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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 If you're interested in learning bridge quickly and painlessly and have WINDOWS95 on your PC INTERNET access, head for http:/ At the website of the AMERICAN CONTRACT BRIDGE LEAGUE you will find directions for downloading a free interactive program that will teach you how to play a competent game of bridge.

 While ACBL ((901-332-5586, Jean Patterson or Brent Manley for information) is understandably anxious to build its dwindling membership base, this is one of those rare situations where everyone benefits. You needn't join the League to get the software.

 Early reviews have been exclusively positive, which does not surprise us. The program was written by Toronto's Fred Gitelman, an expert player who (with BRIDGE BASE Inc partner Sheri Winestock) has been producing superior bridge software for nearly a decade.

 The new program - LEARN TO PLAY BRIDGE - teaches the game step by step and features interactive quizzes and exercises, and emphasises - quite properly in our opinion - the play of the cards. There is enough meat in the program to enable the user to feel quite comfortable in a flesh-and-blood game after completing the course.

North/South vulnerable; North deals

  10 5 3 2
A 10 9 7 5

A Q 3

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

K J 8 7

  K 8 4
K Q J 6
A 8 7 3

5 2

W     N       E        S
        Moss           Gitelman
        Pass   3
Pass Doblo  Pass  4

All Pass


 Fred was South in today's deal from the Life Master Pairs at the San Antonio North American Championships in July, an important event in which he and Brad Moss (New York) finished second. Canadians Jurek Czyzowicz (Aylmer, Quebec) and Darren Wolpert (Thornhill, Ontario) were third.

 In his pushy 4
contract, declarer took the opening lead of the K with his ace and led a club to the queen. East's king was a blow, but when a high diamond came back, declarer was still alive. He ruffed in dummy, cashed the A, and led a spade to the nine and king, virtually certain it would lose to West's ace. West played . . . a "safe" third club. Declarer ruffed, ruffed a diamond, came to a high trump, and ruffed his last diamond with the A. There were still two trumps out, but declarer could not afford another round as it was essential to retain a trump in each hand. He called for a spade.

 If East's jack were permitted to hold he would have to concede a ruff-and-discard to eliminate declarer's third spade loser. If West overtook the
J with his queen, however, he would establish a natural spade trick for declarer, who would be able to extract West's trumps without incident. There was no defense to declarer's partial elimation at the critical point.

 Kraft: Very pretty by our Fred, but don't you think that both our expert defenders should have done something more effective in spades?

 Kokish: Yes. East just had an early blind spot; if declarer had two spade honours, staying off spades would not gain. West, playing reverse count signals, could identify the
9 as a singleton, or from jack-nine doubleton (it would be a dangerous play from jack-nine-small) but not from nine-eight-four (declarer would not lead a spade to the king on this auction with king-jack doubleton). West may have believed that his partner would not have a trump to ruff the third spade, but a small spade return really could not lose.