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The Master Point Press IBPA Book of the Year Shortlist 2011- by John Carruthers

The jury for this year’s Book of the Year Award is: Patrick Huang, Taiwan; Fernando Lema, Argentina; David Morgan, Australia; P.O. Sundelin, Sweden; Ron Tacchi, France; and Paul Thurston, Canada. They have an onerous task ahead of them since we have a particularly good selection from which to choose a winner. The candidates on the shortlist are:

Deadly Defense – Wladyslaw Izdebski, Roman Krzemien & Ron Klinger. Deadly Defense and Guide Dog might be the best books on the subject since Kelsey’s Killing Defence. It is very difficult now to come up with original material once the floodgate was opened by Hugh Kelsey, but Izdebski et al have done it; their examples range from workmanlike to brilliant. Many would be candidates for our annual award if they’d first seen the light of day in the IBPA Bulletin rather than elsewhere.

Guide Dog, Parts I & II – Krzysztof Martens. This is really two books, or one big book in two volumes. Last year’s winner has done it again, produced an original work on a narrow topic with a particular theme. This time it is helping partner – the idea is to prevent him from making errors, thus the title. Guide Dog introduces some new concepts in defence – it will be the rare player who can not learn something from this book.

The Hog Takes to Precision – Victor Mollo. Bridge in the Menagerie and its sequels are among the most-beloved bridge books ever written. This collection comprises some magazine articles and some almost-forgotten original material, merged into further adventures of the Hog, the Rabbit, Papa and the others. Readers familiar with their antics will find much pleasure here.

Breaking The Bridge Rules: First Hand Play – Barry Rigal. Based on his series in Bridge Magazine, Rigal takes us through the instances when the rules must be broken, or at least circumvented. The key thought in the book is don’t play by rote. Rigal teaches us how to do that – the objective of this book is to teach us how to think at the bridge table. This book certainly achieves that goal.

The Rodwell Files – Eric Rodwell and Mark Horton. Some books seem destined to become classics and this is one such book. Rodwell takes us into the mind of an all-time great, examining his thought processes and categorizing and naming many plays in play and defence – “intrasquash”, “pusher”, “intrapop” and “defogging” will shortly be added to every bridge player’s lexicon just as “Support Double”, “Last Train” and “Serious 3NT” have already done.

Bridge at the Enigma Club – Peter Winkler. Developer of the now-illegal encrypted signalling methods, Winkler has written a novel that can be enjoyed by all bridge players, firstly as a work of fiction, secondly as a source of good bridge deals and thirdly, philosophically, as the author weaves in his ideas about bridge and technology and encryption in bidding and defence. Winkler is a Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Dartmouth.


 by John Carruthers (IBPA Bulletin 2011, July)

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One Reply to “The Master Point Press IBPA Book of the Year Shortlist 2011- by John Carruthers”

  1. On Peter Winkler’s ideas. The Encrypted Signals Method consists of conventions which meaning depends on other conventional calls. For example, say we play Strong Club with Control Response; after 1♣ opening (17+ HCP) and the five control showing response, the Opener almost always knows if Partner has one ace and three kings or two aces and one king; the Opponents instead do not, and this is perfectly regular and fair. Now let’s see how the Encrypted Signal arises:
    1♣ (17+)-2♣ (five controls)
    2♥: Encrypted Signal which meaning, say, might be: “I’m short in the suit of your sole ace”, where that ace is the “key” of encryption, key known only by Opener’s side. I do not understand why this should be illegal whereas Strong Club or Control Responses aren’t.

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