Book Review: Win at Duplicate Bridge

Fred Parker. Published 2009 by ViviSphere Publishing

Win at Duplicate Bridge is a new book by San Diego’s foremost bridge book author. Win documents the Parker Power Bidding System that allowed Fred Parker to win dozens of local club games. With the guidelines in this book Fred was able to overwhelm the opponents with accurate bidding that left them helplessly befuddled. Either they overbid and got doubled or they defended against Fred’s precisely bid contracts. How did Fred do this and what were his secrets?

Fred Parker spent two-years playing club-bridge while documenting a significant collection of conventions. He then rated these conventions according to their utility. So in chapter 2, there are listed four categories of conventions. Ranked in the must-have category are 21 conventions that many of us play. Then you progress through Category 4, which are the least desirable.

Fred’s basic concepts are very valid. You should only play those mainstream conventions that are thoroughly understood. If you and your partner play an infrequently occurring convention then it is more likely to be forgotten. Use it or lose it might be a good guideline for a strong partnership. In all there are 24 chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 are general. Chapters 3-12 cover general bidding and the correct way to evaluate hands. Chapters 13-22 cover nine conventions in detail. Chapters 23 and 24 provide some tips on card play.

Throughout the text are numerous examples and at the end of most chapters there is a Q&A quiz. I would recommend this book to players who want to improve their bidding but are unsure what tools to adopt. To juice your game, you can add Fred’s recommendations a few at a time.

Although Fred does not go into great depth, he does provide generally accepted practice and examples. Missing are situations such as what to do if a conventional bid is doubled?1 Perhaps some of these finer points could be the subject of a future book.

David Oakley
November 23, 2009

1For example, if a Jacoby transfer is doubled, a common treatment is that the one no-trump opener accepts the transfer with 3-card support (or better) and passes with 2-card support. What does responder do? A common treatment is to redouble to get opener to accept the transfer and play the hand.