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Absolute Beginner Book Any recommendations?

#1 User is offline   TimG 

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Posted 2012-July-27, 09:17

Back in the day, if someone wanted to learn to play bridge, they might be handed a copy of 5 Weeks to Winning Bridge. Is there a contemporary equivalent?
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2012-July-27, 10:07

The "Learn To Play Bridge" downloads from the ACBL site. Also Kantar's "Bridge for Dummies".

Not really "5 weeks" "equivalents", but I think the best starting points for beginners I've read through. I usually recommend those to start, then move on to Root to advance in cardplay.

"5 weeks" still has excellent cardplay material of course, but the bidding is dated, and maybe the play advances in difficulty a bit fast for a beginner?
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#3 User is offline   chasetb 

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Posted 2012-July-27, 10:21

Well, I started bridge 3 years ago, and the first book I read was The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge (1st Edition) , H. Anthony Medley with a foreword from Mike Lawrence. I checked it out free from my local library, and while it taught rubber-style bridge, toward the end it had all the stuff you needed if you wanted to switch over into duplicate. The early stuff is on bidding, but towards the end they do get on cardplay.

Since then, a 2nd Edition has been released (Lawrence is now a co-author), and they cleaned it up a little as well as adding a section at the very end on 2/1. On Half.com , after shipping costs (US) the 1st edition comes out to just over $4 and the 2nd edition just under $7. I recommend the 2nd one only because of the improvements and the 2/1, but both are witty and insightful, and they help you learn.
"It's not enough to win the tricks that belong to you. Try also for some that belong to the opponents."

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself."

"One advantage of bad bidding is that you get practice at playing atrocious contracts."

-Alfred Sheinwold
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#4 User is offline   broze 

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Posted 2012-July-27, 12:37

Remarkable! My learning to play bridge story is exactly the same. I used this book to teach myself bridge three years ago. I was having a lazy week one summer and for some reason we had this book in the house and I barely even know why but I read it and taught myself the game in a couple of days. A few days later I signed on to BBO as a novice and had to put up with hundreds of pickup partners criticising my adherence to Strong Jump Shifts (I have since converted to weak) After the summer was over I taught a few people at my college what I knew, one of whom has become my regular partner and caught up with me in ability!

All I can say is that the book (which as you mentioned is a little light on the cardplay) taught me basically everything I needed to know and three years down the line I'm still completely obsessed. In fact it's become my passion.

View Postchasetb, on 2012-July-27, 10:21, said:

Well, I started bridge 3 years ago, and the first book I read was The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge (1st Edition) , H. Anthony Medley with a foreword from Mike Lawrence. I checked it out free from my local library, and while it taught rubber-style bridge, toward the end it had all the stuff you needed if you wanted to switch over into duplicate. The early stuff is on bidding, but towards the end they do get on cardplay.

Since then, a 2nd Edition has been released (Lawrence is now a co-author), and they cleaned it up a little as well as adding a section at the very end on 2/1. On Half.com , after shipping costs (US) the 1st edition comes out to just over $4 and the 2nd edition just under $7. I recommend the 2nd one only because of the improvements and the 2/1, but both are witty and insightful, and they help you learn.

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#5 User is offline   chasetb 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 12:37

Broze, the reason I started bridge was I transferred to a new college, and my friends at the old college were already back from their Spring Break when I started mine. After reading the local paper and seeing the Bridge column (Becker bridge), I decided to spend a week to learn Bridge, just to understand the column. Unfortunately, I had no luck in teaching any of my friends.
"It's not enough to win the tricks that belong to you. Try also for some that belong to the opponents."

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself."

"One advantage of bad bidding is that you get practice at playing atrocious contracts."

-Alfred Sheinwold
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#6 User is offline   Quantumcat 

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Posted 2012-August-01, 20:52

Most clubs here in Australia use Paul Marston's "Introduction to Bridge".

Probably the reason most beginner bridge books don't teach cardplay is that it is something you can figure out for yourself, unlike bidding.
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#7 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2012-August-02, 02:33

View PostQuantumcat, on 2012-August-01, 20:52, said:

Probably the reason most beginner bridge books don't teach cardplay is that it is something you can figure out for yourself, unlike bidding.

I find this slightly funny as, after the introduction, I basically taught myself much of bidding theory by trying stuff out and writing everything down, whereas I think I could have spent every day trying to teach myself card play without reaching a good level in it. Perhaps it depends on the way you think but I think trying to create signalling and leading conventions from scratch would be pretty difficult for the average player, not to mention the correct count for different squeeze types and some of the advanced defensive plays.
(-: Zel :-)
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#8 User is offline   Quantumcat 

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Posted 2012-August-02, 19:08

Not the leading conventions I was thinking about, but learning to work on a long and weak suit first rather than cash your aces and kings, drawing trump, and figuring out how to ruff losers and take finesses. These are things you can figure out without being taught. Bidding, on the other hand, requires a lot of conventions - you wouldn't figure out HCP by yourself for instance, so you wouldn't be able to work out what was an opening hand and what wasn't except by feel. You probably wouldn't even work out the concept of an "opening hand" by yourself - maybe the weak hands open and the strong ones don't, and you pass an opening unless you have a strong hand? It would also take a lot of play before you realised that having eight trumps is a good idea - you can work out by "feel" you need more than the opponents, but do you need seven or ten? You wouldn't even know that it is very unlikely to have a ten card fit so that isn't what bidding is looking for! Etc etc etc.
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#9 User is offline   1eyedjack 

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Posted 2012-August-05, 00:50

For cardplay technique I recommend "Victor Mollo's Winning Double" (by Victor Mollo of course)

Out of print, but the second hand market on t'Internet has copies.

It is nothing more than a set of problems set out on one page, solutions on the next. Pretty much the entire gamut of basic play problems is covered: When to duck, when to draw drumps, when not to draw trumps, when to finesse or not, a couple of very basic squeezes thrown in to keep the interest going.

The book's name is derived from it's format. It is divided into two halves. The specific problems are unique, but the nature and complexity is evenly spread out between the halves. The reader chooses which half to tackle first, and the author claims that whichever you choose first, you will score higher on the second set. Quite a good confidence booster.
Psych (pron. saik): A gross and deliberate misstatement of honour strength and/or suit length. Expressly permitted under Law 73E but forbidden contrary to that law by Acol club tourneys.

Psyche (pron. sahy-kee): The human soul, spirit or mind (derived, personification thereof, beloved of Eros, Greek myth).

Masterminding (pron. mPosted ImagesPosted ImagetPosted Imager-mPosted ImagendPosted Imageing) tr. v. - Any bid made by bridge player with which partner disagrees.
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#10 User is offline   shintaro 

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Posted 2012-August-13, 09:09

Wasn't there a book by the Lederers called 'Bridge with the Lederers' or something :rolleyes:
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