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Adventures in Card Play by Ottilik and Kelsey

Poll: Adventures in Card Play by Ottilik and Kelsey (29 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 11:21

Adventures in Card Play by Ottilik and Kelsey gets mixed reviews, and I don't suspect this post will be any different. It has been reviewed many times in these forums, here is some quotes from people in this forum that I pulled out once in another thread. this was in response to someone being critical of the book. This isn't so much of a review, perhaps I or someone will add an actual review in response to this post). The chapter on trump elopement is worth the price of the book alone, and allt he examples of backwash squeezes are worth detailed study by anyone who is serious about bridge. From a practical matter, however, this book will not help you become a better player. You have to already be a great player for this book to have a chance to improve your game.

Quote

Now, I will deal with your comments which might turn some people off to this most awe-inspiring book. So I will counter your comments about this book with the thoughts of some others, and what they they think about it. We will start with people who post here on the BBF....

Gerben47 says “Favorite Bridge Book: Adventures in Card Play”

eyhung says, Good books for expert players -- Adventures in Card Play and Bridge

Luke_Gillespie replied to the question 2) tell me your 3 best books (in order if possible? By stating, Adventures in Card Play (Kelsey/Ottlik),

I replied to the same question… tell me your 3 best books (in order if possible )?
PLAY - Adventures in Card Play - Ottilik and Kelsy and Bridge Squeeze Complete - Clyde Love
BIDDING - To Bid or Not To Bid - Larry Cohen
Partnership Bidding at Bridge - Robson/Segal
FUN - Bridge in the Fourth Dimension - Victor Mollo
Any other Hideous Hog books by Mollo

I did note in another threat, that I (inquiry) said “And stay away from "Adventures in Card Play" until you THINK you are an expert. Then use this book will show you why you are probably wrong...”

I will add that Theodore T. Triandaphyllopoulos, the author of the awesome online odds calculator click here to open online odd;s calculator says a very similar thing about Adventures in Card play, “Unbelievable book. If you think that you are an expert, just read it and think again. A very difficult book, but surely it's worth having. For players with a long experience (so that's too late for them to quit the game). “

As for others?

In 1994 the ACBL took a survey of the top 20 Bridge Books of all time (so this is pre-1995 obviously),

Adventures in Card Play by Giza Ottlik & Hugh Kelsey
The most advanced book ever written on the Play of the cards. The hands feature in the main, advanced squeeze plays which are rarely discussed in bridge books. The chapters involving trump elopements are magnificent reading and worth the price of the book itself. "perhaps the most exceptional bridge book ever" Zia Mahmood

Please note the quote from Zia… :-)

In a survey of players at the World Bridge Championships in Albuquerque, tournament players were asked to name their favorite bridge book, with no breakdown by categorym Adventures in Card Play came in first.

So, are the plays somewhat esoteric? No, they are incredibly esoteric. But that doesn't stop this Adventures in Card Play from being far and away the most incredible diplay of analytical study of Card Play in all of bridge literature. And I will assure you, you need time alone on an island to study it to grasp the plays it contains. And you might be surprized how often these endings do creep up if you study them. They are rare, but not so rare as you might suspect, because almost of them when they occure go completely unnoticed.

Should a beginner pick this book up? No way. Should a intermediate try it? Nope. However anyone from Advanced up, who has already studied squeeze and endplays and who can start to visualize hand and hand patterns, this is a fine book, if for nothing else than to see the breathtaking beauty of the plays. And with study, your game will improve.. and if nothing else, you can hold your own at cocktail parties if real bridge experts start to discuss their favorite books.




--Ben--

#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 11:38

I loved this book when I first read it, and still think it is awesome.

I voted that the book could be read by players of advanced or better skills. Much of the book is beyond my expectations of real-life experts, other than the relatively small cadre of uber-experts. I don't recall any tournament writeup featuring a backwash squeeze, as an example. I don't know whether that is because the positions are very rare or whether, as is certainly the case for me, most players, even experts, don't recognize the positions.

So most of the book is attractive not because it will improve one's game, but because it opens one's eyes to some of the beautiful mysteries of declarer play that would otherwise be unknown even to the best players.

But the trump elopement discussion is certainly within the grasp of a good advancing player....and these situations do arise with sufficient frequency that a thorough reading of this part of the book will significantly benefit most declarers.

Be warned: this is not a book to expect to read cover-to-cover in just a day or two.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#3 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 13:07

I'll add a negative review here.

Certainly the hands themselves are interesting, if esoteric and with little practical value at the table. I understand the expert fascination with this book as a matter of "what the cards can do" and illustrating a number of non-intuitive squeeze positions.

However, when reading this book I found the writing to be really lousy. There was a storyline throughout the book that had nothing to do with bridge (seemed to be something about a yacht) which was rambling and uninteresting, and detracted from exploring the actual hands. I'd have found a simple presentation of layouts and solutions much more interesting and easier to follow.
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#4 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 13:48

View Postawm, on 2010-December-31, 13:07, said:

I'll add a negative review here.

Certainly the hands themselves are interesting, if esoteric and with little practical value at the table. I understand the expert fascination with this book as a matter of "what the cards can do" and illustrating a number of non-intuitive squeeze positions.

However, when reading this book I found the writing to be really lousy. There was a storyline throughout the book that had nothing to do with bridge (seemed to be something about a yacht) which was rambling and uninteresting, and detracted from exploring the actual hands. I'd have found a simple presentation of layouts and solutions much more interesting and easier to follow.


Echo this. The yacht story has imperialistic overtones and is quite silly, to say the least.

The hands themselves are quite intersting and focus on a couple of less well-known themes. Contrary to my first thought on the book, which was "this is nice but has no use", I now find some of the themes actually have some practical value. However, if you wanna learn the stuff, you'll need put up with 6 months of indignities of going down on cold contracts while looking for some odd variant of the entry-shifting squeeze. After that period, the pattern becomes hard-coded into your brain and you'll start to recognize at table when to look for those esoteric plays and when not to waste time trying to make up something that's not there. The book could use a follow-up, since there are still a couple of themes out there that would benefeit from extensive write-ups.

I would rate it as "nice to read, but don't bother mastering it unless you wanna become a pro." There are better ways to improve your game, the main one being able to focus for 3 hours, so as to cut down on stupid mistakes.
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#5 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 16:04

Criticizing AICP for the background story is beyond ROFL. AICP is the bridge world's magnum opus.

AICP is my all-time favorite book, and I have read a lot of bridge books. There is not a boring nor repetitive hand. While the book is not for the beginner or intermediate, and the hands you will rarely see at the table, the book is flat-out fantastic. I didn't pick it up this year, but I will in '11. It does make you aware of some unusual circumstances at the table and enhances your repertoire of plays. I've always believed that if you can master the really difficult problems that the easier ones become more routine.

My other top 5 favs are:

- Right Through the Pack - Darvas and Hart
- Defend these Hands with Me - Pottage
- Bridge with the Blue Team - Forquet (thanks, Wayne); (edit)
There may be one I'm not thinking about and I may come back and update this list.

Notice I have a slot open. I hope to acquire in the next year Martens' book (s) or the work by (about?) Tim Seres and I hope one of these will fill out my list :)
Winner - BBO Challenge bracket #6 - February, 2017.
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#6 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 16:09

Géza Ottlik's Bridge-World articles and his book with Hugh Kelsey opened a new vista of play-possibilities. Their practice is beyond most experts but even a (bright) beginner can appreciate breath-taking beauty...

John Keats, On first looking into Chapman's Homer, said:

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

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#7 User is offline   Cascade 

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Posted 2010-December-31, 16:31

This is one of my favourite books.

Given that Hugh Kelsey was a novelist I can forgive him any detraction from the bridge hands by his yachting story. Although i find the anology of changing tack etc to be helpful.

I was recently asked what the attraction of bridge is to me. And these complexities fascinate me. Even if perceived as not practical i find they have a motivating force. This motivating force in my opinion is not to be underestimated. There is something extremely fascinating when one sees a hand that can't be made when you swap the position of a two and a three. To this end I don't think this book is limited in audience to advanced and expert. Probably not every beginner or intermediate will appreciate it. Perhaps those that do would not appreciate the entire book. But I would think that many especially promising beginners could be seriously motivated by the concepts presented in this book.

My favourite book is Bridge with the Blue Team. Again for a new player these hands are primarily motivational rather than practical. Currently my copy is on loan to a beginner and I believe that it is being thoroughly enjoyed. Adventures in Card Play is in my thoughts of a book to loan her soon. These are not the only books that she is reading but they do provide important motivation.

Like others the section on elopement is extremely practical. I recall well shortly after reading the book for the first time planning and making a contract via an elopement and scoring a complete top when it turned out that trumps were breaking very badly 5=0 and any attempt to draw trumps led to disaster.

@Phil:
The Tim Seres book is called Play Cards with Tim Seres by Michael Courtney. It is probably out of print unfortunately. Again I think it is an excellent book.
Wayne Burrows

I believe that the USA currently hold only the World Championship For People Who Still Bid Like Your Auntie Gladys - dburn
dunno how to play 4 card majors - JLOGIC
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Bidding is an estimation of probabilities SJ Simon

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Posted 2010-December-31, 18:37

As a nonexpert I have read this book ten times, at least....I love it.

I live to make a backwash squeeze and then I die happy. :)

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I love Bridge with the Blue TEam, in fact it may have been my first post or close to number one. :)

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Anyone who quotes Keats is brilliant and romantic.
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#9 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2011-January-01, 01:15

"Adventures in Card Play" is my equal favourite serious Bridge book together with "Bridge with the Blue Team" and "Play Cards with Tim Seres". By "serious", I mean a book that deals more with the play of the cards than any humorous aspect. As mentioned by a number of posters already, the chapter on trump elopement is superb and these situations come up not infrequently. I am sorry, Adam, but I find your comment that the hands have little practical value very amusing.

I enjoyed the storyline in AICP and did not think it was silly at all. It provided and interesting backdrop to a huge variety of spectacular plays. By the way, Cascade, the story line stems from Geza Ottlik, not Hugh Kelsey. Kelsey apparently was involved more in the analysis of the hands and plays.

By the way, here is a link to double dummy problems, including those of Ottlik, of which posters here may not be aware.
http://www.doubledum...y_composer.html

Nigel, I think your quote from Keats sums it up perfectly.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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#10 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2011-January-01, 08:37

View PostPhil, on 2010-December-31, 16:04, said:

ACIP: There is not a boring nor repetitive hand.


Actually, I find the entry-shifting squeeze chapter rather repetitive.
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#11 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2011-January-04, 22:54

Agree with Nigel that bright beginners may appreciate the beauty of the problems in this book. But definitely do not recommend it to them as something they should read anytime soon or to other players who are not far enough along to fully appreciate these problems including, I suspect, most players who are not bona fide advanced players. I say this as a semi-humble intermediate who remembers spending 2+ hours on the first problem in this book and still not feeling like I'd gotten all of it.
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