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The Sunday Times Bridge Column
By: Paul Mendelson

Orginally Published in The Sunday Times, London, England, 1997


Bridge computers which try to bid are a bore. Not only are they not very good, they are hopelessly conceited.

Sensibly side-stepping the bidding, the new software from Canadian international, Fred Gitelman, called Bridge Master, is superb.

Your challenge is declarer play, with the twist that the computer will place the outstanding cards unfavourably, unless you find the right line. This may sound like an advanced form of masochism, but the resulting trials are great for both mind and soul.

Against South's 4, J is led. As declarer, you face a loser in each suit. Assuming that diamonds are no worse than 5-2, you win the lead with K, come to hand with A, and ruff 4 in dummy. Now, your inclination may be to draw trumps but, if you do, West hops up with A, and plays another diamond for East to ruff. Having failed, you can try again, or let the computer assist you.

The solution here is, having ruffed 4 in dummy, you should return to hand with A, and ruff Q as well! Your high trumps ensure that only A can beat you, and there can be no adverse ruff of your diamond winner later.

The programme is completely user-friendly, and the hands are not clever pranks, just great examples of life's challenges.

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