My next featured player is Bud Marsh, one of the oldest players still playing a good game and one of the nicest people you ever meet.  His grandmother got him interested in auction bridge 84 years ago.  His first duplicate experience was in college, where everyone was twice his size, so he quickly learned to keep his “motor mouth” shut.

He learned quickly and says: there is no such thing as card sense, but rather bridge requires common sense!  He loves going to sectionals and socializing with both old and new friends.  So, get to know him at an Arizona regional or sectional – you won’t regret the experience!  He has volumes of interesting experiences that he can relate to for you.

As far as his persona when playing bridge, he firmly believes in two things: 1) strict adherence to the laws and rules of bridge, and, 2) not taking advantage of obviously weaker opponents.  And all this time I thought I played really well enough to get a good board from him.  Now I know the truth!

I asked him a lot of questions relating to bridge strategies that could be passed on to our newer players.  Here are his wonderful responses:


Bridge Playing Strategies


What suggestion or helpful comments would you like to give to relatively new players?

          Enjoy the game!  When a much more experienced player offers some advice, listen and absorb the information.  They are just trying to help you – don’t be insulted!


What are some common bidding problems players should avoid?

          Esoteric and rarely occurring conventions, especially with infrequent partnerships.  Follow the K.I.S.S principle!


What are your thoughts on team games vs. pair games?

          I like teams better because I already played a lot of pair games in the past, but team games are played at a faster pace.


In general, what are good strategies for defense?  What about lead strategies that work well?  What are the secrets to good defense when you and your partner have not bid?

          Stay awake!  Pay attention to every card played.  If the opening lead is not obvious, try to lead what you think others will lead in that situation.  My best suggestion on defense is this: if you have a really bad hand and partner obviously holds some good cards, be scrupulous in showing your pattern to your partner.  In this case, partner will not likely give you any information, because it just helps the opponents.


What are good pre-empting strategies?

          Lots of luck, and knowledge of your opponents “style”.


How much is extra length in a suit really worth? 

          Tons on offense, very little on defense unless it is a trump stack or a running suit vs. NT (assuming you can get the lead).


Which are the very most essential conventions. . .  For novices?  For intermediates?

          For novices, Stayman and Blackwood are essential.  For Intermediate players, negative doubles, Jacoby transfers, weak two-bids, and go on from there.  Don’t forget that too much, is often too much!


What are the keys to developing a delightful and effective partnership?

          Keep on smiling, and don’t make negative comments!


How can one do well playing with many different partners?

          Same as the previous response, plus K.I.S.S.  In addition, do not peek, cheat, or frown.


Future of Duplicate Bridge


What are your thoughts on zero tolerance, bridge ethics, and cheating?

          Zero Tolerance is absolutely the biggest plus for duplicate bridge ever!  I’ve been playing bridge for over 80 years and lack of ethics and cheating have always been around, and they always will be.  It’s the nature of the beast!  Cheaters are inventive and can easily find new ways to beat the odds.  The strict adherence to Zero Tolerance is a strong deterrent to those who wish to diminish our wonderful game!


How do you feel about on-line bridge games for practice and/or tournament play?

          On-line play is especially good for partners wanting practice, who live far away from each other.  However, the social aspect of on-line bridge is minimal.  I am not for using it in tournaments, as it is too easy to cheat.


What can local units do about gaining new players, with so many older players leaving the game?

          Give more lessons at the school level and give new players free entries at tournaments (as is being done).


How can ACBL get the newer players interested in playing in tournaments?

          Continue with free entries, have more lectures by top level players, and encourage opponents to be friendly and smile a lot!


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