View Full Version : Recommended Books?
08-01-2006, 03:16 PM
My cousin has played bridge. He says he's even won a tournament (I didn't follow-up on details.) But it's been a loooooooooong time for him (time measured in decades, I think.) We agreed that he wants to get three (3) books.
What should they be?
My first impulse is
Kaplan, Winning Contract Bridge;
Root & Pavlicek.
Ottlik; Adventures in Card Play. just kidding or a good book on squeezes. Not Love.
Do weigh in please.
08-01-2006, 07:51 PM
There are lots of possibilities. I haven't read it, but I'm very surprised at Adventures in Card Play. Isn't it very advanced, light-years away from Winning Contract Bridge (a good choice)? A book on squeezes would be among my last choices: too limited applicability, not enough different things to think about.
I don't know if these are still in print, but All 52 Cards by Miles is excellent, as is How to Read Your Opponent's Cards by Lawrence. Both focus on the theme "he does (or doesn't) have X, because he bid/did not bid Y or played/did not play Z". The nod goes to All 52 Cards because it gives you the opportunity to needle partner with "Did you read Miles' book, all 51 cards?"
Marshall Miles Teaches Logical Bridge is also excellent for teaching players to think, but the specific methods suggested are often outdated, and it might be too elementary for someone who has won a tournament.
Simon: Why You Lose at Bridge is ancient, and based on methods not popular in the US, nor much in England anymore, but has lots of great ideas, especially about handling partner. It's from a rubber bridge perspective, not a situation where you'll be playing in an established partnership.
For enjoyment (nothing wrong with that), there's Bridge in the Menagerie by Mollo. Right through the Pack by Darvas, too, but limited to one of those it would be Mollo.
Watson Play of the Hand is another ancient one, but the percentage play of card combinations doesn't change.
A few years ago the Bridge World had a list of the 25 best bridge books ever, but I don't know where it is, and can't find it on their website. Almost all of the books were old (Law of Total Tricks being an exception).
08-01-2006, 08:02 PM
I recommend the LOTT book. Not because I am a die-hard Bergen fan, but it illustates the general principal that, with more trumps and distribution comes more trick-taking power.
Perhaps a book that demonstrates modern-style bidding. I know over the last 10 yrs I have watched the bidding style adapt. I'd like to play more with my dad, but his Schenken upbringing is hard to dismantle. He's a good cardplayer but our bidding is never exactly on the same page.
08-01-2006, 09:25 PM
or a good book on squeezes. Not Love.
Do weigh in please.
Love is the definitive book on squeezes. I assume you're looking for a simpler one, not a better one.
08-02-2006, 12:19 AM
Squire's book (on squeezes) is, imho, superior. the name eluded me for a bit.
Thanks for the suggestions. I wouldn't have thought of the Miles and Lawrence books, which are fine books indeed. I was only kidding about Adventures in Cardplay. Really.
Likewise the LOTT books.
Right now I'm thinking...
and (on deck) Root & Pavlicek; Larry Cohen.
I have no particular confidence this combination of books is optimal, but it's at least reasonable.
Update: Yes, this combination of books is good, because, gosh darn it, they're fun!! Yes, fun is relative. :-)
08-02-2006, 12:27 AM
Probably to basic for some of you all but I like:
Root and Pavelik: Modern Bridge Conventions
Root: Common Sense Bidding
Kaplan: Modern Bridge Defense
Unless you have a very regular partner I'm not sure how much more advanced you can get. Except for declarer play.
08-02-2006, 02:13 AM
You can't go wrong with Victor Mollo. On the serious side, his "I Challenge You" is a pretty good intermediate declarer play quiz book.
08-02-2006, 01:45 PM
There are many good books out there by Mike Lawrence (pretty much every one of his is good). I also really liked Kit Woolsey's two books - Partnership Defense, and Matchpoints. Eddie Kantar also has a very good book on modern defensive methods.
Adventures in Card Play (Zia's vote for "Best Bridge Book") is definitely not appropriate, as it is extremely advanced.
I suppose it depends to some degree on what your cousin hopes to accomplish. If he wants to get up to speed on modern bidding methods and judgement, get him a Lawrence book. Cohen's "Law of Total Tricks" is a good one on competitive bidding. If he wants modern defensive conventions, get Kantar. If he needs to brush up on play, there is no better reference than Watson's "Play of the Hand". If he wants to be entertained, Mollo is very good; I've also enjoyed Kantar's "Bridge Humor", "The Bridge Bum" by Alan Sontag, and "Tournament Bridge, an Uncensored Memoir" by Jerry Machlin.
08-02-2006, 01:58 PM
I have the Machlin book and find it quite entertaining. But it -- much like Ottlik -- is quite advanced.
One of the most funny and extremely short tales in Machlin's book -- and this is from memory -- concerned an event where all the actual and merely suspected cheats were "seeded" into the same section. Many of them figured it out after a few rounds.
I could still be talked out of the Menagerie book. I figure if and when he needs to learn conventions, he'll learn them.
Kaplan could be a mistake, too.
After checking Amazon, I went with Kaplan, Lawrence (Miles was out of print), and [u]Bridge in the 4th dimension, as the original menagerie was $35+.
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