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Book Reviews

#61 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-July-16, 16:24

The complete Book on Takeout Doubles by Michael Lawrence, 1994.
Grade=B+

I reread this book after 10 years. Basically 2 sections in the book, making a double and responding to the double.

Responding to the double is grade A-. This part is clearly written and excellent.
Making the double and what it means is grade B. I always found making a double and what it means a very difficult topic. Mike attacks it and clears up some areas but this subject is still cloudy.
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#62 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-July-28, 15:05

Match Point Bridge by Hugh Kelsey 1970.

This is an advanced/advanced intermediate level book. Nothing on conventions, and simple bidding systems. The emphasis is on how to understand and play match points.

He starts out explaining the concept of the theoretical best contract for both sideds, called par. If you screw up in the bidding, abd don't reach (or exceed) the par contract you will do poorly.

Next, try and ascertain what the field will do. If they will try for an over trick, you must also make this play. If you are in a different contract, you may have to take a risky play to make up for it. Or hope the field goes down on an obvious finesse.

There are sections on defense, leads, sacrafices, deception, and contesting the part score. There are many hands (not double dummy) to go through and figure out what to do.

I found the book difficult, but a very rewarding book to read.
I rate it an A.
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#63 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2005-July-28, 15:44

I know little of Kelsey's book, but I understand that Woolsey's Matchpoints is the book to read on this topic - I found it to be excellent.
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#64 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-July-29, 06:12

>I know little of Kelsey's book, but I understand that Woolsey's Matchpoints is the book to read on this topic - I found it to be excellent.

I have heard this too. Thats why I'm reading all the other books first (Ron Klingers "100 Duplicate Tips", Edgar Kaplans "Duplicate Bridge", Kay&Silidor&Karpin "The Complete Book of Duplicate Bridge"), to give me a solid background.

I find that I miss a lot if I read "THE" book on a subject without having much background. I'm saving the best for last. I'm not worried that I'll have to unlearn anything, as none of these books contradicted each other.
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#65 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-July-29, 15:20

Contested Auctions, Lawrence, 1992
Grade=A

Mike's usual clear and enjoyable style of writing.

Just reread this after more than 10 years. Excellent and highly recommended.
2 parts I really enjoyed:
1)Wonderful discussion of 2/1 bids in contested auctions. In general forcing but does not promise a rebid. Many hand examples of good and bad points to this approach.
2) Jump rebids by opener in contested auctions to steal the hand.
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#66 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-August-09, 07:02

The Forcing Pass in Contract Bridge by Eddie Kantar in 1983

Broad and deep coverage, though not a fun read as it was detailed and technical.
Worth reading for advanced players and experienced partnerships. Your partner must read it too. You will need to highlight it, or make a lot of notes are there are many situations and sequences covered.

(Its available for $6 + $2 direct from www.kantarbridge.com)
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#67 User is offline   flytoox 

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Posted 2005-August-09, 07:12

ArcLight, on Aug 9 2005, 01:02 PM, said:

The Forcing Pass in Contract Bridge by Eddie Kantar in 1983

Broad and deep coverage, though not a fun read as it was detailed and technical.
Worth reading for advanced players and experienced partnerships. Your partner must read it too. You will need to highlight it, or make a lot of notes are there are many situations and sequences covered.

(Its available for $6 + $2 direct from www.kantarbridge.com)

Does anyone know if I can get it in UK?

Cheers


Hongjun
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#68 User is offline   Double ! 

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Posted 2005-August-09, 10:33

try the website. all sorts of Kantar stuff there including a section called "Ideas". Worth looking at IMO.
"That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!"
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#69 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-August-11, 06:36

Matchpoint Tricks by Axelsen B., Villy Dam 2004 Master Point Press


Should really be titled "Overtricks - how to find them" as it has almost nothing to do with Matchpoint play. There are 58 declarer problems and the reader must figure out the best way to generate over tricks. Unlike a typical matchpoint decision where you risk your contract on a 68% chance of getting an over trick, these contracts are almost all safe. Some of the solutions are clever, but none require extremely complicated technique (there is 1 criss-cross squeeze, 2 simple squeezes, a trump coup, and maybe a few other interesting plays).
These are no where near as hard as some of Kelseys "Test Your XXX" problems.

A good ingtermediate level book, with some good ideas, its worth reading.
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#70 User is offline   laughter 

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Posted 2005-August-14, 00:56

Fit for a King, Brock & Rigal, 2000
Grade=B+

A good collection of hands nominated for BOLS Brilliancy in the 70s and early 80s, filled with some biographical details about the players and reporters.

The bridge analysis is quite accurate and succinct, while the deals are mostly interesting. What I like best about the book is photos/stories of players.

The authors tried to categorize the hands in 4 parts, the opening, middlegame, endgame and the whole caboodle, according to the challenging parts of the hand, matching a similar practice in chess. Imo, these category are quite artificial, as there are no common themes among the hands. But still it does no harm to the presentation.
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#71 User is offline   JSilver 

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Posted 2005-August-14, 00:58

I thought of another book I'd like to recommend. I'm not sure of the precise title. (It's in a box somewhere, since I moved my residence.) Anyway, it's on preemptive bidding, written by Ron Anderson and Sabine Zenkel (now Auken). Oh, yeah--Preempts from A to Z! :rolleyes: The authors' main point is that, regardless of whether your partnership plays disciplined or undisciplined preempts, it's important to know what bids mean and how to follow them up. They explore a number of situations and various conventions for preemptive bids and defenses against them. Another fairly thorough treatment of a topic seldom elaborated in the run of bidding texts.
"Violence is the last resort of the incompetent." --Isaac Asimov
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#72 User is offline   CarlRitner 

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Posted 2005-August-14, 07:47

It's actually Ron Andersen, and it's a fantastic book. It explains what a "disciplined" preempt is and when it's important to stick to your partnership agreements (usually), and when it's safe to deviate. The followup sequences are valuable information, and the overall section of theory and approach explain why the preemptor's job is 99% done in one bid.

I have a spare copy of this book every once in a while. I almost always have "Fit For A King" available, but I've never read that one, so I cannot comment on the previous review. Obviously I enjoy this particular topic quite a lot, so feel free to ask me about books in general.

Cheers,

Carl Ritner
ACBL Library Books
Cheers,
Carl
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#73 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-August-17, 09:35

World Class by Marc Smith 1999.

Entertaining short biographies of 26 palyers, including Fred, Meckstroth, Hamamn, Zia, Chagas, Garrozo. Each chapter has a few interesting hands. There are also numerous interesting stories, and general tips. I think Karen MCcallums chapter mentions that you should look at they players as they pick up their cards, to see if you can glean any knowledge about their hands. Supposedly Edgar Kaplan was poker faced and never gave anything away.

What I found most interesting was their view of the future of Bridge.
Many thought that Bridge becoming an Olympic "Sport" was a huge plus, but that something needed to be done to make it more spectator friendly. Some felt the ACBL was doing a horrible job at targeting new players.

Meckstroth, McCallum, and one of the Poles thought there should be fewer restrictions. Bobby Hamman thought there were too many conventions and the game is becoming too complex. Players are spending a great deal of time learning complicated systems without being good card players. And that these players win not because they are good players, but that they have surprised their opponents.

Another player mentioned that since bidding has become so developed and strong, there has a been a rise in destructive bidding, and he thinks that takes away from the game. On the other hand the Polish player didn't want restrictions, as he felt stifling innovation is bad.

One of the interesting things from the book is how many of the strong players fell into Bridge by accident.

A fun read, I rate it a B+. Id rate it higher if it covered more of the players that interested me.
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#74 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-August-19, 18:55

Master Class, Fred Gitelman, 1995
Grade=B

17.95$ 207 pages.

Deals from Fred's internet bridge column series.

The book is a series of complicated play hands.
The last deal is his famous one from the recent team trials.
"If there is a persistant theme to the deals that appear in this book, it is the near infinite variety of what is possible in this great game of ours"
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#75 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-August-31, 07:56

2/1 Workbook by Mike Lawrence 1987.

An important book if you play 2/1. What makes the book so valuable is its thoroughness in going over difficult promlems. The author doesn't just present his view, he presents the other view and explains why he likes his method better. But you are never forced to use his suggestions.

The book has a large number of hands and bidding sequences. This makes it slow going, but allows you and your partner to see if you are on the same wavelength.

I rate it an A.
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#76 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-August-31, 08:44

ArcLight, on Aug 31 2005, 01:56 PM, said:

2/1 Workbook by Mike Lawrence 1987.

An important book if youy play 2/1.  What makes the book so valuable is its thoroughness in going over difficult promlems.  The author doesn't just present his view, he presents the other view and explains why he likes his method better.  But you are never forced to use his suggestions.

The book has a large number of hands and bidding sequences.  This makes it slow going, but allows you and your partner to see if you are on the same wavelength.

I rate it an A.

It's a good book.

I like even better "The uncontested auction", which basically is its followup: the reason is that in the Uncontested Auction there is a larger number of examples, which includes typical auction up to the 3rd round of bidding, and that's the best way to learn a system (and learn how ML evaluates the hands!)
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#77 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-August-31, 09:49

MickyB, on Jul 28 2005, 09:44 PM, said:

I know little of Kelsey's book, but I understand that Woolsey's Matchpoints is the book to read on this topic - I found it to be excellent.

Woolsey discusses very little of card play technique and tactics at MP: it focuses 90% of the book on the bidding (and hand evaluation).

Kelsey has 3 sections that runs parallel throughout the book:
- Bidding
- Declarer play
- Defense

I found Woolsey's book to be more helpful in bidding, but the section on card play by Kelsey is great.
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
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#78 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-August-31, 09:53

ArcLight, on Jul 4 2005, 11:52 PM, said:

How good is the pamphlet
The Forcing Pass in Contract Bridge by Eddie Kantar in 1983?
Where can I get a copy? (I searched Google and a book search engine for rare books and came up with nothing)

It is good "food for thought".

The organization is a bit lacking in my opinion, but there are lots of examples.
Expect the same style of explanation that Mike Lawrence uses, it might seem scattered at first, but after some rereads, you start to put the pieces together.

I wish there was more material on high-level decisions, because the area that I would like to improve most is when you must make a 5 or 6 level decision.

Overall, I think it's worth the price.
I found it used through bookfinder.com
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#79 User is offline   pigpenz 

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Posted 2005-August-31, 10:42

A classic that has withstood the test of time is

"Bridge Squeezes Complete or Winning End Play Strategy"
Clyde E. Love

A+++++
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#80 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-August-31, 13:35

I realize that "Bridge Squeezes Complete or Winning End Play Strategy"
by Clyde E. Love is considered a classic by many but I didn't care for it.

I think David Birds Bridge Squeezes for Everyone was much better. With many chapters and examples. Supposedly the Reese book on Squeezes is aslo good, and perhaps the Kelsey 4 volume set.

I suspect that the Love book gets attention because for a while it was the only long book on Squeezes. Being the first can give something "Classic" standing, even if itits later surpassed. Now that there are others I suggest that anyone interested in Squeezes look at:

1) Bridge Squeezes for Everyone - David Bird

then either

2) ?Squeeze Play Made Easy? by Reese
3) Hugh Kelseys books (4 volume set republished at one)
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