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Marty Bergen Contract Bridge Books Bridge Cruise

Marty A. Bergen (born 1948) is an American bridge player and writer. A 10-time national champion, American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) Grand Life Master, and World Bridge Federation (WBF) World International Master, he retired from active competition in 1993 to pursue his dream of becoming a bridge author (see story below).

 

Bergen is well-known for his innovative development of bidding conventions and treatments, including DONT and Bergen Raises. Together with his long-time bridge partner Larry Cohen, he popularized the Law of Total Tricks, Support Double, and 1NT Semi-forcing.

 

In March 2012, Marty was named the 22nd most influential person in the history of bridge by the ACBL.

 

Marty has authored 22 bridge books, two of which won the American Bridge Teachers' Association's prestigious Bridge Book of the Year award, namely Points Schmoints!: Bergen's Winning Bridge Secrets in 1996 and Declarer Play the Bergen Way in 2005; most recently he has published 40 award-winning booklets on different bridge topics.  He has had a column in the Master Pointers section of ACBL Bridge Bulletin since 1976.  Marty is also a panel member for The Bridge World's Master Solvers Club.

 

Marty's latest books are Slam Bidding Made Easier and Better Slam Bidding the Bergen Way (companion workbook), and he has published the first thirty-two of his Secrets to Winning Bridge booklet series.

 

Prior to becoming a full-time bridge professional in 1976, Marty earned his B.A. and M.A. in Education at the State University of New York.  He taught for four years in public and private school systems in New York and Florida. 

 

In addition to conducting bridge cruises, Marty now teaches and writes in Florida, where he lives with his wife Cheryl and their dog, Butchskie.  In his leisure time, he is an avid sports fan (he played competitive tennis in high school/college) and loves watching his favorite teams compete.

 

Awards

Marty was voted the 22nd most influential person in the history of bridge!

 

click to read excerpt from March 2012 ACBL Bulletin

 

 

Goren Trophy (formerly Herman Trophy) 1983

American Bridge Teachers' Association (ABTA) Book of the Year 1996, 2005

 

Championships

North American Bridge Championships (10):

Spingold (1) 1984

Reisinger (2) 1985, 1991

Men's Board-a-Match Teams (2) 1981, 1984

Blue Ribbon Pairs (2) 1983, 1988

Life Master Pairs (1) 1988

Life Master Men's Pairs (1) 1983

Men's Pairs (1) 1983

Pan-American Maccabi Games (1) 1983

  Cavendish Invitational Teams (1) 1988

Cavendish Invitational Pairs (2) 1984, 1989

Goldman Pairs (1) 1983

Runner-Ups

♠  North American Bridge Championships (10):

  • Vanderbilt (2) 1982, 1990

  • Spingold (1) 1983

  • Grand National Teams (2) 1979, 1991

  • Open Board-a-Match Teams (1) 1990

  • Master Mixed Teams (2) 1989, 1991

  • Life Master Men's Pairs (1) 1986

  • Grand National Pairs (1) 1984

United States Bridge Championships (1)

Open Team Trials (1) 1985

Cavendish Invitational Teams (1) 1986

  In Pursuit of a Dream   (the introduction to Points Schmoints)

Dateline July 1962 - Solitary Confinement

At the tender age of 14, I was sentenced to a hospital for removal of a terrible set of tonsils.  On her way to visit, my mother picked up a few books, to help the nurses and me survive each other.  (For a healthy teenager, a three-day confinement in a hospital certainly qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.)  One book was a 50 cent paperback, 5 Weeks to Winning Bridge by Alfred Sheinwold.  I knew nothing about bridge, but had always enjoyed card games, starting with pinochle at my dad's knee as a precocious six-year-old.

During my hospital stay, I devoured Sheinwold's book.  Luckily for me, my non-bridge-playing mother had stumbled upon an absolute gem.  I borrowed a deck of cards from the nurses, who were delighted with my new pacifier.

September 1965 - Classes No, Bridge Yes

Then came college, and what a revelation!  Attendance in class was not mandatory.  Bridge games were never-ending.  Let me see, should I go to Accounting 101 or play some bridge?  Not a tough decision.

My bridge game improved overnight.  Unfortunately, my professors were unable to appreciate my skipping classes in pursuit of endplays and slams.  When I went home for Christmas break, I was the not-so-proud possessor of a 1.0 GPA.

Meanwhile I had been introduced to duplicate bridge.  Winning masterpoints was much easier than passing exams.  However the following was now definitely in question:  Would I graduate?  If I did, which would come first, the required 120 credits or the 300 masterpoints needed to become a Life Master?  Amazingly, the diploma preceded my gold card by almost six months.

June 1976 - Goodbye Nine to Five

My first published bridge material, That's no Bridge Player, That's My Wife, had previously appeared in The Contract Bridge Bulletin.  In June 1976, I began writing monthly columns for that publication. 

Ever since I decided to make bridge my life's work, I've had three goals.  One was to win a national championship.  On March 22, 1981, I finally broke through.  The second was to win a world championship.  Although I've been on the verge several times, that one still eludes me.

Goal number three was actually a dream.  I've always wanted to write a practical, entertaining bridge book, the likes of which the world has never seen.  What happened to my dream?  I don't know; I always seemed to be busy with something else.  However, I never forgot.

March 1994 - Helloooo Dream

The phone rings.  It is my long-time friend and bridge partner, Larry Cohen.  "Great news, Marty.  Remember your idea for a classic bridge book?  I just came across a book exactly like that."

"What's so great about that?  I wanted to be the one to write that book.  Nobody cares about who is second with a great idea!"

"No, Marty, you don't understand.  It's a golf book.  It represents the easy-to-read yet informative book that you've always talked about.  Pick up a copy.  It's called Harvey Penick's Little Red Book."

I viewed the wonderful Penick book as my sign from Above: "The time has come, Marty, to stop procrastinating."  It has taken 18 years, but finally, I was on my way.

Fortunately, I didn't have to start from scratch.  Like Penick, I have accumulated material from 20 years of teaching and playing.  Many topics are a direct result of students' questions.  Others are a product of their mistakes and confusion.  I am very grateful; without them I could not possibly have written this book.

If you have only half as much fun reading this book as I've had writing it, my efforts will not have been in vain.  is there more to come?  You better believe it.  Am I interested in hearing your thoughts and questions?  Absolutely!

Marty Bergen