Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book review: Bridge With the Blue Team

Everybody has that one book that they keep in the bathroom. You know the one-- the book with a bunch of short, but interesting articles on many different subjects. My "bathroom book" is Pietro Forquet's Bridge With the Blue Team.

This book, widely and correctly regarded as one of the best bridge books ever written, is in a simple yet highly engaging style. There are 140 hands laid out in two to three page sections. Each hand recounts a miracle in at-the-table card play as pulled off by the Blue Team. 

Italy's Blue Team won ten Bermuda Bowls in a row. Ten! They accomplished this feat between 1957 and 1969. They took the next two Bowls off, but they "un-retired" and won the next three. The Squadra Azzura changed members manyy times over the years, but there were three perennials: Belladonna, Garozzo, and Forquet. With this amazing book, Forquet showed that if he had wanted to put in the time, he could have been the best bridge writer of his day.

Many of the deals feature amazing plays and fabulous squeezes. My favorites, however, are deals like the following, in which the Italian players do incredibly simple things to make their contracts -- that is, simple once you think of it.

Giorgio Belladonna played in 5D on the lead of the jack of spades. How would you play it?

Belladonna won the spade in hand and cashed the ace and king of clubs on the table. He ruffed a club, then went back to the dummy with the ace of hearts to lead the last club. If East had followed, he would have pitched his heart loser, but when East discarded, he ruffed and gave up a heart. He won the spade return and this was the position:

No trump finesse necessary! Giorgio exited with his spade loser and had to take the last three tricks.


Cindy said...

hi Mac,

Ironically enough, you left your "Bridge with the Blue Team" book in our bathroom!

Love you!


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