This blog provides supplementary thoughts and ideas to the site. If you haven't seen the main site, there is a lot there including the Martel and Rodwell interviews, photos, and articles. This blog is focused on advancing bridge theory by discussing the application of new ideas. All original content is copyright 2009 Glen Ashton.

Monday, September 14, 2009

At the Book Table

30 years ago at the Labor Day weekend in Pittsburgh I kibitzed Jeff Meckstroth as he and Gerald Caravelli won the Men's pairs, in the days of those events. I had travelled to the regional as young, poor and single - single both with no girlfriend, and, much worse, single with no bridge partner, as my regular partner had just had his first triple bypass.

Being impoverished, I didn't have enough cash to play every single session, and if I couldn't find anybody who knew bridge at the partnership desk, I would kibitz one of the best players. Even though Meckstroth was just a few months older than me, he had already won the Mott-Smith Trophy for most points at the 1979 Spring NABC, and it was clear he was a future bridge superstar.

Watching him in action I became cognisant of how "at the table" he was - how aware he was of everything and anything going on at the table. He was even aware of his sole kibitzer, and even talked to him between rounds! Kibitzing was not only costing nothing, but I was getting bridge lessons too! He was one of the nicest pros I ever kibitzed.

Now you might think this is the lead-in for the start of the series on Meckwell bidding of balanced hands, but it's not. Instead it's about picking the book I won in the MasterPoint Press/ contest for picking guessing the World Championship Seniors event:

My choices of books are:

5. Go Ahead, Laugh!
Bridge Humor by Jude Goodwin

Clearly, this should now be Go Ahead, LOL! I love the cartoons by Goodwin, but I tend to prefer the graphic novels of cartoons - thus I would pick Go Ahead, Make My Day by Dirty Harry, but not this delightful collection.

4. I Shot My Bridge Partner
by Matthew Granovetter

Now this is more to my taste, so much so I already devoured it when it first arrived, and I highly recommend it, unless your partner is a gun collector and book borrower.

3. World Class
Conversations with the Bridge Masters
by Marc Smith

This book has conversations/stories with players like Hamman, Zia, Meckstroth - players who won the event I didn't pick properly. I already have the book, and thus there was no reason for me not to pick the Bermuda Bowl correctly.

2. Playing With The Bridge Legends
by Barnet Shenkin, Forewords by Zia Mahmood and Michael Rosenberg

I don't know if a book by Shenkin would be a fast read, but it would be quite thoughtful. I know that since I already have this excellent book.

1. Win the Bermuda Bowl with me
by Jeff Meckstroth & Marc Smith

I'd better pick this, since the sequel, Win Yet Another Bermuda Bowl will hopefully appear in a few months. It's been thirty years since I watched him dominate that regional event, but even after thousands of events, Meckstroth is always "at the table": the player who can best see our intricate game in crystal clarity.


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