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Big Deal: A Memoir from the Wonderful World of Bridge

Posted on 29 September 2014

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bigg dealAugie Boehm’s recently-published autobiography, Big Deal, provides a lot of bridge and a considerable amount about music (including some fascinating parallels with the game that has been the author’s lifetime vocation and avocation). All of this is set against a background of people—mostly bridge players, from expert to novice, from many walks of life, from well-known to unknown in other areas of society. Although other well-known games, such as chess and backgammon, can be pursued successfully without much attention to personalities, bridge cannot.

Interactions with one’s partner can be as important as individual actions, and evaluating your opponents can pay big dividends, as Boehm showed on this deal from a knockout match:

deal 01

West cashed the two top spade and shifted to a club. East captured one of dummy’s honors with the ace and returned the suit. Boehm, the declarer, knew that the normal play in hearts was to lead an honor from dummy to finesse, hoping to find East with king-doubleton. But South reflected: If East held king-doubleton of hearts, why had he made it so easy for declarer, whose bidding had suggested a lot of red cards and therefore might well have a singleton club, to reach dummy? A diamond shift would have been safe and might have kept North off lead.
Perhaps a novice would have defended as East had, but Boehm knew that this East was an expert. Accordingly, at trick five declarer led a low trump from dummy, picked up the heart suit without a loser, and made his game.

Big Deal (215 pages; $23.95 plus shipping [$5 to North America; $10 elsewhere]), available from: The Bridge World, PO Box 849, Kerhonkson NY 12446 USA or: www.bridgeworld.com
or (800) 366-1939.

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