2008 July 18

Recommended Bridge Books


My shelf of bridge books

I don’t have the world’s most extensive bridge library, but I’ve read a lot of bridge books over the years. These are the ones I’ve found most helpful.

Baron Barclay is ACBL’s official retailer and offers members a discount (I think 10%). Blurbs and links below are from its online catalog.

Required Reading

  • Eddie Kantar Teaches Topics in Declarer Play at Bridge (Edwin Kantar)
    “While not a comprehensive treatment of declarer play at bridge, this book deals with specific topics exhaustively, and will be invaluable to the improving player: finesses (when and how to take them, and equally importantly, when to avoid taking them), endplays, eliminations, issues with entries, suit establishment, and counting.”
  • Eddie Kantar Teaches Modern Bridge Defense (Edwin Kantar)
    “This book is intended to cover the basic concepts of bridge defense, and will undoubtedly be a standard reference work and teaching tool for many years to come. The topics covered here (which include leads, signaling, second and third-hand play, and discarding) are handled so thoroughly that even more advanced players will benefit from studying this book. Designed to be used by students learning on their own or by bridge teachers, this book contains a host of features that help the reader to grasp the material: clearly laid-out concepts, margin notes, practice hands, chapter-end quizzes, key-point summaries at regular intervals, and an index.”
  • Eddie Kantar Teaches Advanced Bridge Defense (Edwin Kantar)
    “This book is intended to cover some of the more complex concepts of defense for the modern novice player, and will undoubtedly be a standard reference work and teaching tool for many years to come. The topics covered here (including defensive strategy, inferences, various ways of counting the hand, developing extra trump tricks, falsecarding, and lead-directing doubles) are handled so thoroughly that even more advanced players will benefit from studying this book.”
  • How the Experts Win at Bridge (Burt Hall & Lynn Rose-Hall)
    “This books represents the best thinking of experts on every aspect of the game … how to bid, play hands, defend, choose leads and decide when to double.”

Basic Technique

  • The Play of the Hand at Bridge (Louis Watson)
    “By one of the first and foremost authorities on bridge. Regarded as the best exposition of playing strategy. Practically all variations of play, both in attack and in defense, are explained brilliantly.”
  • How to Play a Bridge Hand (William S. Root)
    “A complete book on play, ideal for the intermediate player. 12 chapters to winning bridge by America’s premier teacher. Communications, entries, trump control, ruffing, counting, end plays and duplicate strategy. Over 300 hands explaining suit combinations, odds, deception and clues from bidding.”
  • How to Defend a Bridge Hand (Williams S. Root)
    “A complete book on defense, ideal for the intermediate to advanced players. 9 chapters with quizzes including opening leads, 3rd hand play, leads after trick 1, 2nd hand play, attitude signals, count and suit preference signals, discarding and deception, and conventional leads and signals.”

Improving Technique

  • How to Read Your Opponents’ Cards (Mike Lawrence)
    “Each chapter takes a principle, helps the reader understand it, and gives examples, plus a quiz on the subject. A great help if you seem to guess right half the time or less when playing the dummy.”
  • How to Play Card Combinations (Mike Lawrence)
    “52 hands presented as problems. Discusses the proper way to play each combination. Each hand concludes with further analysis.”
  • Points Schmoints! (Marty Bergen)
    “Subtitled “Winning Bridge Secrets”. Here are 65 enjoyable hands and stories that reveal many of the author’s secrets. Subjects include the Rule of 20, how to count trumps the right way, the real scoop on doubles, and finesses are overrated.”
  • Modern Defensive Signaling (Kit Woolsey)
    “Learn the latest innovations in leading, discarding and signaling. Upside-Down, Odd-Even, Lavinthal, Encrypted signals. How declarer can combat these methods.”

Advanced Topics

  • Matchpoints (Kit Woolsey)
    “The best advanced book on Matchpoint tactics, theory & strategy. Examines all of the crucial aspects of duplicate bridge.”
  • To Bid or Not to Bid (The Law of Total Tricks) (Larry Cohen)
    “The Law of Total Tricks is a simple and effective tool which serves to make many bidding decisions easy. Larry has set down the principles in a clear, orderly and concise manner, with realistic suggestions on how to incorporate these ideas into your own bidding methods.”
  • I Fought the Law of Total Tricks (Mike Lawrence & Anders Wirgren)
    “Are you tired of using the Law of Total Tricks … and wondering why there are often one or two tricks more or less than predicted? This book shows why this is so. Anders Wirgren and Mike Lawrence show a method of evaluating your hand that brings judgment back to bidding and which will result in more accurate bidding.”