Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Bridgeverse Encyclopedias and more … Part 2 of Reviews

First on request I look up a blog called Ask Doctor Robert.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the doctor has been out … since  2003.  It has a certain British humor and if you like that you may want to visit it for a “ha” but definitely not a “ha ha ha”.  (No Grade due to obsolescence).

When I was a child my parents bought a copy of Britannica and for 10 years update volumes arrived at our house.  Being the reader that I was at times I decided I would read a portion.  I would pick up a letter and start at Page 1.  You may not be surprised to learn that I never made it to the end of any volume.  Still I could find some of the articles quite fascinating.  How great it is to have so much bridge information online now.  Let’s say that you that an online partner really wants to play Ghestem.    Now if you are like me you have heard of it but you don’t really know what it is.  Wishing to appear all knowing I type this is my browser and voila a whole bunch of sites that describe this convention.

The Bridge Guys have quite a nice writeup complete with a picture the author.  (For the record it is a method of showing 2 suiters after the opponents open the bidding).

Mr. Pierre Ghestem

This site has some fun information especially if you like reading encyclopedias.  It is not so much a site to read but more a place to go and look things up.  The site which was started in 1998 has been updated 12 times apparently but basically it still looks like 1998.  They have actually made things less useful by adding a front page to their front page which has nothing extra on it but a couple of adds.  The link I gave you takes you to the “real” home page.  Because all of the button are very very large it takes a while to find what you are looking for.

The best thing about the site is the glossary which has an amazing collection of bridge terms, conventions, organizations, trophies and well everything listed in alphabet order with a brief explanation.  It is fun to browse and the explanations are much shorter and less academic than the Britannica.  There are some pictures but more would be welcome.  In many cases there are links to other sources (some broken).   (A similar approach is taken to bridge systems).  There are a number of pages to links in various categories including blogs, junior bridge, bridge travel and more. If you google most conventions the bridge guys explanation will likely be the top of the google list.

I would give this site an A just for the glossary and definition of bridge terms but the confusing menu structure, double home page and so on downgrade it to a B+.  I know you put a lot of work in this fellows but you need to improve the ease of access for readers (you can still do advertising.)  Until then, the best way to find something is to just go to your favorite web browser google the bridge term or convention (with the word bridge) and the Bridge Guys result till probably come up.

Now if you want to find out about a play or coup (say a trump squeeze) you should wander over to Bridge Hands.  It too has a bridge encyclopedia.  It has less obscure trivia but lots of obscure useful stuff often provided by a link to another source.  Want to see all of the ACBL appeal books, a list of bridge books on avoidance plays rated by level?  The best part for me is the play encyclopedia which has most standard plays and many obscure ones listed with an explanation and an example.  They also have a good selection of books with a synopsis and a level.  They really haven’t rated the book and the stars just tell you if it is beginner to expert.  Warning this book list seems quite out of date.  For example the world championship books end in 2003 and I see many missing books.

They do have a blog (I think this is one and the same as their online emagazine).  They seem to have divided the online newsletter into novice and intermediate and advanced.  Newsletter suscriptions are free.  One blog/newsletter I read had an online quiz on losing trick count which was done with audio.  It seemed quite professional.  The blogs are frequent in October but there was a gap of more than a year previously.   They are also now on twitter with a link to the blogs.  What they are doing must take a huge amount of work and I wonder if they plan to keep it up.

I did notice that the recommended books are not exactly current.  I see some out of print books, books with newer editions, and books that should be there that have been published in the last couple of years.  Still this is a wonderful effort.  One of the other highlights of this site is an extensive list of audio interviews.  I do wish the home page was more organized and attractive but it is not hard to get where you want to go and find what you want to find.  This sit is an A+.   Two quibbles are the look of the home page and the fact that the books (and other things) are not all that currently.  But this is not important beside the terrific information available.

Another great place to find out about everything bridge is of Wikipedia. Now you may say “of course” but as recently as last year I found Wikipedia to have very little about bridge on it and I added some stuff myself.  Now the bridge Wiki fairies have been very busy and the bridge entries are much much better.  Still there is a lot of work to do if you want to get in there.  I noticed that the 2010 ABTA book of the year are already there under list of bridge books and magazines.  Rating the wikipedia bridge entries is sort of silly but its good to see how much it has improved in a year.

1 Comment

Michael NistlerOctober 27th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hello Linda and Friends,

Many thanks for undertaking the challenging task to review Bridge-related websites! And kudos to you and your team for your fantastic BridgeBlogging website – definitely at the top of the pack.

At BridgeHands, my vision is to create a site that’s enlightening, educational, and entertaining. Candidly, except for those of us who are *REALLY* into the game, it can be a bit of a challenge to offer content that stimulates a visceral emotional response. In fact, my speech to the Bridge teachers at the New Orleans ABTA covered “Dramatic Story Telling.” See:

The initial BridgeHands site design was to begin with a glossary, which eventually changed to a full Bridge encyclopedia (scope creep?) Then came the Laws section, completely cross-referenced with tons of details you won’t find elsewhere (unless you are a director). Many players love to learn Bridge from books so we included a synopsis of over 1200 books, cross-referenced every way imaginable – months of work but far less than the years to create the encyclopedia. For whatever reason, folks didn’t take to the concept of submitting their reviews to the book listing so this was never really a “hot” area. Sadly, with all the new additions, updating the book section with new entries has not been a top priority. Yet I’m encouraged by everything you, Ray and your Master Point Press have done to offer awesome Bridge books – WELL DONE!

So at BridgeHands, our emphasis is to enter into the exciting world of “rich media.” We started a free eMagazine newsletter service, one for social bridge players, the other for the duplicate-level player. We also started getting into interviewing Bridge professionals and notables, offering online audiocasts and downloadable podcasts.

Perhaps a good analogy for BridgeHands is the proverbial duck swimming in the pond – seemingly calm on the surface yet underneath paddling like there’s no tomorrow! We recently added a membership subscription feature to our BridgeBlog, allowing us to begin offering online video instruction – coming soon to a theater near you! In addition to RSS feeds, Bridge folks can simply signup for free Google Feedburner to receive a daily digest EMAIL notification whenever we post on our Blog. Better yet, we offer everyone a FREE subscription to basic membership services, in which case we also provide EMAIL notification service of new posts. And yes, we’ve added Twitter and will soon be announcing a FaceBook fan page. Actually, it boggles the mind thinking about all the cross-references between our website, blog, audiocasts, EMAIL newsletters, Twitter and FaceBook!

So yes, we definitely intend to be around a long time. Our new focus is online video instruction. No, hopefully not just talking head stuff – if so, then what was my lecture to the ABTA all about? IMHO, under the veneer we play Bridge for emotional reasons – great teacher’s like Barbara Seagram really “get it.” If you have any doubts, please see:

So like BridgeBlogging, look for lots of activity on our BridgeBlog. In addition to upcoming videos, we will focus more on the emotional side of Bridge. Here’s an example of our current post on the 5th World University Bridge Championship – Part 1.

As always, we look forward to feedback at or here.

Happy trails,

Michael Nistler


P.S. And a big thumbs way up to Raymond at – WTG!

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