Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

What are the five books you would pick

I noticed a topic on Rec.Games.Bridge Newsgroup today that I thought was interesting.  Here is the topic

The festive season has gotten off to a nasty start with the Christmas tree lights causing a nasty fire and incinerating your entire bridge library.

Having thought about how many bridge books you can ask Santa to bring,  you decide that 5 is the upper end of not being greedy.

What 5 books would you pick?

I noticed that the first answer included this book from Master Point Press:

Human Bridge Errors by Danny Kleinman & Nick Straguzzi.  Congratulations guys, I too found this book interesting.

Some other common choices were:

Right though the pack by Darvas and Adventures in Card Play by Kelsey Otlik.  I loved the former when I first read it.  But I agreed with one of the comments that “maybe I will understand it this time”.  It’s not that the bridge technique is too complicated.  It is I find that the way it is woven into the narrative confuses me.  Well maybe the bridge technique is hard to follow too.  I think it is a bit like Stephen Hawking’s ” A brief History of Time”.  I thought I should read it and I sort of did but I got lost here and there.  Another suggestion Why You Lose At Bridge by Simon is a good book but since I don’t play much rubber bridge any more, it isn’t quite as meaningful as it used to be.  I honestly can’t understand why anyone would pick Love on Squeezes.  There are a lot of better books about squeezes around now.  Love made something that even simple squeezes hard to understand.  I think they must have read it twenty years ago and forgotten how bad it was.

Frank Vine’s  North of the Master Solvers’ Club would make a great Christmas present.  It is so funny.

Besides Danny and Nick’s book noone seems to have mentioned any recent books.  The small list seems to contain books that are at least 20 years old or more.  Someone even included Culbertson’s Red Book (but I think that was a joke).

So what books would you pick?  I am going to think about mine for a while.  I love books, I love bridge.  Hence I love bridge books so it is going to take me a while.  I would say that a complete set of Bridge World would keep me busy for a very long time.


Paul GipsonDecember 5th, 2008 at 8:35 am

Bridge with the Blue Team (Forquet)

Play a Swiss Teams of Four with Mike Lawrence

Partnership Bidding at Bridge (Robson & Segal)

Why You Lose at Bridge (Simon)

A Switch in Time (Granovetter)

Sorry, no new books from me either. Adventures in Cardplay (Ottlik & Kelsey) will be in my list as soon as I understand it (in my defence, I did understand ‘A Brief History of Time’ but, then again, I did meet Stephen a few times through work which probably helped).

I think Skid Simon’s book is mandatory reading for all bridge players. Perhaps not a book you’ll read again and again, but you must read it.

Robson & Segal is a mandatory read for any serious partnership. You may not agree with them, but it asks many questions that need to be answered and provides the authors’ answers.

Similarly, you may not agree with ‘Obvious Shift’ but the Granovetter book is one of the few defensive books that is focused on generic carding. I don’t play OS but the book is really good.

I have most of Lawrence’s books – I’ve picked the one I reread most often.

Forquet’s book is a dream. So perhaps some of the hands have been cooked but it is a wonderful read. Some of the bridge is simply amazing – Forquet makes a contract on some exotic squeeze, and then you read that, at the other table, Belladonna prevented this with a devastating switch at trick 2!

Of course, it’s a shame to exclude Mollo, Kelsey, David Bird and others.

Shyam SDecember 5th, 2008 at 6:11 pm

My choice of books includes some that are already on your or Paul’s list.

1. 50 winning duplicate tips: Ron Klinger

Simple but useful tips for the club player. Given that clubs have more MP games, I thought this was a more useful book than many others.

2. Human Bridge Errors: Danny Kleinman & Nick Straguzzi

Again, a book similar to #1. Useful tips for most players.

3. Killing Defense at Bridge: Hugh Kelsey

I bought this book before #2. If I recall, there is a section in #2 where Chthonic talks about defenders who are in a hurry to cash out. I think “Killing Defense” helped a lot to “cool down” and focus on identifying the best lines.

4. How to play Card Combinations (Mike Lawrence)

Some very useful points and combinations. Plus, the style of writing (with additional notes, queries and pointers) makes it worth reading over and over. The book includes many hands or points that one can use in bidding discussions with a regular partner as well.

5. Bridge with the Blue Team (Forquet)

Gem of a book. “Adventures” was too complex; this one has quite a few complex deals but is not totally mind-boggling

The first four books will definitely help any good player wishing to be a better player. The last one could possibly help a good expert from becoming a better expert (not yet for me!)

Ray LeeDecember 5th, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Mmm… are we picking our 5 all-time favorites (which since we’ve read them, I assume we own already) or a Xmas wish list of 5 books we don’t own, but want to read? Assuming it’s the latter, let me pick my 5 favorites from books published in the last couple of years:

North of the Master Solvers’ Club — Frank Vine

The Principle of Restricted Talent — Kleinman & Straguzzi

Canada’s Bridge Warriors — Roy Hughes (about Murray-Kehela)

The Lone Wolff — Bobby Wolff (love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him)

I Love this Game — Sabine Auken

They’re all entertaining, as well being instructive (sometimes very subtly). And they’re all books that you should read, if you haven’t — so put them on your list!

LindaDecember 7th, 2008 at 11:49 pm

This was really intended to be the books that you would like to read and reread but it was an alltime list.

I like all of the choices but I think I would add a few more that are more entertaining and less instructive at this time of year.

a) The Bridge Bum – I loved this book in the 70’s and I still do. It is nostagilic for me. I also know or knew a lot of the players in the book. There is still something in my that wants to be a bridge bum!

b) Bridge In the Menagerie – I think I have memorized all the stories in this book but I still love it. I think in its own way it is a bit instructive too.

c) Frank Vine – I already mentioned that in the BLOG

d) I Love This Game by Sabine Auken – I loved the book, well I love Sabine and it was a thrill to play against Sabine and Danny. It is exciting and instructional too.

e) And then maybe a Granovetter mystery, I haven’t read them in a while Like Murder At the Bridge Table OR maybe Right Through The Pack

On the instructional side I do like Mike Lawrence’s books like The complete book of overcalls , balancing and card combinations. But then too I like many others like Matchpoints by Kit Woolsey. Hard to pick only 5.

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