Welcome to the new RealBridge bidding competition. At the beginning of each month, we will publish a set of eight bidding problems and you will have a whole month to decide on your choices. Discuss the problems with your friends and partners, and encourage them to also submit an entry.
The members of our world class expert panel will also be answering these same problems. At the beginning of the next month, you will be able to compare your answers with theirs. You will see how the panelists voted and read the explanations for their choices. See how your choices scored compared with your friends.
We hope that you will find the panel's discussions entertaining, but learning from our mistakes is one of the best ways to improve the standard of our own game. It is those hands on which your choice differs widely from the panel that provide the biggest opportunity. Why do the experts think this hand is worth a slam try when I only bid game? Why is this hand worth another bid in a competitive auction? Why is this hand not good enough to take another bid? How do I decide what to do when none of the options are attractive?
The winners each month will be invited to join the expert panel as guests in a future month. As the competition progresses throughout the year, the highest-scoring competitors will see their names on the annual competition leader board. The winner of that competition will be the competitor with highest total from their best nine scores, entering every month will allow you to overcome a tough month or two by dropping your lowest scores.
On most of the hands, it will not matter what system you usually play.
Whether you play 2/1, Acol or Precision, you have exactly the same problem when the opponents pre-empt against you, or intervene over your 1NT opening, or when partner starts with a takeout double or an overcall of an opponent's opening. Marc Smith will choose the problems and conduct the bidding challenge.
Who is Marc Smith?
Born long ago, in a galaxy far away, Marc Smith is the author of more than 40 books on the game. He has been writing articles in the world's bridge magazines since the early 1980s and will be known to many readers as the conductor of the expert panel for the popular monthly bidding challenge hosted by RealBridge.
Marc has written books in collaboration with such stars as Jeff Meckstroth, Zia Mahmood, David Bird, Tim Bourke, Julian Pottage and the late great Martin Hoffman. With Barbara Seagram, he co-authored '25 Conventions You Should Know', which won the American Bridge Teachers Association's Book of the Year award and remains one of the best-selling bridge books of all time. He is also the author of two volumes of 'Enterprising Tales', bridge books set in the 'Star Trek' world. His latest book, 'World Class - 21st Century', is a two-volume series that features 30 of the world's top players, including a number of those on our expert panel.
Widely traveled, Marc spent ten years living in the USA, during which time he became a proud member of the "Raider Nation". If you do not think that being a fan of the LV Raiders is masochistic enough, Marc has now returned to his home town of Southampton, England, where he supports the local soccer team. A former junior international, his best playing days are now perhaps behind him, but he still thinks there is more chance of him winning the Bermuda Bowl than of the Raiders winning the Superbowl or of The Saints lifting the Premiership trophy.