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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

  Kokish: I'm obsessive about my favourite authors, and sometimes won't wait for their latest paperbacks to hit the second-hand bookstores. Although Michael Rosenberg had never written a book until "Bridge, Zia . . .and Me" (Master Point Press, Toronto, 1999), I confess that I experienced the same sort of literary lust when I heard the rumour that he had nearly finished an autobiography.

 Kraft: Kokes, when they created obsessive, you had to be first in line for a second helping. But a bridge book? I remember how you stalked Ray Lee for a review copy when we didn't even have a bridge column. I know that Zia (Mahmood) and Michael are two of your favourite bridge players, but a little restraint would have been more discreet. So, do you love the book?

 Kokish: What would you expect? Michael describes the book as his "ramblings about himself and bridge, what he finds funny, and wants to say." He introduces us to rubber bridge in London, his initial encounter with the flamboyant Zia, and a fascinating cast of characters. The book is full of remarkable deals, anecdotes, technical analysis, opinions on the state of the game and its future. It seemed to end too quickly for me, but at 190 pages, it's a fair-sized book. Ray did a nice job with the production, too. I got a special kick out of it because of the personalities involved and the high level of bridge, but it's a book that everyone should enjoy. If you come away with the impression that Michael is a very special player, you might not mind that Michael sometimes portrays himself that way.

 Kraft: This amazing deal is one of my favourites. Think along with Michael . .


Both sides vulnerable; South deals

  9 6
J 9 5 3
A K 5
A J 8 6
A J 5 3
K 10 7 4 2
Q 7 2
Q 6
10 9 8 4 3
10 9 4 3 2
  K Q 10 8 4 2
A 8
 J 6
K Q 7


West North East South
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 4 Pass Pass

 Opening Lead: ???

 "I eventually came to realise that there could be justification for `flashy' leads. I once held, as West (the hand in the diagram). As early as North's 4
bid, I started planning my defense. It would be nice if I could score a third trump trick by ruffing a club. I could lead a club, then try to find partner's entry after winning an early trump. With the opponents trying for slam there was no room for him to hold a king, so he could not have a diamond entry. No, it would have to be the Q. But if I led a club, won the spade ace, and shifted to the K, declarer might see what was happening and duck.

 "I led the
K. Declarer could have made the hand by ducking the heart at trick one, but who would do that? He won, crossed to a diamond, and played a spade. I won, shifted to a club. When I won my second spade trick, I could give East the lead with the Q to get my club ruff. B.Z. (before Zia), such a lead would not have even occurred to me."