Recommended Books / Software
Below I've listed my favorite Bridge books and software. The beginner
and intermediate material will help reinforce what you've learned
in LearnBridge, while the more advanced material will help you go
beyond what's currently available in LearnBridge.
Click here to see all of my recommended learning material in one easy
infographic! Make sure to zoom in to see everything.
Bridge Master (available for free on Bridge Base Online), is a
collection of over 500 interactive declarer play problems.
While I've put this in the Beginner section, Bridge Master
actually has an extremely wide range of difficulty.
To start with, check out the Level 1 hands. Each one focuses
on a fundamental declarer play idea.
(To access Bridge Master, log in, click Practice, and then
A First Book of Bridge Problems (Patrick O'Connor)
As the title says, if you've never sat down with a book of play
problems, this is a great place to start. Most of the problems
are about declarer play, though there are a few defense problems
thrown in. Each hand tends to test a single, fundamental idea.
When to Draw Trumps (Adam Parrish)
While the title might seem quite specific, this book is about
all aspects of planning and playing suit contracts. It goes into
great depth (while remaining very readable!) about counting losers,
categorizing losers as fast vs. slow, and contructing a plan that
takes tempo and entries into account.
When to Bid Notrump (And How to Play It) (Adam Parrish)
This is very much the notrump companion to the book above.
While the title emphasizes bidding, most of this book is dedicated
to playing notrump contracts, with very specific strategies and
planning techniques to learn. The bidding portion is also great,
and actually gets into the decidely non-beginner topic
of when you might decide to play notrump even when you have a
major suit fit.
Take All Your Chances at Bridge (Eddie Kantar)
One of my favorite books of declarer play problems. The focus
is on finding multiple paths to make your contract and then
deciding how best to combine those chances. Most of the hands
require only basic technique, but a good amount of consideration.
The Complete Bridge Technique Series (David Bird & Marc Smith)
This is actually a collection of 12 short books on 12 different
topics, all of which are excellent. Each topic is explored
from all angles, with many example deals and quiz questions
throughout. See the
Test Your Bridge Technique Series below as well, which
is a companion series.
How To Play Card Combinations (Mike Lawrence)
Rather than learn how to play card combinations in a vaccuum,
in this book you'll see the same combination in multiple
different hands to see how the overall context of the hand
affects how a single combination is played.
How To Read Your Opponents' Cards (Mike Lawrence)
This book is all about the deductions you can make from the
auction and how the defender's play. You'll be amazed how far
you can take your deductions from just the opening lead on
a number of hands.
Play Bridge with Mike Lawrence (Mike Lawrence)
This is an over-the-shoulder look at Mike Lawrence playing a
52-board event at a regional tournament. You get to follow
along with his decision making as each hand progresses. There's
an element of "realness" in that some hands have bidding and
play mishaps, just as you would encounter in a real event.
Card Play Technique (Victor Mollo & Nico Gardener)
This book is actually about half declarer play and half defense.
The topics it covers are varied, but the presentaion is
particularly useful as it alternates between declarer's view
and the defense's view of the same sort of problem. This
holistic approach really helps solidify the similarities
between these facets.
The Rodwell Files (Eric Rodwell)
An extremely unique book. Rodwell has a lot of his own vocabulary
and a way of looking at problems that you don't see in other
books. I don't think all parts of this book will necessarily
be a winner for everybody, but it's definitely worth a look.
Bridge Squeezes Complete (Clyde Love)
Definitely the most advanced book on this list, and definitely
not my recommendation for your first book on squeezes (see
A Bridge To Simple Squeezes above). But once you've
become used to the general technique of simple squeezes, this
book goes into an incredible amount of depth on just how
many variations on the squeeze exist, and what conditions are
necessary for each type. A great eye-opener if you ever find
yourself thinking that you've more or less mastered declarer
Modern Bridge Defense (Eddie Kantar)
My absolute favorite introduction to defense. Kantar is great
at breaking down a complex area into managable topics while
keeping the mood light.
Advanced Bridge Defense (Eddie Kantar)
A continuation of Modern Bridge Defense above, but with
a big emphasis on counting. When you learn to count high card
points, distribution, and tricks, your ability to defend
accurately goes through the roof.
Defense (Mike Lawrence)
Like the other Mike Lawrence software above, this is
Windows-only, but great if you can use it. Another 100
excellent interactive deals that go through many useful
defensive ideas. I recommend going through
Counting at Bridge 1 first.
Opening Leads (Mike Lawrence)
While many books on defense give you a general idea of how to
think about opening leads (and the Kantar books above certainly
do a good job), it's an area worth diving into in more detail.
Dynamic Defense (Mike Lawrence)
This is essentially the completely-about-defense version of
Play Bridge with Mike Lawrence, with over 60
over-the-shoulder defense problems.
Roman Keycard Blackwood (Eddie Kantar)
There's even more to Blackwood than you think! Kantar explains
the more advanced followups (beyond just a keycard ask and queen
ask), and also has useful ideas around how you might change
the responses depending on which hand is doing the asking.
Matchpoints (Kit Woolsey)
If you spend your time playing matchpoint games (by far the
most common type of competitive event), this is an indispensible
book. Matchpoints incentivizes some strange behaviors in both
the bidding and play, and Woolsey covers it all excellently.