Sally Sparrow

Books, ebooks and more books…

I have four brand new Master Point Press titles to tell you about. Brag about, actually, because they are pretty good. But since I’m the author of none of them, only the blogger here to spread the news, I think I’ll just get right to the point.

1. Breaking the Bridge Rules: First hand play by Barry Rigal

Breaking the Bridge RulesI start with this one because it is the first of a planned four-book new series on cardplay. Rules are made to be broken, and bridge is no exception. This book deals with situations where the player on lead – defender or declarer, at the start of the deal or in the middle – needs to do something that is ostensibly ‘breaking the rules’. Not, obviously, the rules of bridge itself, but the well-tried adages that every player is taught – the rules of thumb that work in a lot of cases. Knowing when to break those rules is one of the marks of an expert player.

I am pretty good at breaking the rules, but alas, I am not the author of this book. Nor am I any sort of bridge expert. Here is a little bit about the author:

Barry Rigal (New York) grew up in the UK and is a professional bridge writer and commentator. He contributes regularly to various magazines, and is the head VuGraph commentator at World and European events.

2. Bridge at the Enigma Club by Peter Winkler

Top Secret!Robert Tischman is just looking for a game of bridge, but when a mysterious woman persuades him to play in a two-session event at the Enigma Club, he gets much more than that. This is a book that can be enjoyed on several levels:

1) as a fun bridge novel with lots of great deals;

2) as a glimpse of what the game might be like if technology were applied to it with more imagination;

3) as an exposition of the author’s ideas on encrypted bidding and encrypted signals – bids and plays where in full compliance with the Laws of Bridge, partners can exchange information that cannot be deciphered by their opponents.

Consumer Warning: the methods represented in this book, though fascinating and ingenious, are illegal in many bridge jurisdictions.  [This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.]

Peter Winkler (Hanover, NH) is a former cryptographer who now teaches mathematics and computer science at Dartmouth College. He originated the idea of encrypted signals some twenty-five years ago, and has been fighting to legalize them ever since.

3. Deadly Hold-Up by Jim Priebe

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?  Well, see for yourself.

Deadly Hold-UpArt Fraser, the bridge-playing detective who made his debut in Takeout Double, has left Buffalo and moved his new family to Florida, where he is setting up as a private investigator. However, he’s soon called back north to help the bridge authorities in Boston, where a robbery at the Fall Nationals has left one man dead and a whole lot of money missing. The local homicide cops are less than overjoyed to have Fraser involved, but they’re also struggling to understand the ins and outs of the bridge tournament world. The two sides work out an uneasy arrangement as the mystery deepens.


Jim Priebe (Toronto) is a Canadian international bridge player and the author of two previous Art Fraser books, as well as two technical bridge titles. He is a retired executive, who divides his time between bridge, golf, and grandchildren.

4. The Pocket Guide to SAYC by Ned Downey and Ellen Pomer (‘Caitlin’)

The Pocket Guide to SAYCUsing the same format as The Pocket Guide to Bridge, this book will provide a handy pocket summary of the popular SAYC bidding system. In a concise but readable manner, it goes over the basic ideas of SAYC, which is the most popular natural system for online bridge players around the world. The contents are based on Standard Bidding with SAYC, by the same authors.

Ned Downey (Hawaii) and Ellen Pomer (Toronto) are experienced bridge teachers and partners in the ‘Bridge Forum’ web site. Ned is also teaches bridge via the Swan Games online playing site Ellen is well-known on the Internet under her handle ‘Caitlin’, and regularly writes for various magazines on Internet bridge.


You will be pleased to know that all four of these books are available now as ebooks at We have some free downloads coming soon, so stay posted. The printed copies will be available for order in July.

1 Comment

Bob BambrickJune 23rd, 2010 at 11:06 am

Excellent reviews, thanks. Since I am a 50+ year friend of Priebe’s, perhaps I am prejudiced, but glad to see “nice” review. I am an incurable bridge book buyer/reader also. Love the Rigal idea of breaking rules. He might carry that theme into more future books. I have several candidates. THNX

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