1999 Life Master Pairs Day 3

This is the third in the "Play Bridge with Larry Cohen" CD series. It uses Fred Gitelman’s bridge authoring engine to present the 52 deals from the finals of the ACBL’s 1999 Life Master Pairs championship. On each deal you take the place of one of the players in the event, sometimes Larry or his partner David Berkowitz, sometimes of one their opponents.

I survived the previous four qualifying sessions thanks to Larry’s insight and analysis guiding my decisions. I thought I was prepared for the final day, but there were surprises in store. As expected the competition was tougher and the decisions more challenging. The pleasant surprise was that there was more depth to Larry’s questions and narrative. Subtle nuances were pointed out and interesting conventions and treatments were explained. One example of the latter was a discussion of the various applications of "lebensohl."

More defensive hands were explored instead of focusing primarily on declarer play. Other new features included an embedded analysis using a deal simulator to assist with a bidding problem, a link to a Bridge World discussion of a similar bidding problem in the "Master Solvers Club", and links to web sites. Interesting anecdotes from bridge luminaries and exotica from the Encyclopedia of Bridge (e.g. Idiot’s Coup) were entertaining and well placed in the narrative.

I also appreciated that as I clicked to get new paragraphs, text I had previously read was still present but dimmed. That made it easier to focus on the new section. In earlier CD’s different colored backgrounds were used which were distracting. Minor complaints are that the "Explanation of Matchpoint Table" is still repeated after every hand and the Glossary page could be better presented. The different colors used in each column don't add anything and emphasize where the columns aren't aligned. Another plus for the next CD would be a scoring system, so that the user can estimate the score he'd have achieved in the event.

The bottom line is that this is an excellent tool for intermediate and advanced players to sharpen one’s ability to think at the table. Walking through this expert’s thoughts, and even disappointments, is a sure way to improve one’s matchpoint game.

Day 3 of the 1999 Life Master Pairs CD is available from www.larryco.com - list price is $29.95. The software requires Microsoft Windows. It will run a PC or on a Macintosh equipped with a PC Emulator such as VirtualPC.

- Ann Raymond

(c) 2001 Beverly Ann Raymond. Permission is granted to reproduce only in its entirety.