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The Great Bridge Scandal: The Most Famous Cheating Case in the History of the Game Americas South America Argentina Alan F. Truscott Master Point Pr

11th June 2013 History Books 10 Comments

Alan Truscott, Bridge Editor of the New York Times since 1964, probably knows more than anyone else about the complex world of international bridge. Revised and updated, this new edition of ‘The Great Bridge Scandal’ tells the full inside story of the Buenos Aires affair, in which Truscott himself played a central role.

In 1965, the bridge world was rocked by an accusation of cheating at the world championships in Buenos Aires. The pair involved were Britain’s Terence Reese and Boris Schapiro, two of the world’s best players. Now, almost fifty years later, the true inside story can be told – the investigation, the accusation, and the very different results of the World Bridge Federation and British Bridge League inquiries.

The Great Bridge Scandal: The Most Famous Cheating Case in the History of the Game

The Rodwell Files: Secrets of a Bridge Champion

Eric Rodwell has won thirteen world bridge championships so far; his partnership with Jeff Meckstroth is acknowledged to be the world’s best. Mark Horton is editor of the UK’s BRIDGE magazine and a regular Daily Bulletin team member at World and European Championships. He lives in Bath.

This is the most important technical bridge book published since Larry Cohen’s To Bid or Not to Bid , and may well reach an even bigger audience. There are two aspects to this book, both unique. First, Rodwell describes and explains a host of innovative ideas in cardplay, strategems that can be used as declarer or defender. Second, under the heading ‘Common Mistakes’, Rodwell talks about the mental side of the game: areas that mark the key differences between an average player and a successful one. The first draft of this book has been in existence for more than fifteen years, but it is only now that Rodwell is prepared to allow his ‘secrets’ to become public knowledge.

The Rodwell Files: Secrets of a Bridge Champion

  • 10 responses to "The Great Bridge Scandal: The Most Famous Cheating Case in the History of the Game Americas South America Argentina Alan F. Truscott Master Point Pr"

  • David Gonzalez C.
    8:11 on June 11th, 2013
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    This book fully describes an event that rocked the bridge world with pictures and commentaries on a cheating scandal that destroyed the careers of two great bridge players.

  • Dropship
    13:08 on June 11th, 2013
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    First a disclaimer, this is not for the casual player. If you play tournament bridge and you intend on getting better this is one of about ten books that you need to read and understand if you intend to improve your game. The basic book on play is Watson’s Play of the Hand at Bridge, it covers everything that a bridge player should know about playing a bridge hand properly. This book presumes that you know those principles. What Rodwell is teaching is what to do when those principles are not enough, how to recognize those situations and what to do to give yourself chances when the straightforward line is not going to work.

    This book is an insight into the expert mind. Bridge experts (or experts in any field for that matter) think more efficiently than non-experts. They can narrow the field of possible actions by eliminating irrelevant cases and recognizing opportunities within the parameters of the situation they currently have before them. Much of this book is devoted toward how Rodwell himself manages that in play problems and at least some of it can be learned. To take advantage of what is here one should have read (and reread) the previously mentioned Watson book and Clyde Love’s Bridge Squeezes Complete (cited in the book) as well as Reece’s Master Bridge. All of which should be in any good player’s bridge library (along with a dozen or so other worthy titles); this book deserves its place there as a modern classic in the same vein.

  • british lady
    17:37 on June 11th, 2013
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    Eric Rodwell is one of the two or three greatest players of his generation. I never thought I would read a book with as many new ideas, at least new to me, as I had found 35 years ago in Adventures in Card Play by Ottlick and Kelsey. I have now. Eric thinks about bridge hands in ways that i do not, never have, and perhaps in a few cases will be able to in the future. (I note that I have been an acknowledged expert bridge player for almost forty years.) His explanations are clear, fairly concise, but require careful consideration and time to work through them. This is an advanced text book on play, one of the most advanced I have ever seen.
    If you are a serious bridge player, buy this book. If you have a friend who is a serious bridge player, this is a purrfect gift.

  • Rickie Oreb
    23:36 on June 11th, 2013
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    Well, when Eric Rodwell writes a book, you just buy it without asking questions. This is an excellent book than no serious player should miss. Contains many cardplay (declarer & defense) techinques that the Intermediate/Advanced player should master. Much of the material is not found anywhere else and the presentation is very well organized with numerous clear examples.

  • eskimo_bait
    4:26 on June 12th, 2013
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    Good stuff. About what I expect from Rodwell. Now, we can all see why he is so highly ranked. My game should improve.

  • spirulina
    16:05 on June 12th, 2013
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    Eric Rodwell, the professorial half of the famous pair “Meckwell” that has dominated bridge for decades, has written a work for an advanced audience, which according to the blurb “is guaranteed to change the way you play bridge.”
    Nearly 400 pages, chockful of examples from high-level practice where the names of the innocent are not withheld, illustrate the points of technique. You will find here practical pointers in planning, in suit combinations, advanced suit handling, rather than a whole lot of complex ( double and compound ) squeezes. Rodwell uses colorful and memorable terms for the techniques, such as “gouging”, “days of thunder”, “The Left Jab” (second hand high from Kxx or Qxx when declarer leads to dummy’s AJTx), “The 007 Play – License to Kill”, my personal favorite “Chinese High Card Promotion” (not to be confused with the well-known Chinese finesse),and the 322-1/6 Super Duck (Dont even ask).
    Rodwell’s unique style of instruction, his extremely high level of analysis, make this unique book a standout in bridge literature, and one that is sure to be talked about for years to come.

  • jennie
    22:08 on June 12th, 2013
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    Warning! This is not a book for the casual player. After zipping through standard bridge cliches, such as “third hand high,” Rodwell dives into the many situations where the standard rules don’t apply. Some of these will be familiar to tournament players, but all but fellow world champions will find something new to ponder in this book. It rewards careful study; be prepared to take it a little bit at a time.

    Highly recommended.

  • Nikit Saluja
    1:19 on June 13th, 2013
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    Rodwell is the expert’s expert and this book is built out of notes that he wrote for other experts. It is not for you unless you are at near-expert level.

    I consider myself an intermediate/advanced bridge player (the supposed audience for this book) but found that this book is way out of my league. Just so that you know where I am coming from: I consistently win club games and usually place in the top 3 in sectional and regional pairs events. But that doesn’t make me ready for this book.

    This is the book to read once you are completely familiar with play of the hand and defensive principles — it shows you how to recognize the exceptions. As a quick checklist, can you:
    1) obtain the full count of a hand?
    2) recognize a frozen suit?
    3) carry out a forcing defense?
    4) recognize when to give count and when to show suit preference?
    5) carry out a simple squeeze?
    If your answer to the above questions is “not always”, then you should read a more basic book than this.

  • Shane Dolby
    3:12 on June 13th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I bought this shortly after it first came out in hardback, and it was truly an eye-opening work. I had a student who was a tournament bridge player some years ago–he dismissed the idea out of hand that Reese and Schapiro, who were certainly one of the top bridge partnerships, would ever cheat. He thought the charges were frivilous, the idea ridiculous. So I loaned him my copy of the book. Truscott has been a careful person. The book details at great length individual hands and you’ll see photographs of Reese and Schapiro holding their cards in a variety of ways–fingers were used to indicate the number of hearts that they held. When you sometimes have one finger out, sometimes two, sometimes three, sometimes split your fingers (think of Spock on Star Trek), etc, it can look awkward. My student was convinced by the book, but was a sadder person.

    The natural reaction is “Reese is a top player. He doesn’t have to cheat”. That’s very true. But it’s also true that baseball players such as Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa didn’t “have to” cheat: neither do Tour de France racers, nor did other similar figures. But steroids and corked bats (in Sosa’s case) and other drugs were used. If you’re in, say, the top 10 in your field, the possibility may arise to improve to the top 3, for example. It may also involve ego and not liking to lose. Truscott’s book relates how Reese had boasted to friends (and offered to bet on it) that he could cheat at bridge without anyone being able to detect his methods: this sounds like an ego trip, for there was certainly no need for a person of Reese’s ability to cheat. Truscott’s book describes previous occasions of cheating in bridge, and it relates the disillusionment felt by people who watched Reese and Schapiro at the table exchanging signals. Hands are shown where the bidding and play–such as the opening lead–make no sense at all unless you know much more about your partner’s hand than you should. A hearing was held in England–the chair of which knew relatively little about the game, and so would have been blissfully unaware of when bidding or play would have been unusual. Confessions were basically ignored, and Reese and Schapiro were acquitted. But innocent? Read the book.

    Bobby Wolff has a fine new book out: “Lone Wolff” which describes cheating and what might politely be termed “ethical lapses”. You’ll find in this book numerous cases of where when cheating was discovered in a tournament the culprits were let off. One of the most egregious cases was (as I recall) in the Bermuda Bowl where an Italian team of less than stellar bridge gifts but with a series of remarkable performances were caught exchanging information through foot-tapping under the table. The team was reprimanded, but allowed to continue in the tournament. Reese and Schapiro had vastly more natural talent than this Italian team. Schapiro told the British captain that Reese had pressured him into cheating, so we still have the bewildering question of just why Reese would do such a thing. But we have also seen the fabulously wealthy Leona Helmsley and Martha Stewart dig themselves deep holes over what was (for them) trifling sums. So Truscott’s book is a wonderful point to the idea of what you want to believe is not always what you need to believe.

  • ThinkerOne
    10:12 on June 13th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Short: Though written primarily for expert bridge players, The Rodwell Files is the finest book on advanced cardplay ever written.

    The Rodwell Files fills a large hole in bridge literature. Many topics discussed in this book are seldom explored outside of it, and Rodwell’s treatment of it is lucid and practical. Consequently, the book is as easy to follow as possible–but that does not make it easy.

    The book is a survey of rare but important positions to recognize at the table. After a brief overview of basic technique, Rodwell launches into a collection of positions that are likely unfamiliar to the reader. Listing them would be meaningless, since the names are quite unusual, but unless you are a world champion bridge player (or even if you are), many of them will be unfamiliar to you.

    I am on my second pass through the book currently, and it is obvious to me how the book is shaping the way I think about cardplay.

    If you want your hand held with lots of example hands and quizzes at the end of every section, then this is not the book for you. If your goal in bridge is to consistently win sectional or regional pair games, then this is not the book for you.

    But if you want to play the cards like a world champion, then you will find that this book is a step in the right direction.

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