From the foreword to the first edition in Polish ( June 1976)
The area of defensive signals in bridge is still a relatively unexplored one. In choosing one method rather than another we are usually influenced by the current fashion, years of habit and other similarly irrational reasons. This book is an attempt to create a theory of defensive signals, to examine known methods and to construct better ones. In order to do this the author has used a method of statistical analysis which appeared first in the article "Distributional Leads" ("Brydz” 9/1974).
Foreword to the second edition in Polish (March 1979)
The first edition surprised many readers who expected to find he answers to such problems as "What do you lead against 3NT after such–and–such a sequence", "When to try for a trump promotion", etc. Some readers thought that, as I had decided to publish my own discoveries in the field of defence, I should have lmited myself to a short pamphlet rather than a comprehensive book. So I want to make it clear that the aim of this book is only to answer the question "Why should I defend this way?". Any worthwhile discovery can be made by accident: "We've been playing this for a while now; let's try that" (and next month we'll
play so–and–so). One of the methods you try may well be the best available; but what of it if you don't realize it and abandon it after the first disaster in favour of tried and trusted methods.
So it is not enough to make a discovery; you also have to prove that it is a good one. The way to do this is not to produce examples where your method works – there will also be examples where it doesn't work – but to investigate it statistically. Results in practice are certainly not the right criterion, and on this point I am in agreement with Zachary Lichter:
"The desire to find a unique solution to a problem is not a function of stupidity, the strength of which depends on the fact that it can ccept any theory, even a demonstrably bad one, provided good practical results can be obtained using it."
In the second edition, certain areas were examined in more detail, and some new ideas were introduced (evaluation of signals, permutations of small cards, SEQUEL, problem 5 – 6, expressing the efficiency of a system as a percentage). The name "Combination Leads" (or "Mixed Leads") was changed to COMBINE (the adjective mixed being reserved solely for the Mixed Signal and MM). In the Combine System itself the leads from Q 10 9 and Hxxxxx were changed.
From foreword to the third edition in Polish (1980)
An addition to the chapter dealing with permutations of small cards is Marek Dryanski's idea about minimizing the rank of the first small card played. Also, the relative efficiency of the signals L Q M has been corrected (see 'Evaluation of signals') as well as a few small errors in the test tables. This has the effect of insignificantly changing the percentage efficiency of some small–card systems, but has little bearing on the final conclusions.
In the 4th edition the author hopes to achieve totally error–free results with the aid of a computer.
Review in "The Bridge World" (May 1985)
"System in Defence" is about conventional methods for leading to a trick. It is for the theoretical–minded. Make that v e r y theoretical–minded, because even though the book's conclusions can be applied in practical play, only theorists have any chance of enjoing the reading.
The nain ideas of this book are, first, to introduce a scientific method for comparing the effectiveness of different lead conventions, and, second, to suggest some new methods that seem (under the criteria presented) to offer greater effectivenessthan those currently in use. For example, one interesting idea "mixed signal", where you signal neither length nor quality but a mixture of the two.
The author makes some assumptions that will not be acceptable to everyone (eg that using the same method against notrump and suit is an overriding priority), so few will agree with all his conclusions. Regardless , the proposed general approach, and some of the specific methods, are important. We believe this is an important contribution to the theoretical literature.