In 1965, I first met Mats Nilsland, and weíve been good friends ever since. At that time, we were both promising young chess players, but Mats gave up chess and switched to bridge in the mid 60ís, and some years later I followed his example.
Mats was only 19 years old when he first joined the Open Swedish team, and he has been playing successfully at the international championships ever since Ė for almost fifty years!
We played as bridge partners for a couple of years, and we have been teammates even longer. I then learned that Mats isnít just a nice guy and a formidable bridge player; he has a mind well suited for finding new paths in the bidding. His creativity and logical thinking is second to none.
The American Alvin Roth has long been considered the leading bidding theorist of all time, but for my money, Mats Nilsland tops even him.
Mats has used and designed every conceivable system you can imagine, like Strong pass, Strong club, four-card majors and even three-card majors. He is also the co-founder of the popular 5542-system, where 1 club is used on most balanced hands, often together with transfer responses.
Today, Mats has gone full circle and is back to a normal base with five-card majors, three-card minors, and a strong notrump. But he doesnít use it as everybody else. Instead, he has incorporated lots of ideas he has learned or invented along the way, making this natural five-card major system a very effective and dangerous system to meet.
In 1989, Mats suggested that Scania Bridgekonsult should publish a series of convention booklets in English. So far, we have written four volumes: Major Suit Raises, Notrump Bidding, Strong Club and Absolute Doubles. Mats is the author or co-author of all these volumes.
Five-card Majors is the fifth volume in the series. Itís a well-written book and it will definitely change my way of thinking in many areas. If it happens to you too, I can promise it will be for your own good.
I enjoyed reading and editing this interesting and well-written book. I hope you will enjoy and benefit from it just as much!