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Book Reviews

#101 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-October-14, 14:12

Bridge Additions96 144 pages.
Matthew Granovetter

On sale for 10$ including shipping.
Grade=A-

A short book and a fast read.
Very short articles on a wide range of conventions, leads and carding subjects.
Great short articles on Robot Leads and the Nothing System :).
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#102 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-October-14, 19:54

True Bridge Humor by Mike Lawrence

This is the only Mike Lawrence book I've read that I thought was bad. There are a few funny quips, but by and large I didn'y find the situations all that humorous. At least it was short. Play Bridge with Mike Lawrence is funnier than this, and thats a fictional representation of events.

I rate it a D. Anyone want to buy my copy? I'll trade it for almost anything (like Mike Lawrences book on Scrabble) and throw in "The Theory of Bidding" by Norman Squire (from the Library of Albert Moorehead). I've also got "common Sense Bidding" by Bill Root and "Play of the Hand" by Watson to trade.


I'm finishing up Tony Sowters "Bridge" Improve Your Defense". Its a good book. Clearly written (Chamaco should like that!). Based on the first chapter on opening leads I will definitely buy Sowters book "Opening Leads in Bridge" recommended by Chamaco a few posts above.
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#103 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-October-14, 20:03

Gee I love Root's and Watson's book. Reading workbook 2/1..ya I know 18 years old but never read it...I vote this the worst Lawrence book so far but not done yet so will withhold judgement. BTW I would rate both Root and Watson A+ and I am tough grader :D. How the heck did this Lawrence book set off a revolution in ACBL land? If I did not have both those books and read them many times I would trade in a second.

Both Root's "standard" bidding book and Watson's play book are classics and a must for any serious bridge player. Trade Now!
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#104 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-October-14, 21:37

Roots Bidding book is good, I never said it wasnt. But I dont want it anymore. I (think) I know the material, and I never look through it anymore. (Roots books on Bidding Conventions and play are excellent).
Same for the Watson book because I have Mollos book, and a bunch of Reese books. I'll never look at the Squire book again.


I read Mike Lawrences 2/1 system book after doing his 2/1 CD so I got a bit out of the book. But it was kind of a hodge podge of things. I took 9 pages of 2/1 system notes in MS Word off his 2/1 CD and book. HIs Uncontested Auctions is a great book.

It would have helped A LOT had he had some kind of summary.
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#105 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2005-October-19, 07:31

Quote

Roots book is good, I never said it wasnt.  But I dont want it anymore.


Are we talking of Root's books on bidding or of card play ?
I still like to open some pages at random of the card play books once in a while... and it sure is not worse than many quizbooks.
All in all, I'd say it still VERY useful, IMO much more than Watson's book.

But I consider Root's book on bidding more of a tool for novices/beginners than something I'd reread now.


Quote

I read Mike Lawrences 2/1 system  book after doing his 2/1 CD so I got a bit out of the book.  But it was kind of a hodge podge of things.  I took 9 pages of 2/1 system notes in MS Word off his 2/1 CD and book.  HIs Uncontested Auctions is a great book.

It would have helped A LOT had he had some kind of summary.


Yes, that's the problem of ML's books: lack of a systematic approach.
At first this drove me crazy.
But once I got used to it, it became just like reading tales: every hand is a different story, not a chapter of a bidding system.

ML is "teaching by examples", and in this respect, th "Uncontested auction" book is much better than the 2/1 workbook for a very simple reason: there are more example hands :-)

ML's books on bidding are hardly comparable with other systems books because he rather teaches judgment than the system itself.
In my view, his books might be compared to Marshall Miles' or Woolsey's books , but not to Bil Root's book on Modern bidding.

Just my 2 cents :-)
"Bridge is like dance: technique's important but what really matters is not to step on partner's feet !"
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#106 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-October-21, 20:58

The No Trump Zone by Danny Kleinman

In depth coverage of the strengths and weaknesses of the different NT ranges. Not just obvious things like HCP, but what are the implications. What does this do to your other bids? What should an NT bid look like, pattern, rebid problems, implications. The author seems fair and reasonable in his arguments and presents both sides.

The author seems to know the history of Bridge and bidding and conventions very well, as he explains how things developed over time.

Although I don't agree with everything, the guy REALLY knows his stuff. This is a fantastic book for anyone designing a bidding system. Its a bit heavy and theoretical for non advanced players. He gives a lot of conventions, and his suggested improvements, even Cappelletti. (Ben should like this book!)
The downside is most partnerships will never use them, and thats more than half the book. A lot of food for thought and issues to consider.

Interesting book for advanced players or established partnerships.
I rate it a C for intermediates and an A for advanced players and system designers. This is probably of more use to them than Roy Hughes "Building a bidding system". Its a very good book, but a bit theoretical. I'd like to have seen more quizzes.
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#107 User is offline   CarlRitner 

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Posted 2005-October-22, 11:35

ArcLight, on Oct 21 2005, 10:58 PM, said:

Although I don't agree with everything, the guy REALLY knows his stuff. This is a fantastic book for anyone designing a bidding system.

I rate it a C for intermediates and an A for advanced players and system designers. This is probably of more use to them than Roy Hughes "Building a bidding system".

I agree with your observations, and thanks for all of the thoughtful reviews.

This is Danny's 23rd or so book, but the first one not privately published. The rest of his material is equally as interesting, but it's hard to find.

Danny is a bidding theorist that deserves to get more of his material into the mainstream, so I'm looking forward to the re-issue of a lot of his earlier titles.

Cheers,
Carl Ritner

www.carlritner.com
Cheers,
Carl
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#108 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-October-28, 06:49

Bridge Odds for Practical Players by Hugh Kelsey.

Very good book, quite clear. Some id pretty obvious, some less so. While Kelsey discusses how to calculate probabilities, he also shows how to use some quick and dirty estimates at the table to improve your chances 3%-15% here and there. Overall I'm not sure how much it will help your play, but its well written and interesting. Worth reading.

* Percentage Play - suit combinations

* Combining Changes - proper sequencing of suits. Ex. How do you play this?
6NT West leads the J


Win the Ace and run the J, right? It wins when:
K is with East = 50% +
2-2, K with West, and Heart finesse wins = 10%
for a total of 60%!



Wrong!


Win the A, finesse the J. If it loses you have 2 entries to Dummy for finesses. If the J wins, you can lead the Q from hand. If the K doesnt appear, unblock and lead the 10. If West is void in use the A as an entry and pick up the entire suit

J loses but finesse right (50% x 50%) = 25% +
J wins and West doesnt have all 4 with 4+ (50% x 98%) = 49%
=74%


* Care of Options - playing in such a way that the opponents dont force you to make a decision before you have more data.

* Changing the odds - Length & Shortage
A K Q T x vs. x x


* Vacant Places - how to use this properly, pitfalls players fall into. Such as when a player is forced to make discards, counting them against the vacant spaces and thinking the other defender is now more likely to hold some missing Queen.

* Freedom of Choice (aka Restricted Choice or Bayes Theorem)
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#109 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2005-October-28, 07:16

In general it is a very good book, but some of the stuff on vacant spaces is wrong. Have a look at this thread - the book recommended playing the opening leader for the Q because he would have less diamonds.

Edit: that should have said "opening leader's partner"

This post has been edited by MickyB: 2005-October-28, 09:52

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#110 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-October-28, 07:24

>the book recommended playing the opening leader for the Q♣ because he would have less diamonds.

Page 90 - the author says the PARTNER of the opening leader (EAST) will be more likely to have the Q. Thats because West had 4 to Easts 1. Thus West has 9 vacant spaces to Easts 12. Hence the odds are 4 to 3 that East has the Q given no other information.

However, there are other factors, such as the bidding and distribution in other suits. The author would say to first explore them, as the odds may change.
He would not say "blindly take the 4/3 chance".

In this example, one might think that West would lead a 4 card major over a minor. If thats so, then its likely West has the Q because East has 8+ cards in the majors.

But the emphasis was on vacant spaces based on cards played, not deductive reasoning based on what West probably should have lead. (The author has a book on that too).

Maybe West had a hunch that his Jxxx in Hearts would be a bad lead?
Maybe your partnership doesn't use Stayman, so the West is unsure that you have a major shortage.
Maybe you almost always open 5 card majos as 1NT, etc.

Again, the point the author was making is given the info available, not counting deductive reasoning.
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#111 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2005-October-28, 07:36

Sorry, I managed to write completely the opposite of what I meant then!

Obviously, it should have said that he suggested playing the PARTNER of the opening leader for the Q because he would have FEWER diamonds :ph34r:
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#112 User is offline   MickyB 

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Posted 2005-October-28, 09:51

Right, I've found the book now.

I agree with what you say, but I feel that the author should have explained the difference between information you discover yourself and information the opponents give you; and if he didn't want to get into that, he should at least not have used hands like this as examples. Still, it is well worth a read.
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#113 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2005-October-28, 11:32

Have just reread a couple of older books by Miles.

Bridge From the Top I, 1987, Marshall Miles, 300 pages.
Grade=B

Good overview of bidding styles, recommended conventions and competitive bidding in the 80's. A bit out of date but an interesting read.

Bridge From the Top II, 1989, 260 pages.
Grade=B

Discusses Blue Team Club, Precision and Schenken in some detail. Second half discusses defense and signaling. Again a bit out of date but worth a read.
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#114 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2005-November-02, 06:12

The Art of psychic bidding by Julian Pottage & Petter Burrows
The main part of the Book give you many examples of real psychs that took place on world class games. There are other discussion but they werent arent interesting to me.
Its nice to read the examples and you might even learn something but at the end you dont get the right tools to make you a good psycher.
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#115 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2005-November-02, 06:19

Dynamic defence by mike lawrence
This isnt a quiz defence book like most, mike take you step by step into the diffence, which is much more like real life diffence.
The hands arent supper hard, which again make this more of a real hand bridge book.
GRade A for intermidiate and above
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#116 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2005-November-02, 06:52

Moderen bridge defence by Eddie Kanter
This is a book i wish i read 15 years ago.
It contain all the defence basics and more.
Example
begin with the very beggining sequences 4th best etc, but get to more interesting stuff like when to play high in second sit, and ofcurse alot in between(like when to give count and not atitude and alot alot more).
I used the CD version.
even tho this is way below my level i still learned few things or atleast learn rules that might save time at the table. This book will help me teaching my students.
Grade =A+ for begginer. ( This must come before any convention you thinking of learning)
If you never read such a book that clear all the basics get this one even if you are better then begginer.
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#117 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-November-03, 08:59

Opening Leads in Bridge: How to Choose the Correct Card and Use All the Available Information by Tony Sowter.

Very clear, nice coverage of the subject. While it's not as long as Mike Lawrences "Opening Leads" it still does a good job. It covers all the basics like the Rule of 11, 4th best leads (and others), not leading unsupported aces or away from an ace against suit contracts, etc. When to lead trump is covered well, in its own section. There are a number of excellent quizzes consisting of bidding sequences and a hand and you are asked to make a lead. The quizzes are good because they really test your understanding of the bidding. This is necessary for bidding and for defense.

At the end is a section on match point leads. It doesn't just say "lead passively" which a lot of people think you need to do at MP. It gives a number of quizzes where the correct action is opposite what you would expect.

Ex: whats the difference between 1NT - 3NT and 1NT - 2NT - 3NT?
What type of lead do you make against them, Active or Passive?
1NT - 3NT = Passive
1NT - 2NT - 3NT = Active!!! Not eveyone will be in 3NT. If 3NT makes you get a terrible score. If you set them, you get a great score.


While I won't say its better than the Mike Lawrence book, I will say its an excellent book, well worth reading. I suggest reading it and then reading the Mike Lawrence book later.
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#118 User is offline   Robert 

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Posted 2005-November-03, 11:06

hello everyone

When I hear 1NT-2NT-3NT, the books that I have read suggest that you might go passive. Give nothing away since they have no extra values.

It often depends on your hand, however, if the defensive values are divided, partner will get in to lead towards your honors.

If you have a 1098 suit, lead away and wait for your tricks. An attacking defense might give away the ninth trick. If they have an open suit, either you or partner will get in and you will still be able to 'cash out.'

Regards,
Robert
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#119 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2005-November-03, 11:27

>When I hear 1NT-2NT-3NT, the books that I have read suggest that you might go passive. Give nothing away since they have no extra values

Thats what I though too, especially in Match Points.

Here is the authors reasoning if I remember it correctly (I'll check later on):

1NT - 3NT - they are likely to make their contract (>50% probability). Thus the over trick is important.

In the 1NT-2NT-3NT sequence not everyone will stretch to reach game (that would be far more likely in IMPS though). Lets say half the field stops in 2NT or some part score.

If 9 tricks makes, those who bid 3NT will get 8MP (using his British scale with 0,2,4,6,8,10 MPS for the 6 tables) those who faced them will get 2MP.
If you give up an extra trick it wont matter much, but setting them will matter a lot, going from 2MP to 10 MP.

If 9 tricks dont make, you will get a good score provided you dont blow the making trick.

The point was the pay off from going from 2MP to 10MP was worth the risk.

I will try and post the complete reasoning later, as I dont want to put false words in the authors mouth.
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#120 Guest_Jlall_*

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Posted 2005-November-03, 11:28

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