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What books in what order?

#1 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-May-10, 11:19

This isn't really a "review" thread, so maybe it belongs in a different forum, but… I was just looking at Ben's thread about Lawrence's How to Read Your Opponents' Cards, and it got me wondering what books a player should read, in what order, at what level. Bidding and play. Bidding, of course, will depend on system preferences, among other things, so it's a bit harder if the question is unlimited, but I don't want to eliminate a good book because it's not about a system played locally (I'm in upstate New York, USA). Perhaps the question should be "what are the top ten books on bidding, and top ten books on play, for beginners, intermediate players, advanced players, and experts?" Perhaps there should be more categories, but this would be 8 lists already (not necessarily 80 books though - perhaps there aren't ten books in some category, or there's duplication. Any ideas?
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#2 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2014-May-10, 14:18

On play, I'd actually start with Learn to Play Bridge, followed by Bridgemaster.
I think that the computerized learning environment is better than reading.

Follow these up with

The Rodwell Files
Defensive Card Play Complete by Kantar and
Bridge Squeeze Complete by Love

and I think your in pretty good shape

On the bidding front

1. How to Build a Bidding System by Roy Hughes
2. The Useful Space Principal by Jeff Rubens
3. Precision in the 90s by Barry Rigal (ignore the section on symmetric relay)
4. Washington Standard by Steve Robinson
5. Polish Club by Matula
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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-May-10, 17:20

Heh. I've read all those except the Kantar. And I did ignore the symmetric relay stuff.
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As for tv, screw it. You aren't missing anything. -- Ken Berg
I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
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#4 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-May-14, 12:47

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-May-10, 17:20, said:

Heh. I've read all those except the Kantar. And I did ignore the symmetric relay stuff.

Hm. Can't find the Kantar under that title. There is Defensive Bridge Play Complete, published in 1974. Is that the one you meant? I do have his two volume Modern Bridge Defense and Advanced Bridge Defense, which seem to me to be pretty good.
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As for tv, screw it. You aren't missing anything. -- Ken Berg
I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
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#5 User is offline   kenrexford 

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Posted 2014-May-14, 12:59

IMO, no list can be complete without Adventures in Card Play and Partnership Bidding by Robson Segal.
"Gibberish in, gibberish out. A trial judge, three sets of lawyers, and now three appellate judges cannot agree on what this law means. And we ask police officers, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and citizens to enforce or abide by it? The legislature continues to write unreadable statutes. Gibberish should not be enforced as law."

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#6 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2014-May-14, 12:59

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-May-14, 12:47, said:

Hm. Can't find the Kantar under that title. There is Defensive Bridge Play Complete, published in 1974. Is that the one you meant? I do have his two volume Modern Bridge Defense and Advanced Bridge Defense, which seem to me to be pretty good.


Sorry, it was defensive bridge play (honking big red book)
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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-May-14, 15:20

View Posthrothgar, on 2014-May-14, 12:59, said:

Sorry, it was defensive bridge play (honking big red book)

Yeah, from the picture on Amazon that'll be the one. I'll see if I can pick up a copy.
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#8 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2014-May-14, 21:27

The new 2-volume Kantar book is mostly a reorganization of what was in Big Red. Big Red was ugly appearance-wise -- typewriter font text -- but an amazing book to which not much can be added for intermediate defense.

A few commonly overlooked declarer play titles:

For beginners, Audrey Grant/Eric Rodwell's "Bridge Maxims" - more detail than the Diamond Series books, very readable, something I come back to when I need practice hands for a beginner class
For intermediates, Fred Karpin's "The Drawing of Trumps and Its Postponement" - a look at each of the reasons why we pull or don't pull trumps, so in effect, a look at each of the ways we might plan the hand as declarer.
For people moving on toward advanced, Kelsey's "Countdown to Better Bridge." All about counting out suits and points and whatnot. Much better than the later Tim Bourke book that re-used the title. (All three of the above are out of print. And I loaned my copy of the Kelsey out and never got it back. Drat.)

If you want a complete sequences of progressively harder declarer play books, I would include those in spots 1, 3, and 4, with Watson, Bird's Endplays for Everyone (not because I love it, I don't, but because there arent many other choices), Love, and Rubens's Expert Bridge Simplified in spots 2, 5, 6, and 7.

For advanced defense books (for people who already know how to count but are lazy about it), Jim Priebe's "Thinking on Defense" and Davis Weiss's "Defense at Trick One". I don't really have a complete sequence to suggest for defense - Kantar is a good start but then there is a gap - basically learning how to visualize and count the unseen hands - before people are ready for the advanced books.

For bidding, the sequence I used to recommend to beginners was Commonsense Bidding, Modern Bridge Conventions, Modern Losing Trick Count, To Bid or Not to Bid, and then specific items as needed, depending what conventions people were learning or what aspects of the game most interested them. None of those 4 is perfect, either, but nothing that I liked spectacularly well has come along since.
Best one-convention book: Andersen's Lebensohl book.
Best one-aspect-of-the-game book: Preempts from A to Z.
Best overall-advice books for int+ folks: Rubens's Secrets of Winning Bridge, Woolsey's Matchpoints.

If you have a complete novice, Danny Roth's "The Expert Beginner" and "The Expert Improver" are a decidedly nonstandard but intriging way to start.
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#9 User is offline   straube 

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Posted 2014-May-15, 08:21

Glad someone mentioned David Bird's book on endplays. I always liked his book on squeeze play and his two on opening leads.
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#10 User is offline   Cthulhu D 

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Posted 2014-June-24, 03:27

View Postkenrexford, on 2014-May-14, 12:59, said:

Partnership Bidding by Robson Segal.


Given this is A) Really good and B) Free, this is imho the best bidding book you can get.
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-June-25, 13:05

I wish they would write the book on bidding in uncontested auctions they talked about writing in Partnership Bidding. I'd even pay money for it (as I did for their first book).
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As for tv, screw it. You aren't missing anything. -- Ken Berg
I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
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#12 User is offline   PrecisionL 

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Posted 2014-June-25, 14:04

An oldie but goodie: The Complete Book on HAND EVALUATION by Mike Lawrence, 1983.

One of my favorties is The Modern Losing Trick Count by Ron Klinger, 1987.
Ultra Relay: see Daniel's web page: http://bridgewithdan...stems/Ultra.pdf

C3: Copious Canape - Improved version of Ultra Relay, notes not posted yet.

Scrap heap: Canapé Attack System with Strong and 4-cd Major openings ...

Back to the Future? Using 1 &1 responses to Strong 1 as Positive Exclusion Color Bids.

NOW playing a Mosca (Nightmare-Fantunes like) system with canapé, 11-14 NT with Keri Invites and Bailey 2 bids, & 15+ 1 opener with transfer negatives @ 1-level & transfer positives @ the 2- and 3-levels. Canape after opening 1 or 1 (into a minor suit only). 3/1/17: Adding Nightmare Canape responses to 1 opening.
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#13 User is offline   relknes 

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Posted 2014-July-12, 08:03

I tend to have people I teach the game to start with "Bid better, play better," followed by Watson's "Play of the hand".
If they feel they have mastered those, I have them read Lawrence's "Overcalls."
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#14 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2014-July-14, 10:27

I'm not all that sure that I've mastered Watson...At least I learn something (sometimes again) every time I read it.
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