In the last number of Bridge World, I have read that…

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Review of The Bridge World magazine by Paolo Enrico Garrisi

The editors Henry Copeland and Herbert De Bower a day knocked on Ely Culbertson’s door, in New York; they wanted him for a course, a few dollars business for an hack writer or next. Ely was on higher rank of thinking:

“Gentlemen – he said – how would you like to make a million dollars?” And he started to explain ideas and ideas.

“I spoke with such conviction” – wrote Culbertson in his biography – “that De Bower was impressed by my sheer earnestness, if not by my logic”.

“Mr. Culbertson” – the editor asked – “Let’s be practical about it: what would be your first step?”

“First”, I stated, “we must launch a bridge magazine”.

In October 1929 Bridge World was born; it weighted thirty-two pages. Since that day, millions and millions of bridge players have said or written: “In the last number of Bridge World, I have red that…”.

In the last number of Bridge World – now May 2010 – I go first to read the “Fifty years ago” column; I like story. In the match England-Usa of Olympiad 1960, Shenken opened 1, Shapiro overcalled 2♣; Ogust had these cards:

♠Void AQJ52 K9872 ♣Q82.

He bid 2NT, and the psychic buried the spade fit of the Englishmen. The interesting thing is that this psychic was “An hoary stratagem in the US”, but unfamiliar in England – wrote Alphonse Moyse, then director of the magazine.

Back to 2010, I’m now on Master Solvers’ Club column, reading the solutions of the problems published a month ago. Problem A: IMPs, both vuln. You, South, hold:

♠A107 K96543 8 ♣A97

South West North East

1♣ Pass
1 2 *Pass Pass



*In the Bridge World Standard (BWS), double would have shown three hearts.

My response, a month ago, had been 3: it takes only four votes. The Double wins sixteen. Despite the low score, I’m glad: Russell Eklebad explain the good reasons for 3, and also Jeff Rubens has bidden as me (Jeff Rubens is the today’s director of Bridge World; he should know what to do: please, don’t tell me that the Director hasn’t heard any tip-off about North’s cards!).

On page three there’s Bart Bramley on a long article about 2009 Bermuda Bowl. It’s in two parts: in this number until the semifinals; in June, in the second part, he’ll talk about the final Italia – Usa. In his article, Bramley makes a digression on the Victory-Point Scale that is used since twenty years by the WBF (World Bridge Federation): the transformation from imps to VP hasn’t the duly balance. He complaints that “…You’re better of winning one match by 25 and losing the next by 5 than winning both matches by 10. Can this be right?”

Moment, please: let me count. In the former case, +25 and -5 imps, the overall result will be 35-25 VP; in the latter (both +10), I have a worse result: 34-26. This cannot be right: two winnings by 10 say that my team is strong; one winning by 25 and one losing by -5 say that my team is only strong against weakies. I must immediately write to Mr. José Damiani, President of WBF, signalling the mistake…oh, he’s already here! At page two there’s a letter of Mr. Damiani: he’s a bit annoyed because, in a previous number of Bridge World, he has red that…


Paolo Enrico Garrisi

May 29, 2010

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