264pp | ISBN 978-1-77140-028-2
$25.95 $21.95 £14.95
Categories: Bidding | Intermediate | Declarer Play | Defense | General Interest | Canadian Authors
Close Encounters is a two-book series that describes some of the most memorable bridge matches of the last fifty years. It features titanic struggles for World and National titles, involving the greatest players from North America and Europe. There are amazing comebacks, down to the wire finishes, overtime victories, and an insight into how the game has changed over the last half century.
Book 1 starts with Italy's asserting its supremacy over Great Britain in 1964, and ends with Germany's dramatic Venice Cup win over France in Paris, in 2001.
Review: Close Encounters: Bridge’s Greatest Matches Books 1 & 2
"These books are good. Packed full of interesting hands, dramatic matches and revealing insights into bridge at the highest level.
"It would have been possible to write perfectly interesting books about these eleven tight matches by just analyzing the hands and detailing the ups and downs of the score. But there is much more to these books than that. The authors' personal involvement lends an intimate feel to the accounts, and the many individual and group photos from the time add to this. As do the human touches like this one from the first book: “Diamond gives a lot of thought to his lead against the excellent 6 clubs. To relieve the tension, he says, with a straight face: ‘Brian, you could be coughing over there or something, to help me out!’”
"At many crucial moments we are given insights into the thought processes of the players, often based on discussion with the players themselves. Where players have made bad decisions, any criticism is usually tempered by an explanation of the reasoning behind the decision, including strategic thinking about the state of the match and what might be happening at the other table, lending veracity to the axiom that experts make misjudgments while we mortals make mistakes.
" The coaching expertise comes out in a series of interesting disquisitions on areas not often discussed: the undervalued significance of 1 or 2 IMP swings; swing strategy when substantially behind in a match; the tendency when reviewing a session to skip over push boards, though there might be valuable lessons in them; the importance of intangibles like tiredness and emotional engagement; Board a Match tactics (a difficult and not much written about subject). " -- A New Bridge Magazine, November 2018
ERIC KOKISH (Canada), an ACBL and CBF Hall-of-Famer, and four-time WBF open medalist, has made his mark as a player, coach, analyst, consultant, editor, columnist and author. He lives in Toronto with his wife Beverly Kraft.
MARK HORTON (UK) travels the world writing about bridge. Editor of BeBridge magazine and of the Daily Bulletins at World and European Championships, he is also the author of nine previous MPP titles.
The Foreword promises 'contests that will have you metaphorically sitting on the edge of your seat.' The book more than lives up to its billing. The commentary is thorough without being tedious, filled with anecdotes, humour and descriptions that put the reader at the table for each deal. If anything, the Foreword understates the thrills provided by this collection.
— The Bridge World Date: 2019-01-29
These reports provide much more background and detail that appeared in contemporary reports, drawing on the authors' personal contact with one or more of the players. The authors are not constrained by the space issues of magazines, so they can analyse interesting deals in more detail while omitting prosaic ones. As well, the authors often explore the thinking behind the decisions of the players, thereby providing readers with greater insights.
— Australian Bridge (David Morgan) Date: 2018-12-28
The analysis is thorough and enlightening. Most impressive, however, is how the authors connect with the human side of the game. You're part of the action right up to the very last board. At which point you'll realize you've been holding your breath for an awfully long time.
— ACBL Bulletin Date: 2018-12-18
Jam-packed with instructive and entertaining deals from an era populated with many of the game's all-time greatest players.
— National Post Date: 2018-09-18