Review By: Phillip D. Alder
Originally Published in The Bridge
World, March, 2000
Mike Lawrence, with the assistance of Fred Gitelman’s software, has produced his fourth instructional disk, “Defense”. Requiring Windows 3.1 or higher and 3MB of hard-disk space, it comprises difficult material because defense is difficult. It will surely improve your game if you make the effort to analyze the deals, especially with Lawrence at your elbow, asking the crucial questions that need to be answered, and thereby training you to ask similar questions of yourself at the table. Obviously, using the disk introduces an artificial element in that you are forewarned when a key decision must be made, but it is an excellent teaching tool nonetheless.
Necessarily, the author must make certain decisions about defensive card-play signaling methods. His sensible selections include fourth-highest leads against both suit and notrump contracts, and top of an honor sequence, except the power-ace lead (asking for an unblock) against notrump. Signals are traditional, not upside-down; attitude usually takes priority over count.
There are four sections: The Tools has 13 deals, but four that you get to try over with a small variation; Signals, with five deals one replay; The Chamber of Horrors, which highlights common errors, includes 12 deals and three encores; and General Problems, with 71 deals and 19 reprises. So, you get 101 deals (sort of) on which to practice your defensive technique.
Using a product of this kind is more fun that working through a book with comparable material, but must be more expensive, because of the time and technology involved in production.