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A Lot of Good Bridge Information at One Place
on December 6, 2011
I have owned at least one copy of all the previous editions of the Encyclopedia, and refer to the 6th ed. often. I was quite disappointed with the format of this new 7th edition. It is quite a hefty book with 633 pages at 8.5" by 11". I think that most all of the same information is there, but is no longer organized alphabetically. You have to go to the index and then get referred from there. It feels too ACBL-centric, with separate chapters on the "ACBL Hall of Fame", the "ACBL Museum", the "ACBL How it Works", and other chapters organized around ACBL personalities. They have pictures of the players this time, and that is nice, but they separate the stars into the Hall of Fame chapter, and into a "Bridge at the Top" chapter. They arrange this second chapter in order by their masterpoint holdings, so it is very hard to find a specific person.
The Suit Combinations chapter that caused me to buy the original encyclopedias is still there. Various editions of the Encyclopedia Have recommended selected bridge books for a good bridge library. I thought that the list lost much of its usefulness when he list swelled to 58 pages of titles in Ed. 6. I am glad to see that they have cut the list down to one page (52 books) in this edition. They still include many of the old faithfuls (Watson's "Play of the Hand", Simon's "Why You Lose at Bridge", and my all-time favorite Love's "Bridge Squeezes Complete". But newer authors are included, such as Bergen, Bird, Cohen, Pottage, and also Rodwell ("The Rodwell Files").
One useful aspect of the new chapter organization is that the mathematical articles have been pulled together into one chapter. I had found a few errors in the tables in the 6th Ed, and those that I had found have been fixed. There is a whole separate chapter on squeezes! There is a chapter on "Bridge and the Digital Age". It was short and terse, but it was nice to see that the Encyclopedia addressed the changes to bridge caused by this computerized age.
I think that the Index leaves much to be desired. In my first attempt to use it, I looked up Clyde Love, but he was not in the Index. When I scanned the included PDF file though, I found that he had been mentioned several times in multiple articles. The book includes two CDs. The first CD contains a full copy of the encyclopedia itself! It takes a little time to open an 18.6 MB PDF file, but once it is open, you can search around in it easily. Also they have gone to the work to make links work properly in the PDF file. The second CD contains a whole extra book as a PDF file of 399 pages, that gives all ACBL members that are Diamond Life Masters and above, many biographies, and all major tournament results. I have to admit that these two CDs, in addition to the encyclopedia itself, makes it a great value.