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Book Reviews

#401 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2008-March-14, 06:40

Arclight, you can learn a lot even if the system is different. Look at Blackshoe's post. Look at the priciples; Standard does not mean SA, it means what is standard in your country. Don't be so narrow minded, you might find something you really like.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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#402 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2008-March-14, 07:47

>Arclight, you can learn a lot even if the system is different. Look at Blackshoe's post. Look at the priciples; Standard does not mean SA, it means what is standard in your country. Don't be so narrow minded, you might find something you really like.

I try not be narrow minded. :)

I think the "answers" to many of the problems are not obtainable because the bids in the authors "Standard" (not Polish CLub) system are pretty different form what most would consider "Standard". What this means is unless you know what the authors system is, you wont be able to solve many of the problems.

I think "Standard" is nebulous but is probably not radically different overall from country to country, even if there are some differences in certain areas. (ex. some in Australia are fond of the short club 1 opener with just 2). Now if this is some Polish standard then it may be a great book for someone who knows that system.


>If you read a bridge book with an eye towards understanding principles, rather than getting bogged down in "that's not the way I'd bid it!", then IMO it really doesn't matter what system is used.


"understanding principles' is a very generic term.
You would not be able to solve thes eproblems becaus eyou would expect a player to have a certain distribution based on their bidding. When you look at the answer and see they ahd something different,, because of the system, it wont really help you. It will "help" in a minor way, when you se ethat yes the bid makes sense in the context of the authors (non-standard) expectations. But it wont help you solve the problems.


I don't think most people will get much out of this book because the bidding wont follow what they expect. They wont be able to solve many of the problems. They wont learn principles, because they may know them, and were just misleads by the different meaning of the bid.


I liked the format of the book, and with a coauthor (revising teh bidding) it could have been much better. I don't think this will be of much value to anyone other than those who know what ever "Standard" system the author is using, and also to those interested in system design. They wont be able to solve the problems, but they might be interested in an interpretation.




I would guess he does mean some sort of basic polish club (WJ).

It is usual if a polish grandmaster says heshe plays natural, heshe means polish club, a not too fancy variation.

If he REALLY means natural he would probably say Acol, or SA if the material written for american or BBO public.


For someone who knows whatever teh author considers "standard" I would recommend this book. If you know what the bids mean, you will certainly enjoy it more than I did.

Since it was translated into English I assumed it would be a "standard" that English speakers are familiar with, rather than a Polish Standard.
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#403 User is offline   Vilgan 

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Posted 2008-May-16, 10:56

random bump because this is a good thread (and it took me a bit to find).
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#404 User is offline   cjames 

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Posted 2008-May-27, 10:02

Random bump from me too. Should not be too difficult to pin this topic?
Squeeze me
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#405 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2008-May-27, 11:52

Bridge in the Menagerie by Victor Mollo

Not only is it an amusing book, there are some interesting hands that I wish had not been presented with 4 hands exposed initially. Hideous Hog makes some deceptive plays based on the evidence. It would be fun to see if you could make those as well.

Hideous Hog is hysterical. I found the chapter on Kibitzers arguably the funiest in the book.

This is not just a fiction book. Its highly entertaining, with charming hands.
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#406 User is offline   Vilgan 

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Posted 2008-June-01, 23:32

Any comments on Washington Standard by Steve Robinson? Been told it is a good baseline for higher level 2/1, but never heard of it outside of that 1 person.
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#407 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2008-June-01, 23:37

ArcLight, on May 28 2008, 12:52 AM, said:

Bridge in the Menagerie by Victor Mollo

Not only is it an amusing book, there are some interesting hands that I wish had not been presented with 4 hands exposed initially. Hideous Hog makes some deceptive plays based on the evidence. It would be fun to see if you could make those as well.

Hideous Hog is hysterical. I found the chapter on Kibitzers arguably the funiest in the book.

This is not just a fiction book. Its highly entertaining, with charming hands.

No its not fiction. What made you think that? The characters are based on real life haracters Mollo played rubber against. The Hog is in fact Mollo himself.
"The King of Hearts a broadsword bears, the Queen of Hearts a rose." W. H. Auden.
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#408 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2008-June-02, 03:16

Vilgan, on Jun 2 2008, 05:32 AM, said:

Any comments on Washington Standard by Steve Robinson? Been told it is a good baseline for higher level 2/1, but never heard of it outside of that 1 person.

I play this in one partnership. If you and your partner want a system that is, for the most part, clearly defined, then this is book is excellent - if you both learn everything, you'll be on the same wavelength in most situations.

It is a lot to read, though (300 pages) and I'm unconvinced by the merits of some of the methods - mainly Flannery and rebidding 1S on 4333. If you are happy with these, you'll probably like the whole system.
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#409 User is offline   Trumpace 

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Posted 2008-June-02, 13:02

The_Hog, on Jun 2 2008, 12:37 AM, said:

ArcLight, on May 28 2008, 12:52 AM, said:


This is not just a fiction book.  Its highly entertaining, with charming hands.

No its not fiction. What made you think that? The characters are based on real life haracters Mollo played rubber against. The Hog is in fact Mollo himself.

So all the hands etc were actually played in real life as stated in the book? Did Mollo actually eat the Q?

Mollo must have led an amazing bridge life.
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#410 User is offline   cjames 

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Posted 2008-June-02, 13:13

Mollo is probably my favourite writer. If you can get your hands on "The Other Side Of Bridge" by mr Mollo, do so! Probably the best bridge book I have ever read.
Squeeze me
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#411 User is offline   Vilgan 

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Posted 2008-June-09, 12:12

Book review for: Enhanced Precision (Second Edition) by Ron Beall
Year of publication: 2008

I grabbed this from our local bridge bookseller as he thought of me when he got it in and saved me a copy. It is a small $10 booklet that essentially just condenses down the system notes of the author into a useable form for others to read.

Review: At first, I thought this was a total waste of $10. Most of it was familiar material (he takes forever to describe XYZ, without actually stating it is XYZ). Some parts of his system I thought were absolutely wretched and would never play them in this life.

However, after I continued reading and actually read it all from cover to cover I did find some good insights/ideas in there. Some of the stuff is more modern/improved over other precision material that is available. It is especially good (I think) for matchpoint precision players which I think is great. There are some various ideas in the book that I will be discussing with my main precision partner to see what he thinks, and we might incorporate a few of them.

So... if you are someone looking to learn precision: Do not get this book. It is not good intro material for someone interested in precision. Not only does it have some holes/bad bidding things (imo only) but it is also only a long list of what each bid means in sequence. There is no explanation of the thought behind it. That won't matter to the experienced precision player, but it does make it less appealing to a new precision player imo. If you already play precision of some sort, I think this booklet would probably be worth the $10 it costs to see if it has new ideas you might incorporate into your current system. There are very few modern precision books (2? 3??) so its probably worth grabbing and perusing.

Overall grade: B. Good for people already playing precision who might gain some new things to incorporate into their system from the book. Not so useful for anyone else.

Still cool to see *some* sort of precision stuff coming out though :P
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#412 User is offline   neilkaz 

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Posted 2008-June-10, 19:03

Vilgan, on Jun 2 2008, 12:32 AM, said:

Any comments on Washington Standard by Steve Robinson? Been told it is a good baseline for higher level 2/1, but never heard of it outside of that 1 person.

Very good book. Has lots of interesting treatments and examples of complete sequences. Most won't want to play the complete system, but may wish to adopt treatments, such as the detailed structure after opening a 15-17 NT etc etc.
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#413 User is offline   areaks 

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Posted 2008-June-19, 03:05

I wish it was possible to group together the reviews of each book, as it is now, if you come in to a thread late, you may not add your opinion of a book until long after the first review. This way someone would have to read through all 28 pages (so far) to see if a book has been reviewed more than once. I think we all agree that the more reviews a book gets, the more are we able to decide if it is a book we would want to buy. If the reviews were all grouped together, it could be enough to state that you agree with this or that earlier review, and this review would be easy to find.

I have just finished "The Art of Being Lucky" by Gardner and Mollo. I agree fully with ArcLight's review some 10-20 pages earlier - a wonderful book for intermediates and advanced beginners.
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#414 User is offline   areaks 

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Posted 2008-June-26, 00:41

Have finished "Why you loose at bridge" by Skid Simon. An entertaining and well written book, but unless you play rubber bridge at a club not that useful. Some good bridge tips, but again, mostly geared towards rubber bridge. I don't even think rubber bridge clubs exist in Norway, so not so relevant for me. Written for intermediates.
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#415 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2008-June-26, 03:25

The_Hog, on Jun 2 2008, 12:37 AM, said:

[about the menagery books]

No its not fiction. What made you think that?

Maybe it's the incredible hands that appear? Or the funny conversations they have? Oh no, it must be that the bridge players are all animals!
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

- hrothgar
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#416 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2008-June-26, 03:29

areaks, on Jun 26 2008, 01:41 AM, said:

Have finished "Why you loose at bridge" by Skid Simon. An entertaining and well written book, but unless you play rubber bridge at a club not that useful. Some good bridge tips, but again, mostly geared towards rubber bridge. I don't even think rubber bridge clubs exist in Norway, so not so relevant for me. Written for intermediates.

I think you have this wrong. Many of the lessons in the book are useful to all forms of bridge. I also think it is written for more advanced players as well.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

- hrothgar
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#417 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2008-June-29, 11:13

Test Your Match Play - Hugh Kelsey. Very good intermediate + (more like advanced) level book on play problems. A few of the hands use outdated bidding that may fool you (I was surprised at the holding of declarer on a couple of hands), but in general these are very nice hands. They involve more than just counting and technique, they involve visualization and imagining how the play will go. One negative - Kelsey admitted that he reused some problems in his other books (Test Your Declarer play 1-6). I recognized a couple of problems, since I just read his test your declarer play books. Still a great book and worth buying.


Master Class - Ron Klinger - excerpts of material from many of his other books. If you have read some of books this is just a reprint of taht material. If you haven't read his books you may find some of the chapters intereting and want to read his other books. Intermediate level or below.


Tips for better bridge - Bernard Magee. Collection of tips for beginner/ low intermediate players. Decent material on a wide range of subjects, from bidding to play.


The bridge player's bible - Julian Pottage. Beginner / low intermediate, a collection of tips, covers an assortment of topics. I found the pages a little hard to read becaus eof the way the hands were presented.


Bridge in the Fourth Dimension: More Keys to Winning Bridge Play from Victor Mollo's Bridge Club - Victor Mollo While not quite as funny/entertain ing as the first book in the series (Bridge in the Menagerie) the hands are still very good. They really get into bridge psycology with respect to how you would play against different levels of player.
For example - there is one hand where you can ruff a suit declarer is running.
Should you do so?
1 - why did Declarer not drawing trumps first? Its becaus ehe doesnt know the location of the Q.
2. Would you ruff from Qxx? That would allow declerer to play A then K and drop your Q. It may expose pards Q if you ruff from xx. Against different skill levels you may act differently. Lots of if this then this cases.
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#418 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2008-July-18, 05:57

How Good is Your Bridge - Danny Roth

Pretty good intermediate (and beginner) level book. Its a collection of declarer and defense problems. Nothing you wont have seen if you have read other problem books, but still a good collection for Intermediates (and beginners).

I think I missed 1 or 2 declarer play problems (and got minor deductions for other things). One of the problems I missed was playing for a squeze when a ruffing finesse was a better play. This book might only have a couple of squeezes so no one should feel intimidated. I think it was Pottages Clues from the Bidding (which I didnt like) where it seemed like half the hands are double squeezes.

On defense I missed a number (perhaps my success rate would be in the 80-90% range). Some of the problems I thought could have gone either ways and didn't think the authors solution was clearly the best. His assumed layout did not have to be the only reasonable one. Still, the problems were good.

In general I like Danny Roth books. The cover says "Intermediate" and I recommend it for beginner/intermediates.


I'm also reading Kelseys 4 books on Squeeze play. I just finished the first one - The simple squeeze. I have already read a couple of books on squeze play (Reese Squuezes made simple and Birds Squeeze Play for everyone - both EXCELLENT). I enjoyed this book and the explanations. In addition the author covers squeeeze defense in depth. And there are 20 problems, both defender and declarer.

My only quibble is some squeezes are uncommon and while interesting to read about, I would like the author to mention that. Not knowing how to do a Criss Cross squeeze is far less costly than not knowing how to do a simple squeeze.


Overall I found the book worthwhile and recommend it, but I think the Birdand Reese books should be read first. Eventually I will try rereading Clyde Loves book on Squeezes.
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#419 User is offline   pclayton 

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Posted 2008-August-15, 10:16

I just received an order from Amazon.

1. Masterpieces of Defensive Play - Pottage. You have to get this. Its the same format as his Masterpieces of Declarer Play. Although I'm getting most of these the first time through, I'm learning a lot from the ones I can't get. Only one or two of the problems do I feel are concocted, and the analysis is superb. Solid A.

2. Card Play Technique - Mollo / Gardner. I'm jumping around this and I will pilfer this to death for lessons. I think the examples are better than Watson's for a club player who is trying to get better. My copy is a hardbound 2nd edition from 1957.

3. Off Road Declarer Play - Bird. . New book for me.

4. Blocking / Unblocking - Reese / Trezel (slowly replacing all of the books I lent / lost / were Kimied when I was 25).

5. More Killing Defense - Kelsey (can't find my old copy)

6. Bridge Play from A to Z - Coffin (lost for 20 years)

7. All you need to know about Play - Reese / Bird. haven't read this one before.
"Phil" on BBO
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#420 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2008-August-18, 06:27

pclayton, on Aug 15 2008, 11:16 AM, said:

I just received an order from Amazon.

1. Masterpieces of Defensive Play - Pottage. You have to get this. Its the same format as his Masterpieces of Declarer Play. Although I'm getting most of these the first time through, I'm learning a lot from the ones I can't get. Only one or two of the problems do I feel are concocted, and the analysis is superb. Solid A.

2. Card Play Technique - Mollo / Gardner. I'm jumping around this and I will pilfer this to death for lessons. I think the examples are better than Watson's for a club player who is trying to get better. My copy is a hardbound 2nd edition from 1957.

3. Off Road Declarer Play - Bird. . New book for me.

4. Blocking / Unblocking - Reese / Trezel (slowly replacing all of the books I lent / lost / were Kimied when I was 25).

5. More Killing Defense - Kelsey (can't find my old copy)

6. Bridge Play from A to Z - Coffin (lost for 20 years)

7. All you need to know about Play - Reese / Bird. haven't read this one before.

Phil,

I've read all of them except for the Coffin book and and they are all good books.

I usually check Carl Ritners website www.carlritner.com or www.campusi.com
( THE BEST book search engine).


My notes on: All you need to know about play FROM 12/2005 ARE
-Solid book on basic card play. Doesn’t have advanced techniques. Instead concentrates on combinations and other fundamentals.


Pottages book is very good.

Blocking and Unblocking offers good coverage, its just a bit dry, but studying technique can be dry.

Off Road Declarer play is a very good book, though at your level you are surely familiar with its contents.

I found Card Play Technique by Mollo a great book and not dry at all. I think for lessons you might also want to look at Klingers Card Play Made Easy Series (1 - 4).
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