plays etc. Each chapter has an introduction followed by example hands played by Mike Lawrence with you making decisions from a list of options. Many of the hands are played more than once, allowing you to fall into a trap and go off, before playing the hand correctly. The hands can be played in sequential order (you know whether you need to find a squeeze or endplay, for example) or in random order. There are 100 hands in all.

We all know what we should do when playing a hand. Before playing a card from dummy at trick one, we should think about the number of tricks we need, entry problems, opposition bidding, placing the opponents' cards, etc. Most of us don't manage half of this. Mike Lawrence takes us through each hand asking questions at critical times and forcing us to think very hard about the lie of the opposing cards. The explanations for the correct line of play are so clearly given that "Why on earth didn't I think of that!" immediately springs to mind.

This package is definitely not for beginners, but intermediate players who want to improve can't go wrong by buying this.

Key: * = Poor        ***** = Excellent
Presentation: ***
Ease of Use: *****
Value for Money: *****
Overall: *****

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