SI Vault
 
Goren's New Formula for Easier and Better Bridge
Charles Goren
February 17, 1964
It is a magic moment for Charles Goren when the fresh, crisp cards of a new deck are spread and players cut for partners. After a lifetime of bridge—from demanding tournament competition to social rubbers with presidents and princes—the most renowned player and teacher in history still plays the game for fun. More than that, he believes it should be played only for that purpose. In the series of articles that begins here, Goren contends this approach will vastly improve the game of players of all ranks, from amateur to expert. To prove it, he has distilled his decades of experience into a few astonishingly simple rules and principles. They cover far more than the expectable aspects of bridge, such as bidding and play. Goren will demonstrate how the efficiency of any partnership can be improved; how—and why—nearly all of today's complex conventions can be scrapped; how, in short, everyone can enjoy bridge as much as Charles Goren does and be a more successful player, too.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 17, 1964

Goren's New Formula For Easier And Better Bridge

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

It is a magic moment for Charles Goren when the fresh, crisp cards of a new deck are spread and players cut for partners. After a lifetime of bridge—from demanding tournament competition to social rubbers with presidents and princes—the most renowned player and teacher in history still plays the game for fun. More than that, he believes it should be played only for that purpose. In the series of articles that begins here, Goren contends this approach will vastly improve the game of players of all ranks, from amateur to expert. To prove it, he has distilled his decades of experience into a few astonishingly simple rules and principles. They cover far more than the expectable aspects of bridge, such as bidding and play. Goren will demonstrate how the efficiency of any partnership can be improved; how—and why—nearly all of today's complex conventions can be scrapped; how, in short, everyone can enjoy bridge as much as Charles Goren does and be a more successful player, too.

PART 1: THROW OUT THE FADS AND GIMMICKS

When I was studying law at McGill University, a girl taught me how to play bridge. "Just follow suit," she said. "If you can't, you discard or you trump." So I followed suit and, when I couldn't, I discarded or I trumped. At the end of the afternoon I was down about 4,000 points and that lovely, intelligent, desirable girl was laughing at me.

You might suppose that I now look back in anger at my first bridge teacher. Well, no, I don't. In the first place, she had made me so ashamed that I went home that summer and practically memorized a book on bridge, thus inadvertently taking the first step toward a life of all play and no work. What's more, I now realize that her simple instructions to me were the essence of what one should tell a beginner. Just follow suit. If you can't, you discard or you trump. You can't expect a first-timer to assimilate much more than that, at least for a few rubbers.

But consider the same situation as it might happen today. A mythical Charles Goren, McGill class of '64, wants to learn bridge.

"Well, Charlie," his beautiful girl friend (I'm making up this mythical situation, and I say she's beautiful) tells him, "it's simple. First let's talk about bidding. Suppose your partner opens the bidding with one club."

"That means he has a lot of clubs in his hand, right?" interrupts the precocious mythical Charles Goren, McGill '64.

"No, not exactly. Maybe he's playing the Neapolitan Club—"

"Which means?"

"That he has at least 17 points in high cards, but not necessarily any good clubs."

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9