My picks for this year’s best books are in my latest article Last Minute Gift Ideas for Bridge Players.
I have read many many Bridge books, but not all. Some I have only skimmed, particularly the more beginner books which I recommend. I have created a book list at Amazon (I am an associate so profit ever so slightly when you click through from this page and buy). I am currently reading The Rodwell Files: Secrets of a Bridge Champion which is the best new bridge book I have seen in a long time. I will publish a more complete review when I am finished.
Bridge Books for Beginners
Bridge For Dummies by Eddie Kantar The best modern introduction to bridge. If you played years ago in college this is a great way to review while learning modern bidding.
First Principles of Card Play by Paul Marston Simply the best first book on how to play a hand.
Bridge Books for Intermediates
Introduction to Defender’s Play by Eddie Kantar
The Bridge Book: For Intermediate Players by Frank Stewart, Randall Baron
A well written introduction to deeper ways of thinking at the table.
Secrets of Success: Europe’s No.1 Player Shares His Secrets of Success by Tony Forrester
Although he is no longer number one, this is an excellent book with a particularly good chapter on hand evaluation that gets you past just counting your points.
Watson’s Classic Book on The Play of the Hand at Bridge
The classic encyclopedic book on card play. A bit dry but very thorough.
Bridge Books for more Advanced Players
Eddie Kantar Teaches Modern Bridge Defense
More on defense from one of Bridge’s best writers.
How to Read Your Opponent’s Cards: The Bridge Experts’ Way to Locate Missing High Cards
Anything by Michael is great. This book is a revelation about how to think about card placement. Guaranteed to improve your game!
Play Bridge with Mike Lawrence
Sit behind Mike as he wins a Matchpoint event playing with a student. This is a fun and painless way to improve your Bridge game and matchpoint skills. One of my favorites.
Killing Defence at Bridge by Hugh Kelsey The best book on how to think about defense. An oldie but goodie. The bidding in the problems may surprise you though as it is British Acol
The Secrets of Winning Bridge
This is a classic. Be sure to read the chapter on “In and Out” valuation.
To Bid or Not to Bid: The Law of Total Tricks by Larry Cohen
This will revolutionize how you think about competitive bidding. A must read for the tournament player.
Bridge Books for Experts
Bridge Odds for Practical Players
The best introduction to the odds at the bridge table.
How To Play Card Combinations
Michael goes into detail on a number of card combinations and shows how to play them in different circumstances. You get to think along with him with, for example, J98 opposite Axx.
The Official ACBL Encyclopedia of Bridge
The new version is coming out in late 2011 or early 2012.
I’ve completed three instructional bridge books – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced with a teacher’s manual. The series is “I Love Bridge” and can be viewed on Amazon – i.e. I Love Bridge Beginnger for example.
Please let me know how I can be listed on your website.
I would like to see a bridge book review site offering thoughtful reviews that clearly identify the topics covered and the quality and depth of the presentation that topical coverage. As an experienced tournament player, I have read approximately 200 bridge books over the years. So the only bridge books worth buying/reading now need to be among the best for the topic coverage to have any real value to me. I need information, not an unsubstantiated overall opinion characterized by the player level audience. Indeed, not only do the one liner comments about books fail to help me at all, but I am very skeptical of the quick assessments of unfamiliar titles when I see examples of misinformation relevant to titles I have read (e.g., Kelsey’s “Killing Defence at Bridge” being a book suitable for intermediate players when it is so clearly appropriate only for advanced and expert players).
I read Killing Defense when I was an intermediate player and it propelled me to the next level 🙂 Yes it was hard reading back then but oh so good. Perhaps we define Intermediate differently. OK I will move it to the advanced section. You are probably right about that.
The purpose of this site is not to recommend bridge books but to help people teach and learn the game of bridge. These are the books I recommend based on the 200 or so I have read over the years plus the assessments of my students. Tastes can differ. Yes these are my opinions. The Bridge Bulletin does more in depth reviews.