The Official ACBL Encyclopedia of Bridge [With 2 CDROMs] Hardcover – 16 Dec 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
For European, Asian and South American players the main drawback is the overwhelming focus on the US tournament scene. Perhaps this is to be expected as it is published by the ACBL but it leaves the impression that no one else is worthy of much appreciation. Perhaps this a natural characteristic of a historic superpower in so many areas but there are now other rising powers in many areas.
After the long wait for publication I found this to be a great let down. Useful to some extent but I had expected something far better.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
The new arrangement requires the use of the index to find an entry since subjects are broken down into chapters instead of being in one alphabetical sequence. "Bidding," "Competitive Bidding," and "Systems" are each separate chapters with their own alphabetical sequences.
I tested the book for new material by trying to look up "SEF," the basic French standardized system developed in 2006 that is widely used in the same manner as the SAYC card in North America. "SEF" is not in the encyclopedia under that heading, nor under any expanded version of it that I could think of. I then tried looking up "SAYC," which is a term frequently used on internet sites. It is not in the index; you have to know that you should be looking up "Standard American Yellow Card" to find it.
Since biographies in the printed book are now limited to the ACBL Hall of Fame, there are no main biographical entries for such important bridge players as Terence Reese and Benito Garozzo, nor are there entries for the authors of two of the most widely read bridge classics, S.J. Simon ("Why You Lose at Bridge") and Louis Watson ("Play of the Hand"). On the accompanying CD, the biographies are also annoyingly arranged in several different alphabetical sequences. If you want to find Reese, you have to search and click through a number of mentions of his name before you get to the main entry.
A minor irritation to me is that the "Bridge Whist" article perpetuates the inaccurate information that the term was invented by later bridge historians when there are several books by that title published pre-1905.
The sixth edition will continue to be my "go to" book that sits with easy reach; this new edition will be relegated to a more distant bookshelf. There is a lot of useful information in this book, but you can get a better reference more cheaply by buying the earlier edition.
This latest edition is worse in almost every way. The organization is now by chapter, and I can tell you, it is hard to find anything. The book has become heavier and considerably larger, and critical information such as the very extensive bridge bibliography has been omitted (I stumbled on one page with 'recommended books' but the content is worthless). The three advantages of this edition are 1) it includes an electronic version 2) it is more recent and 3) thankfully most of the previous material is still there, if you search for it.
Depressing that we will probably have to wait for another 10 years before the next (hopefully better) edition. (edit: List_of_bridge_books in the wikipedia says 2014 is the planned date for the 8th edition, nice!)
For me, that was a mistake.
This latest edition may achieve its goals, but at the cost of deleting older, yet significant in-depth information that I would deem most relevant, yet today. This version is now the CONDENSED version of previous editions.
In years past, if you only could afford one book on bridge, any previous edition of Encyclopedia of Bridge WAS (past tense) that book. With much larger type and much more white space, this edition pales in comparison to all earlier editions. As long as earlier editions are available (they almost certainly will be), I would recommend those over this latest version.
Amazon's one-star rating means "I hate it," and I really do hate it, but only because I know how thorough the previous editions were. I hate that the editors excised so much good information from the previous edition. However, if I had not ever seen the previous editions, I might not hate this version so much. I respect the editors (they are well known in the world of bridge) and they had a job to do; so, if I try to be unbiased, I must rate this simply as OK - which is 3 stars, begrudgingly.