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Book Reviews

#121 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2005-November-03, 11:32

Jlall, on Nov 3 2005, 12:28 PM, said:

I wonder if this thread has the most "views" in the history of BBF

Dont know but this thread is great, very important for most players to know which books to read.
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#122 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2005-November-03, 11:50

Jlall, on Nov 3 2005, 06:28 PM, said:

I wonder if this thread has the most "views" in the history of BBF

I did a search for "bridge" and sorted by number of replies replies...A thread on Tenerife had over 18000 views, 2nd and 3rd were on BBO cheating and Zar points, this thread was fourth.
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#123 User is offline   CarlRitner 

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Posted 2005-November-06, 10:07

Flame, on Nov 3 2005, 01:32 PM, said:

Jlall, on Nov 3 2005, 12:28 PM, said:

I wonder if this thread has the most "views" in the history of BBF

Dont know but this thread is great, very important for most players to know which books to read.

These reviews are great!

It's also nice to know where you can get these books; I encourage everyone to check out the ACBL BookStore for new and in-print titles. They offer all ACBL members 10% off.

For out-of-print titles, please visit my ACBL-sponsored website. There are thousands of bridge books and thousands of bridge magazine back issues available at reasonable prices.

Cheers,

Carl Ritner
ACBL Library Book & Magazine Sales
Cheers,
Carl
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#124 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-November-11, 17:35

Two Over One Workbook, Mike Lawrence, 1987, 2004, 12.95$ 190 pages.
Grade=B-

Finally after almost 20 years I got around to reading this book. Perhaps the most popular book ever written on the 2/1 system.
Very disappointing. One of the worst books he has written. Still I give it an above average grade simply because I think it is a must book to read and understand with so many online and offline players playing his style of 2/1. Very little theory on why he makes the choices he does. Strong Jump shifts and 2/1 forcing only to 2nt or 3 of a suit. He mainly explains system through examples. Book could be organized a little better. Last half of the book is an improvement as he discusses his style of strong jump shifts, 2/1 in comp, 3 card raises and forcing NT.

The Uncontested Auction Bidding Quizzes, Mike Lawrence, 1990, 5$ used, 280 pages.

Grade=A-

Excellent book for those that want to learn and practice bidding Lawrence's style of 2/1. Hundreds and hundreds of examples. Great value for 5$.
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#125 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-November-11, 21:00

>He mainly explains system through examples.

Very true.

I spent HOURS going though his CD on 2/1 (twice!) and reading the book, taking notes, trying to come up with rules. I came up with 9-10 pages of system notes, plus a few extrapages of extra conventions he covers on his disk. I think it would have been nice to have a guideline like this provided, (I'd have paid extra).

However, the book still helped. And I very much like the fact that he presented both sides of many issues, rather than just telling you to do one thing. and not even mentioning alternatives


I very much liked The Uncontested Auction Bidding Quizzes
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#126 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-November-14, 02:30

ArcLight, on Nov 12 2005, 03:00 AM, said:

>He mainly explains system through examples.

Very true.

I spent HOURS going though his CD on 2/1 (twice!) and reading the book, taking notes, trying to come up with rules. I came up with 9-10 pages of system notes, plus a few extrapages of extra conventions he covers on his disk. I think it would have been nice to have a guideline like this provided, (I'd have paid extra).

However, the book still helped. And I very much like the fact that he presented both sides of many issues, rather than just telling you to do one thing. and not even mentioning alternatives


I very much liked The Uncontested Auction Bidding Quizzes

I agree with both Mike and Arclight (BTW, what's ur name ? :D )

I worte many time sthat ML style of wriing is asystematic, unstructured, hence it's hard to extract a structured system based on sequence.

However, In almost every book he wrote, he *tells a story*, and that's what I ike most.
At the first ML books I read, was really puzled, but then I started to like them more and more !

This (the fact I love ML books) is one more reason why I was disappointed with the latest Fought the Law book: my expectations for every ML book are always very high, but I acknowledge one cannot always wrirte at a high standard.
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
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#127 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-November-14, 03:09

"Improve your bridge- fast!" by Sontag- Steinberg, 1982

Grade: A+ for intermediate -advanced

Experts won't need this, but it will be extremely useful to them for teaching purpose.

I found this book outstanding, despite the title, which sounds like a commercial trap (I usually avoid buying any books that promises you cheap miracles in a short time).
The book covers a gap uncovered (to my knowledge) by every other handbook on cardplay technique: the systematic study in isolation of typical endgames (4-6 cards) positions.

=======

The book is a collection of 75 typical endgames (4-6 cards left etc), shown double dummy, and presented as quizzes.
The reader is told how many tricks he must make in a given denomination (suit, NT).
On the back page, there is the analysis of the position, usually including the typical mistake to avoid.

Early deals are easy, when we see the 4 hands, then the difficulty progresses.

=========

The book sets the foundation for more advanced play, the building blocks for :
- finessing technique
- communication problems
- endplays and squeezes of any kind (simple, double, crisscross, strip, triple, etc etc)

=========

The book reminded me very much of the way chess are taught to improving players: you first explain the simpler basic positions (mating positions and endgame positions) with few pieces on the board, then they start little by little to forese these positions in real games , with many more pieces on the board.

Overall, a must-read, IMO.
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
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#128 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-November-17, 08:05

Card PLay Made Easy Vol 1-4 by Ron Klinger.

These 4 books on declarer play are excellent. I rate them an A.
I found them clear, concise, and great value for the money.

They don't just teach, they give specific quizes targeted towards each section. At the end some have a long test with 40 problems.
These books offer far far far greater value for the money than the David Bird "Bridge Technique" series (which retail for $6 for the lesson book and $10 for the quiz book, for 12 topics, thats $192 in total). Not that Bird's books are bad, they are good, but there is little material as the problems are reprinted on the solution page in large space consuming text.

The Klinger books give 3 times the number of problems, while teaching clearly.
The problems are not simple ones, but they aren't level 5 Bridge Master either. They are "just right" for intermediates and above.
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#129 User is offline   42 

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Posted 2005-November-17, 09:52

The Tao of Bridge: 200 Principles to Transform Your Game and Your Life
by Brent Manley

Quote

amazon:
"In the tradition of Adams Media's highly successful The Tao of Chess comes The Tao of Bridge, a work that shows how developing a "card sense" from the classic game of bridge can help one achieve balance and success in life. The author offers his time-tested advice and wisdom that can lead players to more victories at the card table, as well as in relationships, work and everyday interaction. Readers will be dazzled by principles such as: Fate rewards those with the most determination; Treat every new hand - and every new situation - as an adventure; Visualizing success can be key to attaining it; Opening bids - and first impressions - can affect everything to come; Being bold can be valuable; being bold at the right time is priceless; The authors brilliantly-conceived work is likely to become an instant classic, enjoyed by both beginner and long-time bridge players alike."

I am making TaiChi since some years and I love bridgetips books, so the title attracted me when I surfed through an internet bookstore. It was a nice reading! I don't know if it is a book for those who worked through "Adventures in Cardplay", but the beginner up to at least advanced can find common and useful tips for every aspect of bridge (and life as well).
Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others. (Groucho Marx)
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#130 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-November-25, 16:14

Competitive Bidding in the 21st Century, Marshall Miles, 2000, 254 pages, $16.95
Grade=A-

Reread this book after 5 years and excellent.

Great section on 4 card overcalls, well worth the price. Last half of book covers Doubles.
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#131 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-November-25, 17:46

"Improve your bridge- fast!" by Sontag- Steinberg, 1982

On Chamacos suggestion I bought this book. I wonder if its the same book?
It has the same title, authors, and publication date.

Buts its geared entirely towards beginner players with 3 months experience or less. I mean its so basic that I'd say its about as tough as Bridge Master Level 1 problems.

Not only are all the "problems" double dummy, they only involve 4-6 cards (the other 7 to 9 have already been played). The "problems" consist of elementary finesses (sometimes repeated) or simple end plays (with 4 hands exposed).

I found the book to be a complete waste of time and money.

I will send my copy for free to anyone who wants it, for the cost of shipping by US Media mail (probably around $2).

Rating: F
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#132 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-November-28, 04:27

Quote

I found the book to be  a complete waste of time and money. 


I am sorry you did not like it, and the waste of money.

I like it a lot, but probably it is a consequence of my chess background: in studing chess, often the key to the solution of difficult position is foreseeing simple basic position, throught the intricacy of a position.

That's what ches puzzles/quizzes and basic endgames are all about: you learn almost by heart, developing an instinct, a lot of simple positions.

Then when a more complicated position with many pieces on the board, arises, you can "x-ray" the position by foresseing the solution.

This is relatively easy in many positions, but even the more complicated ones are often the combination of many elementary themes.

The key to the success of the Soviet Scchool of chess, starting from the 30's - 40s , up to the 1990s, was exactly the systematic study of basic technique.

Michail Tal, one of the greatest geniuses, when asked about what chess books he read, often said that he used to read book for children.

=====================================

So, yes, I think that perhaps, in my enthusiasm for this book, I got carried away with my chess background , sorry for the wasted money, let's say I owe you couple of beers ? :(

Quote

Not only are all the "problems" double dummy, they only involve 4-6 cards (the other 7 to 9 have already been played).  The "problems" consist of elementary finesses (sometimes repeated) or simple end plays (with 4 hands exposed). 


Well, at least this was clear in my review, and that is exactly what I liked of it :(
If you think of it, the systematic classification of such kind of position (after all, that's what the book is all about, although in an unusual format) is much simpler and rational, if approached in terms of 6-cards endings, no ?
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
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#133 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2005-November-28, 05:33

ArcLight, on Nov 25 2005, 06:46 PM, said:

I will send my copy for free to anyone who wants it, for the cost of shipping by US Media mail (probably around $2).

Rating: F

no way i can pass that deal up... i'll pm my address to you
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Posted 2005-November-28, 05:38

"Improve your bridge- fast!" by Sontag-Steinberg, 1982
I agree completely on ArcLight's posting, I was really disappointed. Although I understand Mauro's arguments: it is perhaps a fine book for beginners.
Caren
Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others. (Groucho Marx)
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#135 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-November-28, 08:36

>So, yes, I think that perhaps, in my enthusiasm for this book, I got carried away with my chess background , sorry for the wasted money, let's say I owe you couple of beers ?

Next time I'm in Italy I will gladly take you up on this! :)
(I went for my Honeymoon, for 2 weeks, had a great time, Florence was my favorite city, but the Tuscany countyside was beautiful too).


[my only thought on your review is next time, please emphasize that its a beginner book, and not for intermediates. Your sentence "Overall, a must-read, IMO. " made me buy it. Perhaps "A must read for beginner players" would have been better.]


>I like it a lot, but probably it is a consequence of my chess background: in studing chess, often the key to the solution of difficult position is foreseeing simple basic position, throught the intricacy of a position.

Somehow, it seems when I'm doing some difficult Kelsey problem, or a difficult hand from Reeses "Play these hands with me"/"Play Bridge with Reese" the solution isn't a simple endplay or finesse at the end. The hard part (99% of the challenge) is getting to that point and figuring out whats going on at the start. Using some reasoning and technique that is above my level.


I just read "Sharpen Your Bridge Technique" by Hugh Kelsey. I found the section on asking yourself "Why did my opponent present me with a gift/make that mistake?" of greatest interest. But most of the hands were too hard for me, and I'd never solve them at the table.

I think a beginner would be better off with a book teaching decalrer play technique.
Such as the 12 volume "Bridge Technique" series by David Bird/Marc Smith. And Bird also has a companion 12 volume "Test your Bridge Technique" series.
But that would cost a lot ($6 * 12 = $72, $10 * 12 = $120, total $192!!!)

Dorothy Haydens "Winning Declarer Play" is a great book for beginners, as are the Knlinger Card Play Made easy books (4 of them)
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Posted 2005-November-28, 08:44

"25 More Bridge Conventions You Should Know" by Barbara Seagram & David Bird (2003, Master Point Press, ISBN 1-894154-65-7), recommended for the intermediate player, but the advanced will perhaps find some interesting thoughts or completions, too.
Whenever I heard about a convention which I didn't know, my only dwell (if so) for knowledge was the Bridge-Encyclopedia. Or, when agreeing to play a new convention, I played what my partner explained in short form (sometimes hoping that it will not come up :) ). In this book one can look up the pros and contras for the described convention and its consequences as well as how to use it with examples and a short quiz at the end of the chapter. You find conventions like Bergen Raises, Gambling 3NT, Namyats, Ingberman, Snapdragon Doubles, Inverted Minors, Leaping Michael's, Exclusion Blackwood and -let me count....- 17 others in it. I also like the layout.
I did not yet read the first book "25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know", but I am sure it will be fine as well.
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#137 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-November-28, 10:43

Quote

>So, yes, I think that perhaps, in my enthusiasm for this book, I got carried away with my chess background , sorry for the wasted money, let's say I owe you couple of beers ?

Next time I'm in Italy I will gladly take you up on this!  :)
(I went for my Honeymoon, for 2 weeks, had a great time, Florence was my favorite city, but the Tuscany countyside was beautiful too).


Alright, I am saving the money for the drinks then :lol:

Quote

[my only thought on your review is next time, please emphasize that its a beginner book, and not for intermediates.  Your sentence "Overall, a must-read, IMO. " made me buy it.  Perhaps "A must read for beginner players" would have been better.]


Indeed, I meant what I wrote.
I still believe this book is the best introduction to enplays, throw ins and various squeezes.

As such, I do think it is better geared towatds intermediate-advanced.
As you wrote in other posts, there are better bridge books oriented to beginners 8e.g. Klinger/Kambites, etc etc).

Perhaps my original post raised the expectations too high.
But, let's make another beer bet :D :
try rereading the book (especially the second half) in a few months, when the disappointment has evaporated, and - perhaps - you are rereading some book on squeezes, coups, and endplays.

I nbet another beer that you might enjoy it more than you think now B)
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
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#138 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2005-November-28, 17:50

too late mauro, he's sending it to me ;)
"Paul Krugman is a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like." Newt Gingrich (paraphrased)
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#139 User is offline   GeeGee 

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Posted 2005-November-29, 06:42

Chamaco, on Nov 28 2005, 11:43 AM, said:

Indeed, I meant what I wrote.
I still believe this book is the best introduction to enplays, throw ins and various squeezes.

As such, I do think it is better geared towatds intermediate-advanced.

I'm with Chamaco on this one.

I discovered the book a few months after I started learning bridge, and found quite a lot of it a struggle. A couple of years later it all became a lot more comprehensible and helpful, and now I use examples from it on my intermediates' declarer play training course.

Quote

  The hard part (99% of the challenge) is getting to that point and figuring out whats going on at the start. 


Very true. :)
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#140 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2005-November-29, 09:31

I didnt read the book, but i agree with those who claim that learning in depth the simple matters is a great learning technic which will in time get better results then going fast. Its not easy to do since we all want to run rather then walk.
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