By: Shireen Mohandes
Originally Published in Bridge Magazine, Christmas,
Fred Gitelman, Bermuda Bowl Silver Medallist, has released
a Windows version of one of the most innovative and well produced Bridge
You may already have heard about Bridge Master, which has over 12,000
worldwide sales and an impressive reputation amongst top players including
Bob Hamman, Eric Rodwell, Jeff Meckstroth and Zia Mahmood. The original
(DOS) version was released in 1992 and the Windows version was launched
Bridge Master is all about declarer play. The bidding is provided but
not always recommended: the authors emphasise this point in the simple
but excellent colour manual.
Using carefully selected hands the authors, Fred Gitelman and Sheri
Winestock, both Canadian Internationals, present a series of play problems.
You play the dummy against the computer, which, having the benefit of the
authors' instructions, always defends accurately. If you fail to choose
the best line, the program meanly arranges the defenders' cards so as to
ensure defeat. Trying another inferior line just causes the layout to change
to beat you once again. If you try to guess a two way finesse when you
should be endplaying someone, the queen always turns out to be in the wrong
An interactive analysis feature called 'Bridge Movies' is provided to
tell you how a hand should be played and why. Unlike in a book of problems,
this allows the authors to show you the play as it develops and display
several different layouts and end positions in the discussion of each hand.
There are 5 sets of 36 hands, graded according to difficulty. You can
also select hands with a particular theme. The program remembers which
hands you have attempted and whether you were successful, so that you can
return to a problem without having to search for it.
The hands are of a very high quality and look like real-life problems,
and the interface is very easy to use. My only quibble is with the appearance
of the screen, which could be improved. All in all this is first class
entertainment combined with high quality education. Having sat down to
test it, I found it very difficult to stop.
|* = poor ***** = excellent
|Ease of installation
|Bridge technical merit
|Value for money