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Why You Lose at Bridge Paperback – March 28, 2006


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Why You Lose at Bridge + How to Read Your Opponent's Cards: The Bridge Experts' Way to Locate Missing High Cards + Watson's Classic Book on The Play of the Hand at Bridge
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Devyn Press (March 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939460750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939460755
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It's funny and fun to read.
Mimsy
Even by the time this 1940s book appeared, "scientific" systems by leading bridge "experts" were all the rage.
Allen Smalling
Players at all levels will find something fresh and stimulating while reading it.
Dimitri Bouilkov

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Written long ago, but by no means out of date, this book describes the major ways that average players achieve less than they could.
The first half of the book describes common technical errors and how to learn to avoid them: the second half describes common personality types and how to minimize their destructiveness as your partner. At the end is the reproduction of a rubber in which many common mistakes were made.
The book is a wonderful combination of instruction and humour.
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The bridge-bidder's arsenal is usually full of "gadgets": non-literal bids meant to convey or suggest information that might escape the normal bidding sequence. Even by the time this 1940s book appeared, "scientific" systems by leading bridge "experts" were all the rage. Who would disagree with scientific "experts"? After all, you can't fight progress.

WHY YOU LOSE AT BRIDGE dares to differ. S.J. Simon, author of this enduring little volume, shows us the genuine odds behind competitive bidding and play and explains things the highly regarded experts of his day didn't know -- or didn't want us to know.

[Note: the following two grafs assume some bridge experience.]
Would you almost automatically double a competitor's bid of "Six Spades" (12 of the 13 card tricks) if you had two "quick tricks" in your hand? Think about it, Simon warns. If the opponents have even a one-in-three chance of winning, your unthinking double will give them between four and six times the number of points for making contract considering vulnerability. Besides, when they hear your double the declarer will figure you for the two Aces and act accordingly. Watch out for the sure things that really aren't.

And sometimes (usually, the author implies) the scientific gadgets aren't worth it. At one tourney, following tortuous symbolic bidding, one partnership came to a contract of four spades and went down one. How had the author and his partner bid that "impossible" hand? Like this: South - 1 NT; North - 3 NT. Simple and literal.

After offering a bracing immersion in what I all "unlearning," Simon spends the second half of the book on the psychology of bridge, starting with the times a partner or opponent starts what he calls "trancing" -- mulling things over.
Read more ›
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Potter on June 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
S. J. Simon's Why You Lose at Bridge remains (since its original 1945 publication) the best text on improving one's partnership available anywhere at any price. Read it. Practice what you learned. Watch your partnerships improve. Read it, again ...
If you have a standing partnership, read it together. Even the most capable professionals may well (re)discover ways to improve their game as they absorb Simon's words of wisdom. Improve your partnership, and your game improves. Simon sez ...
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William S. Kalenborn on January 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Skid Simon writes about club bridge, and how to deal with various partners.
We kibitz a rubber among Mrs. Guggenheim, The Unlucky Expert, Mr. Smug, and Futile Willy. A loong rubber.
A reasonable player in any of the seats would have won the rubber for his side. Bidding is British style, but what the heck...
The truth of the book is eternal, and the style sparkles with humor.
The essence: play for the best result possible with this partner, not the best possible result.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Lawniczak on September 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Everyone with any interest in bridge should read this book. The bridge hands are interesting and instructive, but the characters are what make the book great. Mrs. Guggenheim is the perfect example of a nervous poor player, while the unlucky expert epitomizes the excellent player who just can't seem to win (maybe not all luck).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hallam on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Entertaining and informative,especially for rubber bridge players.
A bit old fashioned now but the message gets across loud and clear.
A must for all bridge fanatics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. MURRAY on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written and enjoyble classic from one of Britain's premier players of the early 20th century. He offers many excellent ideas on how you can change your general approach to bidding and play to improve your game. Very little on specific techniques.

I'm a solid "B" player--competitive at the local level but not so much at regionals or sectionals. Over-all, I was hoping to get more from this book than I did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dimitri Bouilkov on July 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WHY YOU LOSE AT BRIDGE is a true evergreen. Read it once when you are a beginner. It is truly hard to find such a concise guide how to advance rapidly from the basics. Or, like me - after all it first appeared before I was born - rediscover it if you want to improve faster. Players at all levels will find something fresh and stimulating while reading it.

Many books dwell for long pages on the intricacies of the complex game of bridge, but this book really focuses on the essentials, on how to think at the bridge table, and how to remain realistic, especially if you are playing with different partners. And if you have an established partnership, read it together.

Walking the fine line between being too aggressive or too conservative is the key to success in bridge, and this book has good advice on how to fine-tune your approach. The pages on competitive bidding are pure gold. The reader will find practical gems like dealing with preempts, hesitations and psychic bids or playing 4-3 fits - just to name a few - which are as important to the matchpoint and team players today as they were for rubber bridge in the forties.

The advice to adjust your strategy to the scoring system rings as true for duplicate games today as when this book was written, and can spare you making many bad decisions (and help you make many good ones!), once this way of weighting the pros and cons of a particular action at the table is internalized.

To wrap it up, read and re-read it! And it's fun, the characters are memorable and the boards excellent and thought provoking.
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