Holiday gifts for bridge players

If you're looking for gifts for your friends and relatives who play bridge (or who would like to learn), here are some recently published -- and recommended -- books.

Bridge books published in 2017:

A Taste of Bridge  (Beginner)
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.

Defending at Bridge: A First Course   (Beginner)
By Bill Treble. A well-written overview of the basics of defense. Eight lessons and many practical examples explain opening leads, signaling, second- and third-hand play, discards and other topics. Named 2017 Book of the Year by the American Bridge Teachers Association.

Bridge Secrets: Don't Miss A Trick  (Advanced beginner to intermediate)
By Julian Pottage. This pocket-size book features concise, easy-to-understand tips on a wide range of bridge topics -- from devising a bidding system to reading your opponents' cards.

Playing 2-over-1: The Rest of the Story (Intermediate)
By Paul Thurston. A sequel to the popular 25 Steps to Learning 2-over-1, this book covers more sophisticated agreements and conventions to enhance a basic 2/1 bidding system. 

The Big Payoff: Slam Bidding at Bridge  (Intermediate)
By Bill Treble. The author covers many useful agreements and conventions that can improve slam bidding. The book also offers tips for judging slam situations and dealing with competition, plus several quiz hands.

Planning the Play: The Next Level  (Intermediate) 
By Barbara Seagram. A sequel to Planning the Play of a Bridge Hand, this new volume focuses on the use of more advanced techniques. It covers safety plays, avoidance plays, trump control situations, dummy reversals and endplays.

Expert Hand Evaluation  (Intermediate to advanced)
By Augie Boehm. The author emphasizes "outside-the-box" thinking to develop judgment, solve bidding problems and evaluate borderline hands.

Bidding Topics  (Intermediate to advanced)
By Eric Rodwell. An in-depth discussion of agreements that can improve constructive and competitive bidding. The nine chapters each start with the basics and progress to expert agreements. Included are full details on two conventions invented by the author -- Support Doubles and Serious 3NT. Named 2017 Advanced Book of the Year by the American Bridge Teachers Association.

Judgment at Bridge 2: Be a Better Player and More Difficult Opponent  (Intermediate to advanced)
By Mike Lawrence. The original Judgment at Bridge, now a classic, is the basis for this 232-page volume, which includes new material that deals with modern bidding. Lawrence also offers opinions on conventions you should consider adding and those that should be removed from your system. It's all written in the straightforward, conversational style that has made Lawrence one of the most popular of all bridge authors.

The Language of Bridge  (Intermediate to advanced)
By Kit Woolsey. This is an interesting and sophisticated discussion of communication at the bridge table. Woolsey offers valuable insights about how to make better use of the limited vocabulary of bridge bidding and improve the messages we send with bids and the play of the cards. He includes numerous example hands and clear, logical analysis.

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

Games and software:

Learn to Play Bridge I & II  (Beginner) are two self-teaching software programs that make great stocking stuffers for anyone who wants an easy introduction to the basics. Best of all, both are totally free from ACBL. Use the link to request a download link, burn the files to a CD (both programs fit on one disk) and give copies to everyone on your list. Print out copies of ACBL's quick-start How to Play Bridge page to go with your gifts.   

aBRIDGEd game (Beginner) is a box game that's as close as you can get to "real" bridge, without the complexities of bidding. The set includes 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 Baron 28 (All levels) is the newest update of one of the most skilled bid-and-play software programs on the market. It features seven sophisticated levels of play, plus a deal generator, double-dummy solver, ACBL tournament deals, challenge hands, flow-chart bidding tutorials and a wide range of conventions. Available for Windows and Mac.

Need more ideas? You'll find other books and gift suggestions on these shopping pages for bridge players:

Karen's Bridge Library Bookstore features short reviews of recommended bridge books, along with an updated listing of the newest books and software. Books are grouped by skill level and can be purchased at discounted prices from by following the links.

Great Bridge Links offers a full directory of specialty products and online shopping sites for bridge players. You'll find links to unusual and hard-to-find gifts here, along with some special discounts. -- Cards, jewelry, greeting cards, trophies, apparel and bridge novelty items.

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.

Baron-Barclay Bridge Supplies -- Cards, bridge jewelry, party supplies, pens, clothing and the popular bridge table covers.