Bridge Bookstore from Karen's Bridge Library

Here's a list of bridge books and software for beginners through experts.
Use the links below to jump to a list for each category.

designates my choices as among the best in each category.

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Bridge titles on Kindle

Newest books (published in the last year)

The Times Beginner's Guide to Bridge   (Beginner)
by Andrew Robson. A complete course that starts with the basics and teaches essential skills. The book includes many practice hands and discussions of how to improve your memory and communication with partner.

Bridge for Beginners   (Beginner)
by Game Nest. Subtitled "A Step-By-Step Guide to Bidding, Play, Scoring, Conventions, and Strategies to Win (How to Play Contract Bridge)". 272 pages.

Tournament Bridge Series:  Beginner     Intermediate    Notrump contracts   (Beginner to intermediate)
By Ken Casey. Three books that focus on strategies for tournament play. Available in paperback and Kindle editions.

Five Steps to Simplify the Defense      Five Steps to Simplify Entries   (Beginner to intermediate)
By Audrey Grant. Two booklets with clear instructions, examples and practice deals on how to win extra tricks as defender and declarer. Simplify the Defense was named the 2020 Beginner Book of the Year by the American Bridge Teachers Association (ABTA).

Newcomer's Guide: A Stress-Free Introduction to Duplicate Bridge   (Beginner to intermediate)
By Brian Gray. The basics of duplicate play, including game formats, bridge laws, etiquette and procedures. The author includes lots of how-to tips on filling out convention cards, using bidding boxes, using scoring equipment and more. Available in Kindle and hard-cover editions.

Introduction to Declarer Play      Introduction to Defense   (Beginner to intermediate)
By Eddie Kantar, with Barbara Seagram. More than 50 years after their first publication, these classics have been revised and updated to reflect modern methods of play and bridge education. Kantar offers comprehensive instruction and an entertaining writing style that makes learning fun. Both volumes include some advanced material. Both books were named winners of the Legacy Award in the ABTA's 2020 Book of the Year contest.

50 Great Puzzles on Declarer Play      50 Great Puzzles on Defence    (Intermediate)
By Ron Klinger. Quiz deals with detailed explanations of the possible solutions.

Avoid Bidding Disasters: Win by Steering Clear of Trouble    (Intermediate)
By Danny Roth.  Presented as quizzes, the deals focus on bad decisions made by experts. The author rates the solutions and offers advice on how to accurately judge difficult auctions and avoid bad boards.

Test Your Opening Leads Against the Experts     (Intermediate)
Test Your Play & Defense Against the Experts    (Intermediate)
Test Your Bidding Against the Experts    (Intermediate)
By Danny Roth. Each book presents dozens of deals played by experts and shows readers how to think through the problems.

Declarer Play: Break Out of the Pack       Defense: Break Out of the Pack    (Intermediate)
By Danny Roth. Numerous example deals show the reader how to focus on the most relevant aspects of a problem and arrive at the right play at the crucial moment.

Barbara's Bridge Tips   (Intermediate)
By Barbara Seagram. Advice and examples on bidding, play and defense, summarized from lessons the author has been offering to her students over the last 20 years.

Matchpoint Offense: Kick it Up a Notch      Matchpoint Defense: Kick it Up a Notch    (Intermediate)
By Stuart Terry, Walter Toombs & Bo Asserson. Two titles that present strategies and techniques designed to help readers improve their performance in pair games.

Winning at Matchpoints   (Intermediate)
By Bill Treble. An overview of how matchpoint scoring works and strategies that will help you succeed in pair events. The book includes tips on bidding, play and defense and many example deals.

Bridge Entry Techniques   (Intermediate to advanced)
By David Bird. A comprehensive discussion of how to manage entries to partner's hand when declaring and defending. More than 150 instructive deals cover everything from finessing to avoidance plays to coup positions.

Defense on the Other Hand   (Intermediate to advanced)
By David Bird & Larry Cohen. A unique approach to cardplay instruction that presents 100 pairs of similar deals that require different solutions. Each pair is analyzed by both authors. Winner of the 2020 ABTA Intermediate Book of the Year award. This is a followup to On the Other Hand: Bridge Cardplay Explained, which won the ABTA award in 2019.

Winning IMPs   (Intermediate to advanced)
By Rakesh Kumar. Practical tips and a clear, engaging writing style make this a good choice for advancing players who want to improve their results in team play. The author emphasizes bold bidding, careful declarer play and "thoughtful" defense.

Useful Probability for Bridge Players   (Intermediate to advanced)
By Julian Laderman. All bridge players need a good understanding of odds and percentages. Laderman has successfully turned this dry subject into an accessible and even entertaining learning experience. The book starts with a simple analysis of bridge maxims and suit splits, then progresses to more complex topics. Included are many real-world examples, plus helpful ideas on how to play the odds when making bidding decisions.

Insights in Bridge: Bid, Play & Defend (Book 2)   (Intermediate to advanced)
By Mike Lawrence. This is the follow-up to Insights in Bridge: Moments in Bidding, which was winner of the 2019 ABTA Advanced Book of the Year award. It features hundreds of mini-lessons with practical advice about how to think through and solve common problems. Even experienced players will find valuable ideas here. 

Planning the Defense: The Next Level   (Intermediate to advanced)
By Barbara Seagram and David Bird. A sequel to Planning the Defense, this step-by-step guide discusses more advanced defensive strategies. Topics include communications, deception, trump promotions, discarding and avoiding endplays.

Optimal Hand Evaluation   (Advanced to expert)
By Patrick Darricades. The author offers research to demonstrate the flaws of the 4-3-2-1 honor point count. He proposes a new evaluation method that assesses the combined value of both partners' hands. The discussion includes more than 100 example hands.

Card Pro Bridge Bidding System   (Advanced to expert)
By Ron Feldman. A new bidding system designed to improve on natural systems that use "convenient minor" openings. Suit opening bids show unbalanced hands with 5+-card suits or three 4-card suits. The author also assigns new meanings to opener's rebids and notrump opening bids.

Strong Club, Unbalanced Diamond   (Advanced to expert)
By Bruce Watson. The author's describes his "SCUD" system as effective and fun to play. The structure is based on Marshall Miles' ideas, but with different meanings for some opening bids and responses.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble   (General interest)
By Alex Adamson & Harry Smith. The completion of a trilogy of humorous stories set in the Over the Rainbow bridge club in Oz (other titles are If I Only Had a Heart and Bridge Over the Rainbow). The plot is nicely advanced by dozens of fresh and challenging bridge deals played by Dorothy, Auntie Em, the Tin Man and other familiar characters.

Bachelor Bridge   (General interest)
By David Bird & Simon Cocheme. The authors' 1994 humor book has been revised to include new deals and a more "gender-sensitive" focus. The story describes the adventures of Jack O'Hearts, a young bachelor who is seeking a female bridge partner.

Masterpiece Deals: A Gallery of Beautiful Card Play    (General interest)
By Augie Boehm. A collection of deals featuring masterful and sometimes very unusual lines of play, with explanations of expert reasoning.

Gaining the Mental Edge at Bridge   (General interest)
By Kim Frazer. An Olympian shares the mental techniques that brought her success and can be used at the bridge table. Included are practical ways to maintain focus and concentration, calm nerves, deal with distractions and avoid mental errors.

Killer Lead: A Duplicate Bridge Club Mystery   (General interest)
By Bill & Sheryl Riley. A murder mystery set in the small town of Alpine, Alabama, where all the suspects play bridge.

2021 calendars   (General interest)
A big selection of calendars, weekly planners and organizers with bridge themes.

Bridge books on Kindle  (All levels)
Many new titles and old classics formatted for the Kindle, Amazon's e-reader. 

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Bridge Classics and "Must-Reads"

Five Weeks to Winning Bridge  (Beginner)
By Alfred Sheinwold. This classic has taught millions to play, and it's the very first bridge book I ever read. I read it in one weekend -- and then reread it several times. It teaches 4-card majors, but the principles are easily adapted to a 5-card-major system.

Classic Book on the Play of the Hand   (Beginner to intermediate)
By Louis Watson. This is the oldest and most comprehensive guide to understanding the cards, with a wealth of information on suit combinations, basic strategies, end positions and other principles of declarer play. It was the second book I read, and it was slow going -- it requires careful study, but what you learn from it is invaluable.

Bid Better, Play Better   (Beginner to intermediate)
By Dorothy Hayden (Truscott). It's interesting that in the promotional quotes on the back cover of my very old copy, Alan Truscott (the author's future husband) offered the endorsement "one of the best bridge books ever written by a woman". Quite an understatement, as this is one of the best bridge books ever written by anyone, men included. Hayden's clear approach and sound advice will transform your game. This is an updated version of this classic.

Commonsense Bidding        How to Play a Bridge Hand         How to Defend a Bridge Hand   (Beginner to intermediate)
By William Root. You can't go wrong with any title from this master teacher, and these are three of his best. Commonsense Bidding is the most complete guide to basic bidding, published in 1986 but already regarded as a classic. The How to titles are comprehensive guides to every aspect of play and defense, with hundreds of hands that clearly demonstrate strategies, techniques and psychological factors. Each title was named Bridge Book of the Year (Commonsense in 1987; How to Play in 1990; How to Defend in 1994).

Complete Book on Hand Evaluation   (Beginner to advanced)
By Mike Lawrence. One of the best books ever written on this subject, from one of the most readable and popular of all bridge authors. Lawrence offers good advice on everything from basic counting to expert-level inferences.

How to Read Your Opponents' Cards   (Intermediate to advanced)
By Mike Lawrence. Valuable tips for all bridge players, with great insights into how experts read subtle clues and signals at the table.

Opening Leads   (Intermediate to advanced)
By Bob Ewen. One of the most thorough and well-written books on the most difficult aspect of the game. The author covers all the basics -- plus many advanced topics -- by presenting bidding scenarios and quizzes, with excellent explanations of how to collect clues from the auction.  Lead-directing bids and doubles are also discussed. Now out of print, but used copies are available. Also deserving of "classic" status is Mike Lawrence's Opening Leads.

Right Through the Pack   (Intermediate to expert)
By Robert Darvas & Norman de V. Hart. A brilliant fantasy featuring ingenious hands and humor as each card in the deck tells its own tale. Each of the 52 stories offers shrewd advice for players of all levels. Voted one of the top three books of all time in the ACBL survey.

Bridge in the Menagerie   (Intermediate to expert)
By Victor Mollo. Humorous tales of the Hideous Hog, Rueful Rabbit and the other eccentrics at the Griffins Club, from one of the game's most entertaining authors. Mollo's characters and expert, witty analysis make these some of the most memorable hands ever published.

To Bid or not to Bid: The Law of Total Tricks   (Intermediate to expert)
By Larry Cohen. A best-seller that will change the way you evaluate your hands and make competitive bidding decisions. It contains many advanced topics and analyses, but the basic principles of "the Law" can be easily understood -- and successfully used -- by intermediate-level players. 1992 Bridge Book of the Year.

Card Play Technique: Or the Art of Being Lucky   (Advanced to expert)
By Victor Mollo & Nico Gardner. Considered by many to be the best book ever written on card play, this time-honored book teaches techniques you can apply to both declarer play and defense.

The Secrets of Winning Bridge   (Advanced to expert)
by Jeff Rubens. Interesting and very detailed discussions on hand evaluation, matchpoint play and many topics that are covered only lightly in other books.

Killing Defence at Bridge   (Advanced to expert)
By Hugh Kelsey. Brilliant advice on how to solve problems on defense, with many very difficult quiz hands. Also recommended is the sequel, More Killing Defence.

Bridge Odds for Practical Players   (Advanced to expert)
By Hugh Kelsey & Michael Glauert. The leading book on bridge probabilities, now in its 7th printing. The authors provide short explanations of the theories and detailed examples of how to calculate odds and solve problems at the table.  

Matchpoints   (Advanced to expert)
By Kit Woolsey. The best book ever written on expert-level matchpoint strategy and tactics. The author tells you up front that you probably won't agree with all his ideas, but they will definitely make you think -- and improve your matchpoint decisions.

Adventures in Card Play  (Expert)
By Hugh Kelsey and Geza Ottlik. This is a reprint of a classic that is one of the most challenging bridge books ever written. The deals are ingenious, sometimes spectacular, and the analysis is very deep and detailed.

Bridge Squeezes Complete: Winning Endplay Strategy   (Expert)
By Clyde Love. This is a new edition of the time-honored, expert-level treatise on squeeze play. It's definitely not light reading, but worth the time and study for serious players.

Why you Lose at Bridge   (All levels)
By S. J. Simon. Meet the Unlucky Expert, Mr. Smug, Mrs. Guggenheim and other now-famous characters in a book with simple, entertaining advice on how to attain the best results possible. Published in 1946 and reprinted in 1996, this was voted the #1 book of all time in the December 1994 ACBL Bulletin survey.

 The Official ACBL Encyclopedia of Bridge   (All levels)
Edited by Brent Manley. A thick volume packed with information on people, conventions, card combinations, bridge terms, history and just about anything else you might ever want to know about bridge. This is the 7th edition, updated in late 2011.

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Basic books for beginners and learners

 A Taste of Bridge
By Jeff Bayone. A series of six lessons based on the beginner course taught at the largest club in North America -- the Honors Bridge Club in New York City. Bayone keeps it simple and emphasizes how to have fun learning and playing. Winner of the 2018 Newcomer Book of the Year award from the American Bridge Teachers Association.

Startup Bridge and Beyond
By Lynn Berg. A long-time bridge teacher adds a personal touch to this discussion of how to play duplicate bridge, develop a partnership and deal with mistakes. Winner of the 2019 ABTA Beginner Book of the Year award.

  How to Play and Win at Bridge  
By David Bird. A complete tutorial for learners, plus features for players of all skill levels -- bridge history, reference material, features on famous players, bridge on TV and video, computer and online bridge. Formatted for gift giving -- hard cover 256 pages and more than 700 illustrations and photographs.

  Win at Bridge: A Teach Yourself Guide 
By David Bird. A beginner's guide with quick-start introductions to key principles, interactive quizzes and self-tests. The author offers additional articles on a companion website to help learners track their progress. 

  Quiz Book Series:  Declarer Play at Bridge      Defensive Play at Bridge       Bidding at Bridge
By David Bird & Barbara Seagram. Good explanations of the basics. Each section contains a brief introduction on a specific topic, followed by problems that allow readers to practice their new skills. Declarer Play at Bridge  was named the 2013 Book of the Year by the American Bridge Teachers' Association.

How to Play Winning Bridge  
By David Bird. A teaching course and guide to all things bridge, this hard-cover volume includes a history of the game and its champions, a beginner tutorial, sample games, rules and reference sections. A majority of the later chapters are written for intermediate and higher-level players.

 Gary Brown's Learn to Play Bridge 
By Gary Brown.  Designed for newcomers, this well-organized manual offers an easy, step-by-step approach and a refreshing writing style. Named 2007 Book of the Year by the American Bridge Teachers Association.

I Love Bridge 
By Mimi David. A workbook for bridge teachers and learners who want to teach themselves how to play. This is the first in the three-volume "Valentine" series that includes Intermediate and Advanced Bridge texts plus a teacher's manual.

Playing a Bridge Hand: Just the Basics
By Mary Ann DuFresne. A how-to book for beginners who want to learn more about planning the play, managing entries, building tricks and eliminating losers.

Goren's New Bridge Completete
By Charles Goren. The original "bible" for the Standard American 5-card-major system, this classic was updated in 1985 and remains a solid reference for beginners and advancing players.

Club and Diamond Series       Opening the Bidding        Bridge Basics 3: Popular Conventions 
By Audrey Grant. "Bidding in the 21st Century" series, which includes updates of instructional books used in American Contract Bridge League teaching programs. The Club Series manual teaches bidding; the Diamond Series teaches play of the hand. Other titles by Audrey Grant are here.

Bridge: All You Need to Know to Get Started 
By Mark Horton. A comprehensive guide to the basics, presented in a handy spiral hardback format with full-color graphics and large hand diagrams. The lessons start with material for absolute beginners and progress to more advanced topics.

  Bridge for Dummies        Bridge for Dummies (Large-print edition) 
By Eddie Kantar. An entertaining, detailed introduction to the basics of bidding and play. 1997 Bridge Book of the Year. The large-print edition features updated information on the latest bidding techniques and an expanded section on playing bridge online.

Bridge Basics