Gifts for bridge players


  Looking for the perfect gift for a bridge-playing friend or relative? Here are some ideas that should please players from beginners through experts.


Software

Bid-and-play bridge games:

 

  Bridge Baron 26 The newest update of one of the most skilled programs on the market. It features multiple play levels, customizable hand-evaluation and bidding methods, flow-chart bidding tutorials and a comprehensive set of systems and conventions. Built-in extras include a deal generator, par-contract and double-dummy solvers, ACBL tournament deals and challenge hands. Winner of five World Computer Bridge Championships. Available for Windows and Mac.
 

Jack 6.0 Computer Bridge Software (All levels) is a highly skilled bid-and-play program that has won multiple World Computer Bridge Championships. It offers 80+ conventions, multiple systems, tournament deals and scoring, a double-dummy problem solver and built-in coaching.  

Shark Bridge (All levels) is a bid-and-play software package that has won three world computer bridge championships. It includes built-in hints and analysis and the ability to play more than 1500 tournament sessions

Bridge Buff 15 & Visual Deal  (All levels) is a skilled bid-and-play program that includes a system builder, convention-card editor and the Visual Deal deal generator. 

GIB (Intermediate to expert) is Ginsburg's Intelligent Bridge Player, a play and analysis program with advanced card-play skills.

Gameboy pack:  Ultimate Card Games for GameBoy Advance (Beginner) includes a bridge game and 10 other single and multi-player card games, plus five video-poker machines and 15 solitaire games.

Bridge utilities and bidding practice:

  Deep Finesse (Intermediate to expert) is a double-dummy player and analyzer. Put in your own deal -- or let it pick a deal at random -- and Deep Finesse solves all positions correctly within seconds. It identifies each card at each turn as a winning or losing play, so you can interactively explore any line to see why it works or doesn't.

Dealmaster Pro from Ed Marzo is a do-it-all program for bridge clubs, teachers and serious players who want a tool for bidding practice and hand analyses. It includes a powerful deal generator and simulator and a built-in Deep Finesse double-dummy analyzer. The program creates HTML files for posting hand records, designs and prints traveling scoreslips, and prints hand records with information on makable contracts.

Master Solvers Club (Intermediate to Expert) is a good choice if your gift recipient enjoys bidding quizzes. Some of the best are available in this  interactive software that features full sets from the popular feature in The Bridge World magazine. The program comes with all problems from 1994-1996; sets from previous years are also available.

Instructional software:

Learn to Play Bridge I & II (Beginner) are two self-teaching programs that make great stocking stuffers for anyone who wants to learn the basics. Best of all, both are totally free from ACBL. Both setup program fit onto one CD, so you can give copies to everyone on your list.

The Club Series CD (Beginner) from Bridge Base offers interactive lessons based on Audrey Grant's textbooks.

Introduction to Bridge: Play and Learn with Pat Harrington  (Beginner) by Pat Harrington. This two-part Windows package teaches bridge "from scratch", with 13 interactive lessons on bidding and play. Winner of the 2009 Software of the Year Award from the American Bridge Teachers Association.

Learn to Play Bridge with Audrey Grant  (Beginner) by Audrey Grant. Interactive software for absolute beginners and novices. It features a sound track, high-quality graphics and many practice deals and quizzes.

Points Schmoints and Marty Sez  (Beginner to intermediate) are CD-ROM programs featuring tips from Marty Bergen's popular books. Both offer excellent instruction and lots of humor in an interactive format that aids retention of the ideas.

Practice Your Slam Bidding (Beginner to intermediate) by Barbara Seagram and Linda Lee. An interactive CDROM based on the authors' books.

Planning the Play of a Bridge Hand (Beginner to intermediate) by Barbara Seagram. Interactive software based on the book that won the 2010 ABTA Book of the Year award. It covers the basic techniques and planning strategies for declaring and includes some material on more advanced concepts.

Countdown to Winning Bridge (Intermediate) by Tim Bourke and Marc Smith. A CD-ROM based on the authors' book of the same title, this interactive program teaches the essential skills involved in counting bridge hands.

Modern Bridge Defense         

Advanced Bridge Defense          

  Play and Defend

Topics in Declarer Play 

Test Your Play - Vol. 2

(Beginner to advanced). By Eddie Kantar. These CD-ROM programs cover a wide range of play and defense strategies, from beginner principles to expert techniques. Each volume includes interactive quizzes and excellent summaries of the principles.

Teach Yourself Bridge Technique (Intermediate) by David Bird. An interactive tutorial that covers ten aspects of declarer play. The quizzes and analyses include entertaining hands played by Bird's popular characters from St. Hilda's Convent and St. Titus Monastery.

Mike's Advice (Intermediate) by Mike Lawrence. More than 330 bidding problems with evaluations of all the choices and clear recommendations for the best bid. Even experienced players will find helpful tips here. Runs on PC and Mac systems.

Counting at Bridge Vol. I   &  Vol. 2 

Two-Over-One System        

Defense

Private Bridge Lessons Vol. 1  &  Vol. 2        

Conventions

(Intermediate to advanced). By Mike Lawrence. Top-rated CD-ROM programs, written in the same at-the-table style as Lawrence's highly acclaimed books.

My Favorite 52 (Intermediate to advanced) by Larry Cohen. A CD-ROM with thorough, interactive analysis of 52 of the author's favorite hands from tournament play. Named 2005 Software of the Year by the American Bridge Teachers Association. 

The Real Deal: Intermediate  and  The Real Deal: Advanced  (Intermediate to advanced) by Larry Cohen. Two entertaining CDs designed to test bidding, declarer play and defense. Each volume has 60 deals, all played by the author, with trick-by-trick instruction, built-in quizzes and audio narration. Named 2010 Software of the Year by ABTA.

Complete Partnership Defense (Intermediate to advanced) by Kit Woolsey is an expanded, interactive version of the author's widely acclaimed book,  Partnership Defense. The CD-ROM program includes more than 100 example deals plus 75 practice deals. A free download demo is available. 

The Terence Reese Classics (Intermediate to expert) -- Based on two of Reese's classic books (Play Bridge with Reese and Master Play), this  interactive CD offers 206 deals that guide you through Reese's thoughts during the bidding and play. Each deal is followed by a "bridge movie" that shows you, trick by trick, how Reese tackled the deal and why. Another Reese book, Play These Hands With Me, can be added into the original program as a supplement .

Bridge Master 2000 (Intermediate) is a highly rated program from BridgeBase that teaches declarer play. The most challenging deals are available in refill sets.

Bridge Master 2000 -- Sands/Janitschke (Intermediate to advanced) is an intermediate-to-advanced version of the Bridge Master software. It includes 100 challenging deals analyzed by Norma Sands and Jan Janitschke. A free demo is available.

A View from the Top (Intermediate to advanced) from Barry Rigal and Bob Hamman focuses on how a true expert approaches problems at the table. The interactive format presents a series of problems in the auction for each hand, then challenges the user to play or defend the hand against the computer. Includes a video of Hamman discussing his views on bridge. A free demo is available.

Play Bridge with Larry Cohen  (Intermediate to advanced) is a series of interactive-play CD's from the 1999 Life Master Pairs in San Antonio. This tutoring software takes you through every hand of the three days of the event and provides detailed descriptions of expert thinking at each critical bid and play. Larry includes many "what-if" digressions to teach other skills, along with general tips on how to play your best. You can download free demos from the link above.

The Jannersten Collection (Intermediate to advanced) includes three programs to improve your declarer play -- "Find the Mistakes", "The Only Chance" and "Card Reading". An interactive analysis of what you should have been thinking and why is provided for each hand.

Modern American Bidding by Eric Kokish and Beverly Kraft (Intermediate to expert) -- The authors present a modern 2-over-1 system with lots of gadgets. The CD includes 200 practice deals with interactive analysis.

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Bridge gifts & specialty items

Gift certificates from Amazon.com:

        

                              Send a gift certificate from Amazon.com

Bridge games: 

aBRIDGEd game (Beginner) --  The new boxed game that's as close as you can get to "real" bridge, without the complexities of bidding. The set includes special, color-coded cards and simple rules that can be learned in 20 minutes. It's a great introduction to bridge-style card play and bidding principles for children and adults.

Bridge magazines and newsletters:

The Bridge Bulletin (ACBL) -- (beginner through expert). 12 monthly issues and one-year ACBL membership, $35

The Bridge World  - -- (intermediate through expert). 12 monthly issues, $83.

Bridge Today Online --  (intermediate through expert). 12 online issues per year, $33.  
 

Playing cards and specialty gifts:

Norman Rockwell playing cards -- a gift-boxed double deck featuring Saturday Evening Post covers. Other specialty designs available in double-deck sets are cat loversfresh & saltwater fish and mummy cards (die-cut in a sarcophagus shape, designed for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts).

Kem cards -- the "Cadillac" of playing cards with a washable plastic coating, packaged in gift boxes.

Low-vision playing cards -- with four-color high-visibility markings for the visually impaired. Other formats include EZC Cards (white on red and black, with bar markings for suits),  Hoyle's super-jumbo decks (twin pack with 1" symbols and numbers) and Braille decks.

Bicycle's automatic card shuffler -- a sturdy plastic shuffler that operates on one 9V battery.

Bridge gifts for the home:

Queen-of-hearts non-stick baking pan -- Wilton 10-cup cast-aluminum pan for cakes, breads and frozen desserts.

Artisan carafe and wine glasses -- Hand-painted, made to order wine set.

Queen of hearts Christmas tree ornaments -- Kurt Adler designs with Betty Boop as the queen of hearts.

Snack serving set -- Enameled porcelain with club, heart, diamond and spade bowls on a white serving tray.

Fold-a-way wood card table crafted of Brazilian hardwoods. Matching hardwood chairs (French provincial style) are sold in sets of two. Other styles are available.

Bridge apparel & jewelry: 

Bridge-themed apparel -- sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats, accessories and hundreds of other items for men, women and children are offered by Amazon. 

Whimsical bridge watch -- a wearable work of art with hand-painted miniatures under the crystal and an Italian leather wrist band.

Italian & link charms with card designs.

Amazon has a wide range of other card-themed jewelry items, including necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings, cuff links and body jewelry.  

Club and game supplies:

 A set of duplicate boards or bidding boxes is a great gift for club and tournament players who host home games.

Online stores with bridge specialty items:

Baron-Barclay -- books, cards, bridge jewelry, party supplies, pens, clothing and other gift items.  

Sevennotrump.com -- cards, jewelry, greeting cards, trophies, apparel and bridge novelty items.

Game Preserve -- cards, "coaching" placemats, scorepads and themed gift items for other card games.

Playing Cards & More -- cards, tables, bridge jewelry and game accessories.

Prospero Art -- double-deck playing cards in Alice in Wonderland, Rat Pack and Shakespeare themes.


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