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Subject: Goren's Bridge for One, relic from the Golden Age of Bridge 1967 rss

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Michael Ziegler
United States
Huntingdon Valley
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The Golden age of Bridge has long past. It is hard to believe that at one time in America there were many "Bridge clubs" and about 5 and 1/2 million players.

Bridge was played among the wealthy NYC crowd and I recall by the Levittown set of the 50s in the era when it was considered in bad taste to just turn on the television when guests had been invited to dinner. It was a part of an evening's entertainment and promoted social gatherings especially for young couples generally reflecting upper middle class values, reasonable intelligence and white collar employment.

Bridge of course is the son of Whist, which was admirably presented in "Around the World in 80 Days" (1954) as an obsession. Bridge was no exception to addiction either. But to show you how far we have sunk as a society, I was able to get a large box of "Bridge books" from a library sale not too long ago for a dollar! Does anyone in America want to learn this intriquing game anymore? Do newspapers still feature the daily "Bridge" problem? (no, probably Soduku nowadays.)

Anyway,here,among the books was "Goren's Bridge for One". I already knew how to play Bridge from an old Bridge playing computer that in it's day was about $80 in cost. I still have it and it still plays well at five levels! Goren's face, as one of the Bridge Immortals was everywhere in those days, and he placed his profile on numerous bridge related game inventions, including this one by Milton Bradley which contains only one big plastic sheet, a pad, a set of very special cards and 2 booklets, one explaining the concepts of basic "CONTRACT" bridge and the other telling you a few things about how to use the game you just purchased from an operational point of view.

Whoever invented this system was very smart indeed. It is highly playable, concentrates on card play as opposed to points and finding the "just right" bid for contract. It allows you through minor tinkering of East-West limitations to bid a good contract for most hands and you follow through playing South and Dummy to complete it. I would say offhand that you can "win" 4 of every 5 hands and can claim game and rubber quicker than most situations where humans are making the card moves. The system requires you to draw on the highest card of rank and hand amount in certain plays and there is a limit on "Ruffing" for East=West. The doubling rule does not come into play here. Instead the lack of a good hand or determination that Dummy's cards won't amount to a contract results in a penalty of 200 points against you and you deal again.

The game seems to also result in a lot less "above the line" scoring, as contracts seem to be "right on the money" in most hand play.Since this game is from 1967, we would need to look into the past to figure if it helped significantly. I think it did and I recommend this to any player who still knows how Bridge is played. The numbers no doubt are dwindling, as even the Bridge club in my building has gone the way of the buffalo due to the death of the members with no replacements from the younger set.

This game was part of a series, Bridge for Two, Bridge for Three, Beginner's Bridge, Play and Defend Bridge, etc. and also featured fine editions (fancy art on the box). Rollomatic Bridge was also around as well as the fabled "Autobridge" that most people were familiar with since the 1930s or so.

If you find a copy, it probably will help you to know Bridge better if you are interested. There are statistics out there that tell a story that among Bridge players, the effects of Alzeheimer's disease are virtually unknown, the theory being that practitioners of this card form use their minds and the sharpness and keen strategy keep players from dementia problems. Probably more than a myth!

Anyway, the game is a good one! The lack of interest in Bridge has no doubt relegated this to an obscure corner, but it still is a hidden gem.
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