Between 1974 and 1994, Bols Royal Distillers, a Dutch company, sponsored a competition in which the world’s best bridge players submitted bridge tips to a panel of International Bridge Press Association members.
Panel members voted and chose the best tips of the year. The competition started in 1974, was discontinued in 1976, then restarted in 1987 until 1994. During that time virtually all the world’s greatest bridge players and writers contributed their ideas to the series “Bols Bridge Tips.”
Players from England, Estonia, Iceland, USA, Netherlands, Pakistan, Canada, Australia, Israel, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, China and Scotland won the contest over the years and contributed many fine tips that we look on today as accepted rules.
Players will recognize some of the USA winners like Larry Cohen, with his “eight never-nine ever” tip, or Ed Manfield’s “The five level belongs to the opponents.” Eric Rodwell, Sam Lev, Charles Goren, Alfred Sheinwold, Howard Schenken, Billy Eisenberg, Bobby Wolf, Philip Adler, Jim Jacoby and Mike Lawrence all contributed along with Kitty Bethe Munson, whose tip was, “Don’t discuss bridge with your partner while you’re playing.”
The winner of the first contest was Terence Reese of England who advised, “The discard tells the story.” Bob Hamman, the No. 1 player in the world for many years, was also in the first group of Bols tip winners. His winning tip was, “If you ever want to amount to anything in this game you must build up a picture of the unseen hands. The idea is to know what the problem is before you try to solve it.”
Mike Lawrence, who writes for the Bridge Bulletin, the American Contract Bridge League’s (ACBL) monthly magazine, won in 1988 advising, “Keep your level of attention constant for any drifting of concentration can cost the board.”
Philip Alder, who is coming to Naples later this month, was also a Bols tip competitor, advising bridge players to “not make the obvious play without thinking: consider the alternatives.” Don’t be impulsive!
The last contest winner in 1994 was Jean Besse of Switzerland who advised players “not to play idle cards thoughtlessly.”
Alder, the New York Times and Naples Daily News bridge columnist, whom most of you read every morning with your first cup of coffee, will be in Naples, as part of the Naples Bridge Center Guest Speaker Workshop program on March 31. The topic is “Losing Trick Count” which Adler considers the most accurate method of hand evaluation. Reservations are needed so call 455-4445 if you wish to attend.
Congratulations to Jo Ellen Blandford on being selected star recruiter by the ACBL for 2011. Jo Ellen and husband Butch own and operate Bonita Bridge Club and work hard to attract new members to the game. A star recruiter must recruit 100 or more cumulative members in a given year.
Mark your calendar for the Bridge Deck Club’s Senior/Non Life Master Sectional from April 18 to 20 in the parish hall of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church on Rattlesnake Hammock Road.