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The Complete Book on Balancing in Contract Bridge Paperback – January 16, 2013
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About the Author
Mike Lawrence of Nashville, TN is one of the world’s outstanding players, as well as a leading author and teacher. He began playing bridge while a chemistry student at the University of California. When a hand injury caused him to postpone final exams, he discovered the card room. It was not long before bridge became his major interest. He was a member of Ira Corn's original Dallas Aces team. He holds more than 23,000 master points in ACBL play. He has won more than twenty national championships and three world championships. Under Corn's mentorship, he started teaching bridge and subsequently writing books. His first bridge book, How to Read Your Opponents' Cards, was named book-of-the-year in 1973. Since then he has produced a steady stream of best sellers.
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Top Customer Reviews
1) S-J 10 4 H-A J D-Q 10 7 6 C-K Q 9 2
2) S-K 10 8 5 2 H-J 9 7 D-7 C-A 9 8 6
3) S-J 4 H-A Q 4 D-8 6 2 C-K 10 8 5 2
4) S-A 6 H-A K J 8 6 5 D-8 4 C-Q 7 3
If your answer to any of the above hands was "Double," you need to get Mike Lawrence's new version of "The Complete Book on Balancing in Contract Bridge." Even if you answered all the above hands correctly, you need to get this book! In his book, Lawrence clearly explains why doubling on hands like these is wrong and shows you the correct action to take. [Note: I made up these hands; I did not copy them from his book.]
In Hand #2 above, if you'd replace the spade two with the heart two to make;
S-K 10 8 5 H-J 9 7 2 D-7 C-A 9 8 6
you would have a clear-cut reopening takeout double. I can see many a reader wail "But I have only eight points!" Lawrence explains why passing with this hand in the balancing seat is losing bridge (yes, you should pass if you're in the direct seat).
The first edition of "The Complete Book on Balancing in Contract Bridge" was published in 1983. I would rate this five stars. The new edition has updates to reflect current bidding trends and tweaks to Lawrence's recommendations from the old book. The new edition (published in 2012) has more than twice as many pages as the first edition. In short, the 2012 edition is a big upgrade on the 1983 edition.
"The Complete Book on Balancing in Contract Bridge" is loaded with many examples you will likely encounter (and some unlikely - he says when it's so). He thoroughly explains the concept of safe suits and dangerous suits (and why you should pass with Hand #3 above without hesitation), and why there no such thing as a pre-emptive bid in the balancing seat.
Mike Lawrence is one of the finest author's on contract bridge and has written many outstanding books on the subject. You cannot go wrong on getting any of his books, and whichever of Lawrence's books you obtain, it will make a fine addition to your library.
Example: Balancing over a 1 NT response is (for me) one of the most difficult aspects of competitive bidding. Lawrence's advice is that Double in this situation is always for penalty. He then goes on to give a very easy way to create a takeout when the opponents bid two suits before ending in 1 NT, including very instructive examples.
This is one of Lawrence's best books.
He is the number one author in the world, in my humble opinion and I would buy anything he writes without thinking twice.