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Jun 22, 2020

Equal Justice Initiative


Black Lives Matter

Bridge is one of my favorite subjects. I love hearing stories about how people got started, a great play or how they approach a hand. The Setting Trick podcast is the forum where I share conversations with world class bridge players and fellow lovers of the game. As the host and founder, it is my pleasure to share highlights from Seasons One and Two in our first ever Best of The Setting Trick.


Since we had our initial conversation with Bridgewinners co-founder Gavin Wolpert over two years ago, we are grateful to have spoken with 20 individuals over the course of 18 episodes. A portion of the audio from every conversation, save legendary Zia Mahmood’s discussion of a bidding problem, can be found in this Best of.


We started this process with our intern Michael Xu having transcripts created for each episode. Michael read through every transcript and made a list of suggestions for what content should make our highlight reel.


My goal was to include audio from each one of our guests. I chose not to include Zia’s discussion of a bidding problem to make this episode more accessible for less advanced and non-players alike. Playing with Zia is the subject of both Zach Grossack and Anam Tebha’s segments and he is mentioned by former partner’s Michael Rosenberg and Bob Hamman as well.


It has been a pleasure to be coached and encouraged by so many of our listeners. I can remember being in Scotland for a Double Dummy screening at Stirling University and going out for a drink afterwards. It made my day when one of the attendees told me he had listened to my conversation with Migry and enjoyed it.


My practice of how I am approaching interviews has been greatly influenced by listener Leonard Epstein whom I have never met. He stressed to me the importance of having an idea what I want to learn from the guest beforehand, sticking to it and making each guest the star. If you have suggestions, please pass them along!


If you gave up because an episode was “unlistenable” in the words of one friend, please give us another chance. I took Dave Caprera’s advice and have edited some of the clips from this episode to minimize my interruptions. We have also hired a sound engineer to optimize this audio.


It hit me as I was putting the segments into place what an accomplishment it is to have recorded and published these 18 conservations. I am giddy at the prospect of sharing it with bridge playing and non-bridge playing friends alike.


These stories go beyond bridge. Eight time world champion and three time player of the decade Jeff Meckstroth, after playing his first ever duplicate, his father said, “you were almost average, that’s really good!” Jeff thought, “that didn’t sound good to me at all!” (21:40)


Or the focus which Migry had when she was able to break up a squeeze at trick two on the last board of a disastrous quarter to help win an NEC Cup match. (46:10)


You are going to hear Meck talk about the danger of pulling a false card too early (32:50), Bob Hamman size up his partners for a match against Sam Lev and Mike Moss (9:58). Gavin Wolpert talking about how September 11th influenced him to choose his passion for bridge over university (5:55). Nabil Edgtton, briefly, on what it’s like to play in the Bermuda Bowl (1:13:05) and Michael Rosenberg, even more briefly on his record playing the Bermuda Bowl with Zia (1:12:45).


One of my favorite arrangements in the entire show was having Steve Weinstein gush about playing with Bobby Levin and Paul Soloway (48:45) (57:40) intermixed between Dave Caprera talking about playing with his wife of 44 years Anne Brenner (51:15). For my own personal safety I made sure to include from the head of the US Junior Program Michael Rosenberg how Dave is the best mentor (1:17:00). Dave, don’t forget this!


Kare Gjaldbaek talks about the day he improved the most as a bridge player (40:20) and Adam Wildavsky elaborates on what he calls the Keller convention (42:00). From Adam’s system notes:

  • Keller
    • We don’t discuss hands at the table.
    • No apologies.
    • No comments when dummy goes down.


Finally, here’s Walt Schafer’s scorecard in what Bart Bramley described as “a hand for Edgar.” On board 26, playing with Edgar Kaplan, Geir Hegelmo made six diamonds on a double intra finesse in Kaplan’s last ever major win.


If you don’t like this episode, then there’s not much hope for you as a listener to the podcast. This is the best we’ve got. We hope to set a standard with this Best of, that will be carried over to future TST interviews, including improved practices for recording audio going forward. 


Please enjoy!